10 November 2009

Attacking a politician's spelling and handwriting: fair play or dirty trick?

Regular readers of this blog will know that there have been plenty of posts raising questions about Gordon Brown's communication skills. But when it comes to expressing condolences, he's actually rather good at it (e.g. HERE & HERE).

This is perhaps why I find the media attacks on him for upsetting the mother of a soldier lost in Afghanistan for his bad handwriting, use of a felt tipped pen and poor spelling in a personal letter of condolences rather distasteful and politically suspect.

It can hardly be a coincidence that the story seems to have originated from the Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper and has had much coverage on the Murdoch-owned Sky News just a few weeks after the Murdochs had instructed the Sun to announce, in the middle of the Labour Party conference, that it wouldn't be supporting them at the next general election.

Much more likely is that it's a rather nasty and politically motivated attempt to discredit a prime minister who happens to suffer from poor eyesight.

The most encouraging thing about it is that the story seems to be backfiring on its perpetrators, both in the mainstream (non-Murdoch owned) media and in the blogosphere - and even amongst anti-Labour voters and Conservative bloggers.


John Turner said...

agragie"anti-Labout voters" is a great typo!

Otherwise, an interesting and balanced piece. I share your distaste. The grief of all the families and the human cost is brought home by the processions through Wootton Basset. That feeling over-rides considerations of political ins-and-outs, but it's worth noting that the repetition of such images is extremely efective in reminding us of the key message - war costs.

I've blogged on Murdoch on my very new blog page. His idea to charge internet users of news content is reminiscent of putting cats back into bags. He'll need more luck than Brown to pull that one off.

The ability of Brown to communicate has been compromised by his apparent refusal to recognise the benefits of coaching and script-writing.

He relies on the idea that what he has in mind will be appreciated without the flim-flam of assistance from those who have helped his pre-decessors and opponents.

I understand he writes his own speeches, and I suspect he reads books on presentation skills. However, the number one tip for a presenter has to be a toss-up between "Get a Coach" and "Get a Script-Writer".

Political leaders need all the help they can get. Brown eschews it at his peril.

John Turner said...

Please forgive "efective" and I don't knowwhere agragie came from!

Tip two - get a proof-reader before pointing out others' typos!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

GB couldn't get a good press if he created world peace and abolished poverty.

At this stage of the game, he must just eff off. Just eff off. Go. exeunt. bugger off.

Anonymous said...

This wouldn't be the same Sun newspaper that faked a story about the widow of a Victoria Cross winner, durring the Falklands War.