Sunday, 8 November 2009

Mumsnet: Gordon Takes The Biscuit

The Gordon Brown interview on mumsnet became famous for GB eventually revealing his favourite biscuit (chocolate). Because of this some people thought it was a soft interview, Gordon does avoid the likes of Paxman. I read some fans of mumsnet were angry at it being thought soft, as though mums were somehow thought to be not intelligent. I had a look myself, and have copied the more interesting ones below, it isn't bad, but he was allowed to choose the questions and wasn't challenged on his answers.

Banking and cleaning up the financial system
bossykate: Gordon, would you consider a windfall tax on banks? Considering the generosity of the tax-payer in bailing out and propping up the entire banking system last year, shouldn't some of the profits be socialised if the losses were?
GordonBrown: To bossykate and others, I'm as angry about the banks as you are. We are determined that we receive more money back from the banks than we have had to invest in them, so the banks will be paying us, the public, money, not the other way round. On bonuses and pay, we are setting international rules so that you can't escape by moving your employment from one country to another; pay in future must be about long-term success, not failure. You'll find me making further statements about this in the next few weeks.

Climate change and the Copenhagen summit
ted: Congratulations on your plans to attend the Copenhagen summit on climate change. Are you disappointed that more leaders aren't going to attend? Why do you think that is? And how worried are you and Sarah about global warming?
spidermama: I would love to be able to vote Labour again but while you're funding new coal-fired power stations, failing to curb the dangerously excessive carbon emissions from the aviation and shipping industries and failing to invest properly in renewable energy I cannot be complicit in what appears to me to be a sleepwalk into catastrophic climate change which is already killing people and will wreak havoc in the lifetimes of our children and their children. How do you intend to make your mark on Planet Earth's date with destiny - the climate change agreement in Copenhagen in December?
GordonBrown: To Ted and others who are asking about the environment - yes, we do need an agreement in Copenhagen, and I'm going to go there and am asking other leaders to do so. We are putting forward new proposals in the next few weeks. On air travel we have air passenger duty, but we know we need an international agreement on aviation and shipping. All of us can play our part in cutting these emissions - why not sign up to Ed's pledge at - and I'm really pleased Mumsnet is backing 10:10.
Sarah and I are doing all we can at home, including solar panels on our house in Scotland. Believe it or not, we are advised that even though we are at the top of a hill, solar panels create more energy than a wind turbine. You might be surprised there's sun even in Fife!

Big Brother and biometric passports
edam: Will you promise to give up the government's love of large IT databases and obsessive monitoring of/interference in the private lives of citizens? I'm talking about ID cards (waste of money inherently insecure), the NHS electronic database (ditto), Ofsted interfering in private arrangements between families, councils using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to snoop in our dustbins or when we apply for school places. There has been a drift towards Big Brother in many aspects of public life. Please stop it.
GordonBrown: Edam, yes we are moving to a biometric passport, but that's what every country is trying to do. Your passport can be your source of identity. We are asking for very little more information than is now asked for your passport, and it is voluntary.

Trident and nuclear policy
StewieGriffinsMom: I would like to know how the government actually believes that replacing Trident does not invalidate any of our international agreements on nuclear non-proliferation?
GordonBrown: We all want a world free of nuclear weapons and I've always said we should have the minimum deterrent necessary. Since 1997, Britain has cut the number of nuclear warheads by 50% and I recently announced that I'm prepared to look at reducing our nuclear weapon submarines from four to three.
Our policy on Trident is in line with all our international agreements on non-proliferation, and I'm determined that the world must go further. So just a few weeks ago I went to the UN Security Council and put forward a global deal where countries that already have nuclear weapons offer civil nuclear power to those countries prepared to give up their plans to obtain nuclear weapons. In return, countries like ours who already have nuclear weapons will play our part by reducing the global total.
There is more detail about the deal here, and I'm proud that Britain played such a leading role in a campaign that will make all of our children safer.

morningpaper: Do you consider yourself to be an unlucky Prime Minister?
GordonBrown: Morningpaper, you ask if I consider myself an unlucky Prime Minister? Not when I'm sitting here at Mumsnet!
“That has to be the cringiest thing I have ever read,” wrote sagan

Take The Biscuit
But there was one question that he steadfastly refused to answer: what’s your favourite biscuit, Prime Minister? The question was put to Mr Brown no fewer than 12 times (which, as it happens, is the exact number of times Jeremy Paxman put his question to Michael Howard in the notorious 1997 Newsnight interview).
Time and again they asked what has become a staple question of Mumsnet interviews. “May I ask you what your favourite biscuits are?” said one mother. “What biscuit, Mr Brown, please, before you leave!” pressed another. Steadfast to the end, Mr Brown refused to answer. One member, MadameDefarge, said: “Maybe he needs to consult with his advisers on what would be the most vote-winning biscuit to admit to liking?”
Afterwards 10 Downing Street still refused to comment, although it is known that he used to snack on up to three Kit Kats a day before his wife got him to cut down. Over the weekend he used Twitter to reveal that he was a fan of any chocolate coated biscuits!

So he didn't answer the questions, just repeated the same old stuff.

Caroline Lucas MEP was interviewed by mumsnet here

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