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Will Wall Street save Brown?

Nick Robinson | 13:06 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The crisis on Wall Street may prove to be bad for pretty much everyone else other than Gordon Brown.

Wall StreetThis morning's political cabinet was profoundly affected by a sense of the seriousness of the economic situation, according to several of those who were there.

One minister declared, to widespread approval, that "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader". Another said that the next election would be fought "less on Labour's record and more on their relevance" in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis.

Gordon Brown will address the state of the economy when he addresses Stormont this afternoon and seek to ignore questions about his leadership. What he won't say but hopes that others will is:

• Would the public forgive a party that turned in on itself during an economic crisis?
• Would the markets react well to a vacuum at the top of government at this time?
• Would Alan Johnson, David Miliband or Jack Straw really know better how to run the economy ?
• Are the Tories with their close links to the City and the hedge fund millionaires really going to be trusted to clean up the mess?

Perhaps those are questions that David Cairns is being invited to ponder.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Nick,

    There already is a vacuum (and it doesn't just begin at the top either).

  • Comment number 2.

    Where would Gordon be without his friends at the BBC?

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick

    Stop following the lead from Labour media managers.

    The line about Gordon being the most experienced person to take us through this doesn't stand up to scrutiny. He is a career politician who has never had to deal with anything like this before. He is no better placed than anyone.

    He is, in fact, in a worse position because his authority and credibility are shot to pieces.

    Being in the midst of a crisis does not mean that all other political factors cease to be important - we have changed leaders in the run up to war without too much problem.

    The ones who need to examine their consciences are those sat round the Cabinet table who say one thing in public and the direct opposite in private.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nick says:

    "Would the public forgive a party that turned in on itself during an economic crisis?"

    If the Labour party was behaving rationally then you may have a point, but they are not behaving rationally. They are more concerned with paying back old debts....

  • Comment number 5.

    If by the end of today David Cairns (or another govt minister) doesnt resign and no more labour MPs declare themselves in support of the rebels I for one will consider this latest 'coup attempt' to be officially dead and buried.

  • Comment number 6.

    Stalin was an anti democratic self coronated bully with an in ability to improve in real terms the condition of the people. History is repeating itself.

    This country needs a new start under either a labour or Tory leader. We are fed up to the back teeth.

    Unless Stalin does a thatcher and resigns with dignity he will really find out how the British conduct their revolutions!

  • Comment number 7.

    Nick - another thing...

    The line about the Tories and their closeness to hedge fund managers is an irrelevance.

    Labour has long cultivated close links with the financial sector and big business - so the trust issue is as much relevant to them as to any other party.

    What happened to impartiality?

  • Comment number 8.

    "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader"

    well Brown _should_ know a huge amount about the current 'economic realities' - he's largely responsible for them! It turn out that the 'Prudence' he was crowing about for ten years was actually a wholesale deregulation of the financial markets allowing corporations and individuals alike to gorge on debt - debt that is now coming home to roost. And who put in place the tripartite regulatory authorities (the FSA, the Bank of England and No. 11) which have been so ineffective and who spent the entire Northern Rock crisis passing the buck between themselves? Why, no other than our Dear Leader, the Hidden Paw (go read Eliot's Macavity...)

    Unless the Labour Party acts to depose him Brown will have succeeded in destroying this country beyond repair by the time we get to throw him (and them all) out of office in 18 months or so's time. Labour may stand little chance with a new leader - but they stand no chance at all with the Whitehall Weirdo in charge...

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick, You ask

    1) * Would the public forgive a party that turned in on itself during an economic crisis?
    2) * Would the markets react well to a vacuum at the top of government at this time?
    3) * Would Alan Johnson, David Miliband or Jack Straw really know better how to run the economy ?

    The short answers are

    1) This is only semi-relevant really. Would the public forgive a party that has mismanaged the economy for several years prior to the economic crisis?
    2) Who could tell what the markets are reacting to? Anyone still employed is mainly preocupied with keeping their job.
    3) Does Brown know how to run the economy. He started with a well run economy. His strategy has been to borrow money, spend like a sailor on shore leave, lie, fudge and sulk. He is not economically competent.

    Frankly my cat could do a better job than any of them.

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick

    This peice is a red herring.
    Just because the rest of them are economic incompetants (like most of the Labour backing bloggers in the Kremlinologists peice) it doesnt make Gordon the "right man".

    Labour politicians and left wingers as a whole are notoriously bad with finances, you only have to look at the Labour party books and those of assorted unions to see that.
    What ever gave anyone the idea they should be let loose with the countries finances.

    IF he had paid of our debts in the economic good times then he may have had a case.
    But he didnt do that, He mortgaged us to the hilt, so now when we need to borrow cash all our lines of credit are maxed.

    Gordon brown is singularly responsible for putting us in this position, so while it wasnt he that created the crisis it is HE that put us in a bad position to weather the storm.

  • Comment number 11.

    The disturbing thing abot this article is the line the next election would be fought "less on Labour's record and more on their relevance" in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis.

    This suggests/implies that we are still being misled of the gravity of the situation and that the economy s till going to be in turmoil in May 2010.

  • Comment number 12.

    Well if it's got to the stage when the Labour Party is depending on the virtual collapse of the high temple of capitalism to revive it's electoral prospects then they really up the metaphorical creek!

  • Comment number 13.

    nick --your right but gordons close links with greenspan might be tricky.

    greenspan is getting trashed ----for his de-regulation of the markets

  • Comment number 14.

    Interesting set of priorities. Markets dropping, panic, panic, panic and where's Gordon?

    I can see a book for Christmas along the lines of Where's Wally?

  • Comment number 15.

    'One minister declared, to widespread approval, that "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader".'


    WHAT? Are you serious? How can this be journalism when you let this tripe through without comment?

    What madness is this?

    Brown told us exactly how much he knew about economic reality when he declared the end to boom and bust.

  • Comment number 16.

    Perhaps someone in the Labour Party should be asking:

    * Would the public forgive them for not replacing a lame duck dithering oddball during an economic crisis?

    * Would the markets react well or badly to his replacement by someone (anyone!) who had more of a sense of purpose and strong leadership about them?

    * Surely anyone would know better how to run the economy than someone who sold our reserves when gold was at an all time low and did not reduce public borrowing during a period of growth.

    * Do the public still buy the Labour spin about the Tories only being interested in the city and, honestly, does anyone believe they could be any worse than the current waste of space that is allegedly still governing?

  • Comment number 17.

    Why is he best placed? He was chancellor for 11 years, during which he dealt with no major financial crisis. Now he's PM and has a massive one (partially of his own creation) to deal with. The finances of the country are in a bad shape because of his prior actions, he's destroyed his financial credibility by those actions and new ones such as the 10p tax bodge, all of which are more than enough to make him look incompetant. The only people who see him as brilliant are labour.

  • Comment number 18.

    Unbelievable partiallity from the BBC.

    So are we supposed to get ready and be grateful for the Gordon Brown government of national emergency?

    This is far more similar to Chamberlain who originally declared crisis what crisis. The very idea that Chamberlain would lead us through World War two was as foolish as is today that Gordon tax and give away/fancy a canape on the city cocktail cicuit is the man to sort it out now.

    This is a farcical last ditch attempt to get Gordon out of his own self inflicted stuff up.

    The man was complicit in the credit boom - set up the non regulatory system -and ramped government debt upto historic levels (most off balance sheet) Get real he is not the man for the job.

  • Comment number 19.

    Precisely Nick, well put. We all know the answers to those questions. Who is David Cairns?!

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    Looking at the grimace sorry 'smile' on GB's face this morning and the look of fear on the
    those of the cabinet I think he must have reminded them that in the ten years as chancellor only he knows the complications of the treasury finances. After all it was he who put them in place.
    Yes he has played his ace card for it would probably be impossible for anyone else to unravel his financial policies at a time when urgency and timing are of the utmost importance.
    I'm afraid we are all stuck with him until the bitter end.
    Let's hope there is something still left worth having when he eventually goes.

  • Comment number 22.

    Nick,

    Just who is spoon feeding this rubbish?

    GB has neither previous experience as Chancellor nor any with reference to financial matters. Ask who does his bank accounts and expenses and it ain’t him!

    His previous is with nail biting and general sulking about.

    Could there be anyone to replace him?

    I hear that girl from Lazy Town has a few days off soon.

  • Comment number 23.

    #18 RobinJD

    Wretched old Chamberlain indeed comes to mind. In this case, Gordon Brown waving a piece of useless paper in the air and proclaiming, "Solvency in our time!"

  • Comment number 24.

    The current "crisis on Wall Street" will do nothing to save Brown's skin.
    After all, it was Blairite/Brown policies which allowed it to get out of hand in the first place.
    The cancer is spreading through the US and UK financial markets, as the bubble finally bursts on years of low interest rates to entice borrowers and easy credit.  
    As the cancer spreads, it's the culture of greed and fat profits that is the root cause of the problem and the taxpayers on both sides of the Atlantic are left to pick up the bill, as outlined here:

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/cancer-spreading-through-wall-street.html

  • Comment number 25.

    Nick.
    I'm just wondering if my email to nick.robinson@newlabour.com will reach you.

    Probably.

  • Comment number 26.

    From Benedict Brogan's blog

    "16 September 2008 2:10 PM
    Jim Murphy "is not resigning".
    Somebody close to Jim Murphy called me a short while ago to assure me that the Minister for Europe is not about to resign. Now, I suppose you could say the same about quite a few members of the Government. What's curious is that nobody had suggested to me that he was about to quit. But No10, last night at least, briefly convinced itself that he was the minister in the departure lounge."
    One thing the original BBC story last night did, looks to have been to send any dubious Mininster of State running for cover.
  • Comment number 27.

    Nick you can't possibly believe what you've written. Someone is pulling your strings.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick
    I've read many of your pieces in the past and believed you have written them with a balanced view and with the ability to see the wood from the trees. This can no longer be said. The Labour Party are finished. Gordon is not the best person to be leading us through this - he cannot make a decision and any he does make is so poorly thought out it is ridiculous. Gordon has no credibility and therefore what he is leading us through is the house of cards he played a significant part in creating and we will all be paying for in years to come.
    If he does carry on he has a choice - to change the rules of the Bank of England that they can ignore inflation in their setting of the interest rates in order to reinvigorate the economy. That would mean his economic competence is completely shot to pieces and he should resign
    Secondly he can change the borrowing rules and put this country into more of a mess than it already is. This would mean generations would be paying for his errors of the last decade. Again his economic competence is gone.
    Thirdly he could ask the Bank Of England to steady the ship and the FSA to do a rapid audit of all our banks and insurance companies to check the exposure they each have to this crisis and their individual cash reserves. And make available to them a short term option to cover this whilst they restructure their businesses to cope.
    Lastly he could resign and let someone else have a go - they possibly wouldn't be able to do it but at least he will not be blamed for more than he is already culpable of.

  • Comment number 29.

    thanks phoenix at # 23

    How on earth are the tories close to hedge fund managers, Nick?

    This is classic newlabour class warfare.

    Who do you think Paul Myners is?

    a)head honcho of Gartmore with one of the biggest hege funds in the city.

    b)staunch supporter of Gordon Brown.

    There are dozens and dozens of champagne socilaist hedge fund millionaires who are supporters of the Brown band wagon. Guess why? thye've been on his gravy train for the past eleven years.

    Open your eyes and tell the truth rather than misrepresent it.

  • Comment number 30.

    So when can we except the press releases from the Lib Dems and the Tories?

    Or will Nick only blindly put out the New Labour party line as his political commentry?

  • Comment number 31.

    All those dealings the tories had with the private banking sector were never in doubt.......

    "Well" they are seriously in doubt Now!

    Lets go with our head...Now! Now! Now!

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to agree with some other posters, NR appears to have fallen even further under New Lab spin than when he announced no leadership challenge.

    Truth is, Brown was in charge while this hellish brew was fomenting. He thought he could benefit from easy money, rising house prices and middle class content to sneak through tax rises on property etc etc and also infiltrate untold numbers of migrants in to keep wages low while employing everyone North of Watford or at least, keeping them in the money on state handouts. He helped create this mess.

    I would feel happeir with Harriet Harman in charge or even Mr Darling. Brown can never recover from this. We know now that lots of Labour MPs want him out. The party is split. Only getting rid of Brown can rectify the situation. The Labour cabinet are making it obvious they are all second rate losers by hiding beind Brown.

    Far from saving Brown you should be asking "How much is Brown to blame for this mess?"

  • Comment number 33.

    Can we expect an emergency budget..to help those who need help the most......



    Seems likely....after conference.....

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick
    It's pointless you know.
    Labour has had to stop giving peerages.

    Did you actually remember to repeat word for word what Mr Browns press office told you to say?

    Well done!

  • Comment number 35.

    “5. At 2:14pm on 16 Sep 2008, CaptainJuJu wrote:
    Nick.
    I'm just wondering if my email to nick.robinson@newlabour.com will reach you.

    Probably.”



    Grossly unfair.

    It is true that the majority of the BBC are biased beyond belief, but Nick keeps it clean.

    All this article is suggesting is that a big dose of reality has hit the Westiminster Hothouse, and given the Nu Lab underlings and wonks something else to think about for a change.

    I bet Gordon is hoping this will provoke people into a show of loyalty, mainly because it would absolve him of the need to do anything personally. Since he hates taking a decision, this would suit him down to the ground.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sometimes you baffle me Nick. Your articles read like brush stroke press releases from the Nu-Lab spin machine. It really is no wonder that a huge number of people believe that the BBC is Nu-Lab media hub. How is Gordon Brown the man best placed to deal with economic problems? He was the guy who fell asleep on the watch and sold the family silver... or gold depending on how you look at it. The strained link between the Tory party and 'hedge fund millionaires' is the icing on the cake.
    Or is this your attempt to not 'go so hard on the Labour Party' as instructed by your bosses at the Beeb? If the BBC is an impartial broadcaster then the moon is made of cheese.

  • Comment number 37.

    Which party doubled tax on the lowest earners?

    Nu-Lab.

  • Comment number 38.

    re: 33

    Can we expect an emergency budget..to help those who need help the most......

    The Labour party don't deserve to be helped. They have earned a slow and painful death--- let them suffer it.

  • Comment number 39.

    The only relevance which Brown and Labour have is as the Chancellor and Party which spent today regardless of tomorrow, and which increased public sector employment with all its attendant costs in the name of "investment" at the expense of all those not in the public sector.
    Mr Brown's lack of competence is amply demonstrated in his frequently repeated comment that there would be no return to boom and bust. How quiet he is on that point now, and how keen he and Labour are to blame global economic conditions, when they were only too happy to take credit for "achievements" in benign times.
    Of course, Mr Brown and his colleagues do not have to worry about their pensions and old age, unlike millions of the rest of us. He should do the honourable thing, admit his errors, resign and call an election.

  • Comment number 40.

    Welcome home labour...welcome home...


    and of course...welcome home Nick...........

    Well! alright.............

  • Comment number 41.

    It is less a question of what the country needs than of what the country will actually get. The Labour party shows no clear intentions towards either backing or sacking, a significant winter of discontent is not likely and if it were the electorate fears thatcherite solutions and will not happily let the tories in. Nick's right: if Brown can sit out the world financial storm, he need do very little else than stonewall to keep himself in office. Indeed has not the reshuffle already started?

  • Comment number 42.

    Ah, the pro-Labour bias of the BBC in full display. Clearly you are obeying the dictat of Peter Knowles to lay off Labour?

    Four very questionable assertions pushed forward by the biased-BBC...
    1) "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader"
    - don't sack me I'm the economic genius..sorry no-one believes that any more. The man was a disastrous chancellor who has made the problem worse for the UK thanks to his financial incontinence

    2) Would the public forgive a party that turned in on itself during an economic crisis?
    - don't sack me now 'cos it will look bad...when would it look good?

    3) Would the markets react well to a vacuum at the top of government at this time?
    ...isn't that the issue, the vacuum is already there?

    4) Would Alan Johnson, David Miliband or Jack Straw really know better how to run the economy ?
    - don't sack me I'm the economic genius...rofl

    5) Are the Tories with their close links to the City and the hedge fund millionaires really going to be trusted to clean up the mess?
    - Er, Nick please remind me who is Ronnie Choen and er Jennifer Moses and er fundraisers at Deutsche Bank and er opening Lehmans London office and er etc etc ....the truth is that NuLab has been very close to city and hedge fund millionaires.
    In the words of Ed Balls, so what?

    BBC bias at its best. A vintage article...nice of you to push Brown's lines of spin. Been chatting to Damien McBride recently?

    I'll bet you don't publish this one biased-BBC

  • Comment number 43.

    "Grossly unfair.

    It is true that the majority of the BBC are biased beyond belief, but Nick keeps it clean."

    Normally I would agree, however this comment sticks out as very Pro-Labour and Pro-Brown.

    For a start it isn't really relate to anything, it isn't tied to a story. If Nick wanted to make a comment how about commenting on the report that Labour have refused to send out nomination forms for a new leader?

    As it is now the real reason that Brown seems safe in his position is because he is not giving his MPs the chance to vote against him. There maybe many MPs who would happily vote against him in a private ballot but don't want to stand against him in public.

    Why does Nick even make the comment about the Tories? This is about internal Labour divides, the comment about the Tories is out of place and looks like a cheap shot.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think Nick means that Gordon will be saved from the coup, not from impending doom at the general election. Labour backbenchers, faced with a financial crisis that no-one born has come across will opt for the 'safe pair of hands that has guided Britain's economy for the last 11 years'.

    It won't work though, voters will punish Labour for the downturn, as they rightly should. "The end of Boom and Bust," that's gonna haunt Brown till his dying day.

    Oh and by the way, I would find it amusing how the Labour party can't even seem to organise a proper coup these days. I would find it amusing, if it weren't these berks that are running the county.

  • Comment number 45.

    There seems to be a lot of over reaction and hyperbole to this piece.

    If people actually bother to read the blog Nick isn't expressing his own opinions, it's pretty explicit that he's speculating on what Gordon is thinking, not writing a party political piece of his own - this is a blog afterall.

    A few people need to regain a sense of proportion.

  • Comment number 46.

    BBC reporting that Nick got it right.

    Cairns will resign this afternoon.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hope to catch up with you Nick....

    at the labour conference.......

    Pppsssss......dont wear the red tie......

  • Comment number 48.

    Nick,

    You have disgraced yourself with this comment.

    Nick, please stop writing this driven, resign and join the Labour Party press office, and let's have a proper joournalist.

  • Comment number 49.

    The supreme irony of Conservative central office stooges writing in to complain about someone being a Labour central office stooge is always a joy.

    The fact is you could put Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Ronnie Corbett or the Dalai Lama in No.10 and it wouldn't make a toss of difference, this crisis has amply demonstrated that the economy is run on the whims of an army of merchant bankers, all governments do is win when the goings good and lose when the goings bad.

    Maybe Gordon did make a mess of regulating the financial markets, but the other side of the recessionary coin in the massive energy price rises were all writ by the previous Conservative governments ludicrously short term decision to sell off our utilities.

    The British electorate might just as well ask itself why either of the two main parties is qualified to drag us out of the mire. That we appear on the brink of getting rid of one shower to reinstate the previous incumbent shower only serves to demonstrate the utter futility of British democracy as it stands.

  • Comment number 50.

    If the public start to see the economic problems as caused mainly by a malfunctioning (and ultra capitalist) banking system, rather than by the government, then the Tories, as the party who are most closely associated with that particular model, could be tainted.

    So yes, it might help Labour. Hard to see it saving them, however.

  • Comment number 51.

    Nick

    I normally take the people who say "the BBC is a mouthpiece for New Labour" with a very large pinch of salt. But this piece has me baffled. I have reread it carefully and wonder: Why did you write it?

    This is hardly impartial or balanced comment, more a puff piece for GB - what is its point other than to help him?

    And you last point about the Tories being close to the city and the hedge funds is unworthy, biased and inaccurate at the same time. It's New Labour that has sucked up to the hedge funds, protected them from fair taxation, stayed silent at their obscene pay packets, ignored their greedy destabilisation of the markets, etc.

    I'm not sure it matters much these days which party is in Government as they are all pursuing fairly similar policies. But I do rely on the BBC and you in particular to get beyond Party spin and give us some incisive analysis.

    If I was Cameron I'd be making a formal complaint about this piece.

  • Comment number 52.

    Well said No. 45, Nick is only expressing his rather accurate and well thought out opinion. I believe the 4 points he outlined would be exactly the kind of self serving mantra that GB would be repeating to himself, as he rocks himself to sleep hugging his pillow at night.

  • Comment number 53.

    I can't see any posts which don't give NR a hard time. Whether or not he is biased, I can understand his sentiment.

    In any case, I can't imagine that anyone with serious long term aspirations to be Labour leader (such as Miliband) will want the job prior to the next election (Labour are bound to lose) unless they consider that going into the election with Brown will not just result in defeat but such a heavy defeat that Labour may not be able to recover from it for a generation or more. I suspect that even the Tories are secretly hoping that Brown leaves the elction until the last possible moment. It seems that the best case scenario at the moment is that we won't see an improvement in current financial crisis until mid-next year. It may get a whole lot worse and its effects could be with us for much longer. There is little that the UK government can do to help the situation. Who wants to be PM when the decision has to be made on whether or not to step into nationalise an HBoS or RBS - damned if you do, damned if you don't. Better leave it to Brown until the banking crisis is over.

    On the bright side, a world recession will lead to reduced energy demand and reduced oil prices. It is happening already. Unless the Isreali's bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or there is a similar event, oil prices are unlikely to hit $150 again in the short term. Perhaps Brown understand this and it explains the limited action he took to alleviate fuel proverty! Or may be the UK Government simply has no spare money!

    A world recession might also dampen down inflation. If inflation reduces and unemployment goes up, maybe public service workers might moderate there pay claims and decide not to strike. Being a public sector worker with a guaranteed final salary pension might not seem too bad after all! Gordon, it's an ill wind................

  • Comment number 54.

    The current mess will take a complete social cultural change before it can be cleaned up.

    It is beyond the capability of the entire political class to even understand what is going on let alone do anything about it.

    They are too slick and too clever to possess the intellectual capacity that addressing the prevailing difficulties will take. There will also be policy mistakes as the issues are tackled, so we need political leaders with integrity.

    As for Labour they were elected to make the public services work by paying a little more tax. More than just a little more tax has been raised but the public services remain as useless as they ever were under the other lot.

    Labour is a busted flush and the sooner they realise that if they go now, the less pain and frustration the public will have to experience between now and May 2010.

    There is no easy way out from where we are. The very nature of our politics will have to change first. There will be a lot of unemployment, repossessions and utter devastation before that is appreciated.

    As a country we are well and truly ruined: so much for public services!

  • Comment number 55.

    Cairns has now resigned.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Chad Sexington wrote:
    The supreme irony of Conservative central office stooges writing in to complain about someone being a Labour central office stooge is always a joy."

    While there maybe Conservative staff paid to comment on blogs such as these (and I would expect the same is true for Labour and the Lib Dems) the main difference is that they are paid by their parties. This is a comment by a BBC political reporter NOT a party member.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good lunch chaps, thanks. Left Jasper to it down there. J on great form, as always after a few snifters. Told me some pretty astounding stuff, I must say.

    Told me that Gordon Brown has wasted all our money on paedophones and quangeroos (that's what Jasper calls Quangos, what a wild card!). Also said that he's sick and tired of busybodies sticking their noses into things. Says a chap can't get about his business these days without falling over a busybody. He was actually shouting a bit when he said that so it was obvious he's got a very good point.

    Even better is when he tells me (and the whole pub!) what a blighter Gordon Brown was for selling all our gold for the price of a packet of dry roasted. That's what he said, exactly that. Told you that Jasper was a lively type, didn't I? Anyway, according to Jaspers, this thing with the gold, that Gordon Brown did, has led directly to the International Credit Crush! Can you believe it?

    And this point about the gold, and how GB has caused the Global Crushing, is obviously an even better one than the busybody point because Jasperooners is yelling at the top of his voice now and (even better!) he starts waving his arms around like a windmill. I think it's great when he does that but not everyone does and I'm sorry to say that the Manager felt he had to come over.

    Anyway, the point is what a hell of a damnation and what a carry on. I'd like to think Jasper is talking up a gum tree (it is, after all, only a few weeks since they let him out) but he says, if I need to know more, all I have to do is have a gander at either the Daily Telegraph or something called the BBC log.

    Okay, the Telegraph obviously. Everyone reads that, don't they? But this log thing, well excusez moi and q'est ce que c'est as the Hun used to chunter.

    Can anyone here point me in the right direction? I'm hellish keen to take a looksee because Jasper tells me he features quite prominently. Even though he uses different names ("Jasper" would be too much of a giveaway, he says) I'm fairly sure I'll be able to spot him!

  • Comment number 58.

    Thought you were supposed to be impartial Mr Robinson? Most of your blogs tend to lean slightly towards labour. However This one takes the biscuit!!
    How can you seriously call youself a journalist.
    You just take what GB gives you and print it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Nick do you not ever consider changing your analysis of political events when you hear the complete opposite views being voiced by the voting public?

    The Labour Party are in the proverbial bunker. It doesn't matter how many times they say to themselves or the media that Brown is the most qualified man to guide us through economic turmoil; it doesn't make it true. It isn't.

    Basically they have a very simple choice in front of them. Allow Brown to continue and face certain electoral disaster or remove him and face possible electoral disaster.

  • Comment number 60.

    For all those arguing this piece is a decent article your clearly not reading the same thing everyone else is. This article is just guff, the comment which takes the cake is Tories close to millionaire hedge fund etc... he writes an article saying that GB appears to be the best man for the job and then throws in a slight at the Tory party. Poor form.

  • Comment number 61.

    So, just as Polly Toynbee of the Guardian hands in her pom-poms and stops cheerleading for the Great Helmsman, you pick them up Nick to carry on the good work.
    Any suggestion that the BBC is not completely and utterly biased is simply laughable.
    As are your political musings.

  • Comment number 62.

    "...One minister declared, to widespread approval, that "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader". Another said that the next election would be fought "less on Labour's record and more on their relevance" in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis..."

    Now that's the sound of a cabinet in fear of their leaders' wrath. "Please don't sack me Gordon, I'm loyal, really I am!"

    But whilst it makes Gordon look more Stalinist, it makes the rest of the cabinet look like wets.

    Anyway, therein lies Labour's problem. Who are they going to replace Gordon with? Not one of those spineless so-and-sos I hope.

  • Comment number 63.

    #43 - Boy have you got that wrong. I hate Brown and Nu Labour with a passion and ferocity that I can barely describe.

    If you read #45 however, you might see what I am getting at.

    Nick is trying to put himself in Gordon's place, and adduce his thought process.

    Why mention the Tories? Because Gordon will be thinking about them rather a lot.

  • Comment number 64.

    Our Dear Leader is possibly the the worst choice of individual to be leading us now, tomorrow, next week or next year.

    He has taken this country from budget surplus in 1997 to near record budget defecit in 2008.

    He singularly lacks the imagination or the guts to come up with and implement the sort of policies needed to steer this country through the current crisis, while repeatedly displaying a complete inability to recognise past mistakes or his responsibility for them.

    If he had the good of the Country at heart, he'd call a General Election today. His ego and the fetid whisperings of desparate hangers-on however prevents any such selfless act.



  • Comment number 65.

    #34 - PhilliKon wrote:

    "Nick
    It's pointless you know.
    Labour has had to stop giving peerages."

    In the interests of sound financial management, they now sell them.

  • Comment number 66.

    Whomever said "we have at the helm the person who knows more about the economic realities than pretty much any other leader", needs to be committed to the lunatic asylum at the the 1st opportunity. GB sold gold at a record low and lost UK plc billions and billions of pounds, and it was on GB's watch that a UK bank webt bust!. Also let us not forget inflation is the highest it's been for 16 years. These Labour cabinet ministers, or clowns as I prefer to call them, time and again prove how totally out of touch they are. Someone - please save us from Labour.

  • Comment number 67.

    Well, Nick, you could be right that this maelstrom could come to the rescue of the Big Broon.
    After all, bad is worse than badder.
    So, bad can stay in place a while longer.
    John C.

  • Comment number 68.

    That's a very odd take on things by Nick.

    I don't think the readers/viewers are convinced.

    I think the reverse is true of what nick believes; people see Brown/Labour as the main reason why this has reached a crisis and they also blame Brown/Labour for constantly exacerbating things with their negligence.

    Most people would rather have a temporary vacuum and an election rather than having someone in charge who's constantly doing things to make things worse, and I think the city would hold that view too.

    Put it this way, if you owned a shop selling bone china and you couldn't get any customers, would you prefer to simply have no customers for a few days, or would you prefer to have a bull running around smashing up the whole shop *and* not have any customers?

    People aren't stupid; they know that Brown/Labour are making things worse and that most of the problems are of their own making.

  • Comment number 69.

    I do wonder if any of the foaming at the mouth commenters ever actually read the piece they are commenting on or is it just the case that they insist on shouting "Stalin" as if that somehow means anything. About the only thing worse than having the current incompetents running the country would be letting pretty much anyone here get involved.

    I suspect that, as Nick Robinson writes, GB is desperately hoping that people will see him as a more experienced leader and therefore the best man for the job. I doubt that will be the case but what I find useful about this blog is Nick's attempts at trying to unpick what it might be that the politicians are actually thinking.

  • Comment number 70.

    If you could all hold on for a moment, this is Nick's blog. While you may not agree with him and possibly suspect him as a GB man, he can say what he likes on here. A blog is not a news medium.

    As to his substantive point, he may be right for the wrong reasons. Nothing diverts public attention more effectively than blind panic and if Brown can divert us from his personal crisis by adopting a "we are all doomed" position, he will. Nothing like a good war to bring the people into line but since there doesn't seem to be one on the horizon, we will just have to make do with financial melt down.

    No, the global economic crisis is not GB's fault. No reasonable person would think it was. But to use it as a mechanism to divert attention from his own poor leadership is indefensible. GB must go, not because he is to blame. He must go in spite of that.

  • Comment number 71.

    Congartulations to Mr Blair - you saw this coming and you bailed out before any of the mud could stick to you, true genius.

  • Comment number 72.

    Firstly,

    Unbiased in this forum means 'adopt the same editorial stance as the Daily Mail', regardless of the facts.

    You will never be appeased by an objective public service broadcaster that bases what it says on the facts (and surely you have plenty of alternative news sources that will provide the editorial stance you desire e.g. Sky, the Sun, the Telegraph, the Mail etc).

    Secondly,

    Nick Robinson was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (at least according to Wikipedia - trying to find a good source to verify). Would suggest any underlying bias to his reporting may not be towards Labour?

    Thirdly,

    It is no secret that Conservatives are closer to big business than the Labour Party (see a list of donors to the Conservatives). Not that there's anything wrong with that. Though I think the way it is said is possibly misjudged (should have caveated this remark definitely).

    I fully expect respondents here to be similarly outraged when links between Labour and the Unions are made.

  • Comment number 73.

    Fingerbob - show me evidence that there was a surplus in 1996-97.

    Ridiculous statement.

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh Nick I know they pay your wages but please try to some credence into it.

  • Comment number 75.

    There has to be something in the question whether any of Messrs Straw, Johnson or Milliband could do any better. Surely if there was a viable alternative Labour leader out there then some momentum would have built up behind that person. But there isn't and none has.

    Why is this? I have a theory related to the cyclical nature of British Parliamentary politics. Party is elected to government. It is re-elected a couple of times. Governing party loses touch with reality. Much of its original talent falls by the wayside, resigned or sacked or some other reason. The electorate loses patience and throws it out, bringing the other lot back.

    The other lot has spent too long in the wilderness. It has renewed itself through changes in leadership and through bringing in new blood. A significant proportion of its new intake have spent the last few years in the real world. (This is a flaw in my theory, in that nowadays too many prospective members of Parliament are party researchers rather than the people with real jobs in the real world). governing party loses touch with reality... And so the cycle continues.

  • Comment number 76.

    re: 69 Deleriad

    I agree that Brown does have a lot of experience in financial circles, but that doesn't mean he's the best man for the job. The problem is that all his experience is the experience of creating/exacerbating all the problems that we currently have, and in my mind that doesn't mean he's the right man to fix it.

    Just because he's the architect of the problems, that doesn't mean he's the person to fix them. I'd rather have a Big Brother contestant running the economy than Gordon Brown; unlike Brown they'd probably listen to advice from civil servants and financial experts who understand economics.

  • Comment number 77.

    It's not the small inconsequential rats leaving the sinking Labour ship that interest me. It's the sycophantic little mice surrounding the PM who are making fawning noises in a vain attempt to rescue The Queen Bee and so preserve their own skins. I wonder who will be the first of these to show their real hand?

  • Comment number 78.

    Nick,

    Could not agree more, if anyone in there right mind thinks that Cameron (scottish perhaps) and Osborne could possibly have an idea of economic competence perhaps we are all living in cloud cuckoo land. I don't recall one Conservative policy announcement of anytime in the last 3 years that has anyone in the country saying 'yes that would be good idea'!

    I for one will be sticking with Labour, well done the National Exec. for throwing the request for a leadership election out and David Cairns... WHO??? Even better let all the backbench/frontbench troublemakers resign and give us all a break.

    Northern Rock, not Brown's fault, sub-prime mortgages in the usa, hardly his responsibility, global oil prices dictated in the middle east forcing food prices up, need I say more.

    God help us if the Tories come to power, bye bye tax credits, bye bye income tax at 20p, hello unemployment at 3million.



  • Comment number 79.

    Someone (could have even been Nick) has a theory that all prime ministers are brought down by the very thing that was thought to be their area of expertise and it seems Gordon is following this path.
    Ironically the only action which was universally acclaimed at the time -independence of the Bank of England has now been shown to be a regulatory fiasco.
    I am afraid GB will go down in history as terrible chancellor when the real implications of his actions become clear.
    People tend to think of the Gold sell off as a typical example but there are countless others.
    I even discovered yesterday that one of the reasons this country is lagging so far behind with internet speed relates to the costs incurred by the 3G sell off- another supposed stroke of genius at the time.
    Although on a personal level I feel sorry for Gordon, he is the problem not the solution.

  • Comment number 80.

    Calm down folks! We need the Beeb to continue to peddle the NuLab line to shore up Brown and make sure he is still PM at the next election.

  • Comment number 81.

    re: 72

    Nick Robinson was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association (at least according to Wikipedia - trying to find a good source to verify). Would suggest any underlying bias to his reporting may not be towards Labour?

    This is irrelevant--- who are his paymasters? The Beeb of course, who have a left-wing bias.

  • Comment number 82.

    These comments highlight the fact that calm, rational and unbiased discussion is very difficult. Nearly all the posters are merely repeating their prejudices and giving their opinions without considering the facts.

  • Comment number 83.

    Nick, I understand that Brown the Clown is looking for a speech writer - are you up to it ? hopefully you will accept, and stop accepting tax payers money masquerading as an impartial reporter for the BBC.

  • Comment number 84.

    Nick Robinson wrote..

    "Would Alan Johnson, David Miliband or Jack Straw really know better how to run the economy ?"

    The mere fact that the answer is no to these three nor Brown nor anyone else in the Cabinet either, means that we need a General Election now and be given the opportunity to throw out this utterly useless and faction riven Govt.

  • Comment number 85.

    "You will never be appeased by an objective public service broadcaster that bases what it says on the facts"

    Don't you see the irony in making that comment in the comments section of a Blog that is by it's very nature opinion rather then fact?

    Personally, I feel that on the whole Nick Robinson is very good at keeping a mostly unbiased view and certainly appears more objective then many from the BBC.

    "I fully expect respondents here to be similarly outraged when links between Labour and the Unions are made."

    The comment was not about the Conservatives links with industry - but the suggestion that we could not trust them because of these links (links which as others have pointed out New Labour have as well).

    I would not expect the BBC to suggest that New Labour could not be trusted with the Unions because they have shown that they have been able to keep the Unions on their leash.

  • Comment number 86.

    #23 "Wretched old Chamberlain indeed comes to mind"

    The bit about Chamberlain that few recall is that after he came back from Munich he launched a massive programme of building shadow factories and bolstering our defences, whilst pretending that there was nothing to worry about.

    The problem today is that we look for all the 'shadow factories' that should have been put in place when money was flowing and see nothing. Many, principally Vince Cable, predicted that this day would come and now it has we are ill-prepared. And before everyone piles in on Gordon Brown, millions of middle class voters who are the first to criticise HMG saw an era of cheap money as a chance to borrow more, not to pay off debts while funds were there.

  • Comment number 87.

    @35 Constable_Shoe

    I think you are probably right in hindsight. I wish I had not written it.

  • Comment number 88.

    re: 78 gallogav

    Yes, that's right. Nothing's Brown's fault. He has no responsibility for anything whatsoever, despite running the economy for 11 years. Move along...nothing to see here...

    Sorry, but most reasonable people know better; he stood idly by despite warnings from experts over the years and watched it all happen with a twisted glee. Then blamed the americans for everything once everything he'd been warned about reached crisis point.

    It just won't wash; we all know the truth; that he destroyed our economy by his negligence and left us at the mercy of a global recession with no spare cash to help us. And for that he'll be remembered in history as not only the worst Prime Minister we've ever had, but also the worst Chancellor, and that really does take some doing.

  • Comment number 89.

    The song and dance man now leading the Tories never seems to have anything to say about the important issues of the day. Could it have something to do with the fact that he was an advisor to Tory Chancellor Lamont on Black Wednesday. His advice cost the taxpayers £17billion in one day. No wonder he has gone awol.

  • Comment number 90.

    You really do need to start unbiased reporting Nick.......on second thoughts, it's too late you lost any credibility you had left on Friday.

  • Comment number 91.

    "I don't recall one Conservative policy announcement of anytime in the last 3 years that has anyone in the country saying 'yes that would be good idea'!"

    I guess you forgot the proposal about Inheritence Tax and tax on non-doms that was stolen a few days later by New Labour because it gained the Tories so much support?

    "I for one will be sticking with Labour, well done the National Exec. for throwing the request for a leadership election out and David Cairns... WHO??? Even better let all the backbench/frontbench troublemakers resign and give us all a break."

    Do you really want all your back benchers to resign? That would mean at least 12 by-elections which aren't exactly Labour strong points at the moment.

    "Northern Rock, not Brown's fault, sub-prime mortgages in the usa, hardly his responsibility, global oil prices dictated in the middle east forcing food prices up, need I say more."

    Yes not his responsability, but then neither was the growth of the last 11 years because that was global market driven too - can't have it both ways

    "God help us if the Tories come to power, bye bye tax credits, bye bye income tax at 20p, hello unemployment at 3million."

    I would be quite happy to see an end to tax credits, and I expect that there will be 3 million out of work (or on the sick) by the time of the next election the way things are going.

  • Comment number 92.

    So, the shady left-wing staff at the top of the BBC have instructed Nick to insert the phrase about the Conservative Party into this article?

    I understand now.

    I think most people would have a left-wing bias if you take the Daily Mail as your source of objectiveness.

    And I would have thought that such a left-wing organisation would be challenging Cameron et al a little bit more than they are.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nick, why does everybody think Brown knows so much about the economy? He had the luck to inherit a good fiscal legacy from Ken Clark, he had the luck to be Chancellor during an unprecedented period of global growth and low inflation and he taxed and spent until the cows came home. What Brown did not do was to prepare the nation's finances and public sector for the possibility of a downturn and recession. Now the boom is over and the bust has arrived, the Government is left with a massive headache as a consequence of Brown's lack of prudence over public spending whilst Chancellor. In the meantime, the Government he "leads" is in meltdown over his leadership. The UK has the worst of all worlds now - a lame duck leader of a faction ridden party and an economic crisis of the highest magnitude.

  • Comment number 94.

    #85 - no irony there - more saying that the more opinionated posters on here will be claiming the BBC is biased unless it takes an editorial line similar to the Daily Mail.

  • Comment number 95.

    The BBC has an inherent left-wing bias and Nick Robinson epitomises it.

    The people who comment on Nick's blog are all perfectly sane.

    Both of the above statements are irrefutably true.

  • Comment number 96.

    It is astonishing that most contributors misread the grammar and treat NR's surmise about GB's hopes as if they were NR's own opinions.

    Having listened to NR's dry commentaries over recent months it is clear that he is a detached and deadly accurate observer, not a GB apologist. In this case he is merely sharing his informed assessment of GB's self image, not endorsing it.

    If anything, the contributions show that, like Voltaire, NR can discredit weak arguments by solemnly expressing them without comment or refutation.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nick, are you the last person in the country who actually supports Gordon Brown?

  • Comment number 98.

    Nick:

    Despite the global financial crisis, GB can't get away with blaming our economic woes on 'global problems outside our control'. Someone needs to nail the Big Lies in the current presentation of our economic woes.

    These Big Lies are:

    - "It's a global problem and not our fault". The domestic credit bubble, and hugely stretched public finances, are a result of domestic incompetence.

    - "We are better placed than other economies to weather the storm". This is another Big Lie - look at the OECD's assessment of the UK, or look at the slumping value of Sterling. Not even his own Chancellor believes this any more.

    - "High taxes and government borrowings are essential to maintain our public services". This is palpably nonsense - we are paying for Labour's army of public sector pen-pushers, and could slash Labour's bureaucracy and save GBP 20bn annually without impairing services at all.

    - "Gordon Brown is the safest hand on the tiller". Another lie; given his track record on the asset bubble and public finances, he is one of the LEAST qualified people to lead us out of this mess; he got us into it!

    I'm sure you're trying to give GB the benefit of the doubt; unfortunately, there's no longer any doubt. He's a proven failure and should go, the sooner the better!

  • Comment number 99.

    re: 96 ingenuous2

    I think you're reading too much into it; it's much simpler, eg:

    "The crisis on Wall Street may prove to be bad for pretty much everyone else other than Gordon Brown."

    I think that was just a straight-forward opinion being expressed (whether that's Nick's opinion, or whether it was forced on him by the BBC via the government bully boys is another matter).

    Nick's leading paragraph to me is just plain weird. Perhaps it was intended as a way to stimulate debate rather than being offered as a genuine opinion/viewpoint, but I'm guessing it wasn't.

    It doesn't make sense to me that a financial collapse happening which was essentially created by "x" means that "x" is safe in his job due to that collapse, and that "x" is the only person who can fix it. It's just illogical.

  • Comment number 100.

    Excellent piece of political journalism Nick and is the message Tony Blair would have got across to his party and the whole country during these difficult times.

    Who says spin doctors have no place in government?



 

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