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No laughing matter

Brian Taylor | 16:03 UK time, Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Could somebody, anybody, supply the prime minister with a few new gags?

This afternoon, in a Q&A session at the Bournemouth conference, he resorted yet again to the old standards, the single transferable jokes.

Not that they’re bad gags. And he tells them with verve.

But we’ve heard them before.

Many times.

We’ve heard the one about President Nixon meeting folk in Africa, clasping them by the hand and inquiring “how does it feel to be free”, only for the guy at the end of the line to reply “how should I know, I come from Alabama.”

Speaking purely personally, if I hear that story again, I fully intend to scream.

Ditto the one about Reagan being told that a Scandinavian leader was an “anti-Communist” and retorting: “I don’t care what kind of Communist he is...”

Ditto the comparison between himself arriving as a youngster at Edinburgh University and Mark Twain setting off into the world (although I’m inclined to stretch a point for that one: anything about the author of Huck Finn bears repetition).

Find some new material. Trawl the archives. Recruit the Chuckle Brothers. Translate a few funnies from Aristophanes. Anything.

Mind you, maybe Team Brown feel they should leave well alone.

Maybe they feel their man wouldn’t wash as a species of stand-up comedian.


  • 1.
  • At 05:26 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • louise wrote:

I find Gordon Brown as dour, dismal and depressing as they say he is. Attempting to change himself by changing his speech and trying to imply his personality and nationality is something different by cracking jokes, taking elocution lessons and talking about being British to me is deception. Dressing himself up as Brown the Clown isn’t going to make me want to vote for him either as a comedian or as a potential prime minister. I will vote for the politician who I feel is trying to serve the country rather than him or herself. I believe Robin Cook would have made a Great Prime Minister. I feel Robin Cook had principles something I feel Gordon Brown is severely lacking. (We don’t really need to mention the Maggie Thatcher incident again). The other thing about Robin Cook was he was Human and made mistakes like the rest of us. Gordon would do and say anything that he thinks would appeal to middle England the same as Blair before him. Gordon Brown should remember his constituents are Scots in Scotland. I actually don’t care what the leaders of my country are like in their personal lives but attempting to change themselves and not accepting who they are to curry favour with the electorate is just pathetic and sad. If they cant accept who they are how can they accept other people as they are. I will take a "real" politician with all his human failings any day over a fake one who pretends to be all things to all men. (And women).

  • 2.
  • At 06:26 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Who cares Brian?

Find something with some substance to blog about.

  • 3.
  • At 07:13 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Peter, Fife wrote:

Somebody needs to whisper in the PMs ear, either he needs to stop recycling those worn out anecdotes which are well past their laugh by date or possibly he should get a scriptwriter similar to that which David Cameron did with William Hague.

  • 4.
  • At 09:11 AM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Ian, Skye wrote:

I ain`t no *tory*, Brian but, maybe if Brown and associats,instead of trying old jokes, were to ressurect some of Maggies policies that would not only give us a laugh but might also get the people listening about politics again and if he picked the right policies maybe get the country prosperous as well!!!
Might even start to be taken seriously by the World an` all. He! He!He!.

  • 5.
  • At 10:45 AM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Ed Martin wrote:

He's not naturally 'funny' except when trying with all his might to avoid mentioning Scotland and attempting to choke of his Fife accent. Now if he could work in a joke about Labour getting the Kirkcaldy heist in North Britain that might raise a smile:)

  • 6.
  • At 10:53 AM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Not only does Gordon Brown need a new joke writer he needs a new speeach writer as well.

Mr Brown: "Sometimes people say I am too serious and I fight too hard and maybe that’s true."
Al Gore’s 2000 presidential 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."

Mr Brown: "This is my pledge to the British people: I will not let you down."
Al Gore’s 2000 nomination acceptance speech: "I pledge to you tonight: I will work for you every day and I will never let you down."

Mr Brown said: "This is the century where our country cannot afford to waste the talents of anyone."
Bill Clinton’s State of the Union address in 1995: "As we move into this next century, everybody matters; we don't have a person to waste."

Mr Brown: "This is my pledge to the British people: I will not let you down."
Al Gore’s 2000 nomination acceptance speech: "I pledge to you tonight: I will work for you every day and I will never let you down."

As the old joke goes: "If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many, it's research."

  • 7.
  • At 11:42 AM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Ewen McPherson wrote:

Hopefully, GB and New British Labour won't be around as long as the Chuckle Brothers.....

Say kids, can anybody smell Spin ? Look how cuddly Gordon is. He doesn't thump the lectern any more. His speeches don't sound like a list of bullet (thump) points (thump). No mention of good old Prudence or neo-endogenous growth Theory. Here is YOUR Prime Minister. What a nice man. He can tell a joke you know and isn't the dour North British Son of the Manse that the nasty Tory press makes him out to be. Look at his Hair, isn't it luxurious, manly and more importantly about fifteen shades darker than last week.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda....much hot air from the whole week and the square root of not an awful lot of substance. More re-spins and re-announcements and lots of high and mighty words while on the ground there are people dying in Darfur, Zimbabwe and now Burma.

Buts that's OK, sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions, that works, eh ? Ethical Foreign Policy ? Can anyone hear the sound of revolving ?

And as for the £140 that Cuddly Des has "graciously" given back to the troops, that about pays for the decent pair of desert boots that most of them have had to buy and get shipped out.

So Gordon, stop the messing. Either call the election or say firmly that there will not be an election in the immediate future.

Let Your Great Britain speak on Your Premiership.

Postscript. What's this about his new Speechwriter imported from the States ? I remember hearing somewhere that every campaign that he has worked on in the last twenty years went down to defeat ? Here's hoping....

  • 8.
  • At 02:55 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

Big night last night Brian.

Youve not much to blog about this morning.

  • 9.
  • At 06:21 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • CM, Brussels wrote:

What does it have to do with Scottish politics?

  • 10.
  • At 11:11 AM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • mairi macleod wrote:

hi brian,
i dont care a jot what GB. does butwould like him to just take some
pointers from AS. NORMAL MAN,HUMAN,

  • 11.
  • At 12:23 PM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • Dave "Boy" wrote:

Didn't a certain Mr Salmond also reinvent himself to hoodwink the voters / present a more positive public persona (delete as applicable depending on your political outlook.....).

If its good enough for Mr Salmond, then its certainly good enough for Mr Brown. Personally, I have a huge mistrust of any politician who tries to present themself as something other than their true self.

  • 12.
  • At 12:57 PM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

#9 It has nothing whatever to do with Scottish politics, your quite right. Its even less relevant than Gordon himself ...

  • 13.
  • At 02:47 PM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • Duncan McDougall wrote:

You'd be glum too, if the only pal in the world who was prepared to visit you is Margaret Thatcher!

On a more serious note, Brown is living a lie, but to ensure he gets re-elected in middle England he is clothing himself in a right wing agenda, e.g. Trident on Clyde, draconian detention laws, curbing immigration, advocating British nationalism, cuts in NHS, treating Scotland with absolute distain, cosying up to extreme right wing US president and of course good old Iraq and the chaos he has funded there for past 10 years.

He will go down in history as a pretender, prepared to ditch every conviction he once held. Ironic, that he should choose therefore to compare himself to Mrs T?


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