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Prime Minister Brown and the end of the Blair era.

Eddie Mair | 17:05 UK time, Wednesday, 27 June 2007

What do YOU think?

Comments

  1. At 05:09 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Kathy Parris wrote:

    Brown seems to be divorcing himself from Tony Blair's achievements and blunders.He is also saying that he wants to use everyone's potential. I am fully qualified primary teacher, witha Science degree, finding that there are at least 40 other applicants for every job I apply for. I have been unemployed or 6 months and cannot work in a job I am trained to do. Who is using my potential? I will seek a retail career in my local supermarket shortly. I need to work, and will probably never teach now.

  2. At 05:17 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Karl Handy wrote:

    We've witnessed history, and you can't help but be affected by it on some way.

    But I shan't be sad to see him go at all, and all we can do is hope that Brown doesn't deceive and lie and spin as he has.

  3. At 05:20 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I watched some of the lunchtime 'live' coverage. I was reminded of a very amusing short piece written by Michael Frayn, called the Bodbury By-Election.

    Nothing happening, the Returning Officer still hadn't come out with the results, and an increasingly hysterical reporter trying to say the same few things over and over, without repeating himself too obviously.

    Nobody liked this 'planned handover', and the media have tried in vain to coerce various Cabinet members and the PM himself to give the game away before the time of TB's choosing.

    I will say, I'm impressed that they kept a lid on it, and that it's happened so smoothly. Unlike the Thatcher-Major transition, say. But I still think it's a pity there wasn't a vote.

    Fifi

  4. At 05:20 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Iain wrote:

    I don't think very much of it, for when Brown says he intends to change schools and hospitals, its English schools and hospitals he intends to change, which as a Scottish elected MP, whose electorate has stripped their MP's of much of their mandate and placed it with the Scottish Parliament, I don't believe he has a democratic right to interfere in English home policy.

  5. At 05:33 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Justin Pursell wrote:

    Tony Blair was a grinning liar and I'm sorry but he ruled over a cabinet of people who would never take responsibility for their actions, no matter what mess they made!
    Gordon Brown has wasted money hand over fist for the last ten years and I think in years to come it will become evident what a shambles he has presided over.
    God help us if this shower does not get the push after the next election.
    Rubbish the lot of them!

  6. At 05:37 PM on 27 Jun 2007, rushpal wrote:

    Am I better off than i was ten years ago, yes i am. Taking Iraq out of the equation a decent job has been done. Brown's got a hell of a job to follow.

  7. At 05:41 PM on 27 Jun 2007, theediscerning wrote:

    Oh, a great leap forward - a PM no-one wanted replaced by a PM no-one elected.

  8. At 05:43 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Terry Green wrote:

    THE BLAIR FUTURE

    You are all missing the obvious:

    What is it that Tony cherishes most?
    • Adulation
    • Global influence
    • A legacy to be proud of
    • Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous
    • Free holidays and gifts
    • Private plane and car
    • Fancy home

    What would give him all this and much more?
    Forget about a UN job; forget about President of Europe-no power here. He plans to become a Catholic; he spends time in Italy learning the language and scrounging off wealthy Italians and has granted the Pope an audience. The conclusion is obvious:
    He wants to be the next Pope! Think of it – Pope Tony the first.

    What next?
    He will need to perform at least two miracles in order to sort out the Middle East. His ambition now becomes clear: to be sainted in his own lifetime-he will have the necessary clout!

  9. At 05:49 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    The King is dead, Long Live the King!

    Smooth transition (good), change of style (good). With luck, Brown can build on the better aspects of the Blair legacy, while shedding the less admirable aspects.

    Let's hope this works out well. Mr. Brown has promised that he will do his utmost, and I believe him to be sincere. He has intellect and principles, and I hope he can meet the other, more public, demands of his post.

    He's not a media star - but, then again, why should he be?

  10. At 05:53 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    Terry@8

    You should check out last Thursday's Glass Box (21st).

  11. At 06:01 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I will be interested to see how Gordy gets on with his idea of having non-Labour people in his Cabinet.

    That's the one really exciting thing I've ever heard from him.

    Fifi

  12. At 06:03 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "Meet the new boss,
    Same as the old boss!"
    - who
    xx
    ed

    Malicious? You betcha!

  13. At 06:05 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Martin Yirrell wrote:

    A liar, cheat and thief is replaced with a liar cheat and thief. I won't miss Blair and I don't welcome Brown. They, together with the other main party leaders, are the problem with politics.

  14. At 06:10 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Eanna O`Kennedy wrote:

    So he`s finally in number 10. Well I hope he hangs on to power as tightly as he can, since I can`t see him winning a mandate in the next election. In what way is it democratic for him to assume power in this way. Neither I nor the rest of the electorate voted for a Brown premiership, he has no mandate from the country.
    I feel cheated and disgusted that this can happen.
    His hollow insincere words and vain attempt to distance himself from the outgoing adminstration and the last 10 years did nothing to improve his image or deepen what little trust the public have in him, how stupid does he think the electorate is?
    I can only hope that his stay in number 10 is as short as possible.

  15. At 06:17 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    I haven't forgotten how much Blair achieved. I look at the school my children attend and the progress is extraordinary. A new classroom built with the money for Key Stage One class size reduction; interactive whiteboards in every class delivering a new curriculum where creativity is central; building work going on now for a £180,000 new Playgroup and Out of Hours childcare centre with free provision for pre-schoolers. Waiting lists at my local hospital are minimal compared to pre-1997. We have the protection of the minimum wage and employment rates have been transformed. I could go on (and on and on..)

    Of course there have been mistakes and failures. Iraq is a scar on his regime and I daily curse his failure to stand up against Bush. And it is more than time for him to go.

    I am looking forward to a change of tone and I think we are lucky that we have such a serious politician as Brown to take us forward. I have great expectations of him.

  16. At 06:27 PM on 27 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    theediscerning (7):

    Tony Blair wasn't elected as PM either. The Labour Party had the majority at the general election and the Queen invited him to form a government.

    If anyone votes for a person for PM at a general election rather than for the party with the policies that most match their own views or for the person they want to be their local MP, then they don't understand the UK electoral system and in my view are doing serious damage to the process and should be ashamed of their ignorance.

    More generally, I'm heartened that we've at last got someone with a good brain as PM, rather than a lawyer with a good turn of sound-bite. Whether Gordon will be any good remains to be seen.

  17. At 07:59 PM on 27 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    ...and of course the country is today a far funkier place now that Celebrity Prime Minister Tony Blair has been replaced by Prime Minister of Soul, James Brown.

    (Yes, his full name really *is* James Gordon Brown.)

  18. At 08:07 PM on 27 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Rushpal (6), Big Sis (9), Rachel (15), SCC (16) - Refreshing that we have some people here who are prepared to do a bit of thinking and analysis rather than just be abusive. But at the same, I'm also depressed to find out how ignorant some people are, on this thread and others, about how the electoral process is meant to work and how a government and a Prime Minister are meant to be selected.

    For the record I think Blair did a better job than any of his rivals would have done over the past 10 years (the exception being Iraq where I think he was 100% wrong and deserves the legacy that that will bring). Gordon Brown is probably the ideal candidate to take things forward. And for any of the Opposition who stated during the last Election that if the electorate voted Labour, it was a case of "Vote Blair - Get Brown" – What’s your problem?

  19. At 08:20 PM on 27 Jun 2007, madmary wrote:

    Did anyone else get the overwhelming desire to go out in the street and do something naughty when there was no Prime Minister for about an hour? Like when the teacher leaves the classroom.

    I did, but I didn't if you see what I mean.

    Mary

  20. At 08:38 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    What's happened is simple: it's just a demonstration of the old, old saying:

    It doesn't matter who you vote for, the Government gets in.

  21. At 08:46 PM on 27 Jun 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    Being gratuitously abusive about Blair, Brown, etc. is, in my opinion, doing this blog a disservice by transforming it into a verbal fish market. It's also the sign of a mushy mindset that has nothing to offer in the way of positive suggestions.

  22. At 08:55 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Shakir Shakir wrote:

    Dear Sir

    As a reply to Lubans blight in her 21st birthday celebration I would say.

    I think George Bush and Tony Blair. Should be tried in a court of law for the damages that have been inflected on Iraqis through an illegal aggression against a sovereign country and a member of the United Nations. This is a wonderful legacy that Blair will be leaving behind.

    I feel that the United Nations has let the Iraqi people down for their low profile in this horrible mess.

    This is not sectarian war, Iraq has always been a rainbow of culture. People have been living side by side with intermarriages for ages. Whats the difference today.

    I would like to ask Bush and Blair could they rest if they are constantly fearful that that their houses could be raided by the military, attacked by insurgence, kidnapped by anonymous clans, caught in a bomb blast while going to work or your family members harmed.

    Regards
    Shakir

  23. At 09:23 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Welcome back Mary!
    Where've you bin?

  24. At 09:31 PM on 27 Jun 2007, sacrebleu wrote:

    I don't trust a man with a grossly artificial smile.

  25. At 10:03 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Scarebleu, which smile is artificial? Gordys and Tonys?

    New PM, new government,. Labour policies with a different man in charge. I understand why some folk have "issues" with him being a scottish MP running the country but he is running the country and NOT Scotland. The hype at lunchtime had a feel of 1997, perhaps 'cos I was in the car and the sun was shining.

    Unfortunately governments are rated on what they did so we don't know till he gets ousted what his legacy will be. The impression is he wants more inclusive politics which I hope means getting away from party politics. How about going to PR and co-alitions like SCotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

    The press has had Gordy and the next labour leader/PM for 10 years. So come on press who will succeed Gordon?

  26. At 10:06 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Mike Hawkins wrote:

    I am filled with dispair today as the inimitable Tony Blair (whom history will certainly judge as one of the great Prime Ministers) is replaced by one of the most sinister, machiavellian and self serving politicians we have ever been unlucky enough to experience - undemocratically foisted upon us as Prime Minister.

    I can hardly bear to imagine the damage this explosive control freak will wreak on Britain. For the past 10 years he has conducted a reign of terror from the Treasury, causing huge numbers of people utter misery through excessive taxation and the virtual extinction of pension schemes. Also there is virtually no corner of Whitehall which his baleful influence has left untouched, as he has extended the tentacles of his empire and sphere of influence like a Witchfinder General of old.

    All those people, including the media, who have hounded Tony Blair out of office are due for a rude awakening as they discover what they have landed us with instead.

    Gordon Brown as Prime Minister will have the easier ride of not having a poisonous enemy next door to him, in the person of the second most powerful position in Government, constantly undermining him with relentless and unceasing venom over a decade. I can but hope that Gordon Brown has to face a similar viperous opposition throughout his (I hope brief) term of office so that his life too becomes intolerable.

    Such opposition will regrettably not be from within Labour ranks as he has adopted the old Soviet tactic of eliminating all opposition from amongst his political comrades (his similarity to Russia's President Putin is becoming increasingly marked). Therefore the opposition must come from the media, including the BBC, to expose his dictatorial style and general intolerance.

    May those who campaigned for this transition quickly realise how wrong they were and begin the campaign to rid us of this terrible mistake inflicted on us.

  27. At 10:09 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Mad Mary (19), Welcome back! I did but didn't too!

  28. At 10:10 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    RJD, you know I love you to bits, but you are being too hard on the froggers who disagree with your point of view. ;o)

    There's been nothing here I've seen that's gratuitously abusive ... some peeps take a different interpretation of what's gone on, that's all.

    You're assuming people vote for the individual regardless of party, because the individual MP has to represent everyone in his/her constituency regardless of party allegiance or vote.

    Others assume people vote for the person at least partly because of the party values espoused during the election campaign.

    Neither is proved. Neither view can cite evidence. It's ALL a point of view.

    Now, hie thee down to the Beach RJD, and let me treat you to a little of my secret stash of Cleanskin ozzie red wonderwine (shshsh... don't tell anyone!) which I've hidden cleverly in .... ah, that would be telling.

    Possibly the nicest red I've ever tasted. And I've tasted LOTS!

    Fifi

  29. At 10:33 PM on 27 Jun 2007, madmary wrote:

    Waves at Gossipmistress.

    I've been busy (oh and I forgot to mention that the new Tombraider game is out and that's filled my scant spare relaxing time).

    Mary

  30. At 11:01 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Wayhey as a start to a sentence is not allowed!! This is apparently malicious. Listening to news night. Hewhitt no longer health secretary. Fantastic.

    Mad mary, I note on your blog you have a PS3 what happened to the Wii?

  31. At 11:19 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Stewart M @ 30, I'm feeling a strange sense of relief that the two ministers ending in an 'it' noise are leaving, because I always got them conflated. I know it's unfair, but they always sounded so similar in what they said that I never could sort them out reliably.

    Never had that problem with Blunk-it, mind...

  32. At 12:09 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Move along now -- nothing to see here.

  33. At 12:22 AM on 28 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    So Mike you haven't quite made up your mind about Gordon Brown then?

  34. At 12:40 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hi Mary,

    Is that Tom Braider some sort of tapestry system?

    xx
    ed
    Malicious is as malicious does, I guess.

  35. At 01:34 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    So much for Tony being the hero of the U.S.A. - take a look at the US news sites and his final departure doesn't even make a minor headline...

  36. At 02:49 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Rachel,

    It made the Week's Barron's Magazine
    xx
    ed

  37. At 08:37 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Peter Wharton wrote:

    QUARTET:
    When was it formed?
    How is it funded?
    Representatives on the committee?
    How are they appointed?
    Where do they meet?
    etc etc etc?

  38. At 08:48 AM on 28 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Fifi (28) - OK, abusive may be too strong a word but I think there are plenty who make statements that are plainly wrong and no attempt is made to substantiate them.

    I agree that every voter has their own idea what they are voting for when they go into the ballot box - it doesn't matter a jot to me whether they are voting on party lines or for an individual or both. But they should understand the system that we use to form a government and how a political Party selects its leader and how a Prime Minister is chosen. There has been a lot of nonsense talked here and elsewhere about mandates and the need for elections and by-elections.

    I made a mistake in my last post of naming some people who I agreed with, thus giving the impression that I disagreed with others that I didn't name. That was a stupid thing to do and I apologise to you and others on the blog.

  39. At 09:00 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Member of the public... wrote:

    To Eddie.

    Re: Prime Minister Brown.

    The first thing I think we must do is to examine Brown's record as Chancellor. Superficially, he has done well to maintain low-inflationary growth, even if he fought the measures in the 1980s and 1990s needed to make it possible. He cannot be ignored in international gatherings because of his domestic track record. But the closer you look at his economy, I think the less impressive it becomes.

    Spending is stratospheric, taxation is triggering protest, borrowing is worryingly high, wrecked pensions generate persistent outrage, the health of our public finances is an elaborate work of fiction, tax credit welfare is impenetrable and the whole edifice dodgy.

    However clever Gordon Brown may be, he is certainly not straightforward. Perhaps that is why the ICM pollsters find that 61 per cent of us think he will be neither better nor worse than Tony Blair. He is, in fact, so some say an esoteric political animal – a stealthy, secretive operator with a so-called great clunking fist.

    He seems to come rolling in complexes too. He is apparently difficult to work with, no team player, secretive, jealous, domineering, given to tantrums and obsessive. Nor is he addicted to the truth, which seems to be a distressing fault in a son of the manse. Rather, as he has repeatedly demonstrated at H.M. Treasury, he is addicted to spin. His moto speech proves it in my view.

    As such, I now believe that Gordon Brown is part of Labour's problem, not its solution. There is much talk of change. So, the overriding question is whether the leopard can change its spots. Can he, freed from the frustrations of Blair-thwarted ambition, become a new man – a firm but fair, courteous, relaxed, listening statesman who seeks to build the new Jerusalem on team spirit rather than resentment?

    I would find it more difficult to advise if he had approached No 10 in a different spirit. But there is no evidence of a change of attitude in his double-dealing with the Liberal Democrats over token membership of his Government, or his instant falling into line with the fantasy that Blair's disgraceful constitutional cave-ins in Brussels do not require a referendum.

  40. At 09:25 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hi RJD,

    The ability to apologise is an excellent asset which some politicians seem to be unable to develop.

    xx
    ed

  41. At 10:03 AM on 28 Jun 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I'm still waiting to see what happens. As I've said before Blair was PM just as I was starting to form a 'life' (eg leaving uni, first full time job, first home) so I'm interested to see how things progress. Personally I have found it very very difficult to start out, particularly in the South West. There has seemed to be a policy bias towards the attention grabbing aspects of society and those of the target vote population (is it too sweeping to say Middle England). I do feel that it has been a very hard 10 years.

  42. At 10:17 AM on 28 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Hi Ed

    Thanks for that. As I get older I find myself doing it more frequently. I haven't yet worked out whether that means I am becoming more sensitive and self-critical or if I just make a prat of myself more often!

  43. At 10:48 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ed @40, there are different sorts of apology. Many are only worth the air they're breathed on, and really mean 'I'm sorry you feel that way' but not 'I'm ashamed of what I did.'

    When someone says 'Well, I'm sorry' but shows no sign of trying to right the wrong they've done, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. The old RC church business at confession requires confession of the sin, penitence for it, and amendment, and although I'm not RC I have always thought that a reasonable template for an individual to try to deal with wrong-doing: admit to oneself (with the help of a priest in the RC case) what one has done wrong, be genuinely ashamed about it, and try to put it right.

    I know that it's pure speculation about Blair becoming RC, but if he does, I really hope that he learns to 'make a good confession'. So far, his reaction to having got things wrong has been consistently along the lines 'Yes, all right, maybe it was a mistake and has made people angry with me, but *I believed at the time that I was right*,' and carrying the unspoken rider that sincerity is a substitute for getting things right. He badly needs a really good priest to get it through to him that one may believe something as sincerely as one likes and still be mistaken, and that one may do wrong because of a mistaken belief.

    If he can't admit that he might be mistaken, and learn to be ashamed of his mistakes, he's going to be a menace wherever he ends up. Up to now, the impression he has conveyed to me is that he's sorry when he gets caught out, but never ashamed of the thing that has been discovered.

    I would typify the New Labour attitude to wrong-doing not by an action of Tony Blair's, all of which are complicated, but by a simple incident: a Cabinet Minister pinched a hundred and eighty quid or so from public funds to buy his mistress a first-class train ticket. When this was discovered, he said, 'ooops! I'm sorry! I didn't know that was wrong, I'll write a cheque at once!' -- and Blair said that he had every confidence in the man's honesty because it had been 'an honest mistake', and that he could see no reason for the Minister to resign.

    As for Gordon Brown, he's already using the new New Labour platitude, 'lessons must be learnt' (sometimes rendered as 'lessons have been learnt'); in the You Put The Questions thing in The Independent he uses it twice in one paragraph. Reading on, one discovers that the lessons he seems to have learnt best are that answering a question straight is a mistake, and that admitting to an error is not a good idea.

    I expect he's very sincere.

  44. At 10:51 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Witchi (41), I think you are about the same age as me, from other posts you have made. Surely you remember the 80s? I don't doubt that life can be hard, but, by comparison...

  45. At 11:00 AM on 28 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    RJD, it is because age brings the grace to admit we are wrong sometimes, although sadly not to everyone.

  46. At 11:02 AM on 28 Jun 2007, whisky-joe wrote:

    Usque conabor.

    That's the motto at the Kirkaldy High School.

  47. At 11:02 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Oops. The Rachel at 35 isn't me. I'm the one here and at 15. It couldn't be me, cos I have children so I'm only awake at 0134 if one of them has vomited all over the bed (again). Do I need to change my name if there are two of us?

  48. At 11:19 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    RJD - gracious and thoughtful as ever.

    * mwah! *

    Chris - yup, yup and yup.

    Rachel - might be prudent, but do warn us so we know it's still 'you'! How about 'The Original Rachel'? Doesn't imply superiority, just that you got here first?

    Fifi xxx

  49. At 11:19 AM on 28 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Chris (43) - As a lapsed Catholic (of some decades) I may not be the best one to comment on your third paragraph. But I would think that a "really good priest" wouldn't give the advice that you advocate.

    Alongside belief and sincerity you have to find room for conscience. I could now go all Catholic on you, but I'll leave it there because as I've already said on another thread I think an individual's faith is personal and shouldn't be the subject of debate unless they ask it to be.

  50. At 11:27 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Thank God Blair has gone. Now to see Brown out of the door also.

    Karl;
    I was profoundly affected by it all. I got in from work, watched the news, had supper and turned in for an early night. Slept like a log and went to work this morning.

    My gut instinct is unfavourable, but that comes partly from my own political leanings. I do have much sympathy with the likes of Justin (5) who points out the scale of waste. It was Alan Milburn on 'Today' this week who admitted to John Humphreys that all the schemes, pilots and other things which the Govt. had tried to improve social mobility had conspicuously failed. And he is a New Labour insider to his core.

    I predict that the NHS IT scheme will be dumped soon. Private Eye pointed this out last week. the bloke in charge of the programme (Connecting for Health) quit a fortnight ago, attempting in a valedictory speech to exculpate himself and the criminal waste he has presided over. Now Patsy Hewitt has also gone. So the two people, along with Blair, who were responsible for the entire thing are no longer in post.

    Ed (12);
    You said it!

    SSC & RJD;
    Well pointed out! How little we understand the finer nuances of our political system.

    MM;
    No, but I did get the urge to cheer his departure!

    Sacrebleu and Stewart;
    I'm glad Stewart made the smile' point. He saved me the effort.

    Mike Hawkins (26);
    Ha, ha, ha. Nice to see that satire isn't dead. Oh, you were serious. I should see an optician about that. Your rose-tinted spectacles need removing. Mind you I agree about GB.

    Stewart;
    Not only Patsy, but Beckett too. Signals a change of foreign policy. No longer trying to scare our friends and enemies around to our point of view.

    And for all those who look forward to his imminent demise at the next General Election, remember Kinnock in '92? He had only to turn up to be elected. Until the grossly ill-concieved speech at Sheffield days before the election which caused Britain to ditch him. Major, lest it be forgot, had the highest number of votes ever recorded by a party leader at a general election.

    It maybe (as I believe) that GB will not win the next election. But much can happen between now and then. The Tories under Cameron have wobbled and Quentin Davies' letter this week exposed his fault-lines. GB is having a 'bounce' in the polls. It may be that Labour will lose the next election, that doesn't mean that anyone will convincingly win it.

    Having been gracious to Blair on his departure Cameron and co. must now ruthlessly exploit the character flaws which, we are told, Brown suffers with. And they must never lose the chance to point out that Brown encapsulates the West Lothian question. Every time he votes on a matter where power is devolved it must be highlighted.

    Si.

  51. At 11:49 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Not only can I remember the 80's, but also the Callaghan government and the winter of discontent. That, more than any other event, shaped my political beliefs. The indignity of the dead stacking up in mortuaries because the gravediggers struck. Rubbish piled as high as rooftps because the refuse collectors struck.And so did everybody else.

    Believe me the 80's were better in so many ways. Consensus government had brought us to our knees. Union power had all but destroyed manufacturing industry (think British Leyland and Red Robbo). State ownership of everything, and every sector needing increasingly large injections of non-existent government cash. The Sterling crisis, devaluation and the IMF bailout. Rampant inflation far in excess of the levels reached in the early 90's. Union barons dictating terms to Downing St. Steel and electric workers who had no legitimate grievances of their own going on strike anyway to give the miners a leg-up, whilst delivering the death-blow to the industry of Britain. Oh the 70's were a Golden Age!

    Plus in the 70's we had Glam and Punk. In the 80's we got New Romantics and Wham! So much nicer in the 80's. Less silly than Glitter, Sweet, Nud and the Rubettes. Less nasty than Johnny Rotten and co. Even if blokes did become a little *too* over-dressed, like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.

    Si.

  52. At 12:06 PM on 28 Jun 2007, MD wrote:

    The only good thing Blair ever did was quit.

    I'd be delighted, except that we get Brown instead, who has the potential to do an even worse job.

  53. At 12:14 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Rachel(15) the original and still the best! I echo everything you say. I echoed it yesterday, too, but for some reason it hasn't made it through.

    Call me Pollyanna if you like, but I thought yesterday was an exciting day. I believe as far as domestic policy goes, Gordon Brown has a great base to build on, and my expectations are high. My family have never been so well-provided for in terms of secondary education, health care and, in the case of my pensioner mother, benefits.
    I find the prospect of non-party Government members exciting, and am disappointed at the attitude of Menzies Campbell. There is a wide spread of expertise and talent to call on from all parties and from outside politics, and I welcome Gordon Brown's attempts to draw on it.

  54. At 12:18 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    RJD @49, you are almost certainly right, and in any case I ought not to have speculated as I did: it's not a faith I know from the inside.

    Conscience is of course a private matter (a Quaker Elder might well say 'That, friend, is between thee, thy conscience and thy God' when asked for advice on a matter of morality) and I was trying desperately *not* to suggest that Blair might have things on his conscience already, because I don't have that information: only Blair, God and Blair's confessor if any would know about it for certain.

    What I was trying to suggest was that unless someone gets straight the difference between belief and fact he might go on finding it hard to *be* sorry, as opposed to just saying it, if he gets things wrong as a result of mistaken belief, and that perhaps a (good, for which read both worthy of his calling and good at the job) priest (of any denomination) might be pointing this out and helping to straighten it out for/with someone who had not seemingly worked it out for himself? I suspect that searching one's conscience needs practice, training and even instruction, like any other human attribute or skill.

    Oh, and 'sincere' isn't a thing-on-its-own, it comes attached to what one is sincere *about*: sincere hubris or sincere greed isn't very positive, whereas sincere regret or sincere shame may be a very good idea.

  55. At 12:26 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Peter (37),

    My previous attempt to answer you has gone astray, it seems.

    Try Wikipaedia

    And, for the "Roadmap" with all its flaws as noted last night by Dr Barghouti:
    www.mideastweb.org/quartetrm3.htm

    Hope this gets through.

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  56. At 12:43 PM on 28 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Si (51)- You really have gone too far this time! You should know that even the slightest hint of a suggestion of a whisper of a criticism of Duran Duran will inflame Aperitif! I'd watch your back!

  57. At 01:06 PM on 28 Jun 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Appy - I do remember the 80s, although mainly through child/pre-teen eyes, so as far as everyday living goes its hard to put in to a wider political context. I do remember riots and wide spread redundancies, also debates about the criminal justice bill. But it wasn't until the mid 90s that I started taking any real notice and real 'life' didn't really start till 2001 trying to find work/home etc. In a sense I can't really compare this government to another as I have no frame of reference (I don't Thundercats, Transformers and My Little Pony did much on the political stage!)

  58. At 01:16 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Rachel and Rachel,

    Am I right in guessing 'the original Rachel' is in UK and the 'other Rachel' is across the pond?

    If so, you could be Rachel East and Rachel West, or somesuch...
    xx
    ed

  59. At 02:06 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    Isn't the mark of a civilised society in how it treats it's poor. I hope Tony Blair puts more effort into his new post as special envoy than he did in tackling poverty and inequality in this country.

  60. At 02:14 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I too remember the 70s, although I was very young:

    Strikes, strikes, strikes, the 3-day week, green goddess fire engines, power cuts, prices going up all the time and interminably cold miserable weather. I liked the music though.

    And the 80s, during which I was a student and then a worker:

    Redundancies, receiverships, closures, yuppies, the me-first society, my mortgage payments going through the roof unlike my salary which was 'cost of living'. And really, really bad music.

    Fifi

  61. At 02:29 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I remember the forties.
    ;-)
    ed

  62. At 02:41 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Product of Thatcher's Britain wrote:

    Fifi,

    HAHAHAHAhahahaha!


    Whatever did happen in Trafalgar Square?

    ;)

  63. At 02:45 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Mrs Trellis also sent this:

    HOW TO START EACH DAY WITH A POSITIVE OUTLOOK

    1. Open a new folder in your computer.

    2. Name it "Tony Blair"

    3. Send it to the trash.

    4. Empty the trash.

    5. Your PC will ask you, "Do you really want to get rid of "Tony Blair?"

    6. Firmly Click "Yes."

    7. Feel better.

    PS: Next week we'll do Gordon Brown

    Fifi

  64. At 02:51 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The ten Commandments.
    xx
    ed

  65. At 07:01 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    Gillian (53) - I'm planning to use that as my own personal strapline!

    Having considered Ed and Fifi's suggestions (for which, thanks), I am now going to do my usual thing and ignore them. I am now Rachel G. Hope that avoids confusion...

  66. At 12:41 AM on 29 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Any kin to Ali, Rachel?
    xx
    ed

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