Last week he made two great Bushisms in his speech to the Scottish TUC:
Nice and simple. Not.
“You’re wrong. No one will lose out. Come on . . . you guys have exaggerated it all.”
When BBC political editor Nick Robinson insisted there was a sizeable Labour revolt, Mr Brown fired back*: “No it isn’t. There are just one or two MPs asking questions.”
When a journalist from a Labour-supporting paper insisted that the rebellion was far bigger, Mr Brown scowled: “Really? Really? That’s what you say.”
He was equally abrupt with ITN political editor Tom Bradby, who had asked him at the White House about the resignation threat by ministerial aide Angela Smith.
Mr Brown was forced to break off from his White House talks to beg Ms Smith not to resign. “You said a Minister was going to resign, but she didn’t,” Mr Brown told Mr Bradby.
Asked “What did Angela Smith say to you?” Mr Brown replied: “She just phoned me to say she wasn’t resigning.”
BBC Newsnight political editor Michael Crick asked sarcastically: “She phoned you up at the White House to tell you she wasn’t resigning? Do all your Ministers do that?”
Another journalist put Mr Brown on the spot: “Do you acknowledge that there will be some losers from this tax change?”
The Prime Minister replied: “No. It’s not as simple as that.”
Clearly if you start talking transparent bollocks to the Lobby when you are off-the-record, you will inevitably get a bad press. The whole point of the Lobby and off-the-record briefings is that they are supposed to allow candid honesty in return for non-attribution. Gordon’s psychological flaws and unwillingness to accept criticism make it impossible for him to accept that when he has made a mistake, and this was a huge mistake, he has to openly make amends. His usual bullying didn’t work in this case – he has now made a humiliating U-turn – not an act of leadership.
*Nick Robinson has obliquely confirmed the Mail on Sunday’s version of events. He blogs that “Gordon Brown had shouted down those who told him there were many many losers from his last Budget as Chancellor and those who told him he faced a real political crisis as a result.” Guido suspects that Nick himself was, as reported, one of “those” shouted down.
UPDATE : U-turn letter (pdf) here.
Perhaps they need another £50 billion…
The Rix garage in Kirkcaldy has been charging an outrageous £1.45 a litre for diesel and £1.25 for unleaded petrol. Not that this will bother Gordon – he has never had to pay for petrol.
The Grangemouth oil refinery is on the verge of shutdown as it looks like a two-day strike by staff will go ahead this weekend.
Reports from around the country tell of queues of panic buyers worried that the 200,000 barrel-a-day Grangemouth refinery closure will force the BP Forties Pipeline System, which transfers oil from more than 50 North Sea fields, to be turned off. If the dispute lasts for more than two days Britain will run dry…
Who would the PLP then want to lead them in times of trouble? Not one of the young pretenders. Jack Straw would be their Michael Howard figure. Safely captaining the sinking ship, hopefully without the loss of too many lives / seats. The PLP would vote for Jack ahead of Cruddas…
Such as: www.labour.org.uk/downingstreet.
Clever? Not really. Hacked in 30 seconds. Type in below (or something ruder) to your browser…
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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:
“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”
Christie Malry @fcablog
Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops