Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Gordon Brown deeply unimpressive on Today

It was Gordon Brown vs John Humphries this morning and I have to say that I do not think Brown did very well at all.

Humphries skewered him with his own previous words about how he had "abolished boom and bust". Brown kept answering a different question about inflation being low and of course our old friend the "global banking crisis that started in America". When pressed, as far as I could tell his argument seemed to be that he had indeed abolished the "old sort of boom of bust" which he characterised as caused by low inflation. I don't seem to recall any such caveats at the time.

What this exchange allowed Humphries to do then was skewer him with the words he had just said. He asked whether Brown had any regrets about what had happened. He repeatedly stated that he took "full responsibility" and yet as Humphries pointed out, he had just spent the last 10 minutes denying any of it was his fault. He constantly kept trying to talk about measures he had put in place since the crisis but as his questioner quite rightly pointed out, why were these measures not put in place beforehand? After all he was Chancellor for 10 years. Yet again the mantra of "it was a global problem" was trotted out and also that Brown was apparently trying to bring in better regulation for the banks but was opposed by (unnamed) others globally. What utter rubbish. You only have to read some of Brown's speeches from 1997 - 2007 to see that the brakes were off and he was very happy with that state of affairs.

I was particularly pleased at how Humphries effectively stopped Brown from bashing the opposition which is his usual favourite rhetorical hiding place. Mischaracterise what your opponents want to do and then bash them over the head with it but Humphries kept cutting him off as soon as he tried this pointing out that Mr Cameron will be on tomorrow and can answer for himself then (and hopefully Mr Clegg at some point too! UPDATE: Just been informed Clegg was on yesterday - work keeps getting in the way of me keeping fully up to speed with this campaign!). I spotted a few almost exasperated "chuckles" coming from Brown at these points. He is not used to being blocked from playing these disingenuous games.

I also want to make a point about something he said. He was pressed on how they would come up with the billions in "efficiency savings" that he keeps saying they will implement. He gave an example about how sending a letter in a government department can cost around £20 whereas if they were smarter and did things electronically, it could cost as little as £1. That's all well and good and maybe there are "quick win" savings like this to be made but e-mail has been around for the entire lifetime of this government. Why has it taken them 13 years to realise they can save this money? I am afraid this is a function of governmental longevity. They will be faced with this retort every single time.

The rest of the interview was also very unimpressive. He hardly ever answers the question but I think in the heat of an election campaign this tactic will start to back-fire. He will be on the media all the time and there will be 4.5 hours of live TV debates with the other main party leaders.

If he keeps dissembling like this he will come a cropper.


JonoPrice said...

Clegg was on yesterday

Anonymous said...

Was Chancellor Brown not responsible for setting up the arrangements for bank oversight?

Those arrangements did not seem to have worked well.

ceedee said...

Boy, wasn't he terrible?
Bet it really spoilt his day...
Thanks for the tip!