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2008: The Brown rollercoaster

Nick Robinson | 18:12 UK time, Friday, 19 December 2008

He didn't quite say we have nothing to fear but fear itself but Gordon Brown is increasingly adopting the tone and language of a war time leader.

Gordon BrownToday he spoke of a "can do attitude" and "a fighting spirit". Tellingly, he declared that Britain had been the "victim" of the economic downturn which, as no doubt you recall by now, he says came from abroad.

As forecasters line up to compete to tell us just how gloomy and miserable 2009 will be, the PM is trying to stay resolutely upbeat and looks more relaxed than ever.

In comparison, at his news conference exactly a year ago, he looked rattled and defensive when facing questions about his alleged dithering over the future of Northern Rock, the loss of the names and addresses of millions of child benefit claimants and another party funding scandal.

The opinion polls tell the story of the Brown rollercoaster - up and up went the Tory lead. In the past three months it's gone down and down until now the two parties stand roughly where they did 12 months ago.

The big difference is that now the momentum is with him, not his opponents - so much so that today he had to insist that he was not even thinking about an early election.

If this goes on, we political commentators may start to suggest that what a failing leader really needs to rescue them is a massive economic crisis.

But then, the next 12 months look like being as unpredictable as the last 12.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Am I the only one who finds it increasingly distasteful to see Gordon Brown's ever-widening smile as this crisis develops?

    His stature may be rising in some people's opinions, but for the rest of us about to lose our jobs and potentially our homes, I know how I feel about him, and it ain't printable here, Nick.

  • Comment number 2.

    When you see France Telecomm's just reported losing all 3 submarine cables to India used by the online shopping support systems virtually simultaneously, and they won't be back up until Christmas, he might be right. It's called economic warfare, which may be the next field of combat after guerrilla and terrorist tactics failed.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sounding like a war leader? Chamberlain or Churchill?

  • Comment number 4.

    "It's all someone else's fault, we didn't do it, we couldn't have seen it coming, we're here for you."

    This just goes to prove that if you repeat something often enough, the electorate will believe you.

    A sympathetic propaganda relay station like the BBC doesn't hurt your chances, either.

  • Comment number 5.

    What complete and utter tosh!

    We may well be the victims, but Gordon was the perpetrator.

    I'm not surprised he's smiling. He's not going to suffer because of the recession (NOT downturn), but the rest of us will.

    ...and as for your likening him to a war time leader; Sir, that is a terminological inexactitude.

  • Comment number 6.

    Gordon Brown also stated that what with cheaper oil and food prices, people would start to feel better off. Clearly the man hasn't been shopping recently or he would realise that this is simply not the case.

    Also, the pound's continued weakness against other currencies, especially the euro, will surely cause food prices to rise in the coming weeks and months

  • Comment number 7.

    Strong rumours on political betting.com that yougov have tories on 7% lead. Sort of blows this out, if correct. Good comment on there from one of the contributors
    "Is this a case of premature adulation, by Nick," time will tell.

  • Comment number 8.

    Mr Brown should be careful not to get to excited as most people suffer from the credit crunch they may like to take issue with someone who all of a sudden seems to have found his political motivation when before this crisis he had none. What has he actually done we all no what happens when you prop something up like a bad marriage its doomed no matter what you do. The economy looks very bad.

  • Comment number 9.

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  • Comment number 10.

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  • Comment number 11.

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  • Comment number 12.

    Does, Brown think that if he keeps repeating the mantra
    "The economic downturn is imported "we will ALL eventually believe him??

    Nick do you believe that if YOU keep extolling Brown we ALL eventually believe you ??

    Hmm it appears so

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm really sick of Labour's line of the economic climate being 'out of our control'. This crisis would not be anywhere near as serious if a)individual debts has not been allowed to reach 3 times GDP and b)money had not been wasted on stupid ideas like tax credits where it would have been cheaper just to cut the basic rate of income tax and save a lot of uneccessary admin.

    Brown's attitude reminds me of the man who went to MacDonalds, spilt coffee on himself and sued them because it didn't have a label saying 'hot'.

  • Comment number 14.

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  • Comment number 15.

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  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting that you include the loss of Child Benefits data amongst your quick review of problems about which GB had to face questions a year or so back.

    Even more interesting that the responsibility for more recent losses of personal data by Government agencies or departments, (of which there have been several), hasn't been laid at the door of Number 10 at all - so why is that?

    If he was 'presiding over a shambles' then, why wasn't he 'presiding over a shambles' again more recently.

    That the press agenda can just move on in this way surely exposes a lack of substance in the first place, yet there was no telling to the media at the time. There was a whiff of blood and only a brave man would have stood in the way of the media pack in their headlong rush for GB's jugular vein.

    Come on Nick, were you right then or are you right now?

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm sure that Crash doesn't need anyone else bigging him up

    Maybe his confidence is just superficial because he knows that whatever he does will have no effect.

    He's almost survived until January, and then the banks discover if he'll deliver on his promises of funding

  • Comment number 18.

    Just for those who haven’t been paying attention. Mandy is back. Campbell is ‘advising’. So under those circumstances, its hardly surprising that there’s a media narrative of ‘Brown’s having a good recession’ and ‘Labour more trusted on the economy’. However, as reality departs from the land of spin, as people lose their jobs and have a sh*t recession, that’s going to be both sickening and terribly hard to believe…

    Who isn't repulsed by seeing him grinning in every photo while we, the people, fight for our jobs, salaries and homes?

  • Comment number 19.

    "He didn't quite say we have nothing to fear but fear itself but Gordon Brown is increasingly adopting the tone and language of a war time leader."

    I think a quick history lesson might be in order here. When FDR said that, he wasn't a war time leader. He was referring to the Great Depression - so it would probably be apt to use it at this point.

  • Comment number 20.

    If Crash Gordon is now seeing himself in these terms, it only confirms the degree to which he has lost contact with reality. And with his underlings required to sing along to the same tune as "the Great Leader", no matter what they believe in private, it is more a case of lemmings heading over the cliff than troops advancing into battle. You say that GB appears ever more relaxed. What, pray, does that tell us about him? That here is a man to whom self-interest matters more than the state of his country and who sees the global economic crisis as a God-sent opportunity to save his political skin! What hubris -- and what tragedy.

  • Comment number 21.

    Amazing, when things were rosey, it was all down to him and Prudence.

    Now it's all gone belly up, and Prudence has been shot dead, it's everyone elses fault.

    Sound's like a few managers i've come across in the past.

    Let's face it, he's like a lame horse in the satble awaiting for his owner to make decision.

    The British electorate could save him some pain and make the decisions now..............Let's put him out of his misery.

  • Comment number 22.

    I watched this press conference. A very dull boring performance by a pan faced man in an ill fitting suit (as usual) who gave a very lack lustre performance, side stepping near 100% of the questions asked. I would have got more excited if I was watching paint dry instead.

    Was your question at the end written for you Nick by the Govt press machine? The PM seemed to know exactly what was coming and had his answered prepared - well, more of political grandstanding than an answer.

    If this is leadership Gord help us. If I was going over the top with him in charge I would much prefer to be led by Baldrick -at least he would have a cunning plan.

    I cannot see how you say the momentum is with the PM. The wheels are coming off all across this country big time and everything Brown has done so far has come to nought. All that has happened it that he has spent huge amounts of money, to cover up his failed policies, that allowed this country to run up an unimaginable amount of debt. All of which has to be paid back. Repaying it will be the cause of another downturn immediatley after we are getting back on our feet.

    If the PM was not wallowing so much in this recession, people may, just maybe, feel a bit more confident in themselves and would not be battening down the hatches so much - fearing for the worst.

    People are bombarded by news all day long and I think if this Govt and those in the business world choose their words a little bit more carefully - then the economy in this country would not be nose diving like it is.

    Interesting times ahead. When we have nearly 3 million unemployed and umpteen companies and small businesses going bust lets just see who they see as their saviour then.

    I still think Cameron has the best policy, going for the long term solution not short term pain relief.

    This short term attitude seems to be the problem with Labour during the last decade. They come up with a policy or idea; but never think things through and never seem to consider the consequences of their actions. Everything they do is designed for quick sound bits and good headlines. Invariably their policies fall apart and they are forced into embarassing u turns.

    I think they will come to regret the 2 1/2% vat cut. That was pointless and caused more aggrevation than good to retailers.

    Oh well as you say we have 2009 to look forward - another press conference another time.

  • Comment number 23.

    He reminds me of a wartime leader all right.

    General Custer.

    Indians? What Indians?

  • Comment number 24.

    I cant think of any other politician more distasteful than Brown.

    How he can say that Britain is a 'victim' in this recession is one of the biggest lies ever told since 1066. He ruined the golden legacy handed to him by Ken Clarke!

    New Labours only policy left is if we keep telling the same lie often enough than eventually people will believe it.

    Of-course the BBC lefties then take over with the pro-labour propaganda whilst this great country is destroyed! Disgraceful!

  • Comment number 25.

    The Brown Broadcasting Corporation!

    I used to think it a little unfair when people mentioned the Blair Broadcasting Corporation but no longer.

    Brown is deluded - sadly he has hoodwinked a lot of people into believing he is in charge of the situation.

    Nero and fiddling come to mind...

  • Comment number 26.

    At 6:49pm on 19 Dec 2008, heraldicus wrote:

    "Sounding like a war leader? Chamberlain or Churchill?"

    More like Saddam Hussein??!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Cameron said this today;

    "When the financial crisis happened, I made it clear that the Conservative Party was ready to put aside party differences to help bring stability. That's why we supported the recapitalisation of our banks.

    I also said that we would not suspend our critical faculties over this Government's calamitous economic policy decisions - decisions that helped not only cause this crisis by encouraging government and personal debt to spiral out of control, but could also make the recession deeper and last longer.

    That's why we have set out a positive alternative, starting with immediate action to tackle the credit problems at the heart of the issue.

    It's clear the recapitalisation is failing to restart lending to the real economy, so we've proposed a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite loans to businesses.

    It is vital that this £50bn proposal - which has been welcomed by the business community - is taken forward by the Government right now.

    I can't promise it will save the world, but the sooner the Government swallows its pride the sooner we can get credit flowing again, and help Britain's struggling businesses.

    Conservatives have always understood and supported businesses, we know what they need to prosper.

    We also recognise that they make a difference not just by creating wealth, offering employment, and paying taxes to fund public services, but by making their money in a moral way, treating their employees right, strengthening communities, and playing a positive part in society.

    So we don't see the financial crisis as an excuse to bash capitalism, we see it as a challenge to make it work better in the future.

    As well as better regulation we need to reinforce the values of trust, integrity and responsibility - with strong institutions, and incentives to do the right thing.

    And just as importantly the Government should lead by being as prudent with the public finances as we expect banks to be with private finances, and by being as moral and responsible with the public purse as we expect business to be with consumers' cash.

    That's what a Conservative Government would do. Let's hope we get a chance to have one in the coming year."

    I don't regard these words as those of a 'failing leader'. Rather they seem to come from someone who has more to offer than the man whose mantra, only a few weeks ago, was that the UK was in better shape than most countries to overcome the economic downturn.

    I suspect that this blog's author doesn't read the comments any more - not sure why he's blogging really. It only makes sense to blog if there is a genuine dialogue with the public. So Nick, what's wrong with the Cameron view? Why not confound us all and tell us what we've got wrong?

  • Comment number 28.

    Brown is looking relaxed and happy because things are going his way He has ruined the economy taxed us all HEAVILY and lowered VAT 2.5% having a meaningless effect but lumbering us with huge debt and making the leap to 21% acceptable when the EU takes its constitution..

    Brown is a hero of the EU well on course to join the euro and revelling in the fact no one has spotted what he's up to.

  • Comment number 29.

    I have lost my Job already and a victim of Gordon Brown's dreadful economic record.

    He has done nothing to help those people who have lost their jobs already and in the next few months others will discover that LABOUR IS THE DELIVER NOTHING PARTY.

    They have had 11 years in power and have failed on everything and now ruined the economy.

    The UK is not a victim of the world slow done but Gordon Brown's policies.

    The only thing manufactured in this country in recent years is Gordon Brown's recession for which I have paid the price. The recovery only starts when Gordon Brown loses his job!

  • Comment number 30.

    War time leader ?! More like war time criminal, have you already forgotten Iraq? We all know that the delay into the enquiry that was due once the troops were pulled out will be further postponed past the next elections, or rather delayed until Labour are removed and can no longer block it.

    Let us also not forgot that it is was under Gordon Browns stewardship that we have been led into the financial crisis (in his role as Chancellor and now PM), perhaps not solely his fault, but we are in a far worse situation than most major nations.

    To be honest, I have to agree that GB does remind me of a war time leader. He guided this nation into massive debt and his remedy is more debt. Surely when you suggest war time leader you were thinking then of General Haig who lost 60,000 troops on the first day of the battle of the Somme and instead of learning from that continued until we had lost 600,000...?

  • Comment number 31.

    The recent unemployment figures were only the tip of the iceberg and the next quarters results ( to Jan 2009 ) will be truly horrendous.

    We have seen some coverage of better than expected high street sales & consumer confidence but remember this... the depth of discounting in the market is huge at the moment, yes retailers are bringing in more cash but at what cost ? I'd love to see what the discounting is doing to their margins...

    I heard one Labour mouthpiece on the radio today trying to justify helping Jaguar/Land Rover and saying that the biggest help would be to back the finance companies offering loans to purchase the cars. Now, I'm sorry if I missed the queues, but who on earth is lining up to spend 20K+ on a new car at the minute?

    One more thing, I have seen figures published showing that the amount of corporate bonds due for repayment in 2009 is 4 times greater than that of 2008 - so if companies are finding it difficult to get bank money now to re finance next year looks to be a bloodbath.

    Thanks Gordon

  • Comment number 32.

    Nick should not be attacked for pointing out the political realities that are unfavourable to those not of the NuLab clan.

    The BBC has its fellow travellers, Sian Lloyd for example, but Nick is just emphasising how much advantage the incumbent has rather than exhibiting bias.

    That said, Brown is, and always will be, the villain of this piece. John Major summed it up best, when he said that, after the house has been ransacked, you do not employ the burglar who did it to fit new locks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Recession! what Recession!! doing to do wiv me guv, its all those pesky foreigners fault, but don't worry 'Super Gord' is on the case, the fruit and nut case...book your summer holidays now, as all talk of recession will be gone, let the good times roll....but don't forget to save all those nice Euros now, as the nasty £ will have sunk by then.... well, Cameron will have obviously talked it down by then....

    Anyone wanna nominate our Gordy for 'GOD' for 2009.... did I hear a second from you Nick?

    *whistles to the tune of Manilow's 'Mandy' as I walk off into the sunset.....*

  • Comment number 34.

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  • Comment number 35.

    People are losing jobs and getting their P45s left, right & centre - myself including - but this shameless PM clings on to his job, safe in the belief that he can hold on to it by as much as he can delay the elections. All the BBC can do is marvel about how he's got a second political lifeline of sorts while the rest of us are worried about how to pay the bills.

    Thanks Nick, keep canvassing for him. Afterall neither you nor the PM are at the receiving end of this god awful mess in monetary terms.

  • Comment number 36.

    If ever anyone was looking for examples of political ignorance, all they have to do is look at the tabloid type contributions to this discussion. It does not matter where you look in the world, economic crises prevails, and yet the fools still blame a single British politician. It says more about them than it does about the Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 37.

    Oh I have just had a great idea, if any one gets approached with regards to an opinion poll please say Labour and Brown have done a wonderful job with the country and that yes, you will most definitely be voting for them. A swing in the opinion polls may actually convince Labour they have a chance to hold some seats and will finally call an election...

    Then bye bye Brown.

    Hmm, I wonder if someone has already thought of that...

  • Comment number 38.

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  • Comment number 39.

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  • Comment number 40.

    #23
    I have to agree with your sentiment.

    If we remember the young GB, he was over-confident that boom and bust was over.

    He is once more over-confident that he has his hands on the tiller and he will land us all safey.

    What will it take for him to recognise that he might have made a Titanic mistake? (Pun intended).

  • Comment number 41.

    we have nothing to fear but Gordon Brown himself.

    This man is useless, I have nothing but utter contempt for "It". Brown is not a man but a child in an adults body - Who else could cynically write to an X factor winner but not the people who have lost family fighting wars that he has signed up to?

    Brown will do anything to score party political points, even lets remeber Baby P. He is a monster - How can the BBC report some of the garbage in glowing terms about the PM who has set Britain back.

    Brown is a deliver nothing leader and the labour party is a deliver nothing party.

    The only thing Brown has given the British people is recession, debt and dispair.

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh and one last thing, if he was a war time leader we have already lost.

  • Comment number 43.

    #36 bravesouter

    You are free to believe what you like - as we are.

  • Comment number 44.

    Now let me see.Our GREAT LEADER sells our Gold when its dirt cheap,are we about to see our currency go the same way?.EUROLAND is almost here.Be warned.

  • Comment number 45.

    We'll see how cocky he is come the budget in March when it all comes crashing down around his ears.
    Look at the Golem, so happy that his country and the people in it are struggling so badly. It's shameful. The worse it gets, the happier he is. But it'll rebound on him when everyone realises that it is all largely his fault and the true state of the country becomes apparent.

  • Comment number 46.

    Your did not mention Churchill therefore I must assume you mean Brown is Stalin as a war time leader. This is the most "closed" Government Britain has ever had, it verges on dictatorship. We are the most watched country in the world even teachers weekend habits are now coming under scrutiny. Dependence on the state is at record proportions and propaganda from this Government happens all the time. Policies are announced to the public before being discussed in Parliament. Our democracy itself is under threat from this dreadful man and all the media can discuss is he talks like a war time leader, lets have some answers to the huge problems we face and who caused them instead.

    As to the polls, I can hardly believe people would vote for Brown, in fact most women I know cannot even watch him because they find his smirking face so distasteful. However I do believe if you tell a lie often enough people will begin to believe it and lets face it, Brown tells lies all the time. He misrepresents what is said by world leaders etc and is allowed to get away with it. It must dirve the opposition to distraction, I know it does me.

  • Comment number 47.

    Brown can smile all he wants, but the reality is that whenever he calls the election, he'll be out on his ear. Sadly, he'll be leaving a bankrupt economy.

    For all our sake's, let him go, the sooner the better!

  • Comment number 48.

    Brown's economic policies since 1997 have done more damage to the heart of this once-great country than any war could or has. 'Wartime' Leaders bring the country together to fight a common enemy, and this is a role he could never, ever fulfil, seeing as he and his corrupt, inept excuse for a government ARE the common enemy.

    It's about time some of our so-called political analysts (yes, like you, Nick) looked behind the lies, the spin, the half-truths, and realised that just because bad news is hidden, it doesn't mean that there's no bad news!

    Example: Announcement this week that there's finally a plan for withdrawing British troops from Iraq. Great. Comes the day after the announcement that MORE troops are being sent to Aghanistan. So these kids (cos that's what many of them are) are simply being sent from one war-zone to another. But Brown looks good, and tere are enough fools in this country who will fall for it.

    The recent pitiful VAT cut has done nothing. The multi-billion pound bail out of the banks has done nothing to stimulate lendign and borrowing. Businesses are going to the wall, people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their self-esteem, but in the Ivory Tower that is 10 Downing Street, it's "I'm alright, Jock"...

    Another dumb idea s this new one about helping to stimulate the British car industry. Ed Milliband said on the radio this morning that he wouldn't loan money to Land Rover Jaguar, but instead would make buying a new car easier. Face it, Ed, that one will not save LRJ, but it will put more of our money into the hands of German, Italian and Japanese car companies. Well done, nicely thought through.

    God, this government is a shambles, and the sooner they go the better.

    Bring back Oliver Cromwell - at least you knew where you stood with him, and it wasn't at the end of a long queue for petty handouts, soundbites, spin and platitudes that actually mean absolutely nothing.....

  • Comment number 49.

    No more boom and bust ... Hmm.

    But Mandy's back, so black's white, and white's black, and it's all down to those nasty American salesmen. As Viv Nicholson said, 'spend, spend, spend'. Spend like there's no tomorrow. HMG have a credit card with no limit.

    As Capt. Mainwaring might have said when asked who will pay, 'You foolish people!' (Perhaps not, we know that we are at the precipice.)

  • Comment number 50.

    No35 kingsrgs
    I am sorry to hear that you have lost your job and hope that you find new employment quickly.
    However, I think you should be aware that levels of employment are just a byproduct of a free market economy. Profit maximization is the only game in town for the capitalist class. I have attended a lot of board meetings in my time and I can assure you that the wellbeing of the workforce hardly ever gets on the agenda. Discussions on shareholder value and earnings per share usually predominate.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Today he spoke of a "can do attitude" "

    Well, he's certainly demonstrated exactly how he can "do" the British people!

    "..the PM is trying to stay resolutely upbeat and looks more relaxed than ever."

    Is it just me, or does this grinning ghoul become ever more repulsive as he gloats while we all suffer the consequences of his appalling financial incompetence?

    "The big difference is that now the momentum is with him... "

    ..preferably propelling him towards an exit via the number 10 door.

    "- so much so that today he had to insist that he was not even thinking about an early election."

    Yeah, sure. The only thing he's thinking is how and when he can bribe voters to get back in through said door.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nick,

    From the reports of this he sounds utterly deluded. I've lost my job as a result of the credit crunch, been taxed up to the eyeballs, and had my pension taxed also. The thing I associate James "call me Gordon" Brown with is telling us that he's "abolished boom and bust". Can you explain why you've forgotten all about that fantastic and vain boast?

    I don't believe A SINGLE WORD he says. Do you?

  • Comment number 53.

    I had better pass this information on to my local MP who with only a 10000 majority is running round like a headless chicken to get himself in the press.

    He obviously doesnt believe either his leader or the polls....a wiseman methinks.


    Which wartime leader did you have in mind Nick ??? Mussolini perhaps ???

  • Comment number 54.

    Gordom Brown is typical of New Labour.... he accepts no responsibility for the economic crisis that we're in.

    Am I right in recalling that Tony Blair lead us to war with Iraq at the behest of God? It was nothing to do with him.

  • Comment number 55.

    It's all very well spouting sound bites; if you look what he has actually done it's a differant story.

    Recession is like a tide, you can't turn it back and if you think you can, you are a fool in the mould of King Canute. The way to survive it is to be prepared with a good supply of cash behind you, which this government have utterly failed to do.

    Brown has spent every penny this country has and will have over the next 5 years trying to turn back the tide which is going to prove futile. A prime example is the pathetic cut in vat piling more costs on small business whilst doing nothing to get people to spend - 2.5% off - wow.

    The banks were one issue that did need cash but the rest of his actions (or should that be the Chanellor of the Exchequer?) will make no differance and cost us dearly long time.

  • Comment number 56.

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  • Comment number 57.

    I agree with you Nick. He sounds just like Adolf did in his bunker in 1945.* He too was making plans to rebuild Germany while the Russians were at the gate. Gordon is planning to rebuild Britain and the debt collectors are at our gate.

    Bob

    * See dvd Der Unterfall

  • Comment number 58.

    Personally, I think it a huge insult to Stalin when people compare Gordon the Golem to him. Stalin was a titan of history. Gordon the Golem is more like Chernenko.

  • Comment number 59.

    hmm after all this time i finally got a post referred...not sure why, it cant be because i am unhappy with the BBC, could it be nick is a bit too sensitive given my observation that GB appeared prepared for his question......
    but to get back on topic, it is exactly a year since the famous "end of boom and bust" speech....oh how wrong can someone be and still keep their job? He was wrong then and he continues to be wrong, which one of his measures has actually worked? not taking over failed NR, nor recapitalising the banks not his 2.5%cut in VAT to "stimulate" spending....

  • Comment number 60.

    Lord Mandelson clearly has the Tories worried. He has only been back a few weeks, their lead in the polls virtually wiped out and the shadow cabinet in total disarray. You have seen nothing yet. He is a real professional, and in sharp contrast to the ex-spin doctor leading the Tories whose only real job was spinning for Carlton Communications, they went bust owing millions. Norman Tebbitt recognised talent, and that was the reason he asked Peter to name his own price to run the Tory machine.
    I am not aware that he has ever been charged with a criminal offence, that , once again is in sharp contrast to the two Tory crooks Lords Archer and Black both introduced into the Upper House by the spam hoarder from Grantham.

  • Comment number 61.

    Nick,

    you may have missed it, in in your hurry to write your usual paen of praise to the prime minister, but the pound has fallen further under Brown than under Major, under Wilson, or under Ramsay MacDonald. The pound in your pocket has wasted away under the SUB-PRIME Minister. This is not a crisis "imported" from abroad. It is a home -grown crisis fed and watered by a decade's efforts of Chancellor Brown, and the foreigners are demonstrating their opinions by withdrawing their assets from the ship of state before it founders on the rocks of Brown's incompetence.

    (Not that you would notice this fact in the mass of Labour propaganda published by the BBC)

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    well, when all is said and done, we only have ourselves to blame.

    we have not gotten angry enough at this repulsive nightmare, and we have not gotten our feelings known to him.

    Anybody for a revolution?

  • Comment number 64.

    Anyone else noticed that less and less people are commenting on Nick's blogs?

    Less people believing?

  • Comment number 65.

    "Sounding like a war-leader?"

    Sounds like a guy who allowed the UK economy to be driven by a credit-bubble, then found some bunch even more stupid to blame for our problems.

    I guess I missed the point at which the USA dictated that personal borrowing in the UK should be allowed to balloon as never before?

    When the USA insisted that individuals in the UK should be offered enormous multiples of income to buy more than the current asset-value of their houses?

    When the USA insisted that UK Banks should be allowed to do really stupid things, because Brown's creation - the FSA - was too pre-occupied to worry about their business models or actual liquidity?

    I don't like George Dubya, but he sure as hell wasn't in charge of the UK economy. That was the Superhero - Gordon Brown.

    Funny, really.

    He presented himself for years as Superman - the hard man who created constant growth.

    Then popped into a phone booth and came out as just a smiley nerd in a suit.

    Now he attacks OPEC. For goodness sake, oil prices didn't go up because a bunch of producers demanded more. It went up because speculators who couldn't make a quick buck in the financial markets started to target oil.

    I always thought Brown was an economic illiterate. Just hoped he'd hide it when he went abroad or talked to foreigners.

  • Comment number 66.

    Bush knew about the bad loans in 2001 He even warned about them. But then he had an idea He let in millions of immigrants and force fannie mae and freddie mac to lend them money knowing full well they wouldn't get repaid then a steady stream of bankers bought those debts making huge bonuses also knowing these were poor investments but they made millions.. When everyone was on board and the time was right the federal reserve called time in a very vocal fasion and started the credit crunch..

    This meant Bush and Brown could take ownership of most of the banks In the UKs case what we own so does the EU If you control the money supply tou control capitism In effect Bush and Brown control capitlism NOW give our democracy laws and freedoms to a dictatorship they control and give them ownership of the money supply and what have you got left??

    What is truly amazing is they do this in full view and like ants no one sees the bigger picture..

  • Comment number 67.

    He may be sounding like a war leader but its the electorate who will decide what happens once he calls the date.
    We will all be wearing our tin hats in the meantime to protect ourselves from the fall out of 11 years of poor financial management by this man and the quicker he goes the better.
    Everything he does goes wrong and the latest 16 billion pound PSBR deficit this month clearly demonstrates how grim it has got.
    We could all see a deficit of £150 billion next year and a request by the IMF to bail us out.
    As Osborne recently said Labour always messes up in the end but this time Brown has excelled in his mess up and it will take a determined Conservative Chancellor years to get us back on the straight and narrow.

    Lets hope that the opinion polls trick him into going early so that he cannot do much mor damage.

    regards malc

  • Comment number 68.

    Brown is simply an economic wartime criminal and should be tried for bringing suffering to millions.

    This man is no hero. He is to the UK what Mugabe is to Zimbabwe...an utter disaster for his people.

    Mugabes decisions over many years have lead that great country into the ground resulting in disease and poverty. Brown has done the same to this country but to a different degree.

    We should just be grateful that we will have the opportunity to get rid of this appauling Gov't within the next 500 days.

    Start the clock!

  • Comment number 69.

    At least Mussolini got the trains to run on time!

    Perhaps Nero would be a better comparison

  • Comment number 70.

    if they force up the price of alcohol then i'm voting tory. if they change their minds about that i'll prob stick with labour.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    C_E_H

    I do what it says on the tin.

    I argue that politicians - didn't say whether Labour, Tory (or so long ago that it doesn't matter) Liberal MPs spend far too long thinking up brave new stuff, but too little time implementing real controlled change.

    The fact is that the rate of legislation / regulation over the past decade has been higher than ever before. Check it out.

    That's not an attack on anything other than the simplistic desire of politicians to say "I/We've passed a new Bill, so stuff will get better".

    It's like me getting together with folks in the pub, going home and getting fingers on the PC, then printing out a statement that "Crime will reduce by 2011".

    Lovely thought. But without some proper delivery behind it, it's as useful as a beach wind-break in a hurricane.

    That's all.

    If MPs took one whole year to pick through and discard the crass stuff that has never been implemented, we as citizens would have a bit more chance to know exactly what laws we may be breaking by accident.

    (By the way. I read all of Darling's stuff in the PBR. I still think that reducing VAT by 2.5percent, with a promise to re-instate it later, makes no economic sense. Still say that, had he chosen to adjust VAT by a bigger margin on energy supply, it would have made a much bigger impact for the people who were deprived of a 10p tax-band.)


  • Comment number 73.

    I guess that, in a way, Nick's right.

    Back to the wall, defending the nation, is always hard work, but sounds good if stated often enough.

    But at least now, Brown has Lord Mandy Goebbels back on board.

    Brown's an historian. So I guess he will remember that it all ended badly.

    Just can't imagine him ending it all, by calling an election.

    Courage is something he simply writes about.

  • Comment number 74.

    #64 strongholdbarricades

    Recession is biting unfortunately

  • Comment number 75.

    This is a deliberate strategy, we are all in it together, rally around me chums. I am the leader. But why is he so cheerful the worse it gets, beats me. Does he enjoy spending.

  • Comment number 76.

    balhamu, yes we saw that when it was printed on the FOURTH of December. Don't you have any new attempts to put a gloss on the terrible polling results for Labour?

  • Comment number 77.

    You imply likeness to a 'war-time leader' but not which one. Perhaps you had Nelson in mind and look what happened to him after a great victory.

    I refer, of course to his putting a telescope to a blind eye and the analogy becomes clear.

    Nelson died after a stunning victory, the P.M. , might "politically die" but I doubt that the comparision will be the same, after a stunning victory.

  • Comment number 78.

    32. At 7:55pm on 19 Dec 2008, gruad999 wrote:

    "That said, Brown is, and always will be, the villain of this piece. John Major summed it up best, when he said that, after the house has been ransacked, you do not employ the burglar who did it to fit new locks."

    I hardly think we need any lessons from the likes of John Major about burglars. He might just find it all rather embarrassing after his period of holding the highest Public Office in the land. And why employ "them" to try to recover a set of documents legally obtained - too hard to think about asking nicely and saving public funds perhaps, after all, I only needed them for a few days to find out about 'criminal activities'.

    Sorry gruad999 but Major is hardly an example of an honest politician - if such a thing exists, and only time will tell on that one I'm afraid.


  • Comment number 79.

    #76 donofthenorth

    Don't put too much trust in polling myself.

    Brown is miles behind - the current poll is far too kind to him.

  • Comment number 80.

    74 balhamu

    Yes I know, not impressive is it, if you can't keep your crew fed how can you say you can sort the economy. Same problem.

  • Comment number 81.

    This issue is about Gordon Brown acting on a situation. This shifts the focus from people making claims and laying things on to delivery. Nothing sells like a demonstration and there's nothing wannabes and folks with a grudge can do about that.

    The challenge for Labour is to continue developing its own maturity: it must focus on polishing its policies to a shine, reaching out to people, and driving, driving, driving success down to the bottom rather than get sucked in to being arrogant and vindictive.

    By putting a laser like focus on success, social liquidity, and patient accumulation of capital, their governance, popularity, and national wealth with develop of its own accord. With ego out of the way, I predict a landslide victory at the general election, a swift recovery, and a Japanese style post-war boom.

    Gordon "gets it". Do you?

  • Comment number 82.

    I guess the arch-villian always carries a chunk of kryptonite.

    Responsibility and discipline are requirements for all organisations that have an inpact on the lifes of people.

    It's only right that the leader tells the oil firms to regulate their process.

    The thriller in manila or the rumble in the jungle, GB is quite happy to take them all on!


  • Comment number 83.

    I have to agree with the comment about this column being a bit like something from Comical Ali....

    Nick you really need to look up impartial in the dictionary.

  • Comment number 84.

    It's been a long time since I've hated a public figure so much. The worse the economic situation gets the broader his false smile becomes and the more I hate him for it.

  • Comment number 85.

    Never forget that this man is part of the blustering party who 'personally put paid to the economics of boom and bust.'

    Now that we are in the dwang, it is the evil bankers and outside influences which caused the problem. Nothing to do with nuLabour's criminal mismanagement of the economy and Gordon Browns utter incompetence.

    If the polls are right and people are returning to nuLabour then it is indeed avery dark day for the UK, because the UK will arguably have one of the most gulliable, thick electorates in the world.

    That being said, if nuLabour is re-elected then I am going to give up my job and live on income support. (Like all good nuLabour supporters.)

  • Comment number 86.

    glanafon, its an example of what the country SHOULD have been doing under the less than watchful eye of Mr Brown. Matching outgoings with incomings. Mr Brown assures us he has no intention of holding an election soon, so why keep on staff to fight an election he does not have the courage to announce.

  • Comment number 87.

    What the year shows is the incredible resillience of Brown. The Conservatives look rattled. When Cameron pretends to be the champion of the working man against the "evils of unfettered capitalism" it is ridiculous. This appears to be the new Tory narrative. We are through the mid-term of this government and Labour are close enough in the polls for the next election to still be up for grabs.
    The Conservatives on this blog and in the real world should be nervous.

  • Comment number 88.

    Sorry gruad999 but Major is hardly an example of an honest politician - if such a thing exists, and only time will tell on that one I'm afraid.


    Major kicked the boot into the unemployed due to some loud mouthed reporting in the Daily Mail, and his last published opinion piece is disingenuous at best. My view is Major will lie and kick anyone if he thinks it will get him anywhere. He's good at faking gravitas and sincerity but his eyes are dead like a fish. There's nothing in that soulless monster but death and greed.
  • Comment number 89.

    Greatest lies ever....

    Boom and bust ended....

    It's all the fault of the US.....

    No election next year.....

    Cheque is in the post.....

    Something about your mouth....

  • Comment number 90.

    #85 iang-b

    Care to expand on that comment?

    What proportion of Labour voters at the previous election were income support claimants?

    Humour me.

  • Comment number 91.

    For crying out loud! Since when did the BBC blog comments sections become the mouthpiece of the conservative party? And the babbling, populist and downright crass wing of that party too?

    Since we're in an ECONOMIC crisis, surely the logical thing to do would be to approach the problem with ECONOMICS and not POLITICS.

    We are currently seeing a current slump in demand due to everyone (banks, homeowners, businesses) running out of money. Because we live in a free market, supply will fall to adjust the reduced demand. This all leads to deflation, lower GDP growth and rising unemployment.

    To blame this on the government, using phrases like "ruined Ken Clarke's golden era" is like making the fact that it rains suddenly all the weatherman's fault. It's stupid and missing the point. Saying stuff like "Gordon Brown wasted the good times" or as David Cameron likes to say "we are on a borrowing binge" misses the point.

    A quick recap of economics. 1) No one apart from the government really has any money to spend - banks, business, homeowners are all bankrupt to some degree. 2) Government spending now can prevent deeper, more destructive recessions making appearances next year. 3) Government borrowing is not a bad thing - in fact, it's a very good thing, as it allows cheap money to be pumped into the economy to prevent it falling apart.

    Liking Gordon Brown to Robert Mugabe is silly. Robert Mugabe just printed money, more money, more money. This wildly exploded the money supply, causing sky-high hyperinflation. As witnessed in the so called "long depression" of 1873, a banking collapse lead to a long depression.

    And when I say long depression, I mean long. 23 years to be precise. Remember Herbert Hoover in 1929-1932? He effectively said no to government intervention and yes to a balanced budget, as well as ridiculous protectionist laws. What happened? Well, he prompted one of the worst depressions ever - GDP fell by 25%, unemployment peaked at 13 million.

    So stop trying to score political points, whiny conservatives - shape up or ship out, I say. Start helping the unemployed, the jobless, the poorest in society and get off your media fuelled bulls**t bandwagon.

    Read some economic and history books, why don't you?

  • Comment number 92.

    Were is the war obviously in his head, war on a rollercoaster that should be fun.

  • Comment number 93.

    Nick,

    "We political commentators may start to suggest that what a failing leader really needs to rescue them is a massive economic crisis."

    Many a true word spoken in jest - this whole piece is a bit of subterfuge, n'est-ce pas?

    Still it made me smile.

    Something is troubling me now that Brown is starting to tread the boards of the world stage (though much in the "mere player" mould, to borrow from the quotation). What has become of our Foreign and Colonial Secretary?

    Back in the summer (it seems so long ago, doesn't it now?), when Brown's fortunes were at about their lowest ebb, there was much positioning and posturing on behalf of a certain Mr Milliband. Speculation of a leadership challenge was rife - even within this hallowed blog.

    Now of course it was later denied that such a challenge ever existed. Me sir, no. Nothing of the sort. (The ballad of Sir Brian?)

    So what has this senior cabinet minister being doing since then? Like Blair before him, Brown is off doing summits and making speeches, saving the world and all its banks. But of this certain Milliband, we hear very little indeed.

    A few discussions back you posted about the worsening crisis in Southern Africa. The cholera epidemic is spilling over beyond Zimbabwe's border and into South Africa.

    The situation is ripe for diplomacy, to encourage South Africa to find a regional solution to the Mugabe problem, and at the same time strengthen ties within the Commonwealth it was so keen to rejoin post-apartheid.

    It seems like a perfect opportunity for an ambitious and up and coming minister to make a name for himself - cometh the hour...

    Oh well, perhaps not.

  • Comment number 94.

    He can blame all and sundry for the country's woes.
    He can rack up debt for the next generation in the name of compassion.
    He can bail out industries in marginal constituencies.
    He can U-Turn 11 years of political direction with newly-created populist policies.
    But Britain will not vote that man Prime Minister.
    In an odd way, it's almost tragic.

  • Comment number 95.

    Nick, I think you may have hit on something here.

    In war, as the saying goes, truth is the first casualty.

  • Comment number 96.

    iangb

    Starter for 10 (based on the parliament.uk library research document on the 2005 election):

    Labour votes at 2005 election - 9,552,400

    Total income support claimants May 2005 - 2,150,760

    So, if 100% turnout of income support claimants, assuming they are all British citizens who are eligible to vote, and all vote Labour gives you 22.5% Labour voters on income support in 2005

    That's quite unrealistic for a number of reasons.

    First, turnout among those claiming income support is rather less than 100% - assuming that it is the same as those living in social housing - which I would suggest is generous - would give a 51% turnout

    Taking account of this would reduce the total number of people on income support who voted in the 2005 election of 1,125,380 - and assuming they all vote Labour, thats 11.3% of Labour voters

    Secondly, they are rather unlikely to all vote Labour. Looking at the stats, 55% of people in social housing who voted voted Labour in 2005 (16% Tory, 19% LD, 10% other).

    Taking account of this would reduce the total number of people on income support who voted in the 2005 election for Labour of 618,959, or 6.5% of Labour voters.

    I need go no further (though there are a lot of other adjustments that need to be made e.g. Income Support claimants who are not British citizens, the fact that Income Support claimants tend to be distributed in certain non-marginal seats and so have a lower impact on elections than their numbers would suggest and so on and so on).

    Labour's majority in 2005 was 767,500. So if you take away "the core NuLabor vote", they would have still won. Oh well. Best find some better stereotypes I guess.

    And hope Cameron disenfranchises those who are on benefits or unemployed, or don't live in the Home Counties, or work for the public sector.

  • Comment number 97.

    'War time leader'....

    As in Downfall?


    (And a variation on the theme).

  • Comment number 98.

    A minor point of order: FDR was not a wartime leader when he made his 'fear' comment. He said it in 1933.

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm looking forward to the day when it dawns on the majority of the British population (51% will do) that Gordon Brown is an incompetent, arrogant, Machiavellian hegemonist.

    Perversely, he's revelling in this crisis (largely of his own making in so far as the UK will suffer much more than our peer nations in the coming decade), presumably now likening himself to some latter day Churchill whose destiny is to lead us into bright sunlit uplands.

    The man's deluded.

  • Comment number 100.

    # 26 .... " sounding more and more like a war leader" .... might I suggest David Lloyd George ? .... once, famously described by R.A. Butler as "a man not so weighed down by moral scruples that he couldn't walk upright" ....

 

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