Monday, September 25, 2006

Gordon Brown Needs the Rampant Rabbit Effect

It has been a very strange morning so far. First of all I listened to a very uncomfortable Gordon Brown being interviewed on 5 Live. As I listened I kept thinking to myself: "This man is just not going to win". Brown just doesn't feel comfortable in his own skin. He keeps inserting little personal anecdotes into interviews to try to make him appear 'normal' (whatever 'normal' is nowadays).

Today we learned that he listens to his iPod while running in the gym. Not an image to conjure up over breakfast. Brown only really hit his stride when talking about foreign affairs. It was instructive that he was plainly taken aback by a 5 Live poll which showed 89 per cent didn't want him as PM.

He also won't be delighted if he watches Newsnight tonight. Frank Luntz has done another one of his focus groups which shows John Reid in a rather good light. I well remember the effect of a similar event a year ago when he single-handedly relaunched a flagging David Cameron leadership campaign. I hope his methodology has become a little more, er, robust.

Media reaction to Brown's speech will be more important than the reaction in the hall. If it bombs, the media will again develop a herd instinct, just as they did last year following David Davis's speech.

It won't be his delivery which fails Brown - it will be the content and lack of vision. Phrases like 'me tooism' are unlikely to have a rampant rabbit effect on the journalistic G-spots. The media are always waiting for the front runner to trip up. Believe me, I should know. Will it be today when they are granted their wish?

22 comments:

newmania said...

See my previous comments on the Gordon Brown Reinvention .It is full swingelsewhere today with reference to his handing power to the Bank of England (ie non power mad single good thing) and NHS quangos to come. Help !
If you look carefully at the U GOV poll though there is a niggling worry. His rating on the `Do you think he is doing a good job as C. of Exchequer ` remains firmly high


Pollsters and political obsessives never grasp that for normal people holding quite contradictory views at the same time ,at different levels, not only possible but usual.
My concern is that Margaret Thatcher used to get similar poll results that were also high on competence and low on liking. Things may not be as good as they look
Labour and its whorish BBC hirelings have invented a fictional world in which Margaret Thatcher was universally loathed. She was loved, but rarely liked.

I fear that over confidence will embolden neo cons and others to risk disunity .

I worry I worry I worry you see
I worry that Ian Dale doesn`t like ,me

( apols Wendy Cope)

bbqbob1973 said...

I quite like his NHS idea and think he could make a good job of squashing the Reid juggernaut.

Brown wont tonk like Davis, and he needs a good speech to win the leadership.

ps snap election is his best bet, take hold of the anti blair feeling before cameroon takes hold.

Charlotte Corday said...

No-one has commented on the"Panorama" programme last night. I watched it with sub-titles on and when an old University chum of Gordon said Gordon spent time in the library when he should have been partying this came out as "fartying". Honestly!
Lord Kinnock now looks weird, like an old Hippy leader. I would have thought than from his EU salary he could have afforded to get his hair cut.

newmania said...

...and annuvver fing.Isn`t this exactly the sort of image branding that I have objected to previously as disingenuous and patronising.
The attempts of all political obessives to convince us they have a life is doomed to failure. Usually this is connected with lucrative post office broadcasting opportunities. Or the wish to a path from supposed counter culture Blogging outlaw to daytime TV.

On the roll of dishonour

Dianne Abbot
Neil Kinnock
David Blunkett(see his ,,ahem ,humorous matierial. )


Others who are always censoring me and giving unjust yellow cards .

Bob Piper said...

Just how did DD's campaign manager feel on that buttock clenching day? If Gordon performs that badly I suspect he will decide not to stand at all.

david kendrick said...

The management of the NHS is poor. If it were run by a quango, it would be worse. Much worse. Why? Because then nobody would have to take any responsibility for any part of it.

If a serious politician can get away with even suggesting it, our collective reality checks are dreadful.

ken from Gloucester said...

Calling a snap election now is exactly what I expect from Labour
because it would be totally dishonest and show up their lust for power.

Why? They wont wait for the Boundary Commision to do their work and remove 10 to 15 seats from Labour.If you dont believe me just look at Ed Balls trying to fight the loss of his seat!!

its called judicial review. Or power at any price.

The Cat said...

Agree with you on methodology. Remind me of a blog post by an old pall of yours (with whom I saw you smooching in Brighton!):

http://millenniumelephant.blogspot.com/2006/04/day-1934-blimey-its-upstairs-neighbour.html

newmania said...

KEN FROM GLOUCESTER:

I thought the Boris Johnson piece on Nu Labs appalling gambit( or Balls up) to avoid the consequences of their own local mismanagement was brilliant. Just for once he had something concrete to say and nailed labour in great style. I was under the impression that there were more like 40 seats at stake. The figures will of course change with polling results but does anyone know what the current effect would be.

I have felt for a long time that the geographical split of the Conservative vote was the key to understanding David Cameron who is ultra sensitive to swing voters in marginals , and rightly so. Complainers sometimes forget there is crucial difference between votes and seats and it’s a lot closer than it looks .

I am wise and know all things , listen to me and remain loyal to David the boy king Cameron

Martyn said...

"It won't be his delivery which fails Brown - it will be the content and lack of vision"

Good grief Ian, what are they putting in the Tory tea these days Ian . A special delivery from the Bullingdon old boys dealer ? There is a serious lack of content in the Tory party at the moment. No policies, just a few warm words. As for vision, it appears to be an entirely new vision to the one that Cameron penned just 18 months ago. Another achilles heel. Maybe if this one proves unpopular another one will come along in the next few months ? Anything is possible in the vacuous metropolitan PR world I believe.


Whilst polls are showing Brown scores badly on personability he scores highly on content, experience and the ability to take tough decisions. You forget that the Blessed Margaret was deeply disliked by large sections of the electorate, loved by a minority and respected yet not liked by the critical majority. If it had been a popularity contest David Steel would have been running the country through much of the 80s.


We're not appointing a Butlins redcoat, were considering who should be Prime Minister. The choice is this, an experienced tough politician or an Old Etonian PR man and over promoted economic adviser on the day the jobs and homes of countless Britons were poured down the Tory gutter. He is a man with no knowledge of poverty, no knowledge even of managing on the average household income in this country. Totally over promoted, totally unsuited for the job of leading a meritocratic 21st century nation.

The longer he's in the public eye, the more apparent the moral disadvantages his privilege has given him will be revealed.


Cameron is a nice bloke in a Home Counties MOR rocker kind of way. Not really a prime minister. The government has been paralysed by internal machinations yet the opposition still cannot build a substantial lead.

Time for substance over style, time for serious leadership over the posture and preening of a public school PR man.

Etzel Pangloss said...

John Reid scares me.

He doesn't believe in Father Christmas.

Andrew Zalotocky said...

Iain, what should be really shocking about this post is your casual assumption that the media will decide our next Prime Minister. It's not shocking that you suggest it, but because what you say is true.

You're right about the media "herd instinct", their childish desire for "the front runner to trip up", and all that this implies about their shallow and frivolous approach to politics. Yet you're right that they will be the ultimate arbiters of who succeeds Blair.

Is it any wonder that there is such widespread public disillusionment with politics?

Ronners said...

Brown is getting the sort of media 'going over' now, that for Cameron is still to come. It's to Labour's credit that they take power so seriously that what they are asking is not, 'Who's the best person for the job?' but 'Who can win?'

There seems to be a widespread view is this country that class envy is dead. Don't believe it. So as George Walden recently pointed out all leaders have to play the populist game. But some can do it better than others. Posh Tony standing for Labour could get away with it. Really posh Dave with all that Tory baggage is batting on a much harder wicket. Unless he really does mean to turn the Conservatives into some sort of light green touchy-feely big tent full of hot air and hyper-moralism, (The Limes, as they might become known) then it's sadly inevitable that the contradictions of his content free postures will begin to become glaringly unmissable targets.

Verity said...

Agreed, Martyn. The days of an OE leading the country are finished. As you say, he has no experience of managing an average household income - probably the most critical piece of knowledge any PM can have. Worry about finding money to pay for school uniforms and shoes, which children grow out of very quickly, is from another planet for Dave. He simply cannot relate to the average Brit and it shows in all his silly publicity stunts.

I am still totally amazed that MPs elected him leader, because the Tory party in general most assuredly wouldn't have entertained the thought of this lightweight for one minute. This is the Westminster mindset that is so destructive to politics in Britain.

Verity said...

I have said for 10 years that Brown will never be PM. He is just too easy to be repulsed by. It was a waste of time for him to get married and have those two children because the British just find him unattractive.

And no matter how he tries to hide it, he reeks of old-style socialism and social engineering. He has nothing going for him.

Alan Johnson will win the leadership contest. If he does, Labour is in with a chance for a fourth win. Ordinary people can relate to Johnson. Ordinary people do not relate to Dave,who is off on a planet of his own. A posh planet, where people fly to Norway for the day to view the ice floes. And have windmills on their roofs.

kate said...

having had the misfortune of bumping into gordon at the gym in the past, i can attest that the ipod line isn't true - the times i've seen him, anyway.
he looked close to a heart attack while he was pounding away on the treadmill incidentally. overweight and unfit. sweating buckets. yuk.

Chris said...

Seem to be an awful lot of references to Rampant Rabbits in the political blogosphere at the moment...are you and Guido trying to attract Ann Summers for some banner ads Iain?

newmania said...

Tony Blair went to a school pretty much as posh as Eton or so I `m told (I pay Scotland very little attention and would prefer it went away.) I went to a school, far older than Eton having started in 943 AD .Unfortunately it never became much good.
. There is a very decided problem of political exclusion for tax payers that I have previously outlined. If anyone is interested the argument is under the `Policy Forum` Blog and was provoked by the utter vacuity of the Mayoral candidates and Nic Boles in particular. It is no good having a Party or Parliament with no access except to the wealthy , the creepy and in general , the unrepresentative.

Tapestry I note with disapproval is such a character lurking around ghastly undemocratic priestly bodies like Policy Forum .It would be nice if their pointless discussions included a debate on `Creating a silly language to prevent access to the political debate -discuss` They are an evil and yet it is hard to know what else a bright eyed little teeny bopper like tapestry is supposed to do.
David Cameron good and bad is precisely the sort pf politician you would expect in such a milieu and it is to his credit that he clearly recognises the problem himself . I like him I do I do I do but he needs a sort thinner and less corrupt Prescott Figure to be the John the Baptist to his …(leave it ed)
This problem of structural exclusion has been greatly worse since the decline of the Unions and the exclusion of Socialism from the Parliamentary Labour Party. I read this morning that after the fateful Blackpool conference of 1994 half the membership of the Labour party left,( Andrew Gimson) Is that literally true ?
This absence of real people from parliament has made it far easier for the Conservative party to allow itself to become socially unrepresentative. I don’t mean efffnicks , I mean the lower middle and upper working classes ., ie nearly everyone .
Conservatives are very welcoming; it sometimes appears, to everyone except their core supporters. Perhaps the growth of Blogging will flatten out what has become and dangerously unstable hierarchical pyramid.

( Or let me have a turn on top of it .....!)

tapestry said...

Verity: I am still totally amazed that MPs elected him leader, because the Tory party in general most assuredly wouldn't have entertained the thought of this lightweight for one minute.

Conservative Party members elected Cameron too, Verity. The MP's can't do it alone.

realist said...

Does it really matter whether Johnson is rock solid working class or Cameron went to Eton?

At the end of the day, these people should be judged on their fitness for office, not on whether they have held right job or got the right accent or schooling. Unfortunately a lot of people vote with huge chips on their shoulders, (this applies to many supporters of all parties).

I personally went to a bog standard state school and did not attain much at the time. I have never risen very high up the ladder. I wish that I could have done better. However I do not loose sleep or worry myself that some people have better educations, jobs and more money than I have and I certainly do not hate them for it.

I vote for people I think will be best for Britain, (maybe I get it wrong, who knows?).
What I do not do, is take into account whether or not the Leader of the party delivered letters for a living or went to Eton, I vote for the man not his clothes.

The class system does not exist, as it used to in Britain, the world is not fair, we can't all achieve greatness. We can however, all strive for something better. If more electors stopped voting on the old tribal instinctive ways of greed, jealousy and envy, we may end up populating Parliament with less morons and more decent politicians.

Personally I am more interesred in where any future Prime minister is going to lead us, not what Bloody school he went to.

newmania said...

Tapestry /Verity

`This lightweight for one minute.`

David Cameron is not a lightweight you (Verity?)entirely misunderstand him if this is your view.It is clear enough , for example why he will not make a commitment to tax cuts

It is because of the geographical distribution of the Tory target seats and the need to carry public sector and others for who this means job losses etc.(shorthand for much more)


He claims he puts economic stability ahead of tax cuts as if they were opposed. He knows very well this is gibberish but will say it for electoral reaons anyway


Look at all that guff about his sick kid .( Although Brown trumped him with a dead kid)Cynical at all ..?Is this a new low ?


David Cameron is a grimly determined man who doesn`t care much what he says or who he steps on to get power.

Insulting Margaret Thatcher on the anniversary of 9.11 to suck up to Liberals .Nice

I say the ends justify the means but its not pretty and lightweight is what he is not

swan's egg said...

Realist said: "Personally I am more interested in where any future Prime minister is going to lead us, not what Bloody school he went to."

Thank you, realist - a person after my own heart and (I'm glad to say) someone with some common sense. I agree with every word of your post - at least now there's two of us who don't believe all the claptrap from another planet I keep reading on here from other people!
To all those of you who have already made up your minds that David Cameron is a "busted flush", because he's too posh,is out of touch, has no policies etc. - just remember that nothing is predictable in politics, "a week is a long time ..."etc. I still think there's more to come from him, and it's way too soon to make up your mind about whether he was the right choice for the Conservatives or not. And yes, I agree with someone else who made the valid point that it was Tory party grassroot members who made the final decision to choose Cameron over DD. As we all know, their tastes haven't been very reliable in terms of selecting the next PM(or anything even close) in recent years, but this was the first time in several leadership contests that I actually found myself agreeing with their choice(and I'm not a party member). I'm hoping it's a good omen.