An ICM poll for Newsnight's new politics page finds that the public believe that Gordon Brown is as much of a spin merchant as Tony Blair and has stolen Conservative ideas on tax.
61% said that Gordon Brown was "no different" from Tony Blair in terms of political spinning. 15% actually thought that he was more likely to spin.
57% agreed that Gordon Brown had "pinched Conservative
ideas on tax" and including them in Labour's spending review.
Shadow cabinet minister Chris Grayling has also uncovered doctoring of Gordon Brown's monthly press conference. Many readers might find some of the 'doctorings' insignificant but a transcript should be a faithful transcript. If minor edits are permitted, bigger edits will be next.
MIDDLE EAST What Mr Brown said: "And the Iraqis have got to get a message, as I will give them today at the House of Commons, that they must not intervene in Iraq in a way that is breeding further violence . . . and the Iraqis must hear the message..."
What the official transcript says: "And the Iranians have got to get a message, as I will give them today at the House of Commons, that they must not intervene in Iraq in a way that is breeding further violence . . . and the Iranians must hear the message..."
TORY TAX PLANS What Mr Brown actually said: " ... if we were to go back to that idea that we had in the early nineties where you make tax promises, have no way of sensibly or realistically affording them, then that not only means that you cannot meet your promises, it causes economic stability and it was exactly the problem that was caused in the early 1990s..."
What the official transcript says: " ... if we were to go back to that idea that we had in the early nineties where you make tax promises, have no way of sensibly or realistically affording them, then that not only means that you cannot meet your promises, it causes economic instability and it was exactly the problem that was caused in the early 1990s ..."
THE NON-ELECTION What Brown said: When asked if if he was a "Fife featie" (Scots slang for a coward), Mr Brown replied: "Not at all! You know in this debate about strength and weakness and about fear and determination, I think let the people judge..."
What the official transcript says: The exclamation "Not at all" is not recorded.
EU TREATY What Mr Brown said: "...people believe the change is so fundamental as a result of this amended treaty that there should be a referendum. Now that is where the issue lies..."
What the official transcript says: "...people believe the change is so fundamental as a result of this amending treaty that there should be a referendum. Now that is where the issue lies..."
Danny Finkelstein has got a great post over at Comment Central. It appears that the ever-so-authentic Mr Brown has had to borrow the speechwriting skills of Bob Shrum. Danny compares speeches by previous Shrum clients with Mr Brown's effort of Monday...
"Al Gore 2000 nomination acceptance speech: I know my own imperfections. I know that sometimes people say I'm too serious, that I talk too much substance and policy.
Gordon Brown: Sometimes people say I am too serious and I fight too hard and maybe that's true...
Al Gore 2000 nomination acceptance speech: I pledge to you tonight: I will work for you every day and I will never let you down."
Gordon Brown: This is my pledge to the British people: I will not let you down.
John Kerry 2004 nomination acceptance speech: And what can I say about Teresa? She has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know.
Gordon Brown: And this is my moral compass.
Bill Clinton's State of the Union 1995: As we move into this next century, everybody matters; we don't have a person to waste.
Gordon Brown: This is the century where our country cannot afford to waste the talents of anyone."
I hope Mr Brown will ask for a discount from Mr Shrum.
When the Labour government first proposed relaxed laws on gambling such as the introduction of supercasinos much was said about Brown, then Chancellor, ditching his roots as the son of a Church of Scotland minister. He cleverly redeemed himself on becoming Prime Minister, however, by doing a U-turn and scrapping the plans for supercasinos.
Now he's showing a worrying complacency towards the massive issue of problem gambling - something which affects low income families more than aristocrats and international spies. His press team have tried to spin The Gambling Commission's damning prevalence report as an encouraging progress report, saying that it shows that only 1 in 100 people are problem gamblers. It doesn't take much scratching of the surface to see the real nature of the report, they got this statistic by ingeniously including the lottery.
Tobias Ellwood MP, Shadow Minister for Media, Culture and Sport, gave us this statement:
"With the dexterity of a steely eyed poker player, Gordon Brown gave
little away in the lead up to the Gambling Commission's report,
allowing speculation to flourish that problem gambling was on the rise.
When the cards were finally placed on the table, it seems that a mere 1
in 100 adults has an addiction to gambling. Look a little closer and we
see this is a clever bluff. The number of problem gamblers jumps
considerably to 1 in 7 for users of spread betting, 1 in 10 for users
of Fixed Odds Betting Terminal's and 1 in 10 for users of betting exchanges; the very areas
of gambling that will now be advertised on our television screens. If
Britain wants to be the regulatory beacon of socially responsible
gambling that the Government promised, Gordon Brown will need to look
the nation in the eye with a little more senerity and commitment."