Archive for the ‘Gordon Brown’ Tag

Broadcast Bingo 2: Labour Party Election Broadcast, complete with unsurprisingly shit music

This post can also be found on the Th!nk About It blogging platform here.

And now for the second round of quite possibly the geekiest game you’ve ever played: Broadcast Bingo.

Last round the Conservatives scored a measly 3.5/10 for their failed attempts to avoid clichés in their party election broadcast. And one of their 3.5 was awarded for the novelty value of name dropping a Spice Girl.

Will Labour have any equally cringe point enhancing moments? I wonder…

But not for long, because here, my friends, is Labour’s party election broadcast. Sit back and enjoy…

Broadcast Bingo Results:

Length: 3.08

Times Brown says “Brown”: 0

Interviews with potential voters: 0

Cameron bashing: Nothing direct

Needless celebrity name drop: 0 sadly

Shot of sickeningly sweet child: 1

Times “recession” mentioned: 5, with numerous mentions of “downturn” (4) and other synonyms

Times “Obama” mentioned: 1 (but with many shots)

Amount of shots of campaign banner: 0

Best line: “Barack Obama and I share the same values…”

Plus…

Background music: Sounds like a GCSE music project

Generic people-walking shots: 1,000,000 approx.

Some Very Serious Analysis:

The broadcast begins, worryingly, with three shots of Brown that look as though they were recorded by a stalker, perving on our PM through a variety of key holes. But at least this stalker’s cool; his peeking is accompanied by guitar chords.

And yet, despite the GCSE music-project soundtrack, Brown moves on to succumb to the clichés we have come to know and love.

There is, for example, the token shot of a cute child. Although this one doesn’t have any aspirations to save the world, penguins, or anything else, thank goodness, and stays mercifully mute.

There is also, as in the Conservative’s attempt, shots of the party leader on trains. I’m still unsure as to why. Fast moving, perhaps; forward thinking? Whatever – any link is tenuous at best.

Unlike Cameron, though, Brown managed to avoid saying his own name repeatedly. But perhaps this was because he knew that doing so wouldn’t do him any favours. Also, unlike the Tories, Labour’s broadcast didn’t feature numerous interviews with potential voters, singing the praises of the PM. But perhaps that’s because they couldn’t find anybody.

Labour instead stuck to what they do best: Brown-nosing (yes, I did it again) Obama. With a substantial 24 seconds of the three minute video dedicated, in some way, to Brown’s favourite special relationship.

What was, perhaps, surprising, was the amount of time that Brown spends in schools. Which worried me a tad. And the copious amounts of generic people-walking shots, so numerous I stopped counting. When I was working at Sky News, these shots were what you included in long packages when you’d run out of material… It’s hardly comforting that Labour struggled to fill 3.08 minutes.

Yet again, a predictable broadcast with few surprises. Unfortunately for Labour, they lose a quarter of a point for not including any celebrity name-drops. But they claw back one point for the interesting use of pervert-filming technique at the beginning. As such, the Labour party election broadcast video scores…

Barack Obama marks Gordon Brown out of 10...

Barack Obama marks Gordon Brown out of 10...

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Ding ding: Berlins vs Brown in a, quite frankly, unneccesary bashing

Ker pow: a familiar Guardian mug shot and an even more familiar face craftily superimposed, if I do say so myself

Ker pow: a familiar Guardian mug shot and an even more familiar face craftily superimposed, if I do say so myself

Today Marcel Berlins said that:

The government’s plan to allow people to comment on public services online is lazy and ill-considered.

There are a number of reasons, according to Marcel (we’ll go with first names, the plurals involved in the second will only confuse me, if not others) that the government’s “eBay style feedback for services” is not democratic. I have a problem with all of them.

One is that offering this online service is leaving out those who can’t go online. If you’re wondering who these people are, Marcel tells us they “might” include: old people, ill people and thick people.

Apparently, then, people without the internet cannot comment on public services. They mustn’t be able to write (and send a letter to: Mr Brown, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA) or speak (and call: 020 7925 0918). My grandma doesn’t have the internet, and I’m pretty sure she’d disagree with the above – by letter and/or phone if required.

But there’s another reason, according to Marcel.

True democracy is not just about numbers. It is also about quality.

News to me, Marcel. As far as I can remember from my undergrad days, napping in Jonathan Wolff’s lectures on democracy, not much was said about the quality of the voice of the people. I’m pretty sure the voice of the people was enough.

But Marcel wasn’t finished.

Moreover, many people’s opinions will be based not on a careful consideration of their experiences, but on ignorance or misunderstanding of the profession they are dealing with.

Not that you’re assuming that the British public are stupid or anything, Marcel. And, no, I don’t know the difference between an experience, and a “carefully considered” experience either.

Marcel ends by predicting the disastrous consequences of the government “giving too much influence to amateurs, too little to the professionals”. 

Now I’m partial to a bit of Brown bashing myself – as regular readers will know – but I don’t see the point in bashing for bashing’s sake (if for no other reason than the quantity of bashing-worthy material out there).

And here we have (what appeared to me to be) a bashing-proof statement by our prime minister on increasing transparency of the services. It didn’t appear so to Marcel, but he went too far. Call it try-hard, call it desperate. But don’t call it disastrous before it’s even begun. Poor Brown.

Marcel, for some reason, greatly overestimated the weight the government will give to the proposed online feedback system. If he was right, I think there’d be more than just Marcel worried about our country’s democratic future being modelled on eBay.

Snap! A tale of Team Brown’s four broken hearts

The tale of Team Brown’s four broken hearts begins when their American, and – I think we can accurately predict – far cooler counterpart,  Team Obama, informed them that no longer was Brown’s trip to the US going to involve the press conference of their dreams. You know, the one where Barack and Gords stand together, in front of the presidential seal, best buds, hands clasped, embracing… ah hem.

Snap! went their hearts: Obama just, like, totally stood up Brown.

Instead, they were told, there would be a… “pool spray”.What, I hear you cry, the hell is a pool spray? I’m sure Team Brown cried the same thing. Sounds like a, urm, spray. To perhaps be used on a, urm, pool.

NOT Obama's gift to Brown.

NOT Obama's gift to Brown.

But no. Surprisingly, Obama is not planning on presenting Brown with an aquatic cleaning instrument. Instead, Team Obama have decided that Brown can – what with being the Prime Minister of the UK ‘n all – face some questions.

At this point, I reckon, Team Brown’s hearts lifted. Questions? Well, that’s pretty much like a press conference, right? No one will ever know! Perhaps it was at this point in the tale that the press officer released this statement:

We always said that a media event was planned and that’s what will happen. The White House will confirm details in the course of the day.

Little did they know that this “pool spray” actually consists of four – yes, four – questions. Perhaps Team Obama had heard of the Arctic Monkey incident. Snap! Their hearts, I predict, broke for a second time.

Still, at least they could rest in the knowledge that the UK public were unlikely to miss the news of the momentous trip. After all, not only is Nick Robinson off to the US with our good old PM, but so is Oliver Burkeman along, I’m sure, with others. Missing news of the momentous trip should, in fact, have a hefty cash prize attached to it, so hard is it to avoid the publicity of Brown, who is – didn’t you know? -“the first European leader invited to Washington… blah… blah”

What publicity Team Brown didn’t bet on though, was the news that, although Obama is seemingly too busy to hold a press conference with Gords, he is not too busy to meet with the Scouts this afternoon. Snap! For the third time in two days, the Team’s hearts crumbled. At this point, I imagine, they could take little more. Three times in two days is enough for any heart – even those hardened, practised ones of Team Brown.

But there was more: this photo was about to find its way into the media.

Snap! (Wow, almost a pun.)

Snap! (Wow, almost a pun.)

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Team Obama didn’t rate Brown highly enough to give him a press conference (perhaps they’d been checking out the polls); as if it wasn’t bad enough that Brown was deemed only able to cope with four questions; as if it wasn’t bad enough that Obama places scouts above our PM – now everyone’s got a photo of him having make-up applied.

Either that, or he has a strange fetish for having his nose stroked by a lady in red with an unidentifiable object (his expression does look oddly sexual).

Regardless, I think it’s fair to say that Brown’s trip to America has not been good for his Team’s love life.

So long Crosby, and thanks for the all the gift (I know that doesn’t really work)

It was like a gift, it was. A gift wrapped up so perfectly that only an over-paid banker could have justified the expense. The gift came in the form of (Sir) James Crosby‘s resignation from the FSA, and was bestowed upon the people who revel an unacceptable amount in political bungles. Like me.

So long, farewell

So long, farewell

For those who are better at avoiding news than me, Crosby resigned from his position as deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority today after he (allegedly, blah blah blah) fired a whistleblower for, urm, whistleblowing.

Paul Moore (the man with the whistle) claims that he warned of the problems HBOS’s risky strategies could cause – and you’d think that as the bank’s head of regulatory risk Moore was in a pretty good position to know about these things. Apparently not. He was promptly sacked.

Ah ha, I hear you cry. This confirms what we’ve been saying since Northern Rock’s failure to be rocklike: (and I apologise for the overused alliteration but…) the bankers are to blame.

(Incidentally, today our very proper shorthand teacher Margaret Lidell made the obvious comparison between the word banker and “another that sounds a lot like it and is perhaps more appropriate”. If Margaret’s saying it, it must be true.)

It wasn’t hard to find an example of people blaming of the wankers, but it is the following specimen that I love the most. Firstly because it was printed in The Sun and secondly it was written by David Blunkett. Gold:

Of course, people are right to look for someone to blame.

But this time economic collapse has nothing to do with trade unionists or incompetent managers of small businesses, or the failure to invest in new technology.

Along with the Government, business has been doing the right things — with one exception, the bankers.

Yet Crosby is, of course, denying the allegations, which he says have “no merit”. And I’d be much more inclined to believe him if he hasn’t just resigned. Undermines the protests a tad I feel.

Even his old mate Gords says it’s “right” that he has resigned, which brings us on to the extravagant bow that tops this gift of politics present: Brown had hired Crosby as an economic adviser to the government. Yes – the hit man for the whole economic crisis was advising the government on how to get out of the economic crisis. Or, as Cameron puts it:

Sir James, the man who ran HBOS and who the prime minister singled out to regulate our banks and advise the government, has resigned over allegations that he sacked the whistleblower who knew his banks was taking unacceptable risks.

Taxpayers have poured billions into this bank and not only was Sir James appointed as one of the top regulators in the country, you have been relying on him for economic advice.

You couldn’t make it up this good.

In fact, the only thing that puts a slight dampener on this dramatic tale can be found in the BBC’s coverage of the incident:

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston said he understood that Sir James had stood down to protect the FSA from controversy.

Yes. The BBC are quoting their own business editor in their business stories. Brill.

Confusion all round: Davos, 18-30s and Brown the wannabe philosopher

There are at least three things that confuse me about Davos. There could be more.

Would you like a bail-out with that?

Would you like a bail-out with that?

1. Turns out Davos is not a Greek island frequented by Club 18-30 types, as I believed in the not too distant past.

And there I was thinking that our world economic leaders wanted nothing more than vodka-red-bull pitchers for less than five euros.

(In hindsight, I think they should. This summer, Club 18-30 will get you to Greece and back for just over £200, don’tchaknow. I have a feeling that the Davos snow costs a little bit more money – and money that those in Davos enjoying telling us that we don’t have. Also, vodka-red-bulls are good for the soul.)

Alas, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is held in Switzerland, with not a club rep in sight.

2. Even those lucky enough to be invited don’t seem to know what’s going on.

For example, this year the forum is entitled ‘Shaping the Post-Crisis World’. Which quite obviously implies that the ‘crisis’ is over. Hurrah! Let’s all breathe a big sigh of relief  and start shaping the world – beginning with working out where we can buy pick-‘n’-mix now Wollies is dead.

Urm… no. Turns out that the Davos organisers were a little too optimistic in their ‘theme’ for 2009’s forum, bless ’em. As such, there was much less talk of ‘shaping’ and much more of ‘what the hell is going on?’ Let’s see if the BBC’s Nik Gowing’s Tweets from Davos shed any light on this sensible question:

#Davos. Nick Burns: ‘We are at a hinge point in history’ where ‘ old rules broken down so something mist be done structurally to turn things

#Davos. Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz tells me that recession will be even worse than IMF forecast on Wednesday

#Davos. Chairing breakfast on agile leadership in this crisis? Only young who agile or the most experienced in business and politics? No

#Davos. Increasing voices warning of social unrest over job losses everywhere due to anger that vast bailouts to save banks, not save jobs

#Davos. India dep hd planning commission says ‘hegemonistic powers must fix their economies’ before telling others what to do

#Davos. Moderator summary: ‘I hope this panel gives a little more confidence tt policy makers know what they are doing

#Davos. G Brown rejects with despair suggestion that UK economy is now Reykjavik on Thames ! It is a global financial crisis

I think we can all agree that the above sheds little-to-no light on what the hell is going on in Davos.

3. Brown – unsurprisingly – isn’t helping matters.

As if it wasn’t all confusing enough, Brown today said: “History is not destiny”. Apparently Brown’s current polling position isn’t forcing him to consider an alternative career as a philosopher. Instead, the BBC’s economics editor Stephanie Flanders Brown tells us, he was actually referring to “the need for governments to stop talking about the global crisis and start acting”.

Which would, I believe, have far more punch if he wasn’t talking about the global crisis instead of acting.