Monday, 10 May 2010

A sad day for democracy

Gordon Brown's decision to resign represents a sad day for British politics. A leader who actually did surprisingly well electorally given the disastrous state of the economy he'd presided over has been driven out not by his party but by the imagined ire of an electorate of whom only 36% voted for his only serious challenger. If Mr Brown was so hated by the electorate as some of his enemies insist, the premiership would be David Cameron's without the latter having to seek deals with a party whose grassroots largely hate everything he stands for. This should have been if not a Conservative landslide, at least a comfortable win: that it wasn't disproves much of the case for the outgoing Prime Minister's alleged toxicity as a political asset.

For all his failures to reverse the economic vulnerabilities accumulated over the past three decades, history will pass a far kinder verdict on Brown than some of the frothing vitriol spouted by his less rational critics. He'll leave Labour if not in government - an almost incredible thought mere days ago - at least well-placed to come back from Opposition after a spell of Conservative-imposed cuts backed by the only other major national party claiming centre-left credentials. After a disastrous premiership and an almost equally disastrous election campaign he did astonishingly well to even be in contention, if only for days. For that his party should be grateful to him.

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