Sunday, 27 December 2009
THE GREAT GORDON BROWN GREAT BRITISHNESS ROADSHOW FLOP
Way back in 2007 when the Labour party, without a vote, wished Gordon Brown upon us because it was his turn, his first address to parliament laid out his Britishness. It was a word he was to use over and over, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Every speech had British and Britishness in it more times than it had words like “and” and “the”. He even told an American interviewer that he came from “North Britain” in an obvious attempt to be acceptable to the English, and without thinking just how incredibly insulting it was to Scots.
He set up a programme, complete with road show, to promote Britishness, and discuss with the public, whether there should be a British Bill of Rights and Written Constitution. Of course, like everything else Gordon touches, it fell apart before you got it out of the box.
The first road show took place in Leicester, England, in December 2007 and was hosted by Jack Straw. It cost £37,000, and was attended by 10 members of the public! After that embarrassment, the Ministry of Justice restricted attendance at Governance of Britain events to people selected, and even paid, by the ministry. (Details about payments in Subrosa's article here.) According to the Conservatives, however, even that appears to have misfired, because in subsequent events, even those invited to and paid to attend failed to do so in bigger and bigger numbers, until at an event in Newcastle on 21st November, no one turned up.
English Justice Minister Michael Wills criticised the Conservatives for their attitude saying: “It’s disappointing that they (the Conservatives) have such little regard for what it means to be British and the importance of this identity in a challenging world.”
On the basis that only 10 members of the public out of a population of 60 million turned up to these events without being paid to do so, it seems the Tories got it right on this one. I think that says a great deal about being British.
We just don’t care.
Incidentally, the overall cost for the road show is expected to be less that £1 million. Very economical until you work out that that is £100,000 per member of the public that was interested enough to turn out.....
I wonder what conclusions the study will reach and when they will be published.