Monday, September 25, 2006

"I Am Not Ach-rook"

Having watched today's Labour Party Conference, I have to ask myself - is Gordon Brown the new Tricky Dicky Nixon? There are certainly parallels between the dour Scot and the oft caricatured US president. Nixon has been viewed by history as one with a great intellect - but with the social intelligence of a pubescent teenager. Brown strikes as holding remarkable similarities; the thinking brain, the untamed ambition, the feeling of discomfort in his own skin, the forced and slightly frightening smiles. Nixon often talked about his hard-working family - Brown today mentioned a similar 'you don't get nothing for nothing' attitude to his upbringing - and Nixon was raised by religious parents - Brown's own father was of course a Church Minister. And, of course, if he were to become the next Prime Minister then he will likely oversee the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. It's no Vietnam, but still....

Finally, and perhaps most apropos of all, it would seem even Blair, our current incumbent, is heeding Nixon's advice; "A man is not finished when he's defeated; he's finished when he quits." Touché.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting; I’d not heard that before, but now you mention it there are some passing similarities between the two. Brown certainly seems to be an obsessive control freak, as was Nixon, and this is last thing any country needs in a PM.

Nixon’s quote incidentally is nonsense, and reflects the bunker mentality of leaders who stay in office long after they have lost real power. Tony Blair is already finished as PM as recent event have shown, and I assume he is only holding out for the elusive 10 year term out of pure vanity.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know much about Brown (coming from the US) but I do know about Nixon. His term was colored since he will always be remembered as a monster, which is a darn shame. I mean he actually ended the US involvement in Vietnam but history recalls that was the war we lost and he was in charge at the time. I blame Kennedy for signing Foreign Assistance Act which paved the way for sending as many troops as possible to Communist countries "on the rim of the Communist world and under direct attack." Ironic I guess that a liberal helps to propagate war and an "evil monster" helps end it (the US involvement anyway).

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I really think that you have produced a sterotypical view of both Nixon and Brown. Brown has given nearly 10 years of economic success and made the Labour party electable again. Much of Nixon's failures should be seen in the context of the times. Past Presidents performed activities that were immorial or illegal or both but the press ignored these. Kennedy wired taped Martin Luther King for instance, would Nixon have got away with such an action. By the time of Nixon the press were no longer willing to turn a blind eye. Nixon was attacked for the poor US economy in the 1970s but this ignores the world slump and many democrates who supported Vietnam under Kennedy and Johnson blamed Nixon when he was in charge of a war that had been lost years before.

Your description of these men is flawed in that you make coming from a hard working background something to be ashamed of rather than praised. Which person who wanted to become prime minister of president does not covert power.

What differs Nixon from Brown is that Brown will be remember as a great leader. Unlike Blair he will be a great socialist prime minister and is the true architect of new labour.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Swinenston said...

I enjoyed Mark's comments, though I feel I have to reply. My 'stereotypical' images of both men are based on two things; firstly, what the press have reported on both, and secondly, the facts that stand. Starting with the latter, the facts are Nixon was held responsible for Watergate. You may be true in your comment about past regimes doing similarly underhand things, but does this excuse Nixon? He could probably be accused of being unlucky, yes, but there is no denying he broke the law. The rest, I believe speaks for itself. I am commenting that both men have similarly 'uncomfortable' styles, this is perhaps subjective, but certainly I am not the only person to comment on this - coming back to my first point on press comments. I also do comment that I believe both men to be exceptionally intelligent – praise I believe – even if, socially, less so.

Further, your comment that I ‘make coming from a hard working background something to be ashamed of rather than praised’ – I’m not sure where this comes from. I actually never state that, I merely draw parallels between the two men in that they both use this to give an image of their moral compass. If you interpret that from my writing, you are reading too much into it.

As for your final comment regarding Brown’s tenure – let us see. Perhaps in 30 years someone else will be writing a blog comparing Brown to another, slightly akward, President…

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Erwin said...

Mark - you got FLAMED!!

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Max_MR said...

Wow! Is this a generally held view in England? God save you if Brown is actually anything like Nixon.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not the other "anonymous" poster here, btw. Call me Anon2.

Well, I can't take to Brown either, even though I too am a Scot. As for Blair, well I think he is highly under-rated at the moment, partly because of the "style and spin" label attached to him, partly because of Iraq. Strangely, after his speech at Manchester, I hear more Tory voices raised in praise of him, e.g. Alan Duncan on Any Questions on Friday. Some might say that's not surprising, as they think Tony Blair is a Tory anyway; I don't. I think he is a true radical who would fare better in a hung parliament where he might not have been so eaily "persuaded" to stand down.

I think he is the best prime minister we have had for years, and probably will have for quite a while. And I have never voted for him or his party! Still I recognise and appreciate his political nous and the plethora of essential communication skills he possesses. He's far too young and energetic to retire. What a waste! And Labour still think they can win a fourth election without him. You've blown it folks.

I have set up a new blog to support Tony Blair if you are interested.

It's at:

12:49 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I don't think we've seen the real Gordon Brown. He has been very much in Tony Blair's shadow. Nevertheless he will have his work cut out to secure a fourth term. It's there for the taking for the tories. Much will depend on how voters view the substance of Cameron.
Nixon was caught out. There will be many political leaders who privately will say 'there but for the grace of God.'

12:19 PM  

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