Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Gentleman PM in Trouble

There are only a handful of gentleman Prime Ministers, or the head of governments in the world over. When they run pillar to post for saving their job, the tremors are felt everywhere, the nation watches them keenly, while it is retreating back. It is obvious for our own gentleman Prime Minister to go through this rigmarole every few months. All important matters of consequences like nuclear deal, price rise, fall of sensex, force our PM to stretch through the process. Like him, one more gentleman PM looks susceptible these days. He is British PM Gordon Brown. The Iron Chancellor for almost a decade now looks vulnerable, and making things entangled since he became PM.

The Prime Minister started sulking after his party's stunning defeat in a labour stronghold northern by-election on 22nd May. The electoral defeat of the post of mayor of London gave a real jolt to his credibility. He looked gloomy and suddenly marginalized by his colleague members. His gift of 5.4 billion dollars to poor people in order to compromise with the tax change not so long ago, backfired. Now that the fuel tax is on the cards, Mr. Brown is facing the ire of the car owners. The introduction of higher road taxes on the old cars with effect from 2009 have convinced many MPs to seek amendments to the policy. Except for environmentalists, most British citizens feel themselves as overtaxed and realize that this new one is one of the most unpleasant of taxes.

While taking up the job of the Prime Minister not very long ago, Mr. Brown looked more of a Philosopher than a politician, when he said that his decisions would be based on "listen and lead". He desires to make many radical changes for the benefit of the people in order to make social justice, but cannot move further because that may influence the party members to look for someone else. The time is not ripe for him, he is not popular.

Last week, the British government admitted that it has many more ideas to include in its anti-terrorism plans. This includes the pre-charge detention limit for suspected terrorists from 28 to 42 days. This has caused some fifty Labour MPs to announce privately that they would vote with the opposition parties, had the Bill is introduced. Though Brown does not see the vote as a motion of confidence. However, the bill is vehemently opposed can be realized when the UN's special adviser on human rights urged him to think again. One can recall, even Tony Blair, the predecessor PM to Brown, had tried to introduce the Bill increasing detention limit from the then 14 days to 90 days, failed in 2005 only. It seems that even if Brown manages to pull through the issue in his favour, a definite fissure in the party would be visible now on.

Any way, the next general election to the House of Common will be held in May, 2010. He has had enough time to ascend himself as a popular leader. He is a thorough gentleman, he only needs a quick insight and judgement of the people for an eventual success. Before the litmus test, he should come out with something which invigorates the people in general, and force the party members to follow suit. It is not too late to write off Brown. If he can listen to the right people and lead the country with his heart and soul, he would, in all probability, surely be one of the finest Prime Ministers of Great Britain.


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