This sixth part of ConservativeHome’s ‘Wake up to Gordon Brown’ series covers the most explosive subject matter. There were a number of people who recommended very direct personal attacks on the Chancellor:
"Expose his arrogance and inability to work as a team member."
"Encourage cartoonists to emphasise his porcine eyes and nail-bitten fingers."
"Establish him as Old Man Brown, tired, worn out, out of touch."
David Cameron’s "analogue Chancellor in a digital age" jibe could have been inspired by that last quotation and, of course, by ConservativeHome’s old-fashioned alarm clock graphic!
David Cameron will want to steer away from two of the richer comments that were made…
"Spread muck and manure on him at regular intervals."
"Smear him, smear him, and smear him again."
I publish them because there were representative of about a dozen similar observations. If "very senior sources" within Downing Street are capable of telling Andrew Rawnsley that Gordon Brown suffers from "psychological flaws" it is not surprising that a few Tories get excited about the Chancellor. George Osborne and David Cameron have both been very negative about Mr Brown. Many, many more voices within the ConservativeHome Panel rightly rejected personality-based negative campaigning, however. Here are a sample of them:
"The Tories should though try and avoid character assisination as that is only likely to generate more sympathy for GB and more loathing for the Tories. The public will make their own mind up about GB persona, we need to help educate them about GB’s faltering reputation as a chancellor and his likely political plans for the future."
"Avoid focusing to much on Brown himself – the public will be able to make their own judgement. A co-ordinated attack on the entire Labour machine is what I would suggest."
"I think the campaign should be positive with no personal attacks. Using humour is better especially as Brown has none."
"We have to hammer home the fact that he has extracted billions in extra taxes and not gotten a comensurate return on the money. We must not become overly negative, since the Nasty label is always just around the corner, but he must not be allowed a period of grace as the next Labour leader. Keep any attack non-personal and focused on his handling of the economy."
There were a number of people wanting to exploit the fact that Mr Brown represents a Scottish seat:
"Maintain the query against scot MPs voting on English matters."
"Emphasise his scottishness and the Midlothian Question."
"Highlight hidden redistribution of money from England to Sccotland etc."
Gordon Brown – with his Britishness speeches – appears acutely aware of this ‘Scottishness problem’. Tories need to tread carefully, however. It is best to avoid the fact that Gordon Brown is a Scot and focus on the case for English votes for English laws.
PREVIOUS ENTRY IN THIS SERIES: THE TB-GB RELATIONSHIP.