I think I know best, too, of course. But what I know best is that the world is too complicated for me or anyone else to rule. Other people are generally better placed than I am to decide what is good for them. Even when they are not, nothing gives me in particular the right to impose my ideas.
Gordon Brown is one of the elect (not just the elected) who knows no such restraint.
The Prime Minister: The first point of recapitalisation was to save banks that would otherwise have collapsed. We not only saved the world— [Laughter . ]—saved the banks and led the way— [ Interruption. ] We not only saved the banks— [ Interruption. ]
Mr. Speaker: Order.
The Prime Minister: Not only did we work with other countries to save the world’s banking— [ Interruption. ] Not only did we work with other countries to save the world’s banking system, but not one depositor actually lost any money in Britain.* That is the first thing.
Having contented himself that he only saved world banking, Mr Brown has now set out to work on the rest of the job. He has started on a mission to create peace between Pakistan and India – two countries that have not had a war since 1971. Such is his supreme diplomatic tact that his approach after the Mumbai massacre is to visit the region in order to announce that “Three quarters of the most serious plots investigated by the British authorities have links to al-Qaeda in Pakistan.” A claim that is both occult (full in equal measure of secret authority and meaninglessness), and calculated to make people in India more hostile to Pakistan.
Maybe this is not a record breaking sprint to megalomania for a British Prime Minister. Perhaps it is that Mr Brown’s nostalgia for the 1970s knows no bounds. Having destroyed the British economy in order to become its saviour, he is trying the same trick on the global village.
*[This is a lie: I know personally several depositors who between them lost many millions in Britain when Mr Brown decided to expropriate the Icelandic banks. Even those among them whom the Treasury has made a vague promise to compensate have yet to see a penny, and have had the huge cost, which is unlikely to be refunded, of arranging indefinite bridging finance in near-impossible borrowing conditions.]