Brown the brilliant

Writing in The New Criterion, Dalrymple begins his review of Gordon Brown’s new book Beyond the Crash as follows:

There is a certain kind of mentally disturbed person who sets a fire, calls the fire brigade, and then acts as the hero of the hour. Gordon Brown, the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister, is a little like that: though whether or not he knows it is an interesting question.

Then the review turns more critical. Of the book:

one of the longest self-exculpatory notes in history… devoid of self-examination… shot through with moral grandiosity… interesting, but only in the way that a paranoid psychotic’s ideas are interesting… demonstrates that there is an intimate connection between his moral megalomania, his imperviousness to reality, his absence of self-examination, his lack of analytical power, and his gross incompetence… high-falutin’ rubbish…

Of the man:

preternaturally dull… the synergy of grandiosity and incompetence… There is almost nothing in economics and social policy that Mr. Brown is incapable of failing to understand. Indeed, one might almost argue that his inability to understand constitutes an ability of a kind… [uses] statistics and figures for the purpose of self-justification, indeed self-glorification… unctuously maudlin, though with a vein of threat… a monstrous and inflated ego, that saw no limitation to his power of decision-making… an intellectual without intellect, compassionate without feeling, a moralist without scruple, ambitious without talent, and upright without probity.

And perhaps the harshest criticsm of all:

a very modern man

For your own sake, please don’t allow my distillation to discourage you from reading this highly enjoyable piece.