I’ve just happened upon a transcript of a Gordon Brown press conference at No 10.gov.
The blogosphere pointed me there because of this controversial passage – which read just fine to me.
I think Mrs Thatcher, Lady Thatcher, saw the need for change and I think whatever disagreements you have with her about certain policies – there was a large amount of unemployment at the time which perhaps could have been dealt with better – we have got to understand that she saw the need for change. I also admire the fact that she is a conviction politician. She stands very clearly for principles. I believe, and I have said before, that I am also a conviction politician. I am convinced about certain things, that we have got to support the talent of every individual in the country, that people have got to respect other people, that we have got to have a work ethic that works, that we have got to have discipline, as I have said, in our communities, and that is the only way with families working well and communities well, that we can do well as a country. So I am a conviction politician like her, and I think many people will see Mrs Thatcher as not only a person who saw the need for change in our country and took big decisions to achieve that, but also is and remains a conviction politician, true to the beliefs that she holds.
It’s interesting to speculate about this passage which doesn’t go very far out of its way to distance Gordon Brown from Maggie. But what intrigued me was the next three words in the transcript which are as follows.
(Party Political Content)
‘Party Political Content’ is edited out of another answer. Otherwise the transcript is the full transcript of what he actually said.
I’ve always admired the greater tenacity with which the Poms stick to the formalities of the Westminster tradition despite the encroachment of modern sensibilities and the 24 hour spin cycle. I admire the way in which the BBC often tries to summarise the essence of some announcement or piece of news rather than just get the juiciest ‘grab’ from one spokesperson or another.
And here they are with the idea that a press conference transcript on the PM’s website should have the overtly party political content removed. I’m not sure I’d be too happy with the job of working out what went in and what stayed out. The whole thing seems a bit quaint. But I admire them for trying. I wonder if they’ll still be doing it in ten years time.
England – the place where there’s a fair chance a minister will resign (and probably for good) if he’s caught lying. Then again, it’s also a place where a minister will resign if he gets caught indulging in a bit of nookie which is no-one’s business.