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Brown’s record-breaking nose-picking

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I’ve just noticed that my (infamous) YouTube video of Gordon Brown picking his nose has now been viewed over half a million times – 581,610 times to be precise – on YouTube alone. That’s on top of it’s appearance on Newsnight, and pretty much everywhere in 2007. It’s had 2,584 comments – more than the rest of the site put together.

It’s quite clearly the most successful thing ever to come from this site: A video of someone picking their nose. Crazy!

This post was filed under: Diary Style Notes, Politics, Site Updates, , , .

A sincere apology from me to all of Britain

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I’ve been nostalgically browsing the site’s archives today, and flicking through the digital version of Instant Opinion.

If you remember the last general election, in which Tony Blair secured an historic third term of government for the Labour Party, you may remember that I blogged about the campaign fairly intensely. And, looking back to my post about the Budget of that year, I came across this embarrassing paragraph:

The main message that I took away from today’s events was how much better Mr Brown would be as Labour’s leader: Tony Blair’s fake emotion and anger versus Mr Brown’s real commandeering and forceful delivery, appearing to actually believe what he says? I know who I’d choose.

Jeepers, how wrong can you be?

So apologies for that. I’ll try not to write anything so crap this time around. But it may be difficult to judge the crappiness until four years hence.

Still: I guess it’s a bit reassuring to know that it’s not only ‘new media’ writers like me that mess these things up – the dead-tree press are at it too. My favourite U-turn of this year has to be Michael White’s:

A hung parliament is not going to happen – And a good thing too
– Michael White, The Guardian, 23rd November 2009

Make ready the smokeless rooms: a hung parliament is on the cards
– Michael White, The Guardian, 24th November 2009

Fabulous.

This post was filed under: Politics, , , , , .

Gordon Brown, MAOIs, and peculiar words

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

You know those bags of Rowntree’s Randoms, constantly advertised on TV? Seemingly reasonable people suddenly start spouting inappropriate words for their situation because they’ve indulged in a jelly sweet which has an unusual shape?

I’m beginning to wonder whether Gordon Brown has accidentally ingested a whole packet of the Prime Ministerial equivalent. How else can you explain the way he claims to be “pleased” and “proud” to apologise for the appalling treatment of Alan Turing, surely one of the greatest British heroes of the twentieth century? The words are simply inappropriate, as can be clearly seen by applying them to similar situations:

Mr Smith, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to apologise for your wife’s unfortunate death!

Mrs Jones, I’m proud to say that I can apologise for running over your cat!

Mr Thomas, I’m pleased and proud to apologise for your son’s death in Afghanistan!

Except, Gordon Brown wasn’t pleased and proud in the latter case. He was reportedly “devastated” about recent deaths in the country. Not angry, not apologetic, not regretful, not mourningful, not sorry, just “devastated”. Of course, not “devastated” enough to go to a military funeral, or even visit any injured soldier in hospital. Just “devastated” enough to repeatedly use the word and move on.

There are some who suspect there’s something altogether more worrying underlying Gordon Brown’s unusual responses. They claim, based on reports that he must avoid eating cheese and drinking chianti, that he is taking MAOIs, and old-fashioned kind of antidepressant.

The assertion that Gordon Brown uses MAOIs was recently made plain by Matthew Norman in the Independent, after months of hinting from Simon Heffer in the Telegraph and Matthew Parris in the Times.

The substantial problem with this theory is that virtually no-one takes MAOIs, as they’re extremely outdated and have some pretty nasty side-effects. On top of this, there are manifest reasons for avoiding cheese and chianti: A tendency for migraines, a plethora of food allergies, or a sensitivity to appearing too middle-class.

Yet whether or not he’s taking MAOIs, there are substantial rumours suggesting that Gordon Brown might be depressed. Whether or not this may impair his ability to fulfil the role of Prime Minister is debateable.

Iain Dale, for example, believes that it shouldn’t matter if Mr Brown is depressed – he deserves our compassion more than our criticism. He cites the example of Churchill, who was undoubtedly depressed but still a great Prime Minister.

I see entirely where Iain is coming from, and, for what it’s worth, I largely agree. I see no reason why depression should preclude decent Premiership.

But we live in a media-driven world that Churchill never experienced. Churchill was an alcoholic, and this may never have affected his leadership. That didn’t stop the Lib Dems overthrowing Charles Kennedy – their most charismatic leader to date – because he was a recovering alcoholic. The image wasn’t right. And if the image of a recovering alcoholic isn’t right for leader of a liberal party, how can a person with mental health problems ever be the right image for a Prime Minister?

To me, it actually doesn’t matter whether Gordon Brown is depressed or whether he fits the model image of a Prime Minister. What matters is that he’s terrible at his job. Performance must surely be judged above all else, especially for one of the country’s top jobs. And Mr Brown fails that test, and fails it miserably: From the economy, to student debt, to any one of manifest crises between which Mr Brown has lurched, it’s clear that he simply doesn’t have “The Right Stuff”.

But in today’s politics, who does? David Cameron? I suspect we might be on the verge of finding out.


Last Friday, The Pod Delusion launched. The pilot episode included a contribution from me on this subject, on which this post is based. Now go and listen to the rest!

This post was filed under: Health, News and Comment, Politics, .




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