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Labour in-fighting

Nick Robinson | 10:07 UK time, Monday, 12 May 2008

Frankly speaking, it isn't news that Frank Field is not a member of the Gordon Brown fan club, although the phrases he used in his BBC World Service interview last night are extraordinary. He spoke of the tragedy for the Labour Party and the country of Gordon Brown, being trapped in a job in which he is clearly so unhappy. What is real news however, is his prediction that Mr Brown will not be prime minister at the time of the next election and his suggestion, far from friendly, that the PM asked the advice of people he loves and who most love him about what he should do next. A clear invitation to consider resignation.

Alan Johnson and Gordon BrownThe only thing that should cheer those in Labour's ranks, is the rambunctious performance of Alan Johnson, who's been almost silent in recent weeks. He could not disguise his fury on the Today programme this morning at what he described as another episode of True Confessions. It may be that the publication of the memoirs of Prescott, Levy and Cherie together with the comments of Frank Field get all the bad news out of the way at one time, unless of course there is more bad news to come.

If Johnson's anger is matched by that of other senior Labour politicians, if they realise that they are in a battle for their own survival and not merely for Gordon Brown's, it may just be possible that this period of in-fighting is followed by a renewal of what I have described as the glue that held New Labour together. That can be Gordon Brown's only hope at the beginning of this, the latest of a series of very difficult weeks.


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  • Comment number 1.

    One thing you can really really be sure of is there will be more bad news to come.

  • Comment number 2.

    Another bad week for the dear leader ending with the revalations from Mrs Blair, Mr Prescott and Lord Levy. I'm not sure that the reports that he is being coached by TB can be believed, given their reported relationship, but if it is true it suggests that the advice being given may not be doing him any good (that's the kindest and least slanderous description I can give). I suspect GB was a very good No. 2 to TB. TB needed a nit picker with a bigger brain than him, however these are not the qualities required of an inspirational leader. We have still got the 42 day detention and ID cards coming up. Irrespective of the pros and cons of ID cards I suspect the biggest uproar will be about the cost. I must admit if I was going to introduce ID cards I'd farm the job out to a well known major supermarket who already have most of the information required to verify a UK resident's identity. I bet they would even be prepared to pay to get the contract. Probably the only consolation from the last few days is that GB will now be able to blame Boris and the Tories for any fallout from the Olympics.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh please! The last thing we need is any more glue to hold this lot together. The quicker it all falls apart the better.

    Lets have an election and clear the air once and for all. Lets see who the public want as a governing party and then lets let them get on with it.

    All this wondering aimlessly, posturing, spin and back stabbing can't be good for the country and that surely is the most important issue at stake.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am slightly concerned about Labour's response to their problem. As a Labour voter who suffered under the Tory's I was happy to see Labour return. I now understand the concerns of Tory voters in the 90's!

    MP's who argue publicly know this turns the electorate against you. If they lose their seat in an election, it may be their party and the country that loses. Maybe this is the arrogance of winning 2 terms. History never remembers favourably the MP's who openly dissent.

    One a another quick note: nice to see Labour concentrating their efforts on South-East again. Have they left it too late?

  • Comment number 5.


    What odds can you get on Frank Field's guess that the Election will now be held at the last possible moment? Not sure I'd be happy to take bets on that if I was a bookie!


    DustinThyme (post #2) is right: the attributes needed in a number 2 are very different from those of a leader and whatever other qualities GB has he is not a leader.


    I suspect / hope that ID cards are dead in the water now - simply unaffordable as well as political suicide at the moment.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Rambunctious performance"?

    Alan Johnson sounds like his sanity is crumbling around him.

    Bit like his boss really.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    This is the fourth time I've got this page. There's a glitch I think. PP

  • Comment number 9.

    "Banding together"? "Renewal"?
    Isn't it more rats and sinking ships.

    The 10p tax change was a short and acute suicide note. Browns cry for help. Those MPs in marginal seats and without viable memoirs are clearly very vulnerable at the next election. The government can "listen" but you can only spin "listening" after 11 years of office so much. You can fool some of the people some of the time etc. The National Conversation began with Blair trying to push through GM after a consultation process showed 89% of people didn't want it. But the US did.
    Then there is the fact that the Labour Party is not well financially; the funding investigation is ongoing (news anybody?) and so Abrahams may turn nasty; Labours historical legacy may be that they facilitated the exit of the Scots, who are being handled astutely by Bendy Wendy and the Welsh may depart later. The economic outlook is grim. Labour are riven with divisions and the knives are out.
    Miliband looks set to be the next leader. He looks as though he has started to shave so maybe he will be not only photogenic but mature enough to run a party and turn their fortunes around.
    But would they deserve that?

  • Comment number 10.

    Tory PM John Major felt that outgoing PMs were having a hard time of it after retirement so he successfully arranged for a supplementary pension to be awarded after leaving office. In doing so he was declaring that serving for the greater good as PM was in itself not good enough and should be rewarded.

    On these terms it is difficult to see how any outgoing PM could sensibly abandon a supplementary pension or part thereof worth millions of pounds by resigning. It is also difficult to see how any reasonable person might suggest that this be the case.

  • Comment number 11.

    Gordon shouldn't be too concerned about the impact on the image of the Government of all the True Confessions.

    How they appeared before all that stuff came out - "What a shower"
    After the revelations - "What a shower." No harm done.

    Frank Field's utterances, however, are a different matter. He has impressed the public on the 10p tax fiasco and he appears to combine intelligence with integrity.

    Not an easy target to discredit, that well worn New Labour tactic, or to buy off by promises of promotion within the Government or elevation to the Lords.

  • Comment number 12.

    Alan Johnstone complaining about sniping,in some countries in this world, the snipers would be holding rifles if they were afflicted with a prime minister and government so remote and out of touch with the needs of the people. The way British society is being changed by immigration from countries where politics come out of a gunbarrel, the day may not be far off when the unthinkable becomes reality.The feeling of helpless rage this government instills in people may very well become the straw to break the camel's back.

  • Comment number 13.

    Frank field thinks he should be prime minister? Is he yet another back stabing sneak from the planet vulcan like John Redwood. Is he selling a book as well? Instead of them having to sell awful memoirs, we should have a telethon. 'Former MPs in Need' or something.

  • Comment number 14.

    Its' getting harder and harder to spot when last weeks bad news ends and this weeks bad news begins.....

  • Comment number 15.

    People are missing the point here. There isn't really a tory revival. Their share of the vote in quantity as opposed to percentage has remained largely static. What's actually happening is the Labour vote is disappearing to either smaller parties (Plaid, SNP, BNP, Green etc), or it's staying in bed.

    This is actually disastrous for politics. We are already in the era where the number of people who can't be bothered to vote is greater than the number of people who vote for the winners. Should we ever enter an age where the 'can't be bothered' outnumbers the total number of voters then democracy loses all legitimacy.

    Incidentally, it's all the fault of the politicians anyway. they regard themselves as 'special'. Footballer, film stars etc - they're special. Politicians are a form of civil servant (but with less usefullness) and that's it.

  • Comment number 16.

    So many posts that I agree with, I'd like to simply say "ditto" to most of them.

    Basically the game's up; doesn't matter what labour does/says anymore, they've just done too many bad things the last 11 years and now it's all caught up with them.

    I think they'll just continue to self-destruct until the next election.

    Even if they did change leader it won't do any good because people know that labour itself allowed Gordon Brown's coup to happen in the first place, and people know that they all sat idly by when he announced the doubling of the 10pct tax rate over a year ago, and the pension raids that he's been doing since he was chancellor, and the tax credit nightmare that he's placed people in etc etc ad infinitum; we're all sick of the lot of them.

  • Comment number 17.

    Alan Johnson and NewLabour would do better by looking at the source of the problems, rather than taking NewLabs permanent 'easy solution' of looking at the symptoms of the problem.

    This isn't a True Confessions story it is a Policy Disaster story.

    Brown's Tax and Grab policies have resulted in a sickening by the Public for his delaying approach of calling for reviews, for calling for wide ranging discussions, and for his 'feeling the pain' words which result in no action. At the same time he goes on raking it in without any concern for those who pay the tax bill. ie the People.

    Look at fuel bills, where every time the price of oil rises, Brown rubs his hands, rakes in more take and then says ' oh I feel your pain about the price of petrol'.
    And then he does absolutely nothing.

    The only answers these NewLab politicians have got is not a problem solving approach but simply a NewLab Politician approach to Tax More and More and More..

    ...and the Public is absolutely fed up with Brown's and NewLabs 'easy and failed diversions as answers'.

    For the benefit of the People, Brown has to go so that we get new people in to set the Tax Rake-off at a fairer level for families and pensioners.

  • Comment number 18.

    I cannot stand Brown's politics and think the man is a disaster in politics. The sooner he is given his seat in the Lords, the better.

    But come on, Levy, Cherie and Prescott? Is anyone actually taking these three seriously? Prescott has been a joke figure for more years than I care to remember. Levy, along with his buddy Tony is covered in sleaze and I won't even begin with Cherie as I want this post accepted.

    I could not give two hoots what these three people have to say. And as for the revelation that Brown and Blair could not work with each other - go figure!

    This is just three people that are full of their own importance trying to get some free publicity for what will no doubt be excessively tedious books.

    Nice of the BBC to use my licence fee to advertise books I have no interest in! Was this something that the Corporation promised to do when it set out the reasons for its Charter renewal? Or was there not in fact a commitment to lead the way with some SERIOUS news content for the people of the British Isles?

  • Comment number 19.

    Come on Nick. Prescott? Levy? Cherie? Frank Field? - You are surely stretching a point to call this 'In fighting'. 'out fighting' would be nearer the mark.

    The question anyone who cares about democracy in the UK should be asking is; why are the media looking so hard to quote anyone who will have a go at the PM?

    Isn't one answer that the media mob now have a PM who can't handle them anything like as well as the last one could.

    The wich hunt is gathering apace and Gordon Brown, though good at a lot of things, is all but hopeless when it comes to handling the media.

    Is Gordon as effective a PM as he was a chancellor? - It seems to me that we're in danger of never finding out. During the next 12 months the press and media are going to use their power to take him apart.

    If Gordon turns out to be a rubbish PM, Nick, please let him get as far as the next election so that we can VOTE him out. A lot of people died to make it possible.

    In the mean time, how about holding GB responsible for those things he is actually responsible for, instead of all pretending he should resign every time someone in a distant department makes a cock-up or an old lady trips on the Downing St curb.

    Its called 'honest journalism'

  • Comment number 20.

    Surely the Scots won't now be daft enough to vote for independence. They'd get Gordon Brown and Alastiar Darling back!

  • Comment number 21.

    I've been wondering about one new piece of bad news for labour that appears to be slipping under the memoir-obsessed radar. The party has just had to suspend 5 of its councillors in Easington who didn't conform to internal party election guidelines.

    Perhaps I have got this wrong, but according to my calculations, if these 5 councillors are no longer labour then surely the party loses its majority in the new Durham Unitary Authority to No Overall Control.

    Wouldn't this be rather a big blow given the local opposition to the government imposed Unitary Authority, and especially so given its location in the northern labour heartlands?

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Nick
    notice you didn't quote the bit where Frank Field said that Brown looks 'uncomfortable in his own skin', but to me that's the heart of it. The British public - as poll after poll is showing - _loathe_ Brown: he's a total weirdo more in need of a good psychiatrist than good policies.

    Roll on the next election so we can vote these war criminal, control freak, out-of-touch, desperately incompetent jokers OUT of office.

  • Comment number 23.

    Does any of this really matter? I'm sure it must be fascinating for those who seldom emerge from the confines of Westminster Village, but I doubt that many of the rest of us in the real world really care.

    We already know that one of politicians' favourite pastimes is bitching about each other and stabbing each other in the back. They're doing it again. Big deal.

  • Comment number 24.

    This Prime Minister and this government with him have lost the benefit of the doubt.

    It's little use relaunching yourself and self evidently the public rubbishing of members of your own party or their spouses gains no ground either.

    The daily slanging match that Gordon Brown has given us as his excuse for government is a national disgrace.

    Lose the benefit of the doubt and you lose office; this much is inevitable. How long it takes this self elected defender of 'courage' remains to be seen.

    It's a tragedy of Greek proportions that one who fought for so long and so bitterly is now so patently useles at the job.

    It's a conceit of olympian proprtions that we were all asked to believe it was any different under Blair.

  • Comment number 25.

    This current shower need kicking out of government as soon as possible. Blair was a salesman and Brown was the sidekick, since then money has been wasted on an unprecedented scale, democracy and free debate stiffled and tax grabs galore from the Blair/Brown axis of evil. However much Nulab try to pretend they are Tories, they always have been and always will be the party of financial incompetence and tax and spend. New Labour, old Labour, same financial incompetence and Big Brother attitudes, either way you're getting buried at the next election.

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with RobinJD.

    Surely any relaunch campaign is going to be viewed with skepticism and mistrust. Certainly everyone I know seems to now disregard Brown on spec.

    Unfortunately, the Tories have the Big Mo and they're gripping onto it tight. It's not even a case of being the valid alternative, it's about making Labour the greater of the two evils.

    It's very sad that we have politicians of Cable's calibre on the sidelines. It might be handy to have a Chancellor with an Economics doctorate.

  • Comment number 27.

    Maybe the Americans do have it right after all. Maybe two terms is all a PM should be allowed?

    Instead we got Tony promising to see out a full 3rd parliamentary term, then he was forced out by Brown's plotting within 2yrs.

    In this case it definitely seems that what goes around comes around.

  • Comment number 28.

    We've been here so many times before. It's part of the political cycle that has-been politicians produce memoirs where they are paid serious money to vent the pent-up anger and frustration that they were paid handsomely to keep pent-up while either Ministers of the Crown or hangers-on to said Ministers. Therapists advise that venting is therapeutic...however most people pay handsomely for therapy or if they are poor they go without. As for Frank Field, his personal animus towards the PM is well known...nothing new there either.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am no great fan of Gordon Brown but this recent flood of Labour back stabbing reflects much worse on his accusers than the man himself. To be honest one can almost picture Tony Blair pulling the strings in the background with his now well known faux sincere grin. The actions of senior figures within the Labour party indicates to me that there are many that would prefer a period out of government if it would lead to a Blairite succeeding Brown sooner rather than later. This is a valid view but it is quite wrong to try and manufacture this situation other than by a fair and open leadership election.

    I also noted today a comment by Cherie Blair in her book saying that Tony Blair would have stepped down earlier if BNrown had agreed to his policies on foundation hospitals and academies.

    What are we to understand by this? That you can succeed Tony so long as you do everything they way he would want? Is this what passes for democracy in England today? I find it amazing that senior political figures can think like this and even more incredible that the likes of Cherie Blair can actually come out and make statements like this publically as if it were evidence of Browns poor conduct, when in fact it is evidence of the megalomaniac tendencies of Blair.

    What has happened to understanding a different view point? Politics in this country is in a mess. It has been well understood for a long time that pure communism cannot work because it will always be corrupted by selfishness and human nature. I seriously feel that modern society has changed with the huge influence of the media, the lack of principle based politics (most parties share roughly the same idealogy) and the advent of the spin generation, and I and starting to question whether true democracy is still possible in England today.

  • Comment number 30.

    I spend much of my time recruiting Managing Directors and Finance Directors into an array of different businesses. It is not uncommon to sit in front of an FD and explore strategies for that individual to take on a Chief Exec or MD role in the same on another company. However, in the great majority of cases, the guy who has been an excellent support/ partner to the MD, by their own admission will usually acknowledge that their skill base is not appropriate for the challenges of the main role. In particular, sales, marketing and influencing skills can often let the effective Finance Director down when confronted with the wider scope of the bigger role. GB an effective FD? Probably. GB an effective MD. I'm afraid not. Not now....not ever. Someone should tell him straight.

  • Comment number 31.

    Nick: There may be more to this than you think. The Labour Party is currently trying to reschedule loans with 9 millionaires that are keeping it afloat. Aren't they mostly friends of Lord Levy? What if they made their rescheduling conditional on their being a proper leadership election? After all, unless Labour donations increase substantially there is no prospect of their loans being repaid.

  • Comment number 32.

    Of course I won't vote for Gordon because of his abject failure to take environmental matters seriously and his mad plans to lock people up for 42 days without trial. But apart from that, he:
    * hasn't started any new illegal wars.
    * has full employment.
    * has low inflation
    * has low interest rates
    * has just cut the main income tax rate.

    What are all these people complaining about ?
    If all the old "new labour" people are distancing themselves from him this can only be to his advantage.

  • Comment number 33.

    If only Shakespeare were alive! This is, surely, the greatest raw material since Macbeth. We need a brilliant playwright to document this in full. Hubris followed by nemesis, par excellence.

    Ref: Comparisons to John Majors Government. I keep reading comparisons that seem to imply that Brown has not reached those depths. This is puzzling. John Major, as I recall, won a/ his party's nomination, b/ a back-me-or-sack me call and c/ a general election! Besides this, he was in power for quite a time. Maybe we have compressed, in our minds, all of his troubles into a point in time?

    Brown, by comparison, has not been in the job for a year and, yet, is beset on all sides by a sea of troubles. It's truly hard to remember a more precipitous or calamitous fall. I'm firmly of the view that he has brought this upon himself - the £1 TRILLION of extra taxation, borrowing and spending is, at heart, a failing and failed philosophy/strategy. The game is up, but on a bigger scale than just Brown......

  • Comment number 34.

    It seems to have been clear to a lot of people, for a very long time, that Gordon Brown was unelectable to the post of PM - except to people in the Labour Party.

    They have no Plan B.

    And because they haven't looked seriously at alternatives, they will not only lose the next General Election but will then be unable to provide a robust opposition to the next government.

    So, they'll be damaging to the country both when in office and afterwards.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am so tired of the awful Mr. Brown and this awful series of disasters and all the backbiting. I would prefer never to hear of see this guy ever again - some hope!

  • Comment number 36.

    in #19 give_us_news_please wrote: "Is Gordon as effective a PM as he was a chancellor? "

    Well, as a chancellor he;
    sold of our gold reserves for less than half its value,
    stole 5bn per year from our pension funds,
    introduced the labyrinthine tax credit system which needed an inmcrease of 23% in the numbers of civil servants to process it,
    bankrolled an illegal war
    had such lax control of his own party that he knew nothing about illegal loans and donations

    So, yes, I'd say he's JUST as effective as PM

  • Comment number 37.

    NuLabour remind me of an ailing football club at the moment. More of a NuLeeds. They have wasted money (both public and the parties) and now find themselves struggling in the lower echelons. Soon they will be bankrupt, bereft and begging foreign billionaires to plug the ship's leaks.

    For me the most interesting thing going on at the moment is North of the border. If, and its a big if, Scots vote for independence in due course, this is the absolute death of Labour (Nu, Old and Future). They shall never again rule what remains of the UK. The 50% of the cabinet that is Scottish can have their passports revoked and be sent packing to beg Bendy Wendy for a job in ScotLab. Oh happy day!

    As for the backstabbing situation, I would have thought Prezza, Cherie and Levy slating you is probably an indication of soundness of character. Perhaps GB is really a good fellow after all? Nah!

  • Comment number 38.

    Since when has a PM's personality been a subject for public scrutiny?
    Frank field should stick to his self-appointed role as party whinger and general busy-body. Thank god he wasn't a minister for very long!
    I prefer a mad hatter (Brown) to a chesire cat (Blair) anytime.
    As far as I'm concerned, all the party leaders and their lackies inhabit a topsy turvy world through the looking glass, in which simple logic no longer works.

  • Comment number 39.

    Anotherearthling must live on a different Earth from the rest of us

    * hasn't started any new illegal wars.
    But supported fully the current one and wants to keep our troops there

    * has full employment
    True (ish) but watch this space

    * has low inflation
    Factory gate prices up 7.5%, food inflation 19%, energy costs double digit inflation The CPI is spin and not true inflation

    * has low interest rates
    Base rate is lower but rates going up for mortgages; Higher than USA or Eurozone

    * has just cut the main income tax rate
    Has doubled it from 10% to 20% for millions of lower paid and pensioners

    So 1 1/2 out of 5 true, Anotherearthling.

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear Nick

    In fighting with labour has been in existance ever since Brown and Blair came on to the scene, their pathetic way of leadership, has given rise to the predicament Labour are in today. Brown was only ever interested in two things himself, and being Prime Minister.Now the knives are out, for revenge, and it will be swift, and deadly, the line in the sand has been set, Gordon Brown is the wore Prime minister since Chamberlain, and Blair is as far away as possible keeping his head down in the middle east, BUT beware the the long distant runner, his legacy, and that of his supporters, are starting to have an effect on Brown, that is he unable to counter.

  • Comment number 41.

    The longer he hangs in then the more damage he'll do to an already damaged and miserable party. Worse si the damage he'll do to this country with his flip flopping panicking death throws.

    An embarrassment here and abroad - he should be thrown in the tower.

  • Comment number 42.

    I listened to Alan Johnston skirting around the social care issue. He wouldn't commit to anything expect to say that there was a lot more needs doing and there will be a another debate about it.

    If Labour haven't sorted out the finances of social care by now, they never will. What a total waste of the last 10 years!

  • Comment number 43.

    GB could turn his current situation around very easily.

    He shouldn't worry about the ramblings of someone who is bitter at not being the friend / wife / pet of the PM anymo. He doesn't need to worry about the embryology bill or the 42 day bill or the classification of cannabis. What he needs to do is to focus on reducing the food / fuel / tax bills and the poor pay rises that households are facing. Grip that and his popularity might soar.

    But I suspect he won't.

  • Comment number 44.

    This should be classic mid-term blues that the Government should recover from. The fundamentals are still sound. We do have full employment, we do have low interest rates and low inflation which are facts not spin. An enviable record which was delivered by this Prime Minister and something previous Conservative governments cannot match.
    Brown's colleagues need to repeat this message at every opportunity and "talk up" the PM as well. I suspect they wont. Labour will inflict defeat on itself. Governments lose elections - opposition parties do not win them.

  • Comment number 45.

    In those days, I thought only Mrs Thatcher could bring an end to socialism in Britain. Now I understand- it was important that "socialists" themselves should destroy socialism.

  • Comment number 46.

    People forget that GB was very successful - longest serving Chancellor, no recessions under his watch etc. He was never a warm character but that did not matter, as he was seen as a safe pair of hands .
    The competence mantle has slipped and now we have a PM who is not really liked (but never was) but is now seen as incompetent.
    This administration has the whiff of decay about it.
    I had thought that GB would come out with a raft of policies which the Tories would find hard to oppose. Perhaps they can do something like that in the coming months, but I doubt it. Is middle England really bothered about 42 days/cannabis classification/ etc?

  • Comment number 47.

    peteholly - Get a grip, son.

    Employment figures have been massaged over the decade by reclassifications and an army of civil servants who were not considered necessary 10 years ago. You go figure.

    CPI figure is a nonsense as a measure of real inflation. Inflation that individuals are suffering is 6/7%, needing a 10% payrise to keep pace after NuLab's cut. Most of us are getting 3%

    Interest rates higher than Eurozone or USA.

    GB happily took the credit for what he claimed was strong stewardship of the economy in the last decade when a child of 3 could have been Chancellor. He must therefore also carry the can now. Shame we don't have our gold reserves to fall back on really, isn't it?

  • Comment number 48.

    Has anyone lese noticed the lack of postings from Charles_E_Hardwidge

    If even HE'S deserted his 'blessed leader' then we know the game's finally up for NuLiebour!

  • Comment number 49.

    To badgercourage - good rebuttal but I think you can go further on employment and could reduce your tally to more like 1/2 out of 5, as to my mind long term sick is the NuLab Unemployment stat to look at.

  • Comment number 50.


    If you consider an inflation measure that does NOT include:-

    1) Housing costs


    2) Council tax


    3) Bread!!!

    (but does include DVD players) as being an accurate picture of what the general population are exposed to in terms of price movements then you, sir, have been duped.

  • Comment number 51.

    Interestingly, the Northern Rock Shareholder's Action Group has just written to the PM Gordon Brown, offering to buy the Labour Party for £100, suggesting that

    "Bearing in mind the current difficulties that are facing the party, a period of "Temporary private ownership" under a new management team may well give it the breathing space it needs to recover and protect the interests of all shareholders."

    Hmm, £100 seems a bit overpriced to me.....

  • Comment number 52.

    Why does the BBC give more prominence to the Frank Field outburst than other media outlets? Why does it get more prominence than the PM's care initiative on the BBC website? Field's dislike of Gordon Brown, and the reasons for it, are well documented. It would be for the good of the country if we moved on from this constant drip of trivial bile. This media firestorm is getting out of hand and the BBC's role in it is not what would be expected of an impartial broadcaster.

  • Comment number 53.


    Who on earth is Alan Johnson? Is there anyone alive who would want to be defended by him? Is there anyone scared by a personal attack from him?

    Perhaps the biggest vote of no confidence in Brown is the fact that anyone who is anyone has either attacked him or stayed silent. Meantime Wendy claims that she and Brown are best of buddies. Enough said.

    All the best.

  • Comment number 54.

    It should now be clear to Gordon Brown and the rest of the Labour Party that he is a failure and needs to go - it matters little what this next week of "bad news" will bring.

    The fact is, if Brown is still Prime Minister when the next general election comes, he will be ousted.

    So his party should do the decent thing and shoot this lame dog now, and then pray that two years is enough time to restore their credibility.

    Brown, give it up mate, you're rubbish!

  • Comment number 55.

    It seems to me that this furious bleating from various factions in the Labour party is just 'chaff', it is amazingly well synchronised - apparently with the intent of distracting the electorate from the very real and serious problems they have caused, such as 10p tax, lack of an elected PM, ID cards, unpopular foreign wars, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    If the PM has anything to say on these matters he should say it and the others should be quiet. On the other hand, perhaps he has nothing TO say ?

  • Comment number 56.

    Post 29 says "Is this what passes for democracy in England today?"



    You do realise that England does not currently exist officially as a 'political entity', don't you?

    The Tories effectively abolished England in the early 1990's when they chopped England up into several EU regions.

    This Englishman does not recall being asked if I minded.

    But then that would be par for the course.

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick you mention the glue that holds NuLabour together.

    Surely NuLabour glue consists of more than those members in the Westminster village. I live in one of NuLabour’s so called heartlands, a place they deserted to chase middle England’s voters in the south.

    Over a number of years, NuLabour in my area have lost heavily to the LibDem’s, so much so that they are in fact arranging with BT the use of local telephone kiosks in which to hold their ward meetings.

    In Scotland and Wales two other heartland areas we have also seen their slump at the polls.

    After last Thursday’s local elections we have seen NuLabour loosing its hold on the South. Looks like middle England’s voters are also scurrying away from the sinking ship.

    Another point to note is that the Labour party is virtually bankrupt. In recent years we have seen them sell Millbank, that infamous NuLabour bunker, and have had to reschedule their loans so frequently their bank must be dizzy.

    It is hard to see how NuLabour can regroup and achieve renewal with the loss of so many foot-soldiers. This is the real glue, or lack of it, that held that party together for so many years.

    The best that can be said of NuLabour is that their actions at Westminster are akin to arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's all very well to write off negative comments about Gordon Brown as coming from those who are not members of his fan club; but they are still important, by explaining WHY they are not fans of Gordon Brown.

    The closer one is to the centre of an organisation, the more the courage that is required to speak out publicly against the party line. This is particularly true while in Government, if ministers wish to keep their jobs.

    Gordon Brown is surrounded by acolytes from his treasury days who have been waiting in the wings for a long time. Now they're in power it's unlikely that we'll see a minister of the seniority and integrity of Geoffrey Howe resigning and bringing the Brown train to a halt.

    It is the backbenchers who must respond to the increasing public dissatisfaction with their unelected Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 59.

    I noticed someone mentioned that Labour have achieved "low inflation".

    Excuse me?

    Food prices are rocketing, fuel prices are rocketing, energy prices are rocketing and about to rocket even higher.

    However, consumer goods are dropping in price because retailers are desperately trying to sell.

    Unless some miracle happens, the economy is about to nosedive.

  • Comment number 60.

    Frank Field clearly wants to try amd bring Gordon Brown down over the budget debate in the next few weeks.If they lose the Crew by-election I think they could succeed.I think theres a very good chance we will see Gordon Browns resignation next month.He can see the writing on the wall as clearly as everyone else.If Alan Johnson wants Brown to stay as leader,hes in a dwindling number.

  • Comment number 61.

    ....Breaking News.....

    ....NewLab Politician Johnson has nothing to say on Policy !....

    Q- So what is the answer to the long term care issue ?

    - Big problem, blah blah blah
    - Very Important, blah blah blah

    So what are you going to do

    - No magic bullets (bleedin' obvious))
    -I'll have a review
    -I'll have a tame Lord on it, a tame Judge on it...and then we will see what they say

    But you said it was pressing and urgent so what are you actually going to do

    ...I'll have a review with a tame Lord on it etc etc
    ( repeat ad infinitum )

    So that will be bog all action after 11 years then ?

    No it is a NEW review committee, with a NEW tame Lord on it etc....

    NewLabour - New Review - Same Inactivity

  • Comment number 62.

    4# - I like you 11 years ago I voted NuLabour.

    At that time many people thought "New Labour - New Hope".

    Now most people feel "NuLabour - No Hope".

    4# - Certainly the arrogance was there in their second term of office. Its there, with spades, in this their third term of office.

    Yes 11 years of sleaze, corruption and incompetency.

    A few years prior to 1979 election a wise old sage from the Labour Party said to me if the Labour Party lost the next election then they would be out in the political wilderness for many years. They were, 18 years.

    If NuLabour are defeated at the next election the question is – will there be a Labour Party left.

    Well done Mr Teflon and Mr Bean.

  • Comment number 63.

    Rambunctious! Yes out of control like the rest of his mates. Remember familiarity breeds contempt.....Alan!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Can't see GB going without a fight. Also, how would it read with the British public to have not one but two unelected NuLab PMs? Gordon hasn't the humility to accept he's wazz poor and walk away. He'll need to be dragged out of No. 10 kicking, screaming and with with fingernails scrapping the front door. Should make entertaining viewing.

  • Comment number 65.

    Maybe it is all the excitement of the American Primaries but am I the only one that feels we need a General Election here... When an animal is severely injured and dying it is kinder to put it down and I think that applies to New Labour!

  • Comment number 66.

    Perhaps this whole mess has more to do with Tony Blair's crony-ism than GB's real person? I can't stand the guy's politics but the person-bashing is not fair. Labour has much deeper problems.

  • Comment number 67.

    It's payback time for those whom Gordon got at over the last 11 years. These memoirs (and Frank Field's comments) are important because they tell us - the outsiders - what sort of person we have had hoisted upon us as our prime minister. Yes, there are personal clashes and rivalries in politics, but it takes a special kind of person to build up so much ill will. And, as Charles Clarke pointed out in The Times a couple of weeks ago, Gordon is in no position to call for loyalty or for an end to off the record briefing.

  • Comment number 68.


    Just to add my own big amen to virtually all of the comments so far.

    I would like to point out, though, the essential dishonesty of this government from day one. A little commented on comment from Tony Blair way back when kinda set the scene, when he was reported as saying that "As many popular initiatives as possible should be assigned to him, personally, as possible.

    No-one then recognised the inherent superficiality and shallowness at the time, but it proved prophetic regarding the integrity of our new standard of politician.

    I do feel a bit sorry for Brown though, a classic case of "Be careful with what you pray for, it may come true" Sadly for him, ALL the chickens of the last 11 years have come to roost simultaneously. Mind you, a good few of the chickens were his, so I don't feel all that sorry.

    Is it possible that they have just, collectively, lost their minds?

    People were fed up with the Conservatives after 18 years, it is the same thing now. The Conservatives could put up pieces of fruit as candidates and they would get elected. That is how much we are fed up with the lying warmongering people who now run this country

  • Comment number 69.

    Can someone answer what happens if Brown does go? Do we get an election? Surely we can't have 2 coronations and no election allowing someone to bed in - as Gordon has had. Or do we get this lot for up to 2 more years?

  • Comment number 70.

    to be honest i would imagine mr Johnson would like to set aside the comments. but the truth is the public do want to hear the truth from politicians and quite frankly have a right to.
    well done frank field for speaking your mind and trying to knock some sense into a government that has no idea anymore.

  • Comment number 71.

    Frank Field is one of a tiny number of MP's who shows an iota of genuine independence.

    Field is probably very annoyed that he had a personal meeting with Gordon Brown and came away thinking that the 10% tax issue was being resolved ... only to find ... it isn't.

    I know that Gordon Brown has done this to constituents who have showed up at his surgery .. but they are 'little people' whom he can just ignore.

    MP's like Frank Field cannot be ignored.

  • Comment number 72.

    Labour MP's won't worry a jot about losing their jobs when they get out-voted at the next election. Most will probably write their memoirs, then go on to work for large companies with extra large pay-packets, and the rest will get into the House of Lords. Pay rise first though - 25% wasn't it?.....and what is the rate of inflation? Try telling that to the nurses, teachers etc.

  • Comment number 73.

    PS. By the way, I have a theory that being at the top in politics for a significant number of years, has the effect of sending these politicians slightly crazy.

    For example, in the dying days of Hillary Clinton's campaign, she goes flat-out for the 'white' vote, in rather racist terms.

    Totally insane as the Clintons had previously built up such good relations with the black community, whom they now seem to have largely alienated.

    Then we also have the very honourable John McCain, lying about his vote/non-vote for Bush (Huff Post).

    Now NuLab time-servers seem to be losing their marbles en masse.

    Politics long-term is possibly bad for your mental health.

  • Comment number 74.

    The self absorbtion of this lot is breath taking

    They are so obsessed with internal wrangles it's hardly a surprise they all missed the 10p tax blunder.

    Tomorrow there will be another story about Labour infighting and the next day there'll be another.

    You wouldn't leave them in charge of your pet dog while you went on holiday never mind the country.

    Policy-lite. Worn down by infighting. Media obsessed. Off message. Self regarding. Vote them out in Crewe and Nantwich.

  • Comment number 75.

    I couldnt agree more - Crewe and Nantwich please, please vote against NuLabour it wont get them out but it may get them to enact some sensible policies during the dying moments of government.

    If thats at all possible.

    Unfortunately the next time I can give NuLabour a kicking is a year away - at the European elections.

  • Comment number 76.

    Over more than a decade, Gordon Brown has squirrelled away behind Tony Blair, taxing us to the hilt and, despite being the most powerful labour Chancellor in history, singularly failing to control public expenditure.

    Even worse, Brown has helped Public Sector unions stifle Blair's reforms and in the case of the Medical Profession, allowed the Doctor's to run rings round Health Ministers.

    Evidence the ridiculously extravagant GP's contract.

    Now, coinciding with Brown becoming PM, the Pips, are truly Squeaking ( to recall a famous phrase ).

    It's no surprise he's unpopular. The public has finally seen through the facade of Prudence.

    Or perhaps I should say Farce ?

    To make matters worse, Wendy Alexander elevates the Scottish Question last week and this week Brown himself brings up the subject of Care for the Elderly.

    This, of course, is a red rag to the English who subsidise the Scottish economy via the Barnett Formula to help pay for free long term care and more extravagant health expenditure in Scotland.

    It's will become very clear over the next week that the English do not want an MP for a Scottish Constituency telling us we have to put up with worse public services than his own constituents enjoy, especially if that MP is Gordon Brown.

    I have a lot of respect for Frank Field.

    I cannot see how Brown can survive as PM to the end of this parliament.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm not surprised by all this infighting - Labour are to a greater extent self destructive - they were always set to implode. They are the natural party of opposition.
    As for Ed Balls coming out against Frank Field - well - Mr Field has forgotten more about socialism than Mr Balls will ever know. Mr Balls will never be an asset to a Labour government and is probably the instigator of the 10p tax idea. He probably thought that we were too stupid to work out what it would mean - he is too arrogant for his own good.
    Mr Field on the other hand will not be fazed by the criticism. He will probably treat it as a compliment - his comments have obviously hit home.

  • Comment number 78.

    # Post 11 was implying inter alia that it would be counter productive for the Government heavies to seek to discredit Frank Field. A statement of the bleeding obvious, I thought, even as a layman to the dark arts of political skullduggery and spin.

    So what do the do ? Attack the motives of Frank Field - - using Ed Balls !!

    Who need enemies - -

  • Comment number 79.

    @52 Rander10 wrote:
    "This media firestorm is getting out of hand and the BBC's role in it is not what would be expected of an impartial broadcaster."

    Impartial broadcaster? The BBC? Since the 1960's the beloved beeb has been virtually the unofficial propaganda arm of the Labour Party and other assorted lefties.

    What you're really complaining about is that some people in the BBC have finally opened their eyes.

  • Comment number 80.

    Note to moderators: I have just read the email telling me my posting earlier had been removed. I am baffled. Could you tell me why. And please don't just say it broke house rules, or point me in the direction of the house rules. Please tell me specifically exactly where I went wrong. You allowed it once, then suddenly it's offensive? PP

  • Comment number 81.

    Glad to see Ed Balls coming out for Brown. The message needs re-inforcing time and time again that Brown is the man who delivered economic stability and has values that will look after the hard working majority. Cameron is the master at re-inforcing his message - the dithering jibe has been said so often now it is practically accepted.
    If the Cabinet don't fight for Brown they are lost. If Cameron actually is a "One-Nation" Tory these guys could be in opposition for a generation not just one term.
    Straw, Harman, Hutton, Kelly etc... it's your turn.

  • Comment number 82.

    The older I get, the more I realise just how incompetent those at the top really are.

    With tax disasters, food prices sky-rocketing yet inflation is so low, people being murdered everyday, yet crime is down, fuel prices at a record high. What next?

    We worry about institutionalised racism, what about institutionalised stupidity? Everyday, local govt, health and quangos waste billions keeping the bar so low.

    Someone please wake up and start the change...

  • Comment number 83.

    To Peteholly;

    If you need further evidence of Brown's economic incompetence, how about PFI? The greatest off balance sheet con trick the government has ever known. Put it back on balance sheet and guess what - debt/gdp spirals well above 40%...

    Oh, and whatever happened to the golden goalpost? Haven't heard the blessed leader wax on about that one lately - could it be that the budget deficit has breached the 3%/GDP limit per chance? Shurely shome mishtake...

  • Comment number 84.

    As a labour party member for 20+ years I can't say I'm unbiased. But, I admit I would be reluctant to vote Labour at the next General Election. This Government's now officially "detached" - from not just the electorate, but also its core supporters.

    All the spin and sound bites on the planet can't rescue them. But it can pull its irons out of the fire if it gets a sudden attack of "core values". I could come up with a list of populist "vote grabbers" - some of which would cost nothing at all. But, I suspect that there isn't the inclination to listen anymore.

    What the Government ought to be doing now is imagine it is in opposition and thinking "we should have done that..."

    This is nothing but a re-run of the end of the Major Government. and just like Major, Brown doesn't seem to have cottoned on yet.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just for Chrisbowie:

    Commentary from Alan Greenspan ex Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and about as far removed from "NuLabour" as you can get:

    "Gordon Brown is without peer among the world's economic policy makers" (Washington Post - Feb 2nd 2006)

    I wouldn't normally respond but I have a feeling you come from the Sir Alec Douglas-Home school of economic competence.

  • Comment number 86.

    peteholly @85, If Greenspan was so perceptive funny that he didn't see the credit crunch coming....

  • Comment number 87.

    I just have a horrible feeling that Frank Field may be right.

    If Gordon can't turn this around it will be two terms of Tory rule, and I don't want to be around to see it.
    Hopefully Scotland will opt to go solo in Wendy "come-try-your-luck-if-you-think-you're-hard-enough" Alexander's referendum, and then I can trade my UK Passport for a Scottish one and be happy in the land of the left wing, even if it is a bit cold :)

  • Comment number 88.

    Bad news? I'd have thought the country should be singing in the streets at the sight of this hopelessly divided party finally tearing itself apart at the seams.

    Comrade Blair had the charisma to keep everybody on message, Comrade Brown doesn't even have that.

    A useless Chancellor, a useless Prime Minister, lets all count down the days until he is gone.

    I wish we had fixed terms for prime ministers, that way I could start planning the party in advance.

  • Comment number 89.

    #85, "Gordon Brown is without peer among the world's economic policy makers" (Washington Post - Feb 2nd 2006)

    That's like saying Bernard Matthews is without peer among the world's turkey preservation activists.

  • Comment number 90.

    #71 I wrote some time ago that Frank Field was the Tories favourite MP not because they agree with him which they dont but what a weapon he is to use against Labour,most writers here had never heard of Frank Field until a few weeks ago now he's so popular with the Tories that if he crossed the house Cameron would be in danger of losing his job.
    Your right that he is one of the few genuinely independant MPs its a pity that some of the few were not sitting on the tory benches.
    It would be interesting to know how you acheived such great lnowledge of the way that GB treats his constituents.

  • Comment number 91.

    #88 Counting chickens before their hatched springs to mind.

  • Comment number 92.

    Surely the Scots won't now be daft enough to vote for independence. They'd get Gordon Brown and Alastiar Darling back!

    I cannot understand your posting – they have already got them.

    Mr Bean is currently the leader of the Scottish Labour Party and Darling is also a member. That is why, what is happening north of our borders, shows that Mr Broon has lost control of the Labour party not only in England and Wales but even in his own back yard. Looks like the West Lothian anomaly will be solved by the Scottish people, in one way or another.

    For the first time in my life, after their recent meltdown in England, Scotland and Wales, I have seen NuLabour pushed into third place in so many parts of the UK.

    We have seen Mr Bean performance as leader, rather than lead by policy he has so often been led by events. If this is leadership then the UK is doomed.

    In a previous posting I stated that the next time I can give NuLabour a kicking is next year at the European elections. Ironic really, after reneging on the promise in their manifesto, I will be using that opportunity to vote on the Lisbon treaty. May I suggest other like minded people do the same? I will be voting against NuLabour.

  • Comment number 93.

    #68 whilst most of the comments you make I would take issue with but you being a Tory or are you another of these people who think that by claiming that they were once labour hope to convey a more powerful message, you of course are entitled to your opinion and I respect that.
    I am afraid that it was your last remark that made me see red. I was one of the millions of people in this country who were in favour of going into Iraq I was not altogether sold on the WMDs although we knew that he had had them, the proof being that he had used them on his own people and the Iranians, but it was worth it going in to remove saddam hussein and his murderess family, i am quite aware that equally there were millions that didn't want to go to war and although I respect their views they have never respected mine, of course after things didn't work out as expected many of those originally in favour changed their mind. a little like smokers and drinkers who give up and then become the most vociferous against these vices, but your remark that we are now fed up with the lying warmongering people that now run this country, is if I may say so a little disingenuous considering that there were far more members of the labour party that opposed the war than there were Tories and at the time the tories were far more Gung Ho about going to war than the Labour party, but once again when things didn't go as planned the Tories Typicaly proclaimed "Nothing to do with me mate"

  • Comment number 94.

    People are missing the point here. There isn't really a tory revival. Their share of the vote in quantity as opposed to percentage has remained largely static. What's actually happening is the Labour vote is disappearing to either smaller parties (Plaid, SNP, BNP, Green etc), or it's staying in bed.

    I don’t know about people missing the point, I reckon you have lost the plot.

    Councillors Councils
    CON +256 +12
    LAB -331 -9
    LD +34 +1
    PC +33 -1
    Others +5 0

    If I remember correctly NuLabours share of the national vote is down to 24%.

    NuLabours worst elections for 40 years, to dress it up otherwise suggests that you may be a party active member, doing what comes naturally.

    By the way I was around at both the 1979 and 1997 elections. In the former people voted Tory to kick Labour out and in the later people voted NuLabour to kick the Tories out. It looks like history will be repeated in 2010. People will be voting to get rid of NuLabour not voting for the Tories, which will happen as a consequence. Sad times for democracy.

  • Comment number 95.


    Please feel free to see red but I would very much like you to point out precisely where I said that I was once a labour supporter?

    Now, you said that you weren't entirely sold on the wmd's but you supported the idea of "going into Iraq" to remove Saddam Hussein and his "murderess" (sic) family.


    Why is it our business to depose despots and tyrants throughout the world?
    Why Iraq? Why not ALL of the unpleasant regimes on the planet?

    Also, do you seriously believe that if Messrs Blair and co announced that they would send our troops in to kill and die in order to remove a hideous regime, that the country would have supported them?
    This isn't 1914 you know. We don't march off to war jingoistically any more. We demand reasons before we send our children off to a fight.

    Our beloved leaders knew this fine well, that is why they manufactured the whole wmd scenario in order to justify the war which they all fancied having. A child of six could work out that Iraq possessed no wmd's.

    Please don't count the gas they used against Iran and their own people as "proof", for heaven's sake. It was the gas that WE sold them in the first place. What did you think he would do with it?

    When our leaders talked about wmd's they were talking about nuclear capability, not mustard gas. ANY country with a chemical lab can make mustard gas, even Chad has mustard gas.

    For the record I am neither Labour nor Tory, I am merely a commentator. I called them lying warmongers because they lied in order to enlist the support of the citizens of Britain. They knew they were lying and so should you.

  • Comment number 96.


    I for one hope that GB is moved to resign (yup fat hope he will do the honourable thing ..) by the politcal infighting, as I along with the nation, did not vote for this man to lead my country - so anything that accelerates his removal from office is good.

  • Comment number 97.

    This is not the first time this has happened . I have just written a rather long and detailed letter to post 93 it took me a rather long time to write and research it, not wanting to make any errors, when I had finished and was checking over for any mistakes it went of the screen and I have been unable to bring it back, as you can imagine this is infuriating and it isnt the first time it's happened. To the BBC have any explanation for this, or is it moderation before posting? has anybody else had this experience.

  • Comment number 98.

    Bad news for Gordon. Hundreds of thousands dead and dying in China and Burma and people are getting hysterical at the technicalities of a tax rate and Gordon being of generally grumpy disposition. Something is badly wrong. Under the Tories, livelihoods were wiped out in whole regions and for school leavers and graduates the future meant the dole.

    It's simple, if Gordon can resurrect the economy and we're all in work and still in our houses in two years, he'll recover in the polls. If it goes properly pair-shaped, a la Tories in '81 and '94, he'll bomb at the next election and deserve it. But one way or another we'll find the real Gordon and I suspect he's not the bumbling idiot currently being abused by one and all. Throw in a wild card - Boris in London and the Tories may soon have troubles of their own.

  • Comment number 99.

    #95 this is the second time that I have tried to answer the questions that you direct at me the first being wiped out even before posting,the first point being where preciseley did I say that you had said that you were or had been a labour supporter.
    you ask the question Why well apart from all the intelligence that was pointing to saddam husein having WMDs the man had been served with twelve resolutions requesting that he behave himself to put in loose terms, he choose to ignore those resolutions and went on to create two wars which resulted in the deaths of over two million people and had indeed used WMDs in one of these conflicts you seem to be of the rather strange opinion that the use of gas whether it be nerve gas, mustard gas or the chemical gas that he created to test on his own people killing thousands of people is not a weapon of mass destruction how you arrive at that conclusion is I am afraid beyond me, if thousands of people get killed in a nuclear explosion that in your estimation a WMD on the other hand if the same amount of people are killed by the use of Gas That is not a weapon of mass destruction, I should have thought that if any weapon is used that kills thousands of people in one attempt then that surely is a weapon of mass distruction.You are quite right the west to their discredit did supply him with these weapon,I think, although of course you cant be sure that the idea of him having these weapons was more for a deterrent against Iran than for him to use them, although use them he did. We have a similar policy today with the nuclear program nobody wants to use it but while some nations know that we can they tend to behave themselves, If as you say a child of six could have worked that saddam had no WMDs why were Hans Blixand his cohorts traipsing around Iraq looking for them and why did all those Tories far more Gung Ho! than labour vote to go to war, because Tony Blair told them to and yet a six year old child could have put them all right. Incidenally there were more Labour MPs voted against the war than there were Tories by a long way.You go on to say in order to create a little emotion to further your point that we send our children of to fight the war, nobody sends children in this country to war the men and women who go to war in this country are fine young men and women who choose to make the services their career and what a damn fine job they have made of it, they wouldn't thank you for calling them children.As for your political persuasion I have little interest,but your final point about lying you obviously dont believe MI5/6 you dont believe the two independent inquiries or the three select committee inquiries, so there's little more to be said to change your intransigence I'm afraid as jack straw once said to Jeremy Corbeni if the angel Gabriel came down and told you you still wouldn't believe him.

  • Comment number 100.


    My dear grandantidote..

    In your first post you stated, and I quote
    "Whilst most of your comments I would take issue with but you being a tory or are you another one of those people who think that by claiming they were once labour hope to convey a more powerful message"

    Does that answer your first point about precisely where you said that I had been, or was, a labour supporter?

    You are clearly not aware that the so called "intelligence" was not at all clear. It was changed by our dear leaders to convey a totally different message from what was intended.

    To say that Saddam went on to create two wars is naive to the point of simplicity. The war with Iran was done on OUR bidding. We supplied and supported him in that respect. He was doing OUR bidding because it was perceived that Iran was a dangerous threat to stability in the Middle East and he was, basically, our own trained attack dog.

    To now traduce him for doing our bidding is rich, to say the least.

    With regard to the gas, do you truly believe that when we supplied him with it, that we wanted him to use it as a deterrent? A deterrent is what you have to prevent people from attacking YOU. Not the other way round, if you recall HE invaded Iran. He was our second military wing in the Middle East. The first was, and still is, Israel.

    Hans Blix and his team, if you recall, were strongly of the opinion that he had NO weapons of mass destruction. They pleaded for more time to demonstrate this fact, sadly on deaf ears.

    By the way, please do not continually make this a labour/Tory thing. The Tories acted shamefully as well.

    Regarding my use of the term "children" do try to understand that, to a parent, their offspring are always their children. They may grow up and become men and women, but they are still the children of their parents. It is not a difficult concept to grasp.

    Lastly I support the troops far more than people such as yourself. I would have them home with their loved ones today, whereas you would likely have them still there, fighting an unwinnable war. And understand this, this war IS unwinnable.

    It is unwinnable because there is no definition of victory. Do not think for a minute that Iraq will turn into some kind of parliamentary democracy. Iraq consists of three distinct and separate tribal groups who all hate each other like poison.

    The ONLY thing which unites them is their hatred of foreign troops on their soil. They will unite until those troops have gone, and then they will continue to fight amongst themselves until a strong leader arrives to take charge. He will do this by spreading fear and terror in the country and rule by force of arms alone.

    In short, Iraq will continue to be at war until they get a NEW Saddam Hussein. T that point we will be right back where we began.



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