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The truce is over

Nick Robinson | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Briefly, it looked as though questions about Gordon Brown's leadership had been put on hold. Not any more.

Gordon BrownThe former Home Secretary Charles Clarke has written an article for this week's New Statesman which will re-open them. Labour, he writes, is "destined to disaster" and "utter destruction at the next general election" unless it changes course.

His article denies that there is any "Blairite plot" against Gordon Brown before adding, menacingly, that "There is, however, a deep and widely shared concern which does not derive from ideology - that Labour is destined to disaster if we go on as we are, combined with a determination that we will not permit that to happen." What could he mean by that? He doesn't say.

Here's my guess. Mr Clarke knows that there is a sizeable section of the Labour Party who have concluded that Gordon Brown cannot recover and that their party is heading for defeat at the next election. He will also know that many of that group have also concluded that removing their leader could be even more damaging than letting him stay in post. His message to them appears to be "some of us won't keep quiet whilst the ship heads for the rocks".

It is, of course, not news that Mr Clarke is not Mr Brown's biggest fan. However, he has once again said in public and his usual eye wateringly blunt way what many are saying in private.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Gordon Brown's ship sailed straight out of Southwold and onto a sandbank.

    Now the wreckers are going to pull him to pieces.

    This will be fun to watch.

  • Comment number 2.

    The ship is heading for the rocks but changing the captain will just speed up the eventual demise and make it even worse. So the best thing Clarke and others can do is to suggest some ways Brown can make things better than they would otherwise be. Any ideas Charles?

  • Comment number 3.

    Lets make it easy for them. We take to the streets and demand an election now.

    For once lets get off our backsides and do it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Clarke seems to be stoking the fires of rebellion in time for the conference season.

    I'd be impressed if anyone challenged Gordon - but I think they are all gutless.

    ..... also a lot of MP's know they are doomed. They are hanging on to the gravy train for as long as possible and no doubt trying to get plum jobs on company boards before Labour sinks.

    There doesn't seem to be too many people who are looking to save Labour from total obliteration.

    If they give Gordon another year or so, Labour could go the same way as The Whigs.....

  • Comment number 5.

    When Brown utters a statement like 'Back me or sack me' then we know his transformation into John Major is complete...

    Let's face it - the country is heading towards recession (or in recession,) property prices have collapsed, unemployment is rising, people are worried about how to survive from month to month and there are problems ahead with energy security.

    All (or any) of those problems should concern a politician of any political affiliation but for Brown it won't. How much longer will people be able to stand the old addage that 'We [the Government] are listening and are in the best position to deal with X?' The party is over. No-one really wants the job as PM or as Labour leader - Blair made Labour electable as a brand, Brown has done the opposite.

    If Labour do win the next election at what cost will it be? That was Major's greatest mistake to win the 1992 election - will 2010 be Brown and Labour's?

  • Comment number 6.

    CaptainJuJu @ No. 3

    I agree with you. A public show of force would get rid of them.

    I'm sort of hoping that there is someone out there who knows a thing or two about setting up demonstrations to get the ball rolling.


  • Comment number 7.

    I'm really surprised at Labour though - particulalry 'New Labour' that those who fought the hardest to get the party back into power would leave it in the hands of Brown.

    On paper he looks qualified for office but the package is missing something. I hate to use the term 'X Factor' but that is the only analogy I can think of to describe the current situation.

    I make comparaisons between Brown and Major as they are probably the most apt. It is unbelievable that senior Labour figures would forget how quickly Major lost favour with the electorate. The 'Honest John' (how ironic now) image wore thin very fast and he was seen as rambling and boring. His speeches had no panache or enthusiasm that would encapsulate the Blair style of Government. Similarly, Major was seen as weak and ineffective - a charge that stuck when his party fell into open revolt around him.

    We may have hated Blair towards the end of his time in office, but his style is missed. Whilst it became clear that Blair was all spin and no substance, his interviews with the general public seem more 'real' - his chat with the homebuyer on the 10 O'Clock BBC News last night didn't look right or feel comfortable. Blair would have had a cup of tea with the guy and talked generally about things and made the whole thing seem more realistic.

    The rise of New Labour ushered in the 'Presidential Prime Minister' and that is why Major suffered and why Brown is suffering. People have stopped listening to Brown, seriously - it is time to change the leader as until Labour does anything will generally be ignored by the electorate.

  • Comment number 8.

    So Charles Clarke's comments should be, in some weird way, a call to arms? The catalyst for taking to the streets in order to demand that a government elected in 2005 be forced to call a General Election. The medication is obviously wearing off!

  • Comment number 9.

    This constant harping on about the PM is deeply damaging to the country and democracy itself -- why do people have to do anything and everyone down? The latest package of measures devised by the Chancellor and the PM (stamp duty, etc) are good ideas and will help ease the problems in the economy -- there are difficulties across the world. Please everyone, give these measures, and the PM, a chance.

  • Comment number 10.

    Labour sold their soul back in 1997 for 11 years of power. Like Faustus, they wasted their power and like Faustus they'll be dragged down into the pit.

    If we say that we have no sin
    We deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us.
    Why then, belike, we must sin,
    And consequently die.
    Ay, we must die an everlasting death.

  • Comment number 11.

    Gordon wrecked England as a matter of policy.

    It's sheer madness to give the fool another 18 months in which to deliver the economic coup de grace with with his corrosive mixture of ego mania, bungling, lies and fiddled statistics.

    England is bankrupt thanks to Labour. Again.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nu Labour under Brown continued the Blairite agenda and that continues the Thatcherite / Tory agenda.

    So what solution is suggested by the media but to return to the Tory agenda with nobs-on. This is not rational.

    Something new is needed to energise the agenda - not just a vacuous pretty boy leader. I do not care much Tory which party comes up with the ideas most of them will be rotten and fetid.

    The whole Westminster boys club is past its sell by date. Can the Liberals change things or the Greens (that would be nice wouldn't it!)? The aegean stables need washing clean away. They, our MPs and parties must provide the people with something substantive and new. Why are they silent?

  • Comment number 13.

    Perhaps you might share with us more of what they are saying in private? Sue Cameron did this brilliantly in the FT today. Why can't you follow suit? You usually excel at that sort of thing.

    It seems to me that Labour would benefit from a new leader. Brown tarnished himself with his long and sulky resentment of Blair. His bullying manner combined with the cowardly sniping from his camp and now his his vacuous leadership makes Labour look old and tired. They seem to be clinging to power at any cost and are willing to throw any amount of our money away just to stay in office. Combined with the poor image Brown has a tendency - which I had ascribed to Blair/Mandelson - to tinker at the edges and micro-manage which is not what is needed in this time of financial and economic crisis.

    I want change but I don't want the pendulum to swing so far the other we we get a repeat of political arrrogance we have had since New Labour turned up. Was it Frances Pym who warned about majorities being too large? A new leader with fresh ideas and an honest smile might yet save some Labour seats.... but, hopefully, not the government!

  • Comment number 14.

    > he has once again said in public ... what
    > many are saying in private.

    It's a tough job, being Prime Minister, but in
    good times, Gordon Brown may have just
    made the grade. But in bad times, when
    jobs are sliding and people are angry, you
    need to be more than just "good enough".

    That's the problem. Gordon Brown is
    probably better at "being PM" than his
    slippery predecessor. But the times are
    worse, and that’s the deciding factor now.

    It’s too late to save Labour. There is no
    action that would do it. If Labour followers
    are true to their ethics, rather than the
    party colours, they should now throw their
    weight behind the Liberals. United, Liberals
    and Labour could still put a serious dent in
    Tory ambitions. Divided, they’ll both end up
    with nowt.

  • Comment number 15.

    re: 9

    It's not the 'harping on about the PM' that's damaging to democracy.

    Who denied us a referendum? Why?

    Who denied us a general election? Why?

    Now do you understand?

  • Comment number 16.

    #9 4fooey: You are right. However I suspect you will create a mass apoplexy amongst the Brown haters on here. Await the usual suspects to spew the usual venom!

  • Comment number 17.

    The "take to the streets" brigade who want an early election would be better advised to promise undying support for Labour. No government, faced by defeat, is going to the country a moment earlier than it has to:look how Major went the full term in both 1992 and 1997.

  • Comment number 18.

    Charles Clarke is a loser.

    Row 8, plot 30.

    Bye, bye.

  • Comment number 19.

    From May through to December 2010, everything will probably change politically on this little island.

    In May, 'Dave' and his motley crew will, by default, be installed at Westminster as the electorate decide to throw out New Labour.

    In late November 2010, I expect Alex Salmond and the SNP to win a referendum on full Scottish indepence.

    I would imagine that this is the private vision of many politicians in this country.

    Clarke seems to be wondering ... just how many of us {Labour} MP's will be left post the General Election?

    I hope Frank Field survives, he virtually alone amongst NuLab deserves to.

  • Comment number 20.

    Brown is doomed. As is Labour. I foresee them being completely wiped out at the next GE, and the unions will desert them and they will fold. It would be nice to say it has been good but boom and bust of the tories was just a rehearsal for this. We are in for some very very tough times and what do we have - dithering from a pathetic and frankly sleazy PM.
    He would never have been elected as PM if he had had the balls to do it. Everything they are touching is falling apart and that which they can influence, they are waiting for reports or a decision from GB. What a sad state of affairs.
    Come the revolution I hope there is a legal case against this corrupt government for the waste of the last 11 years. It has all been squandered and they are determined to try to buy their way out - this is going to be a disaster for the country for generations if they carry on.

    Election now please.

  • Comment number 21.

    9 4fooyey

    tinkering with stamp duty is not a good idea! first time buyers would benefit more if house prices were left to fall - and fall quickly to an affordable level.

    now first time buyers are being tempted into a falling housing market at a time of rising inflation.

    the £600m package is laughable for two other reasons.....

    1. there would need to be a huge turn around in house sales for the concesssion to be worth £600m. analysts suggest a £200m give away is more realistic

    2. every other country has prepared for a downturn. japan is injecting £50bn to stimulate its economy. the usa are reducing taxes by 1 percent gdp. gordon has left no money in the kitty - if you believe his £600m figure rather than the £200m number - then it is still too little too late.

    maybe gordon believed his own hype - that he had ended boom and bust - and that he would thus never need to prepare for the bad times.

  • Comment number 22.

    Gordon Brown is Captain Bligh of the Bounty... hated by his crew , they eventully cast him aside set sail for oblivion never to return. For Labour its only political oblivion, but the point is well made irrespectively.

  • Comment number 23.

    Surely the best result for labour will be for Gordn Brown to resign at the conference and for there to be a General Election with a new labour leader.

    The twist is that of course labour will be annihilated at the ballot box, but that the conservatives will take over a complete total absolute wreck that they will not be able to prevent from going onto the rocks.

    The benefit to labour will be that those socialists who have never really wanted new labour will then be able to agitate among the last few remaining workers and the state employees for a real labour government.

    There will be total chaos and mayhem which will definitely suit some people. They never really wanted elected power anyway. So think about Britain after labour and socialism after new labour. We live in interesting times.

    As for Team GB, then forget it, we will become a federal state, just like Iraq will be and you can forget about the monarchy, King Charles III will never take the throne.

  • Comment number 24.


    I'd prefer to have your comments on the real impact that politicians, their policies and the actually delivered results, have on the lives of UK citizens.

    Frankly, I don't give a good goddamn about the personal views of ex-ministers, or even current ministers - unless they are strictly related to the jobs they are supposed to be doing. For goodness sake, don't these people realise that, if we pay for them, we expect them to focus on what they are supposed to be doing?

    I don't really care which mob sits on which side of the benches in the Houses of Parliament. Just what they do.

    Parts of the media have always hovered, waiting for the exposure of politicians' weaknesses. Post-Al Campbell, I'd hoped that the BBC would rise up and strike out for a bit of get-it-right reality.

    Don't understand why you worry about who attacks, defends, nibbles at Brown and his ministers.

    Where's the analysis of the impact that policies have had on the life and times of the UK?

    And the analysis of how policies translate into practical delivery, and at what cost?

    Come on, Nick. You, Peston and Mardell should get together once in a while.

    Most legislation nodded through in Westminster originates in Brussels.

    Most real growth in the UK economy is despite, rather than because of, government interference.

    Use your contacts to convince this lot that Parliament would work better if every MP and Minister were obliged to read and confirm they understood every new law, regulation and statutory order they happily impose on citizens and businesses.

    And tell them that we really don't care whether they like individuals within their own or other tribes.

  • Comment number 25.

    Captain JuJu:

    I would be up for that!

    I would love to see Brown have a Coucescu moment where the British people simply take to the streets and demand that Labour are thrown out of power.

    Perhaps we could start public demonstrations outside Labour Party Offices first in a small way and as news of these 'events' grow and attract media attention..........I predict that like the proverbial snowball down a mountain.......Labour could be 'swept' from longer to meddle and interfere with our lives.

    Let's keep mentioning this on various blogs and see what happens.

  • Comment number 26.

    "...Please everyone, give these measures, and the PM, a chance...."

    Have you any idea, Fooey, just how Pathetic that sounds?

    Would you have given the Nazi's a second chance to govern Germany post 1945?

    Oh, of're a Labour 'Yes' would be the answer.

    Labour deserve to be politically DESTROYED for what they have done to our country.

    The most authoritarian and corrupt government this country has ever seen.

  • Comment number 27.

    The only folks causing instability are the egoists in his own party and internet mouths fuelling a Tory astroturf campaign. I don't personally rate Clarke, Cruddas, Field, or any of the other burn-outs, and have pretty muched stopped reading the online and offline media. Licking the bottom of the fridge is a tastier meal than that diet.

    The government has started getting back on its feet regularly over the past year, and each time some loudmouth fires off and has the pundits railing again. So, Labour aren't doing as badly as some suppose. Most of the froth is just media hype and internet wannabes winding each other up. They're only doing it cuz they want attention.

    I've just been reading a private newsgroup topic where some paranoid was trying to stoke up more fear but this time the reaction was different. Most folks recognised the problem of low level crime like flytipping, and most could see the difference between accountable authority and shysters. It's not much but it's useful and shows the government cares.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm amazed by the comment at (9) above, and by other people who still drink down the guff that Brown is spewing. The credit crunch might have started in the US, but at every stage both before during and after this crisis, Britain has been right at the back of the list of countries in properly dealing with it.

    When a bank failed in the UK, the Government spent months trying to do something with it, eventually coming up with a bodge job. When a bank failed in the US it was dealt with over the weekend. (Furthermore, it was a far bigger and more important bank).

    Already the economic indicators in the US are showing that the worst is over there. In the UK, the economic indicators are pointing to 2 years of bad times.

    Gordon Brown has done countless things to make sure Britain is in a poor place to cope with this crisis. By not putting money aside during the good times we have no flex to handle the bad times. His tax and spend mentality over the last 11 years has left us with nothing more than an overbloated set of bureaucrats running quangos and promised government grade pensions; whilst in the private sector the pensions money grab that Brown has done every year since New Labour came to power has meant a huge pensions deficit for the masses. At the same time he sold gold at a historic low. He also stopped the Bank of England from controlling rampant house price inflation, relying on the borrowing from that to fuel what would otherwise have been a stagnant economy.

    Brown's mismanagement has come home to roost. The Brown was pressuring so much for Blair not to do a full 3rd term was simply because he knew that problems were in the post, and knew that he would never get the job if the problems arrived before he was PM. He has gambled with the country simply to get his name in the history book. The sooner we are rid of such a vacuous and talentless idiot the better.

  • Comment number 29.


    Maybe worth bearing in mind that Captain Bligh was an extraordinary seaman, who steered the few people who were cast off with him to safety!

    Eventually became a Vice-Admiral, serving under Nelson.

    (Oh, I forgot that the Bounty's remaining crew ended up on a island, where we've recently seen signs of under-age sex as a "local custom".)

    Not sure that's exactly what you meant to imply.

  • Comment number 30.

    The game is definitely up;not only for Gordon Alastair, Hazel the Balls and all the other over-promoted pompous people, but for the entire Labour party.They have failed.

    Alas,no more glad morning for them.
    However, there is no obvious merit, personal or party political, by Gordon Brown resigning.
    No, the most patriotic and appropriate grand gesture would be for the Prime Minister to call a General Election so that new policies by energised people can get to work sooner on a recovery programme for the country.
    But is 'the big man' big enough?
    History would be kinder to him.
    John C.

  • Comment number 31.

    Some bloggers are spreading the news
    That it's possible Labour won't lose.
    (Of course it's a lie,
    And it's obvious why---
    Try not to step in their ooze!)

  • Comment number 32.

    Why on earth do we (the electorate) have to put up with this complete and utter nonsense? The country is going to the dogs economically and socially whilst a bunch of self-serving politicians fight like ferrets in a sack to preserve their jobs, ministerial perks, expense accounts and gold-plated pensions. Meanwhile, out here in the real world, people like me fret daily about lies ahead in terms of my job security, energy security, kids' education etc etc. Somehow us ordinary folk need to send an exocet into the middle of Westminster. Then, we need a political party to start serving the people before it serves itself.

  • Comment number 33.

    Look, tempting as it is to rejoice at the seeming disintegration of Brown's reputation and the Labour Party's likely annihilation at the polls within the next two years, I think people are kidding themselves if they think changing leader, changing policies or even changing parties is going to save us all from the economic mire we are sinking into. They won't and they can't. The situation is just too entrenched. Brown, though clearly a significant contributor, is not the sole culprit we can trace the roots of the mess right the way back through Thatcher, Wilson, MacMillan, Atlee etc.

    To paraphrase the late Magnus Magnusson, 'we have started down this road and sadly we will finish'. There will be a lot of pain and it may change the whole way of life we have come to expect, but like all bubbles, they inevitably have to burst.

  • Comment number 34.

    When the Liberal party ideology of Gladstone gave way to a New Liberal party ideology of Winston Churchill and Lloyd George the Liberal party did not change its name.

    However, the similarities are uncanny. Labour did change its name to New Labour. The price of change was the Liberals were never again to regain political momentum.

    Clarke is probably correct when he states his views. Perhaps he senses a historic deja vue unfolding but this time Labour will be the victim.

  • Comment number 35.

    Charles E

    Why do you do it?

    YOU don't rate Clarke, Criddas, Field and the other burn-outs... Who do you think cares?

    You may have noticed that I don't much care for politicians. And certainly don't care about Parties.

    Field was appointed by Blair to "think the unthinkable". But when Blair (PM and leader on overseas issues, swanning around, cheap holidays and the odd casual war here and there) and Brown (Chancellor and leader on domestic issues) realised that Field was doing what he'd been asked to do, he was out even before his chair got warm.

    Funny that we keep getting little hints that "things need to be done" in areas where Field had started to dig up the turf.

    You say that:

    "The government has started getting back on its feet regularly over the past year, and each time some loudmouth fires off and has the pundits railing again."

    For goodness sake, man, Blair allowed Brown to drive the country to its knees. And Brown insisted that a dumb abolition of the 10p tax rate had to be carried through by Darling.

    If Brown had been a little bit smarter, there would never have been a need for the government to get back on its feet.

    Our economy is a real mess. It takes real skill and ideological dedication to achieve that. And obviously a few bright people who have never worked in a real-world environment. Stand up Ed Balls and his missus.

    Goodness knows which company will want to pick up Brown as a key director when he leaves office.

    Maybe a re-cycling company?

  • Comment number 36.

    Pray God they are going down to a disaster before they lead this poor country to disaster.

  • Comment number 37.

    All Labour MPs know the the party will lose the next general election. Do you think that any of the top MPs within the party want to be its leader at the time? No, they will bide their time.

    Slowly, people are seeing what the present government has done over the last decade and they are not happy. The BNP is getting votes not because of what they stand for.. They are getting votes because it is the only way for people to indicate to the government what they consider an issue.

    "If you love someone, set them free"

  • Comment number 38.

    18 Nasty, nasty post. I have noticed what you have written for some time, but not all of it.... I wish to retain some form of sanity. Clarle isn't a loser as you put it, unless you mean Gordon has power and Clarke doesn't. Just remember Charles E Hardwidge, that revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Gordo will be hammered come the election, will be out of office and there wont be any fat directorships either. Who wants a loser like Brown , someone who has ruined the economy, on the board of their unless they have taken leave of their senses.

  • Comment number 39.

    GB and New Labour are destroying this country right now every day with their lack of leadership, pathetic policy making on the hoof and currency collapsing gaffes!

    We need to destroy them electorally BEFORE they have 18 more months to destroy us!

    Posts 3, 6 and 25 and showing the ONLY way forward right now. The other political parties including the conservatives have to stop talking and taking this situation far more seriously. They need to call for direct action Ceaucescau style! The people need to vent their anger.

    We need to take action.....on the streets.

    If it could be announced that a mass demo of the PEOPLE was going to take place outside the Labour Party Conference ( is it in Manchester this year?...if so I'll be able to go!) then surely GB will throw in towel when he hears the chanting and boos outside the hall like eviction night on Big Brother?

    Labour would have to get a new leader and call an election immediately.

    It's the only way we can save ourselves!

    Anybody got any ideas how we can get a movement of street action started and organised?

  • Comment number 40.

    If only the UK had the same financial backers as Manchester City.......

  • Comment number 41.

    Brown's having done to him precisely what he did to Blair.

    Years of plotting, sulking and fairweather friendship appears to have rewarded him with much the same, with Straw playing Browns old part (only more visible. And able to smile without making it look like a grimace).

    I really think the endgames in sight, not this year, but before Easter, Brown will be forced out, and the man who would be king will become only a footnote - his winning 'personality' almost certain to ensure a retreat to the political hinterlands and no chance of any future friendly government giving him a peership.

    He might want to think about the backbenches, they're going to be his domain for a very long time when he's ousted.

  • Comment number 42.

    Post 28. dave_h

    Brown's mismanagement has come home to roost. The Brown was pressuring so much for Blair not to do a full 3rd term was simply because he knew that problems were in the post, and knew that he would never get the job if the problems arrived before he was PM. He has gambled with the country simply to get his name in the history book. The sooner we are rid of such a vacuous and talentless idiot the better


  • Comment number 43.

    A fresh leader only makes sense if the policies change. More of the same will end in a landslide defeat whovever in leader. It is staggering that political parties can never see the problem with their unpopular policies

  • Comment number 44.

    Aren't comparisons between Major's victory in '92 and Brown's situation flawed when you remember that Major was up against ... Kinnock?
    Kinnock's hubris at Sheffield Wednesday was echoed by his speech last year about grinding the Tories into the dust. So prophetic, that man.

  • Comment number 45.


    "Look, tempting as it is to rejoice at the seeming disintegration of Brown's reputation and the Labour Party's likely annihilation at the polls within the next two years, I think people are kidding themselves if they think changing leader, changing policies or even changing parties is going to save us all from the economic mire we are sinking into. They won't and they can't. The situation is just too entrenched. Brown, though clearly a significant contributor, is not the sole culprit we can trace the roots of the mess right the way back through Thatcher, Wilson, MacMillan, Atlee etc."

    I guess you nailed it. Then I don't really believe what I just wrote.

    The UK is packed full with innovative people. Probably not so likely in future, as educational values drop. (OK, all exams are now better than previously, but how much real knowledge is instilled into our children - or their children?)

    What we need is more scientists, unfettered by b stupid Health and Safety regulations, who learn a lot during their school days and are ready for university places.

    It's probably not a wise thing to say, but gaining a PhD in a discipline which depends on interpretative opinion is not the same as achieving a PhD in a scientific discipline, where something new has to be defined.

    I had some hard thoughts about Thatcher. At least she achieved a degree in Chemistry, then qualified as a barrister.

    Messed up some stuff.

    Many people think that Thatcherism was about personal greed. I never quite understood that. It seemed to be about standing up for yourself and doing your thing. Pity that Denis didn't give her a verbal slap a few more times...

    I never enjoyed having so many services being run by a government when I was a kid. It seemed to be an ungrateful act to complain about poor service, when it was a benificent state providing electricity, gas, phones, etc.

    I really don't care who runs the country. Just make it some people who do it properly.

  • Comment number 46.

    Brown committed treason when he illegally ratified the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty against the will of the British people.

    Too bad his replacement will also come from the ranks of the treason crowd.

    When will we finally start putting politicians who put EU ahead of UK on trial for treason?

  • Comment number 47.

    I would be pretty unhappy if there was an election within the next 18 months.

    Because I want England and English people to be free and I calculate that the best way of achieving that is to go through the pain of New Labour death throes until May 2010.

    Then a General Election wil have to be called, 'Dave' and his crew will, by default, fill the boots at Westminster.

    By November 2010, when the full horror of the Tories in power at Westminster has sunk in up in Scotland, Wee 'eck will get the result the SNP want and ... hey presto, in one bound the English find themselves more-or-less set free by the Scottish people.

    So, after the pain comes the joy, thanks to the Scots, not the politically apathetic English, I am sorry to say.

  • Comment number 48.

    Difficult now - even more so than yesterday - for Brown to 'bounce back.'

    The wolves are gathering.

    Question must arise v soon: Will Labour continue towards inevitable Election disaster regardless, whether it's in 12 or 18 months' time? Will a Nu Labour Order, to counteract the Cons resurgence, under a Nu younger, fresher Leader be able to refloat?

    Both possibilities semed doomed. Any Nu Leader will carry the ballast forward, and find it hard to throw it or its memory overboard now.

    The only questions to be asked (for me at least) are these:

    1) Who will be at the helm when this vessel sinks?

    2) How many will go down with the Captain?

    3) What on earth will the rescuers do, after the storm?

  • Comment number 49.

    re: 45

    You're right in suggesting that an 'interpretive' PhD is easier than a science-based one, but you still have to define something new in both of them.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hombre Invisable, Gordon Brown, has had his much touted relauch well and truly scuppered by the polls week after week, whatever Charles Clarke means by "Brown Get Out Now!" remains a mystery.
    Me thinks Clarke wants the destruction of the Labour Party -flat and simple- as his ship is yet another rusty hulk littering the road to power. He looks a man with a small temper yet huge grudges.

  • Comment number 51.

    I just hope someone quickly undoes the work going on behind the scenes establishing the EU constitution through there regional assemblies controlling councils now called RDA's and Someone stops the transfer of powers.

    We need to rescue our country back from the thieves who took it. Many dont realize the consequences of inaction now.

  • Comment number 52.

    Charles Clarke is a bit of a non-entity to me anyway, but he is correct for once.

    I cannot see anyone trying to unsurp Gordon Brown, unless there is a secret move to have some backbencher "challenge" him, allowing him to win thus making him appear secure.

    Labour will hang on until the bitter end. Two more years to top the old pension up.

    Another reason to hang on is to try and make inroads into the SNP levels of support up her in Scotland. The LIT recently announced could be just what they need to chip away at what has been to now an unassailable lead. I have a feeling Labour are hoping to hang to Scotland as they know they have had it in England.

  • Comment number 53.

    re: 48

    1) The captain's drunk at the wheel and singing old sea shanties (Nu-Labour killed my poor old dad with taxes, taxes, Nu-Labour drove my mother mad by raising all the taxes!) while the other drunken sailors try to prise him away. Meanwhile a giant squid has wrapped its tentacles around the SS Labour and is dragging it down to the briny deep.

    2) All of them, never to return. They say drowning is peaceful.

    3) Celebrate, panic, then do a slightly better job.

  • Comment number 54.

    Gordon Brown was finished before he began. All his effort was to get rid of the 'Phoney Liar'.....Job done, but, then what ?

    Nothing........, as chancellor he nailed everyone to the floor with taxes, selling 'OUR' gold, destroying pensions and then with all this cash he urinated it all up the wall !!!!

    There is now nothing left to help the people he screwed in the first place...

    Labour..... total excrement......

    Jerry, Lancs (ps, it's ok, I know the BBC will not print this, but you, dear reader and BBC employee, know it is the truth, how does it feel to be a part of the machine that has destroyed the UK ?????????????????????

  • Comment number 55.

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

  • Comment number 56.

    It's ironic everyone agreed on right of centre policies, set the market free, don't interfere and everything will be okay. However, no those very policies are the ones that have failed.

    The problem this leaves us with is that the Conservatives would not have done anything different where it counts and it is their policies that got us into this mess.

    We have lived in an ideological state, where free market ideology has replaced common sense, and this is what we get a bubble that bursts in everyone's face.

    It is time for major political change.

  • Comment number 57.

    My objection to Labour's actions regarding Brown is that they are 'putting Party before Country'. His uncertain leadership is dragging the country down but Labour MPs know that if they get rid of him they will be expected to call an election, which will lose them their jobs. So rather than improve life for all of us they are thinking only of their own short-term interests.

    Personally, I think the best thing all round would be for them to replace him, and the new leader announce that a General Election will take place in a few short months. This would give Labour a chance to recover but show that they don't hold the electorate in contempt, which has looked like the case ever since the PM called off the election last year.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have been watching "The World at War" on Sky over the past few days and there was a fascinating episode on how Hitler changed during the War.
    From 1944 onwards he retreated more and more into his bunker, wasn't seen much in public, and made all the decisions himself because he though he couldn't trust any of his underlings to do what he thought best.
    After seeing Brown on TV yesterday at the flat of a strange chap saying "yes Mr Brown, Labour's new housing plan is a marvellous idea" but then not allowing any journalists to question him about the great plan to rescue the economy it is clear the he, like Hitler, is retreating into the bunker.
    I expect we'll see more and more great plans to resurrect the Labour Party fortunes over the next couple of years, but all will be half-conceived, ill thought out, and will fail utterly. Gordon though will remain in the bunker until the absolute last minute - we won't get the General Election until 3 June 2010.
    Meantime although the Labour MPs will whinge and whine, none of them will stand up to Gordon. After all, who would want to become leader before the next election and have to then surrender the country to David Cameron?

  • Comment number 59.

    What a lot of malcontents this blog attracts!
    Could it be the weather I ask?

    I'm generally not a fan of the rather 2nd rate, tabloid following government, but a few facts might help to balance things out:

    1) Crime of nearly all sorts has tumbled over the last 10 years. And the police forces are now much more respectful, thoughtful and accountable.
    2) THe UK continues to try to be an honest suppporter of human rights, equity and international order: eg climate change, Dohar, Africa and Georgia.
    3) The UK's GDP has continued to grow year on year for 14 years
    4) In the UK, as in much of Europe, we have equitable systems of healthcare and an effective benefits system.
    5) Despite the continued howls from petty nationalsists, in the EU we have forged a globally significant and respected global player for the 21st century.
    6) House owners amongst us should be happy that in the last 10 years you've made a nice (undeserved) fat profit, so why moan about losing 10%?

    So enjoy the rain and cheer up!!!


  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    re: 54

    Aunty Beeb, or Al-Jabeeba as she's sometimes known is infamous for her left-wing bias. Take everything she says with a handful of salt.

  • Comment number 62.

    CEH is a fake!

    I'm sure he either works for the CIA or the FBI....the game's 'sado'.

    It's obvious he/she is an american! they can't even afford to employ someone who is plausible.

    His pseudo zen agenda is a smokescreen and pure spin! He talks in riddles ...just like the joker.

    He wouldn't even know who West Ham's manager is???

    BTW I was born in the USA and came to
    the UK when I was three. I am a British citizen and know that he is not!

    TTFN (He wouldn't even know what that stands for)

  • Comment number 63.

    42 days sounds like an MP's holiday to me!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Northern thatcherite@39(William Hague?)

    Treason, revolution comparing Gordon brown to Hitler things are really hotting up. why don't you go for that march. How about November 5th that'll give you enough time to plan.

    Fireworks or watch a bit of comedy on the News?

    This blog is descending into farce. Its like a car crash, you can't take your eyes of it. Keep it up.

    Speculation is mounting that Nick Robinson is desperate to use his 'Move over Darling' joke. I speculate he will make his move and start speculating Darlings downfall soon. Now over to Mystic Meg for Tomorrows headlines.

    If Nick Robinson somehow became labour prime minister if he was drugged or something. Would that cause a paradox that could destroy the Universe?

    Its called boredom available here without prescription.

  • Comment number 65.

    Power to etc

    If you went onto any 6th form college or first year university campus right now, you'd find plenty of folk who could come up with a new interpretation of an aspect of the humanities. Probably a basis for a First at a well established university.

    Try a similar exercise with the same groupings and find the very, very few who could imagine so differently that they get inside a science and found something new.

    Don't get me wrong. "Progress" without the humanities is doomed.

    The UK has always benefited from - and gained from - the humanities. (Personally, love that aspect of our heritage.)

    But inventive technologists built what we have. And still do provide the basis for a "real" economy.

    The shame is that, even if creative technologists develop stuff within the UK, there isn't enough marketing savvy to ensure that the benefits remain here.

  • Comment number 66.

    Nick (#59) thank you for your post. It's wet and miserable here, so your risible comments at least made me laugh out loud!
    1. Crime has tumbled? - People just don't bother reporting it any more, because there's no point.
    2. The UK supports human rights? Ask the Iraqis if that's true, or those people in Guantanamo Bay who we allowed to be transferred thru our airspace so they could be tortured in secret.
    3. GDP has been growing? Possibly, but a very sizeable proportion of that is personal debt being recycled round the system.
    4. Equitable healthcare? Every heard of the postcode lottery, or tried finding a cheap dentist?
    Effective benefits? Every tried getting out of the benefit trap and into work?
    5. House owners should be happy? THAT is exactly what Labour has got wrong over the past 10 years - your home is NOT an investment, but NuLab has persuaded too many people that it is, and they have overextended thanks to Gordy.
    Don't believe the Labour hype - things are not rosy, and we are going to have a 2-3 year unpleasant correction, and nothing Gordy can do will stop it.
    Like the late 70s/early 80s we face another watershed in British history where a lot of things will have to change quite dramatically. But Gordon isn't the man to make the changes needed.

  • Comment number 67.

    re: 62

    Lol he's a first-year philosophy student who's out of his depth

  • Comment number 68.


    You forgot to add..........

    Pigs will fly.

    Santa is a real person.

    The tooth fairy will be providing free state dentistry.

    Labour MP' always tell the truth (Hah!)

    Ed Balls is a towering what?

    Hazel Blears has a sheet thrown over her cage at night to ensure she stops incessant chirping.

    You know what you're talking about.

    Yeah....Right !

  • Comment number 69.

    re: 64

    wilky my dumpling, in case you haven't noticed Nick is bald. Now if we were to have a bald PM in this day and age it'd cause some sort of sciencey-death-vortex-thing--- you're absolutely right (for once). I can imagine it now--- at PMQs Nick takes center stage, face to face with a strong and defiant Cameron, and after he gets through his "in addition to my duties in the House, I will have further such meetings later today" malarkey, a portal to another dimension opens up from his glaring bonce and sucks up all the Labour MPs from the backbenches into a parallel universe and we're rid of them forever... MAKE NICK ROBINSON PM NOW.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Treason, revolution comparing Gordon brown to Hitler things are really hotting up. why don't you go for that march. How about November 5th that'll give you enough time to plan. "
    I was only drawing the comparison as to what happens when people have been in power for so long see it slipping away from them.
    In the case of Hitler he refused to accept the blindingly obvious, that the war was never going to be won, and kept insisting only he could win it himself.
    In the case of Nu Labour Gordon refuses to accept the blindingly obvious, that we are up the proverbial creek and that Labour will never win the next election, while insisting over and over that "only Labour is able to take the difficult decisions that will see us through the current worldwide economic downturn". The reality is that the only decision they need to take, is the one they cannot take - the decision to go now and let someone more competent take over!

  • Comment number 71.

  • Comment number 72.

    Yet another surprise! Get these clowns out.

  • Comment number 73.

    Oh goody, the non-listening control freaked leader of all the non-talented numpties continues to lose control.

    He's fighting with that stick trying... fighting.... wrestling ever so hard to bring the old crate up out of its terminal dive.... BUT wait, just ahead is the great big unmistakeable massige of the Central Massif of Charles Clarke's beer gut.....

    It's Gordon's weirdo ways versus Clarke's expansive guttage - the home of a hundred thousand Guinnesses .......

    No contest. Brown, even with the pilot's hat on is a doomed leader......... Good.

  • Comment number 74.

    re: 65

    I agree with what you say, the sciences are much harder and much more valuable to our economy. But because I began (and later dropped out of, to return to at some undetermined point) a PhD in very obscure literature, I know it's not even remotely comparable to the sixth-form windbaggery like we get from the armchair zen master. I know you're not attacking the humanities, but I feel inclined to defend them nonetheless!

  • Comment number 75.

    As someone who thought things really could only get better in 97 I'm appalled by New Labour. Their lack of coherent strategic thinking, their love affair with the private sector (they spent £3 billion on management consultants in 06/07 and have seriously undermined the capability civil service as a result)m their pandering to the Bushites,the fact that they've mortgaged the UK up to the hilt and beyond with PFI deals, their brainless target/inspection drive approach to everything...the list goes on and on.

    I guess it's Cameron's turn next. If he's to succeed he'll need to do something that's dramatically different, but I have no confidence in politicians - or rather, the political system - any more. A system that allows someone with no leadership qualities whatsoever into its top job is seriously broken.

    I've blogged about this at mindworksblog dot com. The only fix I can think of is a complete change to the system of representative democracy: see the less than half serious idea for a 'systems party' at my blog. Churchill was right that democracy is the least worst system we have, but we've got to find a way of running the country democratically that isn't driven by short term thinking aimed at maximising political capital at the expense of everything else.

    So I agree we need to take to the streets to get labour out, but I also think that simply giving the job to the tories - who will have to work within the same broken system - ain't going to work either.

    Anyway, that's my half-pence worth! I am a management consultant, incidentally, so I know what harm they can do.

  • Comment number 76.

    Charles Clarke criticising Gordon Brown? Blairite conspiracy?

    Chickens coming home to unco roosts!

    Labour sold any soul it still had when they decided to sup with the devil in the mid-nineties with their "New" spoon.

    Hell mend them!

  • Comment number 77.

    I can't believe that anyone really misses Blair. That he pulled the wool over so many people's eyes for so long is a source of constant amazement.

    Seems to me that Browns problems arise from:
    1.Trying (and failing) to emulate Blair's cheesy style over substance, spin-obsessed, power-crazed approach to government.
    2.Global economic problems
    3.The country being in an unfit state to deal with global downturn (surely as much, if not more Blair's fault as Browns).

    I imagine if GB had just got on with the job in his own style right from the start he wouldn't be facing these leadership challenges. The economy would be in a similar state as it is now, but we'd all be over our obsession with the 'image' of a PM, and getting back to judging them on their (long term) merits. He might even of stood a chance of winning an election.

    My biggest worry is that our next (elected) PM looks an awful lot like the one we just got rid of.

  • Comment number 78.

    So I agree we need to take to the streets to get labour out, but I also think that simply giving the job to the tories - who will have to work within the same broken system - ain't going to work either.

    There's been no shortage of strategy from the government, but the ideological retreads on their own left, and the selfish shareholder types in the Tories, and the airheads in the Liberals are an issue.

    As I keep commenting, Britain's economic fundamentals are broken, and the headline chasing and emotional bandwagonning in this blog for a short-term buzz just underscores that.

    The underlying system isn't going change because that's reality. What's needed is a change of perspective but folks stuck in the past with wagging fingers won't let go. They only have themselves to blame.
  • Comment number 79.


    Just heard you on R4 - you said that you have been hearing these 'conversations' for weeks, but couldn't report them because that is the rules of journalism...

    Actually, as I see it, PR people are employed to give managed messages - journalists are supposed to give us warts and all.

    Is the BBC news service just a PR operation for their patrons now?

    The BBC's main patron being (of course) the Government due to their control of our (the taxpayers) money.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm with Charles Clarke on this one.

    I'm fed up with Labour types sniping at each other from behind the curtains. It is time to resolve the leadership problem in the open and quickly.

    Governance of the country is paralysed - chiefly because Gordon lacks authority (even within the Labour party).

    We have a PM who is desperately announcing 'paper-tiger' policies in attempt to regain his authority - and this is at a time when we need government to be making big, well thought through decisions that have long term benefit for the country.

    I disagree with Charles Clarke about one thing though - Brown hasn't got 'months' - he should be allowed only 'days' to front out his colleagues and invite them openly to challenge his leadership.

  • Comment number 81.


    As I keep commenting, Britain's economic fundamentals are broken, and the headline chasing and emotional bandwagonning in this blog for a short-term buzz just underscores that.

    So Chuck, Britains's economic fundamentals are broken and eleven years of NewLabour tax and spend have been unable to fix it, one can only presume?

    You really have boxed yourself into a corner just like your blessed leader; once you start admittting the economy's down the swaney river you have to admit you've been in cahrge for eleven years and been incapable of doing anyhting about it. So take your cue and clear off.

    Now f you really want conspiracy theory about the housing market and this government's shenanigans take oa look at this website:

    it appears the government is withdrawing data on the collapsing housing market... oh dear..

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    81 Robinjd

    Interesting to see if the conspiracy theory gains momentum.

    According to the web link you published - the housing figures will be published again on 21st September.

    The Labour Party conference is 20-24th Sept......

    So the conspiracy theory might take two different directions:

    1. If the publishing date slips from 21st - then the government are trying to hide something.

    2. If they publish on 21st - then have the figures been manipulated to show the 'startling effect' of Mr Browns tiny cash injection into a huge market?

  • Comment number 84.


    Another dawn, more bad news, and another day closer to getting rid of Brown. Do you think Gordon has got the message yet?

    All the best

  • Comment number 85.

    You really have boxed yourself into a corner just like your blessed leader; once you start admittting the economy's down the swaney river you have to admit you've been in cahrge for eleven years and been incapable of doing anyhting about it. So take your cue and clear off.

    The economic structures and attitudes are so simple a young child can understand them. The big business and finance ego bubble is bursting, and folks just need to roll with that. The reason why you're getting ratty is that reality is challenging the delusion you're clinging to like a drowning man.

    It looks like the media is picking up on the structures and attiudes, and as folks get a better understanding the mountain will turn into a pebble, the "recession" will look like the bump in the road it is, and the government will have a much stronger and freer hand to assist folks in knocking things into shape and building success.

    If you want to know about philosophy, politics, and games, it's all the same thing. As the old saying goes, the words may change but the poetry remains the same. Folks can get frustrated and upset, and Zen is a funky way of dealing with that, but the only real game is clearing the fog and experiencing life how it is, not how we might wish it to be.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
  • Comment number 86.

    Is anyone else disappointed that Charles comment 85 has been referred to the moderators? I was hoping it would be a sterling effort at explaining why although "Britain's economic fundamentals are broken", none of it was Gordon's fault!

  • Comment number 87.

    Since Maggie went it has seemed impossible to get a half-decent government in office.

    Maybe we should start a "think tank" perhaps called The Campaign for Real Government before this country self-implodes.

    Be under no illusion this nation is in trouble.

  • Comment number 88.

    "[T]here is a sizeable section of the Labour Party who have concluded that... removing their leader could be even more damaging than letting him stay in post."

    Whilst this may be true from a party perspective, these MPs must surely fear for their jobs and livelihoods?

    Every economist from here to Alaska agrees that the downturn is set to continue until the end of 2009 at the earliest. Given this bodes very badly for Brown, I am surprised to find the stalking horses are not already under starters orders?

  • Comment number 89.

    39 Northern Thatcherite, Yes one idea springs to mind lets go to hire a mob, then we could get the BNP and Ukip together with quite a few Tory bloggers off here.
    I am sure you could find a few rather unladylike women from the WI and I guess a few policemen from the last annual conference might pop along to carry a banner or two and of course good old Wolfgang.

    Then we could all sit down and write our banners
    not for us!
    We didn't ask for that.

    Get rid of them cut down
    the cost of NHS.

    There was nothing wrong
    with them before, we say.


    Only those who are expecting
    children, why should they have
    extra holidays?

    WE NEVER ASKED FOR 250.000
    We dont need more skilled people.


    Its nothing to do with us mate.

    Well if thats not Gordons fault
    I dont know what is.
    We could all march up and down shouting thats not all they did wrong there are many other things that they did right Oh! sorry I meant wrong.

    Yes Thatcherite that would show them that we mean business and that we dont want more of the same, You could head the march with a big dunces cap on with the words,

  • Comment number 90.

    87 Mrcynict4 My friend if you think that Maggie Thatcher had a half decent government. and you want more of the same then you dont need a "think tank" you need a "thick tank" and if thats the way you think perhaps you should be the one to head it.

  • Comment number 91.


    yes, Grawth... I'm particularly disappointed as it was clearly an attempt tat the same... but have you noticed how many of his comments have been removed by the moderators recently?

    Time for a bit of anger management, Charles?

  • Comment number 92.

    70 Mr BBrown and who do you suggest is the competent people to take over. the same old tory party of the eighties and nineties there all still there, they even brought the arch villain Lamont out last week to give his views on the economy bit of a sick joke that, that was probably Dave trying to make it up to his old boss for advising him so badly in the past, Lets see who else we have Ah! yes there's dear old george grinning in the background, now there's a man you could trust to get the country on its feet, is he suitable Mr BBrown?.

  • Comment number 93.

    Brown should go before he destroys the country and the infrastructure. He is determined to run the country with only a handful of civil servants; he has laid siege and is determined to starve them into leaving their posts. A pathetic 2% pay rise supposedly capped at the inflation rate, which strangely is at 5%, will help him achieve his aim. Prudent?? He’s the biggest con-artist ever.

  • Comment number 94.

    yes, Grawth... I'm particularly disappointed as it was clearly an attempt tat the same... but have you noticed how many of his comments have been removed by the moderators recently?

    Almost none in all my time of posting here, but don't let that stop you trying to pull the same old Mugabe tactics favoured by the Tories. How many posts have you lot had removed? I've lost count.
  • Comment number 95.

    temper, temper, Chuck.

  • Comment number 96.

    Vince Cable said it first, but this picture at the top of this section shows it to perfection. Gordon Brown not only acts like Mr Bean - he looks like him, and he has the same ridiculous smile. As Mr Cable said 'FROM STALIN TO MR BEAN' - what's so amazing is the speed at which it happened. He must know he is doomed and is dragging his party to disaster after him, and if he had any integrity or decency he would resign and help others pick up the pieces.

  • Comment number 97.

    96 sidevalveI Once many years ago I had a old BSA side valve motor bike that I remember with great affection, and now you have gone and spoilt that memory.

    Please try to drag your mind into reality, read the blog that you have just written and for goodness sake think how ridiculous it is.
    Vince Cable cracked a joke that was amusing even Gordon had a smile on his face,although some Tories on here deny that.
    We are talking about a man who will be remembered as the greatest chancellor of our time despite all the snide remarks that are made against him now. History will not be swayed by all these petty little people even Vince Cable whose remarks were his finest hour and will remain the height of his achievment in politics.
    Name calling and personal attacks on a politician whether it be Margaret Thatcher William Hague,Clement Atlee or Gordon Brown, are of no consequence.
    They only show the weakness of those that try to use them to try to prove some political superiority its non productive repetitive and it was once funny when Cable said it.
    Now its very non funny so try to raise your game your politics are obviously diametrically opposed to mine that I can handle but stupid name calling should be left to the rather pathetic individuals that keep using them on these blogs.

  • Comment number 98.

    re: 97

    We are talking about a man who will be remembered as the greatest chancellor of our time

    Yep, a chancellor so astute he pre-announced his gold sale and then sold it at a fraction of the price. No doubt the best chancellor we've ever had!

  • Comment number 99.

    98ppl and of course had you have been asked your advice at the time, you would have put him on the right track wouldn't you. Your such a clever little pseudo poet.

  • Comment number 100.

    With regard to SilentHunter2's comment (#26), the comparison of 2008 with the 1930/40s and the Nazis is completely erroneous and one I cannot identify at all. And for the record I am not a Labour "supporter" as such, but do recognise the good things this government has done (min wage, investment in nursery/primary schools, employment etc).

    Related to Nick's original post I cannot see what objective Charles Clarke had in mind. On the one hand, he is just lending his voice to the whole chorus against the government and in particular the PM. In a more general way he is encouraging people (and the media) to undermine the whole system of trying to govern this country and debating the issues of the day in a sensible way. We face many challenges in the UK and internationally, so we need to pull together to solve them. In my original post (#9) I was meaning that this continual harping on and cynicism does no-one any favours.

    (I hope you are still accepting comments for this article.)


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