I have a guilty political secret. I do not detest Gordon Brown. That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it. And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast. And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.
And yet I cannot dislike him. Probably because I just know too many people who have known him through decades, who are themselves good people, and who like him. Around Edinburgh and Fife you will find it hard to find people who actually know him who share the hatred and contempt he seems to arouse among the political and media classes of London.
As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them. I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.
There are one nation Tories who seem to me perfectly decent people, genuinely trying to do good. I don’t hate them because their political conclusions on the best way to do good are different to mine. Gordon Brown I put rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.
Blair is in a whole different category again – insincere, absolutely focused on attaining personal power, and with a Messianic belief that what is good for him must be good for the World. The Guardian is publishing some emails around the Blair Brown rivalry this week. I don’t care and won’t read them. But while I see Blair as quite properly damned for eternity to the seventh pit of hell, I don’t think Brown deserves anything worse than North Queensferry.
I have been in Ghana the last 20 days living in a house with no internet connection and working (extremely hard) in an office with virtually no internet connection – not enough to load WordPress. I hope to get more chance to blog shortly.