After what is widely being dubbed as a very poor performance by Gordon Brown at Prime Ministers Questions yesterday it is clear that it is Gordon himself who is very much 'on the rack' at the moment.
The press coverage last night and today has been scathing, suggesting that Mr Browns honeymoon with the media could turn out to be the shortest in political history.
Why does a bad performance in PMQ's matter?
QT is THE only forum in this country where the party leaders go head to head, while being good at PMQ’s won’t win elections the implications of a bad performance stretch a very long way:
- Morale of the MP’s who are there impacts immediately on the authority of the leader.
- Interpretation by the media filters down to the public view
- Passion and support of activists and workers down the line.
Ming, IDS, Kinnock and dare I say it John Major are all good examples of leaders whose weaknesses at PMQ’s set the tone of their entire leadership.I thought he cut a rather sad figure yesterday - a man at sea with the ribald and confrontational nature of PMQ’s whose ‘first night nerves’ were mercilessly exposed.
Like it or loath it politics in Westminster is Gladiatorial, basic and brutal - and Brown was wounded yesterday.
The point is he needs to turn this round quickly; having been built up as such a heavyweight he needs to prove it. So what really matters is how things go next week. I can imagine fevered discourse in the Brown Corner as to ‘how to play it’ next week.
A second embarrassment would be very serious; possibly catastrophic for the Brown leadership.
One disadvantage of having been in the House for 25 years is that Browns personality is just so well known, we all know that he does not react well to pressure which will have risen by next Wenesday so Camerons team carry the advantage.
Worse, even Ming has nothing to fear next week; having done well himself yesterday -so the bear pit is two on one.
As it happens I am sure that Brown is canny enough and experienced enough to turn things round, but it is going to be an interesting week!