This time last year an unpopular Labour party leader with questionable personal skills was hoping to pull off a surprise election win. This was his pitch:
“When a plane has to be landed in a storm, you don’t ask if there is someone nice here,” he said. “Nor do you ask whether there is someone who looks like a pilot or talks like a pilot or once stood next to a pilot during a flight. You ask if there is a real pilot here, not a nice guy, not a back-slapper.”
Labour produced billboard adverts showing their grim-faced leader with the slogan “not friendly, not trendy and not nice.”
The leader was Israel’s Ehud Barak.
At the time the New York Times claimed it was “seen as a surprisingly successful approach.” It wasn’t. Barak was hammered. Still, I think it rather nicely sums up Brown’s spiel.