Yesterday was the last day of campaigning for the Scottish independence referendum, and one event that has been reported in media covering the whole political spectrum was a rousing speech by Pa Broon, widely regarded as one of his best: the thought has entered that this could be the one intervention that could save the Union. Approval has been universal.
Even the Labour-hating Daily Mail told “Gordon Brown roars into life: On the eve of historic vote, ex-PM gives the speech of the campaign ... Former Prime Minister launches most passionate defence of the union yet”, while the Maily Telegraph, still the nearest thing to a Tory Party house journal, observed “Former Prime Minister delivers barnstorming speech at final Better Together rally”.
Steve Richards, at the deeply subversive Guardian, also approved: “Awkward no more: how Gordon Brown found his voice ... The former PM’s authentic passion for the union could well be a game-changer in the Scottish referendum vote”. Isabel Hardman of the Spectator conceded that “There are people on the streets of Glasgow talking about Gordon Brown’s speech”.
Her colleague John O’Neill was clearly approving of the Brown rhetoric: “It’s been called rousing, barnstorming, the speech of his life. Gordon Brown’s passionate message for Scotland, which he delivered to an enthused crowd at the Maryhill Community Central Hall in Glasgow, has certainly caught people’s attention”. But one observer of the referendum campaign was silent. Totally silent.
Yes, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog said nothing. Not a sausage. Bugger all. Instead, the Fawkes folks concentrated on such game-changing events as trousering more dosh for Themselves Personally Now from another sponsored post, sniggering at Kay “surly” Burley calling a Yes campaigner “a bit of a knob”, and trying to find anyone backing Alex Salmond.
Why would they do this? Ah well. Staines has made it a significant part of his life’s work to smear Pa Broon as somehow flawed and eccentric (yes, I know, pot and kettle), as well as cursing any enterprise he supports. An enthusiastic audience, followed by an equally enthused – and positive – public debate on the speech does not serve the interests of The Great Guido at all well.
So Staines will say nothing about Brown’s intervention – unless the Yes campaign, in defiance of all those opinion polls showing them between two and six points adrift, wins the vote. Then, and only then, will the Fawkes blog triumphantly and sneeringly present Brown’s speech as another part of the supposed “Jonah Curse”. Thus the lofty intellectual heights scaled by The Great Guido.
Staines leaves serious politics to the grown-ups. Another fine mess, once again.