March 20, 2008


Gordon Brown turns into Neville Chamberlain (Andrew Gimson, 18/03/2008, Daily Telegraph)

The mantle of Neville Chamberlain has descended with alarming speed on Gordon Brown.

The clinching detail was provided by Mr Brown himself, during his report on the European summit in Brussels, when he observed that "not to support the treaty will leave the Czechoslovakian people isolated".

Since Czechoslovakia ceased to exist 15 years ago, one imagines its people have been feeling isolated for quite some time.

Robert Goodwill (C, Scarborough and Whitby) reminded the House of Chamberlain's hapless reference to "that faraway country of which we know little", which appears also to be the present Prime Minister's conception of Czechoslovakia, indignantly though he insisted he had made "absolutely clear I was talking about the Czech Republic".

The slip means nothing in itself, but opens a train of thought which will be deeply unwelcome to Mr Brown.

For it suggests that like Chamberlain, he is a Treasury technocrat who has reached 10 Downing Street with little knowledge of foreign affairs, and with no gift for reading the intentions of the foreigners with whom he feels compelled to remain on friendly terms.

As with Chamberlain, Mr Brown's foreign policy consists of doing what the Establishment tells him.

No establishment is wrong about more than the foreign policy one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 20, 2008 7:37 PM
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