Andrew Marr and the PM – Brown Bullish Ahead of Labour Conference

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Gordon Brown appeared on the Andrew Marr Show this morning ahead the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. To me, Brown’s performance was a revelation. There was an awful lot of waffle served but I did recognise some answers in there. There was a confident element to the PM’s points, despite a slight sweat and the amazing questioning by Marr, who chose to quizz Brown on his health and use of medicinal drugs. Sure, the leader’s health should be of public interest but it did open the door for Brown to rattle on about his eyesight and the struggle he has had with it. No doubt garnering a bit of sympathy, he also reduced the amount of time Marr had to pitch more penetrating questions.

I have never had a great deal of time for Brown. I saw a massive ego at work and the way in which his entourage manages detractors inside and outside of the Party smacks of bullying. Early on in the interview, Marr did well to limit the verbal dysentery but lost control and possibly used the drug question to grab it back. The tactic failed and the PM wobbled on. Nevertheless, I found myself at least listening to what Brown had to say. Do I believe him ? No, but I will take more time to listen to him in the future. I suspect his problem is less about his own personal perception amidst the public but the poor way in which the government informs the public about what they are doing and what it means for us ordinaries. Yes, I am almost extolling the vitrtues of the PR approach I have slagged off in the past. Almost !

Rather than using spin and selective briefing to make people look good, perhaps they should get the policy message over more clearly. They do have some (policies), it seems, and Brown announced that a new Business and Financial Services Act will be brought before Parliament after the next Queen’s speech; this legislation meant to give more power to (presumably) the FSA in controlling Banks and their remuneration schemes. If one accepts what Brown said today, then he has maintained Britain’s international reputation by leading the way in managing the financial crisis. Hmmmm, maybe, but I am prepared to listen further. If this is reflected in the general population then it is too early to write off a Labour resurgence in time for the 2010 General Election.

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