Those who have observed previous interviews with Mr Brown will know that he has a technique, honed over many years of media manipulation, that is based on answering questions he would like to face rather than the one that has been put to him. His trick is to begin his reply with a table turning phrase such as “well, the real issue here is…”, or “what most people want to know is…”, and away he goes, strafing the interviewer with bullets of information that are intended to make one killer point: he’s a genius.
The other, less subtle, way Mr Brown has of dealing with inconvenient truths is to respond through the prism of the last lot’s failures. No matter how badly Labour is faring on an issue, the Prime Minister can always drag up a statistic to confirm that the Conservative Party, when last in power, performed even worse. My first question encountered just such a defence.
I suggested that by claiming to have abolished booms and busts, Mr Brown had enticed many people to borrow more heavily than was prudent in a house-market bubble. Reassured by the then chancellor that the good times would never end (if you think I’m exaggerating, I recommend you read his hyperbolic Budget statement of March 21 2007), ambitious home-seekers plunged in up to their ears. Now, with unemployment rising, house prices collapsing and bankruptcies at record levels, gullible punters face ruin.
Mr Brown began: “The last time we had a world downturn, interest rates were 15 per cent, in fact they went up to 18 per cent… The last time we entered a world downturn in the early 1990s…” Oh, for goodness sake. If the best that the Prime Minister can do, after 11 years in power, is to invoke the failures of an administration that’s part of ancient history, is it any wonder that voters are looking around for a fresh source of answers to problems?
Can you imagine a chief executive trying to pull off the same stunt? When asked about his company’s multi-billion-dollar losses, the boss of Bigbucks Bank said: “In the Great Depression, our rivals’ businesses went bust. We are dealing with this crisis in a better way than it was handled in the 1930s.”
Mr Brown’s biggest failing is that he will never own up to one. Unemployment is heading for two million, so he talks instead about the numbers in employment, skipping over the fact that an explosion of immigration, encouraged by his government, has swollen Britain’s population.
The Prime Minister expresses concern about oil prices, but fails to mention that his taxes form more than 60 per cent of the petrol price. He lambasts the banks for dodgy practices, but omits to point out that, as chancellor, he was the regulator-in-chief. Ask Mr Brown if he is completely blameless for the mess in public finances and he dishes out a lecture on “doing the right thing”.
There’s no contrition, no admission of fallibility, no recognition of blunders – and most certainly no apology. This isn’t clever. It insults the electorate’s intelligence and helps explain why, like AIG, he’s doomed.
Gordon Brown’s one-hour interview with Jeff Randall and the Sky News team will be broadcast tonight on Sky News at 8pm.
UPDATE: Con Coughlin explains how, not content with presiding over economic chaos, Gordon Brown has been content to see our influence wane with the White House. It seems Bush now speaks to Sarkozy and Merkel far more often than Brown, who is regarded with increasing bemusement by the US.
"to invoke the failures of an administration that’s part of ancient history"
"Can you imagine a chief executive trying to pull off the same stunt"
naming no names, but i've heard at least four CEO presentations over the last two months that referred back to 1989-91 and posed the question, "what are the similarities" and "what are the differences"
Randall lacks savvy - out of his depth.
Could I suggest that this article is required reading for Andrew Marr and other BBC associates
Jeff Randall has got it dead right.
Unfortunately it's not just GB, but he has his ministers trained to do the same.
I'm sick of sending messages to various radio 4 programmes tellng them that this is happening and that they are letting it happen.
Yes, but does he skewer on the TV interview?
Why didn't Randall ask the PM why as Chancellor he managed to sell our gold at a bargain basement price after tipping off the market in advance?
There are all the same -Randall should know that. Politicians are too lazy/stupid/dishonest to give us a straight answer. Cameron is a smoothie pr man, and Clegg just oozes something nasty.
Nu Liebour and the third way should be fed into the particle accelerator with all their PFI debts, captained by Mr Boom and Mr Bust (Blair and Brown ) and foxtrot oscar into a black hole never to be seen again.
Ok north of the English border would be a start.
Well done Jeff Randall. From what little we saw of his questioning of the Brown Bottler, in the sky interview with the 'experts'!!
I honestly thought this was an interview arranged by Murdoch or his daughter Elisabeth! to try and help Brown. So I was quite surprised when Jeff went for him.
But if you watch and listen it is edited and he stops asking questions just when it got interesting. I suspect SKY toned it down for the bottler.
There was no eye contact from Brown! He came across, to me, as a depressive.
Randall's article is excellent reading.
But the greatest laugh was Matthew Parrish in The Times yesterday - an absolute hoot! especially his account of listening to Paddy Pantsdown without underpants!!!
"Jeff Randall Nails Brown"
I thought Brown was happily married!
To be fair, Randall can’t stand Cameron either – he came up against him when he was a financial journo and Cameron was a corporate PR man; thought he was useless.
"Randall thought Cameron was useless".
No, he thought he was arrogant and unhelpful. Which I probably would be with a journalist with a chip on his shoulder.
Iain Wrote: "Gordon Brown has been content to see our influence wane with the White House. It seems Bush now speaks to Sarkozy and Merkel far more often than Brown"
Good heavens Iain, where have you been?
They've been cutting Brown (and the UK) out of the loop for a year now. Whatever your feelings for the Yanks, they're not stupid and have purposely put a great distance between themselves and Brown's commie-lite Government.
This more than anything explains Brown & Co's continued, unaccidental, favouritism for Obama for President. They know full well that a McCain win will relegate the UK to the level of Iceland on the international stage - and quite rightly deserved too.
Brown's continued stewardship of the UK is bad bad bad... no one likes us now.
I am always astonished when people say he's an honourable and genuine man. This guy has done nothing but lie and cheat since Labour came to power. Even his tax increases have been introduced by smoke and mirrors, he's not been upfront about anything, and he keeps reminding us that the people want him to get on with the job, but the truth is they don't and they most definitely did not want him to sign the Lisbon "Treaty".
Tony Blair pledged to stay in the job for the entire term. Brown pushed him out because he craved power and no one in the party had the courage to challenge him because of his bullying tactics. He has no moral mandate.
There should be a rule that in such a handover of power a general election must be held within six months.
The fact that there is no one in New Labour willing to challenge his position speaks volumes about them.
Sad to say, the Tories haven't been effective in opposition and I doubt would be any better in Government. Guido Fawkes has done more than David Cameron to bring down New Labour.
It's time to break up this duopoly and get some fresh blood into parliament. Use your votes, but not for the big two parties, give the small parties and independents a voice. A huge majority for the ruling party is bad for democracy as we have seen very clearly with the present administration.
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