David-Blackburn

Best and worst of the campaign: Gordon Brown

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As we wait for the polls to close, and the final countdown to begin, we at Coffee House thought it would be a good opportunity to look back on the campaign as a whole. And, so, here's the first in a series of three posts identifying the best and worst moments for the main party leaders. We've started with the man who remains Prime Minister for the time being: Gordon Brown.

Brown's best moment: the Citizens UK speech

As it happens, choosing Brown's best moment of the campaign is easy. Alongside so many gaffes, scowls and lies, the flashes of proficiency tend to stick out - and none more so than his speech to Citizens UK earlier this week. Yes, the audience was heavily inclined towards him. But he lived up to their applause with a performance which was uncharacteristically sprightly, and which cast his Presbyterian pomp in a more flattering light than we're used to. This was a man, you felt, who knew the game was up - and who had relaxed because of it.  

Honourable mention: Brown's improved performance in the second TV debate.

Brown's worst moment: the Gillian Duffy incident

Gillian Duffy. 13 years of negative politics condensed into 20 seconds of vitriol. Everything was laid bare: his contempt for voters, his arrogance in attempting to shift blame onto his staff and then the broadcasters, and his blasé attitude towards immigration. That the comments were overheard at all, and his bizarre pilgrimage to Mrs Duffy's to apologise, revealed an amateurish campaign being run by an exhausted party. Tactically, it wrote off the third debate for Brown. No wonder his head sank into his hands.

Honourable mention: a gloomy performance in the third TV debate.