Gordon Brown admits "I hate maths"

Interested in all things mathematical, I tossed a coin to decide whether this was a story worth pursuing. It landed on Elizabeth’s head - my line manager. ‘What are you doing?’ she demanded in a managerial sort of way. I tried to explain and she cut me short with a resigned ‘for heaven’s sake, just go and do it.’ I had my day planned. An interview with his former maths teacher and then an interview with Gordon Brown himself. This could be my big opportunity.


When I got to the school it was surprisingly quiet. It was never like this in my day I thought, as I rang the buzzer. A 200 year-old Scotsman came around the corner and told me to ‘b….. off’. I called him Mr Connery and he immediately warmed to me, thumping me only once with his caber.

As luck would have it I hobbled into the PE teacher as I was retreating to the car park. I showed him my bruises and he shook his head sympathetically, but with less interest than if I’d been an attractive young woman. He showed a lot more interest when I told him why I was at the school.

‘Interview me’ he said emphatically.

‘It’s really the maths angle I’m interested in’ I said equally emphatically.

‘Crap’ he pushed me towards my car ‘you a journalist ...? I know all about Gordon Brown, maths … and everything.’

I looked at his 6’7" frame, the lumps of muscle leaking out from his vest. I wrapped my coat tightly around me and pulled my woollen hat firmly over my eyes. I wasn’t going to let this oaf tell me how to do my job.

‘Hop in the car’ I suggested ‘we’ll do the interview in there.’

He was never going to fit in my Fiesta. I looked at his unlikely bulk and my small, albeit trendy, car and shook my head happily. He opened the passenger door and tore out the front seat effortlessly and  stuffed it unceremoniously into the back. He climbed in and slammed the door, tossing the handle disinterestedly over his shoulder.

‘So … what can you tell me about Gordon and his maths?’ I sighed.

His big, ugly, PE face brightened with enthusiasm ‘A good lad, puny though … a bit like you. Put a rugby ball in his hands and I could crush him like a bug.’

‘I think I’ve probably got enough’ I said, starting the car.

‘But you haven’t interviewed Gordon’ he said, and with that he leapt from the car, strode into the school and was back in no time with a skinny youngster with big eyes and knock-knees. He climbed into the car, not seeming to notice the missing seat.

‘And you are?’ I asked politely.

‘Gordon Brown’ he said. ‘I don’t suppose you’ve got a fag for me … sir?’

This is what journalism is all about, I thought happily.


PS If you’re interested in seeing the material I gave to Gordon to help with his maths, have a look at maths resources.

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