Of all the things I thought I'd be writing this evening, it wasn't the following sentence. Gordon Brown impressed me today.
Crikey, strong stuff.
What did he do to earn this accolade?
After the speech, he went into Number 10, and his first act as Prime Minister was to
rescind special legislation, introduced in 1997, allowing Number 10 political advisers to give orders to permanent civil servants. (source)
He held a meeting with cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, and immediately revoked the Orders in Council which had allowed special advisers to instruct civil servants. (source)
This may prove to be cosmetic, but I'd like to believe it isn't. The civil service provides expertise between governments (despite the 'Sir Humphrey' image), which is undermined at our peril - it's good to see that he's rectified at least one of Blair's errors before he leaves office (one down, how many more to go?)
Unfortunately, he spoilt it all by reportedly saying:
"I don't want to be called anything but Gordon. Let's work together.â€ (Source)
Call me old fashioned, but I don't want to be on first name terms with Iraqi dictators (Saddam), Prime Ministers (Tony or Gordon)... or people who I ring in order to buy car insurance. There are times when a bit of formality doesn't go astray, and first names seem forced (I've mentioned this before)