Saturday, June 06, 2009

Should I Have Questioned the PM's State of Mind?

Last night I took part in a very bad tempered half hour paper review on Sky News alongside Eve Pollard and Michael White of the Guardian. White was not in a good mood, as we were doing it on the Sky News platform opposite the House of Lords rather than in a nice warm studio.

Why did it get bad tempered? Because White started being sexist and I questioned Gordon Brown's mental state. He accused Caroline Flint of having a "hissy fit". "Don't be so sexist," I said. Eve Pollard nodded in agreement. "I'm not, and don't try that one with me". "You'd never use that expression about a man," I said. He was furious.

It went downhill from there. I've thought long and hard about whether I was right to do question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television. What I said was that anyone watching Gordon Brown's press conference would have come away with the impression that he was having some sort of breakdown on live television. I said it because that's how it appeared to me. The weird hand movements, the stutter, the repetition of various phrases - "I am not arrogant" - the declaration that he was "honest" seconds before he lied to Tom Bradby about never having considered sacking Alistair Darling. his odd facial expessions I could go on. As it turned out, I said little that Nick Robinson didn't say on the midnight BBC TV news bulletin. Anyone who say that press conference would have come away with the same impression.

But it enraged Michael White. "Don't say that," he hissed. "I'll say what I like if I believe it," I replied. "Not win me, sonny," he responded. "Don't try and tell me what to say, you're not going to bully me," I hit back. It got even worse when I accused Brown of lying over Alistair Darling. This is Denverthen's account...

Iain Dale, covering the front pages with Sir Michael White and Eve Pollard, became very animated when White began to put his usual moronic, self-satisfied Labourist spin on Brown's humiliation. Dale, after ripping White a new one for his extra-terrestrial nonsense, pointed out that Brown lied though his teeth in his press conference earlier today when he claimed he had never wanted to sack Alistair Darling. White sort of protested, but Dale nailed him by saying that White had known about it all along.

In the commercial break Michael had another go at me but I robustly defended myself. I've appeared on TV with him often enough to know that he will defend the indefensible where Labour is concerned, and anyone who saw his defence of Brown - who, he reckoned had had a good day! - would have laughed, just I did. He blustered that it was completely wrong to have said that Brown was mad, which is not what I did at all. Suggesting that someone is at the end of their tether or having a breakdown is not the same as saying they are mad.

But did he have a point? Even if I believed it could be true (and I do) was it right to question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television?

I'd love to get the vide so you could judge for yourself. If anyone from Sky News is reading this and can send me the embed code, please do!


Paul Burgin said...

"Even if I believed it could be true (and I do) was it right to question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television?"

I didn't see it, but put it this way. I'd like to think I would not say such a thing, at least in public, about the most dislikable Tory!

DespairingLiberal said...

You don't say he's barmy Iain, but lots of your supporters on this blog do. My guess is you are just feeding that with carefully planned not-so-subtle hints.

I don't disagree that Brown was a battered man in that conference (makes you wonder why he held it!) but there's a big difference between that and the Tory blogger's continued "he's bonkers" line. Apart from anything else, what's so different between a sexist attack and a mental healthist attack?

Michael White can be smug and annoying but alas he has a lot more brain power and attack power than you do Iain. I watched it and felt he very much got the better of you - he was just showing his annoyance.

Does the "he's bonkers" line come down from above by the way? I wonder if it was started in Con. central office?

Cate Munro said...

I mailed you last night and said you did a stirling performance! You were absolutely right in everything you said last night Iain.

The problem is, that not enough people are daring to question Brown's state of mind on live television. I haven't come across one Labour supporter who doesn't try to defend the indefensible.

White came across as a pompous, sexist pig to be honest, which is clearly, quite in line with current Labour policy - given the events of last week.

Don't worry about it - you were fantastic!

Silent Hunter said...

I really wouldn't lose any sleep over it Iain.

Michael White's articles in the Guardian have been going downhill for some time now and I suspect he knows he's yesterdays man when it comes to on the ball political commentary.

Anonymous said...

Iain 5 White 0.

If anyone is mad it's the apologist M.White

White was just covering for the real story about Flint.

On Last night on BBC 2 Newsnight's Kirsty Wark took Peter Hain to task over Flint's resignation. It's been made to look like that one minute Flint supported the government but then throw her toys out the pram after not getting the cabinet post she wanted. But it's quite probable that she's been done over do the No.10 hot squad. Kirsty Wark said it was clear from her extensive conversation with Flint that “she was smeared, then forced to do an interview supporting Mr.Brown on Thursday evening”.

Iain, you probably haven't seen this interview, it's worth a look.

ArthurBea said...

You made White look like the deluded Labour stooge he really is, well done!

Anonymous said...

White must be worried that the lucrative public sector advertising his newspaper relies upon will dry up with the advent of a tory govt and this is why he defends the indefensible.

Guido Fawkes said...

Brown is manifestly bonkers - or as someone once put it "psychologically flawed".

The lying when everyone in the room knows you are lying is pathological.

John K said...

I watched the Press Conferenec with increasing incredulity.

I do think the PM has mental health issues, and his temper when thwarted is notorious.

I suppose we can put some of yesterday's performance down to stress - he must have been incredibly stressed, why did he hold the PC then? - but some of the things he said and some of the Cabinet appointments suggest a more deep-seated issue.

Appointing Mandelson as effectively Deputy Prime Minister (Lord High Everything Else?), Glynys Kinnock as Europe Minister, Sralan Sugar as a minister, bringing Hain back, etc, sugguest either he's desperate or deliberatedly fouling the nest or both.


"Sir" Michael White is a Sh1t of the lowest order so I wouldn't waste any time over him. If you didn't enrage him you wouldn't be doing your job properly

Anonymous said...

People as arrogant of White need to be brought down to their knees. These bar stewards need to be faced up to, challenged at every turn.

I've had enough of these pumped up non-entities. Take 'em down and do it any way you can.

Dino Fancellu said...

Brown's a loon, a dictator, out of touch with reality.

Say it loud, say it proud.

This man should not be our PM, when more than ever we need a strong leader, who listens and leads with love and inspiration, not fear, smear, and tractor stats.

DespairingLiberal said...

Some recent comments about women by "I am no sexist" Iain Dale on this blog.

On Hazel Blears

"the Disappearing Chipmunk"

A throway on Susan Boyle, who obviously is in need of further referencing of her presumed mental state.

"All he really needed to do was get on with the job, you'd have been on to the Priory and asking Susan Boyle to swap beds with me."

On Dawn Primarolo.

"I always said that you'd know it had become a farce when Dawn Primarolo joined the Cabinet."

On Hazel again.

"I think one of my biggest claims to fame in politics is to have invented the internet the nickname of "The chipmunk" for Hazel Blears. I looked back in my blog archive and I first used the expression in a blogpost on 28 December 2005."

On Ms Smith.

"I shall now again risk being flamed by my readers, but I have always thought Jacqui Smith is a thoroughly nice woman who was overwhelmed by the job."

Doktorb said...

Iain - if you look not just at how White reacted, but how Hain was on Newsnight, they are acting in the same manner as the sons who don't want to tell anyone that their father's health has deteriorated beyond repair.

The factor of this which worries me is the increase in unelected ministers sitting in the House of Lords. If Brown has started to lose his grip on reality, what can be say about his continued use of Ministers who cannot be questioned by elected members?

You do not have to question whether you were right to bring up the matter of Brown's stability.

Analogue Junkie said...

I'd love to see this clip too....

Gordon Brown said...

Haven't we all known for quite a long time that Gordo is not 100% sane?

White is entitled to his opinion, as are you. If you have made a spurious allegation, then it is for others to ridicule you. But I think it is more likely that people are going to agree with you rather than ridicule you!

Anonymous said...

Why worry about a fading ZanuLabour mouthpiece?

glyns's parrot said...

i used to admire white,
now i see him with all the rest,dillusional left wing thug.

why wont these people just get real and admit tax and spend does not work,never has and never will.

why he bought into blair and brown being the first people in the world to make tax and spend work amazes me.

Anonymous said...

I saw an interview (in the rain) with Pollard and White ... but not you? This would have been about 23.30. Did I miss an earlier version and, if so, why were you not on the later one that I watched?

WV ruteww

Anonymous said...

I think that you were wrong, but only in that you didn't state the case strongly enough. I thought yesterday was much more than Brown being at the end of his tether. It was both embarrassing and painful to watch.

DespairingLiberal said...

Note that Guido repeats the blatant "he's bonkers" line - using mental health imagery in a faschist way.

Just for reference Mr Staines, were you as usual pissed when you wrote that? Or just badly hung over?

I don't object to people saying Brown is stressed, but there are millions of people in this country who have encountered mental health issues and to use it as a political slur is the worst kind of neo-Nazi behaviour.

What would satisfy you all? Opening camps for non-tory voters?

Henry Rogers said...


I saw the interview and thought that Michael White was behaving like a boorish old dodderer down in the pub, sounding off to the embarrassment of everyone else.Real 'Alf Garnett stuff'. I thought you and Eve were remarkably tolerant in the circumstances.

The fellow is supposed to be a journalist rather than a propagandist. I'm surprised he gets asked back so often or are we all supposed to snigger at his behaviour like that of the victims of reality TV?

Cjamesk said...

Iain I didn`t see it but fair play,

Fraiser Nelsons question yesterday also touched a nerve but with the beast himself, that is also worth re-veiwing.

I notice Comrade brown has his "Statesman" photo op today at the expense of Her Majesty and those brave Veterans in Normandy " dulce bellum inexpertis " This Government turns my stomach.

golden_balls said...

well at least your questioning whether it was right or wrong which shows you have a conscience. Whenever a debate turns to insults the argument is lost. so neither of you came off the better.

I don't think brown is mad insane or however the tories like to portray him but he is flawed but arent we all in one way or another.

I personally wouldn't stoop to personal insults but you choose that path its for you to decide whether it was right or wrong.

Bel said...

Iain, I had one eye on the television while doing something else but it seemed to me you had very convincingly put him in his place. I would like to see the video again though, if you can get hold of it.

I was a bit disappointed you did not come back after the commercial break. I was rather looking forward to a continuation of the argument! :)

Anonymous said...

> But did he have a point? Even if I believed it could
> be true (and I do) was it right to question the Prime
> Minister's state of mind on live television?

All contracts must be voluntary and well-informed; the exception is in self-defence.

Contracts must be well-informed. It is unethical for you to hide your true thoughts from others for doing so would contribute to their participation in a contract (Brown being PM) being not-well-informed.

You may be right or you may be wrong in that you think, but that is true for everything everyone says that they honestly believe.

The impression I have from you is that it is a profound and serious thing to have done, to question the PMs state of mind on live TV. You are I think incorrect. It is a profound and disturbing thing that we are honestly and truely questioning the PMs state of mind; it is THAT which is profound, *the thing itself*.

The mere act of speaking those thoughts is something entirely different and far less of an issue; merely that of whether or not we are honest or we hide what we think.

To have been placed in a situation such that those thoughts occur is the real issue and that is not of your making.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Sky paper review last night. Got to say you did a brilliant job Iain. I was astonished at the sheer high-minded arrogance of White. He is completed and utterly out of touch with the vast majority of fair-minded people of this country. Brown has no democratic mandate, and I think he will be gone by Monday night.

Anonymous said...

I saw it.
You did nothing inappropriate. Michael White was an overbearing bully. I, for one, am fed up of people on television being allowed to lie and re-write history without any challenge. Well done for calling him to account.
And he was sexist too.

Tony_E said...

I'd say it's a case of 6 and Half a dozen!

White was completely correct in that Flint threw what can only be described as a 'hissy fit'.
She had no intention of resigning, we all saw her on Thursday, defending Brown, proclaiming her loyalty, positioning herself for Health Sec.

As I have read somewhere else, she should learn to make sure you see the cash before you provide the goods! She got shafted for being terminally naive, then got upset about it and went with a flount.

On the other hand, it doesn't take a 'Draper*' in psychotherapy to work out that Brown is not in a 'normal' state of mind. For Micheal White to challenge this just shows that his head is firmly residing up his **** and has been there for two years at least. Brown is not barmy, but he has clearly reached a level of stress and anguish under which no normal person could operate optimally. Even I almost feel sorry for him.

(* a partial qualification possibly obtained in California, somewhere near Berkley)

Nigel Allery said...

You are correct Iain. Like Bridget Jones he is beyond The Edge of Reason. (mail this to DC for next PMQ's - GB is the Bridget Jones of politics - it may stick!)

Brown was at one point thumping the podium as if it were the despatch box. He was downright rude over the issues of 2 questions. He was not answering the questions, even close. He was battling with the reporters. His repetition was not to reinforce, but the action of a boxer who keeps running back to the safety of his corner.

But he forgot he was addressing the nation. PR disaster.

I have little doubt that it was his most stressful day, by any measure. On a human level I felt sorry for him. On Newsnight Ashdown made a very good point that the PLP should do him a favour and get rid, he's a man in misery.

The journos did a great job in exposing him as a liar over the Darling issue. I have lost any amount of respect I had left.

talwin said...

Paul Burgin. "I'd like to think I would not say such a thing...."

OK, Paul, but here we're not talking about a mate or a mate's wife. Not dealing with social niceties or political correctness.

Sheesh, this is a prime minister; an important and powerful person, (deemed 'psychologically flawed' by Alastair Campbell and, further, accused by a psychologist on, was it The Daily Politics?, that he was doing the psychological equivalent of self-harming). And if there's a question (ANY question) about his mental state, it needs to be asked.

I watched that press conference and Brown's body language - OK I'm no expert but I've observed, and been exposed to, conventional human behaviour for 63 years - and the impersonal,scary repetition of stock phrases; the now-spooky references to his father appeared, to me at least, to make uncomfortable viewing.

Oh, and I thought White's performance was tribal, arrogant and intolerant bull-shit. The urbanity he once displayed has gone.

Vienna Woods said...

I didn't see the paper review on Sky last evening - but I wish I had done! Brown's earlier performance was a total shambles and broadcast across Europe. I was attending a business function yesterday evening and during conversations with many people there, the first questions following an introduction concerned Brown and his disjointed ramblings in this broadcast. In every single case, questions about his mental state were raised and why he was still in power. Totally embarrassing and I was glad to go home.

He has now become the laughing stock of Europe and if Labour politicians don't have him removed soon our national reputation will be forever tarnished.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 10.59
I was only booked for the 10.30-11 slot. So I went home after a 19 hour day!

The Truth Will Out said...

Brown claims Presbyterian morals at the same time as telling blatant lies and operating vile smear campaigns. He is not fit to hold high office, regardless of his admittedly questionable sanity.

Anonymous said...

Brown showed the animation of someone is at the end of their tether. He was also once again caught out in a clear lie. Part of Brown's problem is that he really does treat the electorate as fools.

Anonymous said...

If there was evidence to support your opinion - and there clearly was - then it is not wrong to comment on his state of mind.

What is wrong is for Brown (and his apologists) to keep telling us that he is honest, truthful and competent, when ALL the evidence is that this is complete codswallop.

Incidentally, my belief, based on my own observations and the reports of his uncontrollable temper are that he is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and is having a mental breakdown. He certainly shouldn't be in Office.

Stepney said...

I saw it Iain and I thought you played a blinder.

White is almost a caricature of an old bimbling, gentlemen's club buffoon nowadays. He really is such an arrogant sod - his voice is the only one that matters.

He represents everything that's wrong with a 20th century press corps in a 21st century political world. Christ I am almost suprised we don't smell the hot lead coming off him.

And he's utterly delusional. Brown had a good day? Like every other Labour Party apparatchik - the trick is to lie through your teeth and carry on serenely.

Next time simply do what you did - wind the old gasbag up and let him go embarrass himself.

Domesday said...

Breakdowns, mental illness, stress all sit on different and overlapping places on a continuum rather than being readily definable pigeonholes.

Gordon Brown would only be inhuman not to be stressed to breaking point by the country being in economic ruins and by his party being ungovernable. I don't think it's insulting to suggest that Gordon Brown is heading in the wrong direction on that continuum. I suspect I would be too.

Anonymous said...

Brown is mad

White is a liar too

golden_balls said...


I agree with everything you said

If i was the type to actually stoop to personal insults i'd say its a bit rich for Guido Fawkes to accuse the pm have you ever seen yourself on television. But i'm not so i won't.

Alan Douglas said...

I have a question right back : Would you have questioned Caligula's state of mind during the horse episode ?

Somehow I feel that "Sir" before MW makes us all rather kowtow to him, but MR MW is just a cheap bully worrying about the continuance of his trough.

Alan Douglas

Rapid Loader said...

I thought you put in a really good performance Iain and was getting amused at how pissed off you were gradually becoming at the bullshit the ridiculous Labour apologist White was spouting.
You were totally right to question Browns sanity.Only a madman would have agreed to do a press conference during such a disasterous time for himself,knowing full well that his emotions would get the better of him,which they did.
Even Toenails on the news at ten didn't believe Browns lies about Darling,and the fact that he has convinced himself the reshuffle was orderly pretty much sums up his state of mind.
You were right Iain and showed that ridiculous Labour mouthpiece off as the dickhead that he really is!!!

Moggy said...

I had to say that on hearing the odd tone in Brown's voice as he started the press conference, I thought he was in a highly emotional state, almost like he was on the verge of bursting into tears.

paulocanning said...

Completely correct and be interesting to see if Alistair Campbell picks up on his state of mind!

He was talking incredibly fast, which reminded me of the person who avoid at parties 'cos they've obviously done coke.

Anonymous said...

Chill out Iain, White is a vile nasty bit of work, hes just gutted his beloved Labour Regime are on the way out, watch out for all the vocal minority left wing extremists to kick, scratch and scream as their impending Political doom nears ever closer.

Knut said...

Fair comment, surely. Anyone who saw Brown's performance would wonder what he was going on about.

Oscar Miller said...

I didn't see you on telly Iain, but from what I've read here you did exactly the right thing. We need more brave people speaking up about what is really going on. The Labour propaganda machine is drowning out all authentic voices. It's getting to be a nightmare, listening to Mandelson inspired rubbish about Brown. White is an appalling example of the kind of pathetic stooges in the media propping up Gordo. He needs to be taken on. Good for you.

Rob said...

Why is it wrong to question the man's sanity? It directly affects the judgments and decisions he makes as prime minister. There is too much shame and stigma surrounding mental illness. Even Churchill, our greatest leader of all was believed to have suffered from Depression, possibly even bi-polar disorder. With the stress Brown has been under it shouldn't be that surprising. You'd think the PLP would take pity on him and end his misery out of compassion, the cruel, heartless bastards!

And even if he's not 'bonkers' (to use the parlance), many of the decisions and judgment calls he makes clearly are.

So no, Iain, you were not wrong to raise this issue. And Michael White can try as spin as much as he likes about how well Gordon is doing and what a great day he had, in the era of the blog the truth will always make it's way out there. That's one lesson that Labour and it's accolytes still have yet to learn.

Anonymous said...

Brown and Sir Michael should be put in a room together to discuss their unreal world.
I too thought Brown was going to crack up on screen.That Hitler comparison is getting truer with each interview.

Chris Blore said...

Bob Piper has lost it too:

He, like Gordon, won't face the music and accept that Labour were completely trounced yesterday, not because of expenses or "pundits, commentators, Tory bloggers and the chattering classes" as he puts it, but because they are fed up of lies, incompetence and a disfunctional Government trying to spin its way out of the mire.

Anonymous said...

Brown also lied to Fraser Nelson.

Surely the press can never really believe a word he says now. After all a press conference is not PMQs were brown can get away with lying.

Zipperdy Doo Dah said...

Who in their right mind appoints Glenys Pillock and Alan Blotspurs. Mr Brown will probably be led away Susan Boyle style to go and recover from 'exhaustion'. You have only said what everyone is thinking.

It would be interesting if you could get some feedback from Polly Toynbee too. Labour could appoint Osama Bin Laden and she would find some way of saying what an excellent choice this was. Also did you see the heavily edited version of events on the BBC 10.00pm news last night? No mention of Pillock, slight reference to the fact that Mandelson is now running the country, nothing from Harriet, no mention of Becket or Hoon or the barracking that Brown got from the press. And where are all those other political commentators that built their commedy routines around the last Tory government. Surely there is much more material here for the likes of Ben Elton. Remember all the Noo Laybore luvvies who thought it was clever to support Blair and his mob. Where are they now?

Oscar Miller said...

DespairingLiberal - "psychologically flawed" were the words used by Blair's inner circle to describe Brown. They are widely attributed to Alistair Campbell, although he denies using them. So you are either deliberately spreading disinformation or deeply ignorant. Probably both.

Megan said...

You did the right thing Iain. You were only stating what everyone else was thinking.

Don't worry about Michael White. He's just an over-bearing bore, full of his own self-importance. It's time the Guardian put him out to pasture.

Anonymous said...

Thank heaven for ITN.It's almost as if they have become the Radio Free Europe in terms of getting the truth across to the public.

Anonymous said...

I watched Brown's press conference live and it was manifestly clear that he is having "issues". The lobby collectively went as far it could without actually saying "you are lying to us, Prime Minister". No other PM in living memory has so blatantly tried to argue that black is white - it's not just spin, it's self-delusional deceit, and that must point to pathalogical illness.

So I agree with Guido - to have your attack dogs trail Balls' appointment in the press and then, when it falls apart, try to argue that you never had any intention to move Darling clearly points to a state of mind that is at best "fragile".

Given that Brown is this country's PM and responsible for making life-changing decisions, it is perfectly legitimate to question his mental health in public.

Plato said...

I don't think there is anything wrong to query whether the man with his finger on the button is functioning 'normally.

Anyone with eyes can see how shattered he looks, hear the increasingly messianic bunker tone of his interviews/speeches and wonder how anyone could remain rational when under siege like this.

White is just using PC bollocks as a smokescreen.

Scott said...

Michael White is a pompous dullard.

An Old Media Dinosaur.

An embittered New Labour shill, bewildered at his increasing inability to control the narrative, thrashing about at his growing impotence, increasingly aware that events are passing him by, that the narrative has moved on, raging against the dying of the light....

Anonymous said...

How long before someone puts the Mark Twain question?

JuliaM said...

"What I said was that anyone watching Gordon Brown's press conference would have come away with the impression that he was having some sort of breakdown on live television. I said it because that's how it appeared to me."

No-one watching that performance could have really believed anything else. It was - quite simply - the most appalling press conference I've ever seen a politician give.

It made me ashamed to think that this pathetic, deluded man was the PM of my country.

Adrian said...

Way to go, Iain. Normally MW gets away with peddling his bullshit to some lightweight interviewer who's just there to bow down at the feet of such a wise commentator (ha!) - he loathes it when he's challenged.

Anonymous said...

What do you get when you mix brown and white together?

John Hutton, the one true prophet, said...

Good God Iain I can't believe you're even questioning yourself. Brown's demonstrably delusional and gives every impression of being mad with his 'Black is White' statements.

What you said is far more accurate and true that the twaddle that Michael White was coming out with.

Ask yourself this which of the two of you was knowingly lying on live television.

Step forward Michael White.......

Anonymous said...

Do they ever have White and Toynbee on at the same time?

The Purpleline said...

Iain- you or any person in this country is at liberty to ask the question of Browns mental state.

I am sure it is good public service to do so. As Labour would spin it, it is right and proper; it is the right thing to do.

White is a complete busted flush as a free journalist, like all left-wingers and labour people they are very bad losers. (Hope they get used to it)

You are a better man than me as coming from the East End, my first instinct would have been to hit him, he tried to belittle you and you fought back well done.

I hope Susan Boyle’s psychiatrist reviews the Brown press conference. The only thing he said that was correct and not a lie was that he had finished the re-shuffle by 4.30. That was because Darling, Millipede refused to budge.

Seeing Kinnock on Sky just smells of payback for getting his wife back on the gravy train. Let’s hope these labour MP’s show some backbone on Monday night.

Sniper said...

Brown's mental state? According to 2 mental health professionals I know - normal for Fife. Sorry Fife.

Unknown said...


I think you're right about pointing out how Brown is at the end of his tether. It's been more and more obvious over the last few months TBH and it seems like everyone except the press is talking openly about it now.

Another point just occurred to me - regarding Mandleson's promotion to "First Minister of State" or Deputy PM as many have described it. Didn't the Labour party have a democratic vote for a Deputy leader a little while back? Why is Brown putting an unelected member of the house of Lords in the Deputy PM position now?

Even if you're not a fan of Harman (and I'm certainly not) at least she was elected fair and square - which is more than you can say for Brown, and a lot more than you can say for Mandleson who hasn't even been elected as an MP.

Anonymous said...

Now that the singing lady has left Priory they must have a nice quiet room vacant.He has the number!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your Reshuffle McBean!, England is even more determined than it was yesterday to vote you and your vile Regime out!.

Glenys Kinnock - Another Anti-English Appointment By Gordon Brown...

Amazing that Glenys Kinnock is to be the UK Minister for Europe.

Why? How?

We can only assume it's another of Gordon Brown's anti-English appointments. After all, Gordon signed the Scottish Claim of Right in 1989, vowing to put Scotland first in all he does, but he obviously wants to look after his other fellow so-called Celts as well ("Celt" - the ancient WHITE tribe myth, forming an, in reality, entirely imaginary fraternity between the people of Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland).

And we must remember what Glenys' hubby, dear old Neil Kinnock, once said about England in the sporting arena:

"I am pro-Britain in everything I do. I always support Britain. I support the British Lions on every occasion. I support any and every Welsh team on every occasion. And I support any and every team on every occasion when they are playing against England."

Glenys is probably of much the same ilk. She'll suit so-called "Celtic" Gordy down to the ground. Don't expect her to do a thing to advance England's interests. Quite the reverse.

Anonymous said...

I watched browns press conference and thought he had lost the plot.I think he thinks "if I say it it must be true"as for white people need to see him off when he spouts his rubbish.well done you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain

Why did it get bad tempered? Because White started being sexist and I questioned Gordon Brown's mental state. He accused Caroline Flint of having a "hissy fit". "Don't be so sexist," I said. Eve Pollard nodded in agreement. "I'm not, and don't try that one with me". "You'd never use that expression about a man," I said. He was furious.

It went downhill from there. I've thought long and hard about whether I was right to do question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television. What I said was that anyone watching Gordon Brown's press conference would have come away with the impression that he was having some sort of breakdown on live television.

Don't agree with you about Caroline Flint. It was, I am afraid, an archetypal hissy fit. She has done herself an enormous disservice. No one but no one believes that she would have said a word had she been offered a substantive Cabinet job. It was a sulk, a fit of pique, a true hissy fit. Can you IMAGINE Margaret Thatcher ever saying something like that.

I DO strongly agree with you about Gordon Brown's mental state and about your right to discuss it. He is clearly falling apart at the seams. He is showing clear signs of stress and anxiety. He needs a month off. I am horrified that someone in his obviously flakey mental state might be using prerogative powers to tell our armed forces what to do at the moment. It is a sad state of affairs that the serving home secretary and the foreign secretary have not had the courage to do something about him. And now they have been leap frogged in the power hierarchy by the promotion of the "sinister minister" to the new position of "FIRST secretary of state".

It is an abuse of the constitution. And I have not even started on the appointment of Sugar to be our "business czar"


Anonymous said...

Iain I posted this and something similar on Guido's blog and its even there on Nick Robinson's blog now, very early this morning.







Catosays said...

I didn't see the newspaper review but I watched Brown's press conference and there is no doubt in my mind that he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

To question the mental state of a man who has his finger on the nuclear button is not wrong: it's entirely right. And to do it on live TV when many otherwise uninformed people are watching is even more right.

As to White, well, as others have said, he's just a pompous, arrogant arse who's well past his sell-by date.

Iain Dale said...

John, yes, it may have been a hissy fit, but my point was that he would never have used that expression about a male cabinet minister.

Anonymous said...

There's a fine and somewhat tenuous line between "mental health problems" and "personality defects". I'm not pretending to be a psychiatrist, just an ordinary person who has had problems with clinical depression and breakdowns in the past.

I don't think Brown is actually mentally ill, but to me he clearly has psychological problems which stem from a disordered personality. He's also under tremendous pressure and has compensated by retreating to a mental bunker from which he looks out at a hostile world. He can't acknowledge that he might be wrong, because to do so would further undermine his ability to cope.

When I was depressed (as I didn't realise until years later) I was convinced that my thoughts and actions were perfectly reasonable. It's very worrying that our Prime Minister may be in a similar state.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a hit record a few years back."Their coming to take me away ho,ho,ha,ha....etc,etc.
Theme tune for next Labour ppb?

copydude said...

As it happens, I watched the Brown video with a mental healthcare professional. She opined that it would be difficult for most people to deal with such relentless undermining, setback and personal attack over such an extended period and thought a breakdown a high possibility - the body language was disturbing. The 'lying' is quite possibly denial, a usual precursor, as is increasing friendlessness and isolation.

Wyrdtimes said...

Iain you were only saying what most of country believes, but in more moderate language than we would use.

Anonymous said...

I regularly use "hissy fit" in referring to men. A hissy fit however should never be confused with a conniption fit or a bitch fit, since those are a whole other bunch of fits.

Anonymous said...

Put it this way, Iain, if Michael White disagrees with you, you must be right! I'm surprised you let him lead you to believe that you mispoke. Far worse has been said, and deluded Labourists like White don't normally pull their punches when they talk about the people who hold views differing from theirs.

Plato said...

The whole Mandelson thing is really concerning me.

He knows how vulnerable Brown is and is pulling the classic 'Don't worry, it'll be alright just leave it to me' trick.

Brown has a tiny clique that are propping him up, Mandelson's influence in any other sphere would be considered highly questionable.

Mandy knows exactly what he is doing and he is now effectively Deputy PM - to a PM that is totally shot.

Even if Brown stays in place like some Soviet waxwork, Mandelson is running the ship now.

I'm no conspiracy theorist but this feels very puppet-mastery to me.

Anonymous said...

Was he wearing false nails at the press conference?

Anonymous said...

What I said was that anyone watching Gordon Brown's press conference would have come away with the impression that he was having some sort of breakdown on live television.

Lately, I'm finding that I don't agree with you about much but you were spot on with this. When I saw Broon's press conference, I took away two things:
- his barely contained rage
- the vengefulness lurking just below the surface

No rational unbiased person could have watched Gordo's performance yesterday and come away with the idea that he was well-balanced. If I were in Labour, my biggest fear right now would be that Broon, in a fit of rage, would seek to pursue a scorched earth policy against the party to punish them for turning against him. Think après moi le déluge - think Hitler in the bunker railing against the German people for betraying him.

Anonymous said...

You should have simply asked White if he agreed that Brown was lying about Darling. The Guardian has been telling us for the whole of the past week that Balls was to replace Darling - did White disagree with his own paper or think they were publishing lies?

Anyway the lie is now on record - press conferences have their uses!

John K said...

Anonymous at 11.43

"They're coming to take me away" was a hit in 1966. It's about a man who has gone mad because his dog has run away...

Daniel1979 said...

I didn't see it but from your recollection I don't see that you said anything wrong. Brown holds the highest office that a civillian can get to, he cannot be above any type criticism.

As it happenes when I watched Browns press conference yesterday I thought the same, and at one point I thought he was about to cry live on TV - this lasted about 30 seconds (seemed longer on live TV).

Lsastly, journo's like White are part of the reason we as a country are in this mess, after blindly and religously backing the Labour Party and shouting down all criticism. So I have no sympathy if his feelings were a little hurt.

Bob's Head Revisited said...

I don't believe Brown is having a breakdown at all. This is one tough cookie. He may have stammered; he may have some weird hand movements (when has he not?); he may have said he wasn't arrogant, but that does not mean he's breaking down.

He is a deluded fool. But he is one tough deluded fool. His press conference speech was incredible. He's as hard as rock. Never mind a shoe, you could have thrown an anvil at that man and he would have headed it back and carried on.

john miller said...

He has always had several disturbing traits:

He, in his own mind, is never wrong.

He lies (about Darling and to Fraser Nelson on the Budget as two examples yesterday) with none of the normal giveaways that the rest of us display. Yet he is convinced of his absolute honesty.

He and his team are bullies and will stop at nothing to smear and scare opponents. Yet in his own mind, he has this weird "moral compass".

When these fundamental human traits contrast so starkly with what happens in your own mind to how others see you, then yes, I think we can safely say that Brown's mental condition is cause for concern.

But then I think this is not a recent thing. Looking at YouTube clips from many years ago makes me think this has always been part of his makeup.

It's just more obvious at the moment, because he is fighting on so many fronts.

Charles Crawford said...

Only one approach in interviews makes sense:

Call them the way you see them. ("The truth is the best story")


SHB said...

Well, given that Brown lied over the question on Darling and that is the truth, there are two possible scenarios:

1) He thought he could get away with it. The only way anyone could think that when you know that your staff have been briefing the people in the room that Darling was going all week is through being in some sort of delusional state. In which case it is perfectly legitimate to question their state of mind, or

2) He knew exactly what he was doing and the man is a liar, with no integrity. In which case he is not fit to govern this country.

The options are so few for Brown that on most issues he is now no longer able to construct a believable position:

1) Darling staying as Chancellor
2) Kinnock immediatley being appointed the House of Lords to take Flint's brief - didn't he talk about an elected upper house on Marr's show last week? Its also code for the rest of PLP are not good enough.
3) The people want me to get on with my work when the polls are saying the exact opposite

Expect more inconsistencies and more and more tenuous explanations over the coming days.

The other tell in Brown's behaviour is when he is making a point and then reverts to '....., look, we are taking action on the economy....etc etc'.

It means the argument I have for this is rubbish, its just dawned on me that if I continue I am going to leave myself wide open, and you will take me apart and I will be uncovered for the vacuous person I am. So I'll stop making the rubbish argument and do the ' look...' piece.

The frightening thing is, how many times did we get '....look...' after one and half sentences yesterday. It was the same on Marr and on Today last week. The arguments he has are so wafer thin. He knows it and we know it, the Cabinet knows it (Hain looked very uncomfortable on Newsnight and I suspect he wishes he hadn't agreed to it but he probably had no choice) and the PLP knows it.

That is all a very long winded way of saying its OK to question the guys state of mind. He obvioulsy isn't thinking straight and it has got to the point now where he is just clutching at straws. The pragmatism that he always boasted about having has obvioulsy deserted him. Any true pragmatist in his position would resign.

Didn't see your piece on Sky News last night so would be good if they could provide a link.

captainzzzz said...

The encounter in question is on the web at Sky News videos - just put "white pollard dale" in the search box and it should come up as first video clip.

Anonymous said...

John K-dog or chipmunk?

Anonymous said...

Refusing to accede to Flint's hissy (sic) demands for further overpromotion is probably the only sane and semi-commendable act of Brown demented premiership.

Appointing Glenys Kinnock, however, is the mark of a Grade A Loonbundle.

Anonymous said...

Brown was in happy happy Labour land during his news conference, and the mantra that he was not walking away sounded like he was talking to himself in that safe, flowery place in his head, not the journalists present in the room.

His sense of judgement and sense of reason and his state of mind is questionable, and even suspect. He is in a complete denial of reality, especially of the local election results. Lord knows how the European election results with affect him, but...

This is the man who can launch our nuclear weapons... Do you feel safe?

Simon too said...

What a daft question! The state of mind of the Prime Minister is a matter of national importance.

If your comment was just a cheap jibe then, er, it would have been cheap and better not made. If you made it as an honest comment on the appearance and conduct of the Prime Minister at that press conference, it would have been wrong of you as a commentator to have refrained from saying it through some false sense of delicacy.

Do not succumb to tyranous censorship - if you have something to say in good faith, ignore the vapourous cries of "You can't say that!"

By the way, you seem to have kebabed Michael White rather thoroughly - most of us would use "hissy fit" as readily of either sex : it seems appropriate as much of Ian Gibson as of Caroline Flint. On the other hand, Michael White seems not see that as obvious.

Anonymous said...

"...what's so different between a sexist attack and a mental healthist attack?" Quite a lot, actually.

Both attacks are about the victims not being entitled to equal treatment to others. "A hissy fit" implies that women should always be excluded from government as being unsuitable. "A nervous breakdown" implies that such sufferers should temporarily be excluded.

Some people believe it is very natural that women should be excluded from some things while tied firmly to some other obligations, and very natural that most of the UK's and the world's poor are female. No-one argues that the mentally ill should be not be entitled to equal treatment in almost every respect, and those recovered from mental illness are excluded from very little. Unfortunately you don't "recover" from being female.

I am not downplaying the disadvantages endured by those who are mentally ill, I am pointing out the commonly overlooked disadvantages of being female and permanently considered not entitled or not suitable or not....

Anonymous said...

How do you spell Cluso(?) as in inspector?

Tom said...

If we can have self-professed quacks detailing the mental state of a woman who has only ever represented herself, from reading a newspaper article about her and seeing her sing for a couple of minutes; then I don't see why you shouldn't question the mental state of a man who supposedly represents all of us, from watching and listening to him without interruption for a full hour.

Polonius White said...

The Press Conference was too weird for you , and other sane people, NOT to comment, everyone I know who saw it said the same thing. It was obvious he was out of sorts.

Michale White was insufferable and peevish, he appeared on various tv channels throughout the day a lone , belligerent and increasingly preposterous defender of Brown.

eagerbeaver said...

I suspect Dame Michael White is angry and frustrated at the fact that party and leader he has been shilling for over a number of years have turned out to be a bunch of useless shits.

Plus Cameron is very shortly going to be in a position to nail the Guardian (probably the biggest group of hypocrites in the UK)merely by redirecting the advertising of government jobs to the internet.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

jon dee said...

Brown's worrying behaviour was worth comment and you were right to make it.

White's pomposity reflected badly on him and his ill-judged commentary was emotionally retarded and tribal.

LM said...

My answer to the question you pose is no.

Matt said...

Iain, I don't think you went far enough. Brown is bonkers, and it should be acknowledged on live TV.

Trend Shed said...

Guido nails it - lying when everyone knows they are porkies is pathological.

To that, I would add that Brown's "YouTube smile" and "social awkwardness" create a convincing impression of madness.

My conclusion: Brown has multiple severe pathological traits - and somehow manages to appear madder than he actually is.

Trough Mixture said...


You did nowt wrong. The PM said it all with his performance yesterday. He could not have done a better job were he wearing a tee shirt with "I have a Kangaroo loose in the top paddock!" picked out in neon LEDs across the front.

Captain White should go back to Walmington-on-Sea and take his Pike for a Walker.

Salmondnet said...

Anything that annoys Michael White can't be far wrong Iain. Well done.

Ollie Cromwell said...

Michael White has form for ripping into co-reviewers.

Andrew Gilligan riles Michael White

Andrew K said...

From what I have seen and heard of late, he does seem worryingly detached from reality.

And Gordon Brown is little better.

JuliaM said...

"I regularly use "hissy fit" in referring to men."

Agreed. It prompted me to check my own blog, and on the three occasions I've used the term in posts, it's been in relation to mn or organisations.

Never women.

just fancy that! said...

White's bullying and can't brook contradiction. Ironic given that his lofty pronouncements are so pften contradicted by reality:

"Damien McBride has maanged to keep a sensibly low profile since moving with the former Chancellor to run the political side of Brown's press operation. He is nowhere near as roughas his predecessor at No.11, [Charlie] Whelan... He is a diplomat, charming when so inclined, as befits a former head of VAT strategy at the Treasury." - Michael White

Private Eye Just Fancy That !

just fancy that! said...

White's bullying and can't brook contradiction. Ironic given that his lofty pronouncements are so pften contradicted by reality:

"Damien McBride has maanged to keep a sensibly low profile since moving with the former Chancellor to run the political side of Brown's press operation. He is nowhere near as roughas his predecessor at No.11, [Charlie] Whelan... He is a diplomat, charming when so inclined, as befits a former head of VAT strategy at the Treasury." - Michael White

Private Eye Just Fancy That !

Lola said...

Sanity / insanity is a spectrum. We are all soemwhere along it. Brown is pushing up the scale. He lies all the time, even when he must know that he's doing it and that everyone listening knows he's doing doing it. Why?

Anyroadup all the pasengers on the Clapham omnibus (excpet those few tribalists like White) are saying he's bonkers. I had the usual conversations with the fishmonger, the greengrocer, the cheesemonger, the butcher, the baker etc - and their customers - yesterday and without exeption they all said that Brown was bonkers.

Bonkers is what he is. Period.

dearieme said...

I have to question your priorities when you spend time (legitimately) questioning the PM's emotional state, when you could instead have been kneeing White in the goolies.

Dai_Bach said...

Anything that wipes the smug expression of Michael White's smarmy chops is OK in my book so well done Iain. Now, if you could just bitch slap Kevin Maguire for me then my day would be complete.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you were absolutely right to question his state of mind - unless, of course, we now live in a dictatorship.

Brown is utterly bonkers - we all know it, so do the media - so does that turd form the Guardian.

We need more people to stand up and say that Brown is a disgrace.

strapworld said... really are a nonce. I saw it and thought Iain was superb. It was about time that self opinionated and Labour Cheer Leader AND bully got a kicking.

Iain has found the right way to deal with WHITE, go at him, ridicule him, laugh at him! He loves to put it on people.

As for suggesting that Brown was (IS) mentally ill, why should you hold back if you believe it to be the truth? I support what you said and have written this many times over the past few months.

But do not concern yourself, Iain. You were bloody good and my wife who watched it as well thought you spoke up well for women!


Man in a Shed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Man in a Shed said...

@Paul Burgin/Despairing Liberal - Brown's state of mind is very much in the national interest.

He told an audience full of journalists that things they had been hearing all week from No10 hadn't actually been said and evoked the memory of his father to try and back it up.

They are furious with him.

Its the bottled election all over again - we are asked to believe a statement that stretches credibility beyond the point of rationality. But then the question arises - does Brown actually believe it himself ? Are there compartmentalised parts of his personality that hold clear opposed bits of information that he has rationalised somehow as consistent. Has he lost his grip on reality ? There's enough evidence just in that press conference to ask the question. Or perhaps he's sane and just lying straight to the nations face?

Given this man commands Britons Nuclear submarines his state of mind is very much a public question of national importance.

He has also taken us into levels of debt just unprecedented in peace time on the basis of "trust me". What if he's not in a state to be trustworthy ?

The problem with the cowardly Labour party is they put their own interests and party loyalty before the good of the country every time.

The US has regular medical check ups on their President - we should have the same on our Prime Minister.

Steve Horgan said...

I saw it. You were right. White tried to bully you both in a quite appalling way. Good for you for standing up to him and telling it like you saw it.

javelin said...

Iain, I think you will need to have a more robust theory to carry an argument about Gordon's poor state of mind. To express a problem you will need a theory.

So are you saying it's his cognition, emotion or motivation that's at fault? Or all three? Are you going to use a cognitive theory to express his thinking failures or a pyschodynamic theory to address his motivational failings or an interersonal/social psychology theory to express his emotional failings?

I would certainly say he has interpersonal/social failings (I think he has chronic face to face shyness). I would also say he has cognitive distortions (see

For me Gordon's biggest failure is motivational. He is ambitious and his modus operandus is self-promotion. Gordon still thinks he climbing the greasy pole.

Gordon cannot admit his failings because that would effect his promotion. He is not in self-denial but he has what Gestalt psychologists called "functional fixedness" (

Gordon cannot stop self-promoting at a press conference. It's like watching a mime artist climbing a ladder. That's why you think the men in the white coats need to come in.

Lester Taylor said...

The PM is quite mad lets face it....he is deluded and has developed the bunker mentality which is not healthy at all. This man is supposed to be fit for office yet he is ignoring the will of the British people to call an election....look at the response to the local council elections.
Any normal individual would have put his arms in the air and in an emotional press conference admitted that the country is in chaos and demands a change....but no he just kept up that disconcerting grim of his and continued to lie when nailed by Fraser Nelson in what was quite frankly one of the most embarrassing cringe worthy exhibitions in political history.
By the way if anyone has the embedded code for the sky news paper review I would also be grateful for The Economic Voice.

If someone could email it to me.

Many thanks

Margaret said...

I couldn't bring myself to watch much of the press conference because it was too cringeworthy by far.

Two things struck me though. Firstly the repeated assertions that he is not arrogant, and that he would not walk away. Have some people been trying to tell him that the game is up? Secondly, what on earth does Alistair Darling have over Brown that he dare not risk him going to the backbenches and doing a resignation speech?

I did catch the part of your paper review on Sky about Caroline Flint, and agree with earlier posters that Michael White was extremely rude and bullying with regard to your objection to the use of the words "hissy fit". I think that you were a model of restraint.

As for questioning whether Brown might be having a breakdown, he clearly is under great (largely self imposed) stress. I wish that more MSM interviewers and commentators would draw attention to his state of mind before even more damage is done to our country. If we can see it how bad is it?

Cynic said...

Nice to see a Guardian Journalist with an open mind.

Anyone who saw that Press Conference must have experienced a raft of emotions. I think this is an awful administration - venial, lazy, incompetent and intellectually and morally bankrupt are some of the terms I might use - but there was also almost a sense of pity at the PMs obvious state. He stood there and lied and lied and lied. I think be probably thought we belived him.

I have no doubt that he is a well meaning man who wants to do good. We may debate what that good is and how to get there but I don't doubt his desire for good, even if I think his analysis is wrong and that he cant manage the delivery. What we saw at the Press Conference though was someone who is beyond doing good. He now seems to live in an atmosphere of unreality - the bunker mentality where the Divisions on the map are real and will obey his commans. Where a new super-weapon will arrive just in time to save the war.

But none of this is true. Those in Whitehall know what is happening - nothing at all. Government is largely paralysed. Ministers and Civil Servants aren't doing much because they know this administration will never last long enough to implement anything. The system has almost ground to a halt and only responds to crises - and there are a few of those about.

The only functional bit left seems to be the No 10 smear machine, now turned inward on those who dared to speak out and challenge the Great Leader> they are 'traitors', will 'never be forgiven', 'self -indulgent' and failures.

Yesterday Labour lost 61% (yes 61%) of the council seats they held on the day before the election. Almost all those gains went to the Conservatives. It's as close to wipeout as you can get...yet still they go on.

I have used this term before and I will use it again. We now have a Zombie Government - the political undead roam the corridors of power. Lost souls, they await release. An election is the only way to free them but Gordon wont allow them that. They are doomed to soldier on to the bitter, bitter end and then oblivion.

For this lot things are now so bad that winning the next election might actually be the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them. It really is time for them to go.

Lola said...

Michale White comes from the same intellectually autistic stock as Brown. 'Course he'll defend him.

Weygand said...

It is blatantly obvious to everyone that there is something psychologically flawed about Brown.

In particular, he lacks the ability to empathise with others; hence his awkwardness and rictus grin.

His gnawing self doubt also makes it impossible for him to admit failings, as in the reason for not holding the election that never was and in "I have taken full responsibility by sacking the person responsible".

His claims to the moral high ground are also self-delusional, as when he yesterday told lies to a room in which everyone knew he was lying.

I would feel sorry for Brown's public humiliation but it is completely self inflicted.

Thus the problems are self, self and self and mean that further disasters are inevitable.

One way or another he will be gone by the end of the year at the latest.

Exiled in Hanoi said...

I really hope that someone can publish the clip

Anonymous said...

The sooner the Guardian (a sad little provincial-type) newspaper runs out of money means that a small copse will be saved from lumberjacks every day !!

Anonymous said...

YES Iain !!
Look at this -

Flemingcrag said...

If a man who is leading the Country continually exhibits complete denial for things that have gone wrong on his watch and even has the affront to say it all started in America as if thats a valid excuse, is not to have his judgement questioned then we are truly in the clutches of the "no blame society".

Sanity and morality have an indisputable link, an examination of what Brown tolerates as acceptable behaviour from his subordinates like Damian McBride tells me on these two counts he does not measure up to the high standards exhibited by normal people I meet every day of my life.

On that evidence it is fair for me to conclude he is deficient in morality and sanity. You can take medicines to alleviate the worst excesses of insanity but, morality is something you have or you haven't.

vervet said...

I think that the evidence points very clearly to some degree of mental instability. And anyone who cares about their country should point it out if they believe it so. The country is in a precarious state and the man is not up to the job.

Anonymous said...

I've been going out with a girl,
her name is Julie
But last night she said to me,
when we were watching telly

(This is what she said)

She said listen John, I love you
But there's this bloke, I fancy
I don't want to two time you,
so it's the end for you and me

Who's this bloke I asked her
Goooooordon, she replied
Not THAT puff, I said dismayed
Yes but he's no puff she cried

(He's more of a man than you'll ever be)

Here we go, two three four

I was so upset that I cried,
all the way to the chip shop

When I came out there was Gordon,
standing at the bus stop

(And guess who was with him? Yeah, Julie, and they were both laughing at me)

Oh, she is cruel and heartless
to pack me for Gordon
Just cos he's better looking than me
Just cos he's cool and trendy

But I know he's a moron, Gordon is a moron
Gordon is a moron, Gordon is a moron

Here we go, two three four

Oh she's a slag and he's a creep
She's a tart, he's very cheap
She is a slut, he thinks he's tough
She is a bitch, he is a puff
Yeah yeah, it's not fair
Yeah yeah, it's not fair

(I'm so upset)

I'm so upset, I'm so upset, yeah yeah

(I ought to smash his face in.)

(Yeah, but he's bigger than me. In't he?)

(I know, I'll get my mate Barry to hit him. He'd flatten him)

(Yeah but Barry's a mate of Gordon's in'e?)

(Oh well, I don't care)

I don't care
I don't care
Cause she's a slag and he's a creep
she's a tart, he's very cheap
she is a slut, he thinks he's tough......

Shamik Das said...

I missed your debate with Michael White but I did see the Press Conference.

Not sure what constitutes the definition of insanity, but Gordon surely comes close. He actually, genuinely, in his heart of hearts, believes what he is saying. That's what's so worrying.

He's not evil, not, I don't think, a deliberate liar, just a bloke in the wrong job at the wrong moment in time.

I'm actually beginning to feel sorry for him.

On Caroline Flint, I think it's fair comment for Michael White to describe Caroline Flint's hysterical resignation as a "hissy fit". I hope people don't think I'm sexist in suggesting this kind of behaviour wouldn't have come from a man.

MikeyP said...

Iain Dale:
t may have been a hissy fit, but my point was that he would never have used that expression about a male cabinet minister.

He might if the one concerned was Lord Voldermort!

I think you were correct to comment on the Dear leader's mental condition, but what worries me even more is the mental state of those of the electorate who still vote for him and his cronies.

Philipa said...

Iain, I am with you completely in defending yourself against Micheal White's bullying. Honestly, these ageing pundits really can be so very arrogant.

I'm glad you wrote: "Suggesting that someone is at the end of their tether or having a breakdown is not the same as saying they are mad" as I do think it wrong to so quickly accuse someone of mental illness when they are simply behaving out of the usual small socially acceptable band of emotional expression.

Gordon Brown must be under extreme pressure. It is entirely normal for him to exhibit signs of distress and panic. In fact if anyone was calm and unperturbed in those circumstances I would worry more for their mental state.

It astonishes me that the Social Services, hereafter called the SS, can rip children from their parents with no actual evidence (yet leave those with evidence to be starved to death) and judge the parents distress as a threat to the child. We are primates living on a rock - take the offspring from any caring mother and she will exhibit signs of extreme distress. Sally Clark died.

People with genuine mental illness in this country get very little help. But the label of being mentally ill is a good stick to beat people with.

strapworld said...

Listening to the radio whilst writing, I have just heard Brown giving an interview whilst at the D Day celebrations! Nothing about D Day - just about his usual mantra 'getting on with the job'

The man is just a bloody disgrace.

Harry said...

I thought it was brilliant TV. I wouldn't bring up somebody's mental health usually, but when it is the Prime Minister, I think the country has a right to know. It is a matter of national importance.
I was watching Sky News before you were on Iain (you seem to be on more often than most presenters) and there was a very funny moment where the host was talking to Adam Boulton, and mentioned something that Thatcher had said in Paris. Adam Boulton then said 'Actually she said that on the doorstep of No. 10', to which the host, with a look of anger on his face snapped 'well there you go!' to Adam Boulton before going to a commercial break. It was excellent TV.

Droo said...

Despairing Liberal? I think Deluded Liberal is more appropriate

Unsworth said...

White is himself seriously psychologically sick if he believes that Brown is displaying the attitudes and actions of sane rationality. It is a matter of national importance and interest when such an unelected Prime Minister wields so much apparently unchallengeable power. It is even more serious when he is so clearly mentally unwell.

White is a patronising and not particularly clever smug git. He needs a jolly good slapping, and by all accounts that's exactly what he got from you. He can dish it out but he can't take it, obviously.

As to this 'Liberal'. Do we believe that? I'm not an Iain 'supporter', but I am certainly an opponent of patent liars such as this 'Despairing Liberal'.

So, 'Despairing Liberal', put up or shut up. I've called your bluff three times now. I'm still waiting for your writ. Oh, and what's 'a faschist way'? How are the remedial lessons coming along?

Ben said...

I think a qualified psychiatrist should be questioning his state of mind under the mental health act to be brutally honest. I really do think there's something wrong with him!

Anonymous said...

White used to be OK ... until Campbell gave him a slap.

Ruth said...

I didn't see all of the press conference, but what I did see was very disturbing and I think you were right to raise the issue. The body language of Brown was worrying, and he is in charge of our country, making decisions which will affect all our futures. In one sense I felt sorry for him, but then he enrages me by his "people want us to get on with the job" routine - we don't, we want an election. He has become so isolated from reality that he simply cannot see what is really going on and does really believe what he says - it's tragic.

Many people think he's too strong to fold under the pressure, but that means nothing - sometimes the apparently strongest collapse most quickly and completely. He should go for the sake of his health, before the damage is complete because I fear he is already very wounded mentally.

Keith Willey said...

I do not see what is wrong with what you've suggested. I haven't seen the Brown press conference as I'm out of the country, but from what I've read you weren't deliberately offensive nor said anything that you believed to be untrue. Unlike Brown and White.

Frankly, if Brown isn't close to a breakdown at the moment, then there is something wrong with him. He's under enormous pressure and, under such circumstances even the fittest mentally would be showing signs of strain.

Brett Trevalyan said...

@ Depairing Liberal

"Does the "he's bonkers" line come down from above by the way? I wonder if it was started in Con. central office?"

er, no actually, it was started by Alastair Campbell in 1997. Then again, you may have forgotten his analysis? You don't recall "psychological flaws"? Turns out that Alastair Campbell was right all along, and you don't hear that said often, do you.......

Anonymous said...

Strange that casting aspersions about mental health when it happens to a Tory or his wife, but is reasonable when it's the PM.

Here is an example of when MW uses the phrase hissy-fit in connection with a man, btw

Gina Hearn said...

Of course you should have done, Iain. Although I didn't see it - I can't get Sky News in Prague unfortunately - I'm sure it's right to explore Brown's state of mind. It will influence what's going to happen over the next couple of days.

Michael White not only dislikes you because you're a Tory, but also because you're the most successful political blogger and like all old school journalists, he hates bloggers because they'll end up putting him and his pals out of a job.

Plato said...

For those who haven't seen this - hilarious excuse.

Kaufmann claims OCD made him order £9k TV

DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

Basically Iain, the whole situation should not have happened. Labour was in meltdown, still is, and any half-decent man would have done the right thing. He is a scoundrel that has surrounded himself with the very worse of people and he is being seriously ill advised.

Nothing that you said needs pointing out to anyone who witnessed that distressing bloody press get over yourself.

The final death throes will be even more upsetting to witness, but we will simply have to endure it wont we.

Anonymous said...

It said the same in the Indie today:

Anonymous said...

"A hissy fit" implies that women should always be excluded from government as being unsuitable.

Absolute bollocks. Please die in a fire at your earliest convenience.

jjchey said...

It said the same in the Indie today:

DespairingLiberal said...

Actually I've just twigged that the reason you are going on about this Iain is that in fact it makes you look a berk.

(1) You made a profoundly sexist remark yourself - so you decided to try to cover that by slagging off Michael White for making one.

(2) He brushed you off witheringly, which rattled you, so you lost it a bit.

(3) Eve Pollard was no help to you so you began to panic.

(4) Let's see the rest of the interview - why not ask your friends as Sky to show it instead of hiding it? I've seen it and it shows you up some more.

This is all increasing evidence of something that's doing the rounds amongst some journalists, namely, why is Iain Dale given so much airtime? He clearly isn't really a competent person to do these stints and his opinions vary between the childish, facile and poorly researched.

Can it be that you fear not being invited any more Iain?

Cynic said...

Yea Iain, there's now a job to be done and Gordon's getting on with it. That's what he says so there's no point discussing these other issues of probity, competence, coherence, lack of trust, deception, infighting, smearing, etc, etc. No siree. Nothing to see there so just move along you voters and leave it all to us professionals.

This is simple displacement. he is in total utter denial. He cannot cope with reality and that is deeply deeply worrying.

But on a lighter note I wonder what the poor SpAd who has to deliver the election results will use as the other two sides of the 'news sandwich' tomorrow? Any suggestions?

DespairingLiberal said...

Gina - the bit about bloggers putting journos out of a job may be true. But we will all come to regret it. There is no genuine investigation now in the press (and certainly not amongst the bloggers!) and inevitably this means that the corporations and their tools in government have their own way unfettered by probing criticism. Iain Dale and his fellow travellers on the extremist fringes simply spout (well-financed) kneejerk reactionary propaganda all day and night. Why they are permitted to do this on TV is a total mystery.

ChrisD said...

Iain, you were not wrong to bring it up. In light of the last few weeks, its a perfectly legitimate question to ask, and its from genuine concern rather than any political point. And that is a big difference, you pulled that original blog post on the subject because you didn't take that position lightly. But as events move on, its harder and harder to get away from that conclusion?

White is doing himself no favours right now. I cannot stand his behaviour on TV, especially his rudeness to anyone with another point of view.
I honestly believe that the Political journalists of the BBC, SKY and ITN will struggle to find a way to cover this current crisis, and to find the right words to convey just what a mess this has all become.

I wrote this on last night.
When I watched that Brown press conference today, I realised that we were in uncharted territory, we are now in the worst period in British politics in my living memory.

The current situation is truly desperate for all those involved in the Labour party, we now have Brown/Balls and Mandelson in charge of the government, and that is a catastrophic situation for the Labour party. How the hell its managed to come to this will be debated for years to come, but make no mistake, they have already destroyed the Labour party for a least a generation with their actions over the last few weeks and months.

The whole Cabinet over the last 2/3 years will have to take some of the collective responsibility for this mess as well.

DespairingLiberal said...

ChrisD - Iain was very, very rude - accusing someone else of sexism when he has just done it himself - shows how the Tories intend to conduct themselves as they proceed into the most vitriolic election for years. Michael White had been quite reasonable up to that point and as many others here have pointed out, Caroline Flint did throw one.

Of course, much of it is designed to switch off the voters, causing the stayaway that the lackluster Tory frontbench need in order to win.

kasou said...

ian dont feel bad...someone ought to tell him to his face..maybe Dan the Man can get another shot at it as our Dave seems to be playing the waiting game.

Not to worry now Mndy has come down from the Lords to steer the party back on track, we all know what that means.

Lets all vote for Labour we NEED Mandy as President of the UK, Tony as President of Europe and Gordon in charge of the money.

PS Have already moved to Sweden good luck.

SteveH103 said...

There was something not right with Brown at the news conference yesterday. It got to the point where you just wanted someone to stop it and put him out of his misery.
Personally i think it was guilt eating away at his moral compass, presbyterian roots. He lied last night not once but frequently. He knew he was doing it and worse for him he also knew everyone else knew he was lying.
Thats what got him.-The Guilt.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, DespairingLiberal, for showing us all just how desperate your party is.

Please keep it up. Keep crying. Your tears are delicious and your anguish sustains me. Cry, DL. Cry. Think on David Cameron entering No. 10 and then cry some more. Nourish me with your misery.

DespairingLiberal said...

Anon 2:34 - which party is that? I am anti-Tory. That is not the same as pro-someone else.

Gina Hearn said...

DesperateLiberal - I wasn't saying I approved of bloggers putting journalists out of business, just making an observation and the political spectrum must have shifted a bit if Iain is now regarded as being on the extremist fringe! He is obviously asked on TV to comment on political events because he says interesting things in an interesting way.

SteveH103 said...

Actually Iain, further to what i have just written you might be right about Browns state of mind. I`m currently watching the D-Day commerations on Sky. Sarkozy is making a moving speech. Obama is looking serious and attentive. Prince Charles is looking straight at Sarkozy listening and alongside him is Brown obviously not paying any attention to whats happening but moving his head from side to side making gurning faces. Weird.

DespairingLiberal said...

He just hides it well Gina. I interpret people by their actions, not their words. Iain repeatedly cultivates extremists here through hints and prods, building his ads and media presence on the backs of numpties who buy it.

In short, a typical Tory politician!

SteveH103 said...

Oh No. Did he just say Obama Beach? Did he mean Omaha?

Richard Edwards said...

Yes Iain I think the PM is not a well man. I hate to say it but Brown is showing clear symptoms of grandiose delusion. He believes that he has special insight and powers. And this is reflected in what he says. He was at it yesterday again during that surreal press conference. Equally, he clearly believes that he has not been given sufficient credit for 'saving the world' for example. He is also showing signs of megalomania.

ChrisD said...

Despairing Liberal, Michael White is the most patronising and rude journalist that graces our TV screens. His demeanour never makes for good debate with other guests.

Iain, on the other hand, is not. That is why I enjoyed his time at Doughty Street. His one on one interviews were always good entertainment.

But you missed my main point, Thatcher,Blair or Major would not still be in No10 if they had the events of the last couple of week unfold under their watch. They all had a political antennae that would have warned them when it was time to go, and people around them, friend or foe who would have stepped in to call it a day.

That is the problem, neither Brown, nor those that are surrounding him are doing that. The two advisers closest to him were hoping to grab the two biggest departments outside of No10 this week. Are they the right people to be advising Brown right now?

While asking the right questions of a raft of issues, how much are the political lobby holding back with Brown at these press conferences?

Anonymous said...

It’s a serious question, that many people are asking. OK politicians aren’t normal. And by definition the person at the top in any profession is not average, and therefore in a sense abnormal. But, Brown. Personality disorder ? Medication ? There’s a case for it, and it matters.

Barnacle Bill said...

Iain, judging from the amount of comments you are not the only one concerned about our glorious unelected Leader's mental health.
There is a "darkness" that is troubling the soul of this son of the manse.
If we had some journalists with skills of say Brian Walden in today's MSM, then Broon might not be where he is, nor in the state he is either.
As for Michael White, I used to think he was an urban sophisticated political commentator, then I started blogging and realized he was just a NuLabor boring old fart.

Anonymous said...

Cynic : 'news sandwich' tomorrow? Any suggestions?

- you're still PM
- we've been destroyed at the polls
- no-one has tried to assassinate you

Unknown said...

He's not having a great week, certainly insofar as speeches are concerned: during his speech in Normandy, he quite clearly referred to 'Obama Beach'.

Mirtha Tidville said...

White works for the grauniad..ergo he`s nothing more than a Liebour mouthpiece....

Brown is Barking...absolutely and without question..barking.

Iain, sorry I missed it but you pissed the Liberals off...well done...10 out of it again soon please..

Alex said...

Question the state of mind of the man with his hand on the nuclear button?
Of course you should.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to worry about DespairingLiberals mental state...not to mention his spelling.

Anonymous said...

White et al are wrong. This is not just pointing a finger at an eccentric as a form of abuse. It's a genuine concern, and one I've had for some time.

Though I'm a Tory, I feel sorry for the bloke. I think one day he could literally crack up in mid conference - he must have been very close to it with the Political journalists more or less accusing him of being a liar en masse. His chances of surviving till next June without collapsing - unless the pressure is relieved, which isn't going to happen are low.

Brown is under immense pressure - and he is coping with it by retreating from reality and simply refusing to acknowledge anything that suggest he has any sort of problem with anything.

It's not the lying so much, but the lying to the same journalists who have had a week of being told "Balls for Darling". They aren't stupid, they don't like being insulted, especially has he kept saying how honest he was (!)

There was also some comment like "the people are telling me to carry on with the work of rescuing the economy". To believe this in the wasteland of the election results (as opposed, to say, saying that recession always affects the government's popularity) is a sign that he is losing it.

The real problem is I think he actually believes what he's saying. It's not just spin and b/s to get himself off the hook. He really thinks it is true.

Someone who is in this state is capable of just about anything.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to defend you and .. yet I'm not, in a way.

I think there is nothing wrong with observing that a man looks close to emotional breakdown. Possibly the PM is, and it would be perfectly understandable. He must have been under immense strain, very, very tired and under a great deal of pressure. It's a big job without the recent personal betrayals and the onslaught of the media and (sometimes bullying) opponents.

What is wrong is for anyone to then use that negatively from extrapolations that he is 'mad' to simply using it to criticise and mock.

I know many people who despised Mrs Thatcher, but on the day of her departure from Downing Street all were able to empathise with her deep distress and would never have mocked her at that moment to make political capital.

Iain Dale said...

Just to repeat, I did not accuse him of being mad.

Treble exes all round said...

When White said that Flint had a hissy fit, he was describing something that women do when scorned.

Some men do this too, but you see it most commonly in women. We know this. It's a fact of life.

In case you hadn't noticed, women are different to men, and they do things differently. There are biological, social and emotional reasons for this.

The very idea of sexism is the lie, as if there were no differences between men and women.

When you accused White of sexism, you were being dishonest, in using a dishonest argumemtative tactic. Either that or you really aren't that bright.

Women who move to the highest positions in society need to be held to account. Unfortunately many of them retreat to the protection of PCism when caught out.

You seem to have a habit of irrationally defending women no matter what their crime.

It's about time you sorted yourself out and grew up.

And while I'm at it. If you accused a woman of being unstable mentally you would surely be accused of sexism by the feminazis and their ilk.

That really does show just how preposterous your position actually is.

cosmic said...


"Mad" is about as useful a word as "fascist".

If you seriously think that Brown's mental state is such that he should be relieved of command, that is it's not just a jibe, say so.

He's been obsessed with being PM for years, but doesn't have the qualities of character to do it, or let go of it. He was notorious for doing a "Macavity" and as was pointed out before he got the job, a PM can't just disappear when the bullets fly.

Judging from that press conference, he's on the verge of a breakdown.

Robert Scarth said...

I think Gordon Brown does have a serious mental health problem. He suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). From wikipedia:
NPD is "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy"

Read the whole article:

The list of symptoms is quite an accurate description of Mr Brown's personality.

happiness said...

I have thought for some time that Brown had mental health issues. Compare his temper tantrums with Naomi Campbell's. She gets arrested, community service, has to take courses on rage control etc. No, it's about time someone brought out into the open what everyone is thinking. The man is falling apart and taking the country with him. The people in the Labour party who are propping him up are not doing him any favours nor the people of this country. Continue to say what you believe and don't allow the Labourite thought police to silence you.

Treble exes all round said...

I'm amazed at just how many experts on mental health read your blog.

But joking aside, this is propaganda straight from Tory Central Office.

It's a well-known but sinister tactic often used by Stalinists and other authoritarian groups, Security Services etc to remove those who become a nuisance.

I'm sure Craig Murray could tell us more about this.

I had hoped that the Tories might usher in a period of democracy, free speech and openess, but between this and the sexism drivel I'm a bit concerned.

To be honest though, I haven't heard Tories use the sexism tactic, at least not since the dreadful Edwina wafted off into luvvieland.

Not a tactic Doris would ever use, to be sure.revil

Anonymous said...

Hardly has a lot of credibility does it?

The night before, Flint "thought long and hard" before deciding she might have an opportunity for, she supported the PM fully.

She didn't get the promotion with her "promote me or I add to the crisis" blackmail) so resigns (Michael White's "hissy fit" description is quite apt I think).

She was quite happy about being "window dressing" if she was promoted though, wasn't she, so I think that description of Brown was really the disappointment of not getting promoted after shafting her allies Blears and Purnell.

Her comments say nothing about Brown's approach to his Cabinet and are just petulant.

Treble exes all round said...

Brilliant demolition of Flint's sexism claim on Sky.

We need more of this.

The simple truth is that many of these women are given positions to make up the numbers and then are shown to be incapable of doing the job. Then when you do try to get rid of them, you get accused of sexism or they'll engage in some destructiveness.

The simple fact is that you don't have these problems with men, and many many young women recognise that and that's why they prefer to work for men than women.

This is all pervasive throughout the public sector and is damaging our society.

The sooner women are chosen on ability, the better.

Sexism is no more than a retreat for the incapable.

Anonymous said...

Politcally, I'm closer to Michael White than to you. But I thought he made a t*t of himself yesterday (I did wonder if he might be 'merry'), especially when he said Caroline Flint was only in "it [politics] for herself".

I hold no partiuclar candle for Ms Flint and I think there often is a gap between politcians estimation of themselves rather then their actual abilities. Whether she fits that or not I can't say. But if Michael White is to be blunt about indivdiuals - which I'd welcome actually - lets then apply such bluntness or honsest across the board.

The same might apply to journalists. Commentators on have been scathing about Polly Toynbee's shifting views - but then look at White's day by day commentary on whether Brown will survive.

davidlondon said...

Sorry Iain but Michael White was right about Caroline Flint. It is quite clear that she only supported Brown because she hoped for promotion, and then resigned because she didn't get it. It may be that some of the things she said in her resignation letter were right - they certainly had the ring of truth about them - but that does not mean she resigned for anything other than self-serving reasons. And the suggestion that she was "forced" to give a positive interview about Brown is infantile. No-one held a gun to her head. No serious politician, male or female, would claim that they had been forced by their own colleagues to say things they hadn't really meant.

On Brown's state of mind, of course you have a right to give your opinion. But he clearly isn't barmy. He is a most detestable person, and a disaster for the country, but the fact that he has an inflated idea of his own abilities doesn't make him mentally ill and I don't really see the point of saying he is. If he were mentally ill he would deserve our pity. He is just a power-hungry politician, who deserves our contempt.

Anonymous said...

you were right to question "if gordon needs a little rest"
have a look at an unedited version of todays invasion program on sky and consider if his behavior is normal.
as for michael white do not worry about this has been.michael.

David Hughes said...

I would have liked to have seen you jousting with Michael White - after some of his recent appearances and article, it would have been a pleasure to watch you prick the self-important,partisan tunnel vision balloon that he now demonstrates as erudite political comment.
It does seem that his future is now behind him - I'll bet he nearly choked on his breakfast wheaties when Toynbee and the Editorial launched the large portion of toe-cap into Brown's ribs.

Werner Patels said...

Iain, next time you go on Sky News, retract your previous wording "breakdown" and correct yourself by saying that Brown is going through the final stages of a brownout!

P.S. No need to feel sorry for Herr Braun. He's the architect of his own demise.

Anonymous said...

"was it right [of me] to question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television?"

Well, Iain, you're the experienced political commentator, you tell me.

It all depends, doesn't it? Yes, you may well have been saying what many of us were thinking, fair enough. But ask yourself this, has David Cameron gone on record publicly questioning Brown's mental health? No of course not, because any such statement would be just too risky and could very easily backfire.

Of course, here in "blogland" there's a certain freedom to say whatever one wants; indeed here we can shout and swear our heads off, and it all comes to nothing. The blogosphere is still very much regarded as a world apart. But on live TV, well there's the danger that you could be perceived as a loose cannon. But I'm sure you already know all this far better than I do.

I watched GB's press conference on the Beeb website, and for sure, he came across as weak, unnerved, tired, stressed, perhaps close to cracking up. But he just about managed to deliver his lines. I reckon he did better than I could have done, under the circumstances. He has no natural charisma or oratory skills, but he just about (barely) coped.
To raise questions about the mental health of a politician is always a tricky stunt, and it can almost never work unless the evidence is unquestionable. For what it's worth, I'd say steer clear of this line of attack. Attack his policies (of course!) and attack his integrity, his record, his duplicity, his lack of authority, his lack of leadership. But avoid attacking his mental health, because even if you're right and the whole country is privately thinking the same thing, it comes across as a weak argument. That's my answer to your main question.

Niklas Smith said...

Here's the link to the video on the Sky website:

Niklas Smith said...

That link contains the embed code (click "Menu" on the video).

Turkeybellyboy said...

fyi I went to via Guido; in the comments there is a link to which states:

“Which leaves me in no doubt now that he is mentally ill and clearly has been for some time. He is now quite obviously displaying many, if not all of the classic symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder - a grandiose sense of self-importance, an unshakeable belief that he is special and that others envy him. He is arrogant, exploitive and lacks empathy. He often becomes enraged when people disagree with him or fail to accord him the special treatment to which he feels entitled.”

I looked up you might think someone has actually hacked the article to fit the facts, because it is spookily reminiscent. What do you think?

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