Blears: YouTube if you want to … (the lady’s not for gurning)


Comment at end

4th May, 2009

Hazel Blears: “Labour ministers have a collective responsibility for the government’s lamentable failure to get our message across. YouTube if you want toBut it is no substitute for knocking on doors or setting up a stall in the town centre.”



Hazel Bears putting the boot ... erm ... high heel in!

It seems the Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, is “distraught” about the kerfuffle over her remarks at the weekend. She’s concerned that Gordon Brown may be taking it personally, and rang him up on Saturday night to tell him so … personally.  As the first (more-or-less) criticism of Gordon Brown from a member of the cabinet (more-or-less) it has caused consternation. What did she expect? A bunch of roses from Gord?

I find reports of her ‘distraught’ state pretty unbelievable, or worse, naive.

Her article wasn’t anything anyone in Labour or in any government could argue with: practical policies, getting the message across, connecting with voters.

But if she honestly thought the mentions of “YouTube” and “a lamentable failure” would NOT score a prime ministerial bullseye, her judgement is highly questionable. 

TheYouTube reference was clearly, surely, directed at Brown’s recent forays onto that network:


She might have – let’s be generous here – just got carried away with the 30th anniversary of the one and only female Prime Minister’s ascension to Downing Street. Well?  Don’t laugh. She MIGHT.  Her words paraphrased Margaret Thatcher, in 1980 – “You turn if you want to.  The lady’s not for turning.” A certain confluence here, eh? What do you think? Especially when subliminal ideas (in the possible run-up to a leadership contest) have to be implanted somehow. Well?  Don’t they?  Ideas don’t just come out of nowhere!

On the other hand, it could have been – (YouChoose if you’re bovvered) – that she DOES want Gordon to go (she was a firm Blairite) and she hoped it wouldn’t quite look like TOO pointed if she said “the government … lamentable failure”.  Or, she just might have thought it sounded clever – linking YouTube and Thatcher’s “You Turn … ” 30 years after Thatcher’s rise to power (Look, no smirking … I’m trying to be fair here … she IS a Blairite after all ! Give the woman a chance! )

Or … oh I give up.

Whatever was meant by the “lamentable” comment, and she’s clearly “connected” now, the YouTube element was NEVER going to be thought of as a Brown-free zone after the panning he’s had this last week over the MPs’ Expenses video.

YouTube if you want to … (the lady’s not for gurning)

(My paraphrase in my headline of HER paraphrase of Thatcher shows how easily it can all be manipulated.)

Being generous, ALL of this was naive in the extreme from a member of the government.

Unless it wasn’t!


Gordon Brown is congenitally unable to connect on-screen. On ANY screen, not just on YouTube. But we always knew he was following THE SUPERSTAR, so that shouldn’t be a surprise.  Brown is NO Tony Blair. He does not emote in any credible way or exude humanity. His smile is intermittent and unnatural. He does not inspire confidence or epitomise political vision. He does not project personal warmth or empathy. He does not, let’s be blunt, connect.

(Aside: To my mind even Obama can’t touch Blair, and I doubt he ever will.)

So in the Expenses video we are treated to a hyper-mobile Brown, hands, arm, shoulders, upper body contorting in a vain effort to connect.  Still, if it weren’t for the smile, which has a creepy and uncomfortable habit of popping up in all the wrong places, I’d give him an 8 for effort.

In fact I saw another video last week where he kept smiling while explaining what exactly the government was doing about swine flu. The on-off grins were out-of-place and detracted from his words, however worthy.

Tony Blair, recognised and loved/loathed for his smile would never have used that facial expression while imparting serious information. Even if he were telling us how well the government was handling things. Not appropriate, Gordon.

But, back to Ms Blears. She has shown herself either an innocent at sea carried away with her own verbiosity, or something else indeed. And the news is that Harriet Harman has made it clear that if there is a vacancy her name is going forward. All denied by Ms Harman, of course. But, didn’t she say something similar 10 months ago?

Whooops, Hazel!!!


WHY, Gordon – why the smile at these points in the video:

WHAT’S so funny about these sentences ????  Especially those on “The Committee”? You’re not confusing The Committee with the Mafia are you, Gordon? Trying to soften them up in case they have a contract out on you? What a load of Balls.

1:34 – Sir Christopher Kelly and the committee  on standards in public life …???

1:56 – Now a detailed written statement setting out our proposals will be made by Harriet Harman… ???

2:27 – The committee on standards in public life … ???

2:50 – The committee on standards in public life …???

3:16 –  We”ll ask the House of Commons to approve them next week …???

I won’t select his several mistakes or mis-reading of words. But those, too, would never have occurred under Blair.  If The Former had misread anything he’d have re-recorded until he got it right.



Except I have, over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over … and over and over and over and over…


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4 Responses to “Blears: YouTube if you want to … (the lady’s not for gurning)”

  1. margaret walters Says:

    the problem with brown is he saw blair doing the job so well he thought it was fairly easy when he became PM and can’t believe how difficult the job is. For all the problems blair had he succeeded in it for 10 yrs and it was the only government post he had ever held. very few PM’s started without any other previous govermental knowledge so to Brown it must have seemed a pushover after all the government experience he had. no wonder he looks so deflated. he can’t understand why he can’t do it like blair did, making it look so easy.

    • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      Quite, margaret. But that’s one of Blair’s gifts – making it all look so easy. It’s always the same with REAL professionals.

      I keep recalling Blair saying at the last conference, “You’re the future now, so make the most of it.”

      And THIS is the “most” they can manage?

      He KNEW Brown would come unstuck (for all sorts of reasons, even if he didn’t foresee the economic collapse). That’s why he was hoping for a challenge to him. Sadly none of them had the party suppport, the guts or the ability – to be quite blunt.

      And the sad thing is that if Brown could have just continued being chancellor until the next election he might have been able to concentrate on the economy and pull a few tricks out of the fire at an earlier stage. As it is I am CONVINCED that he is, or thinks he is, still running the economy as well as the country.

      The worldwide economic collapse hasn’t helped, of course, and both Blair and Brown would have found chickens coming home to roost. But mainly – ‘PRUDENCE Brown’ himself. And rightly so since he always liked to remind us that the previous successful years were all HIS doing!

      Because Blair help opposition spokesman positions prior to 1997 I think people forget he was never a government department minister. He was just such a natural as PM. And Brown has only ever been chancellor until stealing the PM’s job. So HE had no real understanding of the inner expectations of the various departments, apart from knowing how much to award them when Blair or he thought they needed cash.

      “Be careful what you wish for”, eh?

  2. Political Pundits » A Digital Election? Says:

    […] was itself ripe for parody, with one blogger (keeptonyblairforpm) adding “The lady’s not for gurning” – a reference to the many […]

  3. A digital election? | Buff & Blue Says:

    […] was itself ripe for parody, with one blogger (keeptonyblairforpm) adding “The lady’s not for gurning” – a reference to the many […]

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