BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Change

Nick Robinson | 14:55 UK time, Wednesday, 27 June 2007

It was a very emotional Gordon Brown we saw giving his first speech (watch it here) as prime minister standing outside Number 10. He was hesitant, he was nervy as he got out of the car, unsure where to stand even. We got used, over the years to Tony Blair, a man who loves the cameras. The media were shouting at Brown during the speech - they wanted the famous Number 10 in their shots. But that's not Gordon Brown's style.

He delivered his words with confidence, but his nervousness was very, very evident.

His message was an intriguing one: change. That was the signal he wanted to send. And a degree of humility as well, quoting his school motto at the end - that he would "Try my utmost."

He knew that his words would be dwelt on, repeated again and again, and that he'd be tested against them. When people see the ups and downs that any prime minister and any government has, they'll say, did he live up to what he promised. Which is why his choice of words was so intriguing. "I will try my utmost" - it's hard to be found failing or wanting against that.

And we wait to see what the signal of change will mean - not just on health, or education, affordable housing or even trust - but in terms of our sense of what it means to be British. My guess is that that will be one of the great surprises of this Brown administration.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 03:18 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

That's all great but it appears he just made up his school motto as its website says something entirely different.

http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/atoz/index.cfm?fuseaction=facility.display&facid=2E7BE11F-3AC4-48CA-827BB61A6377A027

Why let the truth get in the way of a good speech. No change on that front then eh Gordon.

  • 2.
  • At 03:19 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • JPA wrote:

You are being so un-partisan at the moment, Nick. I'm getting worried. Are you going to do a 'Quentin'? >;)

  • 3.
  • At 03:23 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • paul p wrote:

I reckon this taster speech signals a new bank holiday for all the UK is coming - GB Day.

'Let the work of change begin'?????

Hasn't this Prime Minister been promoting and backing all the policies of his former Prime Minister for the past 10 years?

So when we were we being lied to? Then, or now?

  • 5.
  • At 03:32 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Mark G wrote:

A politican that is only human, whatever next!!

  • 6.
  • At 03:33 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • david wrote:

Sam (No1) That would be the latest incarnation of the high school in these integrated, no distinction between bright and less bright etc days...

  • 7.
  • At 03:34 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • DJP wrote:

Not necessarily the most logical place to ask this question, but it's something which has always made me curious.

Although both did PhDs (that is to say, neither of them are medical doctors), John Reid is typically referred to as Dr. John Reid, but one never hears of Dr. Gordon Brown.

Is this convention by the individual MP, an agreement with the media, or just random happenstance?

  • 8.
  • At 03:34 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • david wrote:

In fact http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkcaldy_High_School shows that the motto changed in 1993 when the school moved buildings.

  • 9.
  • At 03:35 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Miriam wrote:

There's quite a lot of variation in translation of usque conabor, and various schools seem to use "I try to the uttermost" or similar as a rendering of it.

  • 10.
  • At 03:36 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Howard wrote:

Brown has no need to be nervous yet Nick, he'll be OK for a honeymoon of about a month or two until you and the rest of the media get a handle on him - after which he is finished.

With John Major it was underpants outside his trousers, with Blair it was spin, lies, a convincing act.

Whith Brown it will be, well... - you tell me Nick.

Gordon Brown promises change, but I do not believe that he has any mandate to change course from the manifesto that labour was elected to implement. If he wishes to change any policies he MUST call a general election.

This is quite different from his right to be the Prime Minister. We do not elect a Prime Minister, and the Parliamentary party chooses their leader, BUT, this is not about whether Brown has a mandate to lead the party or be Prime Minister. This is about what POLICIES he has a mandate to implement. He has NO mandate to change course from the manifesto.

If he wishes to do this, and I for one would love for the whole labour manifesto to be scrapped, he MUST call a general election to have the people decide on a new labour manifesto.

Trying not to let the truth get in the way of a good blog-comment, eh Sam?

The motto is "Usque conabor" which means "I shall endeavour (or 'try') all the way (or 'through and through' or 'my utmost')"

It is a much stricter and better translation, than "working together to improve", which ignores the tense (and meaning) of the verb.

Still, it's good to see some ill-informed sniping, and to know that not everything has changed yet...

  • 13.
  • At 03:39 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

I find it amazing that we are concentrating on this coronation that nobody wants, and yet not one politician, including Brown, will discuss the fact that the northern areas of our country are suffering hugely and five people are dead.

It sums up how much politicians think of the general populace, especially in the north.

I was quite impressed with Gordon Brown's choice of closing comment/soundbite, "let the work of change begin". Perhaps he should have investigated it more carefully. Last weekend's episode of Doctor Who introduced an evil new Prime Minister who used almost exactly the same line the minute he arrived at Number 10: "let the work of government begin". See the BBC's own trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pcs4khScdCU

  • 15.
  • At 03:41 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • James wrote:

Sam said "That's all great but it appears he just made up his school motto as its website says something entirely different."

I know Gordon Brown's supposed to be a very bright guy, but he didn't go straight into secondary education! His speech only mentioned his "school motto" which "has stayed with me since my childhood" - so you probably need to find out what his primary school's motto was - it doesn't seem to be online - before you make that accusation.

It was very contrasting to the entrance Tony Blair had in 1997. I can't say GB's speech was particularly inspirational. I think David Cameron had a good day today and think it was a nice touch how he waved his party to their feet at the end of PMQ's

  • 17.
  • At 03:51 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Bob Macdonald wrote:

Anybody who pays attention to what is really going on out there (rather than what Brown's PR people tell us), will notice the following:
- looming and catastropic debt crisis
- utter chaos in all government departments and plumetting morale in the NHS and the armed forces
- very serious social tensions that could erupt in violence and terrorism
- a failure to create the innovative economy we were promised and Britain's continuing slip backwards from the cutting edge of development
- out-of-control housing costs that are really hurting people

I am afraid that's Brown's past and present.

  • 18.
  • At 03:55 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Anindya Raychaudhuri wrote:

Following on from Tom Huxley's comment - did anyone else notice the use of music in the Doctor Who Confidential edition for that episode. What background does Russell T Davies use to accompany footage depicting an evil alien becoming PM? 'Things Can Only Get Better' Genius!

  • 19.
  • At 03:56 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • BarCar wrote:

Responding to Sam in the comments...

A literary translation of "Usque Conabor" might better rendered as "I am going to be trying all the time".

I'd hope we can give him the benefit of the doubt on this one and lay off the cynicism for a day.

  • 20.
  • At 03:56 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • dan dannivo wrote:

Not encouraging to see Brown's almost adolescently nervous and diffident arrival dissipate virtually all of the positive energy generated by Blair's flawless and charismatic exeunt earlier in the day.

I hope his charisma grows to match his appetite for the job, otherwise the journo hacks will make mincemeat of him.

Ultimately, I think he'll be safe, though. Cameron, whilst ostensibly a smart manipulator of the press, isn't as smart as he reckons and is certainly lacking in real (not feigned) gravitas.

The public will soon tire of him.

Blair could get away with the spin and posturing because deep down he had some ideological roots. Cameron, on the other hand, is a classic Etonian chancer, driven more by his own almost genetic will-to-power than by any genuine desire to make things better.

  • 21.
  • At 03:56 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

I've got a sneaking suspicion Nick is getting carried away with his love for sound policy and character. Certainly, I share this sense of excitement but the depression of the morning after the night before beckons. Hopefully, both will be momentary and Prime Minister Brown's leadership, public support, and Nick's journalism will rise to the occasion.

Sound policies, communities, diligence, and patience seem key to Prime Minister Brown's speech. I welcome all of these. Developing them will be long and hard but chewing off the challenges in manageable pieces will ensure success. In turn, this should breed a new sense of confidence, inclusiveness, achievement, and prosperity.

Clearly, schools and communities, work and teamwork, and opportunity and family life will be a priority of Prime Minister Brown's government. Unlike the situation in Iraq where this window of opportunity was missed, getting the key decisions right and bringing everyone on board from the start suggests it's likely he will succeed.

Wow.

  • 22.
  • At 03:58 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Thomas Lowry wrote:

Who is looking after the shop now that he is no longer the tax man.

T L

  • 23.
  • At 04:01 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

They obviously don't teach Latin at his old school any longer!

  • 24.
  • At 04:02 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Either Gordon Brown is rubbish at Latin or he just told his first fib as PM, for Kirkcaldy High School's motto is USQUE CONABOR - 'working together to improve'.

Spin over substance, spin over substance!

  • 25.
  • At 04:04 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • D Ewing wrote:

No, he does NOT have to call an election.

At least EIGHT times in the last 100 years we have had a new PM without an election.

And about six of those were Tories!

  • 26.
  • At 04:10 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Matt B wrote:

Interesting that Brown leaves the treasury for Downing Street the same day as the deputy governor of the Bank of England says that interest rates are "too low". This timing could not have been worse?

I think the coincidence here which has not been mentioned yet on the news will be remarked on much more in a few years once it is apparent just what the idea of rates needing to rise further means to people in debt and with large mortgages.

How about scoring some points now Nick and mentioning this on the news tonight?

  • 27.
  • At 04:14 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • tony wrote:

More Blairism(read Thatcherism)will be the result. As 'policy' on Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan) continues to disintegrate, he will spin the invevitable cut and run as the ordered withdrawal of a peace-bringer.

  • 28.
  • At 04:25 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Matt Hudson wrote:

Nick, why are you using the term 'administration' to describe the new government? Is it to bring things more in line with the US system and use of the word?

  • 29.
  • At 04:26 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • g p coombe wrote:

We cannot have "Tales of the unelected" an election soon Gordon, then you can change.

  • 30.
  • At 04:26 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • John Constable wrote:

Being 'British' is something that some Scottish professional politicians, plying their trade at Westminster, appear to be very keen on.

I suppose they are trying to keep alive a zombie political entity.

However, all the political indicators in Scotland and Wales tell us that the Scots and the Welsh are not interested.

So, why should we English be interested either?

Goodbye Gordon.

At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
Let's see what he can do, and if change is indeed for the better maybe 'things can only get better'.
If not, we vote and effect change.

Interesting contrast with Blair, who wanted it to be remembered that he always meant well, but didn't mention that he tried hard. Whereas Brown assures us he will try to the utmost, but doesn't promise to be on the side of the angels.

Now, if only someone would promise to be both lazy *and* venal, they'd get my vote straight away.

  • 33.
  • At 04:38 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Charles wrote:

Blair made it quite clear what he thinks of Brown when he said of the House of Commons "..it is on occasions the place of low skulduggery....". Brown's expression was a picture to savour.

  • 34.
  • At 04:39 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Nick James wrote:

Strange that the critics are so pitifully short of ammunition that they have to resort to ill-informed and poorly researched snipes about the school motto.
For the record, the motto of Kircaldy High School is indeed 'Usque Conabor' according to the school's own website ( http://www.fife-education.org.uk/kirkcaldyhs/ ), and this does indeed translate as 'I shall strive to my utmost' (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkcaldy_High_School , http://www.usqueconabor.com , http://blog.arlt.co.uk/blog/_archives/2007/5/23/2968803.html ).

Malcolm should do some research before rushing into print with his ignorance and lack of Latin showing like a pair of cheap underpants - "working together to improve" is the school's slogan (although they'd probably call it a 'mission statement'), not a translation of the Latin motto.

  • 35.
  • At 04:45 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • David Shearman wrote:

I was most intrigued by the declaration by the new PM that he would try to appoint anyone of good intent. Is this a reference to offering some plum jobs to figures from other parties perhaps?
He actually stated it in such a way that i think if party leaders forbade such an offer now it would affect them in the polls. After all he said he "will reach out beyond narrow party interest. I will build a government that uses all the talents. I will invite men and women of good will to contribute their energies in a new spirit of public service to make our nation what it can be.

  • 36.
  • At 04:53 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Andrew Cullum wrote:

In response to post 7 from DJP: the convention in this country is that outside of academia those who have a PhD do not use the term "Doctor" which is reserved for doctors of medicine (thus Dr David Owen).

mr Brown is thus correct in eschewing the title whilst Mr Reid is both vulgar and wrong. The use of the title by the Rev. Ian Paisley is contemptible as in his case the "doctorate" was merely an honoury award from an obscure mid-western American university.

Regards

Andrew Cullum

  • 37.
  • At 04:56 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

On the subject of school mottos, I forget the official motto of my old school but can vividly remember one of my old teachers regularly asserting that a much more appropriate motto would have been "It wasn't me".

Given that for 10 years Blair has blamed the previous Tory government for virtually everything that is wrong with Britain, perhaps "It wasn't me" would also be an appropriate motto for the Blair years? I also wonder how long it will be before Gordon starts blaming Tony for things to emphasise the change he represents...

  • 38.
  • At 05:05 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Eamonn wrote:

Nick, you old fox, I'm suprised that neither you nor roly-poly Bolton spotted the:

a. Clinton gloss... 'None of Britain's weaknesses can't be fixed by Britain's strengths...' Er, hang on... ain' we heard that before across the Atlantic? 'There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America...' Sound familiar?

b. Kennedy gloss: 'Now let us begin...' Inauguration speech, 1960.

Of course, given that GB is much, much more of a US political beast that TB ever was - and holidays at Kennedy-esque - Cape Cod every summer, these borrowed phrases aren't a shocker.

I'd bed my cat on the fact that Balls, Austin, Nye, Whelan and Brown - former and current pals - were burning the midnight oil watching Kennedy /Clinton and 'West Wing' DVDs in the last wee while, before emailing and faxing these suggestions.

And to think poor old Joe Biden got the push all those years ago for nicking Kinnock's phrases... You'd think Team Brown could at least, as Sam Goldwyn once put it, 'Come up with some new cliches...'

  • 39.
  • At 05:05 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Richard Rudin wrote:

Those who say that Brown is just the latest of many to succeed as PM without being the head of a party elected to government are missing the point. Blair was the first Prime Minister to go into an election pledging to serve a full term...as he emphasised: "A Full term is a full term." A full term is 5 years-Blair has served barely two; not even half a term.

It is known that at least one other PM -Wilson in October '74 - intended to step down within two years but this was never made public and certainly no peldge was made to serve a full term.

So, in these unique circumstances, the British electorate is entitled to demand a general election. They won't get one, of course, unless the Conservatives implode over the summer.

  • 40.
  • At 05:11 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Dick wrote:

I'm sure he'll change things.. In fact he already has.. When he became Chancellor 30% of our companies were owned by overseas companies. It's now 50%..

By the time he's finished it will probably be 100%..

So much for Britishness eh..

  • 41.
  • At 05:12 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • scotleag wrote:

Asquith, Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Chamberlain, Churchill, Macmillan, Home, Callaghan, Major - all became PM in the past century without calling an immediate election. Why should Brown be any different?

As for those going on about the school motto - this is just part of the continuing attempt to smear Brown in the same way that the Right did in the US to Al Gore.

Brown has already been smeared over what he's alleged to have said about the Arctic Monkeys & Paul Gascoigne. Gore was smeared over comments about the internet.

The intention is quite deliberate. To make the mud stick before anyone can respond otherwise.

  • 42.
  • At 05:16 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Restore trust in politicians? Boy, he'll have his work cut out. This from the man who promised not to raise the basic rate of income tax and then promptly raised national insurance by 1%.

  • 43.
  • At 05:19 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Colin McDonald wrote:

Does anyone else think the new PM has been watching too much Wimbledon?

My neck hurts just from watching his speech

  • 44.
  • At 05:21 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Nick L wrote:

At 13 Steve wrote that no politician was willing to talk about the floods. Actually, David Cameron's first two questions in the House of Commons this afternoon were about the floods and what efforts were being made to help those suffering from its effects.

  • 45.
  • At 05:33 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Alison wrote:

"........his nervousness was very, very evident."

I have to disagree with you Mr Robinson but if there were a glimpse of nervousness in Mr Brown's demeanour, wouldn't you agree that the occasion warranted it?

Your spin on today's events was shameful.

I wonder how many other countries have their political leader chosen by a system with not only so few people voting for them, but such a small proportion of the population even being eligible.

Then I wonder of all those countries, if any of them except Britain claim to be democracies.

Craig

  • 47.
  • At 05:44 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Scott Plear wrote:

A view from Canada:

I was going to comment on Nick Robertson's newsblog by saying, I think you have confused nervousness with emotion. I was in fact struck by Gordon Brown's ability to give a speech. Upon reading the above comments, however, I was struck again by the cynicism so many contain. It would appear that Mr. Brown has his work cut out for him.

It's a dangerous move to emphasise change, change, change.

If Brown doesn't deliver change, say, over the first six months to a year of being in power, if it's change in style and presentation, but not change in policy/substance, it'll deepen disillusionment with party politics, and it'll make the renewal of the Labour Party even more difficult.

  • 49.
  • At 06:02 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

Brown says he will lead a Government for the people of Britain, but he also signed the Claim of Right which says... "We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount."

In light his actions which voted top up fees on English students, 20% less spent on the English NHS, and English pensioners denied home care by Gordon Brown, I'll let people decide which of the two positions really represents Brown's views.

  • 50.
  • At 06:27 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • James wrote:

Finally some humanity in a politician!!His nerves show that we may have a PM who is not superficial and in it for the cameras.

At this moment in time Prime Minister Brown has the greatest opportunity and potential for change than most other prime ministers. Lets hope he uses it the correct way.

  • 51.
  • At 06:28 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • gwenhwyfaer wrote:

Quoth Andrew Cullum, #36: "Mr Reid is both vulgar and wrong."

There's a political epitaph in there somewhere...

  • 52.
  • At 06:30 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

When will all you people, who live in England realise that it is not the Prime Minister who runs the country it is senior Civil Servants. We can have a new Prime Minister every day of the week but it is the senior Civil Servants who work behind the scenes rule the UK. What we need is a change of senior Civil Servants. Senior Civil Servants cant run their own offices let alone a country. For example they spend Ł1.5 billion of the Tax payers money on a computer system and then it is ditched because it doesnt meet expectations. The different policy makers in the civil service come up with a plan and then the Government either back it or ditch it. Most of the time the Government back it. Who is with me or against me and why?

  • 53.
  • At 06:37 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Andrew Carter wrote:

I, like many others, waited with expectant exultation as GB stood outside number 10, preparing to address his new 'empire' for the first time. Like Nick, I watched as he uncomfortably stumbled through a carefully worded speech. The result? A wind of change? Not likely....all I heard in the air we're rumbles of Blah, Blah, Blah, Blar, Blar, Blair -I despair.

As GB quoted old school motto's it was DC who was gaining all those elusive brownie points at PMQ as he meticulously moved like an old chess master, clearly having learned how to grapple public opinion from the old spin-master himself. Could DC be the answer? Tough times ahead for the new PM.

  • 54.
  • At 06:38 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • michael wrote:

"So, why should we English be interested either?

Goodbye Gordon." - john constable

it might come as a surprise to mr constable, but mr brown throughout his career said and acted to show that believes in the british state. just because other scots don't, why presume only political expediency underpins his belief in the union?

  • 55.
  • At 06:40 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Anthony Lane wrote:

Did anyone else think he was obviously nervous and hesitant? It wasn't apparent to me.

  • 56.
  • At 06:40 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Nath wrote:

Was the BBC trying to send subliminal messages with the choice of music to close the 6 o' clock news...'no change'?!

  • 57.
  • At 06:45 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Duncan Stott wrote:

What did he mean by "reaching out beyond narrow party interest" and "building a government that uses all the talents"? Does this sound like he will be inviting MPs from non-Labour parties to be in his cabinet?

  • 58.
  • At 07:09 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

David Shearman when you ask what Gordon Brown means by forming a Government of the talents beyond the Labour party, I believe it is a way to circumvent our parliamentary democracy, which relies on being able to hold the Government to account. Now if he can cast his tent so wide and large, and subcontract Government responsibility to the unelected, it means the buck no longer stops with him, things that then go wrong are someone else’s fault.


  • 59.
  • At 07:31 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • mick wrote:

Blair middle east peace envoy?

Isnt that a tad like making Jeremy Clarkson speed camera envoy?

Or Thatcher the milk and Union envoy?

  • 60.
  • At 07:34 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Geoff Bunn wrote:

It never ceases to amaze how people can distory history to suit their own ends:-

"..so, in these unique circumstances, the British electorate is entitled to demand a general election".

Sorry, you are wrong.

1. There is no constitution. Therefore, as in law, political practice follows from precedent.

2. Precedent has been set that it is OK to change PM's mid-term without resorting to a General Election.

All of these Conservative PM's did just that: Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, MacMillan, Home and Thatcher.


  • 61.
  • At 07:39 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Colin Soames wrote:

Is this 'new' 'new' Labour or 'new' 'old' Labour? :) The lies, the bungling, the stealth taxes will continue regardless!

  • 62.
  • At 07:59 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Don C wrote:

I really like this kind of up to the minute political comment - rightly or wrongly.

I am no political animal and live a hundred and fifty miles from Westminster, but this is good relevant stuff for me.

A sharp eye like this tuned into events at the centre is useful and I view as an essential comment in todays world.

Enjoyed the last posts Nick - thanks.

  • 63.
  • At 08:30 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Tony Weddle wrote:

Of course GB doesn't have to call a general election but this handover of power is just another nail in the coffin of democracy and perhaps helps explain why so few people seem to be bothered to vote. Labour went into the last election with a leader who promised to serve the full term, so we knew what we'd be getting if we voted Labour. Now, that promise was broken, labour voters have ended up with a different leader, no-one voted GB into the leadership or, implicitly, into office, and Gordon is promising change (i.e. different priorities from what he'd supported since the general election).

Democracy is the real victim here.

  • 64.
  • At 08:32 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • scottow wrote:

Brown will be a success if he has plenty of cash and he knows how to win wars. He also needs to find some charismatic figures from south of Carlisle. Maybe he should put Ken Livingstone in his Cabinet as the only Englishman in the Labour Party most people have heard of.
I hear he's been getting backing from the venture capital funds - perhaps they're the talents he keeps talking about. Or perhaps he's copying the Tory Party and is going to propose policies no-one else in the Party agrees with a la Osborne - a role for Quentin Davies perhaps.

  • 65.
  • At 08:35 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

The thing about all of today is that it feels like a shift back to how PM's used to be. Brown looked uncomfortable in front of the media (which was quite a welcome sight really in a strange way) and he seems genuinely like he wants to make a difference. The big first test will be PMQ's where Cameron will be off the leash and he will have to deal with the accountability of his government. Though not a natural fan of politicians, I do feel a sense of admiration in regard to Brown's achievements. Overcoming personal issues largely in the public eye has made him seem more human than his reputation - I also think it was admirable (as well as practical) that he didn't cart his kids out as well for what is the biggest moment of his career. In relation to the geeky political meandering about the brief time there was no prime minister - there a protocols for every crisis situation. I'd also like to think that as a very mature nation we have the infrastructure to cope with temporary leaderless moments. The next question will be "What if all the MP's are struck by lightening?" As the point has been made, there's always good old Brenda.

  • 66.
  • At 09:17 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • John wrote:


Think he'll give us St.George's Day a holiday?
Not a chance. Maybe some daft Great Britan Day that nobody under 70 can relate to anymore, just so we'll forgive him for being a Scot.

  • 67.
  • At 09:25 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Peter ngu tayong wrote:

I wish him well and hope he succeed's in making a difference where his predicessor failed and also let his decisions to be spiritually guided.

  • 68.
  • At 09:28 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Graham Davidson wrote:

It's good to see the New Labour media machine isnt dead under the new supremo. Did anyone notice that he was carefuly pursing his lips between sentances in order to avoid his terribly annoying habit of dropping his jaw after every other word. In addition he was carefully holding his hands together to stop his usual fidgeting. Unfortunately I think this sums up what this government will stand for, form over function.

  • 69.
  • At 09:33 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • GCS wrote:

Well, didn't the media have to work hard today dfor once...And Nick's plentiful blog entries suggest he gorged himself on the events...There will be tears before bedtime, methinks...And I am with Cherie. Given the poison that passes for the media, Robinson is lucky she didn't just slap him.

  • 70.
  • At 09:47 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Steve M wrote:

Glad to see our new PM eschewing the awful grin that came to characterise his predecessor.

Interesting that his wife, too, is a contrast. And she's a successful PR person,so a lack of forced grimace is welcome and will be expected to be maintained if Downing Street finally gets a replacement for Humphrey-could THIS be the surprise you are on about,Nick-cabinet post offer for British Shorthair?!

And there is NO call for an election. I seem to remember the country, by whatever majority, voted for a New Labour government in 2005. That's what they had when they woke up this morning, and it's what they are entitled to expect to wake up to tomorrow, as well.

I almost felt sorry for Brown as he tried to deliver his rousing speech. Blair has created a need for more personality in British politics and Brown just doesn't seem comfortable doing "showbiz".

  • 72.
  • At 09:48 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Huw Morgan wrote:

Andrew Cullum wrote (in comment 36) that it is the convention in the UK not to use the title Doctor outside medicine and academia.

This is contrary to my experience; and I can assure him that my friends and colleagues who use their deserved title (as opposed to the honorary doctorate granted to the medical profession) are far from "vulgar and wrong".

  • 73.
  • At 10:09 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • David wrote:

This is all very amusing. It would seem that a majority of people are criticising Brown for not being charismatic, yet everyone seemed to slate Blair for being so. Sadly a large part of the population is sold on the "cult" of celebrity and spin, but still moan about it when it happens. Make your mind up!

From what I read, Brown seems more than capable, perhaps more so than Blair but everyone is now sold on the soundbite. Perhaps that says more about this nation than anything else.

Another thing - it seems very many are "feart" of a Scottish PM and have an "England won't put up with it!" attitude. Fine, don't! However, remember that the current parliament is that of the UK and not an English one - therefore any British citizen could become PM, Welsh, Northern Irish, Manx, Scottish, Orcadian, Cornish. And for many a year, they did put up with an English PM.

  • 74.
  • At 10:24 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

What an incredibly skeptical public we are. Yes, the government makes huge mistakes, yes Blair has lost his integrity over the Iraq war amongst other things, yes Brown has made some decisions that have led to higher taxes for some. But do we really beieve there is NOTHING good to say whatsoever. If so, I think everyone - or at least those who write to this site - listen too much to the media.
Do we forget the fact that more people are in employment now than for years, do we forget the fact that many museums are now completely FREE for the public, do we forget the fact that in general our transport, communication and social services function so well, do we forget the fact that the VAST majority of the time the NHS provides fantastic medical care free at the point of service.
Let's be critical, but let's not forget the good things.

  • 75.
  • At 10:26 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Simon Shaw wrote:

In last Saturday's episode of Dr Who, the evil Timelord the Master took over as Prime Minister with the words "Let the work of government begin".

Gordon Brown follows along days later with the almost identical "Let the work of change begin".

Is there something you're not telling us?

  • 76.
  • At 10:26 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Simon Skuse wrote:

Hi Nick,
I too picked up on Gordons 'British' blurb.
It's a shame he did not elaborate. One of your posted messages suggested it means 'another bank holiday'.

I'll tell you what ! - It had better mean a whole lot more than that. For me, and millions of other people out here it had better mean a total halt to turning OUR country into a permanant 'pit stop' for every Tom,Dick Harry and Abdul from all points of the compass who can spot a free lunch when they see one.

"our sense of what it means to be British". Well i'm English, not British, and i would like be given the same right that Scotland has, namely the right to self-determination. Gordon Brown has no right to decide English only policies, like health and education. These are the responsibility of an English Parliament and our own First Minister. Brown must recognise English home rule, or he will have no rule.

  • 78.
  • At 10:44 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • karin wrote:

Now that Tony Blair has gone, can that be the end of the bias against him by Nick Robinson? Pretty please?

  • 79.
  • At 10:47 PM on 27 Jun 2007,
  • Justin Flook wrote:

Going by his past comments, I think Gordon Brown wants to "restore" some sort of identitiy to Britain - what it means to be British.

I like Gordon Brown but surely the whole thing about being British is that we don't actually have an identity.

Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Prime Minister Brown's most significant act in office turns out to be giving Britain something we're lacking - a written constitution.

  • 80.
  • At 12:15 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

Yes, Richard, but has it occurred to you that Blair may have fully intended to serve a full term when he said that, only to find himself forced out? Which is pretty much what happened with Thatcher ("I will go on and on")

I think Blair planned to go on till 08-09, but Brown forced his hand.

  • 81.
  • At 12:46 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Matt Lammin wrote:

I'm glad Gordon Brown played it cool in his first speech. Steve McLaren hasn't been particularly successful since moving up from being number two, to leading the country (in football). McLaren, like Brown, was constantly right behind his former boss throughout. So it was an impossible job for him to be expected to stop the rot. I hope Gordon Brown fares better. Dropping David Beckham was a symbolic gesture by McLaren that backfired. I don't think Brown is really into symbolism and tokenism. Although, perhaps John Prescott resigned before he became Brown's Beckham... Ok, maybe not.

  • 82.
  • At 01:05 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • John Constable wrote:

The banner of this blog item says 'Change'.

We, the English people know that really means 'no change'.

Ah, political parties, they were the future ... once.

Shortly they will be the past, we will invent a new system appropriate to this age of modernity.

It is only those 'forces of conservatism', from across the conventional political spectrum, which impedes our progress.

  • 83.
  • At 02:56 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Terry Balfour wrote:

My only real hope,is that P.M Brown stays true to his desire to have an inclusive form of governance,I have grown tired of the 'tribal'nature of politics in this country,we need a greater variance of veiws we need it to make better decisions.


So I supppose I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • 84.
  • At 05:28 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Aubry Jerry wrote:

Well at least it could be an end to
phoney couch potato politics!

  • 85.
  • At 06:53 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Michael Sargent wrote:

I was appalled at the content of the news at 10 last night (27/6/07). How could the BBC imagine anyone thought the incoherent mutterings of a focus group's comments about our new leaders was remotely interesting to us. we can all make our own mind up and we certainly dont need such rubbish thrust upon us. More importantly, dont the editors realise how supremely boring this stuff is!

  • 86.
  • At 08:34 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • David wrote:

Gordon Brown already intends to remove the last vestiges of influence of the unions over Lavour party policy. This may seem like a good thing, but it centralises power into the party which he controls by the whip.

The idea of open Government, drawing talent from "outside" the party sounds good, but it may be heading towards a one party state.

Brown is renowed for his control over information and using any means to get his way, it will be interesting to see how he behaves now he can legislate to implement new ways to exert his control. It has been suggested he will get rid of ID cards, but I doubt it. He says he will give more power to the people, but will he give us a means to raise referendums on issues, the results of which will dictate Government policy? Again, I doubt it even though it is practical and already done in other countries.

As far as an election is concerned, I suspect the earlier the better. The people will likely be enamoured by the novelty and so more likely to give him a 5 year term now than after 3 years.

  • 87.
  • At 09:20 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Change, eh? So although Chancellor and the 2nd most powerful man in the land for the past 10 years, rather than actually formulating and executing New Labour policies poor Gordon was dragged along screaming and kicking against his will by that naughty, naughty Tone....

  • 88.
  • At 09:31 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

Gordon Brown says on the steps of Number 10 that he wants to preserve the 'British way of life'

To this effect, please bring back the House of Lords and overturn the ban on hunting.

  • 89.
  • At 09:44 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Colin McDonald wrote:

#65 - "....just so we'll forgive him for being a Scot"

Why should anyone need forgiveness for being a Scot? had you made this comment in relation to the colour of someone's skin it would rightly have been branded racist.

If the UK is indeed a union of equal nations then why should a Scot not be PM? Perhaps you would also have a problem with a Welsh PM? or someone from one of the many other minorities who make up the UK?

You should be ashamed of your comment and the BBC should be ashamed that they published your narrow minded jibe.

  • 90.
  • At 09:49 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Matt Truman wrote:

Motto, shmotto.

Brown's eye has been focused on power for 10 years so congratulations for the perseverance. I can't wait for the day that he is forced to relinquish it, because this is really what it is all about...gaining and retaining power.

All the while the same oligarchy of civil servants get on with the mismanagement and pilfering of the country. There will be No Change. All the while more woefully underequipped british soldiers bravely die in foreign lands.

Congratulations to the Miliband Brothers,Ed Ballsup & Yvette HIPSBallsup Cooper for showing us the new fashion...Gordon Brown nosing!

  • 91.
  • At 10:52 AM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

#89 Colin McDonald there is no reason why a Scottish elected politician shouldn't be PM, what is wrong is that a British PM still continues to set English home policy, for one thing which has been created by devolution is not, equality of the nations as you put, but gross inequality.

  • 92.
  • At 12:42 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • David Brinkman wrote:

I seem to think that Gordon Brown mentioned the word change 4 times during his speech.

Is he saying that as Chancellor very much in charge of domestic policy during the last 10 years that he has been rowing in the wrong direction? He appeared to give the impression that he and Tony were not in the same party and he had just won a General Election.

He made the point that he had been meeting people up and down the country. The United Kingdom isn't one country it's four which is why we have 4 football teams. He told us that he had to make changes in Education, and Health. Hold on those areas are English areas and he as a MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath has absolutely nothing to do with them in Scotland as they are devolved issues.

As a Scottish MP he is a second class MP at Westminster, how he feels that he has a right to influence those matters in England when he voted to opt out of those issues in Scotland is beyond me. In interviews he has said that an English Parliament will lead to the breakup of the Union. He is wrong, the breakup of the Union will be caused by devolution for Scotland and Wales and he voted in favour of it.

  • 93.
  • At 02:18 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Mark Rowantree wrote:

Ir is a bit rich, to see conributers of a Conservative persuasion, harping on about the so called democratic deficit. It would be instructive to see how they raised their concerns during the years of Thatcher et al.

  • 94.
  • At 03:15 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

According to Gordon Brown, his school motto was: "I will try my outmost".

I saw him say this on TV, and this is also the transcript on the BBC website.

Is outmost even a word?

Maybe GB is preparing himself for future failures. Then he will be able to say "well, I only said I would try my outmost".

  • 95.
  • At 03:37 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Iain M wrote:

#93 Mark Rowantree it's not rich at all, for we were a unitary state until Labour devolved power to the Scottish parliament, after all it was a Labour Scottish politician, Tam Dalyell who saw the inequity of what was being proposed and asked the question which we all know now as the West Lothian Question.

  • 96.
  • At 03:48 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

Mr Colin McDonald, #89 above, should refrain from further comment lest we English start to believe that the epithet 'dour' is more than just a malicious stereotype.

  • 97.
  • At 08:03 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Colin McDonald wrote:

Mr Max Sceptic #96 should bear in mind that whilst the #66 comment may have been said with tongue firmly in cheek, it nonetheless picks up on and highlights a growing unease within Enlgand and the media at the number of Scots or "Scottish Maffia" in Government. An unease which is increaingly accompanied by rhetoric that many find offensive whether said in jest or not.

As a firm believer in the ability of Scots to govern themselves (and indeed others as is evidently the case)I echo the words of Ian #91 and assure him that I am well aware of the underlying reasons as to the animosity of some to the prospect of a Scottish PM and Scottish votes on English matters. I am also aware of the real reasons behind Mr. Brown's reluctance to adress this issue. I urge Ian to push for full english independence and rid himself of the scourge that is the whinging, begging bowl bearing Scot.

In the meantime I'm off for a deep fried mars bar and can of super strength.

  • 98.
  • At 02:15 PM on 29 Jun 2007,
  • James Hillock wrote:

His school has changed its motto since Gordon's day.

  • 99.
  • At 03:33 PM on 29 Jun 2007,
  • Brian Neill wrote:

In defense of Kirkcaldy High school which has been variously lambasted for its mistranslation may I point out that "Working together etc." is not offered by KHS as a translation of "Usque Conabor" but as an additional motto. Unfortunately this is not made explicit on their website and has thus led to the unfortunate impression that the school is not the excellent institution it was in my day fifty years ago and which I am sure it continues to be.
Whether excellent instruction leads to an excellent PM we have yet to learn but "Floreat Gordon" is my motto for now.

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.