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Fickle business

Nick Robinson | 19:07 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008

It's a fickle business politics.

David CairnsThe man who resigned his ministerial job tonight to call for a leadership election declared on television just a few weeks ago that Gordon Brown was the right man to see us through. That, though, was before Labour lost the Glasgow East by-election which David Cairns had campaigned in day after day.

Mr Cairns insists that he's not part of a plot and had resigned with a heavy heart. The signs are that's the truth. Faced by a hardening of opinion in the cabinet that now is not the time for a leadership contest a growing number of more junior figures are going public with their belief that that debate cannot and should not be avoided.

Everyone involved in this is asking the same question? Where will it end? Everyone has the same answer - I don't know. This is not a battle between two camps with fixed views. People from the cabinet down are - like Mr Cairns - changing their view day by day.

Oddly, the one thing that may give the prime minister hope tonight is the severity of the economic news. Is this - his friends will ask - really the time to create even more instability and uncertainty?

BBC One's Question Time (July 3rd): "GB is the man to see us through these difficult economic circumstances...I am absolutely convinced that GB is the right man to see us through."


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    You forgot the bit about after you'd read your Daily Mail!

  • Comment number 3.


    You quote:-

    BBC One's Question Time (July 3rd): "GB is the man to see us through these difficult economic circumstances...I am absolutely convinced that GB is the right man to see us through."

    Do you really beleive that he beleived this when he said it?

    Do you beleive others who make similar pronouncements?

    It is beyond reasonable doubt that Gordon is the major part of the problem (and has been for a decade). Any one who says they believe different is almost certainly lying.

    If you don't remove a failure when he is in full blown failure mode, then when do you remove him?

    Uncertainty is better than the certain failure we currently face.

    Brown has stolen our pensions, spent our savings, taxed the nuts off us and mortgaged our future.

    He has managed, overseen and nurtured an unsustainable bubble that is now bursting.

    The only reason to keep him in place is the desire to see the egg on his face as he finally gets his come uppance - however such childish desires must take a back seat to the immediate and urgent requirement for an able leader for the country -- Gordon must go and he must go NOW. It is time for a General Election.

  • Comment number 4.

    No, Jasper likes the Telegraph. He's a bit of a wild card, isn't he? We all think he is, anyway!

  • Comment number 5.

    Ideological chanting, #3

    Feel a bit better now, do we?

  • Comment number 6.

    I thought your segment on the Today Prog this morning was particularly wise. Your pointing out that this could drag on, and that 'events, dear boy, events' are more important than the predictable cycles. I do think that the Labour Party conference will be key, in that it will be an opportunity for GB to look like a leader (or not). Either way, I personally find the current situation rather unpleasant, and yearn for the time when we can have a leader getting on with the job. I know the party line is that he is 'getting on with the job', but do we believe that?

  • Comment number 7.


    very good... but eleven years into Gordon Brown's premiership and only Harriet Harman has yet to call for a leadership challenge. After being caught mumbling 'what time is it?' during one of Gordon's speeches several years ago she is now his last remaining supporter.

    Harriet is this morning relaunching the equality initiative: 'Every child a child' - All new born children, regardless of class, will be given an Oxbridge starter pack. Children born in poorer areas will be swapped with children born to wealthier parents. Preferred names will be allocated to those born from underprivileged parents - this years 'choices' for parents are Algernon for boys and Eugenie for girls. Those children born to richer families who are redistributed to poorer families; the boys will be named Salford and the girls Camden-Town.

  • Comment number 8.

    You ask, where will it end? hopefully and with fingers crossed it will end with Gordon Lagaloft Brown drawing his gold plated PM's pension asap!

  • Comment number 9.

    No 1: cChange your name to Winston Smith and the pastiche would be complete.

    Speaking generally, it is apparent there are a lot at the Labour end of the political class who are anxious about their future. They have every right to be.

    They are not happy with the way the government is performing and cannot grasp how the economic miracle of Mr.Broon has turned into the Broon Terror.

    So we have a debate going on not about a change in leadership but the right to talk about a change in the leadership. The reason being that only an idiot would want the PM's job at the moment.

    This is political refinement and navel gazing of the highest level whilst the country sinks rapidly into the slurry of global economic meltdown.

    We don't need a new Labour leader. We need a new government: a government prepared to take the City on, prosecute the crooks and tax the rest until they are as poor as the rest of us.

  • Comment number 10.

    This so called government is dire, it gets worse by the day.

    Labour politicians keep on spinning "it's the economy". It is up to a point but more importantly it is the incompetence of the government as a whole, the political correctness and the failure to deal with the much more long term and pressing problems that beset the nation.

    These concerns are obvious to everyone, including the government but they lack the will or political courage to deal with these great issues. This is what makes the population so angry, not Gordon Brown per se. He is just the lightning conductor, poor man.

    It just has to be faced, this present administration is not up to the job and to coin a phrase "not fit for purpose"!

  • Comment number 11.


    It is interesting that you seem to have attracted a batch of Brown supporting trolls (or just one being busy maybe).

    No content, no defence, no argument - just digs at those making points - presumably in the hope of diverting discussion in to personal abuse, rather than keeping focus on the real problem:-

    Brown and Labours dismal decade of failure.

    While most of the country look forward to the anihalation of the Labour party and brain-dead socialism -- the real issue now is how will the Conservative super-majority be kept in check.

    Blair was too scared to do anything worth while with his massive marjority and good will - and squandered it for nought. Brown did the same (but much, much faster).

    There is a real risk that the new conservative government may go too far the other way... Labour will be history, which leaves the useless LibDems "we dont know what we want, but we'll use taxes to make you do it" (but don't expect any referendums - whatever we promised earlier).

  • Comment number 12.

    Meanwhile in Downing Street cabinet members are being reminded of their lines for any interviews they may take part in today.

    All together now "Gordon Brown is the best man to get us through these difficult times"

  • Comment number 13.

    # 10

    What's your big problem with political correctness?

    You missing the right to call a spade a spade, that sort of thing?

  • Comment number 14.

    Trying to blame Gordon Brown's present situation on The Daily Mail and The Telegraph smacks of extreme desperation and just a hint of condescension! It's all his own doing.

  • Comment number 15.

    re 14:
    As far as The UK is concerned that is!

  • Comment number 16.

    # 9

    Right you are.

    Amazing how we're going into an economic slump which has been precision engineered on Wall Street and in the City, and yet people prefer to worry their little cotton socks about "political correctness" and "government waste".

    This disappointing level of intelligence is why large numbers of people still vote Conservative.

  • Comment number 17.

    Gordon Brown is like a cat up a tree with a pack of baying hounds round the base of the trunk. He will either starve (politically) or be torn to shreds? Which it is to be we can only wait and see.

  • Comment number 18.

    # 11

    Look at your quote.

    "It is beyond reasonable doubt that Gordon is the major part of the problem (and has been for a decade). Any one who says they believe different is almost certainly lying"

    Now ask yourself. Are you happy with that? That's like the drunk down the pub with his chin and his finger sticking out, isn't it?

    Brown has caused the Credit Crunch then, has he? Nothing to do with the bankers, I guess, by the sound of it. Thanks for the enlightenmment. We're honoured.

  • Comment number 19.

    The main aim of removing political correctness appears to be to let people call coloured people rude words

  • Comment number 20.

    This political infighting must come to an immediate end. We are now hearing that Lloyds TSB is to merge with Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS).

    Unemployment is up to 1.72 million with millions no longer economically active. AIG has effectively been nationalised in America.

    Hedge funds are able to to make millions and reward the dealers with huge bonuses. Directors close firms and leave with their huge bonuses and salaries all banked so they can live the life of luxury.

    In the meantime many workers are either losing their jobs whilst others are having to take wage cuts or having increases below the rate of inflation.

    In the meantime we are leaderless. Gordon Brown must make a statement now, not wait until the party conference, I want to see and hear the Prime Minister. He can no longer sit in the shadows, like he did in so many cases when Blair was in trouble.

    This is not good enough, fear is stalking the land and we need our Prime Minister to be just that, our Prime Minister. Forget the infighting, this is even more serious than I thought, this could end up even worse than the Great Depression, it could end up being the Greatest Depression the world has ever seen.

    It is time for the Prime Minister to prove to us that he can be what we really need, a leader. This is not the time for an election, it is a time for unity, the conservatives must put politics to one side and form a government of national unity. We are all in the mire and the only way out is to face this with unity. A government of national unity.

  • Comment number 21.

    # 12

    That's called loyalty and pulling together in a difficult time.

    A good thing, no?

  • Comment number 22.

    Hopefully it will end with Brown and his awful party and government consigned (hopefully forever ) to the dustbin of history. In my seventy years on the planet, their has not been a Labour regime which has not torn this country apart in the name of socialism. Every Labour government since Attlees's has reduced the status of this country and plunged it's finances deep into the red. The sooner he goes, the sooner someone can attempt to rectify the damage ten years of Labour incompetence has done. This was supposed to be the party that represents the workers, all it represents is the workshy, the unions and the new political elite masquerading as socialist politicians ; chiefly made up of second rate school teachers, lawyers, social workers and ex councillors who would never have had a viable career outside politics

  • Comment number 23.

    I can only hope that it will all end in a snap General Election. I can see no way that even with a leadership challenge thet GB will be toppled. Polititians are generally cowards protecting their backs at all times.

    GB has been responsible over the years for the dire state we as a nation currently find ourselves. Yes, outside forces are against us but with his systematic theft from pension funds, exorbitant taxation to squander on dire public services and then his attack and theft from the poorest in our society he has been wholly responsible for the total lack of faith in our ability to go forward. He has spent all the ammunition. The cupboard is bare. By allowing the BoE to control our monetary policy is astonishing as it is the inefficiency of bankers throughout the world that has brought the commercial world to a standstill.

  • Comment number 24.

    #14 Waldorf,

    Who's doing that? Nobody here.

    Just deducing that the clown at #1 who's churning out the turgid Orwell rip off probably reads one of those particular organs.

    Is that such a terrible suggestion?

  • Comment number 25.

    Interesting view that the current crisis could save GB. I agree that it could be argued to party members that removing the leader during a very difficult time could cause further problems for the country. Important: remember to refer to the country not the party.

    The question is: can the country be convinced to keep the same leader in an election?

    Think about this - we have heard about the politics of fear, when a leader has used war to scare people into voting for them i.e. can you trust someone with no experience to lead you.

    Surely the leader can use the same approach i.e. can you trust someone with no experience to lead you through these difficult economic times.

    Admittedly, this didn't happen in 1979 but maybe no-one thought of using that line.

  • Comment number 26.

    Governments lose by-elections; there is no saying what sort of conference Brown will have till he has it, although there is no reason why he should have a bad one. So far so good (if that's the phrase).

    Where Brown looks weak is in neglecting the reshuffle that seemed so logical a few weeks back. So, he either does it now a bit late, possibly giving a hard centre to a coherent faction against him, or he lets the dissenters sort themselves out, which is what seems to be happening, with no coherence among them but none among his loyalists either, until one day it all comes down to force of numbers. So perhaps this is why 'nobody knows'. They're all as stuck as he is.

    Gosh, Cameron's quiet isn't he?

  • Comment number 27.

    Gordon Brown is not responsible for The World Credit crunch. He is however responsible for running a budget deficit for years which prevents him from now taking action to relieve The Electorate from at least some of the extra burden imposed by the present crisis. As for loyalty of course you would expect the Cabinet members to stand behind Gordon Brown. You could call it unity. Thinking cynically I would rather call it trying to save your own skin. I suspect that anybody who came out against him now could very quickly kiss goodbye to a well remunerated job to say nothing of their careers. We'll see how the unity card pans out over the next few months should things go from bad to worse.

  • Comment number 28.

    # 22

    This is meant to be a forum for debate not for just spewing out ignorant and ill informed "views".

    Any chance of an apology?

  • Comment number 29.

    TAG bar the last paragraph, because I dont think there's anyone left in Labour able to offer anything constructive to running the country, I agree totally with your statement.

    Can you go back to spouting off about how bad afghanistan is so I can get back to disagreeing with you ;)

  • Comment number 30.


    Word mean little without actions, the only actions we have seen are token jestures which when examined have huge holes in and look to have been thrown together in 5min.

    Take the Energy help which was announced last week. The energy companies have said they will pass the costs on to the consumer and Gordon Brown can't do anything about it.

    The short term fix for the 10p tax fiasco, here is the £120 we took off you in the first place and by the way the tax codes of everyone won't include these extra £600 freepay bands from next april but thats a problem in the future which will give Mr Brown more time at the helm.

  • Comment number 31.

    Think this is the time to except proper leadership from a leader and question his capabilities, as in bad times we need some one who can lead us out of it.

    The question is whether people of this country are happy with Brown's leadership and as a democratic party whether Labour reflect this and accept this.

    We need loyalty to this country not to one person, power or pay cheque.

  • Comment number 32.

    I always thought the job of a leader was to lead.All Brown does in times of crisis is keep his head down and hide...and his entire Premiership has been one long time of crisis.People are losing their jobs,being hammered by constant price rises,Brown should be reassuring people,be seen to be doing his best to do something about it,leading from the front.What we've got is someone who seems almost phobic about the media,is more concerned about who gets the blame for the current situation rather than doing anything about it and basically appears to be invisible and generally useless when this country needs a strong hand at the tiller.Like his self-proclaimed financial genius his self-proclaimed strength and leadership skills have been proved to be a myth."Safe pairs of hands" don't tend to have severely bitten fingernails,Brown is a disaster area,he's finished but in denial about that as much as anything else.Labour are a disgrace,with all that's going on right now they shouldn't have time for their internal bitch-fight.

  • Comment number 33.


    I see the BBC are heavily reporting a rumour regarding lloyds and HBOS.

    It wasn't so long ago that the government and FSA were attacking the reporting of rumours which have market consequences.

    I assume the source of this rumour and those associated with its circulation will be tracked down and suitable punished?

    Or (as the rumour has worked in the governments favour), will the source be protected?

  • Comment number 34.

    #21 sagamix good morning

    How many of the commentators who publicly praise Gordon Brown and proclaim he "is the best man to lead us through these difficult times" or similar utterances, do you honestly think are being sincere?

    I am convinced, because this is the nature of politics, that many of his "supporters" are disingenuous in their apparent loyalty.

    You are quite correct in your assertion that pulling together and loyalty are what is required now. However, you omitted leadership, which presently isn't that obvious in my honest opinion. The Labour Party is riven and the man himself must know he is deeply unpopular both within and outside his party.

    Global circumstances are beyond the control of Gordon Brown, but he should have been able to mitigate the effects on the country. I don't believe he has done this.

    At certain points in the parliamentary cycle, it becomes obvious the damage is done, confidence is lost and change is crucial. We have reached that point now.

  • Comment number 35.

    The FSA which was set upi with Gordon Brown was Chancellor must ac now. Dealings in HBoS must be suspended, this is such a false market that nobody benefits. So, if anybody in this godforsaken government is reading this then do something, share dealing in HBoS must be suspended. Message timed at 10:22. Do something you idiots before it implodes completely.

  • Comment number 36.

    # 23

    "exorbitant taxation"
    says who ... says Willie!

    "dire public services"
    says who? ... says Willie!

    "spent all our ammunition"
    "cupboard is bare"
    (insert further meaningless phrases at random)

    Thanks for the contribution. We're honoured.

  • Comment number 37.

    *16 My disappointing level of of intelligence comes from years of labour politcal correctness.

  • Comment number 38.

    "Oddly, the one thing that may give the prime minister hope tonight is the severity of the economic news. Is this - his friends will ask - really the time to create even more instability and uncertainty?"

    There's many who think that part of the current UK instability and uncertainty is due to Gordon Brown remaining in office and that by going *now* he'd actually be doing the country a favour by allowing a new PM to start afresh in dealing with the many problems the UK faces.

    The man is ineffectual, 'economic with the truth'; witness the reality of the energy/fuel measures as opposed to GB's public pronouncments and he simply is no longer credible. He is a weak and ineffectual leader doing harm to the UK every day he remains in office.

  • Comment number 39.

    Brown has become a cult hate-figure symbolic of the failings of nuLabour, he has nowhere to go except resign. Not only is his career finished but his continuation as leader guarantees a wipe out of the Labour Party at the next general election and possibly into a financial crisis for years to come..

    Spin as they may, and journalists occasionally forget that Brown had exclusive and unchallenged control over all the UK domestic policies for 11 years. The public knew before the housing problem that the country was in a crisis condition. The money had gone and nothing eve promised had been delivered except higher taxation and devious methods of improving declining government revenues.

    The key issue is not Brown's policy, but of money, how to fund a leadership contest and then fund a general election. Will the unions reluctantly cough up for a leap to the left or will new private sponsors be found despite the sleeze image problem ?

    The militant public sector unions are upset at present with Brown, it is they that are the only source of big money. Police enquiries into some issues of funding both to and within the Labour Party continue, enough of that, for another private donation of significance.

    So where can Brown go ? The newly switched on electorate, deeply in debt and worried for the future, will not lie down until there is a change of government. Brown and his loyal cronies, his enemy of the Blair era, continue to insult the public by spinning Brown is in difficulty caused by nothing except the USA housing crisis and world downturn. That is bunkum and our good journalists should bury that one for ever.

    The media have sussed him, the electorate dislike and distrust him, the unions are 'still out' and divided and the parliamentary party are fightened to lose their jobs.

    The longer Brown stays brings a deeper crisis for the future of the Labour Party, that just may be enough for the unions to get off the pot and oust him. He is a loser and too thick to even understand his own situation.

  • Comment number 40.

    Memo to NuLab MPs:
    1)Sack PM Gordon Brown today
    2)Sack unelected Brown today
    3)Sack unrepresentative (south of border) Brown today
    4)Sack OAP Pension reducing Brown today
    5)Sack record stealth Tax raising Brown today
    6)Sack EU Referendum reneging Brown today
    7)Sack Annual Car/Vehicle/Fuel Tax raising Brown today

  • Comment number 41.

    It's now the year hyacinth. The Uk has stopped using numbers to denote years after Gordon Brown's government of national emergency had been in power for so long nobody could remember the date anymore.

    The social justice program was to be given an extra lift this year with high court judges and office cleaners on a job exchange. The 'Barclays five' were in court number one on a charge of 'making money by investing' and were all expected to get life sentences.

    Lord Blair had waved through the legislation for the new social justice act by satellite form his new holiday home on the new Palm development in Gaza. Peace had finally returned to the middle east after 100,000 Palestinians were offered repatriation to the Tyne and Wier/Northern Rock economic development zone. He had a house on the Palm next door to Lord and Lady Beckham of Dagenham. Lady Beckham had retired a year earlier after the phenomenal success of her DVB body armour range - a sell out to the British troops in the region whose equipment was now over twenty years old.

    Lord Bliar now owned some twenty private houses in the south of England, plus the gaza property as well as a ten bedroomed villa in the new British province of Tuscanybee in Italy - sold to the British in 2015 by Lord Berlusconi of Bandana.

    Lord Blunkett of Labrador was on the radio intoning about the needs of the poor for more co-mingling with the rich. He had had a busy year issuing passports on the new 'nannies for the workshy' scheme introduced by Lady Kelly of Lourdes the year before.

    In the distance the buzz of the newsdrone could be heard carrying today's latest initiative from this government of all those yet to show talent. Today it read; 'Eatmore, spend less, tell us how - another Brown success' - nobody could really understand it but they knew it made sense because it had come straight from Gordon's wise lips the day before. So everybody nodded as the drone sped past and carried on with their business.

  • Comment number 42.

    Robin at #7

    Not such a dreadful idea, that.

  • Comment number 43.

    I agree with TAG that now is not the time for political games. The government needs to do what they can to help the country.

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    At the end of the day surely this is Brown being hoist on his own petard?

    He spent the last twelve months of Blair's residence at number 10 almost openly fomenting discontent and now it's come back to bite him in his rear end.

    The sad fact is that he's made Blair look like a political giant by comparison.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

    Fickle indeed, perhaps he should go back to the priesthood and get some order back in his life.Cairns is fickle and probably as out of touch with reality as the leader of the Liberal Democrats seems to be at the moment.
    New Labour seems to be studying its naval rather than building on its strengths and achievements.
    I note the supposed popularity of Churchill is being bandied about by the media. Churchill was a highly astute and experienced politician, but was he popular throughout his career? Definitely not.
    I suggest you go back to the history books on this one and look at some of the recently released files on his administration in the PRO if you want to know why.

  • Comment number 48.

    Sagamix #13

    I have a problem with political correctness. I have personally been abused for holding a door open for a women (apparently that makes me a sexist pig even though I would hold a door open for anyone), and I still remember the days of children not being allowed to sing "Baa-baa black sheep". I also read recently that the authors of the Beano gave Dennis the Menace's arch rival a girlfriend because otherwise they thought people might think he was gay, and they would be accused of "gay-bashing" because he always lost / got beaten up.

    Sagamix #16

    Yes the banks have a lot to do with it, but who put in place the regulatory body that is supposed to stop them doing daft things? That's right, Gordon. Who set up the terms by which they 'regulate' the finance industry? Oh yes, Gordon. And who was chancellor while all this dodgy bank dealing was being done? Oh yes, Gordon.

    Equally, who spent all the money that was coming in, all the money that would come in, mortgaged the country to the hilt (PFI) and didn't keep any savings back, just in case? Oh yes, Gordon. If I ran my family finances like Gordon ran the country's, then we would probably be living in a back room in my parents house by now (all four of us) while I tried to persuade my wife that I was the right person to look after our money and it was all everyone else's fault.

    Sagamix #21

    No, saying it because you believe it is loyalty and pulling together. Saying because you have been told to do so or you lose your job is basically blackmail. Oops, sorry, I probably can't say "blackmail" in this politically correct world, can I?

  • Comment number 49.

    I think we all know Gordon will hang on to the end! My only critisism of him is he is unable to accept that his party may not elect him! Its tough at the top! Im sure his spin doctors will keep him going

  • Comment number 50.

    the plotters are disorganised and don't have a plan.

    the government are disorganised and don't have a plan.

    I saw Tony benn on television and he said the plotters have no alternative policies. part of gordons problem (leaving aside the governments poor track record) is that he has no viable policies, or if I am being charitable he has loads of great policies - and he just hasn't been able to get his message across.

    lets be honest though - both the government and the plotters have run out of ideas and are running scared as they are confronted with their 11 year record.

  • Comment number 51.

    Where will it end? Dumb question - the answer is "outside No 10, handing over the keys".

    I suppose it could end with somebody being sectioned under the mental health act for delusions that he is running the country, but that's unlikely.

    The interesting questions are when and how, not where.

  • Comment number 52.

    11 """"The Real Truth""""!!! wrote


    It is interesting that you seem to have attracted a batch of Brown supporting trolls (or just one being busy maybe).

    No content, no defence, no argument - just digs at those making points - presumably in the hope of diverting discussion in to personal abuse, rather than keeping focus on the real problem:-

    Brown and Labours dismal decade of failure.

    While most of the country look forward to the anihalation of the Labour party and brain-dead socialism -- the real issue now is how will the Conservative super-majority be kept in check.

    Blair was too scared to do anything worth while with his massive marjority and good will - and squandered it for nought. Brown did the same (but much, much faster).

    There is a real risk that the new conservative government may go too far the other way... Labour will be history, which leaves the useless LibDems "we dont know what we want, but we'll use taxes to make you do it" (but don't expect any referendums - whatever we promised earlier).


    Whereas your clearcut analysis of the issues is objective and moderate?

    1) It is the economy, stupid. If it were not for oil fuelled inflation and the global credit crisis, Brown would not be facing a single challenge.

    2) Political Correctness? The Daily Mail inspired obsession of those who really really want to shout sexist, homophobic and racist abuse but are now confined to doing so in undertones or coded language.

    As most papers and the far right continue to spread the vile bigotry that has always been their stock in trade, I'm not sure what your problem is.

    3) anihalation (sic) of brain dead socialism? Define socialism, because this government certainly does not practice socialism. In fact nobody, apart from Tory and BNP trolls who stopped thinking in the 1970s, mentions socialism much anymore.

    Brown has been unfortunate. He is an honest man who has been overtaken by events.

    The picture of a corrupt evil incompetent government painted by the right is a sick joke when you look at who they would rather have in power.

  • Comment number 53.


    I trusted David Cairns. I am a clot. Should have been able to see that his beastly priestly conscience would eventually get the better of him and us. Never trust an honest man.

    As Rabbie put it:

    "A prince can mak a belted knight,
    A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
    But an honest man's aboon his might -
    Guid faith, he mauna fa' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Their dignities an' a' that,
    The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
    Are higher rank than a' that."

    (Robert Burns, A Man's A Man for A' That)

    Politics and honesty don't mix, as we in the Labour Party well know. The SNP government is riddled with it, and look at the trouble that has caused us.

  • Comment number 54.


    Is it bankers who make up tax laws? Are bankers responsible for allowing a situation where foreign investors can make massive profits while paying little or no tax, thanks to a multitude of tax loopholes and get-out clauses? No - that was the job of the Chancellor of the past decade, ie Mr Brown.

    It is indeed the untethered greed of bankers that has caused the credit crunch, but it is the very fact that they have been allowed to do so that makes Brown an accessory. Brown has not just allowed the country to get into swathes of debt, he has actively encouraged it. He did this because being able to claim "11 years of sustained economic growth" was due to the Labour Government made him look like a good Chancellor; but now that we're in trouble, suddenly the economy is completely out of his hands.

  • Comment number 55.


    --touches on important points.

    The country may dislike labour enough to wish for a change of government but think twice in a dangerous economic climate. Exactly which mess, in other words, global or national, are we saying they got us into? The gist of recent blogs is by implication that the dislike is really about the national and smaller of the two.

    The party on the other hand might want to reflect that it is them the country does not want, no matter which leader. A fan of Frank Field, I see little chance of leadership for this marginal figure. And the thought of marching into a sunlit future with Harriet Harman is not pleasant. There could be an element of delusion in the rebels' thinking that it is just Gordon that the country wanted rid of.

  • Comment number 56.

    some posters have brown down as a socialist?

    i dont see why?

    "new" labour was a complete sham from day one, they had to change their appearance to get back into power or face permanant break up.

    i may not agree with much of what old socialists say, like tony benn for example, but he puts across his views well with a good argument to back it up, a refreshing change from a labour MP

    he doesnt spin, he doesnt run away from his beliefs, etc.
    i dont connect brown to anything like a socialist, old labour had conviction and were proud to argue on policy and substance, and i respect them more for it.
    blair/brown's government are nothing but marketing people with nodding dog MPs passing through non thought-out legislation with no incline of what damage it can do in the future.

  • Comment number 57.

    Brown is like a house on the top of a cliff suffering coastal erosion. It is just a matter of time the process is already underway.

    Brown is just an architect of NuLabour, the whole lot are on shakey foundations.

    Just like the Northern Rock model was bust and new blood had to be brought in and NR has to shrink the same will have to happen to NuLabour because their model is bust.

    A few storms quicken the coastal erosion.

    Brown will need a tent shortly, perhaps he should go to the camping outlet in London that someone mentioned - 'Now is our winter of discount tents'.

  • Comment number 58.

    A few months ago the Government were quite happy to play down the economic crisis and push through the 42 days, announce equality bills and tell us we all needed to be taxed to death due to our choice of car we may have bought over 7 years ago.

    Now unrest starts to shine through with the leadership of the party and suddenly they don't want any interuptions or questions asked due to the economic climate.

    Strange that isn't it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Where will it end?

    P45s for 80% of Labour MPs
    And hopefully a few of them will be arrested for their ruination of this country.

    It's time for our great democracy to start to chug itself into action and sort this out now surely.

  • Comment number 60.

    22 Kaybraes wrote:

    Hopefully it will end with Brown and his awful party and government consigned (hopefully forever ) to the dustbin of history. In my seventy years on the planet, their has not been a Labour regime which has not torn this country apart in the name of socialism. Every Labour government since Attlees's has reduced the status of this country and plunged it's finances deep into the red. The sooner he goes, the sooner someone can attempt to rectify the damage ten years of Labour incompetence has done. This was supposed to be the party that represents the workers, all it represents is the workshy, the unions and the new political elite masquerading as socialist politicians ; chiefly made up of second rate school teachers, lawyers, social workers and ex councillors who would never have had a viable career outside politics.


    70 years is a long time to live without learning anything. The Atlee government inrtroduced the NHS and began the job of rebuilding the country after WW2. The sunsequent Wilson government inherited a dire economy from the Tories as did the Callaghan government. In fact much of the growth experienced under Thatcher was a direct result of hard decisions taken by Denis Healey. Labour governments have usaually inherited dreadful economic situations from the Tories because the Tories always go on a spending spree before elections, gambling that if they win they have time to fix the problem and if they don't they can blame Labour.

    Gordon Brown as chancellor presided over 10 years of growth. Under Tony Blair Britain was respected on the world stage and became more prosperous. We now have a global crisis affecting every country in the world,.

  • Comment number 61.


    No reason for GB to have a bad conference?

    He has still not resolved the 10p tax theft of his own making. He has been ridden roughshod by the energy companies resulting in the most abysmal of solutions achieving nothing for the immediate crisis.

    He has shown no leadership qualities for months. Is this what we want from a Prime Minister? I don't think so. It will be a miracle of force and manipulation if he has a good conference.

  • Comment number 62.

    David Cairns didn't resign because of 'principles' - He resigned to shore up his re-election options.

    Anyone who has supported Nu Labour for the past 11 years (yet alone express support for Brown just a few weeks ago) cannot be 'accused' of having principles.

    Still, it's nice to see the rats scuttling from the sinking wreck of SS NuLab.

  • Comment number 63.

    sagamix 28

    I think you will find if you research your economic history that kaybraes has made a factual point regarding the Labour administrations of the past ruining our economic stability.

  • Comment number 64.

    # 27 Waldorf,

    Well, the increases in public spending were mandated by the electorate. He's been reasonably prudent in that he's raised taxes too and he's kept our level of government borrowing considerably lower than in most other comparable countries (e.g. USA, Germany, France, Italy). So, although not well placed to deal with the slump, we are better placed than we could have been.

  • Comment number 65.

    The curent situation of Gordon Brown makes me think of David Lloyd George in 1922. Then everyone, BUT the cabinet, revolted.

    The pragmatic trimmers in the cabinet - the Jack Straws and Geoff Hoons of their day - all went down with the Prime Minister...

  • Comment number 66.

    @28 sagamix

    He's spot on me thinks.

  • Comment number 67.

    #28 and #22

    Congatulations #22 - you've hit the nail on the head. We have a government that represents the workshy and the unemployed and the new politicians who have never had a real job in their lives.

    Sagamix can go and sing for an apology from you or anyone else who 'dares' to tell the truth; we are being cheated out of our own country where once upon time people were polite, worked hard, were tolerant and didn't need 'rights' to protect them from an over empowered socialist state.

  • Comment number 68.

    sagamix @28 wrote:
    # 22

    "This is meant to be a forum for debate not for just spewing out ignorant and ill informed "views". ".

    Says who?

    This is Nick's Blog on to which we are invited to comment. It is not a debating society (though those who wish to do so, can).

    Generally speaking:

    My views are informed and well-judged.

    Your views are wrong and misguided.

    His views are ignorant and ill-informed.

    Everyone with any sense, however, agrees that brown is doomed.


  • Comment number 69.

    I see that Sean Woodward MP says that voters would be "utterly bewildered" by the leadership debate at a time of looming recession.

    Let me put his mind at rest.

    No Mr Woodward, we won't be bewildered.

    We voters know - we actually know - that Gordon Brown is not the man for the job of steering Britain through an economic crisis. This is not the man, or this is not the hour for this man.

    Either way, Mr Woodward, your chances of electoral survival depend upon a swift execution and, as they say in the Labour Party, 'an orderly transition'. Go to it.

  • Comment number 70.

    # 34 Polero,

    I think his personal confidence is shattered. He'll be told to step down fairly soon I would imagine. But in the meantime, the people showing support in public are doing the right thing even if they don't really mean what they're saying.

  • Comment number 71.

    Once all these financial problems die down then the really FUNDAMENTAL absolutely FUNDAMENTAL problem with our once great country will finally be allowed to surface.

    Have many people ever given a thought to why we get taxed so much?

    FUNDAMENTALLY this country CANNOT afford the welfare state as it currently stands.

    Number One on these consequences (and if I was asked I would produce numbers 2 to 10) is that it has led to the illiterate workshy breeding faster and faster. They start at 13, 14, and 15 whereas working people dont start until they breeding on average until they are in their late 20's. Just do the maths!!!

    Everyone knows they exist yet this and previous governments have continued to mollycoddle them, and human rights legislation has led them to beleive that they are entitled to be kept by everyone else.

    Although they are not encouraged to breed there is never any discouragement on the matter.

    Figures which back up my assertion

    1) Highest percentage of teenage mothers in the western world despite increase in sex education

    2) Illiteracy rate at 17 to 18% of 11 year olds leaving to go to high school

    3) 60% of 14 year old white boys living in poverty being illiterate

    Just consider the cost of the army of public servants who have to be paid to look after this growing number of people. We have so many incentives to get them to work but basically they are just happy and comfortable with their lot and don't want to.
    They are quite happy for every one else to go out to work and put a roof over their heads and food on their table.

    The country cannot afford this but rather than tackle welfare problems on a fundamental basis, GB has surfed the extended boom by just throwing more and more money at this and other welfare problems with no tangible result.

    All us workers are too busy trying to keep our heads above water to look at the bigger picture, that one day we will be covered in too many leeches.

    We have been able to let this continue because due to luck, tax receipts have increased during this partly engineered housing boom.

    Bust follows boom

    small bust follows small boom

    what follows biggest ever boom?

    Bust means lower tax receipts and therefore less to spend on welfare state. Then what?

  • Comment number 72.

    # 30 38 39

    Yes, it's fiddling around on the margins isn't it? GB can't really continue.

    I'd like him to step down in favour of somebody who can communicate and is prepared to start intervening in a meaningful way.

    That's not Cameron, obviously.

  • Comment number 73.

    Nick, why are you spouting the spurious labour line that when the person running the economy the last 11 years creates one of the biggest financial collapses in history, that means that he's safe in his job?

    It's the complete opposite; he's not safe in his job because most reasonable people can see that it was Brown personally who put all the conditions in place to make this inevitable and as far reaching as possible.

    Maybe the westminster cliques think otherwise, but out here in the real world most people want this man out right now before he does any more damage.

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh I forgot to mention.

    People go on about GB selling our Gold and raiding the pension funds but also everybody seems to have forgotten what happened to the unexpected 20 Billion pound windfall from the sale of the 3G licences

  • Comment number 75.

    Sagamix 36

    You better believe it!

    You appear to be in the same denial mode as the one you champion.

    You are not GB in disguise, are you?

  • Comment number 76.


    You seem to have an answer for everything. You seem to think that Gordon knows exactly what he's doing and that all our problems are everyone else's fault.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us as to how well your heroes have done on fulfilling their manifesto promises of 1997:

    Spending and tax: new Labour's approach

    "The myth that the solution to every problem is increased spending has been comprehensively dispelled under the Conservatives. Spending has risen. But more spending has brought neither greater fairness nor less poverty. Quite the reverse - our society is more divided than it has been for generations. The level of public spending is no longer the best measure of the effectiveness of government action in the public interest. It is what money is actually spent on that counts more than how much money is spent."

    "The national debt has doubled under John Major. The public finances remain weak. A new Labour government will give immediate high priority to seeing how public money can be better used."

    "New Labour will be wise spenders, not big spenders"

    "Save to invest is our approach, not tax and spend."

    "New Labour will establish a new trust on tax with the British people."

    "Our long-term objective is a lower starting rate of income tax of ten pence in the pound."

    "We will examine the interaction of the tax and benefits systems so that they can be streamlined and modernised."

    "We will enforce the 'golden rule' of public spending - over the economic cycle, we will only borrow to invest and not to fund current expenditure."
    "We will ensure that - over the economic cycle - public debt as a proportion of national income is at a stable and prudent level."

    "Small business: We will cut unnecessary red tape."

    "We will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime"

    "Police on the beat not pushing paper"

    "Crackdown on petty crimes and neighbourhood disorder"

    "Protect the basic state pension and promote secure second pensions."

    "We will reject the boom and bust policies which caused the collapse of the housing market."

    "We will reform party funding to end sleaze"

    If you could try and give an answer without mentioning the Daily Mail/Telegraph/Sun, blaming the Tories/world economy/media, or making personal attacks on people that'd be lovely, thanks.

  • Comment number 77.

    "GB is the man to see us through these difficult economic circumstances...I am absolutely convinced that GB is the right man to see us through."

    Decoded the real meaning of this statement is:

    "GB is the smart a*se that got us into this God awful mess - so he can bl**dy well take the flack! - don't expect me or anyone else with any sense to stick our heads above the parapet."

  • Comment number 78.

    Go to the Bank of England website and read the open letter from Mr King to the Chancellor, in particular the effect on inflation from the devaluation of sterling:

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    "The fall in the value of sterling pushes up on import price inflation, which, in the latest data for the second quarter of 2008 was around 12% - its fastest grow in over 20 years".

    Darling's response ignores the issue, all the while the government blames the "global credit crisis" and the world economy" for the mess while claiming that the UK economy is better places to weather the storm. Clearly the Governor of the Bank of England considers that those closer to home bear some responsibility.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm so sorry not to touch on the subject of Afghanistan, apart from the fact that we can't afford this occupation, at the moment but has nobody else noticed that trading on the Russian Stock Exchange has been suspended because of the heavy falls suffered over the last weeks subsequent to the invasion of Georgia.

    Where is the government, please come out of the bunker before it is all to late. There is panic, say something to bring back some stability.

    Oh, that's right you don't want to be hostages to fortune. If you can't govern at this economically dramatic time then there really is no point. No point whatsoever.

    Gordon Brown is the Prime Minister, not the Chancellor, if you can't lead us then go to see the Queen and resign now.

  • Comment number 80.

    # 40 Timid

    Why do you want a referandum on the EU treaty? Don't you believe in European integration? Are you worried about the shape of your carrots, or something?

  • Comment number 81.

    I don't buy the argument that we should not contemplate change in the middle of a crisis. The global situation, on so many fronts, needs decisions made for the long term. A Prime Minister and Government focussed on the short term ie turning around thier ratings before 2010 cannot make these judgements. We need a new regime that can reasonably expect to be here for 2 full terms. Bring it on!

  • Comment number 82.

    I am sure the people of the Northwest will apreciate this latest wheeze in being told what to do.

    Not a lot of point is there, just tax it more Gordon then either you will have more money or less unhealthy people and save on the NHS.
    Oh wait you dont need to tax it more to stop them drinking, thanks to 10 years of your economic policy they'll all soon be on IVA's and wont be able to afford to drink at the current tax levels.

  • Comment number 83.

    northJason No 25
    Totally agree. Although these pages have been a three-day orgy of "scrag Brown and then howl for a general election" there has been little of substance come from the official opposition apart from a few woolly references to tax cuts at a time when greater government expenditure seems inevitable. Remember, the Lehman Bros P45s are going out to places like Tonbridge and Carshalton, not Barnsley or Hartlepool.

    So, fast-forward to 2010. World economies still in turmoil. Prices, unemployment and inflation still high. Energy and other commodity cartels calling the shots. Unfettered capitalism increasingly discredited. Does the electorate go for
    (a) A party which has historically been the choice of big business, with a doctrine against all forms of social intervention and headed up by a former public schoolboy of independent wealth who has never run a public undertaking bigger than the church fete, much less felt the pain of hard times
    (b) A former socialist party, now mildly reformed and chastened after a flirtation with free enterprise, headed by a battered and publicly contrite Brown who at least knows where he's been and how he got there even if he's not sure exactly what comes next.
    Don't entirely rule out the latter. Certainly worth a fiver if the odds are good enough.

  • Comment number 84.

    Hbos and llyods on the verge of a merger.

    In the short term, its a confidence move,
    however there will be job losses (more pain for labour)

    Its likely to be more regulated, which in turn would seem an end to irresponsible lending

    More bad news for the private housing market (which will probably bear the brunt of the down turn)

    The government will have to be flat out, trying to convince all the high cost firms to come into line with the current down turn.

    The price of fuel, home energy and food, must all come down in price, or we really will face a serious winter of discontent.

    At this time, there is no business safe, it is in everyone interest, that all companies re-align their rates.

  • Comment number 85.

    # 7 ha! ha!

    I was wrong earlier when I said gordon had no plan or vision for the future.... you appear to have gordons ear and know the vision intimately.

    any news on what gordon has planned for the bbc?

  • Comment number 86.

    Is it just me or did somebody change the rules on voting. I was under the impression that we voted for a local MP who represented the party of our choice. I don't remember ever voting for a Prime Minister. We are supposed to vote on the issues not on personalities. Lets face it if it was on personalities the choice between a dour Scotsman,a toff and a no mark, nobody would ever vote again. So for everybody's sake lets stick to the issues and forget about the personalities.
    Also before the get Brown out campaign spirals out of control think back to Blair, Major and Thatcher. Is he really all that bad?

  • Comment number 87.

    Up until yesterday I would have said that Gordon would go or be forced about 6 months before the 2010 Election giving the new leader time and a small honeymoon bounce to face the electorate ... but events dear boy events... Gordon is a goner!!

  • Comment number 88.

    newtried 49

    I fear you are right.

    However if that is your only criticism of the man I can only deduce that you are easily pleased and have no issue with increasing the taxes of the poorest, having your pension fund robbed by him and having to help fund the energy programme that Gordon thought was such a good deal?

  • Comment number 89.

    # 46 Carrots

    That would be interesting if it were true but, sadly, it isn't.

    PC, as we know it today, started on campus at the University of Berkeley in California in the wild and crazy sixties.

    A very powerful idea it has proved to be too. Tends to get trivialised with all the "political correctness gone mad" type stuff but it's had an enormous (and on the whole extremely positive) impact on society.

    It's influence has been so pervasive that it's hard to imagine living in a non PC world now. Be almost like going back to black and white TV and the whole nation sitting down together for On The Buses.

  • Comment number 90.

    # 41

    Oh do stop it, Robin.

  • Comment number 91.

    WAKE UP!!!!!!!

    Sorry all thats to the mods that are now sat on 40 posts.

    It leads me to speculate that GB's stalinistas may have popped round to white city and are now sensoring the blog because we really shouldnt be posting dissent of Gordon in these "challenging times" because, all together now, "Gordon is the right man for the job"

  • Comment number 92.

    # 37 Mark,

    Two eyes in "political".

    Too much PC and not enough basic teaching at your school, am I right?

  • Comment number 93.

    # 48 Grawth

    Holding open a door for a woman does not make you a sexist pig.

    Just makes you a little bit patronising.

    Do you call them all "dear" as well?

  • Comment number 94.

    # 52 NH Hammer

    Spot on brother.

    Bilge on here is a terrible indictment of our pre 1960's education system.

  • Comment number 95.

    credit where it is due. gordon brown has been involved with negotiations to merge lloyds and hbos.

    can I suggest - mr brown - that it would be a good thing to lead from the front and give an your analysis of the economic issues we face and the measures and options that are being examined. you don't have to name company names. just convey confidence and a plan.

    you will still get kicked out at the next election - but any signs of confidence and leadership would silence the plotters.

  • Comment number 96.

    # 56 Denzil

    Brown IS a socialist. Only thing is is that Labour were too terrified of Middle England, after so long in opposition, that they chickened out of doing what they should have done. Big shame.

  • Comment number 97.

    The Labour Movement is about acheiving social transformations. People get impatient when the pace of transformation appears to be slow. They shouldn't be, because lasting social changes are incremental not revolutionary. Which impatience helps explain why some folk get annoyed with Gordon Brown: he doesn't sound revolutionary enough for some. Nor does he make rash promises as so many others do.

    In these times of financial turmoil, Labour's Conference next week will demonstrate that Gordon Brown is most people's first choice to guide our country forward, and to achieve the social and economic changes most people long for.

  • Comment number 98.


    You got it right - every Labour government ends in disaster for the economy; they always tax 'till the pips squeak' and waste it. We have to learn this expensive lesson one more time. Unfortunately there is a lot of people in the client state, plus ideologically-motivated chip-on-shoulder class-warriors who back Labour everytime, irrespective of the damage they do.

  • Comment number 99.

    One only has to look at the reporting to see that the campaign to oust Gordon Brown is based , not on any anlysis of government policy, but on the agenda of the Westminster media village to create, manage and perpetuate fatuous non-news.

  • Comment number 100.

    1 Diary-of-Worker-27

    Id love to know why that got referred to the moderators.

    Clearly struck a cord


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