in Politics

Brown, biscuits and decisive leadership

Every Prime Minister has a biscuit. Thatcher was a bit of a garibaldi; a lot of people loved her, but a lot of people hated her. Major was a rich tea; honest and decent, but a bit bland and – frankly – other biscuits do the job better. I’d go for Blair as a pink wafer; they can look quite nice, in a certain light, but they don’t really have all that much substance when you to get down to it.

And biscuits are important too – the BBC, perhaps still sensitive from Anton du Beke and Bruce Forsyth’s brush with racism, pulled repeats of This Week because of a potentially racist biscuit comment.

So how will biscuit history define Brown. Will he be a versatile digestive or a beloved Hobnob? A nostalgic Sport biscuit or something classy by Fox’s?

My foray into biscuits was prompted by a post on LabourList, it seems Brown was never asked the question when on Mumsnet. This has just come to light – and LabourList felt compelled to tell the world.

So let’s create a biscuit timeline:-

16 October
Brown takes part in Mumsnet discussion – keeps silent on biscuit issue

17 October
Aware of questions over his premiership, but conscious of the biscuit vote in key marginals Brown declares his fondness for “anything with chocolate”. Doesn’t mention that he was never asked about biscuits

18 – 26 October
Brown and Mumsnet don’t point out that he was never asked

27 October
Mumsnet decide to reveal he was never asked. Country breathes easy that they still haven’t hard, biscuit-based evidence that the PM can’t make decisions.

Actually, LabourList is missing the point. The relevant facts here aren’t whether or not he was asked to name his favourite biscuit. It’s that no-one questioned the credibility of the story. No-one, when they heard it thought, “hold on, that doesn’t sound like our Prime Minister”. People just took it at face value because, when it comes down to it, the country really doesn’t believe Gordon is capable of high-level decision making on major issues – they don’t even believe he’s capable of deciding on his favourite biscuit. He’s a ditherer.

It’s just another example of his failings as a leader.

So, those important questions. My favourite biscuit is a Hobnob (plain, not chocolate), although I have to give special mention to the digestive simply because it works so damned well with cheese.

And what do I think Brown is? I reckon a Crawford’s Shortbread. It looks all right, but actually it’s a cheap biscuit that isn’t really up to the job and leaves a messy sludge at the bottom of the mug that someone has to clear up.

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