Interviewed on Sunday AM, Gordon Brown repeatedly refused to rule out an October poll.  He even refused to rule out calling an election this week.

Non-verbatim highlights:

  • He wouldn’t rule out autumn election [Given the speculation he has permitted Brown really risks becoming diminished, political and ‘chicken’ if he doesn’t now go to the country.]
  • He said that he wouldn’t discuss election-timing – he was focusing on governing – including the crises he has faced on terrorism, Foot and Mouth, flooding and Northern Rock.
  • The choice at the next election would be between a Labour Government committed to stability and growth and a Tory party locked into the economics of 1992 – when David Cameron stood alongside Norman Lamont on Black Wednesday.
  • He wanted to create an NHS that was "personal" to all patients.
  • He evaded questions on when he first knew about Northern Rock.
  • Mervyn King – like Eddie George – is a brilliant Governor.  The system created in 1997 has delivered stability and an end to stop-and-go.
  • What the Tories call the debt problem is actually a huge increase in the number of people who have bought their own homes.  On average people are paying a lower proportion of their incomes on repayments today than in the early 1990s.
  • David Cameron was Norman Lamont’s failed economic adviser.  Yawn. Matthew Parris has written about Brown’s misleading spin on this.
  • Asked who he was politically, he answered that he was the son of a church minister who believed in hard work, family and respect for others.  The NHS summed up his political values.
  • Told that the SNP planned party election broadcasts featuring his Downing Street photo opportunity with Margaret Thatcher, he replied that he invited Margaret Thatcher to Downing Street because it was a courteous thing to do.  Although she had caused too much unemployment, she did recognise the need for change when she was PM and she is a conviction politician.
  • Britain has a system of "managed migration" – a points-based system based on the Australian system.  If you come to this country you need to learn our language and understand our culture.  [Brown repeatedly declined to answer Andrew Marr’s straight question on whether there was too much immigration].

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