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The legacy of Mrs Duffy

Nick Robinson | 13:21 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Today, Gordon Brown faced the following tough questions on the campaign trail in Leamington Spa:

Q1: Can you elaborate on Labour's plans?
Q2: How can you promise that the middle classes - like working people - can afford to go to university?
Q3: If elected, will you maintain the EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance) scheme?
Q4: With your recent brush with personality politics, are you sure that you're the right man to take Labour forward and that your policies are better than the Conservatives' and the Lib Dems'?

Labour insists that 99% of the audience were ordinary students, but could not tell what percentage of the questions were from Labour activists. One questioner somewhat gave the game away, though, by confessing she'd forgotten her question.

Gordon Brown in Leamington Spa

This follows yesterday's event in Ipswich, where the questions included:

Q1: Can you tell us what you would most like to celebrate?
Q2: Why has Labour not said more about its achievements?
Q3: What can be done to build community relations?
Q4: What would you do to help people with disabilities?

My favourite of all, though, was: "Will you come back to Ipswich when you win the general election?"

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    If Mrs Duffy had been there - Mr Brown would not even have dared to show up!

  • Comment number 2.

    "One questioner somewhat gave the game away, though, by confessing she'd forgotten her question."

    Unfortunately, this really sums up Labour's whole approach.

    It's all spin and no trousers.

  • Comment number 3.


    To be fair all party leaders have a ring of steel around them in the closing stages. But I agree it's all getting a bit silly.

    The election campaign started off about getting the country out of the economic mess. Now the race has degenerated into a squabble and muddled mess as the riders jockey for post-election positions in a post-election race.

    What is being ignored in all the frenzy is a looming constitutional crisis. I'm fearful of the perils a hung parliament poses for democracy. It could trigger a constitutional crisis in England?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/england-hung-out-to-dry-in-hung.html

  • Comment number 4.

    My favourite of all, though, was: "Will you come back to Ipswich when you win the general election?"

    *************************

    To which he replied:

    Well, I may not be around in 20 years time!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick,

    why? what is the point of this?

    We know that the questions are stage managed events are pre-selected or placed especially when Gordon is involved - they always have been.
    That was the point of trying to get him out to meet real people in the first place. That of course went spectacularly wrong so no surprise they aren't risking freestyle Gordon any more.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    And so the deception continues...

    It may have worked in 1997 but it sure don't work in 2010.

    Were we told that voting for Brown really meant the Browns?

    Were we told that Gordon could only keep out of trouble if he had a minder?

    Minds boggle at the scene when he eventually has to quit Downing Street.

  • Comment number 8.

    At least they let him out.

    George Osborne is locked in a games cupboard at Eton until after the election.

  • Comment number 9.

    Is "Grant" trying not to laugh or trying to suss out whether the students grant questions are more dangerous than gangs?

  • Comment number 10.

    GM,

    "I'd hardly call a 1-1 draw "defeated" mate.... Unless your name is Arsene Wenger that is...."

    :-)

    Mmm. Course. I do hope you're not involved in the election count, Gerry.

    But anyway, to the topic of the blog - this blog. What is the topic? Well it's more of an inference. What Nick is suggesting here (perhaps with his tongue lodged firmly in) is that the general public get in the way of "real" politics.

    I can't go along with that. Difficult as ordinary people often are - and aren't they just? - it's important for the powers that be (the elite) to engage with them from time to time. Not to overdo it (obviously) but, you know, every now and again. At general elections, for example.

  • Comment number 11.

    Here is a tough question for you Nick.
    As political editor, do you think that the Phillippa Stroud "curing gays" issue is worth reporting, and if not why not? Surely, if Gordon Brown calling one bigot a bigot is news, surely Stroud claiming she can pray to cure homosexuality, something that millions of Britons are, is much bigger news?

    Especially when her Centre for Social Justice has been responsible for so many of the Tories social inclusion policies.

  • Comment number 12.

    Er Nick.

    How can they be 'tough' questions when both them and the answers have already been pre-prepared by the Party machine?

    Also witness him in Telford asking if anyone wanted to ask him a question about child tax credits. Nobody did!
    One can only presume the 'random' questioner had had to dash off on more important business.

  • Comment number 13.

    Planted questions? Any kind of answer?

    He must be praying for Friday, when he can concede defeat.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    So we're back to gurning Gordon and his care worker, Sarah, parading around in a hermetic bubble where no-one can irritate him.

    Oh well.

    An ignominious end for someone who once held the world (albeit on false pretences) in the palm of his hand. Now reduced to placed questions from party sympathetisers.

    No risk of another Duffygate. Not a bigot in sight. And I thought we lived in a democracy. Perhaps we will when the result is known on Friday morning and the removal vans arrive in Downing Street.

    Taxi for Brown!

  • Comment number 16.

    Can you explain the media Silence on Philipa Stroud and why cameron hasn't been followed by what is a far more seriouse issue.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Labour party campaign obviously regards Brown as an electoral liability and gaff prone to keep insulting everyone's intelligence with this type of stage managed event.

    Anyway we know that Gordon is very capable - of scoring a 10 on the 'gaffo-meter' where the public are concerned.

    Gordon got his IHT sound-bite in again but still no explanation on why Gordon Brown has protected IHT loopholes to reduce the tax burden of the richest 3000 in Britain.

    Does the '3,000' include former and existing labour cabinet ministers and labour party donors or even a non-dom ex Prime Minister with a propensity for serious tax avoidance?

    I hope somene manages to ask Gordon about his expertise with his 'ring fenced' tax avoidance loopholes

    Brown even has the audacity to keep saying that he stands for 'fairness' - perhaps he really means FAIR-MESS?

    Interesting that the likely immigrant asking the question about being 'let into the UK' - had of course, already been 'let into the UK'?

    Terry Gilliam and John Cleese - 'eat your heart out'!

  • Comment number 18.

    Good God. Really? Not a single real question in the lot, every one of those you list pre pepared to allow Brown to deliver a well rehearsed soundbite.

    What a sad, tragic joke.

  • Comment number 19.

    Just a quicky from the previous blog:

    Saga.... Saga, saga, saga.....

    "Academics are left leaning, yes. And we know why. It's to do with enhanced ability to think. "Do gooders" are LL too. Again we know why. Enhanced empathy for their fellow citizens."

    Unfortunately for them, the party that also claims to be left leaning only has empathy for its own apparatchiks and the nomenklatura and couldnt give a flying f*rt for their fellow citizens.

    Never mind eh? You'd think that with this enhanced capability "to think" (highly questionable at times, but thats another matter entirely) that they'd also have the wisdom to see that the only chances of seeing their utopian, care-y, share-y, tree-hugging, fluffy-bunny-wabbit dreams coming to life is through the use of mind altering chemical substances rather than via the ballot box, where the worst elements of the human condition tend to congregate every five years like an influenza pandemic?

    But that would mean applying real world wisdom though... which means that half of the stuff they spend so long thinking about would be a complete and utter waste of time because it would be proven not to work...


    drat.... a key flaw in the plan.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Q1 - After your unguarded comments about Mrs Duffy revealed what you really think of the British electorate, will it really come as a surprise when you lose on Thursday?

    Q2 - How will it feel that your legacy will be that you are one of the least popular, least succesful PMs ever?

    Q3 - Will you dust before you leave?

  • Comment number 22.

    Placed questions are hardly new to any of them. These are contrived events for the most part and tell us nothing except that Cameron seems much more relaxed than do the others. Cleggy needs to a new speech writer - Countless repetition of "curtain measuring" - got very smug and irritating yesterday.

    Brown has been so insulated from his core voters - ordinary working folk if you like that hes a liability unless the matter is entirely stage managed and yet he still manages to screw it up. I think Brown does truly believe in his own rhettoric ( as probably do the others) but hes already had 13 years to have a go and manifestly failed in the endeavour and now simply wishes to borrow another 150 billion or so and stick his head in the sand for another year hoping that it will all go away. With growth likely only to be a very marginal posibility and plainly nowhere near Treasury forecasts ( When was this ever so!) the problem cant be ignored nor even put off. This nation's future and economic credibility is at stake . Do we really want the spectre of Greece's experience to fall on us. Do we really want to be at the mercy of the banks and the markets. Wake up and smell the coffee people - there is only one way - hold ya nose and take the medicine - however disgusting the prospect is for the public services.

  • Comment number 23.

    Saga

    277, previous thread.

    We have been down this road too many times to count. Stack up the average comment of the average Labour blogger against the average comment of the average "other" blogger, and its pretty clear who comes out worst in the "caring" and "bright" stakes.

    Obviously we leave out the extremes on each side to eliminate the outlying eccentrics. But even so, your average lefty comes accross as a repeater of party lines, often fairly nasty and insulting in delivery.

    There could of course be a case for claiming that the left wingers blogging herein are not representative of the wider group. But then we are forced to turn to the others in the public eye, those interviewed on TV and radio frothing at the mouth with their bitter hatred for the "Toffs", never considering the issues but bleating about "not understanding real people with real problems" and so on.

    No, left wing = caring and bright does not work as a generalisation I'm afraid. There are of course caring and bright people there, but to claim it is exclusive to those who carry your views is... well, not very bright.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why are you not reporting on Philippa Stroud?

  • Comment number 25.

    Well here we are two days from the election ,as a middle age voter I for one do fear for the future of this country no party has an outright lead,Cameron has Thatchers old side kicks at his side ,they say thirteen years is too long but I can tell you that eighteen years was much worse.
    If the tories get in this could be the biggest change in British politics since the war.
    There will be a surge in Wales and Scotland for Independence not only from the Lib Dems but more so from the Labour party activists to rid the countries of the tories and keep the nasties in England.

  • Comment number 26.

    So in other words, the questions were severely pre-moderated.

    Ironic really, considering this blog was posted over an hour ago and none of the comments has yet been approved.

  • Comment number 27.

    Isn't it pathetic? Time to put this poor man out of his misery.

  • Comment number 28.

    Yes, we've heard a lot recently about politicians 'getting it'.

    Plainly they do not really want to 'get it' because those unscripted moments, ala Mrs. Duffy, can be extremely dangerous for them.

    It all just adds to the general air of unreality surrounding some of the mainstream party campaigns and of course, a sense of detachment by the voters.

    Democracy should not be perverted in this way but it is.

  • Comment number 29.

    Nick, your comments are implicitly critical of Labour's campaign. This is appalling, BBC should maintain neutrality and unbiased.

  • Comment number 30.

    No one in the known universe is more stage managed than David Cameron.

    Am really very tired of the bashing of GB by the BBC in this election. I don't think NR or the rest have given him the fair hearing which he deserves. Of course he isn't perfect, but the alternative is dire indeed.

  • Comment number 31.

    Never mind all that, what does he plan to do about the economy?

    Doing nothing is not an option. Denying there is a problem doesn't wash. Waiting till next year? It might not come.

    Anybody who has investible money that hasn't already been confiscated by the spenders will be looking at a falling stock market, interest rates lower than the officail (not real) rate of inflation, and wondering, what on earth do I do to protect myself.

    You know the answer to that, and don't need me to tell you again.

    Go on, you know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 32.

    The legacy of Mrs Duffy - people asking "Why are the BBC still obsessed with this story".

    ps. Don't mention Philippa Stroud!

  • Comment number 33.

    I think you've decided who has won the election and hope to curry favour with Cameron with this posting - but I suspect you don't wear the right tie

  • Comment number 34.

    It's the legacy of the Labour Party we should be worrying about, not Mrs Duffy!

    Now the long awaited election is finally at hand, it would be the final insult if the outcome was decided in part by the "massive, systematic and organised fraud" that was seen in Birmingham local elections, 2004.

    Fraud was found to have been "widespread" in six council seats won by Labour according to the BBC report.

    According to another BBC report, the Labour Government initially dismissed the warnings of potential fraud as "scaremongering" and insisted the current postal voting system was 'working'. But the judge said:

    "Anybody who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic would find this statement surprising."

    Why did the Labour Government do nothing to fix this serious problem with the new voting system they introduced? Since the Birmingham debacle, they've had six years to sort this out!

    Now similar stories are appearing in relation to the current General Election. To make matters worse, troops in Afghanistan, who are protecting our democracy, are denied their own democratic rights to vote due to problems with the postal vote system.

    The 'Expensesgate' scandal is nothing compared to this.

    What is the point of Returning Officers ensuring an accurate count if some people have been denied a vote, and others have gained votes fraudulently?

    Until this postal-vote mess is sorted out, the election should be postponed. If not, there could be months of wrangling through the courts as suspect results are contested.

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh, the bitter irony! A blog exposing the pre-moderation of questions to GB, is itself rendered worthless by the painfully slow pre-moderation of the comments it supposedly invites.

    It is, of course, an outrage that these situations can be stage managed - especially as GB promised to 'meet the people' AND was so cruelly exposed for the lie this was (first time round) with Duffygate.

    Do they have no shame? Labour are just a self-serving party led by a hypocritical and power hungry man. To think that the hope of '97 has turned to this.

  • Comment number 36.

    And I was watching the news at lunchtime, with Gordon Brown visiting an Asda in Telford. At one point, towards the end of the fake question and answer session he declared "now is there a question on Child Tax Credits? I'd like to answer one about that."

    A wretched campaign by a Labour Party in turmoil.

  • Comment number 37.

    Excellent stuff. How there can be anyone left still supporting this buffoon beyond me. It's amazing the number of people in this country who have no shame whatsoever.

  • Comment number 38.

    Something is getting up Ross Kemp's nose. Must be the smell of a decaying government.
    Sarah never more than a coupe of feet away now.

    Great pic for a caption competition.

  • Comment number 39.

    Gordon Brown - You're known as a big beast - Should I call you the 'boss'?

    No - just call me the 'gaffer'

  • Comment number 40.

    Question on the campaign trail for Gordon Brown:
    How do you inspire confidence in yourself as a politician when
    (i) You say you want to stand down if your party fails to get a majority,
    (ii) Your ministers say vote for a party other than Labour, and
    (iii) Your Prospective Labour Candidate says your the worst prime minister ever.


  • Comment number 41.

    nick @ zero

    "My favourite of all, though, was: "Will you come back to Ipswich when you win the general election?""

    The answer to that, regardless of who wins the election, is surely no.

  • Comment number 42.

    Doesn't this all frighten people?

    The fact that his campaign has to be soo stage managed it is almost reminiscent of the Soviet/China Dictatorships where people have to applaud and wave and faint by order of the party.

    Is it me?

    Can no one else see that Gordon Brown is almost abusing his way back to power again!


    The latest PPB shows another showbiz personality spinning more of Labour's scare stories where it is clearly a manipulated lie. They have taken the oppositions manifesto and created this tawdry nonsense - it is a complete fabrication and he has the gall to tell us he is creating a fairer Britain.

    A fairer britain consisting of more lies, deceits, hatreds and division.

    To do this he needs to place party activists at his campaign locations.

    What about those of us who do not follow the Party line? More misery, more depression and another 5 years of manipulation.

    Why hasn't anyone questioned the boundary changes that results in this unfair election?

  • Comment number 43.

    3. At 1:57pm on 04 May 2010, theorangeparty wrote:

    I'm fearful of the perils a hung parliament poses for democracy. It could trigger a constitutional crisis in England?

    ........................
    Depends upon the type and membership of the 'hung parliament'?

    Even more disastrous ... would be a hung parliament with a delayed recount because of illegal votes altering the course/outcome of the election.

    The authorities must be careful not to rush the announcement of the result on Friday - even delay the result a day or two, if necessary, to make sure that things are reasonably in order - a certain level of fraud is inevitable given the mess the country is in - but the issue is whether the fraud is enough to give a fraudulent outcome to the election?

    Hard hats to the ready - all police leave cancelled indefinitely!

  • Comment number 44.


    More Tory Bias from Tory Boy Robinson


    Can you please explain the media Silence on Philipa Stroud and why cameron hasn't been followed by what is a far more serious issue

  • Comment number 45.

    That’s a bit rich every time I've seen Cameron it has been with Tory voters so Nick seems to be concentrating on Labour for some reason.

  • Comment number 46.

    Exactly Nick what about Phillippa Stroud? Seems very strange that no one has brought this up.

  • Comment number 47.

    11. At 2:14pm on 04 May 2010, peejkerton wrote:

    Here is a tough question for you Nick.
    As political editor, do you think that the Phillippa Stroud "curing gays" issue is worth reporting, and if not why not? Surely, if Gordon Brown calling one bigot a bigot is news, surely Stroud claiming she can pray to cure homosexuality, something that millions of Britons are, is much bigger news?

    Especially when her Centre for Social Justice has been responsible for so many of the Tories social inclusion policies.


    Good question peejkerton, but not even Nick could manage to get Mrs Duffy and Gordon Browns name into the title of a Blog about Phillippa Stroud "curing gays".

  • Comment number 48.

    He got some real questions 90 min ago from supermarket workers in Telford. It was clear these were not planted because he struggled to answer them.

  • Comment number 49.

    16. At 2:17pm on 04 May 2010, Joshua Fenton-Glynn wrote:
    Can you explain the media Silence on Philipa Stroud and why cameron hasn't been followed by what is a far more seriouse issue.

    --------------

    Serious issue? That someone had been taught to believe some questionable religious opinions (now disavowed) that will have no effect on her, and certainly not on David Cameron's, performance in government?

    Maybe google "serious". Then google "straws, to clutch at".

  • Comment number 50.

    6#

    Indeed, nobody should have to put up with that. We often grumble about reporters being stuck in the Westminster village, being fed the usual line (no names no pack drill), but... Not good for the young fella. This part of the East End is a bit of a dump though to put it politely (my missus couldnt move out fast enough) and there is no justification whatsoever for what they did to him.

    Give him my best regards (for what its worth) if/when you see him next and I hope that he continues to be as tenacious.

  • Comment number 51.

    How can Ross Kemp have the nerve to insult our troops by supporting the man who, alongside Blair, sent them into war on a pack of lies, and THEN CUT their budgets??? The only people our troops hate more than Brown is the Taliban, and Ross Campaigns for him?

    Ross Kemp, you are a disgrace!

  • Comment number 52.

    It can't be a surprise to anyone that the questioners are pre-selected. Surely Cameron and Clegg do this too? I can't remember hearing that either of them have been asked any tough questions when out meeting "the public".

  • Comment number 53.

    16#

    Yes.

    Because you're losing and nobody gives a stuff any more.

  • Comment number 54.

    Actually, I was here at the College today and I was stood next to the students - no questions were prepared!!

  • Comment number 55.

    For all those lefty bloggers that keep bringing up the Phillipa Stroud issue - it is worth considering that the issue about her christian belief's that you keep harping on about, was over 21 years ago.

    Apparently we are supposed to forgive Gordon his gaffe and his own bigotry but we can't forgive someone who had the convictions of their faith and belief 21 years ago.

    Sad, sad socialist Labour hypocrisy.

    What about the Christian who has been arrested for anti-gay preaching in our apparent FREE democracy! When all he did was to express an opinion when asked.

    Don't you find it strange that we are now shackled in our opinions and debates? Who imposed that I wonder?

  • Comment number 56.

    Indeed, you need to watch a lot of coverage to get a better idea of the people behind the staged coverage.

    Simple test.

    Imagine that you are having a chat with Gordon Brown, David Cameron or Nick Clegg over a cup of tea.

    My impressions:

    (1) Cameron comes over as decent, intelligent and enthusiastic. And sincere.
    (2) Clegg comes over as decent and sincere, but a little muddled and even naive.
    (3) Brown comes over as self-important, a little arrogant and artificial. Not very sincere.

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick - as a highly respected political commentator, can you please explain the diffence between Manish Sood (reported in both text and video on this and other media outlets) and Philippa Stroud (not a dicky bird)? If not, then as an ex-Bully boy, perhaps you could explain Dave's thinking on the difference between Philip Lardner and Philippa Stroud?

  • Comment number 58.

    11. At 2:14pm on 04 May 2010, peejkerton wrote:

    Here is a tough question for you Nick.
    As political editor, do you think that the Phillippa Stroud "curing gays" issue is worth reporting, and if not why not?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because its not being fed via the lobby and he only reports what the lobby tells him to and also because in trying to shore up what support there is for Gordy, theres more important stuff around than that.

    Nobody really tends to give a damn which straws Labour are clutching hold of today.

    Gordon can feel the hand of history on his shoulder and the swish of the bailiffs boot towards his khyber.

  • Comment number 59.

    Re: Manish Sood.

    Suddenly an HONEST politician emerges and the party attack dogs are unleashed.

    Like the Mrs Duffy incident, the minute someone starts telling it as it is, there is a closing of ranks and the rebuttal unit goes into overdrive.

    What is it about the truth that makes politicians so wary of it?

  • Comment number 60.

    Is Cameron PROUD OF STROUD or PRAYING WITH PHILIPA?

  • Comment number 61.

    At 2:14pm on 04 May 2010, Zydeco wrote:
    Er Nick.
    How can they be 'tough' questions when both them and the answers have already been pre-prepared by the Party machine?
    ____________________________________________
    I think it's Nick's idea of sneering humour, Zydeco.

  • Comment number 62.

    "What is the topic? Well it's more of an inference. What Nick is suggesting here (perhaps with his tongue lodged firmly in) is that the general public get in the way of "real" politics."

    Must... resist.....

    "I can't go along with that. Difficult as ordinary people often are - and aren't they just? - it's important for the powers that be (the elite) to engage with them from time to time. Not to overdo it (obviously) but, you know, every now and again. At general elections, for example."

    I know I said you were genuinely witty last week mate, but dont let it go to your head. Not all at once anyway.... :-)

  • Comment number 63.

    8. At 2:04pm on 04 May 2010, pdavies65 wrote:

    "At least they let him out."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    And they've been ruing the day ever since!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Didums Nick ...is he still ignoring you?

    Your lastest blog reminds me of toys being thrown out of a pram.

    How about writing something interesting?

  • Comment number 65.

    8. At 2:04pm on 04 May 2010, pdavies65 wrote:
    At least they let him out.

    George Osborne is locked in a games cupboard at Eton until after the election.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Just about sums up poltics nowadays and this election in particular. Gave me a good laugh though, thanks. Stay healthy everyone.

  • Comment number 66.

    Wow, there are a lot of dogwhistlers calling for the suppression of anything critical to Gordon Brown today.

    I know cencorship is a natural instinct of the left, but you could at least try to be subtle about it.

  • Comment number 67.

    Leader has spent 13 years in denial it would foolish to consider that Labour supporters could be any better.

    Both Nick Clegg and DCameron have been meeting real people and been heckled, egged and snubbed, all on TV and all covered by the various media.

    But , no, looking at the Labour blogs all you can see are cries of 'unfair', how dare you say it's stage managed!!

    At least Nick and Dave are meeting real people and though they may not listen any more than Brown does, there are no reports of them insulting those that either agree or disagree with them.

    Once Labour supporter always a Labour supporter. Always in denial, never accepting criticism while clearly lacking morals and judgement

  • Comment number 68.

    Can we expect postings related to actual policy from any of the Labour acolytes on here?

    I keep looking, can't find anything. Obviously they've got nothing to say. No change there then.

  • Comment number 69.

    Maybe if Phillipa Stroud was the leader of the Conservative party the story would rank as highly as Brown's gaffe?

  • Comment number 70.

    There seem to be a lot of kids at the various party events.

    Shouldn't they be in school?

    Are days off for party political purposes an authorised absence?

    Perhaps someone should ask a question about truancy.

  • Comment number 71.

    Election Outcomes Considered (postings now closed), No.117. At 00:13am on 04 May 2010, Nicky wrote: “….What I would like to know is why certain facts concerning Cameron are being withheld by the Tory press? These are likely to be far more damaging and eye opening than the so called bigot comment. …..”
    • etc.,
    • etc.,
    • etc.
    Nicky, I know you to be partisan from earlier posts, but in this post you have become a degenerate.
    Smear and innuendo have become so ingrained in Labour’s back-room tactical planning that we are used to it. But I really believed that you were a concerned member of the public. If you are just an ordinary person you are tarred with the same disgusting brush as your political spin-masters. If you are paid by the Labour Party to do this job – which in this case is as bad as Goebbels’ campaign dehumanising of the German jews – then please let us know so you can be passed-over. (Not in the Hebrew sense – just shunned).

  • Comment number 72.

    Nick – “Labour insists that 99% of the audience were ordinary students, but could not tell what percentage of the questions were from Labour activists”.

    I think the answer to this one was close to hand Nick.
    More ordinary voters? - just another showcase I think.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ legs,

    "As political editor, do you think that the Phillippa Stroud "curing gays" issue is worth reporting, and if not why not? Surely, if Gordon Brown calling one bigot a bigot is news, surely Stroud claiming she can pray to cure homosexuality, something that millions of Britons are, is much bigger news?"

    Yes - this is a real concern. Especially in the light of Chris Grayling's remarks the other week. I really do hope we're not going to start backsliding on gay rights. They were hard won and are extremely important. Important to us all, not just the minority in question. On a more prosaic note, it should also be noted that discriminating against homosexuals will not pay off one penny of the national debt - neither (I wouldn't have thought) will it particularly impress the bond markets.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think that the last election when a prospective leader spoke to the public in a good old fashioned public meeting was in 1964. I remeber being in the old market in the middle of Birmingham. Harold Wilson handled the barrage of hecklers well. "Give us the figure," they yelled. "I can give you the figures but not the brains to understand them," was the Wilsonian reply.

    In response to barracking, Douglas-Home said, using his mic, "I can shout louder than you." And that was the last we heard of him!

    Ever since then public meetings have hardly been open. They are all staged media events. Even apparent walkabouts are now littered with supporters or at least people they think are reliable. A none news story Nick.

  • Comment number 75.

    Any chance of an article on the Philippa Stroud story some time before we all vote? Alternatively you could give us an indepth analysis of Mrs Duffy's shopping list on the day she met Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 76.

    great HM @ 23

    "No, left wing = caring and bright does not work as a generalisation I'm afraid."

    Of course it doesn't, you don't have to tell me that. C'mon Haye (!) you're talking to a clear thinking progressive here. I saw (for the umpteenth time) a post peddling the brain dead absurdity that the Labour vote is all immigrants plus public sector drones plus ivory tower academics plus do gooders, and I just batted back an equal and opposite absurdity. Idea is to show up the original (and offending) post for the pernicious nonsense that it is. Your response (and Gerry's above) demonstrates that I have succeeded in doing so. I can do this sort of thing.

  • Comment number 77.

    Two senior Labour ministers are canvassing for the Lib/Dems

    A Labour candidate tells us Gordon Brown is the worst Prime Minister ever.

    Gordon Brown tells us he is the only man who can save the UK.

    And the Restaurant at the end of the Universe is a real place.

    Yeah Right!!

  • Comment number 78.

    17. nautonier

    I agree, & to think this is the man who believes he can raise money with the 50% tax band (see posts past) & phasing personal tax allowances out for those earning over 100K – it’s laughable.

    All those tax loop holes for a former Prime Minister & his chums to exploit while the rest of us pick up the slack hey!

    I think we know who will end up paying the lion’s share of the necessary tax increases over the next few years – I’m already resigned to it & have my moth eaten cheque book open already.

  • Comment number 79.

    24#

    Because you're a Labour stooge and no-one cares anymore about which straws you are clutching at because you're going to lose on Thursday and lose big.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick Robinson - when will you stand for the Tories?

  • Comment number 81.

    tory and ? @ 31

    "Never mind all that, what does he plan to do about the economy? Doing nothing is not an option. Denying there is a problem doesn't wash. Waiting till next year? It might not come."

    Bloggus panicumbus blindus.

    Pls see 229(c) previous blog.

    That's you.

  • Comment number 82.

    Lots of talk now about a Tory minority government. They're not worried about a lack of consensus in parliament, and why? Because their 'changes' do not require legislation. This tinkering is undemocratic, in that it bypasses parliamentary scrutiny, and it shows the Tories' talk of change is just hot air. If you vote Tory, there will be no transformation of politics, health or education. These will will simply be left to rot on the vine while rich Tory voters pay for private education and healthcare. And they'll enjoy a big fat tax break paid for by ordinary workers on lower incomes...

  • Comment number 83.

    # 29. At 2:48pm on 04 May 2010, yorkshireMan_38 wrote:

    Nick, your comments are implicitly critical of Labour's campaign. This is appalling, BBC should maintain neutrality and unbiased.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Shocking, isnt it? Being implicitly critical of the dear leader.

    How very dare he.... LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    # 30. At 2:50pm on 04 May 2010, danielle wrote:

    Am really very tired of the bashing of GB by the BBC in this election. I don't think NR or the rest have given him the fair hearing which he deserves. Of course he isn't perfect, but the alternative is dire indeed.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    No, course they havent. They've got the champagne bottles lined up already for Thursday night and Camerons coronation, just like the did in 97...... LOL

  • Comment number 84.

    Ah, contagion. That well known experience.

    Markets still going down. All worried about Greece and the others. The Portuguese authorities have banned short selling for the foreseeable future. They had previously banned it for a month, which was up today.

    Keep that bucket of sand handy boys, you may well need to stick your heads in it soon.

  • Comment number 85.

    A week or so ago, I posted a note regarding a 'Bean Poll' that a local coffee shop has going in the main shopping mall of my local NE England town - a staunch Labour stronghold, with an above average unemployment rate. At that time, I posted that the LibDems were ahead, Tories not far behind, Others a poor third, and Labour trailing in 4th. This is today's update, based on percentages filled of the tubes with coffee beans (buy a cup of coffee, put a bean in the tube of your choice - top of tube =100%):

    Tories now out in front - 65%
    Lib Dems - 60%
    Others - around 30%
    Labour - hardly moved from last time, barely a showing, at around 10% or so, way down below the others. If I was Brown, I would be VERY scared of this.

    Saga suggested that this may reflect just who can afford the coffee (not sure why that has a bearing on the results). But, assuming that he meant that Labour supporting voters cannot afford the coffee, I would dispute that. The typical unemployed Labour supporter can be found in the pub, buying beer by the jugfull. But plenty of single mums, young couples (on a weekeday? Both then unemployed?), some retirees killing time, all buying coffee, so I don't think affordability comes into it. Intelligence maybe - i.e. those drinking coffee are likely more intelligent than those drinking beer?

    I predict a Tory majority.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    No15 RockingRobin
    With the majority of our parliamentarians being unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable the Rock thinks we live in a democracy.
    What a clown.

  • Comment number 88.

    I've just noticed these statistics from Eurostat

    Public deficit as %age of GDP
    Italy 5
    Portugal 9.5
    Spain 11.5
    UK 11.7
    Greece 13.5
    Ireland 14.5

    Total debt as %age of GDP
    Spain 55
    Ireland 65
    UK 70
    Portugal 80
    Greece 115
    Italy 115

    See anything there to give us comfort at all?

    No, thought not.

  • Comment number 89.

    Can't see much changing tomorrow so let me give you my final ELECTION CALL.

    Conservative overall majority of 21 seats. John Major's margin I seem to recall, funnily enough. Although it's not funny, of course. Anything but. Great for my wallet (have a bet down) but not so great for the country; and not being a tory, I prioritise the latter over the former.

    But anyway, there you go ...

    C21.

  • Comment number 90.

    #51 Purpledogzzz

    "Ross Kemp, you are a disgrace!"

    Leave it! He ain't worth it!

  • Comment number 91.

    54#

    Yeah right, Miss One Time Log In.


    You were probably one of the activists who has to dress up like an ordinary member of the public.....

  • Comment number 92.

    Right now I think Spit the Dog could poll more votes for newlabour than either Gordon Brown or any of his cabinet.

    Perhaps it's an idea.

    At least Spit couldn't have been caught calling Mrs Duffy a bigot. Or telling parliament he had saved the world. And I'll bet SPit wouldn;t have sold our gold and ruined the private pension system.

    Better still Spit would have remained calm under pressure, occasionally ventured a 'cough' reaction to inadvertent questions and provided a level of merriment and amusement way above anyone in the newlabour party.

    Spit would never have run up this level of national debt; he's a low maintenance kind of dog. And Spit would have eschewed the egregious GMTV sofa episodes so beloved of newlabour leaders.

    Incidentally.. what will GMTV do without newlabour popping up on their sofa every five minutes to reassure the nation's workshy they will still receive their benefits?

    Taxi for Brown!

  • Comment number 93.

    We've not yet heard Kenneth Clark's views on the desirability or otherwise of a 'hung parliament'. Given his previous wise insights in which he characterised the present system of prime-ministerial government as an 'elective dictatorship', one might him to agree that a hung parliament would provide a good check upon unrestrained prime-ministerial power. Why doesn't somebody ask for his views?

  • Comment number 94.

    All parties stage manage their photo opportunities. It looks rubbish, but Perhaps its understandable, if they didn't control them they'd be infiltrated and sabotaged by their opposition. Its a little bit unfair to single out Labour in this way. How much of a majority does the Conservative party need to carry out his vision for a Big society.? Obviously when it comes to TV news, more is less.

  • Comment number 95.

    jobsagoodin @ 37

    "How there can be anyone left still supporting this buffoon beyond me. It's amazing the number of people in this country who have no shame whatsoever."

    Oh do stop it, Jobs. Honestly. You're sounding like Robin.

    Anyway, tell me - Thursday, getting to the polls, you going to be walking down there? ... or will it be out with the "comedy" bicycle?

  • Comment number 96.

    For the benefit of those of you with your heads in the bucket of sand, the cumulative loss on the UK stock market during the past week is now 6 percent.

    Now that's something to be really proud of. Why aren't the Labour strategists telling us more about their wonderful ability to handle the economy so much better than everybody else?

  • Comment number 97.

    Oh well. Time to go home.

    Much more enjoyable than watching a bunch of desperate, soon to be out of a job stooges clutch at straws like what is happening here with this Philippa Stroud business....

    Guys... the economy is about to implode and we face the darkest days in the best part of seventy years, thanks to your dear leader...


    And this Philippa Stroud twaddle is the best you've got?????


    Sad, pathetic individuals. Losers.

    Better get ready to sign on next week chaps. Jobseekers beckons!

  • Comment number 98.

    Good question peejkerton, but not even Nick could manage to get Mrs Duffy and Gordon Browns name into the title of a Blog about Phillippa Stroud "curing gays".


    Nick, this is NOT a challenge.

  • Comment number 99.

    This is so not a good election to win, don't you agree?

  • Comment number 100.

    I notice the futures market will be open from around 01.00 on Friday for the professional investors to be able to cover themselves in the event of Labour being able to sneak back in via the Lib Dems.

    Wonder if I can get on there to start pre-buying all the things that are going to go up in price once Vince Cable starts getting his feet under the Treasury table?

 

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