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PR is on the agenda. As early as next week

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Paul Mason | 09:41 UK time, Wednesday, 3 June 2009

There is hyper-febrility among political journalists at the moment, and lots of speculation about a Labour leadership contest. What follows is not speculation but a reliably sourced fact...

Gordon Brown's cabinet colleagues have told him that "unless he is radical he is finished". What do they mean by radical? I have been told that he is being urged to launch a constitutional reform initiative consisting of two primary proposals:
1) An elected house of Lords
2) Proportional representation

I don't know whether he is minded to take that advice, nor what form of PR is being proposed. I do know those urging him to do this are senior cabinet members. Over and out.


  • Comment number 1.

    Whatever else I, or this country needs at the moment, an excess of febrility on the part of our gaggle of Westminster Useful Village Idiots is not one I really welcome, to be honest.

  • Comment number 2.

    That he is about to lead major political reform seems highly likely. I'd put money on it. That he has been told to do it, I very much doubt. Gordon Brown is a deep thinking strategist, whose reasoning is rarely at fault. The negative aspect of this attribute is that he appears slow to react. There is a noticeable calm about him right now. I sense he has a strategy in which he has a great confidence: Prop.Representation is the deal for Lib-Dem. A large Labour/Lib Dem council/committee joined by some independent figures will redesign the electoral and parliamentary systems.

  • Comment number 3.

    Given that we have a free market (unregulated, anarchic) economy and most of our prescriptive laws come from the EU, why do we need so many Westminster MPs and made up Lords?

    Why don't we make redundant at least 300 of the 650 Westminster MPs?

    What do most of them do all day?
    Sit around voting, or lolling about on committees. It's not hard work, is it.....

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh grief, you can bet your gran Gordo will go for PR or AV+ given the appeal of party lists to his centralist obsession and that it will favour Labour.

    The Tory's will (rightly) paint this as desperate maneuverings to stave off electoral obliteration.

    Lets hope the Lib Dems can kick enough Gordo ass to get him into STV-MMC, if not pitchforks & flaming torches are imo in order.

    @2 is that sarcasm? I've seen gordo's 'Deep strategy' on youtube, just because the man dithers & doesn't act for a long time doesn't mean his actions are particularly well thought out. The removal of Blare was not particularly well done, the economy has not been well run, the response to the banks going bust was frantic and not focused on the underlying issues (value for tax payers & getting banks loaning again)... what are his successes?

  • Comment number 5.

    there is a notable calm about, the same thing used to happen to the poor wretches in the tumbrill on the way to.....the Guillotine. They will flirt with PR and then with a healthy majority do what all the others did...kick it into the long grass and guess what when their majorities are threatened they will flirt with it again, they are all tarts, you cannot trust them and they don't return your calls, typical blokes. Brown has never been more vulnerable than he is now and yet not one cabinet member with and ounce of guts will challenge him even though the party is in meltdown and desparate for a new vision. NuLabour has followed the Thatcherite policy route for twelve years so let's give socialism a must be our turn

  • Comment number 6.

    shows they don't know what they are doing.

    in what way does pr or elected lords restore confidence in expenses. looks like distraction.

    gordon said it was the end of the gentlemens club. if it was a gentlemans club there wouldn't have been fiddling? so what is it really the end of? rather gordon should be making it a gentlemans club where my word is my bond mindset is the common currency?

  • Comment number 7.

    Bookhimdano, there is a correlation between expense claims and the majority of the MP - those who feel safe in their seat are more likely to fiddle. So switching to a different voting system that means every seat must be contested (STV-MMC) means they won't feel as safe and so should behave better.

  • Comment number 8.


    I have long posted of the two James Gordon Browns (James and Gordon?)

    Hence the tense required is plural: what ARE the Browns likely to do next?

    By my analysis, it is the very fact that he comprises both Jekyl-Brown and Hyde-Brown that makes him such a mess: the good Son-of-the-Manse Doctor, with his Moral Compass, and Presbyterian roots (always with him in his little bag) and the vile Mr Hyde who loathes and destroys anyone who might be a threat to his gnawing ambition, and who pulls endless devious stunts.

    As I have said before: if Jekyl ever brings Hyde fully into his consciousness, we shall see a collapse - Biblical in its totality.

  • Comment number 9.

    Or how about another raical idea - an elected prime minister ?

  • Comment number 10.

    # 9 - but elections cause 'chaos', much better to have a benign dictator wisely managing our economic recovery for the benefit of all. Why bother with elections at all, after all anyone could win, and then where would we be?!

  • Comment number 11.

    While we're at it, I suggest Glenda Jackson for the new speaker

  • Comment number 12.

    Dident he have an air of calm and smugness about him when he abolished the 10p tax rate in his last budget?

    How did that turn out again?

    The underlying concern must be that if he does do this, he is not doing this because he belives in it (if so why has it appeared all of a sudden out of the blue along with expenss reform). He is doing this because he thinks it may save him and his party from electoral oblivion.

    Did somebody tell him it would be a good idea to slip the words 'British jobs for British workers into a speech too?

    Do we really want a prime minister (any minister) who is prepared to jump onto any and every bandwagon, listen to any idea whispered into his ear (u-tube Mr prime minister appeals to the youth y'know) to save his skin whether they form part of his own value system or not?

    I think it has reached the point where it does not matter what he does he is finished. The people will see it, he seems incapable of doing so.

    An elected house of lords is not the right answer anyway in my view, its just a diversionary tactic, give up the lords to take the heat off their expenses.


  • Comment number 13.

    Oh, I get it..........focus attention on the unelected toffs and appointees in the HoL and steal the LibDem thunder......good to see that his Cabinet are right on the political pulse of the Nation re : Snoutgate.

    I thought "radical" meant a reshuffle to present to us a Cabinet that is in control....anyway back to QE.......oh, and the recession.

  • Comment number 14.

    paul-commodities on bull run.

  • Comment number 15.


    Elected Peers. Would that mean that they could also be got rid of like MPs? ;-)

  • Comment number 16.

    These sideshows are no longer relavent to the future of Gordon Brown as the Country has already decided it wants a GENERAL ELECTION and BY GOD thats what we are going to get, either by Autumn or latest October.

    Brown will not stand down but continue to drain the life blood from the Labour Party until it is finished as a political force for a Generation.
    Gordon Brown is convinced that his battle is with those inside the West Minster gates and within the Labour Party. They are not his Enemy, we are. The anger and real emnity towards this unelected ( by us) ruthless and cold man is palpable.

    If he does not stand down, then I believe he will be literally hounded from Office with all other "Turkeys for Christmas" who take our tax money as their God given right. Brown is now on automatic pilot, a dead politician with no credibility, treated with derision and contempt by the Voters.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Jericoa @ 20

    Out-of-the-blue, we have a *big* event.

    Boris Johnson has just made a big splash in the River Pool.

    How refreshing to witness a politician who seems vaguely like us.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regarding today's active moderation, the BBC Blog Laws clearly state:

    "Special rules may apply during elections, war or other exceptional circumstances"

    Hence, some of the above posts have been removed, due to todays' EU and council elections.


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