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Nick Robinson | 15:39 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008

So David Cairns has gone. He becomes the first minister to quit because he wants Gordon Brown to go.

He will give us his reasons in an interview shortly.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    So presumably David Cairns pondered your questions from the previous psoting and thught 'I'm outta here'.....?

    The government is falling apart and the only sensible thing is for the Quen to recognise the gravity of the situation and call for Gordon Brown to dissolve parliament and call a general election.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, well, well.

    I'm surprised to be honest, if only at the timing.

    The government should have bigger issues on their mind right now following what's happened at Lehman Bros, Meryil Lynch, AIG, etc and squabbling and infighting is going to do them no favours whatsoever.

  • Comment number 3.

    Finally, someone had had the 'bottle' to say it!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    The question is, will next week's Labour conference be the first in history where a major party has no leader??!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Gone with the wind........

    Glasgow east or Glenrothes no more.....

    honestly....will it not be strange,if he mentions collective responsibility.....

  • Comment number 6.

    "Out damn spot, Out!"
    The Scottish play, with Harriet Hardperson starring as Lady Macbeth.

  • Comment number 7.

    David who ?

    The MP's currently trying to rattle Gordon Brown's cage are behaving stupidly. The Wall Street crisis is huge and has way to go - and it is a fact that the one politician in this country who has a deep understanding of international finance is GB.

    Love him or loathe him, he is exactly where he is needed at the moment. Members of his own party should look beyond their own noses and be thankful for what they have got. And have the sense to shut up.

  • Comment number 8.

    Perhaps he can administer the last rites to Nu-Lab before he collects his belongings and disappears for good.

  • Comment number 9.

    re: 8

    On second thoughts, perhaps an exorcism would be more appropriate.

  • Comment number 10.

    Once again, these people are the Fringe, the Fruits and the never-has-beens.

    Who cares about his comments?

    What is this mans opinion worth?

    A former political wonk, parachuted into a safe seat and languishing in a worthless job, despite the lack of any really talented competition in the Cabinet.

    This man is very dull. Who cares?

    Even if he were to somehow have news of devastating import to report, it wouldn't matter. Brown is stuck like a toad in a stone, and will remain there, cowering, until the next election, when he will be unceremoniously turfed out.

  • Comment number 11.

    Don't let the door hit you, etc.

    Good riddance.

  • Comment number 12.

    At last!

    A Minister who's not afraid to stand up for what he feels, as opposed to being bullied by Gordon Brown.

    The lukewarm endorsements of their leader by other Ministers is laughable: how can we trust them when they are afraid to speak their own minds?

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh He wasn't very important anyway. His going makes not a jot of difference. No, we must cary on as before.

    It is the slow drip, drip, drip, which is causing the problem.

    Can we now expect some more principled resignations, before they are sacked that is.

    Who on earth is going to put us all out of our misery, most of all Gordon Brown.

    With the black hole of this government beginning to suck in more and more material, ie labour politicians they have to realise that the only solution is to turn off the Large Hadron Collider, that is to sack Brown, or he should resign now and preserve his dignity. That is all he has left, for he is surely the Emporer with no clothes.

  • Comment number 14.

    Glad to see you that you are on the money again, Nick!

  • Comment number 15.

    And there was I hoping for a priest to exorcise the zombies leader. I didnt know one had already gone undercover and entered the enclave only to appear now and incant. brilliant, hollywood stuff.

  • Comment number 16.

    "New Every Morning ......."

    Kindly complete a suitable verse for this

    Contemporary Hymnbook

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Nick, this has been handled really badly by Downing St. They would have been better off issuing a blanket no comment rather than denying the resignation and then be made to look incompetent a couple of hours later.

    I can imagine this poor news management will only encourage further dissent. I wonder what Alistair Campbell makes of all this?

  • Comment number 18.

    "Rats" and" sinking ship" springs to mind. Brown is on the way out, and no amount of lying and bluster will save him and his abysmal government. Hopefully this episode will consign this dreadful pseudo socialist regime to the dustbin forever.

  • Comment number 19.

    Has Charles E Hardwidge reincarnated as Derek Barber?

  • Comment number 20.

    With every day that goes by
    Another Labour plot goes awry,
    But there's two things we know:
    One, that Gordon won't go,
    And two, the truth's what they deny!

  • Comment number 21.

    David Cairns should now explain to his constituents why he is playing politics now instead of doing what he can to help with things that people care about like the price of bread.

  • Comment number 22.

    Where were you Mr Cairns when you saw Brown/Labour deliberately steering into this horrific mess for the last few years? Oh, that's right; it hadn't quite reached crisis point back then so the BBC wouldn't report the underlying problems so you were safe in your seat. Now your seat's in danger you suddenly sprout "courage".

    I'm not convinced.

    It smacks of typical labour self-serving cowardice to me.

    Your party is *so* finished.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well, referring to him as a former Catholic priest is straight out of Sir Humphrey's book ("the lay preacher"). Ten out of ten for being so well informed.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re #10

    "This man is very dull. Who cares?"

    So is Gordon Brown. And fewer and fewer people care about him.

  • Comment number 25.

    I know this sort of thing is very exciting for you Nick and especially your less well informed colleagues on News 24 but let's be honest here and accept that all parties contain people who don't support their leaders, or who think they could do better jobs or who just want to get their name known.

    Last year the media made a big shout over Quentin Davies defecting to Labour and the issues this raised over Cameron's leadership.

    Then there was questions about David Davies's loyalty to DC, no doubt to be dug up again at some point which suits the media.

    Today the papers are trying to cleave Cable from Clegg and will carrying on doing so until they create at least the illusion of a split.

    Truth is no-one's ever heard of Cairns and in the midst of a major recession no-one is going to be better off with another new PM.

    Instead of giving these publicity seeking rebels so much uncritical coverage perhaps you could try asking them to explain how distracting and destabilising the Govt at a time of international financial crisis is in anyway serving their constituents rather than their own egos?

  • Comment number 26.

    I thought Wall Street was going to save him
    Oh well, at least he'll be able to get some rest when he is forced out!

  • Comment number 27.

    Apparently, I have resigned from the Government.

    This was actually a clerical error, would you believe? Now that the letter has been sent off, though, I suppose that's that, and I'll just have to make the best of it.

    Shortly I shall be giving my reasons for resigning, as soon as I have made something up.

    These are stirring times, comrades. As I say, a carefully crafted message from me to you, the people of Britain, follows shortly. Stay close to your receivers and stay tuned for this important announcement.

  • Comment number 28.

    How many accountants and economist we have in the cabinet? Probably zero. GB doesn't understand the fundamentals, UK was growing at a lesser rate than other (except few in EU) due the the meddling Brown was doing.

    Might be better even to call in the liquidator now and ask them to run the country, as this is were our so called leaders and Bank of England is taking this country too.

  • Comment number 29.

    Suggesting that boom and bust Gordon knows best and should remain at the helm is as credible as saying boom and bust Lamont should have stayed on for years after black Wednesday. Crash gordon's credibility and so called ability is shot. We need a new start with anyone right now Tory or labour! Meanwhile businesses go bust. People lose their jobs and the economy sinks because Gordon thinks he is best! Three cheers for the labour rebels! These people are not thinking of themselves and how important they are .... They are thinking of the country! Very courageous and admirable! They will be proved to be on the right side of history once Rome had finished burning and fat gord is collecting his fat pension for services rendered!

  • Comment number 30.

    #21 WebNewsReader

    Cairns had no more responsibilities "to help people" than any back bencher. He had no responsibilities and no staff.

    The Scotland Office existed only as a myth whereby the taxpayer could fund a politician to attack independence for Scotland, and Cairns was the guy.

    Just watched his interview on TV, when he said he no longer take Government money to argue for what he no longer believed in.

  • Comment number 31.


    So, you got it wrong again!

    Stop letting NuLabs spin-shysters ruin what's left of your credibility!

  • Comment number 32.

    Re Post 4. The 1963 Conservative conference was dominated by Harold Macmillan saying he was stepping down and every speech by a front bench spokesman hailed as a leadership bid. If GB decides to step down he will wait until a new leader is elected before departing.

  • Comment number 33.

    What would be interesting is to check to see if there is a glut of labour MP's rushing to John Lewis' and various London Estate Agents, to stock up on free houes and furnishings before they are booted out.

    That way we will really see how confident they are of getting re-elected.

  • Comment number 34.

    "Back me or sack me."

    John Major 1995

    "Back me or I'll sack you."

    Gordon Brown 2008

  • Comment number 35.

    well i'm glad labour mps are having the bottle to go public now. to be honest after the NEC this morning i throught oh well thats that for now i can safelty turn off the tv, how wrong i was.

    this group of mps know what they are doing ok maybe not in the sense of what happens next but the way this is moving its serving its purpose

    i do agree with some on here about the timing and why did the mps who supported brown last year now adimtting they got it so wrong

    as for what happens now i think we could well be heading for the london busses effect you wait for a minster then 3 or more come at once. we will see. if i was to make a prediction i think that health minister ivan lewis will speak out judging on past coments

  • Comment number 36.

    Congratulations David Cairns.
    I have seen his interview and he comes over as a person of honesty and integrity
    and with a lot of courage to face the press as he did.
    What a brilliant move it would be if all the cabinet resigned and no one else would join a Brown cabinet.
    I don't think it's ever happened before.
    I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 37.

    I find it hard to argue with most of the criticism thrown at Brown and his cohorts on here, but it mostly feels like pointless hot air.

    It’s frankly depressing when so many obviously intelligent people call for the demise of Brown / Labour as if this is going to be the magical solution that’s going to ‘turn it all around’. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge, the whole system is flapping and thrashing about like a beached whale begging to be put out of its misery.

    Surely we need to start thinking outside the mouldy cardboard box that is party politics, in fact perhaps we should be moving towards destroying it altogether for the sake of our futures. Problem is the majority are too narrow-minded or apathetic to even consider this a worthy topic for debate.

    Back to the old schoolyard taunts and jeers then…

  • Comment number 38.

    Who cares whether this non-entity of a "minister" stays or goes? I am sick of Labour's petty internal squabblings at a time when they really should have other things on their minds.

    The world is in economic chaos and the UK (and other countries) need strong leadership to weather the storm and to try to rebuild when the storm abates.

    Instead, Labour fights among itself and is ignoring the interests of the country and its people. Gordon Brown and his sorry band are obsessed with clinging on to power. Gordon is hoping that if he hides in his bunker for long enough, we will all go away.

    I just wish we could wall up the bunker from the outside .....

  • Comment number 39.

    In the words of Barack Obama "Enough, Enough". This self-righteous imploding of a Labour Government must end immediately. A change in leadership within the next 12 months will most definitely hand the Conservatives the keys to Number 10 with a landslide majority.

    It is succinctly clear that Labour will never ever win the next general election with Gordon Brown as leader for a variety of reasons including the cruel twist of the hands of fate not being kind to the incumbent Prime Minister.

    The Labour Party Conference of 2009 should be the time for Gordon to announce he is stepping down in the best interests of the Party as they look to win the next general election and he should be allowed to do so with dignity and humility.

    Not alot to ask for a man who has served in government with great distinction for 11 years.

  • Comment number 40.

    "#1. At 3:49pm on 16 Sep 2008, RobinJD wrote: The government is falling apart and the only sensible thing is for the Quen[sic] to recognise the gravity of the situation and call for Gordon Brown to dissolve parliament and call a general election."

    No, the Queen should and will keep her nose out of it. We may have a constitutional monarchy, but they're not daft enough to get involved in this.
    Lets just stick to the ELECTED portion of the ruling classes running the country eh Robin? At least we can get rid of them when we want rather than waiting for the grim reaper.

    N.B. a minister with a backbone? Seems unlikely. It got leaked and Cairns jumped before he was pushed, they can't even organise a coup! Say what you like about the the Tories (an I often do) but they knew how to knife someone in the back properly.

  • Comment number 41.

    An honest politician! Will all the other ministers who solemnly say "Gordon is the right man" when they know perfectly well he's not now follow his lead.

    In these times of financial turmoil we need a PM who is decisive and commands confidence. Gordon is neither.

  • Comment number 42.

    whilst I admire the sheer courage if these non-entity labour rebels trying to take on crash Gordon one had to ask why do they want a change of leader? Is it because they want smaller government and lower taxation or do they want to saddle us all with outdated old labour policies? Beware!

  • Comment number 43.

    re 8 and 9

    More like shove a stake through it's heart, burn it and then perform an exorcism over the ashes more like.

  • Comment number 44.

    Every single Scottish New Labour MP (with ONE exception only - and it wasn't DC) nominated Gordon Brown for leader only a year or so ago. Indeed, in Scotland Cairns led the chorus of acclamation.

    And now he stabs him in the back.

    What a rat.

    New Labour are without principle (what exactly are "values" anyway?), integrity or purpose. That's what happens when you revise your core raison d'etre out of existence and exchange conviction for Mammon.

    The shallow nature of New Labour is being exposed to the bone by the current economic crisis. They're gone big time!

  • Comment number 45.

    Another badly-handled situation by no. 10, and if Brown's the best to get us through the current events then god help us.

    He's the one who arrogantly thought he'd beat economic cycles, bet the economy on constant growth, mortgaged future tax reciepts to the hilt and comprehensively failed to insulate the economy from shocks, yet still fails to take any responsibility and resorts to trotting out vapid mantras when challenged!

  • Comment number 46.

  • Comment number 47.

    Couldn't we have Ken Clarke back? Now there was someone who knew how to handle the economy, so good in fact that it took years for Brown to wreck the economy after him.

  • Comment number 48.

    And so it begins....some insignificant Labour MP on 5 Live: apparently it's wrong of us to distract the Prime Minister during such bad times (Stephen Downes).

    There goes the 2010 election then, roll on the suspension of democracy.

  • Comment number 49.

    Blair had a vision, a smile, charisma and people to communicate this vision; many wanted to follow this leadership.

    Brown lacks the above vision and has failed to communicate or connect with the electorate. He has steamrollered things through like
    incinerators, airports, low renewables roll out in 10years of government, allowing personal credit to spiral to trillions and 20p tax rates for the poor. Many poor haven been protected from increased bus fares, BT charging payment charges; unfettered gas, electricity and petrol hikes in domestic prices. Despite global prices now down, but prices not following. One can expect to be 20% down in the polls with leadership questions.

    Its understandable labour MP's are fearing a rout at the next election; they are with Gordon Brown!

  • Comment number 50.

    re: 37

    Back to the old schoolyard taunts and jeers then?

    Excellent idea old chap, wot wot!

  • Comment number 51.

    Forget the deckchairs on the titanic metaphors. They ARE concentrating on the most important tasks at hand - like refurbishing the bunker.

    I love the bits about "better treatment of workplace injuries" and "trained advisor to talk to about financial problems".

    You couldn't make it up!

  • Comment number 52.

    "28. At 4:46pm on 16 Sep 2008, alphaGlen wrote:
    How many accountants and economist we have in the cabinet? Probably zero. GB doesn't understand the fundamentals, UK was growing at a lesser rate than other (except few in EU) due the the meddling Brown was doing."

    Well the government hasn't had ministers with any military experience (paddy ashdown was the last notable parliamentary leader) thus governments aren't very good at picking wars, fighting them or procuring the right equipment in sufficient quantities.

  • Comment number 53.

    David Cairns is my MP here in Inverclyde. I have to say that I was shocked when I logged on to the BBC News site to see that he quit as Scotland Office Minister. I am glad he took the courage to resign to show how strongly he feels about the labour leadership, there are other ministers who are staying put knowing they want a leadership challenge which, to me, demonstrates hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am orginally from Greenock (although now Berkshire) where Cairns is the MP. He's the latest in a long line of monkeys in red rossettes. Contrary to his resignation spiel Labour in to blame for the demise of this clydeside town and they have certainly not regenerated it - we have been represented since the year dot by a succession of numpty Labour MPs, of which Cairns in the latest. I think that this arch blairite will be no loss to the PM, as he is a pigmy in a politcal sense. Remember it is Cairns who was in charge of the Glasgow East by election....doh!! Hopefully Cairns will now return to obscurity where he belongs - another failed career to add to the last one - and the SNP will skelp him at the next election. The people of Greenock will judge this backstabber and rightfully vote in the SNP.

  • Comment number 55.

    re: 43

    Amen to that!

  • Comment number 56.

    Gordon Brown is my prime minister. But, apart from his local constituents, who has been part of this appointment? Surely we need a tad more of a democratic process here. The Labour party must now force a better way. A leader needs to win and establish credibility, I'm wondering why Gordon Brown isn't taking this opportunity.

  • Comment number 57.

    Memo to NuLabs:
    It's not your Government Ministers but your Prime Minister needs to resign post-haste!
    It is your "deposits" that will be lost some time in 2010 unless you face up to the reality immediately: Brown can't do the job!

  • Comment number 58.

    The Stock Market is in turmoil, the economy is facing it's most serious challenge for many years, M.Ps are revolting and being sacked if they hold a government position, GB is in denial of his shortcomings, things could not be worse on all fronts !

    But fear not, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel of darkness. The government is going to start putting things right and I can prove it. Today a grand announcement was made which unfortunately did not make the national media.

    Joan Ruddock, Minister for Wildlife has announced that she has granted legal protection for The Lesser Whirlpool Rams-horn Snail. This snail is only 5mm diameter and is found in the marsh drains of Norfolk and Suffolk. It can now have a secure future. One day we too will join this little fellow and have a secure future ... the government has made a start . You heard it here first !!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    With the South of the UK painted blue/green and a curtain of rejection spreading South from Scotland, Gordon Brown is caught worrying about what exactly?

    I'd certainly like to hear why he has been unable to protect us from the highest CPI inflation in 16 years, well before he got his hands on the economy. A credible response that doesn't blame others could just help him to hold back his critics until 2010. Somehow methinks that he might as well recite poems by Edward Lear for all the difference it will make.

  • Comment number 60.

    Gordon Brown's current - and typical - behaviour is the clearest indication he should be ditched. The XL collapse strands 90,000 Britons around the globe; the banking system is in meltdown. Where's the PM with advice to steady the ship? Oh, he's run for cover, yet again. Just not up to the job....

  • Comment number 61.

    #56 brandonhome

    "Gordon Brown is my prime minister. But, apart from his local constituents, who has been part of this appointment?"

    The answer is the majority of MPs and Lizzie.

    Welcome to the unwritten English Constitution with its doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty which Labour and Tory (probably Lib-Dems) are happy to continue because it suits the politicians not the people.

    If you want to change the constitution, you have to vote for people who want to change it - easy in other nations within the UK, but tough if you live in England.

  • Comment number 62.

    The tighter Brown grips, the more minnows slip through his fingers. Not a surprise; the man's an armchair politician, whose dismal, cowardly demeanor never fails to show itself.

  • Comment number 63.

    Gordon Brown seems like a wounded dinosaur or a beached whale that cannot last for much longer with more and more daggers in his back. The prospect of the Labour Party Conference must be for GB like the condemned man in the cell waiting for the hangman! There's no escape I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 64.


    Has any world leader been able to "protect" their country from current inflationary pressures? Please name me one and how it was achieved?

    Differences of opinion are healthy, nothing rong with that but some of the "blame" addiction on here is a bit strange. Can I clarify with some examples.

    1 The 10p tax decision = Gordon Brown's Fault because it was his decision.

    2 World Oil Price and Food Price inflation NOT Gordon Brown's fault as no decision involved on his part.

    His response to 2 above has been as reasonable as any other leader facing this problem. Perhaps no better, probably no worse. Thats capitalism and market forces at work.

  • Comment number 65.

    re: 58

    M.Ps are revolting

    They certainly are (lol)

  • Comment number 66.

    David Cairns is unable to suport GB.
    I hope he was at least trying to reason with GB over this last year.
    Did David vote for 42 days detention, did he at least speak up in parliment and question the theft of civil liberties and rights of the people?
    I would admire him if he at least tried to curb the policies that intruded into our private lives.
    Our population density is higher than any other major country in Europe, did he think this was a good idea?
    The vote on the EU was promised to the people of this country, what did David do when we were lied to and dismissed as too stupid to vote or even matter in the great give away of our country?
    The economic downturn is something we will have to live with, the above mentioned is quite another matter.

  • Comment number 67.

    #61 - oldnat

    Yeah - right!

    - except, have you not noticed how everyone goes on about this between elections but, come the big day, they still troop into the booths wearing the same old colours? There is a lot of truth in the adage that, by and large, people get the governments they deserve. This is no more true than in a democracy - if you can still call it that.

  • Comment number 68.

    following my post earlier i'd like to say well done to the man who's gone not only was that an honest interview you almost felt sorry for him but to come on here and put something says alot too

    i think we all sometimes forget its not just a party game at the end of the day jobs are on the line here, just put yourselfs in a labour mp#s feet when 2010 elction night come and u suddenly know you have no job. not a nice feeling dispite the money

    if i was a labour mp i;d be doing the same right now single minded maybe but everyone needs a job even nick robbinson hehe

  • Comment number 69.

    David Cairns is a horrible man and has a lot in common with Gordon Brown.

    He is part of the group of numpties that appears to think the way to save the Union is to ignore the English completely and tell the Scots they couldnt run a pysh up in a brewery. Despite the fact most Scots still want the Union telling someone they are not capable of something and sneering at them isnt going to win their vote.

    Labour are as nasty as the Tories ever were to Scotland. Thank goodness for the SNP. As far as the UK political scene goes we can only hope Cameron is more than a few soundbites and a pretty face.

    Labour have just taken over from the 80s Tories and helped themselves and big business.

  • Comment number 70.

    re: 64 Eatonrifle

    I'd agree with most of that; it's not Brown's fault that oil prices spiked which then led to inflation.

    However, it is his fault that the overall tax burden has gone through the roof, and that regressive taxes such as council tax have exploded in size/quantity since 1997. And it's also his fault that during a recession there's no money in the kitty, and it's also his fault that the current financial/market problems are effecting us as much as they are (he could have limited the potential damage/risk in that market if he'd been doing his job properly while he was chancellor)

    Not everything is his fault, but it's pretty darned close to everything when you look into the nitty-gritty.

  • Comment number 71.

    #67 threnodio

    I have hopes for my English neighbours. They're still stuck in the political adolescence of black and white.

    Those of us living in more mature democracies, know that you can use your vote far more cleverly to control the political parties, than alternating between two very similar parties who only pretend to have significant differences.

    I like the English, and when they grow up, we'll be the best of friends.


  • Comment number 72.

    So David Cairns was the hinted and I was given the impression it was someone closer to home.

    Nope wouldn't be anyone in the cabinet would it, they would be too busy getting what they can not gonna sacrifice a cushy number are they?

    Wonder if sparks will fly, more than likely it'll all be orchestrated as usual with someone holding a 'clap now' sign up, better have plenty of pencils ready all the same Nick... might even be boring.

    So a bad Labour day is better than a good Tory day, someone please tell David Cairns that comment takes the biscuit when Labour came to power there was a healthy pension fund and money in the kitty... and what ever happened to the Iron Chancellor he became a ditherer overnight, a prudent chancellor wouldn't allow that to happen and flog all the gold at Del boy prices would he?

  • Comment number 73.

    So David Cairns was the hinted and I was given the impression it was someone closer to home.

    Nope wouldn't be anyone in the cabinet would it, they would be too busy getting what they can not gonna sacrifice a cushy number are they?

    Wonder if sparks will fly at the conference, more than likely it'll all be orchestrated as usual with someone holding a 'clap now' sign up, better have plenty of pencils ready all the same Nick... might even be boring.

    So a bad Labour day is better than a good Tory day, someone please tell David Cairns that comment takes the biscuit when Labour came to power there was a healthy pension fund and money in the kitty... and what ever happened to the Iron Chancellor he became a ditherer overnight, a prudent chancellor wouldn't allow that to happen and flog all the gold at Del boy prices would he?

  • Comment number 74.

    Re David Cairns' resignation:

    ‘Politician’ and ‘honour’; two words which are not normally juxtaposed in a single sentence. And here are two more which are not normally found together, at least when the subject is Gordon Brown - ‘decisive’ and ‘realistic’.

  • Comment number 75.

    With the financial crisis and the nation in turmoil (according to the tabloids), isn't this the time for Gordon Brown to announce he'll make a State of the Nation address on radio and TV? It would upstage the serial defectors (and perhaps the Labour Party Conference) but, more importantly, it would let us, his countrymen, see what he's made of, where he stands and where he intends to take us. And it would be leadership, which everyone seems to want.

  • Comment number 76.

    Well Nick.....he did give US those reasons...

    He couldn't agree with collective responsibility......

    He had a guilt about his pay cheque....

    He liked GB for 11 years then.. well then????

    A bit lost on his sense of direction....

    He misses TB not the same he thinks.......

    and finally...he will put the boot in later?????

    Hmmmmmm........not to big on response...Eh.

  • Comment number 77.

    I should have thought that Gordon Brown would be rather glad to see the back of Mr Cairns. Certainly, those of us North of the Border who have been required to put up with his oleaginous bleating on our TV screens will shed no tears at his departure.

    Nick, I'm surprised that you haven't asked Mr Cairns whether his resignation from his junior Scotland Office non-job and the accompanying pious humbug has anything to do with the recently floated idea from on high that the Scotland Office should be abolished. Perhaps he devined that his coat was hanging on what we Jocks call a 'shoogly nail' and decided to have his five minutes of fame before eternal oblivion beckoned.

    He is, however, emblematic of the problem that Gordon Brown has. There is a massive financial crisis which could yet have catastrophic consequences for us all as individuals and for the economy. Yet the Government and Labour party seems to have no shortage of jumped-up, self-obsessed and egotistical political nobodies like Mr Cairns, popping up on TV, conspiring to destabilise his leadership and playing petty internal party politics. It's not an edifying spectacle and one suspects that the behaviour of Cairns et al will only make matters worse for Labour at the next election.


  • Comment number 78.

    RobinJD is spot on. the queen should act. This is a lame duck PM and an impotent government. They will achieve nothing in the next 18 months while we all wait for an election and the UK drifts on the sea of events as a helpless victim. If they truly cared for the well-being of the country they would call a general election and allow some fresh ideas to inject some energy and direction into steering the country through these hard times.

  • Comment number 79.

    Well GB will go on till we have a parliamentary votes, when he start losing bills it will turn out to be no confidence vote.

    Brown's end is not far away.

  • Comment number 80.

    As much as I disagree with Cairns politically, at least he's got some integrity - while Labour cling onto power like an old oligarchy thinking they own the country, he admits nobody wants Brown

    All Labour spout is Brown is the best man to fight the economic conditions - frankly I haven't seen much fighting, or they say that all western leaders are unpopular - but Brown is, according to a BBC article, by far the least popular, even more than Bush

    They know they will lose an election, they know nobody wants them, if they had any shred of decency they'd allow the people to have a say rather than bleat the same lies over and over again, it's like smashing your head against a brick wall!!

    and you don't get to change leader while in power again! labour actually believe in their own version of the divine right of kings don't they?

  • Comment number 81.


    Now now oldnat, we must not be unpleasant to our English cousins (just remember which side of border Mr Bruuun hails from!)
    They will join the rest of the UK in the real world (Europe) or they will follow the Americans into 'the same but different politics' of the Democrans and Republocrats. I wonder what the English equivalent would be?
    Conservabour and Labouratives?
    Torbour and Labroies?
    Answers on a postcard!

  • Comment number 82.

    #78 avfc_johnC wrote praising RobinJD

    "the queen should act"

    Direct rule by Lizzie! No more democracy! Ignore elections, and select governments via Nick's bloggers!

    You are very silly people, and should go and sit on the naughty step.

  • Comment number 83.

    #71 - oldnat

    Amen to that. But first we need a voting system that was not designed for Aintree!

  • Comment number 84.

    re: 81

    Regardless of the colour of the rosette they all go oink and snuffle at the trough. That said, Labour are worse, but not by much.

  • Comment number 85.

    #81 dylunydd

    And there was me being nice to them - I'm hurt.

    I was at a European wedding last week, and had the pleasure of having my politics enshrined in music - Ode to Joy played on the pipes - my Scottish and European identities combined. Even the English guests seemed to enjoy it (if far enough away!), but then we were all Europeans and appreciated the cultural diversity.

    Give them time, and the remaining English will join us.

  • Comment number 86.

    Having never heard of David Cairns before, I doubt he's much of a loss to us.

    Now, in common with a few other posters, can I point out that with the world banking system in mid-coronary, shares nose-diving everywhere, a lending system that has ceased to work, and recession looming, Gordon Brown has, frankly, bigger items in his intray than a handful of MPs wanting to make a noise because they are plain worried.

    Yes, he's made some errors, but show me the PM who hasn't.
    No, the World's problems that are affecting us here are NOT his fault. Plenty of folks just want someone to blame.

    Let's let him get on with the job and see where we are in 18 months time, when we the public can deliver a verdict, in good time.

  • Comment number 87.

    #78 - avfc_johnC

    HM should do exactly what she is doing now. Nothing public. This is not a constitutional crisis, contrary to what some posters seem to think. This is a stupid school boy spat between people who really ought to know better.

    I imagine that privately she is letting her views be known in no uncertain terms and I would not fancy being in Gordon's shoes if he has fallen out with herself.

  • Comment number 88.

    Yeah true, say what you like about Her Majesty but I reckon she's got a hell of temper.
    Apparently she and Thatcher didn't get on, (see the proper posh didn't like her either!) They would have been interesting little chats, oh to have been a fly on that particular wall!

  • Comment number 89.

    #86 theoldgoat

    "Having never heard of David Cairns before, I doubt he's much of a loss to us."

    An odd comment.

    From the rest of your posting I assume you are a Labour supporter, in which case (unless you are a member of the Government) he is not a loss to "us". He remains a Labour MP with exactly the same amount of power as a backbencher as he had as a Minister. He can carry on voting on English Education, Health etc as he did previously.

    Ann McKechin (Glasgow North) replaces him as Minister of State in the Scotland Office.

    Quite why you want to pay someone extra to do a non-job, of course, seems strange. I assume it is something to do with your "Britishness".

    Do explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Eatonrifle (#64)

    Some counterexamples.

    1. The UK achieving growth at 2-3% when the rest of the world was growing at an average of 5-6% during the decade of no inflation, constant expansion - not much to do with GB

    2. Deficit of >£30bn in the twelve months to July 2007, at the top of the economic cycle before there was any hint of a credit crunch - everything to do with GB.

    3. UK economy growing through a time when GB had the one-off windfall of record annual British oil production in 1999 - not much to do with GB.

    4. UK oil production dropping 46% during a time in which GB raised oil taxes by 20% - partly GB's fault. He could have done much more to encourage UK oil production - and the decline in UK oil production is one reason why global oil prices have gone up. The oil companies have preferred to make new investments in more stable regimes like Greenland and Vietnam rather than in the North Sea. Greenland for flip's sake!

    5. Under Brown's tenure as Chancellor, the UK slipped from 2nd in the Economist's Business Environment Rankings to 10th. This is a measure of how attractive a country is to business (you know, the suckers that provide the wealth for politicians to spend). As such, it's one of the most important things that a Chancellor can influence - and he's stuffed it up.

    You want countries that have been able to implement policy responses to the credit crunch? The likes of Norway are protected because they have been putting their oil revenues into a national endowment rather than frittering them away on five-a-day coordinators. The US have had the funds to give tax breaks and are now talking about a Keynesian programme of public works to stimulate the economy. We can't do that - because Gordon was running a deficit of £30bn at the top of the cycle.

    I could go on about the fire sales of the gold and of Westinghouse, the companies fleeing to Ireland to escape the tax burden, the tax credit fiasco, the mis/non-regulation of financial companies by Gordon's FSA...the list goes on.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think it's high time we put this whole question of Gordon Brown and blame to bed. An expert from Bloombergs put it very succintly on LBC this morning. Of course Gordon Brown is NOT to blame for the credit crisis affecting the world. Unfortunately because he has been running a budget deficit for so long he has nothing left in his armoury to deal with it. The Americans on the other hand have been able to lower taxes to ease the burden on their citizens. Who am I to argue with an expert?

  • Comment number 92.

    It follows of course that the deeper the World credit crisis becomes the deeper in the Brown stuff we will all be wading.

  • Comment number 93.

    So now we have 'lost' AIG as well. This is shameful, has America lost all of its senses, loaning it billions of dollars. I know this is economics not politics but what on earth is happening, this is the octopus economy, where tentacles wrap around governments and drag them down into the deep blue sea.

    Gordon Brown cannot stay in his bunker waiting to say anything until the party conference. The oil price has collapsed, yet where is the reduction in the price at the pumps. He was responsible for the fall by going to Saudi and talking to the producers, so this is something he should be rightly proud of. But, now get the oil companies to bring down the price at the pumps.

    Inflation, as measured by the Retail Price Index, is down from 5.0% to 4.8%, this is good, however it will fall further next month. Why am I confident of that. Because the October RPI is used to calculate pension and benefit increases. It is this month that the price of petrol will fall at the pumps having a beneficial effect on the RPI, I want it higher not lower. It can come down after my pension increase.

    He will also want to tell us about the withdrawals from Iraq, the war is over as far as we are concerned. We can withdraw with our American Allies and the civil war can start. A Federal Iraq made up of three states.

    As for Afghanistan, well the Americans are having problems with Pakistan, we are losing soldiers to death and injury, it is not that we have lost it is that there is no winner, everybody lost.

    So, Gordon, you are keeping your powder dry for your validictory speech which will be cheered to the rafters by the party faithful, but you will not see in the new year as Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 94.

    For a while there seemed to be a denial about the state of the economy, and the government were quite happy to ignore it and talk about equality bills and other such garbage.

    But now when questions are asked of the man at the top all we hear is, during this time of economic turmoil the last thing we want to talk about is the leadership.

    So at least this leadership questionmark has at least steered the government to look at what the rest of us have been worrying about for the last half a year.

    Unfortunately all we get is sound bites, "Gordon Brown is the right man to guide us through these difficult times" "Britain is better placed than most to deal with these times" etc, etc.

    But what do we get, we get the Labour party still pushing through these huge tax hikes in car tax which helps no one in these times, we get back the £120 which was taken from us through the 10p band fiasco and we are supposed to be greatful, we get a token jesture we have been waiting all summer for from the energy companies, then the admission that Gordon Brown can't do anything to stop the energy companies clawing back what they give away. We get members of the government voting for keeping obcene expense whilst the rest of us strugle.

    Do these really sound like kind of things that will help out the economy or are they simply just distractions to give Gordon a stay of execution.

    Unfortunately the labour MP realise they have 2 years to milk what they can from the public purse so won't join the calls for his departure, the damage has already been done and even Houdini couldn't escape from this mess, most labour mp's know this and will cling on for all they can and that is why most won't join the calls to "rock the boat"

  • Comment number 95.

    # 90 Aggers,

    Interesting (and beautifully simple) method of analysis you've got going there. If something is good it's nothing to do with Brown but, if it's bad, it is!

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm seriously worried about my ISAs. Are my life savings guarranteed in long term savings accounts? It goes without saying that if the worst happened I'd be pretty peed off with The Government and the Financial Institutions.

  • Comment number 97.

    I believe our country "Great Britain" is on the verge of ecomomic bankruptcy.

    Gordon Brown has squandered what money he had to spend, to maintain the "pretence" that the economy was doing well, when all the time the country is being drained f cash by the wars on two fronts, we are fighting. I'm surprised no-one has directly asked Gordon Brown exactly what the cost of the wars in Iraq and afghanistan are to our ecomnomy - and more importantly, where the money to pay for them is coming from?

    I read in one newspaper some weeks ago, both wars are costing our govt approx £1 million every day! (Cost to the USA is $1 Billion dollars every ten days!!).

    I don't see how any country can sustain that kind of outlay.

    Phil Edwards,
    North Wales.

  • Comment number 98.

    Sagamix (#90) :

    Play the ball not the man - if you have arguments against the points I raised let's hear them.

    If they sound one-sided that's only because I was trying to counter Eatonrifle's post #64 which was following the Brown spin that none of this mess was his fault.

    This is not a party political thing - it's just about Brown, who is a dangerously incompetent man who has somehow persuaded people that he is an economic genius. When you look at the facts he is anything but. BoE independence was the one good thing he's done, and his first few Budgets kept the public finances on an even keel, albeit at the cost of people's pension funds. But after the millenium the guy went crazy. Trouble is, I fear Osbourne will be just as useless, he's given no sense that he has even the basic understanding of what's going on, he probably thinks LIBOR is where you borrow books from. Uncle Vince is the only one who shows any sign of understanding what's going on (not surprising, given his background), although I'm not quite sure I'd trust him to translate that understanding into policy - funnily enough, I'd probably want Eyebrows as Cable's "frontman", his heart seems to be in the right place even if Brown has left him with an impossible legacy, public finances that have been wrecked for a generation, and left Britain a place that's much less attractive for wealth generation.

  • Comment number 99.

    philsail1 (#97)

    Stiglitz and Bilmes have estimated the direct costs to Britain of Afghanistan and Iraq as ₤7bn to late 2007, about ₤1.2bn per year, or ₤4m per day - roughly ₤3m per day in Iraq and ₤1m per day in Afghanistan. They estimate the total costs of the wars to 2010 as being about ₤18bn, or just over ₤2bn per year.

    You're right, that's a huge sum - but compare that with the tax credit fiasco, which according to the National Audit Office cost us ₤9.6bn in four years, or ₤2.4bn per year. (see eg The two wars cost us less than is being lost through fraud and incompetence in GB's pet scheme.

    Look at it another way, the annual cost of two wars represents less than 7% of what Gordon was putting on the national credit card every year. Counting direct and indirect costs for both wars from 2001 out to 2010, they will cost the country in total no more than the deficit run up by Gordon in the 7 months before the credit crunch.

    If you think this country couldn't afford the wars, then having Gordon as Chancellor was costing us much, much more.

  • Comment number 100.

    Grrr - why can't pound signs display properly on this page? They show fine if you click on my name and view the posts there.

    misswaldorf (#96) - are you worried about losing cash in a cash ISA, or the market hammering a shares-based ISA? The former case is covered by the £35,000 guarantee per institution - Google the "Financial Services Compensation Scheme".

    For the prospects of the markets - who knows. Personally I'd probably stick with it for now. But you'd probably be better off on a dedicated financial board - Google "share discussion boards" to find some. ADVFN and Yahoo have pretty low signal:noise ratios, some of the others aren't too bad - have a look at several to see which suits you.


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