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If one brown bottle should accidentally fall

Analysis: Gordons colour now will be yellow - Telegraph
Mr Brown will be presented as a man frightened of a leadership contest, an EU referendum and an election. He only has himself to blame, writes Matthew d’Ancona.

The Conservative Party is cornering the market in bottles.

Bottle banners, bottle novelty toys, bottle pictures: you name it, they’re buying it.

For thirteen years, we have quaked before the mighty figure of Iron Gordon, master of all he surveys, untroubled by the anxieties of mere mortals.

Now, with the general election called off, "Bottler Brown" is about to become a very familiar character on the political landscape.
The whole point of Mr Brown is that he is meant to be square-jawed, implacable, remorseless, unstoppable. He is, after all, the author of a (very good) book entitled Courage.

Now it turns out that he might be what I gather in Scotland is called a "feartie": a wuss, a girly-man, the Coward of the County (the county in this case being Fife, rather than somewhere in Texas as in the Kenny Rogers original).

The PM wanted to be seen as the mighty Father of the Nation, indomitable on his plinth, and succeeded to some extent in nurturing that image in his first few weeks in Number Ten.

But this farce has given the Tories the opportunity to change all that.

They will present him now as a man on the run from scrutiny and judgment: frightened of a leadership contest, frightened of an EU Referendum, frightened of an election.

So now we have the referendum on the EU Constitution back in the frame. A major selling point of an early election was that it gave him a way out by bundling the "treaty" ratification into the manifesto - he can't do that now. And now he is "damaged goods" maybe one or two more of his backbenchers will show some "Courage ™ Gordon Brown" and defy the whip. Could be an interesting few weeks.


Being serious for the nonce, this "bottle" tag is so caricaturistic that he's never going to be able to throw it off now.

Having lost his composure, Gordon Bennett must now bite three bullets:

1. He has to deal with the referendum issue on its own merits, and not buried in an election campaign.

2. The economy is heading for a slowdown, and he can't now spring an election before the voters start noticing that. He has spent the tory inheritance, and he has to claw back some extra money somehow. So when he taxes us all until the pips squeak, we will still remember that mugging when his term of office runs out.

3. We can't even have a rigged election now because the posties are all out on strike. They will have to go cap in hand to the unions to restore us to Banana Republic status.

It's been fun to watch Adam Bolton mauling Jaqui Smith on Sky News though. She looked ready to throw up. And she's no bonny lass to start off with. And now we have the spectacle of apparatchiks trying to pretend a general election was never on the cards. Laugh? I doubt my knickers will ever dry....

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