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Gordon Brown's Flame War

As his popularity levels dwindle, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sought to connect with voters by vamping up his presence on the internet. Downing Street has an official YouTube portal, a Twitter feed, Facebook and Flickr pages, and an e-petitions site. But the strategy has backfired, with most people using the new media to remind Brown just how much they dislike him—one of the most popular letters on the e-petitions site calls for the prime minister to resign. On YouTube, in an attempt to silence critics, the government has decided to disable viewer comments. But the official portal is so unpopular that the move has been practically irrelevant. Brown’s message on MPs’ expenses has been watched only 4,000 times, while a video of him picking his nose has been watched 630,000 times and one of the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan haranguing him in the European Parliament has attracted more than two million hits.