Taking Stock – Isn’t it time to change the record?

Gordon Brown escaped ridicule over his excessive use of words like ‘prudent’ and ‘stability’ in the wake of his pre-Budget speech this month.

Most media hounds were focusing on his peace offering to pensioners and the haulage industry.

Unfortunately however, he did not escape criticism of his character at Grant Thornton’s flagship Owner Managers Day last week.

John Humphrys, the renowned terrier-like BBC journalist and GT panel chairman for the night, did not resist the opportunity for a dig at the chancellor with whom he has shared many an ‘inspiring’ interview. Or not – as he revealed amid eruption of laughter from the audience.

‘You lose the will to live after a while,’ he chided. Every time I interview him he says I’ve got three points to make on that issue,’ said Humphrys, mimicking his accent and making the point that of all politicians in the cabinet Brown is the most ungifted with his ‘gab’.

Tiring of the same monotonous response, Humphrys once begged Brown not use the same phrase every time he answered a question.

Apologising profusely and explaining that he hadn’t realised he was boring the pants off Humphrys, and four million Today programme listeners, Brown’s next response went something like this: ‘Well John, I have five points to make on that issue.’

At this point Humphrys confessed he despaired and has resigned himself to the fact that he will never be able to imbue enthusiasm, or original patter, in the chancellor. ?:

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