In His 'Worst Week in Politics' He's 'Not Fit for Purpose' in This Cliched World

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

In His 'Worst Week in Politics' He's 'Not Fit for Purpose' in This Cliched World


Byline: By Tomos Livingstone Western Mail

It's been a bumper week for those of who like to play political cliche bingo.

We've had the Liberal Democrats claiming the Treasury is "not fit for purpose", a recent but highly popular addition to the sound-bite phrasebook.

Almost inevitably, George Osborne was heard calling for a "step-change" in the way the Government handles data in the wake of the missing discs fiasco.

But, the best of all, I heard a TV newsreader say this week was Gordon Brown's "worst week in office", a phrase I hadn't heard since Tony Blair left Downing Street.

When Mr Blair was in Number 10, the phrase was trotted out regularly, although some of the problems that prompted journalists and MPs to use it seem pretty tame now.

Gordon Brown must long for something as mundane as a Minister failing to declare a massive loan from a colleague on his mortgage application, or a member of his family being accused of taking advice from a fraudster in a property deal.

For Mr Blair always had something to comfort him; even at the height of his unpopularity, the nadir of genuine disasters like the Iraq war and the death of Dr David Kelly, it never really looked as if the electorate were sharpening their knives and preparing to slice his majority to ribbons.

Gordon Brown, with headlines over Northern Rock, Qinetiq, the missing discs and military funding piling up around his ears, has no such comfort. …

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