Hazel Blears is in one of the papers this morning acknowledging the Brown government's calamitous failure to communicate its message to the public. Naturally this is being interpreted, everywhere--even by the liberal media--as an attack on Brown's leadership. "YouTube if you want to," she says at one point, apparently, and then goes on to call for her fellow cabinet ministers and rank-and-file MPs to return to traditional electioneering methods.
Well, you can't really see that last comment as anything other than an attack on Brown, after his rather arbitrary use of YouTube to announce something or other recently. But I think old Hazel was seized by a little hubris there. She was just seducing herself with the cleverness (relatively) of the comment. The rest of the piece--or the selections I've heard--do sound like a genuine attempt to get real with the voters (although "getting real" is another transparent conceit of people with a superiority complex--look at David Cameron).
The problem Labour has now--or the government, which is something apart from the actual party--is that everything they do, or say, or postulate, has a taint of disorder and corruption about it. Brown is undeniably a hopeless leader, unable to inspire those close to him or distant. Something about him looks terminally rotten, even if it isn't.
But beyond even Brown's rather creepy personal demeanour and his failure to organise his ministers, the government has just been there too long. We saw the same thing with the Tories before 1997, albeit it took the Tories a lot longer to run out of steam. Times change. But a government governs by the programme on which it was elected; it is dyed through to the root with its own diktat. Brown and co. are looking at the complex, dangerous and desperate world of 2009 through spectacles that see only the flabby conceits and comforts of 1997. They can hardly do otherwise.
Does this mean I'd rather see David Cameron and his band of prawn-coloured opportunists walking through the doors of No. Ten?
Absolutely not. Right now I don't see any politician or political party who seems equal to the challenges of the times we live in. Now, actually, may be the time for great artists to rise again and rescue us from danger the way Bob Dylan and the Beatles and so many others did in the 1960s.