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Gordon Brown is a genuine control freak. He's one of the most "psychologically damaged" (copyright A. Campbell) politicians of modern times. It's worrying what he might do without Blair around to face him down.

You may be right, Tory T, but the public think Brown is sobre, decent, stable. How we expose him on pensions, debt, tax etc etc has to be done carefully. We have to get the tone right so that we don't appear the "psychologically damaged" ones. I think WH made an impressive start today.

I think we must strongly resist phrases like psychologically damaged when refering to Gordon Brown. Back to Punch and Judy politics with that. It will be interesting to see how we deal with him other than calling him the roadblock to reform. Would be useful if the stories like him giving economics textbooks as christmas presents were to become more publically known. He might be looked on as a bit weird by people then.

"Would be useful if the stories like him giving economics textbooks as christmas presents were to become more publically known. He might be looked on as a bit weird by people then." - Andrew Woodman

Why not mention that he wanted to nationalise supermarkets? I bet he still secretly wishes be could.

The Labour party love using old Conservative stances/policies (most long out of date) against us. Why not use their own game against them.

I am no Gordon Brown fan but he is a wily and very experienced politician. He is much smarter than his oppoenents and will not wait to be effectively caricatured by them, especially as they believe in most of what he believes in. Besides, I suspect that his stature will have risen, not fallen, because of the rather childish ad hominem attacks on him in the press by George Osborne and William Hague. I thought Punch and Judy politics were a thing of the past?

I'm nauseous from priggish moaning.

We've spent a lot of time talking about tax, but for Mr and Mrs average it is take-home pay/post-tax income that matters. With the increase in National Insurance a couple of years ago, Brown was not tarnished. I wonder whether rising gas prices, rising council tax, rising unemployment and falling take-home pay will eventually catch up with Gordon "sudden love of flagpoles" Brown.

I think it people (particularly liberal Tories) underestimate Gordon Brown at their peril - remember when the 'vote Blair get Brown' idea had to be ditched because it resonated in the wrong way with the public.

Even today Robert Harris is praising Brown, (OK, partly as part of his attempt to belittle Cameron), but he does strike a moral chord sometimes, even if he does sound irritating and pulpit bashing at others. We need an answering chord; strengthening the family, individual responsibility, a tax and benefit system which rewards good behaviour not penalises it, and public services which serve the public not those who work in them.

Without some kind of moral chord we risk being portrayed as superficial, shallow and untrustworthy by our opponents.

Hague leads the march back to 'Punch & Judy politics'.

Gordon Brown has benefited from people willing to hock themselves up to the neck in debt.

In the past mortgages were based (well in the early 80's anyway) on 2.5 x the main breadwinners income and 1 x the partner. This changed with upto 3-6 times both earners gross incomes which fundamentally changed how people organised their monthly outgoings and thus masked the increases in National Insurance and the fiscal drag by leaving tax free allowances low.

The repercussions of this are 30 year old women unable to quit their jobs to bring up their children, one trillion pounds worth of personal debt, increased personal bankruptcy (reading about Wendy Turner and her £80,000 write off at the weekend just made me feel sick).

When I catch these programs on BBC3 about spendaholics who don't even realise how much debt they're in I despair because who is going to bail them all out (the squirrelers and the cautious that's who - taxpayers are already being asked to bail them out with increased and extended maternity pay because they've got themselves in such a high debt repayment treadmill that otherwise they won't be having children).

It's about time that we started to have a conversation about who the losers are in new labour's utopia.

I'm certainly NOT proposing that any Tory should go on TV describing Brown as psychologically damaged - in fact I think Campbell actually called him psychologically flawed - but it is true.

Pointing out the shortcomings of others is often seen as rude. That applies doubly when the pointer is a Tory.

We need to find a way of alerting the British public to Brown's very serious shortcomings without appearing to be hurling abuse. To that extent I agree with the Editor.

"Hague leads the march back to 'Punch & Judy politics'."

I missed them, it made politics far more entertaining. Plus ideological battles are more interesting than a scrap over the centre ground where the parties have a lot in common. Still, that is presumably what the electorate wants.

I recall hearing something about Brown suggesting that cadet corps in schools should be expanded. Much as I dissaprove of state meddling in education, this did strike a chord with me. If the government has to meddle it might as well meddle in conservative ways. His "flag day" didn't impress me though, we've traditionally always been more reserved about our national idenity. Although I suppose if it's under threat (Europe etc) there might be a case for being more vocal about it.

If you have not already done so, all you ye students of Brown, I recommend you read Tom Bowers, unauthorised biography for an insight into what really makes this deeply flawed man tick. In Glasgow he is remembered as a third rate lecturer in the second rate the FE college that is now Glasgow Caledonian University.
What drives him is the unshakeable belief that in the world of the blind the one eyed man is king. He quite literally is a one eyed man and in Bowers book he argues that Brown’s Achilles heal is that he really believes he is a political messiah, intellectually and morally superior to all his peers. But he is not. He doesn’t even begin to compare with the Political giants of our time like Keith Joseph or Enoch Powel, or from previous generations like Churchill or Disraeli. Nor from his own side does he bare comparison with Crossman or Jenkins, or Bevin or Gaitskell. It is a measure of the current Labour front bench that in the world of pygmies a diminutive dour Presbyterian can be king.
Brown is in contention for no other reason that other than Blair, Labour have no other huge talent. The fall of Wilson followed by the hapless Callaghan should not be forgotten as a parallel.
Brown has succeeded in part because our successive Shadow Chancellors have not been up to the job. William Haig however is a class act in any political arena, and is more than capable out boxing Brown in any length of contest. That’s why he is the right man to lead our assault not Osbourne. In Scotland Brown led Labour’s Dunfermline West by election campaign and was thoroughly humiliated. His stock amongst his Scottish mafia has never been lower. That’s why true to form he is ducking their Scottish conference in two weeks time. If you read Bower this is standard Brown form--- deny and lie low and it washes over.
We should not fear Brown but rather expose him for what he is: a third rate, dour Scot who is an instinctive Marxist, hell bent on burdening this country with an ever burgeoning public sector and a dependency culture to buy votes.
William Haig is the right man to lead our assault: his superb wit and rapier mind is far beyond Browns comprehension.

Hague not Osborne. Squeaky Osborne is not the man to take on Brown - Hague will give him a kicking.

This is the biggest weakness in the frontbench line-up, Osborne may be Dave's mate, but that does not make him the man for the job. A job-swap would be a good idea.

"Punch & Judy Politics" - yup. Hurrah!

Sorry those who believe we can win just by being positive, offering the nice party. We need to do that but we also need to oppose and expose.

Blair was the nice face of NuLab, Robin Cook & others dug up the dirt and smeared us with it. DVA responded to an earlier comment of mine about using the Scots experience directly against Gordon by saying we shouldn't use same tactics as the Lib Dems. Why ever not?

I think Gordon Brown is a dangerous opponent and that his policies will drive this country back to the uncompetitive, centrally planned economy of 1979. There are two areas he is exposed on:
his pensions black hole where he has created through policy a deficit in occupational pensions larger cumulatively than that in the public sector. Where he has weakened the capital markets by pushing funds towards financing his borrowings rather than investing in enterprise. Where he has put at risk millions of pensioners futures.
his views of the state as the guiding hand - best exemplified in Scotland where unconstrained Labour politicians have rejected choice in NHS, education etc leading to worse public services at higher per capita costs than England. Where state employment is driving out private employment creating a client state voting to retain its priveleges at expense of productive regions.

Cameron cannot be the attack dog - he needs to be the exemplar of our new inclusive approach. His close colleagues Osborne, Letwin etc need to support this offering the positive policies that engage voters in the progressive, fair conservativism that I believe this country needs. But we also need to expose the ugly truth hiding behind NuLab's spin. For that we must deploy Hague, Clarke, Davis and others to play Punch to Gordon's Judy.

"DVA responded to an earlier comment of mine about using the Scots experience directly against Gordon by saying we shouldn't use same tactics as the Lib Dems. Why ever not?"

Because in an age where public trust in politicians and political parties is at an all-time low, I don't see how adopting the same brand of mendacious, duplicitous, downright dishonest campaigning as the Liberal Demoprats will help us regain the trust of the electorate.

Whoever came up with the idea of putting William Hague up against Brown (or Blair for that matter) needs to be pensioned off to UKIP. William Hague is a really nice guy and all that, but to Mr & Ms J Public he makes Brown look like a normal and even attractive human being.

[shudders at the last sentence of what he wrote!]

I would like to email William Haig but cannot find an email address for him,
Mike Butcher

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