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New world, new Brown

Nick Robinson | 12:03 UK time, Sunday, 21 September 2008

In those four words - new world, new Brown - you can sum up the prime minister's interview with Andrew Marr this morning. The new world he spoke of was captured in his phrase '"it's a global economy stupid". The new Brown - in his words "I want to do better" and his acceptance that he's made mistakes including the 10 pence tax fiasco.

But just how new is any of this? When it comes to the running of the economy, the former chancellor admitted no mistakes only regrets that the rest of the world had resisted his proposals for regulation of the global financial system.

In truth, all that was new this morning was Gordon Brown's demeanour. He looked relaxed, he looked as if he realised that he was not under immediate threat. The irony is that the worse things have got in the global economy, the cheerier Gordon appears to be.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Is that the best that the BBC Political Editor can do?

    Brown didn't change his line from the usual one of 'best placed economy', 'right decisions for the long term'.

    Did he admit that his financial regulatory structures failed? No.

    Did he admit that he failed to see this coming - even though he has been closely involved in running the economy for over 11 years? No.

    Did the BBC challenge him on this?


    Why aren't the BBC holding the government to account for recent events? They are not asking the tough questions.


  • Comment number 2.

    It was Brown that ran up a >£30bn deficit (plus ??£10bn PFI?) in the twelve months to July 2007 - ie before the credit crunch hove into sight. That's a severe local problem that is limiting our room for manoevre compared to the Yanks or the Norwegians say.

    Decline in our Economist Business Environment Rating from 2nd to 10th in the world under his watch ain't going to encourage new businesses to come in and get us out of this mess either.

    And his persistent increases in oil taxation have discouraged the investment that might have halted the collapse in UK North Sea oil production - down 46% since 1999.

    But apart from that, everything's fine. And of course he still claims credit for the 10 years of growth when the global economy was growing at 5-6%.

    Didn't see him on Marr - but he was looking absolutely terrible on an interview the other day, he needs some kip.

  • Comment number 3.

    The new world he spoke of was captured in his phrase '"it's a global economy stupid".

    We've had a global economy for thousands of years; what makes Brown think it's all new? Ask the Romans or the Vikings or the Chinese or the Egyptians etc etc etc; we've had a global economy ever since boats were invented. If Brown thinks having a global economy is a totally new thing that he only now needs to think about, then that shows what a total idiot he is.

    Nick, why are you constantly telling people that the worse the economy does, the safer Brown is in his job? That makes no sense; the man's been in charge of the economy for 11 years.

    A global recession/downturn isn't all his fault, but the fact that his total negligence helped contribute/exacerbate the global situation, and the fact that we're so badly placed to deal with it, is 100% his fault.

    He didn't have to rely solely on international regulations to help limit the risk to the uk; he could have introduced national legislation to limit the risk; it's been done before (under the tories), Brown simply couldn't be bothered until it was too late.

    Nobody in their right mind is listening to anything that Brown says anymore; everyone knows he's just lying, obfuscating, and trying to shirk his own responsibilities; we don't want him anymore.

    election please.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    He's finally dug grass! Cool, man, cool.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    Now this new global economy. You'd never think that we used to buy cotton from America and do something with it in the mills of Manchester. You'd never think that we took gold mined from South Africa. You'd never think that we took meat and wool from Australia and New Zealand, to feed and clothe the masses. You'd never think that we took young men from the Dominions to fight to save democracy in World War I. Thousands dead on foreign fields.

    As for finance, find out about Arbitrage where we would buy mining shares in South Africa and sell them in London making a quick turn. Ask about over-the-Counter trading, where bits of paper, bearer bonds could be traded for cash settlement.

    What I would like to see is the international global markets bring back exchange control. You know what the Tories abolished when they last came into power, under Margaret Thatcher. You had to limit the amount of money transferred out of the country and all authorisation had to be through the Bank of England. You also had to pay a premium when buying currency. So, bring in an international system of exchange controls. Now that may well help.

    As for Gordon, resign as Prime Minister and resume the role of Chancellor, you enjoy it, you do have power, because what you failed to mention at all was the occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Why no mention of any of the sad deaths of the events in Pakistan, why not remember the names of those soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 8.

    Did anybody else watch the Sunday Politics show on BBC at 12:00. Just how rude was John Prescott, how so condescending. Did you notice how he was putting his hand on the shoulder of Charles Clarke.

    Now, when I used to work in a bar one of the first things I did when a situation was developing, was that I would put my hand on the shoulder of the main trouble maker. Not to be pally but to feel what his neck muscles were like, so that if you got into a fight you knew if he was real threat, what you might be taking on. I wonder what John was doing.

    The labour party has seriously lost the plot if they think that by not talking about a situation it will get better. Well sorry guys but the game is up. You've failed, totaly failed during your years in power to cahnge very much at all, there is still the unacceptable face of capitalism. A governmnet of national unity, stop fighting yourselves because next year will be dire.

  • Comment number 9.

    To move on Brown really needs to admit that Britain has borrowed too much, in the public and private sectors, on his watch. Has he done that yet?

  • Comment number 10.

    Gordon Brown is a beleaguered man but on an honourable mission. He would like to brush off persistent criticism from colleagues and Opponents alike and map out a strategy to reinvigorate Labour in its quest to win the next general elections. Labour is at its nadir but Gordon has found a spring in his step. This may augur better tidings. The world economic situation has been cataclysmic and no nation has been spared! But Gordon has an excellent record, a proven Chancellor who has guided the United Kingdom through choppy financial waters! So it would be totally unwise to rule him out. Instead his presciptions may jolly well be what the United Kingdom needs.

  • Comment number 11.

    Brown is in denial.

    Business as usual.

  • Comment number 12.

    It is far easier to sit back and claim that it was someone elses fault than to admit that you were standing on the railroad tracks along with everyone else, had no clue a train was coming, and didn't walk a few feet away to save yourself. That Brown allowed the financial crisis to spread to UK banks by both allowing them to adopt American mortgage practices and to acquire the defective financial instruments from American institutions because of a failure to insist on one of the most basic principles of fiduciary responsibility, due dilligence be scrupulously adhered to is proof he was equally complicit in the fiasco with everyone else. Nor did any of the media "economics and business" analysts see it coming or sound the alarm before it was too late. Nor other experts in government or finance for all their high salaries, especially in the "investment community." They all not only misjudged the severity of the problem but the size of it. The irony is that now the very people who got us into this mess will be the same ones charged with getting us out of it. Why is there any reason to believe they have suddenly become wiser than they were a short time ago when they told us everything was just fine?

  • Comment number 13.

    My old granny went to the same doctor for years and got the same prescription from him time and time again for her complaint. Over the years she must have had numerous pills from the Doctor and although some of her symptoms were helped, the real cause of her problem was not.

    In the end it was realised that what the Doctor had been prescribing was wrong, she had had far too many pills and in fact granny's complaint was just getting worse.
    " Don't worry" said the Doctor, I will change your prescription- I am after all a Doctor with years of experience- trust me"

    After talking to her friend, Granny changed Doctor

  • Comment number 14.

    Yawn. Can't Labour crawl off and die? We don't want them or their lies. JUST GO.

  • Comment number 15.

    No it doesn't show a new Brown whatsoever.

    Why? Because he's still talking about the only thing he knows anything about- finance. Whilst this is clearly extremely important he's still pushing schemes that completely and utterly destroy any privacy people had remaining.

    He's still running as corrupt a party as he ever has (something I've witnessed first hand regarding honours).

    If he wants to change he needs to stop telling us he's the best person for the current financial situation and start showing us he's the best person to run the country as a whole. Being able to run one part of the country well doesn't make him a good leader overall.

    Childcare and schooling is something he mentions briefly also but again this is only part the set of problems the nation faces.

    Where are our improved civil freedoms? Where are the reforms in public sector to get rid of the large percentage of deadweight there who act as nothing more than money sinks for billions of tax payers money? Where's the investment in sciences, technology? Where's the investment in important pieces of our history like Bletchley park?

    No, Brown hasn't changed at all.

  • Comment number 16.

    He's a tired old failure and should go now before he does any more damage to our economy.

  • Comment number 17.

    This was a pathetic performance both by a Prime Minister who appears to be in denial and an interviewer who looked like he was scared to offend him in case he was blacklisted for future interviews. Brown's replies to the questions bore no relationship to the question asked and appeared to have been rehearsed from the PR's handbook.All bluster and soundbite, claims of direct action by himself and the chancellor to save the financial world, claims of assisting people with their fuel bills, and promises of more nursery places "over the next ten years". The country's finances are on the verge of total meltdown, yet all he can produce is nonsense about nurseries and fuel prices which, while in part due to world prices are largely due to the obscene level of taxation he has applied. Surely someone amongst his self serving acolytes can pluck up the courage to tell him that his position is no longer tenable and he has neither the expertise nor the moral right to continue in office. His forte may be moralising to the taxpayer, but I suspect that his true niche may lie in doing it from the pulpit where substance is of no particular importance.

  • Comment number 18.

    'Its a global economy stupid'

    Is this the same Global Economy that means the Pound is hitting record lows against the Euro? Nice to know that the Currency Traders have such faith in Gordon's global vision.

  • Comment number 19.

    I look forward to David Cameron getting the same sympathetic analysis next week.

  • Comment number 20.

    It's beyond incredible that any political journalist or commentator still finds it in himself to give credence to anything Gordon Brown says these days. The guy has recast the mould for a "busted flush" and will go down in history as the most incompetent, dishonourable and shameful prime minister in history. Ironic since he has such an unshakeably high opinion of himself, and such utter disdain for us mere voters.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ha Ha! If nothing else the interview made me chuckle.
    Sounded to me like Brown's got a new scriptwriter.
    The familiar hand gestures, "Look, I'm just an ordinary guy..." "I've mede mistakes... must do better...".
    It must be really confusing for the Blairite rebels, having GB looking and sounding just like TB.

  • Comment number 22.

    From Robert Preston's blog:

    "the statutory ceiling on US public debt is being raised from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion a rise of 6.6 per cent - which puts this ceiling at around a fifth less than the entire annual output of the US economy."

    So I think that means that the ceiling on public debt in the US is set at 80% of GDP. In the UK it is 40% (though currently a bit above that because of the extra 6% on account of Northern Rock). I think I recall that the level in Japan is similar to the US, while the EU sets its preferred ceiling at 60% .

    You can see why Brown has a reputation for prudence. Or is there something wrong with these comparisons?

    As for today's interview, I thought Brown did a lot better and got some good shots in at the Conservatives. Unfortunately though he will never be Blair.

  • Comment number 23.

    I expect the majority of the 11 comments waiting to be moderated at the time that I am posting this comment are to do with concern about the Nick (I'm a Tory Supporter) Robinson's biased views of the PM's interview with Andrew Marr. I expect Nick Robinson, as a BBC reporter, to provide unbiased views. I do not expect him to lead the debate with a negative comment about the PM.

    I am not a Labour supporter, but after hearing the PM today, I am currently confident that the Government is doing everything they can do for our economy with the current global crisis. I much prefer Brown to sort out the problems than for soudbite, unexperienced, webcameron to try and sort it out.

  • Comment number 24.

    it doesn't wash anymore. sorry.....

  • Comment number 25.

    New Brown?!!

    Sounded like the same old Brown script to me.

    Essentially, random phrases taken from the following and re-arranged every now and again...

    "I am committed to taking the right long term decisions for the economic challenges we face.... and that's what I will continue to do.... blah blah... I think what matters is that I get on with the job, and that job is... blah blah... we will work together to deal with the economic problems we face... blah blah... I will continue to take the right long term decision for the country... blah blah.... My priority is and always has been to the PEOPLE of Britain, to the hard working families up and down the country.... blah blah.... challenges.... together.... make a difference.... blah blah...."


  • Comment number 26.

    Sory, but we've heard it all before - except that TB was a far better actor when prefending to shedding crocodile tears than GB will ever be.

    We've had two sick-inducing diversions already: "Harry Potter and the Financial Rescue of the Labour Party" and yet more freebies for kiddies (to be paid for by yet another stealth tax on the REAL "hard working British families", of course). It doesn't take political genius to know there will be plenty more of the same half-warmed-up political junk food on offer for the next few days. Wake me up when it's over.

    GB should enjoy his little holiday in Fortress Manchester while he can. The Party (and The Project) will soon be over.

  • Comment number 27.

    We've had Thatcherism; we've had Blairism; welcome to the fantasy economic world of Gordonomics.

    1 Encourage the middle classes to mortgage, re-mortgage, draw down the difference and spend, meanwhile tax them as hard as you can get away with.
    2 Pay the others generous welfare benefits to keep them voting Labour as clients of a Labour Government. Reinforce this buy channelling government projects into Labour seats at the expense of the rest of the country.
    3 Borrow as much as you can get away with; anything else use PFI at whatever the cost or value for money to keep the assets off the Governments books.
    4 Keep telling everyone who will listen that you have banished boom and bust and am a brilliant Chancellor, some will believe you.
    5 Keep your fingers crossed.

    Woops, the whole edifice has come tumbling down so:

    6 So blame everyone but yourself.

    There is only one reason for Gordon to stay on and that is to apologise for the mess that he has created. At the present time he cannot even acknowledge the reality and will never admit that he has made a mistake, but then he never could.
    Who's he trying to kid; because he doesn't kid me?

  • Comment number 28.

    Ah, I get the picture now. It's not only all us stupid British voters who should listen to Mr Brown, but the entire world!

    Does the man's foolishness know no bounds?

  • Comment number 29.

    Brown in denial,BBC seemingly the only people in the country who think he has any credibility at all,same old Brown,same old BBC.

  • Comment number 30.

    I listened to Brown on the Marr show.

    I simply do not understand his harping on about a "new global economy". The economy has been global for centuries - accelerating post WWII.

    All the way through Brown's chancellorship China was accumulating US dollars.

    If he'd said that the lack of control over financial institutions was partly helped by EU efforts to make the US SEC reduce controls over the "imaginative" finance houses, I'd have clapped him.

    Nothing he could do about global oil or commodity prices. But they've always gone up and down.

    Fact is that he allowed - even encouraged - a credit-based UK economy. That's not global. That's local.

    He could have limited the waterfall of loose cash into house purchase. By itself, that would have limited the soar-away rise in prices. And restricted re-mortgaging for the sake of casual high-street expenditure.

    He could have encouraged more people to invest in private pension schemes. But chose to remove a tax-concession. That was nothing to do with global economics.

    The 10p tax-rate fiasco (still unresolved over the long term), was a totally UK, Brown inspired, cock-up. You can't blame the Chinese, Indians or Americans for that.

    Now he wants mothers (potential economic units) to hand over their two-year-olds to some state funded nurseries. I realise that his advisers think it's a good idea to teach sex education to 5 year olds, but has this guy any intention of shuffling his own kids into the hands of a third party?

    I have quite a lot of sympathy for the man as an individual.

    Just think he, Blair, Mandelson and Campbell created a parallel universe which could only be inhabited by people with a "reality lobotomy".

  • Comment number 31.

    Brown is the new Brown. JKR's donation is a nice touch for the man who can turn a coach and horses in a pumpkin and 4 mice.

  • Comment number 32.

    Each time Mr Brown churns out the mantras "I am the best man to lead us through the economic crisis" and "I will do better" and "I am listening to your concerns" the more convinced he is not the best man, he will not do better and he is not listening. It is a basic principle of humility not to blow your won trumpet - surely Mr Brown, being the son of a christian minister should have learn that by now - but it seems he has not. This is only surpassed in crassness by his cabinet lackeys echoeing almost word for word these phrases - and I am so sure everyone can see they don't believe a word they are saying !

  • Comment number 33.

    What will you do, Mr Robinson, when you have finally personally rid the country of an elected Prime Minister? Your lack of professional impartiality is wearing a little thin.

  • Comment number 34.

    The worse things get the more cheerful, must be the undertaker in him coming out.

  • Comment number 35.

    New world, new Brown; wasnt that called renewal last year.

    Its just a new catch phrase.

    Im used to politians thinking we stupid, but this is startling.

    Hes clearly taking a line from that famous orator George W:

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones to concentrate on.

  • Comment number 36.

    New Rule, You Will Obey
    They are going to make our streets safer and quieter.
    But they are doing it by closing down whatever pubs or clubs that are a nuisance.
    (i didn't think there were that many left).
    Just the ones with those noisy, despised smokers standing outside, or the drinkers who insist on enjoying themselves.
    Remember, you can enjoy yourselves for free swimming.
    (65 and over)

  • Comment number 37.

    "I must do better". Wake up Mr Brown, this is not a rehearsal. You spent years plotting and scheming to get the job and now it is time to face the stark truth: You just aren't up to it.

  • Comment number 38.

    The world is round!

  • Comment number 39.

    27. skynine

    I think youve just outlined the 6 of the 7 REAL golden rules:

    You forgot 7:

    Increase pay, pensions and perks to an ever growing number public sector in order to create millions of beholden voters.

  • Comment number 40.

    Brown is saying his"wisdom and experience" makes him the right man.
    Is this the same Brown who, as chancellor, refused to listen to his advisers and devastated the pension funds (which should be sacrosant- the pensioners will have to live on it!)leaving nothing but chaos in his insatiable greed for (other peoples) money. Get rid of him he always has and is still desperate to bleed the country - WHATEVER thecost!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    33. At 3:32pm on 21 Sep 2008, mrshamilton wrote:
    What will you do, Mr Robinson, when you have finally personally rid the country of an elected Prime Minister?

    Who elected him? Himself?

  • Comment number 42.

    We had a boom now it seems we are having a bust. Now somewhere in the dim distant past I seem to remeber a chancellor saying he would eradicate this cycle. Clearly he didn't. This same chancellor is now a prime minister - perhaps the worst one this country has ever had. So if his party dosn't have the balls to remove him from power then the country most certainally will.

  • Comment number 43.

    Nick I did warn you the other day that most of these clowns on these blogs dont want to hear what you think, they want you to say what they think.
    Now I guess you must be getting a little tired of all this slagging off that their giving you but keep doing the job in the same unbiased way that you have done for years I have thought many times that you were biased in favour of the Tories but I suppose that goes with the job.
    Anyway carry on saying what you think and nuts to any voters that try to influence you to write in support about anything you dont believe in.
    I know that you will anyway but I just thought I would add a little support for free speech which seems to be dying the death on these blogs recently.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick - the BBC makes me laugh. I watched this appalling 'love in' with Andrew Marr and you, him and al the rest of the left-wing apologists are clinging to any scrap of positive news about Labour. Andrew Marr gave him such an easy ride you would have thought it was a party political broadcast!

    Why didn't he ask-

    1) Why when he inherited a booming economy in the black did he feel the need to raise taxes and destroy pension funds?

    2) Why sell off the Gold Reserves at their lowest rate.

    3) How much of the increased spending was wasted on building a Labour 'client state', i,e outreach co-ordinators, millions of people cynically trapped on benefits.

    The worst Chancellor in history. Typical Labour!

  • Comment number 45.

    Excruciatingly painful to watch!
    How else can anyone describe the labour party conference and the array of two faced ministers extoling the virtues of Gordon Brown.
    On Friday we had a world crisis. It hasn't ended but no one seems to have told them that.
    Just take a look at the lot of them. Could anyone ever trust any of them again.
    You have to be in real denial of the truth if you did.
    They have no policies so they make one up on childcare that doesn't come into force for ten years. It will never happen and they'll be long gone by then.
    This is the biggest insult to the British public I have ever known.
    While they are playing around in this muppet show others across the world are trying to sort out a crisis that could affect us all.
    It is interesting to note that Gordon Brown is too busy extoling his own virues he does not appear to have time to participate.
    Why? Because he hasn't a clue and is waiting to be told what to do or say next.
    It is even more sickening that he truly believes that he is the man who can save us all and expects us to believe it too.
    As far as the rest of the cabinet are concerned they would be better off keeping a very low profile. Least said the better from all of them.
    Come Monday morning it will be back to reality.

  • Comment number 46.

    14pplyou say

    Yawn. Can't Labour crawl off and die? We don't want them or their lies. JUST GO.

    I wish that you would do just that, if you did I might forgive you, you naughty gentleman. [all errors deliberate]

  • Comment number 47.

    Shameful reporting by the BBC.

    But in summary, Brown and Balls created the FSA and it has proved a complete disaster - their solution? create an international FSA - idiotic.

    Just like all socialists, when socialism is show to fail they cry goes up "it wasn't done properly - the solution is more not less". Just as idiotic...

    If it doesn't work - ditch it and change your approach - stupid.

    And that applies to interviewing and reporting just as much as political experiments.

  • Comment number 48.

    Ugh - I'm sick to death of this idiot, the lies, debacles, arrogance, denial. Even just seeing his face. You're as useless a PM as you were a chancellor Brown. Start actually listening to the country and you'll realise how the public feel. Just go now.

  • Comment number 49.

    Weve just traded in Trust me Tony for Believe me Brown

    I must do better.... hes not wrong.

  • Comment number 50.

    3 getridofgordonnow
    This I guess is your opinion and you of course are entitled to it along with your fellow bloggers on here.

    "Nobody in their right mind is listening to anything that Brown says anymore; everyone knows he's just lying, obfuscating, and trying to shirk his own responsibilities; we don't want him anymore."

    The only problem I have with that is the use of the words, Nobody, Everyone, and We,I find it strange that you Tories write on here as if whatever you say is right.
    How is it you believe that you have the right to speak on behalf of myself and millions of other people.

    The trouble with you and your Tory[and i'm not a Tory] friends is that you seem to have an idea in your heads that what you say becomes gospel, well think again my friend millions of people totally disagree with you so please dont believe that we would elect you to vote on our behalf.

    If you dont mind a little correction, you should have wrote.

    "We Tories who we think are in our right mind aren't listening to anything that Brown says anymore; we all think he's just lying, obfuscating, and trying to shirk his own responsibilities; we don't want him anymore."

    Now doesn't that make more sense. and from your point of view probably correct.

    [All grammatical spelling and typing mistakes deliberate]

  • Comment number 51.

    48 election now please, A very constructive piece, and with those words you consider youself to be the right type of person to vote in a new government do you, perhaps for a little reality check you should look in the mirror at your face, not quite such a pretty sight as you thought, time to grow up dont you think.

  • Comment number 52.

    One more point - the way this goverment has treated the Ghurkas is reason alone to vote Tory!

  • Comment number 53.

    48 and 51

    Hey, Ho - off we go!

  • Comment number 54.

    This seems eerily reminiscent of the early 1990s, with a discredited government limping on under the leadership of a deeply unpopular, out-of-his-depth Prime Minister, with the whole crew hanging on in the Micwaberish hope that "something will turn up". Nothing will turn up. The next election is already lost. If this lot had a shred of decency, they would go. Now.

  • Comment number 55.

    Its fairly clear none of the neo-cons can offer an alternative..indeed..not one policy between them......Humdrum.......

    Its a modern world, where Bn's... can move across nation in hours.

    What we need, is a regulated body to control that! something only a labour government can progress to.

    The tories are yesterdays news....redundant in idea and stitched lips on the economy...back pedalling bankers.

    "Dave" and the notting-hill penny pinchers...
    and of course a J..Archer....lord of the "RINGERS"//

  • Comment number 56.

    It definitely does show a new Browner.A Browner with even less authority than he had a week ago.A Browner who is even more hated by the oppressed people of this country than he was a week ago.
    Where is the required grilling he so richly deserves?
    It makes me wonder what he would have to do to us(touching wood) to be held to account properly.
    BTW, I despise the Liberals and the Tories just as much as Labour.

  • Comment number 57.

    On my walk yesterday I trod in some brown stuff left by a careless dog-owner

    Although an unpleasant task to clean up, it was far less distasteful - and far easier to remove all traces of - than the Brown stuff emanating from the Andrew Marr show this morning.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think some posters have forgotten that the 2000 year old global economy, was until relatively recently, built on slave labour. You didnt have to take into consideration the economic will of China or India, until they became free.

  • Comment number 59.

    The Andrew Marr interview of Gordon Brown was a new low for the BBC.

    I am seriously thinking of getting rid of my TV.

  • Comment number 60.

    So noting is going to happen again. Brown has sorted it with his mouth and hide again, its pathetic. We need some one with action.

    I feel ashamed than I used to canvas for labor party; last conservative government seems much better.

  • Comment number 61.

    Its funny how fickle the public are. During ten years of prosperity no-one seemed to think that Brown was incompetant, but all of a sudden he is because the economy is in a downturn. Im afraid the hard-truth is we need to grow up as voters and realise we live in the globalised world, and many things are out of our government's control. We moan and whinge when government interferes and say the state is inefficient and shouldnt interfere in the economy when things are going right. But then when things go wrong all of a sudden its the government's fault. You cant have it both ways. What do people imagine David Cameron will do to solve the economic crisis? Just because he looks younger, and is more charasmatic does not equate to good governance. People love the free market in the good times and hate it in the bad times.

  • Comment number 62.

    51. Loser

  • Comment number 63.

    Sorry I could resist it, an old navy joke, but so appropriate for today.

    Standing on the deck of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson glanced up at a lookout high in the rigging and called, “Keep a keen eye out for Spanish sail, my lad. For today, I feel like a fight.” Soon, the lookout cried, “Sail ho, off the starboard bow!”

    Nelson pointed his spyglass in the direction indicated, and - sure enough - there were two Spanish frigates off the starboard bow. Realizing that his ship was in for a tough fight, Lord Nelson turned to a young officer. “Ensign, fetch my red coat!”

    A few minutes later, the Ensign returned with the coat. As he held it out for his Admiral to wear, he said, “Begging your pardon, My Lord, but why do you need your red coat?”

    Nelson smiled grimly. “There’ll be much blood spilled today, Son. And some of it might well be mine. If it should happen that I am wounded, my red coat will hide the blood. Then, our own men will take heart from seeing their commander apparently untouched, and our enemies will fear my invincibility.”

    The Ensign nodded, seeing at once the wisdom of the Admiral’s reasoning. The battle was long and difficult, but Nelson eventually won the day.

    A few days later, a lookout shouted down, “Sail ho, off the port beam!”

    Nelson pointed his spyglass in the direction indicated, and found himself staring at the entire Spanish Armada. Hundreds of ships bearing down on his lone ship like angels of death.

    Anticipating his Admiral’s next order, the young Ensign said, “Shall I fetch your red coat, Sir?”

    Nelson nodded. “Do that, Son. And while you’re at it, fetch me my brown trousers!”

    We've been "trousered".

  • Comment number 64.

    Come...on.....give us a policy......only one....


    O' you dont do policies...Hmmmmmmm

    Ranting little rich kids..........come .....policy.........

  • Comment number 65.

    I have said it before and I will say it again.

    Of course the world economic crisis is not Gordon Brown's fault. To blame him is grotesquely unfair.

    To allow him to use it as a smokescreen behind which to hide his manifest failings as a prime minister would be equally grotesque.

    By confusing these two issues, some posters are in serious danger of letting him off the hook.

  • Comment number 66.

    The BBC News 24 report at 17.30 today headlined with the Labour conference, saying that Gordon Brown's leadership is still the subject of debate. But it is the BBC generating this, not least by the rather poor interview by Andrew Marr. Leadership is a tiresome non-issue, and it would be helpful if the BBC stopped playing this theme (which the media so enjoy), and focussed on the big political issues which listeners are much more interested in.

  • Comment number 67.


    Yes, the public are fickle, but I do not think that they have suddenly lurched into dislike of Labour just because the global economy has come apart at the seams. Labour was already unpopular, a fact which, ironically, made it much easier for GB to replace Blair. Many of Labour's policies - such as the Iraq war, plus the ten percent tax fiasco - were unpopular long before the recent economic crisis. There have also been serious worries over government competence, highlighted by data losses, for example.

    More generally, the tendency has become one in which governments lose elections more often than oppositions win them. This is what got Blair elected in 1997 - public disatisfaction with the incumbents.

    It is regrettable, but true, that, to get elected, David Cameron need do no more than smile and keep repeating "my name is not Brown".

  • Comment number 68.

    the-bfc @61,

    In the view of many, Brown has always been incompetent (His only two 'competent' actions were following Tory spending plans for the first two budgets and granting independence to the BoE.

    BTW, What does the 'c' stand for? I assume your moniker is The Big Friendly C[something].

    Based one the contents of your post I could make a further assumption - but it wouldn't be 'friendly'.

  • Comment number 69.


    Great gag. The Navy joke that I think best fits the current situation is this:

    Officer, to sailor about to leave the RN:
    "What are you going to be when you leave the Navy?"

    In this situation, what are we going to be when GB leaves office?:

  • Comment number 70.

    Two key points of interest in between the usual hot air. Firstly he used the words 'risk' and 'guarantee' in the same sentence i.e. we're in financial difficulty because city types were taking investment risks without guarantees. Sorry? That's the nature of risk...there are no guarantees...shows how much of a panic Brown is in now. Secondly he refused to answer Marr over the inevitable tax increases to pay for all the cash the Government are paying the banks to keep them solvent. Brown knows this will happpen but yet again he refuses to give us an honest answer. It's not boom and bust, it's bust, bust and bust again.

  • Comment number 71.

    JonathanLmb @66 wrote:
    "... it would be helpful if the BBC stopped playing this theme (which the media so enjoy), and focussed on the big political issues which listeners are much more interested in."

    What other 'big political' issues are there?

    Most people want to know:

    1) When will Brown Go
    2) Who will replace him?
    3) When will there be a General Election.

    There's obviously no pint discussing 'the economy' as everything was hunky-dory in the UK until that nasty 'global crisis' (which has nothing to do with St Gordo) erupted.

  • Comment number 72.

    # 61 the-bfc

    You say: "During ten years of prosperity no-one seemed to think that Brown was incompetent"

    Actually, it was only Labour supporters that admired his "skill". The truth is, he inherited a stable economy from the Tories at a time the world economy was also growing. Nevertheless, Brown did not make hay while the sun was shining, but squandered his opportunities.

    You are right that many of our problems now are due to the global situation, but Brown's policies have left us badly exposed - tax and waste, massive borrowing and selling our gold reserves at the wrong price have not helped.

    Brown's protestations that it's the global economy would not sound so hollow if he had not previously tried to take personal credit for ending "boom and bust". Oddly, he doesn't mention that any more.

  • Comment number 73.


    Of course Brown looked cheery. Andrew Marr is so sycophantically pro-Labour that Brown knew he would not face a single challenge or searching question, only the occasional Marr cry of Hosanna after a Gordon sound-bite.

    Marr's broadcasts should count against Labour's Party political broadcast quota.

  • Comment number 74.

    Labour Conference?

    Same excrement, different twenty four hour period.

  • Comment number 75.

    Good interview. Pointless hate on Brown.

    Why are these people resigning when they should be working, serving their citizens in such a troubled time?

    Pathetic, good riddance they resign, shows they've bottled it.

    And yes it is a new global economy. The time of Romans was no way near as complicated as what is going on these days. Silly thing to even say they're similar. Really silly.

  • Comment number 76.

    62 electionnow please. another great display of why no one should take notice of anything you say.

  • Comment number 77.

    You're not kidding. At the opening of the party conference, he looked positively delighted with himself. "What a week," he chortled, grinning from ear to ear.
    Glad he's keeping someone happy. The rest of us look on, bemused.

  • Comment number 78.

    64. derekbarker

    Ok Derek, Im feeling altruistic tonight, its Sunday after all.

    Heres a few:

    Seek out and destroy waste all over the public sector.

    Reduce the number of public sector staff, all equality and diversity staff to go at the end of the first month, then Id really get stuck in.

    Insist on our full rebate from Brussels until they actually get a set of accounts signed off and the French relinquish a good proportion of their CAP payments.

    Cut back on government advertising and PR, if you want to know what were up then log and read.

    Massively reduce the roll of Quangos in every day life. And reduce the roll of the state in every day life. Where do you start with this one?

    No long term detention, No ID cards, No support for US extraordinary rendition.

    Slow down public sector pay so that it isnt more lucrative to work there than in the private sector. End final pension salary schemes.

    Move the police onto the streets and the PCSOs into the office. What other business has the quality staff in the office form filling and trainees on the front line.

    Build prisons that are essentially cells and teaching blocks, and not holiday camps; ban play stations and parties for inmates.

    Make any devolved country pay for any benefit it wishes to grants its citizens from taxing its own citizens directly. (sorry Derek time to pay your own way)

    Let Doctors run the NHS, not politicians.

    Let teachers run the schools and not politicians.

    Total reform of MPs expenses system

    Purchase body armour for soldiers that works.

    Cut taxes to business.

    Reintroduce tax relief for private pensions.

    Reduce borrowing in part.

    Cut taxes to private citizens starting with poor families and pensioners.

    Could go on for hours but gotta run the house keepers just rung the dinner gong!

  • Comment number 79.

    Brown has said words similar to this for months. People have stopped listening to him. The average voter has enough on their plate to worry about - personal debt is up, the economic climate is shaky, people do not know if their jobs are secure or whether they will have enough money to heat their homes this winter.

    Gordon Brown does not inspire confidence. He cannot triangulate himself like Blair (or Clinton during his time as US President - especially after his impeachment crisis) could and thus instill sympathy from the electorate.

    Whatever happens next and whatever Brown does, he'll get a kicking at the ballot box. Third Term Governments always hit trouble and run out of steam - perhaps an electoral defeat in 2010 might actually 'save' Labour in the end, look at the Tories in 1992-1997 was that really a Parliament worth winning?

  • Comment number 80.


    A great list.

    One of the big ones here is cutting bureaucracy, which has grown exponentially over the last decade. We could make huge savings, conservatively estimated by some commentators at GBP 20 billion annually, simply by culling pen-pushers. The Tories know this, but are not saying so because all they need to do to get elected is to keep reminding people that "we are not Labour". Nick Clegg has wised up to this one, too.

    I would add, though, that it is imperative that something is done, urgently, to replace ageing power generating capacity, because there are at present no firm plans for the replacement of ageing nuclear reactors, half of which are slated to close during 2014-16.

  • Comment number 81.

    My old Nanny always said everything goes in threes.
    Mbeki resigned a few hours ago, and Olmert goes at 7:30 Israeli time tonight. So when will Gordon's glue become unstuck?

  • Comment number 82.

    Interesting isn't it. Brown perks up because NuLabour can't find a canditate who is attractive enough to field against Brown within NLabour.That is judged a success, that is the horizon. Bit introspective and yet more of a turn-off.

    Meanwhile the electorate feel totally disempowered and cannot see any end to the decline around them and have no say in events and do not appear to believe Brown has any solutions to offer. Big mistake not to get Browns succession endorsed at the polls it would appear. Browns biggest negative is he is seen as having been chummied in unopposed, and dont give the old rhubarb that anybody knew when the voted Blair in they would get Brown.

    Currently Brown can't say he has done anything wrong or do much dramaticallly different in terms of the policy to date otherwise he damns himself. As policy to date, whether it was sound or not is percieved as unsound that leaves a bit of a task.

    What economically is due to change in the next year or two that the electorate will feel is due to Browns policies. As there seems to be little vision and little in the way of policies coming out it is difficult to see. If Brown is seen as just coasting then any pick up will be seen as nothing to do with Brown.

    I'm glad I don't have to try sort that one. Brown is the original Reluctant Zero.

  • Comment number 83.

    #68 - MaxSceptic

    Oh! I was thinking it was the British Constitution and trying to figure out what the other letter stood for.

  • Comment number 84.

    I can't say I was that impressed with Andrew Marr - he could've been a lot tougher, he did try to reassert himself when Brown just denied everything, but he was no Paxman - Brown got away with blaming the rest of the world and spouting his usual 'we lifted 50 billion children out of poverty' line

  • Comment number 85.

    summary of Brown's interview:

    "you said boom and bust is gone" - "it is"

    "but the economy is at 0% growth" - "it's not bust"

    "unemployment is up" - "no it isn't"

    "inflation is up" - "world's fault"

    "nobody listened to my ideas to reform the global market" - despite having absolute control of one of the largest economies in the world, perhaps you should have said these ideas publicly, gordon and not doing the exact opposite of those ideas during that time may also have helped your case

  • Comment number 86.

    "Gordon Brown does not inspire confidence. He cannot triangulate himself like Blair (or Clinton during his time as US President - especially after his impeachment crisis) could and thus instill sympathy from the electorate"

    This is the problem. People are happy if the guy seems charismatic enough without actually bothering if they actually can.

    Ever since TV, the requirement for what we think need in a leader has gone the wrong way.

  • Comment number 87.

    This is pretty much like any other Labour day.

    The rebelion is being crushed, the polls are being ignored, the party continues to congratulate itself, ministers are even more detached from reality and Gordon is still there.

    Well, you can't say that isn't progress.

    Next, they'll be wondering how they lost the upcoming by-election, shock horror, it must be someone elses fault.

    Silly electorate, oh well, carry on regardless.

  • Comment number 88.

    Remember what Harry S Truman said:
    'It's a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it's a depression when you lose your job'

    And, to paraphrase Reagan in later years, 'it's the start of a recovery when Brown loses his'

  • Comment number 89.

    86.hiddenranbir - any leader must have a degree of charisma, and it stretches way back before tv - more like back to when democracy began in the late 19th century

    blair was somewhat excessive on the personality, but the person must be able to inspire confidence in the people

    it's all very well being good at a job - say you had a manager who was incredibly good with the figures, marketing, budgets etc - however he was the least likeable bloke in the world, as a result staff hated him and staff turnover was incredibly high, and therefore production and revenue suffered - the democratic system has its flaws and unfortunately you have to take the popularity aspect with it

    that said, i'm getting fed up of people saying Brown is only hated for his lack of charisma and that he has 'substance' - i can disagree with plenty of the government's policies within the last year, but oh no - i just dislike him because he's not personable..

  • Comment number 90.

    I was astonished to hear GB say that money was being put to provide free nursery places for 2 year olds. I know the cabinet met recently in Birmingham to see what was on peoples' minds, but I must admit that for all the conversations I've had in Birmingham, the need for free places in nurseries for 2 year olds didn't come up. I may just be mixing in the wrong circles of course, but I do suspect that this plan is yet another long term project of GB's that has little to do with current need and is more to do with finding something popular to do. No doubt we will hear how this project is getting behind in meeting its targets of implementation as the years drag by. Perhaps the government should find the money to give pretty fluffy bunnies to all one year olds - or is that being said at this moment in conference? Indeed, have they already done it?

  • Comment number 91.

    If Gordon thinks there won't be an inquest on the economy (with derivatives still apparently a ticking bomb) then Gordon is further gone than many thought. That was an epic disaster that we got away with.

    A week or two back it was "listening Gordon" now we have "New Gordon". Alistair Campbell must be the brains behind the slick repackaging.

    The trouble is even Gordon does not believe it.

    There are no big ideas and nobody seems sure if this is New Labour or Old Labour or Mid-Labour.

    The Scots will probably vote for independence in 2010 so thats a chunk of safe seats and ... err.. Gordon gone.

    The days of the 10p tax change look like an idyllic dream now! Iraq.

    Its not a case of looking for targets is what do you have time for ...

    Miliband looks as though he will become leader by default and I am sure he will write a nice essay about it but in practice will he be even worse than Gordon.

  • Comment number 92.

    1/cuts/ no change

    2/ create mass unemployment/ no change

    3/ ignite the EU row again/no change

    4/stop PR re-somking/no change

    5/no policies/no change

    6/let the terrorist act/no change

    7/reduce pay/ cut pensions/ no change

    8/remember Brixton/ no change

    9/prisoners no human rights/ no change

    10/separate the union/ no change

    11/let no one challenge the doctors/ no change

    12/close state schooling/ no change

    13/give more money to MP's/ no change

    14/behind with the news/ no change

    15/give the money men more/ no change

    16/pension relief/ not alignment/ no change

    17/cuts again/ no change

    18/private citizens?/ what?/no change

    Wow! thatchers little babies indeed! cuts....cuts...some more ploicies....and finally cuts.......

  • Comment number 93.

    So now we are to have the Home Secretary going after men who use prostitutes. She must have read my comments on your blog about Shakespeare and money and 'pimps and whores'. I wish that they would stop stealing my ideas.

    As for Gordon, he does seem more confident. So confident that I think that he may actually win the next general election. There is however, a problem because if labour does somehow recover and win then I think that Gordon has to tell us how long he will serve for. Remember, our lovely boy Tony had to say that he would serve a full term. Now then Gordon, are you just so confident that you too will tell us that you will serve a full term, or will you resign, both the leadership and your seat so that you can do exactly the same as I'm a striaght sort of guy, Tony.

    As for Prescott is he actually going to satnd at the next election or can we expect him to go the House of Lords.

    They really are so finished.

  • Comment number 94.

    I am truly fed up with the BBC. On the day that the most in depth poll shows that Labour are to be totally wiped out across the country not a mention. Given the Labour conference is on I find this hard to understand as it has to rate as top news.

    However Gordon is promoted as he will do better and also gets a nice little cuddle from Mr Marr in an interview which was the equivilant of being savaged by a half dead hamster.

    This is an utter national disgrace because if it were the other way round and the Tories were in that position it would be front page every day (and you did in 1997)

    Sadly I note even you Nick are going along with this utter charade.

  • Comment number 95.

    Gordon Brown is a rare personality type I know very well, because it’s a personality type I share, along with other characters like Steve Jobs and Baroness Scone. Watching some of the Prime Minister’s mistakes and unplanned difficulties is like a flashback. Now, I’ve got through that reality wall and watching the Prime Minister go through the same process is both sobering and illuminating. It may not be the greatest show on earth but, for now, I’m generally pleased with what’s unfolding.

    The Prime Minister came out too strong and allowed nitpicks to derail him, which lead to both the incredible expansion and collapse of headline popularity, but the Prime Minister is savvy or well advised enough to have grasped these issues quite rapidly. From his earlier speeches and other comment I’m persuaded his sense of vision and society is credible, and as he’s developing confidence and showmanship, so more of this narrative will develop and connect with people.

    I commented that this recession was a mere blip and the global economic situation was doable. After the chaos and despair of the past few weeks has show how little some folks understand economics, and how little character they have, it’s no surprise the Prime Minister is looking pleased. Simply, by delivering on the issues and being unflappable he’ll ship a sound product and do an endrun of the flim-flam. You wanted change? Nothing sells like a demonstration.

    I’ll buy that for a dollar!

  • Comment number 96.

    #90 - artisticsocrates

    No, that one won't get put on the back burner. It will be funded from the Lottery like so many other 'good causes' the Treasury should have paid for. Let's hope the CBSO, unlike the banks, keeps a good balance sheet because there won't be money to bail them out. It will all have been nicked to buy Gordon's next election triumph.

  • Comment number 97.

    The truth is that the effects of the credit crunch are becoming more personal by the day for millions. Human nature wants to apportion blame and the only outlet is the government: goodbye, Gordon. Notwithstanding that no one body/organisation/person in all this is to blame, Labour will have to pay.

  • Comment number 98.

    Chuck E Hogwash @95,

    The two key 'personality traits' you share with Brown are

    1) delusion

    2) mantra-like repetition of untruths in the hope that by such repetition they will, somehow, become truths (e.g. "No more boom and bust").

    Do you also bite your nails?

  • Comment number 99.

    Maybe Gordon was cheery because yet again he wasn't going to face the sort of questions the public want asking?
    Maybe it was also the fact that the Labour Party can't square the circle of what to do with him and are caught in a whirlwind of indecision.
    They know he's unpopular with the puplic, as is the Labour party, but if they replace him, would the public demand a general election (which Labour would lose)? Is there anyone on the Labour side of the commons with the charisma and lack of political baggage that could be turn the fortunes of the party around before becoming leader? Could such a trick ever be accomplished?
    Would Gordon ever sanction such a strategy? Would the cabinet go along with it?
    So many variables to consider, but the main one is how poorly traditional Labour supporters think of the party. How do you get them back on board without looking old-labour and bankrupting the system?
    Would a change of image be a cheap way of accomplishing that?
    Could traditional Labour voters be fooled so easily?
    So many questions, so few obvious answers...

  • Comment number 100.


    Wise up.

    People who don't appreciate the last decade aren't necessarily advocating a return to the previous decade or another century.

    If you seriously believe that the Labour adminsitration has managed YOUR tax money as well as it could have been managed, you should read a few more self-help books about managing money.

    Brown has allowed a huge credit-based boom. He could have stopped it. It's not the fault of global changes that the UK's economy was built on a bubble of loans.

    If you really believe that all children, from age 2, should be confined to state-sponsored nurseries then there is no hope for a future generation.

    I would never say that public employment is bad and private emloyment is good. But I would add the qualifiers "productive and useful" before each category.

    There is plenty of waste in private companies (plcs). But much of the dead wood is devoted to trying to interpret bloody silly regulations.

    If a company could not take out 2-3 percent of cost, when under commercial pressure, their management deserves to be sacked.

    This Government assumes that all spending is an "investment" and therefore there is never a need to trim its spend - OUR money - to meet the realities.

    That's the beef!

    Governments don't have money. They use OUR money.

    That's true of any political set-up.

    I dislike unbridled capitalism as much as communism, because neither delivers for the wider population.

    Quite happy to see some smoother distribution of wealth. But only if the people benefiting make a bit of effort to contribute their share.

    Don't see why I should buy an expensive home for Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper.


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