By Ray Fleming
IT is said that when Napoleon was considering the qualities of a future general the last question he would ask of his advisers always was, “Is he lucky?”. The same question might be asked of political leaders. If applied to Gordon Brown the answer can only be “No”. Without debating how far he can be considered personally responsible for the series of disasters that have hit Labour in the past month, the variety and number of them is such that he cannot reasonably be guilty of the charge of “incompetence” levelled directly at him by David Cameron. Most of these problems have roots going back into the Blair period; it is only a couple of years ago that the Treasurer of the Labour Party publicly revealed that he had never been informed about the loans to the party arranged by Downing Street which led to the fruitless “cash-for honours” inquiry. In different circumstances, and, with a little bit of luck, it would have been Mr Brown who was thought most likely to clear them up. The appalling inefficiency or administrative blindness that led Labour's general secretary to allow David Abrahams' donations to be submitted by a cast of unlikely agents is hard to understand. The most worrying aspect of this affair is Mr Abraham's activities as head of a property company involved in large-scale developments requiring local or national planning permission.

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