I wouldn't regard myself as an expert where politics is concerned. I am, if you like, the man in the street. I watch the television news programmes, I enjoy the BBC's Question Time, I pick up stuff on the internet, I read newspapers and, like everybody else, I occasionally engage friends and colleagues in debate about the Government, the opposition, international affairs and so on.
And right now I'm sitting on the sofa, laptop on lap, watching Newsnight's analysis of the first ever televised debate between the three leaders of our mainstream political parties and guess what? Michael Crick is sitting on a high stool in front of Kirsty Wark criticising Gordon Brown's performance. Earlier, on the BBC 10'o'clock news, they were attacking his persona during the debate, using a new 'worm' from a polling company, Ipsos Mori, to say that while Nick Clegg's and David Cameron's worms rose as people liked what they were hearing – and so did Gordon Brown's – they still had something negative to say about Brown's performance.
Cameron and Clegg were praised, but for Brown, the worm didn't like him; Ben Page, for Ipsos Mori, talking to Justin Rowlatt on Newsnight, said Brown 'failed to connect', he tried a joke, 'it didn't work', he 'somehow failed to reach the heights of approval'.
My question is this: why is everybody misrepresenting Gordon Brown? It seems to be rife and totally unjustified.
Now I know that back in the eighties everybody was slagging off 'Thatcher' – especially Ben Elton – and perhaps that's one of the roles of the media, but what I find particularly irksome about the constant Brown-bashing (some of it plain rude, from the likes of Jeremy Clarkson) is that it is misleading.
Brown is constantly being attacked for his handling of the economy. The Tories (understandably because they're in opposition and we're now approaching an election) keep saying that Gordon Brown is presiding over the biggest deficit in recent history and how he has borrowed a ridiculously large sum of money, as if he was just borrowing the money for the hell of it and because he's a Labour politician and that's what Labour politicians do.
What the Tories and the media seem to forget is that Gordon Brown has steered us through the worst GLOBAL economic recession almost 'since records began' and yet it seems that everybody thinks that the recession is only in Britain and that it's all Gordon Brown's fault. It is interesting, and extremely frustrating, how everybody: the media, the public, those 'celebrities' (like Clarkson); everybody forgets that Gordon Brown was awarded for his handling of the economic crisis.
Allow me to quote the Guardian of 23 September 2009: "Gordon Brown may be trailing in the polls at home, but in the US last night he was hailed as a hero for "stabilising" the world economy and showing "compassionate leadership".
"The prime minister, in New York for the UN general assembly, was honoured as world statesman of the year at a VIP-packed gala dinner. The award was presented on behalf of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith organisation which campaigns for religious freedom and human rights, by the veteran US former secretary of state Henry Kissinger."
Having gone through the early nineties recession (when the Tories were in charge) and its aftermath (I was made redundant three times), as soon as I heard that a recession was looming, I was understandably worried. But my worries were misguided. I am still working and despite the awful crisis – caused by bankers who, I'd imagine, will vote Tory – I hope to continue working.
I'm glad there was a televised debate tonight for one reason: it gave Gordon Brown the chance to warn against Tory plans to cut £6bn out of the economy at just the wrong time. I believe Gordon Brown when he says that making such cuts now will plunge the country back into recession. I don't believe the inexperienced David Cameron, the man who fronts up the party of business. He talks about how 'leading businessmen' support his party's proposed £6bn cuts (as if that's something to boast about) but abhor Brown's so-called 'tax on jobs' (the planned rise in National Insurance contributions).
People talk about not being able to trust politicians, but the thing is, can anybody trust a businessman? A lot of Tories are both politicians and businessmen and the latter care about just one thing: profit.
Businessmen like to make cuts. If they can get something for next to nothing, they will. They like to save money, cut corners, anything to turn a bigger profit. Apply the business model to running the country and you get job losses, hospital closures, text book shortages in schools, poor transportation safety records (remember the Hatfield train crash when four people were killed and 70 injured?).
The Conservative Party is not only the party of big business, it is also run by people with huge personal fortunes. George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, stands to inherit millions of pounds and yet he, along with others in his party, will, if elected, tell the electorate that it must tighten its belt as the Tories put in to place their 'austerity measures'.
Give me Gordon Brown over David Cameron any day; the last thing the UK needs right now is for the Hoorays to be in charge of the country again.
Addendum: I notice that the BBC is doing its level best to give Gordon Brown a bad press; they're doing it at every possible opportunity they get and now they're making a huge mountain out of the mole hill that is Brown's 'off air' comment about a member of the public in Rochdale. Okay, fine, he said it, he might have been stressed or whatever, I don't know, but just take a look at the ridiculous amount of air time they're giving to this minor gaffe. Furthermore, if the BBC is not going on and on about Brown's 'bigot' remark, they'll be talking about the election as if it's already taken place. Clegg is doing the same thing, arrogantly assuming he'll be involved in a coalition government, making it all sound like a foregone conclusion – that we're going to have a hung parliament – and letting the media know who he will support and why. Why can't the BBC and the politicians talk about the policies? We don't want to hear speculation on the outcome of the General Election, we want to know what each party stands for. Nick Clegg says he doesn't want to form a coalition if Gordon Brown is still the leader of the Labour Party – as if there is currently a decision to made; there isn't, the election is on May 6. Start talking about forming a coalition government AFTER the election day, NOT before!!! Why does the BBC have such a hate campaign against the Government? Is it something to do with the David Kelly affair, their journalist Milligan and the resignation of Greg Dyke? Are they still smarting over that incident? I think the BBC has behaved very poorly towards the Government and seems to have nothing decent to say about Gordon Brown when, as far as I and plenty of others can make out, he and the Labour Party are most certainly the best bet if our economy is going to remain out of recession. Come on, somebody say something positive about Labour and Gordon Brown before it's too late. We don't need such negativity – and we certainly don't need David Cameron.