For those of you who didn't see the Daily Politics, there was an interesting exchange between Anita Anand, myself and Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson. At the start of his interview Anita asked him how Gordon Brown could possibly claim, following the IMF report, that Britain was best placed to withstand the economic recession. Robinson replied (and I am quoting from memory here) that "Gordon hadn't particularly said that". I burst out laughing at that point. Anand then put it to him that I had found that remark bizarre and he naturally came back and said "the recession was nothing to laugh about."
Anand then gave me the chance to explain my laughter. I said that in every interview or speech he made Brown had used the phrase and that it was laughable of Geoffrey Robinson to pretend otherwise, especially in light of the IMF report. Robinson then said that (and I will get the exact quote when the programme is on iPlayer) the government were at least in part to blame for the recession because they had failed to impose proper regulation on the banks, and they were to blame in other ways too, and that he's surprised the Daily Politics ComRes poll wasn't worse for Gordon Brown.
I then latched onto this and killed him with kindness (as is my wont) by saying that it was so refreshing for Geoffrey Robinson to be so characteristically honest and admit that Labour were indeed to blame for much of what has gone wrong, and if Gordon Brown did the same he would win a lot of kudos with the electorate. Instead ok keeping stumm, Robinson dug himself even deeper into a hole and said that he was sure the Prime Minister would do just that at an appropriate time. Hopi Sen reckoned hell would freeze over before that happened. He's right.
The reason this is moderately interesting is that Geoffrey Robinson isn't just some random Labour MP. Not only was he Paymaster General in the Treasury in the first two years of Blair's government, he was also Gordon Brown's paymaster in Opposition. He is as close to Gordon Brown as you can get, even now. So perhaps he will do what good friends should, and encourage Brown to come clean about his own culpability for what has transpired.
The 6 minute clip is HERE - scroll in two minutes. The full programme is HERE.
Here's the Robinson part of the transcript...
"People are trying to pretend that Gordon Brown doesn't realise that a good part of the responsibility is with the Government because of our inability to have regulated the banks to anything like the tight extent that we should have done. I think that has been a failure on our part."
Asked if the Prime Minister would accept any blame, former Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson said:
"You're not going to get the Prime Minister to concede anything in the yah boo politics of Prime Minister's questions time. There will be a considered statement of the situation in due course."