Steve Richards has a typically excellent piece in today’s Independent. In it, he paints Brown’s effort to push through longer detention times for terror suspects as another instance of Blairite grandstanding. Unfortunately for Brown, though, it’s left no-one happy:
“Last summer, when he was successfully portraying himself as the apolitical father of the nation, the debate over detaining suspects without charge must have seemed politically attractive. Probably, Mr Brown calculated that he could succeed where Mr Blair had failed, reinforcing another part of his pre-election strategy of appearing more Blairite than Mr Blair.
Right-wing newspapers would support him. The move was popular with voters. The Tories would look "soft" on terror and be in the "wrong position over this" (a favourite Brownite phrase in relation to the Conservatives and policy areas).
Mr Brown thought he had a way of pulling off the move, reassuring liberals that there would be more parliamentary scrutiny while wooing those who supported Mr Blair’s stance in the first place. This was his third way…
…[Yet] it looks as if the Government will lose the vote. If that happens Mr Brown would have tried to please everyone and ended pleasing no one, as Mr Blair managed to do on the much larger canvass of the war in Iraq.”