Until the recent shocking events of the past couple of days our new Prime Minister Gordon Brown seemed to have a permanent grin attached to his face. In every photo in every paper there he was beaming from ear-to-ear, an expression that I had never seen him reveal as Chancellor. Gordon Brown had obviously been waiting a very long time to be PM and he was going to enjoy it.
So here it is then, a new Prime Minister and a new political era of sorts.
I imagine the way Brown conducts his activities will be less tainted with the cringe-worthy sense of celebrity that Tony Blair always seemed to want to espouse.
And also, we hope, less tainted by the sleaze that was becoming a daily fixture during the last years of the Blair premiership.
Brown has a chance to wipe the slate clean. He’s off to a good start, proving popular in recent opinion polls. If an election was held tomorrow Brown would be the people’s man, but there isn’t and there is plenty of time for the new leader to sour with the public. And sour he will if he does not shake off the reputation of corruption and sleaze that dogged Tony Blair.
Brown has a chance to stamp his authority on the issue of sleaze and let the people know that his term will be different and reopening the BAE/Saudi corruption inquiry is a golden opportunity to show the public that he is honest and believes in the rule of law. In his first speech as Prime Minister he exclaimed that he “believed in a moral sense” and a “belief in civic duty”. Most telling of all he demanded that his party “must have a soul”.
Well the rhetoric hits all the right notes, but this is normally where politicians excel. Where they disappoint is when the don’t deliver on their promises and are labled simply as hypocritical, unable to live up to the hype.
Well Gordon the mechanisms are all in place all you have to do is say the word. Re-open the inquiry. Let the people know that you are in charge and not the arms companies.