Tag Archives: Gordon Brown

Will the volcano affect the election?

19 Apr

I know it seems quite odd to discuss an Icelandic volcano affecting the election, but the whole Eyjafjallajoekull situation is a simply bizarre anyway. The lack of planes in the sky is personally a bit strange, however, given the whole election as it is unfolding, it is just one of a number of anomalies that is making this election truly memorable.

But, like the wedding that I went to on the weekend that unfortunately saw the Spanish mother of the Groom as well as two groomsmen unable to attend, this volcano could have a significant effect of Gordon Brown’s campaign.

Currently, there are approximately 200,000 Britons stranded in this crisis. That is a lot of voters. The last thing Brown needs right now is headlines in The Sun and the Daily Mail saying Labour ignores British cries for help with interviews with stranded passengers stuck in Madrid saying that the Government and the Embassies are doing nothing to help them.

This is an issue that the Government has no control and I fully support their decision to continue shutting airports until the Met office has declared it safe, despite British airlines making successful test flights across the UK. If one passenger filled plane were to experience troubles or god forbid, worse, than that would create all numbers of situations that don’t need to be flirted with.

However, the Government does need to have an action plan in place and Lord Mandelson, David Miliband, Tessa Jowell, Lord Adonis and Lord West announced detailed plans outside Number 10 yesterday.

What interested me particularly though was where was Gordon Brown for this photo shoot? Rarely during an election campaign like this would a PM have the opportunity to look so Prime Ministerial, but he wasn’t there. The only reasons I can think of are a) due to laws around General Elections, the PM is restricted from making statements about these sort of issues, however I think that is unlikely; b) the Government thinks this might go on for some days longer, so they don’t want the PM to be visually associated with bad news or worse make him look like he has no control of the issue or dithering; c)  Labour doesn’t want to risk Opposition making claims that Labour is politicising a crisis involving 200,000 Brits for election purposes. Option C I think is the most realistic, however there could be some of option b involved in the decision-making process also.

Whatever the reason, this is a problem no one needs, especially he passengers and I think it is extremely commendable that no party has politicized this for the purposes of obtaining more votes. However, with the polls getting closer and all Parties reviewing their strategy, don’t say it won’t happen.

But spare a thought for poor Paul Wesson an independent running in David Cameron’s seat in Witney. Obviously, he has an enormous mountain to climb to beat Cameron in his own seat, but currently he is stranded in the Sudan. Not likely to get many votes there. Can you claim back your electoral deposit through travel insurance?

He may be on holidays, but the PM is still in charge

11 Aug

I’ve been a tad stunned by the reports over the past couple of weeks regarding who is in power with the Prime Minister on holidays and as a person who studied, trained and for a while practiced as a journalist, there are a number of issues that I feel are worth discussing. The headlines that have really surprised me revolve around Gordon Brown’s two Parliamentary lieutenants, Harriet Harmon and Lord Mandelson both having overlapping holidays, which allegedly meant that that there was no one in charge of the country for two whole days.

I’ve heard of media beat-ups before and I know the British media like to attack their own representatives constantly – just look at what they are doing to the English cricket team after their loss to Australia on Sunday (not that I’m complaining about that mind you). But to think that just because the Prime Minister is on holidays… in his own constituency… in the UK, there is no one in charge shows that it is actually the journalists who have gone on holidays.

When the PM was in Italy for the G8, he was still in charge. Just because Harriet Harman represented him at Prime Minister’s Questions, doesn’t mean she suddenly became PM. If there was an issue of national importance, Gordon Brown would undoubtedly be running the show.

The PM, much to Sarah Brown’s annoyance I’m sure, will still be flanked by advisers and will no doubt be spending a good deal of his ‘down time’ discussing policy, strategies and politics. A PM couldn’t just shut down even if he wanted to.

The Prime Minister is always in charge, that is what he was elected (or not in this case) to do. Pre Alexander Graham Bell, Bill Gates, telegraph communications and electricity, I could understand the argument, but not now.

However, mostly this is summer headline grabbing journalism and if this is what Mr Murdoch wants us to pay for online, I’ll pass thanks.

Cross posted with Ruder Finn UK Dot Comms