GORDON Brown: Tragic Shakespearean Hero

Published by austin on

We have finally reduced the career of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and may I just say – it’s about time. We recorded it for the Gabby Logan Show on BBC Radio 5.  You can listen to it here, but now you can also read it in a handy-dandy text version that all the kids are using these days! Enjoy.

Since Gordon Brown’s days as Prime Minister are reducing as we speak, we want to celebrate while we can the man’s many great achievements.  This shouldn’t take long.

But first, I’d just like to apologize for not reducing Gordon Brown’s career sooner.  It would have saved us all years of disappointment.

In the Reduced Shakespeare Company, we’ve always liked Gordon Brown. He has a real reduced sense of humor. He has such reduced charisma.  Under his premiership, the health of the economy, the number of banks, the value of the pound have all been reduced.  What’s not to like?

And even though his future hangs in the balance, he insisted as late as Friday that, quote, “I will not waiver, I will not walk away,” which is true.  He’ll probably be driven away.

But the sad thing is, he started off so well!  In his first days as Prime Minister, he proved very statesmanlike, didn’t he, during the floods and stuff?  And he didn’t immediately crawl into President Bush’s lap and ask to have his ears scratched like Tony Blair did. (Although, on the anniversary of D-Day he did rename Omaha Beach “Obama Beach”!  Oh dear.  Heckuva job, Brownie.)

But of course, in thinking about Gordon Brown’s career, we in the Reduced Shakespeare Company can’t help but see all the eerie Shakespearean parallels. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are like Romeo & Juliet, a couple that started out so well and ended so badly.  Sarah Brown’s speech to the party conference in 2008 had a sort-of Lady Macbeth power-behind-the-throne quality to it.  And former Europe Minister Caroline Flint, who resigned on Friday, is definitely the shrew that Brown couldn’t tame.

Brown himself thought he was Othello, betrayed by Blair’s Iago.  Or perhaps he was more like Julius Caesar, brutally stabbed in the back by Blair – who would be Cassius in this analogy.  This makes Peter Mandelson Brutus, which makes sense because the Prince of Darkness has the power to assume many forms:  best friend, most loyal supporter, maybe even an e-mailer?  And speaking of which – what is it with Brown’s advisors sending stupid emails?  Whatever happened to making stupid untraceable phone calls?

Anyway, the whole recent MP expenses scandal was the final Jack Straw, but here in the states we all just think it’s much ado about nothing.  Yes, it’s been a monumental comedy of errors, but really, we wish the whole tenure of Gordon Brown had been more like King John, a play that nobody does so then nobody would have had to sit through it.

And now he’s almost gone. Well — all’s well that ends well. The bad news, though, at least for us in America, is that the Spectator’s Fraser Nelson called Brown “the Terminator Prime Minister.”  Which can only mean that Brown “will be back” as the Governor of California!  Holy moley, we gotta get ready.

I’m Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company.  Hasta la vista, baby.


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