This is pure comedy; Ben Brogan reflects on the gift of a pencil holder (?) made from wood from HMS Gannet:
…I wonder what Mr Obama will make of the fact that the only action it saw was in Sudan when it shelled rebels against the British empire. He’s also getting Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven volume biography of Churchill, which will help him find out more about how the Mau-Mau were successfully suppressed in Kenya by the British Emp… Oh, I’m sure it will be fine.
It was of course Churchill who ordered the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in the 1950s; Obama’s grandfather was detained as a subversive for six months at that time. Hopefully Obama will see the funny side. Already in Washington, Adam Boulton said yesterday that
… observers will be on the look out for any hint of a patronising slight from the President. For example Downing Street is hoping for a joint news conference with the President as was routine with Bush and Clinton…
On landing outside snowbound Washington after a 7 hour transatlantic flight, while Brown was getting his post-flight make-up done onboard, the rest of the Lobby learnt there is to be no press conference with Obama.
Brogan says there will just be
… a quick question or two on the fly, not the standing podium-to-podium with the Messiah image that Mr Brown imagined. The joint presser is usually a given on these trips, so this is odd.
Over at the Telegraph Toby Harnden mocks
Mr Brown might be forgiven for thinking that his friend, rival and predecessor Tony Blair would not have been treated the same way by his bosom buddy President George W. Bush. After all, there are 132 rooms in the White House at least some of which, presumably, are currently be free of snow.
On the other hand, President Obama is terribly busy this Tuesday. The White House schedule tells us that he is delivering remarks at the Department of Transportation to deliver remarks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is also speaking at the Department of Interior to mark its 160th anniversary.
There’s a conflab with Pentagon chief Bob Gates. Oh, and Mr Obama will also meet “a delegation from the Boy Scouts of America and receive their 2008 Report to the Nation” in the Oval Office.
Mr Brown might lament that despite the so-called “special relationship” Britain is now getting the same treatment as the President of Uruguay but he need not despair. I’m told there’s a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening.
The Boy Scouts of America obviously are better prepared than the Downing Street boys…
Incidentally, yesterday on the day that Obama authorised funding for international abortion groups, the Pope called on politicans to defend the unborn. It is the custom of the Holy See to deny visiting Catholic politicians a photo-opportunity if they do not take the orthodox Catholic line. As a non-believer who supports abortion it is probable that Gordon will get his publicity shot.
Here are two recent examples of the curse in terrible action:
Liverpool radio DJ Phil Easton dies after interviewing Gordon
The prime minister has led the tributes to legendary Liverpool broadcaster Phil Easton. Gordon Brown was recently interviewed by him for his show on CityTalk. The PM said: “Phil was an accomplished and talented broadcaster who was on the top of his game when we met just a few weeks ago.Source : Liverpool Echo
Workers face axe at Cwmbran PM visit factory
Around 40 workers at a Cwmbran factory are set to lose their jobs, just weeks after the firm was visited by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Cwmbran’s Contour Premium Aircraft Seating announced a “proposed head count reduction” of up to 40 employees on Wednesday.Source : South Wales Argus
Thought he said he wasn’t taking a foreign holiday..?
Labour claims there is massive public support for taking away British freedoms. Prove it. Or will this be yet another election that Brown bottles?
UPDATE : Sir Michael this morning kind of gives the game away “Most politicians dislike the sort of behaviour Davis has displayed. It may please those voters who want their MP to stand up and be counted, but such unpredictability unsettles the trade.” Yes, the political class doesn’t like it, even if voters do…
When New Labour were first elected Tony Blair risked campaigning during the Uxbridge by-election in May 1997. Blair led from the front even though the Tories were sure to hold the seat. Gordon, author of two books on courage, has ordered 80 ministers and SpAds to go to Crewe and Nantwich this weekend to campaign. He however plans to stay well away chewing his nails.
Gordon avoids elections wherever possible, he chickened out of a contest with Blair for the leadership in 1994, he engineered a coronation unopposed for the party leadership in July 2007 and he bottled holding a mandate producing election in October 2007. Nobody has cast a single vote for him to lead his party or his country.
Gordon is a truly pathetic figure, on Friday morning Labour will have to face up to their mistake. If they can’t win Crewe, where they are testing to destruction the “don’t vote for a toff” approach – “tough on toffs, tough on the causes of toffs” – backed-up by illiberal knuckle dragging dog-whistle policies, they can’t win nationally with Brown. Crewe is 165th on the list of Tory target seats… that should concentrate the minds of 164 Labour MPs…
UPDATE : Blair also visited the tightly fought Eddisbury by-election to campaign in August 1999. Before he stood down Blair told the Labour Party in his final speech to their conference that “there are no rules in politics.” Quite.
Carter : We’re going somewhere nice for the weekend, get some sunshine. We have booked a trip to the Eden Project in the South West, Cornwall, then on to Plymouth.
Brown: [rocking in his chair] What about the by-election? Where is it?
Carter: No by-election PM, we are going to see the flowers in Cornwall and visit an old peoples home in Plymouth. Take it easy, have a weekend break.
Gordon is on an official visit to Plymouth, which is 251 miles away from Crewe. Brown couldn’t be further away if he went to Edinburgh (242 miles), in any event he wouldn’t want to go for a weekend rest in Edinburgh now it is under Salmond’s control and Wendy is rebelling against him.
Whereas Cameron and Clegg are up in Crewe and Nantwich backing their candidates to the hilt, taking every local photo-op available, Brown’s handlers are keeping him as far out of sight as possible. No doubt fearful of the inevitable consequences of the Jonah curse of the one eyed son of the manse…
UPDATE : At the old people’s home, Gordon was introduced to Maisie Wright, 94. “Hello, I’m Gordon Brown, the prime minister” he said as he proffered his hand. “That’s nice” replied Maisie, “Wilf over there thinks he is Jesus Christ.” Old, but good.
Labour are projected to lose over 200 seats, a meltdown performance not seen for over a generation. Brown is nowhere to be seen this morning and all the claims of the Brownies ring hollow – their line was that in times of economic difficulty voters would cling to Gordon’s authority and economic competence. Oh, no they didn’t…
These are real votes, not poll results and if repeated at a general election would give the Tories some 400 seats at Westminster and a majority of 138.
Highlights of last night were Richard Littlejohn bitch-slapping Polly Toynbee into silence on Question Time, Geoff Hoon making a Comical Ali style tit of himself and the surreal idiocy of the BBC’s Jeremy Vine dressed up in a cowboy suit making a fool of himself. The Guidoisation of public service broadcasting is perhaps not the best direction for them to go…
Gordon has hired a high-powered PR team and they don’t even think to avoid a scheduling clash with Pope Benedict – which was always going to be the big box office draw. Gordon was giving delusional interviews yesterday lauding his important role as “a bridge to Europe”. Laughable.
UPDATE : According to Nick Robinson this morning, British Embassy officials admit they didn’t know the Pope was coming to Washington at the same time. The British Embassy n Washington is the biggest and most expensive outpost of the FCO. Well done chaps…
THE ASSOCIATED PRESSPublished Thursday March 27th, 2008
LONDON – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain will not boycott the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics.
Q. Will you boycott the opening ceremony of the Chinese Olympics in protest at their policies in Tibet?
A. No I will not be boycotting the opening ceremony, I will not, however, be attending.
It is the will he / won’t he farce of the signing of the Lisbon treaty all over again. Trying to have it both ways because he is afraid to decide. This from the man who has his name on two books on “courage”.
He is however thinking of attending the closing ceremony. A couple of weeks ago we were told he would be attending because the “Dalai Lama himself.. yada yada yada bullshit spin and dither”. Why can’t he just be decisive one way or the other?
UPDATE : After Channel 4 News led on this story yesterday evening both Ben Brogan on the Daily Mail and Nick Robinson were clearly telephoned by the Brownies last night to be briefed that the position was always that the Ditherer was not going to the opening ceremony. A point they have faithfully conveyed. Something that, as far as Guido can determine, we were never told by them before. So the Press Association and many others got it wrong two weeks ago. We were never at war with Eurasia, Eurasia has always been our ally.
Andrew Grice in the Indy this morning tells us why:
There was an embarrassing hiccup before Gordon’s arrival: the logo for today’s summit of world leaders bore an uncanny resemblance to a Nazi swastika. Downing Street removed the logo from its website and ordered the designers to come up with a new one. “It would be totally wrong to read anything sinister into the intentions of the designers,” said a No 10 spokeswoman.
It would, however, be right to laugh at their serial incompetence.
plunged them into a throng of Labour MPs and peers waiting to hear the PM rather than to the platform from where he was due to speak, they emerged, sheepish and embarrassed, and headed for the “Chairman’s Entrance”.
“Gordon’s got lost again!” shouted one wag among the political journalists in the corridor. And indeed he had.
If only the Prime Minister, his PPS and his detective had listened to me.
Going on the list are:
- Reading from an autocue obscuring his face at his “Gordon for Britain” launch.
- Tucking his trousers into his sock.
- Getting lost at Windsor Castle Dinner for Sarkozy to the amusement of Her Majesty.
- Locking himself in the toilet and having to ring Blair on his mobile to get him out.
- Absent mindedly picking his nose for two minutes on the front bench on budget day 2007 in full view of the Tory ranks and TV viewers.
- Getting entangled in balloons at a photo-op.
- After an interview with Adam Boulton in India, getting up and walking into a plant pot.
- Forgetting the access codes for his own office resulting in a No. 10 armed security response unit rushing to find him in his nightie.
- Telling the same anecdotal jokes time and again and still screwing them up.
- Trusting Blair to keep his word after the Granita dinner.
Whose brilliant idea was that? The travelling press pack are laughing at him. As many co-conspirators have pointed out in the comments, what is it with Gordon and photo-ops at schools. Do his media team have any other ideas? It just looks awkward, him smiling away at the kids and forcing his book on them.
What did the kids do to deserve this treatment?
Oh well, Guido has taken quite a few quid off those betting on an early election and that “Tories to be the biggest party“ bet looks a lot better now.
Gordon’s judgement, to not simply squash the speculation, will be in question and his authority much reduced after this, Cameron called him on it without reservation. Dave didn’t flinch, Gordon just blinked…
*No longer will Guido use the macho sounding term Brownites, these are the Brownies. Compared to the Blairites, we really are dealing with the B-team.
The open ended government guarantee promise is unprecedented. It could prove to be insane. If the housing market drops dramatically, mortgage repossessions could become even more endemic than they already are, with the result that the government could be left losing tens of billions of taxpayers funds. Bear in mind that Greenspan expects double digit percentage falls in house prices. Of course all we know of the terms is that Alastair Darling says “his word is his bond”. (He also said last week there was no problem with Northern Rock.) Equitable Life’s unfunded pensioners know the value of the government’s implicit rather than explicit guarantees. Zilch…