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Wuthering Brown

Gordon Brown comparing himself to Heathcliffe from “Wuthering Heights” was bad enough, but having to listen again to the caterwauling of Kate Bush really was too much. Talk about bad dreams in the night.

Actually, Broon was fitted up over Heathcliffegate. He was clearly joking when he “agreed” in the New Statesman interview that he was like the Wuthering madman. The PM was trying to be matey; trying sound human and self-deprecating Unfortunately, Brown just doesn’t have the knack of sounding human.

The image of the dour and vengeful character from the northlands sticks too easily to him. And it has stuck in the minds of the metropolitan media now they’ve done with Stalin and Mr Bean. Yes, London increasingly regards the Prime Minister as a borderline psychopath so deranged by sadness and rejection that he is capable of digging up the dead. Who knows, after Glasgow East, it may come to that.

Actually, all the Wuthering diverted media attention from a more serious blunder. This was Brown’s proposal that we should all eat up our leftovers and not waste food. Why we could save eight poonds a week and ease pollution and waste. He didn’t actually mention the little black babies in Africa, but it was in that vein.

Not only was this patronising and economically illiterate as a solution to commodity price inflation, it occurred in the very week that Brown was off to the G8 jolly in Hokkaido, Japan for an eighteen course banquet. That this gathering of the world leaders regarded a feast of caviar, milk-fed lamb and sea urchin to be an appropriate working lunch for a convention on the food crisis tells you all you need to know about why the world is in a mess. Oh, and that G8 menu in full: Words “Anglais”, to be eaten with large helpings of humble pie in Brown sauce. Followed by hard cheese.

It was a bumper week for Brown-ups. He placed so many feet in his mouth that his face is turning into a boot camp. Road tax is turning into another ten pence tax row, with Tories and their well-heeled and well-wheeled media friends weeping crocodile tears about low income people in big cars who’ll have to pay more. How could Brown be so beastly, they wept as they climbed into their fuming Chelsea tractors

As usual the Treasury had got its numbers wrong, so that when the PM said that a majority of motorists would benefit from road tax changes, what he meant to say was that a majority would not benefit and 9 million would end up paying more. Exactly the same confusion arose over the numbers losing from the scrapping the ten pence tax band. Doesn’t anyone have a calculator in HM Treasury?

About @iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?


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