How to Win Friends and Influence People

Article published on May 5, 2008
community published
Article published on May 5, 2008
Gordon Brown awkwardly admitted some of the numerous mistakes he has made during his time as British Prime Minister on yesterday's Andrew Marr Show. Brown's advisers have no doubt come up with some 'can't fail' strategy to admit mistakes and move forward; probably the only strategy left since his leadership is in a position in which he can do little else.
Brown confessed on the show that he has made mistakes on a tax policy that impacted negatively on those earning less than 18k, dithering and delaying a decision on an early election, and spending 'perhaps' too little time trying to get his arguments across.

Brown's problem though is that he has failed to heed Dale Carnegie's advice on 'winning people to your way of thinking': "If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically."

The election dithering happened last year and Brown was painfully slow to admit fault on the tax changes; and even then it happened in a number of protracted stages until the apology reached its final conclusion yesterday. Brown failed to admit these mistakes until 95 per cent of the damage has been done. As for failing to spend time on getting arguments across - this is all Brown seems to do; albiet in his stuttering, monotone, inaccessible and inarticulate way.

Instead of taking cues from outgoing London Mayor and admitting responsibility for failure, Brown always adds the caveat to his apologies that the recent election mauling is apparently due to 'subprime' mortgages in New Orleans and economic uncertainty. He is seemingly happy to take responsibility for the economic boom since 1997, during particularly favourable global economic conditions, but when things go bad economic downturn is suddenly due to external drivers.

Brown has failed to implement any progressive change since taking over the reigns from Blair. He tried to outline his achievements in the Andrew Marr show but most of these were about 'conversations' he has had with groups such as GPs rather than any substantive change. Most of his major policy decisions and proposed changes are either anathema to his so-called 'moral compass' or absolute disasters - for example the proposed 42 day detention without charge, the abolition of the 10p rate and permission for airport extention (despite rhetoric about climate change concern).

Brown spent 10 years waiting thinking that it should have been him at Number 10 instead of Blair, unfortunately after moving next door he has found out that he is just not up to scratch. Brown says that in these times of uncertainty we need strong leadership. He is right and he is not the man for the job.