The theme for tonight's debate, the economy, is one that should have provided an opportunity for the Labour leader to play to his strengths by focusing on policy and arguing that the Keynesian actions he took in the wake of the 2008 banking meltdown saved Britain from economic Armageddon and led the way for the rest of Europe.
Brown’s remarks, as well as others picked up as he drove away from a feisty but apparently friendly meeting with Gillian Duffy – a widowed grandmother who worked for 30 years for the town council in Rochdale, England, and had questioned Brown over the scale of immigration from Eastern Europe – have instead been seized upon as evidence of unsavory character traits that some have long sought to tar Brown with.
“This was the authentic Gordon Brown – thin-skinned, paranoid, and perpetually on the hunt for someone else to blame,” claimed The Sun, the right-wing tabloid that remains Britain’s biggest selling newspaper.
Echoing the widespread judgment of pundits Thursday, its front-page headline read: “Gillian only popped out for a loaf. She came back with ... BROWN TOAST.”
Although the incident has yet to be factored into any recently released polls, the latest figures have shown that Labour remains stuck in third place with 28 percent.
The opposition Conservative Party leads with about 33 percent, while the centrist Liberal Democrats are at around 30 percent and appear to be sustaining their breakthrough surge in support enjoyed since their leader, Nick Clegg, appeared in the first television debate.