I remember the last days of US President Richard Nixon. His face was wracked with agony and ravaged by his ignominious descent into moral decay. To me, he was Dorian Gray without the benefit of a painting in the attic.
Nixon, however, had some mitigating traits as a leader. His inaugural speech was monolithic.
During it he uttered these words:
We have found ourselves rich in goods, but ragged in spirit; reaching with magnificent precision for the moon, but falling into raucous discord on earth.
We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity. We see around us empty lives, wanting fulfillment. We see tasks that need doing, waiting for hands to do them.
To a crisis of the spirit, we need an answer of the spirit.
To find that answer, we need only look within ourselves.
Gordon Brown showed no such idealism in his first days. Indeed if he heeded these words things might have been different. But he started low and went lower. He is a haunted man, his visage scarred with unbeautiful obsessions. As Oscar Wilde wrote of the eponymous hero:
"The consciousness of being hunted, snared, tracked down, had begun to dominate him" (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Here is a portrait of a man in decay, a moribund leader who is about to implode. Does it remind you of anyone?