BY Russell Wardrop

DATE: 29 APR 2009


People don’t warm to Gordon Brown; he appears to have no friends to speak of; his political advisors want him to fail; it’s possible his wife is not too keen on him. Or maybe she loves him dearly but wants him out of his job.  How else can his three minute disaster on YouTube be explained?

Detailed analysis of why he chose YouTube to tell us about MPs expenses I’ll leave to political journalists (it was a bizarre and inept thing to do, so why did no-one tell him this?).  But after he’d done it - I mean recorded it - why did Gordon and his people not look at the footage and decide to do it again?  Why did they not see it was a disaster?  This would have taken all of three and a bit minutes: in fact the first few seconds should have been enough call it all off or re-shoot… have a look...

The first 30 seconds

Right at the beginning we are being patronised with the references to nurses and doctors and teachers… who writes this stuff for him?  They know he can’t deliver it, or he certainly can’t without plenty of practise.  But if it needs to go in then it would have been much more easily delivered - and appropriate and effective - at the end, after he’d given us the substance of his thoughts.

We also have the first of the ridiculous facial expressions in the opening few seconds, and get a taste of what’s to come with a bit of rocking from side to side and unnatural use of the hands.  It’s like he’s having his first shot at Wii Fit ski slalom late afternoon on Boxing Day.

30 seconds to 1 minute

This section is not bad.  It’s not trite like the opening, and captures the mood just about right.

1 minute to 90 seconds

Some inappropriate smiles here ,and we’re back on the Wii Fit once or twice: perhaps it’s the tennis this time.

90 seconds to 2 minutes

Now, at the beginning and the end of this 30 second segment it looks as if our PM has been goosed from behind: perhaps Sir Christopher Kelly grabbed him by the unmentionables or tickled him somewhere nice as Big Gordy mentions his name.

2 minutes to 150 seconds

Deputy Harriet Harman tickles his fancy here as he’s goosed again.  And it’s all getting a bit too fast, like he wants to get it over with… it’s almost like he doesn’t want us to take it all in so we can’t ask questions.  The PM loves all this detail, though, doesn’t he?  Well, we don’t like it and we don’t need it.

Trying too hard is never edifying and this feels like the hard sell by someone we know we shouldn’t trust with all this stuff.

150 seconds to 3 minutes

Oh my goodness… loads and loads of stuff assailing us, and still far too hard and far too fast.  Then he’s goosed again, this time it appears by the entire Committee for Standards in Public Life: it must be getting pretty crowded down there.

3 minutes to the end

The pace mercifully gets a bit less manic in this section, though it’s still not great. He’s inappropriately animated by the notion of talking to the other parties, bouncing about a bit: probably the Wii Fit Boxing this time.

A better way to deliver?

Stand pretty still; no bobbing and weaving.

Use the hands by all means but no Tommy Cooper stuff (actually, keep them still for this one).

Deliver dead pan; this is no time for smiles and eye twinkles. Ironically you can do this all day; you used to do it all the time.

Lose the trite stuff at the beginning. It can be delivered well, but it is difficult.  Put it in at the end if you think you need it; it’s easier to swallow at the end.

Start with the substance to show you are serious (in other words don’t try and soften us up by putting your own great guy status out there in code at the beginning, not in this instance anyway: we know you are a politician too, Gordon).

Now what we need to see is the three minute YouTube speech on how we got to where we got to on the economy, and how to fix it.


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