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After all the fuss of yesterday, it is still the economy, stupid

Posted on 29 April 2010 | 5:04pm

Someone texted me late last night to say I should take a look at Peter Hyman’s performance on Newsnight discussing GB and Mrs Duffy with Danny Finkelstein (Tory) and Olly Grender (Lib Dem).

Oh no, I thought, don’t tell me Peter has waded in against GB. If Peter wades in, he tends to do it in a way that is hard not to notice. So I watched – and I was reminded how lucky we were to have had him as a key member of the TB strategy and comms team.

He is not GB’s biggest fan. And he has not exactly hidden that since leaving politics for teaching. But he is someone of independent mind not afraid to swim against a tide.

And with the media tide against GB gushing so hard it is a wonder the PM did not wake up with his 14th floor hotel bedroom flooded this morning, it was great to see Peter saying ‘this is getting ridiculous.’

It was very late and I cannot claim to have taken notes but his main points seemed to be that there was a complete lack of perspective in the media now deciding this was literally the only election story they would cover. That we have all said things in what we believed to be private circumstances which would be hugely embarrassing if they emerged in public. (Indeed TB said exactly that on page something or other of The Blair Years, when he pointed out that if every conversation he and I had ever had had been recorded, we’d have been in real trouble ((see below for further fundraising opportunity))). But he was also insistent – and when Peter is insistent he can be very insistent – that the real story of this campaign was how David Cameron had blown the big lead he enjoyed going into the fight. Danny Finkelstein winced when he was reminded Cameron has led the Tories to exactly the same poll rating as enjoyed five years ago by Michael Howard.

He was right too that the media continue to give Cameron as easy a ride as imaginable. And even though he has seen one or two poll leads widen, and even if the latest brouhaha and its wipe-out of policy debate helps a bit more, Cameron is way short of where he needs to be and where he ought to be. And whilst Olly Grender was right that the Clegg surge from the first debate and the Mrs Duffy encounter were the two big unexpected ‘moments’ of the campaign, Peter was right that the Cameron failure was the real narrative of the campaign and the Tories are right to remain worried.

Gordon knows he has made a big mistake. But he also knows it has upped the stakes for tonight’s debate. It has also probably done wonders for the ratings.

So with a massive audience he has the chance to show why he, with all the experience and expertise he has, is better placed to secure the economic recovery than Cameron or Clegg.

For all the media battering he has taken for months, and for all the problems in the economy, he retains a big advantage here. And tonight he has to press this home like his life depended on it. Because if he loses, the real losers will be the British people who, in part thanks to the nature of the campaign and the media protection DC has enjoyed, have a lot of nasty surprises in store if the Tories get back in.

They have not changed – scratch the surface and they are the same old Tories. Gordon has to remind the public of this. It is true and hurts them.

They also know Cameron is too much for the privileged – his inheritance tax cut for the rich is symbolic of that  – and for all his talk of change he will never serve the many.

Cameron’s lack of judgement and substance has been exposed on Europe and on the banking crisis.

The Tories got the most important economic call of the last 60 years wrong

They would make future mistakes because their Europe and foreign policy would lose them alliances, their economic policy is driven by right wing dogma, and because no-one in the country believes Osborne is right for the job.

Mrs Duffy has dominated the campaign for the last day or so. But one year from now, it might be a double dip recession, cuts to frontline services and rising unemployment that plays out across our screens night after night.

And with all respect to all that happened yesterday, it will be largely forgotten.

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.

  • kris

    Mrs Duffy IS a bigot. There, I said it. So if she would have said, “shame about all the black people/muslims” etc people would have been fine with that?

    I’m not particularly a Gordon fan – but this witch-hunt is insane.

    I think Gordon showed remarkable restraint – all he called her was a bigot. I’ve said much worse. Are the press seriously suggesting he should have called her a bigot to her face? Nice manners. Are they seriously suggesting she’s not a bigot? Don’t make me laugh.

    I’m voting Labour out of spite. Gordon may be an intemperate bully – but the Conservatives and their Murdoch crew are the Party of adolescents.

  • Chris lancashire

    You are right on two counts – it IS the economy and Brown HAS made a mistake. His mistake is his handling of the economy. Remember, this was the man who had ended boom amd bust. Instead, he delivered the worst recession for 80 years and the highest defecit ever. His cack handed tripartite regulation of banks delivered the worst banking crisis ever. And you think he is the man best placed to get us out of the hole he has dug?

  • Slim Pickings

    Much as I often agree with you, I think you’ve got it wrong this time. Peter Hyman may have been an asset when his style was in vogue, but last night he just looked like a relic of the past, hectoring and trying to spin away what had been a very bad day at the office.

    Hopefully, the debate will bring some respite. But tonight isn’t just the last chance saloon, it’s the final slurp of the dregs of the bottle in the last minute of the lock-in before the saloon shuts up shop for good. Poor, lacklustre campaign I’m afraid, I’d really hoped for better. Let’s hope Gordon can have his gamechanger tonight, only this time for the right reasons.

  • Charlie

    @AC “…..it might be a double dip recession, cuts to frontline services and rising unemployment that plays out across our screens night after night.”

    And when it is, voters will know exactly who to blame: Gordon Brown, the man who has ensured that our Economy is uniquely unprepared to face Global Recession.

  • Charlie Reynolds

    Double dip recession – or the real recession as I would call it is on it’s way whoever wins and you know it. Your party will make bigger cuts than Thatcher and your chancellor has admitted it. It is the biggest stinking pile of hypocrisy around at the moment and it’s the real reason Labour and Brown are so unpopular. Brown as Chancellor is the man most responsible and he should be the man to suffer the consequences – but as so often he can’t take the difficult decisions and will leave those to someone else. Pathetic.

    As for yesterday – the contempt Labour has for the people of Britain was laid bare. Your own core voter. lifelong Labour. You have deserted her for the last 13 years and yet she was still prepared to vote for you until you told her she was a bigot. It epitomises all you have done as New Labour and the decline of Labour generally. It’s a sad old day.

  • Leo

    And a year from now, as I wrote here a few weeks ago, it might be a collapse in the value of sterling, high interest rates and a rescue, with punitive conditions, by the IMF. This outcome may be the case whoever is in power. But it would be more likely under Labour. However sceptical markets might be of Cameron and Osborne, and very is the answer, GB is seen as one of the architects of the economic collapse. He may have made some good decisions once it struck, and that’s up for debate, but he worked with other western leaders and the bankers he now vilifies to cause the crisis – that he didn’t understand what he was doing is some excuse but no help. It’s a source of amazement to many that the line is still peddled, including by you, that he is adept at managing an economy when the weight of evidence is to the contrary.

  • Richard

    Oh, so calling a lifelong labour supporter a bigot is actually a great opportunity for Gordon? Hadn’t seen it quite in that light I have to say.

    I am sure you are right that we will hear “inheritance tax”, “2,000 largest estates” etc ad nauseum tonight, but I rather fear people have stopped listening.

    Most people will watch tonight only to see whether (a) Gordon gets a rough ride because of yesterday (fair bit of ghoulish anticipation around) and (b) whether Nick Clegg will trip up or triumph again (some hoping he aces it others hoping he falls flat). No one is going to be listening to Gordon’s tractor production statistics and repetitive mantras – they look at that cadavorous smile and tune out.

    Even before the election has happened he is yesterday’s man.

  • simon landau

    Excellent and wise blog on the difference between events in a campaign and themes. I was not surprised at the po faced hubris of Naughtie on R4 (I started musing on the off-mike comments that John Humphrys might make about Naughtie & his love of opera).His judgement went out the window once he saw an event that could be a story for today. The theme continues to be how economic stewardship can be trusted to the Tories when so many of the electorate remember the 80s and 1990 recessions. In many ways Cameron’s obsession with ‘liberal’ social engineering policies as a way of distancing himself from those memories (‘big society’, ‘family’, ‘volunteering’) actually make the LibDems job easier.

    So please folks (especially Gordon) – focus on the theme. The prime minister aided by his chancellor needs to be steward of the recovery.

  • Patrick James

    Get real! – It’s the economy stupid.

    I think this should be the battle cry for Labour until 6th May.

    On 6th May it is not an opinion poll about who has best hair or teeth.

    It is about electing the government of the United Kingdom.

  • Tiberius

    This is not the place I envisaged posting this, but seeing as only you have raised that discussion last night…

    The first reason the Tories’ polling has reduced in the last few months is because they moved away from the prescription that you designed so well, namely strict news management. The Tories were under pressure from centre Right policymakers last autumn to be straight with the British people over the deficit so that should they win the election, they could not be accused of having hidden the truth. Failure to disclose this truth would leave them to make swingeing cuts without a mandate to do so, the argument went. So the Tories, particularly at their Conference, laid out plans such as raising the retirement age and freezing public sector pay.

    It turned out that although many of the public did say they wanted to hear the truth, when they heard what it was they didn’t like it. Doing the right thing backfired on Cameron.

    The second reason is also to do with misplaced openness. Cameron has been accused by many observers of lacking substance. The leaders’ debates were to be a forum for him to put his policies to the public over the heads of the media pack. There were risks to debating of this kind, but courage as well as openness are natural instincts in Cameron. But again, the nature of the public was misjudged, as the leaders’ debates descended into X-Factor competitions, rather than a forum for policy discussion.

    For me, the first error was avoidable, while the second, with its outcome of sending Clegg to the top of the charts, was unforeseeable.

    Janet Daley concluded her excellent article in last Sunday’s ST by saying that Cameron has fallen between two stools in trying to satisfy both the Before and After Tony parts of the electorate. This circle has been so very difficult for Cameron to square (incidentally he hasn’t failed yet) because unlike New Labour, which just used policy statements as another tool to hold on to power, he is genuinely trying to persuade people that his policy is for the benefit of the country.

    So that’s it. The Tories poll lead has reduced because Cameron sacrificed too many of the tactics which helped New Labour and himself to 40% plus ratings, for tactics of openness and courageous honesty which apparently don’t.

    So I would suggest that Labour supporters keep quiet about the media supposedly failing to scrutinize the Tories’ fall in the polls. If it did start to question, it might just set a few more voters thinking favourably about the Tories.

  • Emma Coften

    I’m not a socialist BUT… isn’t the likes of the Mrs Duffy’s talking in terms of “flooding Eastern Europeans” walking the line of bigotry?

    GB has totally secured my vote, I just wish he wasn’t so battered and abused by the press that are trying to constantly dictate our thinking, such a high level of focus on a very human reaction of what was thought to be private, but why so much defense of Mrs Duff? Along side a brief apology I think GB and any other Labour MP should have used it as a platform to expound some facts about immigration.

    P.S I’m pretty much a socialist!

  • Dominic Minghella

    The reason for Cameron’s decline is that his supported was bolstered by voter disaffection, which inevitably harms the long-term incumbents more than their rivals. But this was never solid pro-Tory support, merely folk wanting change.

    42% of respondents to a Populus poll for the Times on April 12 said “it seems like ‘time for a change’ FROM Labour, but I am not sure it seems ‘time for a change’ TO the Conservatives. The nation has not actually swallowed Tory values.

    Clegg is now the focus for that big chunk of disaffected electorate. The tragedy is that the nation hasn’t swallowed LibDem values either – they don’t really know what their policies are. Even the pundits had to re-read the LibDem manifesto after the first debate to remind themselves what the LibDems stood for.

    So we run the real risk of ending up with Tory values the nation doesn’t actually share, or LibDem values the nation doesn’t really understand.

  • Mark Wilson

    Peter Hyman was absolutly right last night, the amount of time the BBC spent covering yesterdays incident was ridiculous, I was home when the story broke, and for the next 4 hours was subjected to constant opinion and analysis from a wide ranging selection of talking heads. Including 47 minutes of what I like to call ‘Door – Watch’.

    Compare this to the day when the news broke of Chris Graylings secret conversation broke and i somehow doubt the BBC gave it anywhere near as much coverage.

    And as for the BBC news at 10 using this as there lead story on a day when Europe went mad, is quite bizzare.

    If the media gave Dodgy Dave’s policies and political alliances anywhere near this much scrutiny then i would imagine this election would be a clear two horse race……between lib and lab.

    ps; GB should have said ‘Big – Hearted’

  • Hazico

    Hi Alastair,

    I’d like to add my thoughts, which may be of some help.

    I’d like to see Gordon rising above all the hype from yesterday, and show his real strengths on substance, policy, and experience.

    The great advantage he has over DC and NC is in depth political and life experience, and handling the economy through a global crisis.

    He is a fighter; has great tenacity and strength of spirit. He’s not a PR person, but that can be an advantage.(People hate false spin and rhetoric.)

    He needs to keep a calm nerve, and rise above the parapet of slogans and spin talk.

    I believe that ultimately people respond best to straight talking, authenticity, genuine feeling,and clear communication in speech and gesture, and very importantly- warmth.

    Nothing must appear over rehearsed; there needs to be genuine spontaneity too. Smiling is good, but not overdone or false. Just be himself, even if warts ‘n’ all!

    In other words, as if talking 1:1, and explaining something that means a lot and is really important…to get a message across.

    Communication can be simple and powerful.Genuine emotion speaks volumes.

    I also think- slow down the speech, look more into the camera (but not intrusively as I think DC does;)and most importantly be himself!

    What really matters are the values, policy, and substance on the crucial issues. That is Gordon’s strength- as well as great knowledge of the economy, and a good track record.

    I know he will be up against 2 very adept PR politicians, trained in communication skills.(I also think NC is nice!)

    But to me they look positively lightweight compared to Gordon’s stature and political experience. He needs to take centre stage and seize the agenda. A bit like a boxing match!

    I think what people will respond to is honesty, compassion,straight talking,and genuine humour.

    He stands out as the one that is different, with character, but this can be a strength.He can make the other 2 look flimsy on experience and policy.

    My partner has added:

    “GB can’t easily talk to people but appears deeply caring about them. He wants to do the right thing, and feels responsible. If he believes deeply, he must convey this.

    He might say the wrong thing, but want to do the best for the country.

    He could appear statesman like over the other 2.

    People are told constantly “it’s all gone wrong- but that’s rubbish.” Much evidence of commitment in schools, health and communities, like Surestart.

    Much more to do, but Labour is progressive; so much potential for further renewal and ideas. Great people within the party, and at grassroots, in communities.
    A wealth of vision and ideas. We want to go forward, not backwards.

    Regarding personal skills, some vulnerability is OK, but not too much. Needs to appear strong and show self belief. Admit responsibility, but not apologetic. Move on from that. Use it constructively.”

    Show vision.

    Comments on DC: vulnerable on policy; unconvincing- eg on NI arguments. Lack of experience. Wrong priorities and approach on social policy/public services.

    Appears quite shrill at times; raises voice to dominate; has the prepared lines.But it is all too smooth and rather patronising.Staring into the camera constantly is “overkill.”

    Evidence on Tory led local councils; ideology above real need. Poor track record on social care for the elderly and community services/jobs.Huge cuts, heavily criticized, see “Tory Stories.”

    Hark back to 18 year Tory government; evidence of huge surge in poverty and deepening inequalities. Applying market principles to the NHS, selling off public utilities.Abandoning mining communities and manufacturing industry. 2 recessions,? caused by a reliance on financial and banking servces ro create wealth.Anti EU. Reactionary, not visionary. The list is long.

    This legacy has deeply affected the past 30 years; the inequalities now are unacceptable.But what we don’t need is ex USA style policy and politics, like a sticking plaster.

    Eg “rolling back the welfare state” and enlisting volunteers is ludicrous.DIY education and heavy cuts in funding- appalling.

    There’s a lot more beneath the surface on Tory policy, and the public need to know the danger.

    Having said all of this, we must concentrate on our core beliefs and track record. Vision for the future.

    Real self belief, and no apology!

    Some of us are still hanging in there; I believe there is more than the polls to consider.Elections can be unpredictable, and there is more support out there than apparent.Yes, some disappointment and anger post expenses and Iraq; but also pragmatism about what alternatives out there.And people really care about their frontline public services and jobs.They need reassurance too.

    My big criticism Alastair has been so few faces and voices in the campaign “out there” and visible…I don’t think focusing just on GB or personalities is enough.

    Also- where have the women been- seeing as we are the swing voters?! Please don’t underestimate us girls!

    Women see through the gloss and look for authenticity and substance.It’s also the subtle things..

    I believe GB to be a deeply caring person who doesn’t shine in the limelight.But his track record on what really matters is great; he is also by far the most experienced politician on the econmy, and should be able to wipe the floor with his juniors. But confidence and self belief are the key.

    Not much to ask then?!

    Thanks, and good luck; still much to play for.

  • Hazico

    Excellent article, and so true- thankyou.

    You are right, this is not just about GB, it is the future of this country and what is at stake.

    We could be hurtling towards a disaster of epic proportions led by an inexperienced team.

    And ideology above real needs in this country.

    We need to get a grip collectively.

  • Cuse

    Alastair, I’ve tried not to comment on this, but my pointless middle aged frustration has boiled over.

    Brown did something stupid but perfectly human. I mean, if even Matthew Parris feels sympathy for Brown – then surely his actions can be understood. At least Clegg had the decency to keep away from this in his comments. Good old Dave ‘n’ Gideon couldn’t help themselves. Well done Chaps. The FT publishes a poll which says Gideon is the least trusted incoming Chancellor in memory by the people who are supposed to be on his side – City CEOs – and you’re throwing snide comments around about Brown, sounding like you’re a frustrated 6th form student.

    Dave and his utterly negative + offensive party have committed gaffe after gaffe on this campaign and none of them have been picked up by this increasingly rabid Tory media and the weak and frightened BBC. His cringing reference to a nameless black man; his admission in the Paxman interview that he’s going to tear apart the North East, Northern Ireland and probably the North West yet again and finish the job Thatcher started; the multiple homophobic references from candidates that haven’t led to single sacking; the fact that 2 Tory activists physically attacked 2 Labour activists; Dave’s inability to deal with even the most basic questions from the public on what should be easy targets for him like Special School provision etc etc etc

    But what really boils my blood is the appalling and transparent behaviour of Sky in sitting the poor woman down and getting her to listen to the comment live on camera. Uncle Rupert’s agenda couldn’t be clearer.

    This is the worst election campaign I can remember with the worst opposition candidates, the worst media coverage and the most stupid + fickle electorate. And out of it, no policy has been analysed by a media that we support by paying for their services.

    Marina Hyde makes the point perfectly in her Guardian article today. The IFS publishes analysis saying “They’re all lying to you. They’re all going to take to the economy with a chainsaw and reduce your public services to dust” and our disgusting media wipe that out with one stupid comment from a tired, cornered and stressed man.

    Frankly, I’m protected from the worst of the recession as I’m lucky enough to be in a great job with a great family and I’m blessed with where I live. However, I genuinely believe that Dave will turn this country back 30 years and will more than likely not survive the first parliament due to him and his team’s visible + demonstrable rank incompetence. I would urge every single Briton to stop being so stupid in falling for the act of this worst of Tony Blair impersonators.

    I’ve been turned off completely by the Guardian, BBC, Sky and every other media outlet by their handling of something that should be hugely important to us all. Of course I’ll vote Labour because I’ve been bred to do that – plus they’re visibly the best party for the UK.

    A plague on all the media houses!

  • Suez

    Having watched that through a couple of times, all I can say is…. is that ALL Gordon had to say about her! All the pressure he’s been under and the worst he can manage is “that was a disaster..” “a bigot…” I’d have been hurling expletives. The patience and demeanour of the man are incredible.

    I’ve just been telephoned by the LibDem team… “have you decided who you’re voting for” he asks. “Labour” I reply. So he continues “well would you consider voting Lib Dem in order to keep the Conservatives out?” ! I had a reply.

    So is that it – the LibDem view is to convince the public to place a vote to follow strategy instead of conscience. Guiding us to vote for who we want out, instead of who we want in? Well, if that’s the route the LibDems have to take with the public, it speaks volumes about their weakness of policy.

  • Rosie

    Every single news bulletin on Radio 4 today has led with the story that the debate is tonight, but has also managed to include the words: “a bigoted woman”. So much for moving on. I don’t watch Sky as I prefer my news to have at least an element of impartiality.

    Gordon Brown did something we’ve all done. It’s human, it’s wrong, it’s unthinking, it’s unkind, it’s deeply embarrassing if you are overheard, but it happens. Obviously, it doesn’t help if a media outlet lets a tape run, then allows a private conversation to be broadcast around the world. If the right wing media had tried to set up a “Gotcha”, they couldn’t have planned it better.

    The image that will remain with me is that of Mrs Duffy being pursued by a female reporter, who told her, on air, also to be broadcast around the world, that she had been called a bigoted woman. How cruel! And how it shows up the hypocritical, sanctimonious, money grubbing attitude of our newspapers, wringing their hands with sympathy for this good woman, while camping outside her home and pressuring her with large sums of filthy lucre, and humiliating her without compunction.

    Do you suppose if this had happened to David Cameron, that the unguarded remarks would have been broadcast? If they had, do you think there might have been an attempt to discover some little secret about the woman involved, in order to take the heat off? What a gift. Takes the heat off Cameron during the economy debate. He can just stand there now. He’ll still win it, according to much of the media.

    If the Conservatives win this election it will be dreadful for many, especially the most vulnerable. It always is.

  • Andy McMenemy

    I have to say I was upset with Mr.Brown for allowing himself to get caught out by Sky news of all people.

    Why! He played right into the hands of the bully boys or should I say the Tories & friends of the Tories, I.E Sky & ITN.
    He has always had in the neck from that shower of bully boys, who wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped them on the face.
    I just hope and pray that the Prime Minister takes the gloves off tonight in the debate and speaks from his heart and soul to the whole of the U.K and really says who he is and what he thinks and by doing so will hopefully will wipe the smirk of the two sunshine boys.

  • rosie

    Just wondering what a fly on the wall, or a mike on the lapel would overhear if certain newspaper editors/proprietors were discussing their readers? Sympathy? Empathy? An understanding of life on benefits, or as a single parent, or a pensioner on the basic pension?

    Or not.

    I am now going to join the Labour party. Better late than never.

  • Claire

    At one time or another we have all said something that perhaps we should not have, but Gordon’s comments yesterday should not have any influence on votes. It’s policies that count, and based on the previous two debates it is very clear to me that Labour’s policies have real substance. While Cameron and Clegg simply waffle on about what they want, Gordon provides detailed responses.

    So, I urge voters to see past the image of Cameron and Clegg and vote for the things that really count; policies.

  • Samantha Dixon

    And for those who continued to watch Newsnight last night for the real news, the prospects for Greece and possibly Spain and maybe even Britain are really really worrying. And the fact that a week tomorrow the economy may in George Osborne’s hands is frankly terrifying. Please can the debate get back to Planet Earth?

  • claire

    Two comments on Duffygate:

    First, if Gillian Duffy had talked about black or Asian people ‘flocking’ to Britain, would the media reaction have been the same?

    Second, Brown has said he ‘misheard’ some of the words used by Gillian Duffy, but no one has asked which ones. Could it have been that ‘flocking to Britain’ sounded to him something like ‘f**king up Britain’? That might explain his reaction.

  • kathy

    Pathetic Pathetic Pathetic. Nothing can now help Gordon Brown or the Labour Party. How can he change things by a debate on the Economy when he is the reason the Economy is in such a state. Labour are lying to the public saying cuts will be worse under the Tories. Cuts will be awful no matter who wins as the incoming government will have to clear up the mess Labour left behind. Gordon Brown has become a pitiful figure who was never capable of being Prime Minister and his downfall came because of his over ambition. Tony Blair for all his faults had the qualities to engage with people. New Labour is finished, most of its ministers and hangers on are discredited and people want to see new faces at the top and give someone else a go. Whether that will be David Cameron I do not know but people will vote with expenses in mind People no longer trust MPs and I think you will find the Jacqui Smiths, Hazel Blears and hopefully Ed Balls will be consigned to history. I voted Labour in the previous 2 elections but this time no way. I still don’t know where my vote will go or if it is just a waste of time but my disillusionment with Labour is now complete. With Peter Mandelson more or less running the government, an unelected, doubly discredited, chancer, Labour is out as far as I am concerned.

  • Simon Gittins

    ‘The Tories got the most important economic call of the last 60 years wrong’

    Which party was in power when this happened ?
    Which party has been spending money they don’t have for 13 years.
    Which party has taken this countyr to the point of bnkrupty which means everyone will suffer the consequences for decades to come ?

    You may be a desperate man AC but let’s stick to the facts, not opinion or half-truths.

    Labour has destroyed this countries economy, no one else.

  • Steve Norman

    What was of real interest was the lack of expletives, the lack of an angry or even harsh tone in the car back from Rochdale. It’s hard to understand how Andrew Rawnsley can claim that his GB is the real GB on this basis. Back now to a great performance by the truly real GB.

    Steve Burntwood, Staffs

  • Mark Owen

    Oh dear Alistair, GB head and shoulders above the others, yet 25% – oh I forgot u don’t care about the polls haha

  • Richard

    Can I remind the Tories posting here that it was the bankers who caused this financial crisis, it is worldwide and if we hadn’t had Gordon Brown & Alastair Darling in charge, the last two years would have been much, much worse.

  • Neil

    Got it wrong with GB. Should never have tried to present him as different man. Made him appear false, contrived and awkward. God knows how it has made him feel.

  • Robert Jackson

    Getting some 24000 to 25000 students fired up in Edgbaston tonight could have electrifying consequences for the city.

    Listened again – not watched – GB came over very well – policy – attack policy – policy – attack – policy.

  • Vin

    Could not agree more with Steve Burntwood, bravo,

    Steve Norman
    2010-04-29 22:45:41

    What was of real interest was the lack of expletives, the lack of an angry or even harsh tone in the car back from Rochdale. It’s hard to understand how Andrew Rawnsley can claim that his GB is the real GB on this basis. Back now to a great performance by the truly real GB.

    Steve Burntwood, Staffs

  • Graham Jones

    I feel we ned a re-christening after that debate. Step forward, Gordon ‘Who’s the Daddy?’ Brown. Ignore the fixed polls in the papers, the more they fix them, the more people will realise they aren’t kosher. And if you don’t believe me, Google the CEO for YouGov.

    It was embarrassing how much Cameron was out of his depth, yet extremely funny. He failed to answer a single question, several times. In other words, he failed to engage in the debate properly. Why? He didn’t have the answers. Why no answers? Because he didn’t have any proper policies. What he had was a manifesto, full of fictitious nonsense, that would be spun by right-wing stooges in the media.
    But they aren’t anywhere near to an outright victory, and they know it. They’re getting desperate, and are ready to try anything Andy Coulston can dream up. Labour with a 3 point lead in the marginals, has them worried with a week to go.
    Seven days of taking our message to the people, asking them to weigh up the serious choices. Labour must keep reminding public, who it was that formed the party – it was the British people; and that there is only one party that is on their side, who will fight for their jobs and prosperity – the Labour party. When put in these terms it is a simple choice.

  • turtle

    we all thought GB did v well at the party i was at – more real & sincere – David Cameron seems so darn PR slick and Clegg just wants to be friends with everyone

  • Neil_

    Scum gutter press cannot swing this election. Ordinary people like Brown and expect him to win. Nobody I met thinks china doll Cameron can win. He looked like an antique doll in the first debate.

  • David

    It seems remarkable that every one goes by these instapolls in announcing who “won” the debate. It’s analogous to asking Arsenal and Spurs fans after a match which side was the better squad, and using that as the result. They poll all voters who watch the debate, but do not segregate for undecided or unbiased voters. It’s bizarre: In most polls I think you get of the US after Presidential debates they are limited to those who would go into debates with their votes up for grabs. In most of these style debates, rarely is there a decisive (Bentsen-Quayle) victory for one side. As such, we go into polls beforehand with the Tories in first, Lib Dems in second and Labour in third. We leave with Tories in first, and Lib Dems in second and Labour in third. Hence the only 1% change in actual result despite a “huge” victory for Cameron in the polls that everyone can trumpet for their tab. It’s pathetic that absolutely NO ONE has brought this fact up for the three debates and no one has made the right polling for this.

  • Leo

    Richard, bankers behaved appallingly, the two highest profile in the UK being Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS and Sir James Crosby of HBOS. They didn’t operate in a vacuum though and the Government didn’t discourage their behaviour by giving them knighthoods did it? This was GB in his Mansion House speech to bankers in 2007 just before it all went wrong: ‘The financial services sector in Britain and the City of London at the centre of it, is a great example of a highly skilled, high value added, talent driven industry that shows how we can excel in a world of global competition. Britain needs more of the vigour, ingenuity and aspiration that you already demonstrate that is the hallmark of your success.’ He wasn’t exactly saying wind your necks in you appalling people before you cause disaster was he?

  • Maccy

    Did you see Ed Balls on Question Time last night? Most of the time he looked deflated and pissed off but at one point, in response I think to JSP saying (shouting) Labour had been a failure, he listed the massive achievements of the last 13 years and repeated the refrain ‘I don’t think … is a failure’. It was like a switch being pressed on in the audience. People have short memories and I think Labour needs to remind everyone what a shitty state the tories left the country in in 97 and just how much Labour has turned it around.

  • Alan Quinn

    Nick Clegg 3.00 minutes into the debate “We need to rediscover our passion for making things..”

    Nick Clegg 5.35 into the debate “We would scrap the multi billion Eurofighter Typhoon, a defence project…”

    3,000 skilled engineers at BAE on the dole, another 50,000 in the supply chains, again, many of them highly skilled on the dole. Where are they going to go Clegg? What what take their place when the factories are empty?
    Clegg said he admired Thatcher the other week, now we know why.

  • Billy Bliofeld

    “It is the economy stupid”

    Which is why a debate on the economy was destined to be an epic fail for Brown.

    Brown crashed the economy. He can’t just lazily blame America……. Brown is an economic disaster in a scruffy suit.

    Goodbye Labour……

  • Simon Gittins

    ‘Fixed polls’, ‘everyone likes Gordon Brown’…., hysterical.
    Once again he was a poor third, if you want proof wait until next weeks ‘fixed poll’. The man is deceitful, incompetent and a hypocrite.
    One more week and he’s gone and this country can move onto fixing all the problems he’s responsible for.

  • Chris lancashire

    Brown looked haggard and ill last night. That, coupled with the same old failed mantras trotted out, means he really is finished. And, as posted elsewhere here, given his abysmal track record on the economy why would anyone think he could win a debate on it?

  • TheE17Tory

    Seriously, you urgently need to get checked for early dementia!

  • olli issakainen

    IMF predicts that the world economy will grow 4.2% this year. In USA the growth will be 3%, in Britain 1.3% and in the euro zone 1%. Recovery seems to be on course. But Greece´s debt crisis can still cause serious problems to the entire European banking system.
    IMF has proposals for taxing financial firms, something that will be discussed at the G20 meeting in June. I think it would be a good idea to tax part of the banks´ debt. I guess we will see some sort of global tax. Worldwide re-regulation is on its way.
    How far and fast the budget deficit should be cut in Britain may turn out to be a wrong question. Cutting public spending is not the right policy when recovery is weak and there is a collapse in private investment. The public debt is not historically high or even high compared with other developed nations. The reason for this level of debt, of course, is the global economic crisis which started in USA.
    Bring cuts too early, as the Tories are planning to do, and you risk a double-dip recession. The Tories misjudged the economic crisis, and now they are risking the recovery.
    The state of public finances is not due to excessive spending but to the collapse of revenues. Growth is now the most important thing.
    The Conservative economic revolution of the 1980s broke power of organised labour, deregulated the economy and opened it to global market forces. It launched the neoliberal hegemony. Mass unemployment followed. And the economy was financialised. Now the Tories want to cut the deficit by more than £70bn in next parliament.
    Labour has detailed strategy for recovery and fiscal consolidation. Labour´s economic policy is fair. During the recession Labour got the big decisions on bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus right.

    Ps. I think Britain should not try to halve the deficit within one parliament.

  • SueZ

    Very proud of Gordon’s performance last night. Well held on the majority of the key points and his stature and command were what we really needed to see.

    Would have preferred he mentioned the high interest rates point a bit more, because that’s what people keenly remember and we don’t want a repeat of that pain.

    Clegg was well out of his depth – he’s not a Leader, he’s a counsellor. One week in No.10 would squash him – could you imagine him round a table of Generals discussing war!

    People need to be focusing now on what’s in their hearts and conscience and move away from the hype and spin – because the bias is just ridiculous.