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Completely agree Tim.

George Osborne gave a very good speech today but he needs to look serious not trivial. These jibes at Labour ministers don't enhance his standing.

Yah-boo politics is not very attractive and does nothing to enhance the speaker's point.
That doesn't rule out cleverly crafted, witty sideswipes, if used sparingly!

Agree absolutely. There is enough to be attacking without getting personal. It's not as if all of our shadow cabinet members are dripping with charisma!

Completely right. Personal attacks usually backfire on the people who make them.

I, too agree with the tone of this article. However there are people for whom this appeals. So continue to input a little of this but not overtly. After all an individuals character and personality does impact on how they run an enterprise or Govern.

Grayling's might have gone too far, but the others seem fine to me. Balls has a nauseating and calculating manner which many of us have only just had the opportunity to notice, having previously relied upon second hand press reports about what a brilliant rising star he is; so it's fair comment. It was Balls remember last week who, when asked if a possible early election might be risky, said that it "depended on where the risk lies". He is so calculating that he doesn't even have the calculation to hide it...Very gallant husband though in ensuring that his friend Brown didn't sack his wife for the cock-up on Home Information Packs for which she is responsible. And to think that their double claim of MPs' second home allowance didn't even depend on her continuing in Ministerial office!

Agree totally Tim.

These unpleasant remarks -- made by thoroughly unpleasant people -- say more about them than they could ever say about the statespeople they attempt to demean.

A squalid but sadly not untypical incident.

Don't be so squeamish. A *little* of this does no harm whatsoever and Brown and his mendacious, manipulative crew are certainly asking for it.

I agree that we shouldn't go too personal but I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with a few light-hearted digs a la George Osborne, most people are mature enough to recognise that it isn't spiteful. This is in marked contrast to the venomous personal attacks and class-based abuse on display at Bournemouth last week.

Trouble is Brown's record and his character are inextricably bound up together. Duncan's attack on Brown strikes home and is very accurate - but you can't really argue it isn't personal. Brown has been spun as a trustworthy, reliable man who has a "moral compass". He isn't - and he doesn't. There's absolutely nothing wrong with exposing this - in fact it's necessary. Osborne's jibe about Brown's 'courage' was fine - it showed up a genuine character flaw. And as for Alistair Darling - even Labour party people make jokes about how boring he is.

Whilst agreeing that personal attacks are for the most part unwise and unwelcome it is always wise to call a duck a duck and a liar a liar.

Although there's a need to be careful about criticising personalities based on subjective opinion, Chris Grayling's remark seems to be of a factual nature.
I think it's about time we stopped pussyfooting around and called a spade a spade.

Tim, you're so right. In fact I've just posted a comment on another thread to say "Don't do any jokes" to DC.

Labour supporters generally, for some reason, aren't put off by malice or abuse of opponents. Conservative ones, no matter how justified the comments might be, are.

Surely Alan Duncan should have been referring to Squealer the pig (rather than Snowdrop) - Napoleon's answer to the Iraqi Information Minister? Good analogy otherwise, though, and it would not have been out of place to refer as well to the bleating sheep who call out "rations have been increased" when the visitor walks past the grain bins that have been bulked up with earth to give a false impression of prosperity.

Alan Duncan has said all that needs to said on the myth of Brown. This excerpt should be learned by heart by all Con MP's and aspirant MP's. Brown has been allowed to write his own dodgy cv which has yet to be exposed by BBC and others. The key issue is Govt mismanagement - abuse of tax revenues. Gag Letwin Gummer and Goldsmith and forget this green nonsense.

I agree with Tim's view on this, but I have seen very little evidence of personal attacks. They have all tended to be based on Brown's record rather than the man.
Saw Chris Graylings speech, and in the context of what he was saying it was perfectly reasonable to use the word liar.
We have also got a problem, Brown and his ministers do regularly stand up and spin, distort the truth and utter downright lies. But very often these misconceptions stick because the very lazy nature of the media these days means that even the most obvious fibs are never challenged.
How many times in a speech or interview do you hear a Labour minister or Brown present something as fact when you blatantly know that what they are saying is untrue.
We have to find a balance with attacking Brown and his governments record whilst pushing forward a positive message of how things will be different under the Conservatives.
But if you missed Labour's conference last week then you missed politics at its most nasty and opportunistic. Don't take lessons out of Brown's book of political dirty tricks, but equally stand up and challenge the spin and lies or it is you that will be seen as weak not Brown.
No one called Tony Benn a b*****d on camera as one Labour activist bad mouthed Mrs Thatcher last week. No one has openly boasted about grinding the B*****ds into the ground. No one is taking a leaf out of Hazel Blears book on describing Tory politicians.
And you know what, the crowd in Blackpool would not like if they did.
Fair play, and attacking their record is what is going down a storm from what I can see on the TV. Question the level of honesty in a government that allows Chris Grayling to legitimately use the word liar.

I totally agree with all the comments above. We should be careful that we do not overdo it - which would dilute the message.

Another example of New Labours posturing, after Brown inspired collapse of Railtrack - The SRA imposes fines on Network Rail, sure it grabs the headlines but who owns Network Rail - the taxpayer - meanwhile the management appointed by teh government have all been paid hefty bonuses.

Ditto with failing NHS trust - who pays their fines?

All these are set up by Brown so that he can deflect the blame and the taxpayer picks up the tab.

WE must attack this deceit at every opportunity.

Yogi, I was only thinking about this very thing last night. I can't remember what prompted it, it might have been the Met being charged with health and safety breaches in the handling of the de Meniezes case. (Shooting someone in the head seven times would seem to have something of an impact on their H&S, but that's a different issue!)

What is the point of levying fines against taxpayer funded bodies? Its not their money... they don't care! Either the service they are supposed to provide suffers or they get a bigger handout from us taxpayers. Its all a big con.

I watched Mr Osborne's speech, and I thought the jokes about Messrs Brown, Balls and Darling were fine. The Darling/Brown one had the added bonus of being funny :-)


The problem is that Gordon Brown has certainly been economical with the truth. His personality is central to any election campaign - as they will just replicate any popular policies we have then make statements about the Tories wanting to cut every doctor and nurse in the land ( remember 2005 ).

It was strong language from Chris Grayling - but he justified it with specific examples. Labour have made Gordon Brown's personality the key to their election plan and the deep flaws in it must be addressed.

After all even senior Labour members have called him far worse ( see comment made to Nick Robinson ).

It does matter if the PM can be trusted to tell the truth and is reliable.

Think Tony Blair and the war with Iraq over WMD. Also remember Brown can potentially launch nuclear missiles. His personality is of legitimate concern even if they were not making it central to their campaign.

To win the next election the Conservative party needs to express the flaws of Gordon Brown in a few easily communicated phrases. Liar is fair, Shameless is fair. They communicate truths, that can be backed by evidence, clearly to the public.

What's the case for hiding these from the electorate ?

I entirely agree about personal attacks. They are particularly damaging to us if we use them. Leave that to Hazel Blears, Ed Balls and the Lib Dems.
Alan Duncan's article and speech makes points very well and in an interesting way.

The fundamental problem we have had is we haven't made a foreful enough critique of Brown on the economy. Issues like his raid on the pensions - which scored well in the polls and local elections should have been highlighted much more over the handover period.

Bickering against David Cameron has also been reported with glee.

Deborah, should we also stop pussyfooting around and call Cameron a 'liar' over his EPP pledge which Tory MEP's have confirmed Cameron told them would be immediate?

Probably best to leave out those kind of attacks, as they will backfire.

Alan Duncan's speech is poetry.

Let's have much more of the same.


A good speech by Alan Duncan. Brown has made his political career by dressing up and endlessly repeating hsi promises and dropping his collegues in it when they collectively make an error. The cover of last Private Eye abour sums it up.

As for the comments by others, I wholeheartedly agree. Those people live by deceit and half truths should expect castigation for their behaviour.

No personal attacks eh? Is that why you've set up the wrong man website dedicated to attack politics?

It's a pity Alan Duncan missed out the ongoing and current disaster facing rural England and which elsewhere is known as "Brown's Disease" but in Labour circles as Foot & Mouth. He caused it out of sheer vindictiveness in denying Pirbright the funds to repair their drains (just as did to Flood Defences)

Farmers livelihoods have gone, others have seen already poverty-level inmcomes slashed and suicides rising. If the Tories won't champion their cause, who is there to turn to.

People just don't care.

This statement is totally right,but why do not the tories shout this all day,everyday,then the population might get the idea of how much they have been hoodwinked.

Agree, it just reflects badly on us if we start personal attacks. Alan Duncans speech is great, we don't need to stoop for dirt. Brown's record is rich in failure as it is. We just need to spread the message more effectively.

George just looks so lighweight and that will be his greatest problem against Alistair Darling. His petty jibes just add to that impression

Cameron shouldn't attack Brown, he should attack the lack of purpose, the waste. the incompetence of this Government. His shadow ministers though should have free rein, as Brown gives his ministers free rein.
I would like to see Brown's so called mastery of crisis damned. Get the people of Hull and the West Country on to talk of their current situation three months on. Get the farmers on about F&M and the effect the closure of Meriel is having on spread of Bluetongue. Get the small shareholders of Northern Rock on to say how they were duped.

R-ll-cks to all this nicey nicey stuff .

The duty of the opposition is to OPPOSE

just like Disraeli said .

That will necessarily mean oppostion to policies and personalities too .

It always has meant that ,in all political debates , in all countries over the centuries .

If you are too squeamish and naice to dive in then with the necessary vitriol
( Labour does so routinely and never hesitates )

both political vitriol and also those carefully chosen personal daggers

(Brown is so weird he is highly vulnerable )

then get out of the way and let someone who is hungry for power to do the job .

Or consult an expert eg M. Campbell

"George just looks so lighweight and that will be his greatest problem against Alistair Darling. His petty jibes just add to that impression"

This will be the same Alastair Darling who has just U turned on compensation for Northern Rock savers?? Now just remind me how much NR has borrowed from the BoE now and where the share price is?
Not only has Darling's handling of this situation been muddled and lacking in authority, but like his boss he does a good job of spinning and briefing the blame onto others.
Brown brought in these BIG new regulations and safe guards but they failed at the first major crisis.
Osborne appears to be more on top of his brief than Darling.

I thought the pig whom Alan Duncan is referring to was called Snowball?

George, it was Snowball not Snowdrop.

I agree with Yogi @ 16.08, and he says that he agrees with 'the posters above' though exactly which ones I am not sure. But he does illustrate one of Brown's personal tactics about deflecting blame, and the taxpayer picking up the tab. You can deny that the man has set himself up, HE is the originator of the 101 news taxes, and he is the person who refused to release enough money to build new prisons, its not his Cabinet, and its not his coterie, its HIM!

Yes I agree editor, personal attacks are not the way to go.

I'm not so sure all these comments about not making jibes are a reflection of reality. Blair did well at PMQs by endless Punch and Judy performances. The public like it if only because the media like it as a bit of flash. I reckon the public arn't all that bothered about lies either. They give the impresion that the speaker cares and people have given up expecting politicians to do what they say.

While we are on this sort of subject, why are we being quite about foot and mouth. It is still rumbling away. It was caused because Gordon wouldn't fund the laboratory upgrade and it continues because the restictions were lifted too early so Brown could look in charge and impressive.

Now I know you can't prove the last point but, in to-day's politics, other parties would have been making it loudly. That the Tory's gib at "speculating" unprovable acussations puts them at a permament, and growing, disadvantage.

Good point Tim, particularly the vitriolic bile being spewed by Labour MPs and activists. I have the misfortune of occasionally looking at Labourhome.org. I'm constantly amazed at just how full of hate the Labour party seems to be. thank goodness most tories are decent and don't descend to petty cheap jibes which labour seem to love so much. Let's keep it that way.

The trouble is Christina @ 17.38 - regarding the farmers going bankrupt etc:, is that Brown doesn't really relate to farmland other than as possible building sites, or at any rate he certainly gives that impression. So its quite possible that from his (and the gr...y building industry's) point of view, lots of farms going out of business would suit them fine --- lots and lots of nice new towns instead!!!

Absolute rubbish, Editor.

New Labour build up huge momentum in the years leading up to 1997 with just such personal attacks on Major's Tories.

I say: "Hit 'em where it hurts".

Gordon Brown is a shameless liar, a thief, a cheat, a traitor and a bounder. Come on Tories, shout that from the roof-tops !

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