David Maddox: New twist on PM's pained hobble into podcasting

THE fact that 74 per cent of Scots, according to the recent Scotsman/YouGov poll, either don't care about England playing in the World Cup this summer or will support another team suggests that the subject of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent podcast will have little relevance.

But no doubt knowing that the main political battles are to be fought in the south-east, west Midlands and north-west of England, the Prime Minister ploughed into the most important subject on many people's lips south of the Border.

Not the state of the economy or the row over the possible hike in National Insurance, but the state of England and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney's foot.

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For the 74 per cent of you who may have not realised, the mercurial sports star on whom so many hopes are pinned has managed to get himself into a bit of a twist – of his ankle that is – and may be a slight doubt for the event in South Africa.

The twisted state of Rooney's ankle is perhaps a good metaphor for most Mr Brown's attempts at using new media. It is hard to forget his excruciating appearance on YouTube. His stilted and plodding podcast was not a lot better. And football has not exactly been a happy area for Mr Brown in the past, with claims that a match in which England beat Scotland was his most memorable.

But apparently, Wayne's woes were just the sort of image he wanted for the economy.

"After an injury, you need support to recover, you need support to get back to match fitness, you need support to get back your full strength and then go on to lift the World Cup. So with the economy, we're not back to full fitness – we need to maintain support," he said.

This seems to be suggesting that Tory cuts in the short term are a bad thing. The message, though, does not seem to have been relayed as the poll gap widens in the Tories' favour.

If he wants to end up like his beloved Raith, enjoying success in the Scottish Cup, as opposed to his almost equally beloved Cowdenbeath, facing bankruptcy, he should forget new media and go back to areas where he is more sure-footed.