“What’s the difference between Derren Brown and Gordon Brown?
One gets all the numbers right whereas the other…”
Tuesday’s media hit for Cameron was successful in obliterating from the front pages the speech given by Darling intended to revise the Labour Party’s Balls/Brown narrative on “Cuts v Spending”. It was by all accounts a very close run thing.
Having got wind of the expected Darling announcement there was a bit of flap at CCHQ. Late on Monday afternoon CCHQ lined up party activists to be in the audience for a hastily arranged 11.00 the next day speech by Cameron focusing on the deliberately headline grabbing issue of cutting spending on politics. That speech was originally not due to be given until a later date. Alan Duncan however was an embarrassment that became pressing in the context of the brought forward speech, so he had to go, fast. The final decision to give him the bullet was made there and then.
Result: Cameron’s mere £120 million of promised cuts led the Ten O’Clock news and grabbed the front pages away from Darling’s in some ways far more fiscally significant change in direction of the spending supertanker. Darling’s announcement was no match televisually for Sam Cam breakfasting with Nick Robinson. Cameron dominated the headlines and Darling’s major change of position was relegated to the inside pages and became the second story on BBC news.
Game, set and match to the Tory spin machine…
Last night Guido was on a panel chaired by Jeremy Vine when the subject of Gordon Brown’s alleged anti-depressant pill popping came up. Jeremy had read Simon Heffer’s article the night before (on his iPhone in bed) and thought that this blog had ran the story. Guido had not, but on Monday this blog ran a cartoon that referenced the rumour that everyone in the Westminster Village has heard. The Prime Minister is said to be taking powerful mood altering anti-depressants, specifically Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) which are very rarely prescribed since the arrival of Prozac derivatives, used only sparingly when dealing with severely depressed patients.
Guido hesitated to run with the story, which was first reported by John Ward, though it was widely discussed in the comments on this blog.
In the broadsheets Simon Heffer, Matthew Parris have touched on the issue and this morning Matthew Norman in the Independent has explicitly referred to the allegation that Gordon Brown is taking “heavy duty antidepressants known as MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)”. The evidence is first and foremost his behaviour – what some have previously put down to a lack of EQ or emotional intelligence, is now being attributed to drugs to control his dark depressions. We all know the stories of rages, flying Nokias, smashed laser printers, tables kicked over and crying Downing Street secretaries subjected to foul-mouthed tirades. We have seen the deranged YouTube performances, the bizarre facial contortions, the incongruent emotional responses – smiling when offering condolences, frowning when giving best wishes.
The new evidence offered is that a civil service circulated dietary restrictions list is said to be of the kind required for someone on MAOI medication. The side effects include insomnia, dry mouth and jaw clenching (bruxism) – all of which Brown is known to suffer. Psychiatrists warn of MAOIs that ‘Extrapyramidal effects include acute dystonic reactions such as protuding tongue, muscular contractions and clenched jaw’. Gordon’s bruxism may have another explanation, it has been remarked on before. In the context of all this speculation and his manifest physical unease, surely somebody in the Lobby has to publicly ask the question at the PM’s next monthly briefing: “Prime Minister, have you been taking medication that may affect your judgement?”
ArmorGroup is under investigation by the U.S. State Department over allegations that employees of the defence contractor employed at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were pressurised to participate in naked pool parties and perform sex acts to gain promotions. During the period under investigation Malcolm Rifkind was the non-executive chairman.
Interviewed by ABC News, a guard and former U.S. military veteran said top supervisors of the ArmorGroup were not only aware of the “deviant sexual acts” but helped to organise them. “It was mostly the young guys fresh from the military who were told they had to participate” he told ABC News, “They were not gay but they knew what it took to get promoted..”
The State Department is investigating photographic evidence dating back to 2007 showing naked and barely clothed men fondling one another. In June 2007, the State Department warned “the security of the U.S. embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” because of “deficiencies” on the part of ArmorGroup. Guido was unable to contact the former foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm, for comment.
More photos ABC News.
Professor Prezza is very excitedly Twittering about the government’s announcement that they plan to do some pump priming on the home building front. John Healey announced today that 47 councils will share in a grant of £127 million to build what amounts to about 30 homes per council.
They will be completed by 2011. So Prezza is, in a sense, wrong when he tweets that you won’t get this from a Tory government. He is also wrong in the wider sense, after all in’t it under the Tories that the most council homes have been built? Harold Macmillan promised to build 300,000 a year and ended up building a million. A building programme unmatched by Labour. In fact Labour this year are actually knocking down 3,000 homes.
Professor Prezza needs to study a bit more history…
Nick Robinson says he filmed breakfast Chez Cameron yesterday morning (Tuesday, September 8). The clock on the wall says it was Monday, September 7, 2008. Guido has some sympathy, Miss Fawkes pulled the hands off the kitchen clock Chez Fawkes…
When was the last time you saw Tony Blair in the UK? Billionaires yachts in the med, sure, US TV chat shows, sure. Six figure speaking engagements in the Far East, of course. “Peacemaking” in the Middle East, allegedly. Is he seen in the UK? No, not much.
Guido’s theory is that he is keeping under the 90 day residency limit for non-domiciles for tax purposes. Didn’t Cherie mention that the kids all have Irish passports? Why pay 50% tax to Gordon on all that filthy lucre he is earning overseas?
Nine seconds later is everyone still here? No terror incident? Good. Keep calm and carry on…
All the pro-politics political junkies are getting worked up about the idea that vote counting and results might be delayed until the next day (Friday) after the election. They like all the drama. What a waste of money and time. […]