Monday, 22 February 2010

Big Clunking Fist



On 15 November 2006 Tony Blair, speaking in the House of Commons said:
"The next election will be a flyweight versus a heavyweight. However much the right hon. Gentleman (David Cameron) may dance around the ring beforehand, at some point, he will come within the reach of a big clunking fist."
The term 'big clunking fist' was taken as a reference to Brown. I don't recall Gordon Brown disassociating himself from this comment at the time. He was hoping to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister at the time. Possibly the then Chancellor was still very sensitive about his masculinity, after all Sue Lawley didn't ask other guests on Desert Island Discs whether they were gay, and didn't mind a bit of macho cred. Besides, he was allegedly rather upset by comments made by Peter Mandelson about him. I have no doubts about Mr Brown's preferences as he married Sarah Macaulay in 2000.
But why should the man who didn't mind being referred to as a Big Clunking Fist when it suited him suddenly tell Channel 4 that he had never hit anybody in his life? Oh yes, another report of temper tantrums and violence in the Number 10 office from Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer. It may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. (An unfortunate phrase in this context, I agree). Quite apart from the fact that Labour doesn't do honesty, least of all three months before a General Election, the comment that convinced me of the veracity of the allegations came from Lord Mandelvort:
"He said the book showed a "man who is quite emotional, who is quite passionate in what he believes and is doing ... who gets angry but chiefly with himself, who doesn't bully people".
"He said Mr Brown was "very demanding of people, he's demanding of himself... He knows what he wants to do, he does not like taking no for an answer from anyone.
"On the way yes, there is a degree of impatience about the man, but what would you like? Some sort of shrinking violet at the helm when we are going through such stormy waters?" "
We have all endured people at work who can be described like that. Sometimes we have the satisfaction of reading their obituaries and spotting telltale phrases like "didn't suffer fools gladly" or "set high standards for himself and those around him." In other words a King Canute.
Finally, after thirteen years of misgovernment (see Jeff Randall's excellent column), for someone to have the gall to say in all seriousness:
"take a second look at us and take a long, hard look at them, .... I know that Labour hasn't done everything right and I know, really I know, I'm not perfect, "
indicates that all those amateur psychological profiles of the man have at least a grain of truth in them. I hope not because he is still the Prime Minister until David Cameron and the rest of the Tories pull their fingers out and campaign Nulab into history. They must not fail.

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