Friday, July 2, 2010

Why does Andy Burnham's appearance on "This Week" have all the hallmarks of a car crash?

Burnham's turn on "This Week" last night was an absolute disaster from start to finish. He completely misjudged the pace of the show in such a way that suggests he'd never watched the programme before. Right from the outset (not seen in the above video), when Andrew Neil asked him for his "moment of the week" and he read out three carefully prepared lines of anti-Tory rhetoric - lines designed to scare people, lines that everyone's heard before (from Harriet Harman and the other candidates), lines that impress no one - it was obvious he was in over his head. Even Portillo managed to eviscerate him.

The only glimmer of light was when he attacked the Tory policy of ringfencing health spending - a sensible position to take if only this wasn't the Shadow Health Secretary of a party that is trying to convince everyone that the government can afford to increase spending on every department. One is confused by the notion of a Labour politician calling for health spending to be cut (and one might further wonder what exactly Burnham achieved during his tenure as Health Secretary).

After Diane Abbott's mauling last week you've got to wonder why the other contenders are putting themselves through this. I suppose in the long run it might steel them up a bit as politicians, though in the age of Youtube (where your worst on-screen moments are recorded for eternal posterity) I somewhat doubt it. I can't wait to see what Neil and Portillo do to the brothers Miliband.

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