Fraser Nelson

In the name of the father | 20 February 2010

In the name of the father | 20 February 2010
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“I’m not perfect” Gordon Brown said in his speech today – knowing that, in a couple of hours, we’ll hear details of the many ways he is not perfect, when the first extracts of Andrew Rawnsley’s book are published. He has got his defence in early on Channel Four news. Here is a transcript:

Q: You know tomorrow there are going to be a whole slew of new allegations being made by Andrew Rawnsley, so let's hear about you at work. Do you get angry at your staff? Do you swear at them? Do you throw things?

GORDON BROWN: If I get angry, I get angry with myself.

Q: Do you throw things?

GORDON BROWN: No, I throw the newspapers on the floor or something like that, but please…

Q: Have you ever hit anyone?

GORDON BROWN: I have never hit anybody in my life.

Q: You know this is all what's being said…

GORDON BROWN: Let me just say absolutely clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding about that, I have never, never hit anybody in my life.

Q: Or shoved them?

GORDON BROWN: No, I don't do these sorts of things. Look, I was brought up - my father, I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone and I always think when you're - the heat of the moment you say things some time, of course you do get angry, mostly with yourself. But I'm very strong willed, I'm very determined, I think the country wants someone that will push things forward, and not allow things to be stagnant and stale, and every morning I get up with a determination to do my best for this country. Any allegations that have been made about hitting people or anything are completely untrue.

The last time Brown told us about his father was in his June press conference. “My father said ‘always be honest’,” he told the assembled journalists. In which case, why didn’t he listen? Why did he turn out to be one of the most dishonest men to bully their way to 10 Downing Street? 

To be specific, the allegations (numerous ones) are that he throws objects at his staff, not hits them. I have heard so many such allegations, both privately and in the press, that I cannot believe them not to be true. The question is: what will the Rawnsley book do? Will it be character, or policy? The public have no doubt that Brown is a villain. More stories about his foul moods, his bullying etc. will just lay tarmac over this already-cemented impression. It needs to move on to policy to impact the election campaign. We have just a few hours to see if it will.