Friday Drop: Bad week for Gordon Brown

Spare a thought for Gordon, hoping to persuade you to put a cross in his box. Brown committed what can only be described as political hari-kari in Rochdale.

Fire-fighting on Mrs Duffy's lawn
Fire-fighting on Mrs Duffy's lawn

Famed for his dislike of meeting 'real people', Gordon Brown was presented with 66 year-old pensioner Gillian Duffy on a walkabout. A fairly well-handled exchange was masterfully turned into a big steaming gaffe when the PM - still wearing a live pooled mic - called Duffy a 'bigot' while driving off. Cue meltdown on Twitter, loops of the audio clip on the news channels and a scrum on Duffy's lawn as Brown was forced into a face to face mea culpa and a thick slice of humble pie.

BIGOT = Brown is going on Thursday, opined one tweet. Someone pretending to be The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker chipped in by tweeting; 'Someone get Mandy on his f*cking magic carpet up to f*cking Rochdale and take her out dancing or something '. To make matters worse, GB was filmed with his head in his hands as he listened to his comments for the first time on Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show. This was a newspaper editor's dream, Gordo looked rocked. Later, illuminating that light bulb smile on the steps of Duffy's castle, like a vanquished knight, he grinned that he was a 'penitent sinner'. Calamity Gordon. Forget Mandy's magic carpet, he could be in for a night of the long knives.

Key Lessons:

Remember the basics - always check your microphone

Save post-mortems until an appropriate time and place

Good week for David Cameron

As we near the end of a bruising and at times engaging election campaign, one thing stands out as a real game changer for British electoral politics and that is the TV debate. For years incumbent governments have recoiled in fear at the thought of stepping up to the debate plate, but 2010 will go down as a landmark year. Conservative leader David 'Dave' Cameron was expected to lord it over Gordo and Clegg, the Susan Boyle of centre-left. However, he of the Lib Dems outshone all before him in Manchester's debate and supporters were beginning to dream a dream. Last night's fractious exchanges in Birmingham however saw Dave finish with a flourish.

Instant polls from You Gov and even the Guardian gave the debate to Cameron. This can be considered a satisfying victory for Dave, with the new kid in town dressed in yellow blocking his once seemingly inexorable rise to Number 10. After a few days of wobbles on policy direction things seem to be back on track with a week to go. His claims that Brown 'has absolutely nothing positive left to say' underscores the PM's implosion and desperate tactics. He is slicker than Brown and comes across as more substantive than SuClegg on key issues. As a former PR man, this should be no surprise. A note of caution came from the Governor of the Bank of England overnight, warning that the bitter economic pill Dr Dave will have to dish out will be so unpopular 'the incoming government would not be elected again for a generation.' Don't have nightmares...

Key Lessons:

Be prepared to play the long game

Presentation alone won't win you support

 

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