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'A bit of a week'

Nick Robinson | 11:30 UK time, Thursday, 30 April 2009

After Peter Mandelson's wry description of "a bit of a week", he went on to deny that the prime minister had lost his authority.

Gordon BrownHowever, Gordon Brown shows every sign of having lost the respect, the fear and habit of loyalty from his party which are the foundations of prime ministerial authority.

Yesterday, they delivered an unprecedented victory for an opposition motion, even after a direct appeal from the prime minister and concessions from the home secretary.

On Monday, they forced him to abandon the key plank of his proposal to reform MPs' expenses - the daily allowance in place of the much-criticised second homes allowance.

What's more, the head of the independent inquiry into expenses, Sir Christopher Kelly, refused a prime ministerial request to speed up his work and refused to be bound by Mr Brown's ideas; in the Commons yesterday, MPs laughed derisively as a jet-lagged prime minister moved to leave the chamber after question time, apparently forgetting that he had a statement to deliver.

What's more, another foreign leader - the Polish prime minister - embarrassed Gordon Brown on a visit, as had the Czech president before him. Donald Tusk pointed to his own country's fiscal rectitude, making the contrast with Britain all too obvious.

And, as Peter Mandelson said, it is only Thursday - and today the Commons must decide whether to back the rest of the Brown expenses plan or to leave reform entirely to that enquiry.

Authority, unlike virginity, can be regained. After all, Gordon Brown did just that last year - in part by appointing Peter Mandelson to the cabinet. However, as Lady Bracknell might have said to lose it once may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose it twice begins to look like carelessness.


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  • Comment number 1.

    "However, Gordon Brown shows every sign of having lost the respect, the fear and habit of loyalty from his party which are the foundations of prime ministerial authority."

    I would suggest that the same goes for his control of the lobby. It is quite clear that so many journalists are writing things today that would not have been put into print a couple of months ago.

    The UK needs a General Election so the real issues that affect this country can be addressed rather than the short term politicking that is going on at the present time.

    It is a shame that it is too late to call an election for June 4th.

  • Comment number 2.

    You were on the train Nick - god knows why when a major political story was breaking in Westminster - but as it happens *I* was in Westminster, and saw Labour MPs in *panic*. I saw one female MP hopping from foot to foot as if she was about to wet herself - I can only imagine it was extreme agitation...

    Gordon's toast. He's no damn good - and the whole world knows it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Authority, unlike virginity, can be regained.

    ROFL .... no chance, the man is spent. Move on.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well I still think he's a decent man.

  • Comment number 5.

    Is it just a coincidence that now McBride is no longer at Number 10 the political journalists have become somewhat more honest (and brave) in their reporting?

    I doubt very much that GB will lose the vote on expenses today, but I wonder why he is in such a hurry to push this through before the July deadline for publishing MP's expense details. I would hazard a guess that there are some unwelcome disclosures ahead and he's trying to get in first and then be able to say "look what I've done to clear this mess up".

  • Comment number 6.


    "Authority, unlike virginity, can be regained"

    But rarely. And in this case it won't. The SS Gordon Brown has struck the rocks and is holed below the waterline. It needs to be towed to dry dock and scrapped.

  • Comment number 7.

    He had a 'good' G20 which allowed him to play to his strengths. Since then, sadly, we are back with the old Gordon who lacks the required leadership skills. If he were an Apprentice he would be fired.

  • Comment number 8.

    I would venture that eveyone who has felt "screwed" by this Government and this Prime Minister in particular, would not mourn the loss of their virginity, as the act was done without the physical invovlement of intercourse.

  • Comment number 9.

    I still cant get over the fact that this guy - Gordon - is in Office without a single person voting for him to be one in the country voted for him to be Prime Minister, and neither did anyone in his party - the man must feel like a complete fraud, riding someone else's ticket...

  • Comment number 10.


    I think the reason is quite straightforward - He's simply not up to the job, and there is a growing progressive consensus which thinks so.

    Bizarre analogy with virginity though Nick - do you know if Prudence was a virgin when she met Gordon ? No going back for her either !!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Really poor judgment from Brown. And what is this about "£1.4bn" cost. Where does he get that from? That's nearly £40K per gurkha - just for giving them the right to live here? Eh?

    He is becoming a laughing stock. Tories need to be careful - if he resigns they've lost their best asset!

  • Comment number 12.

    Two things I don't understand here, Nick. I may be being naive, but:

    1 - how on earth did restoring the repeatedly discredited serial spinner Peter Mandelson to the Cabinet bolster Brown's authority?

    2 - why is Brown insisting on a pre-emptive Commons vote, when there's an inquiry already under way by the body which has a proper remit to rule on the matter of MPs "allowances"?

    Ben Clarke bottled it on The Apprentice last night, and I think Gordon's caught the jitters off him. It's either that or pig plague.

  • Comment number 13.

    I consider Brown as the perfect encapsulation of Socialism. Not a realistic idea to be found anywhere. All rhetoric and pompous, high minded but dreadfully flawed idealogy. Dogma that condemns the less fortunate to be nought but pawns in their scheming and an utter uselessness as a Governing Party. Time is up, found out, as are all the sychophants trailing in the wash of the ship going down! I'm all metaphored out, now!

  • Comment number 14.

    Gordon Brown's administration resembles a tyre with a slow puncture.
    You can nurse it along but eventually a car with this ailment grinds to a halt, this is exactly where we are now. This broken down vehicle of a Government now urgently needs to replace a wheel, that being the man himself.

  • Comment number 15.

    When you consider that there are still skeletons in the closet Browns authority may look pretty good now!

    Bit by bit we will find out more about the origins of the financial crash - such as the HBOS risk warnings to the FSA, neutered by Blair but created by Brown. T

    here are the origins of the Iraq war to consider.

    Expenses will dent the image of politicians in general.

    Its likely that we will get a better picture about how "loose" a cannon McBride was. I assume Brown has to resign if McBride or Draper reveal he did know what was going on.

    The party know that they are going to get hammered at the next election. Most know that the New Labour experiment is dead and the legacy will last for decades. Many will bounce back from the crash but some will be knocked out and will look back with anger at the Labour strategy. Everybody will remember it and be influenced to some degree.

    Is it his authority that the MPs question or are even they tired of the shoddy acts of spin and supposedly populist actions as over the Ghurkas presumably because they are even losing votes to the BNP?

    There still is no clear successor and the reaction of Blairites to the 50% tax increase suggests there is still no internal consensus. Typically they seemed outraged by that act but indifferent to the role that regulation did not play in preventing the crash from happening in the first place.

    A slow death until the government has to resign - would they go too if McBride reveals that Gordon was involved in the smear emails?

  • Comment number 16.

    "After Peter Mandelson's wry description of "a bit of a week"",

    Did he not actually say "a bit of a weak" in which case he was absolutely correct.

  • Comment number 17.

    The game is up Gordon.

    It is time to step down gracefully after 12 years at or near the top.
    12 years which have resulted in the mother of all economic cock-ups and complete loss of authority over Parliament and your own party.

    I'd prefer to see a General Election now, but if Labour want to have a leadership election and get a fresh face at the helm before the 2010 election, there's some real point in doing that right now. It would give the new leader a chance to change things, re-invigorate the party and enthuse the country at the party conference in September.

    We might then have a choice between three credible main parties at the election, instead of the two (Lib Dems and Tories) that we've got at the moment...

  • Comment number 18.

    It is not just Brown - it is clear that the UK needs a full General Election so a new Government with a fresh mandate can make a fresh start. There have been too many broken promises by the present Government, including reneging on manifesto pledges. The Commons and Government are mired in sleaze over MPs expenses (it is an utter disgrace that Smith and McNulty are still in Cabinet).

    In short, let's clear out the Augean Stables and get a new Parliament in place with a fresh mandate! Call an election now!

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh dear, Nick. Were you sitting next to the Greyfriars Mob on your train. Did you crib their homework about virginity?
    Anything else to add to your multi-faceted critique of our Dear Leader? Smelly feet? Odd socks?? Smutty mag under bed???
    Not a bad week for little Clegg, I'll grant you. Now I've seen him on one side of La Lumley and Dave on the other side I'll remember which is which.
    On the other hand, Clegg does not realistically aspire to be our next PM. Dave, who does, still hasn't come up with much in the way of alternative economics. However it's reassuring to know that the future welfare of our Gurkha bretheren weighs heavy on his mind and that he meanwhile continues to try to improve his name-calling skills.
    Turned on the telly last night and saw the admirable David Davis, now reduced to chat shows. It makes you want to weep.

  • Comment number 20.

    "However, as Lady Bracknell might have said to lose it once may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose it twice begins to look like carelessness."


    Nick, it was Oscar Wilde.

    It was also a bad week for Mr Mandelson, his great friend Oleg Deripasky's LDV van firm has gone into administration after Mr Mandelson refused to bail it out.

    Looks like he won't be getting a return invite to the yacht this summer!

  • Comment number 21.

    I am proud and happy to say that I was never ever taken in by this lying bunch of thieves and charlatans in the labour party. Their "third way" was always a con and the new-labour experiment was ALWAYS going to be a failure. The only way it could stagger on for this long, deceiving the people whilst robbing them blind, was with the disgraceful complicity of the mainstream media and the BBC.

    Anyone who was taken in by New Labour who now rightly feel like they have been conned, should also be asking why the MEDIA willingly propagandised for labour and repeated so many known lies, unquestioned at the time, for these liars?

  • Comment number 22.

    What's happening now to Brown is what happens to all bullies in the end.

    People finally reach a realisation that the bully doesn't deserve the power status that they, as willing victims, have given him, and they ignore the bully and point and laugh at them, thereby bringing their power over you down to nothing.

    Brown has absolutely no democratic mandate, and he now has absolutely no authority.

    He must go, and there must be an election immediately.

  • Comment number 23.


    Reading the comments on the blog I think you need to start repairing your relationship with the public. Basically, you don't seem to be trusted to give impartial reporting.

    Time to come clean ?

  • Comment number 24.

    That said, who might take over if the men in grey suits visit?

    Mandy perhaps?

  • Comment number 25.

    I think Gordon Brown's authority is being subjected to death by a thousand efficiency savings.

  • Comment number 26.

    So what will it be?

    Another Labour coup with another Prime Minister without a mandate?

    A New Labour coup calling for a Coalition government?

    Collapse of the government followed by a General Election?

    A long haul with an incrementing recession and debt to the next scheduled election in May 2010 in the increasingly desparate hope that something will turn up?

    The declaration of a state of emergency and the constitution suspended?


  • Comment number 27.

    It's going to be a long lingering death I'm afraid. Unless that is Labour finish behind the Lib Dems in the June elections and Labour MPs decide to finish him off.

  • Comment number 28.

    For all of Gordon Brown's failings and problems (many of them of his own manufacture) what makes you think a General Election will solve any of it? All it's likely to do is make a scapegoat of him and allow the system of (mis)governance and (un)democratic representation of the electorate to continue. With little to differentiate the 2 main parties and no real alternative on offer, how will the will of the people be expressed? On mass marches when they get it badly wrong? Any party that has 3 terms in Government becomes just as bad. Remember the Tory Glory years? Once every five years or so, at least 2/3rds (depending on electoral boundary changes) of the population vote AGAINST the party which governs the country in any manner they see fit (often contrary to the manifestos they get elected on). Their values and opinions are invalidated from the moment their candidate fails to be first past the post and they are only asked again in the run up to the next Election 4&1/2 years later. This system encourages short term thinking often at the expense of the long term well being of the country and singularly fails to address (completely ignores) any of the long term issues that are urgently in need of addressing. We lumber from one crisis to another because Governments (Tory & Labour) have singularly ignored making tough decisions (seen as vote losers) where the results are only likely to be noticed after the next general election. This has been exascerbated by the changes to the upper house, both in its power and composition to the point where we enact legislation that doesn't even do what it's intended. What little resemblance to democracy the UK had evolved over 100's of years of checks and balances has completely disappeared after 2 successive 3 term governments. It appears that the only choice we've had in over 20 years is one of stability vs representation (even though they aren't mutually exclusive)

  • Comment number 29.

    #17 TGR_Worzel

    .....We might then have a choice between three credible main parties at the election, instead of the two (Lib Dems and Tories) that we've got at the moment...

    That's a really good point. The thing is, who, from the present bunch is a credible alternative? Apart from a few tenuous tests of the water last year, not one of them has had the courage publicly to be a dissenting voice. The Labour Party, until a whole new generation of Members are in situ, will remain unelectable for years which is a shame for the Elecorate and not an acid test of the Conservatives credentials. By that I assume Cameron will be the next Prime Minister, but not necessarily due to his capabilities, more because the pitiful recent performance of Brown et al makes Labour in it's current form not a viable option.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Gordon Brown shows every sign of having lost the respect, the fear and habit of loyalty from his party which are the foundations of prime ministerial authority."

    The country lost whatever "respect, fear and loyalty" it had to Gordon Brown long ago. It was about time the party caught up with the feeling on the streets.

  • Comment number 31.

    why oh why nick do you avoid talking about expenses in any depth when clearly it is the most important issue in respect of the general public. would you kindly publish your expenses?

  • Comment number 32.

    A Fresh mandate is the only thing that can purge the HoC

    For the good of the party he must do the honourable thing

    1. principled
    2. worthy of respect or esteem

    The Manse surely taught his son that much?

  • Comment number 33.

    # "he had a good G20"....... oh no he didnt it was just more smoke and mirrors...a month later can you say one thing that has happened due to the G20?

    now they are ramping up the "flu pandemic"....politicians love this sort of thing as it takes the peoples eye off the real problems and make it look as if the government is doing something....every year 3,500 people die of flu in the UK... in America the figure is 35,000 a year, and does the media report this? Just remember all the recent "scares" CjD, Sars, Avian flu....all were going to be responsible for thousands of deaths.....
    I expect GB to jump on the passing bandwagon and offer to the "save the world" from this latest problem,

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick, you say "Gordon Brown shows every sign of having lost the respect, the fear and habit of loyalty from his party which are the foundations of prime ministerial authority"

    The fact is, he probably didn't had much respect in the first place. But you are quite right about the 'fear'. Brown was handed the crown unchallenged because no one had the bottle to stand against him in a leadership contest. Brown and his supporters had made it clear it was his turn to be in charge. Anyone who stood against him risked damaging their future career (or perhaps so they thought)

    In the long term, the seething resentment, particularly amongst Labour backbench MPs who will now lose their seats, is bound to surface. Too late, they are beginning to realise that Captain Brown has steered the ship onto the rocks. Even if they now make him walk the plank, the ship is seriously holed below the waterline.

    You say "Authority, unlike virginity, can be regained". The crew might wish to regain control, but this will certainly not be possible under Captain Brown. Their only hope is to put him overboard in a dinghy.

  • Comment number 35.

    The PM must be scouring the woods for green shoots.
    So is the Grauniad, reporting on a poll showing rising consumer confidence. (Gfk NOP consumer confidence index - taken pre-budget thus rendering it obsolete.)
    It's his only hope.

    "Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in live. Now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief."
    Macbeth (again)

  • Comment number 36.

    #5 Drakemix

    Do you not also think that Labour MPs have become somewhat more honest (and brave) now that McBride has gone. They probably know that they're not going to be 'briefed against' for voting against the government.

    To be honest, if I was a Labour MP, I would now be wanting to fight to save my seat - regardless of what the government is doing. I think it's scramble time, everyone knows that New Labour are out.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Dave, who does, still hasn't come up with much in the way of alternative economics"

    So you mean having an economic philosophy about Government spending that will underpin the policies that is 180 degrees opposite to Labours, (i.e. getting more for less, instead of getting less for a huge amount more) is not an alternative?

    Where have you been? If the philosophy outlined by Cameron is REALLY implemented, then we, as a nation, should get more and it should cost us less. This is not only possible, (and given the obscene levels of profligate waste under labour this should be very easy) but is morally essential.

    Just think of Ministers being promoted for getting OUR money to go much further and do more and our bills and taxes going DOWN. Compare and contrast with the current philosophy of rewarding empire building and waste.

    I would suggest that it is an economic alternative that is as clear as night versus day.

  • Comment number 38.

    This is a dying government, being led by a wounded leader. Gordon Brown hust isn't up to the job and it's time someone in his party told him so.
    I hope that Labour backbenchers rebel again today. I hope that they don't support the half baked proposals of their leader. Sir Christopher Kelly is the one charged with making recommendations on MPs' expenses and it would be wrong to preempt his report. Lets hope that democracy prevails again today. The sooner that the general election is called the better.

  • Comment number 39.

    Unlike in the past, politicians can no longer control the news or its interpretation by mainstream news media. The internet has provided ordinary people with omnipresent, unaldulterated information and, what is more, the capability to comment on events as they happen and on people (politicians) as they see them.

    Gordon Brown has always lacked empathy or emotional intelligence - call it what you like. He appears to be an arrogant, clumsy, bully as well as being gauche and economically illiterate (the British 'bust' is largely of his making). In the past, a politician like Brown and his PR people (called 'spin doctors' today) could have, by and large, controlled what, when, where and how we viewed the Great Man.

    Today, largely thanks to the internet, us ordinary folk are omniscient: we know pretty much everything about Gordon Brown. Moreover, we can say what we think about him. This is a good thing.

    Sadly, it appears that Gordon Brown is singularly unaware of the extent to which he has lost whatever popularity/support he may have had from the British people (and perhaps his own Party?). The Prime Minister is an imposter: elected neither by his political party nor the people of this country. He has proved to be incompetent in the leadership role he now holds, having spent a decade before now screwing up the economy.

    It beggars belief that our 'democracy' has no obvious way of ending this train crash, with Brown in the driver's seat. We are left with writing to our MPs (done that; seems futile) and/or screaming into cyberspace. It's now way past the time for Gordon Brown to do the decent thing, call it a day and let the people have a say in their future. For Brown to cling on to power like this demeans the great office of the Prime Minister and the man himself; it also insults the people of the United Kingdom.

    Call an election now.

  • Comment number 40.

    "However, Gordon Brown shows every sign of having lost the respect, the fear and habit of loyalty from his party which are the foundations of prime ministerial authority."

    Yes, leadership through instilling fear. Wonderful idea that, Nick. Tell that to the victims of Stalin, Hitler, or Mugabe.

    Good leaders don't instill fear, they instill respect and loyalty because they have a proven track record of logical/reasonable thought processes and a sense of fairness.

    A good leader is followed because they usually do the right thing for the greater good.

    A bad leader instills fear in people to force them to follow ideas which make no sense or which are intrinsically unfair.

    He's lost his fear element because labour MPs know that they're 100% guaranteed to lose their jobs with him at the helm, and their self-preservation beats their fear.

    He's never had respect because there was nothing to respect him for in the first place, fear and mindless obedience were his only weapons.

    Loyalty only comes with either respect or fear, so that's gone too.

    He's finished, Nick, do you not see that, even now?

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick, what's this I hear about a vote on part of the expenses reform proposals being postponed and left for Sir Christopher Kelly, apparently Harriet Harman is behind the announcement, further undermining Gordon Brown(if that were possible)?

  • Comment number 42.

    This is democracy as it should be.

    We in Scotland, or, as the English say Sco'land, are more used to coalition government, since we were given our own parliament.

    As a result, the Devine Right of Prime Ministers does not apply north of The Border, and some of the decision making is actually based on common sense.

  • Comment number 43.

    He has never had any authority,he was unelected ,unopposed and had enough helpers to brief against any who didn't toe the line.

    The grip on the media has crumbled with the smeargate revelations,and so his grip on what the public see decreases.

    The pasting his party are sure to get in the forthcoming euro and local elections will convince many MP's to distance themselves from gordon and his pals to try and keep their own gravy train in place in a years time.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick let face it brown even if he wins today is finished, on sky they actually reported the No 10 petition as an news story.

    It is no longer something being passed around from blog to blog its now got an higher profile.

    Thing that amused me was one asking brown to stay with only 32 signers and most of them where joke names.

  • Comment number 45.

    Brown will not go unless he is dragged out, he believes that he was destined to solve ours and the worlds problems, he is a deeply flawed man. He would rather see the Labour Party destroyed than leave office, therefore he will never do the decent thing and resign for his party. He undermined Blair all the time he was in office to get the position of PM he will not go easily. I believe he will be there until the election. I do not see how a new Labour leader could be put in place without an election, the public would not accept it, after all they voted for Blair and got Brown, I do not think they would accept another unelected leader. Besides who would replace him, they have no decent candidates that the public will relate to.

    I would be surprised if the Government lose the vote this afternoon, they will most surely find a way round another defeat.

    Mandelson no doubt is plotting in the shadows, to see if another leader could be put in place, however in my opinion this will not happen.

    A vote of no confidence is the only thing that will force an election and I believe theres little chance of that.

  • Comment number 46.

    Blair certainly left us a legacy...and a half!

  • Comment number 47.

    Blair came into government with the best wishes and hopes of the majority voters. He let them down by the war which stirred up the Middle East and put us ordinary people in England in jeopardy of actions of fundamentalist terrorists. He let in millions of foreigners without checking who they were and whether they were criminals in their own countries etc. (I doubt if he checked for diseases such as TB or MRSA either). Then he fell out of favour and stepped down opening the gate for Brown as a caretaker to keep Labour bouyant.

    Brown who had turned a blind eye to the misdemeanours of the banking and financial world whilst he was chancellor then tried to rule the world.

    BRown created the economic chaos so he could "fix" it and was not remotely interested (nor was Blair) in the social problems and fragmented society in this country giving rise to a two tier class system and a horrifying under-class of violence, benefit fraud and other criminal acts.

    Thanks Brown. Please close the door on the way out.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Nick,

    Any chance you could explain Gordon's strategy re: the expenses debate. I've just watched the BBC lunchtime news and I'm none the wiser. Apparently the GVN are going to allow an ammendment calling for no change (untill the official review is completed) to pass by default - but then 5 minutes later they are going to table votes on - MPs 2nd incomes, receipts for all expenditure etc...

    Sounds like a dog's breakfast to me - could you (or anyone) explain what is going on?

  • Comment number 49.

    #21 purpleDogzzz

    Good post - agree entirely - except I don't get swayed in my opinion by anyone media or otherwise. I don't think Brown helped himself by bringing Mandy back he was merely trying to gather more support around him.

    I judged Browns character long before he became PM and found it to be flawed and have been proved right.

  • Comment number 50.

    No 9 - Robertcarrick27

    Still not got the difference between Head of State and Head of Government, have we. Right, I'll try where others have apparently failed.
    The only people who actually get to vote for Brown directly are a few tens of thousands of people who live in his consitutency in Fife. The only people who get to vote directly for Dave are a few tens of thousands of people in east Oxfordshire. The rest of us vote for our local representative of Brown's party or a local representative of Dave's party. Some people vote for other parties.
    By constitutional convention, HM asks the duly elected leader of the party with the most seats to be her Prime Minister and to form a government. Should that party leadership change for whatever reason then the consitutional convention is that HM asks the new leader to continue as Prime Minister provided that his/her party still holds a parliamentary majority. This has happened under Conservative governments (Major, Home) as well as Labour. Prime Minsiters are not elected Heads of State. If they head a party which has a majority in parliament then de facto they become heads of government.
    Nevertheless it is common politics to question the political legitimacy of such leaders when other arguments are running thin. I therefore have a suggestion for Dave or any other card-carrying Conservative. All it takes is for the next Conservative annual conference to adopt a motion to the effect that if elected, a future Conservative government which, for whatever reason, loses its parliamentary leader (and therefore Prime Minister) and has to replace him/her with another will, in (say) six months, ask HM to dissolve parliament and call a general election.

    It wouldn't require any consitutional change - it would be simply a public undertaking before conference. It would also apply pressure on the Labour Party conference which would follow weeks later to do likewise. It would lay the issue of "unelected" Prime Ministers - apparently so critical to so many blogsters on here - once and for all.
    If Dave went for it my opinion of him would go up instantly. Meanwhile I fear most of his followers bang on about the "unelected" nature of Brown out of narrow political self-interest.

  • Comment number 51.

    It sounds as though the Labour whips thought they had enough votes to win the Ghurka vote (this was the whisper) - and yet they lost by a significant margin.

    Does this mean that the whips are losing control?

    Does it mean that Brown can no longer bully his troops?

    Will Labour MPs now vote in a way that gives them a better chance of retaining their seat rather than retaining favour with a leader who will be gone after the General Election?

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    Message 35

    If Gordon is scouring the woods for green shoots then he will have a problem.

    The blue-bells are out! Oh dearie, dearie me....

  • Comment number 54.

    Re: 23. At 1:15pm on 30 Apr 2009, Triffid100 wrote: don't seem to be trusted to give impartial reporting...

    It's worse - the partisan editorialising undermines trust as well.

    In a privately-owned newspaper we know and understand that a stance is being taken.

    Naively, many of the public still believe in the neutrality of the BBC; it is their trust that is being exploited.

    The publicly-funded BBC should be scrupulously neutral; however it is institutionally left-wing. This is not good for our democracy.

  • Comment number 55.

    If your a Labour MP reading this...go on!...just do it!
    vote against his crummy expenses proposal.

    Just think, you would be able to tell your grand-kids (...broke and destitute they will be though!)...IT WAS ME THAT VOTED AGAINST GORDON!

  • Comment number 56.

    37 Dogzz

    If only it were that simple - Dave is going to come in and suddenly get more for less, turning economics on it's head in the process, and no doubt reconciling the Palestinians and Israelis in his spare time.

    I think Panda (28) has a more realistic view of politics in that the system creates ineffective government (though I still think our system is better than most).

    If Labour did nothing else they semi-resolved the Irish Question, helped some of the poorest children, kept us reasonably safe, and gave us a decade of a stable economy. If Dave achieves as much, I'll drink in any pub of your choice for a month.

  • Comment number 57.

    it is obvious that this government see's failure as sucsess, they play down issues that the prime minister has been forced to back peddle on.
    it was obvious that any changes to mp's fundings would fail becouse as a whole they wont accept any cuts in income.
    what this government wanted to do to the gurkahs is a smack in the face towards one of this countries strongest allies. thus for that reason this government should be fully ashamed of themselves.
    how can our pm think he can push through his agenda when he is too busy overseas smoozing leaders and playing at being a world leader, whilst this country falls further into recession and problems.
    sadly this looks like the laziest and greediest government this country has ever had to endure, and its time for a change.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi Nick,

    Sorry to blog again but I see the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail are reporting...

    1) Brown is refusing to give MPs a vote on banning ministers from claiming for a second home at the taxpayer's expense if they live in a grace-and-favour residence.

    2) The Prime Minister has decided to give himself the power to rule on cases where ministers are accused of pocketing second home allowances while living for free in grace-and-favour homes

    If this true - then Brown really has lost the plot. If he thinks that the public will accept a not guilty verdict for Jacqui Smith from him, he is delusional.

    One final point – why if this is true, are the BBC not mentioning this? It would be an outrage. For the time-being I will assume that the Daily Mail has got it wrong.

  • Comment number 59.


    Have you seen Daniel Finklestein's latest?

    but then you'd expect his Blairite interviewee to say such things

  • Comment number 60.

    Sadly what we are seeing is the painfully slow reactions of a Government that is out of touch with all reality. Gordon Brown has just taken over the reigns of a morally bankrupt party. Tony Blair started the rut and now we all have to watch the whole country go down with him.

    They did nothing to help the economic crisis. His "head in the sand and blame the bankers" excuse is an insult. He knew and he should have acted a long time ago. They have taxed the middle classes to death, lied constantly to the people who put them in power and worst of all abused the priviliges given to them by the electorate. The Labour Party are modern Day Neros' They have been fiddling (quite literally) and the UK has been burnt to the ground.

    Time to go. Call an election and let the people have their say. Stop this now and with a bit of stability the country might turn things around.

    As for the expenses. The MP's should have one job....running the country ....that's it. No second jobs and the government MP's should be bonused on performance and attendance. Perhaps then they would take running the country seriously !! Travelodge do £19.00 rooms. If they are good enough for the voters then they should be good enough for MP's if they work late or have to stay over.

    Stop robbing the tax payer and earn your keep!

    I am sure that if they feel their human rights are being breeched by being asked to actually work for a living they can always get Mrs Blairs' Human Rights Gravy Train Act to save them after all isn't that why Tony Blair introduced it?. At least he will get a pension......shame it's cost tho hard working electorate their's.

    There.... Rant over ....I feel much better lol

  • Comment number 61.

    wow; Brown's pulled the expenses vote (another aspect of it in addition to what had already been pulled)

    His days are numbered, how can you govern when the only way to avoid a lost vote in the house of commons is to not have a vote ?

    He's desperate, and it all needs to be stopped right now, before Parliament itself becomes an international laughing stock.

    Dissolve Parliament and call an election now; it must be done. We can't continue like this.

  • Comment number 62.

    50. At 2:15pm on 30 Apr 2009, Fingertapper wrote:
    No 9 - Robertcarrick27

    Still not got the difference between Head of State and Head of Government, have we. Right, I'll try where others have apparently failed.
    The only people who actually get to vote for Brown directly are a few tens of thousands of people who live in his consitutency in Fife. The only people who get to vote directly for Dave are a few tens of thousands of people in east Oxfordshire. The rest of us vote for our local representative of Brown's party or a local representative of Dave's party. Some people vote for other parties.


    In general people don't disagree with the point that we don't elect a PM, but if you remember the last election, Labour went into it with Tony Blair as PM promising to stay the full term.

    So while you're technically correct, Gordon came into the role when a promise was broken that may have affected how people voted.

    We'll never know how the election would have gone if Tony had told us he was planning to stand down but I don't think I'm being particulary cynical to think that it was planned that way to ensure labour stayed in power.

    But then New Labour and broken promises seem to go together don't they.

  • Comment number 63.

    #36 extremesense

    Think you hit the nail on the head there. Seems like some Labour MP's have grown some kahonas at last!! As has been said, it looks like any vote GB may lose now will be pulled beforehand, thus avoiding the prospect of further embarrassment.

    I bet the Nokias have been flying this last 48 hours ............ ouch !!

  • Comment number 64.

    Maybe this is the real reason why Mandy came back. He will have known of these impending 'car crashes' and thought the wreckage that has been created in the last few months would be his best opportunity to get the top job.

  • Comment number 65.


    I bet the Nokias have been flying this last 48 hours ............ ouch !!

    Not to mention a few printers

    Curry’s must be doing well supplying all the replacements for this mans tantrums

  • Comment number 66.

    Public opinion will sign Brown's fate when he has the metal to call an election. Mandelson, true to form is distancing himself. Probably already making plans for another comeback in 15 years as the grand dame of politics!

  • Comment number 67.

    How can someone who is now a laughing stock, the butt of jokes on all the major political programmes and in the majority of The Press by way of articles and brutal cartoons be expected to regain his authority. Vince Cable once famously referred to him as Mr Bean. That particular observation appears to be more and more self fulfilling as each day passes by.

  • Comment number 68.

    it's nothing that a series of interviews with David Frost couldn't sort out

  • Comment number 69.

    The battle is on between credible labour politicians and the rest of the rubbish. I hope voters are taking note.

    Let no-one be kidded Brown has taken fright knowing that this would indeed be seen as a vote of no confidence and has taken to playing silly games to try to take the heat off.

    Yes Minister was a farce. Brown is no laughing matter.

    Valuable time is now being wasted in parliament when this could have waited for a proper assessment by an independent enquiry.

    The public already know that something concrete will be done about expenses so what is Brown really so terrified of that he is prepared to make such mockery of our parliamentary system yet again?

  • Comment number 70.

    Brown is beginning to have the look of Richard Nixon about him and we all know what happened to him!

  • Comment number 71.

    Well, at least Brown's got the fall-back option of winning us around with tales of his masterful handling of the economy... right Nick?

    The guy is finished. Over. A busted flush...
    When you have to rely on the charm of Peter Mandleson to smooth over the public anger, you know you're holding onto a losing ticket.

    It's time to go, Gordon. Now.

  • Comment number 72.

    56 laughatthetories
    "If Labour did nothing else they semi-resolved the Irish Question, helped some of the poorest children, kept us reasonably safe, and gave us a decade of a stable economy. If Dave achieves as much, I'll drink in any pub of your choice for a month."

    1 "Irish Question."
    A lot of the work was done by John Major, but then semi- resolved might be the best that we have at the present.

    2 "Poor Children".
    I don't think encouraging the poorest mothers to breed is doing any favours for the offspring of their union.

    3 "Reasonably safe"
    From what WMD's and world terrorisms?

    4 "Stable economy".
    During a period of worldwide growth fuelled by low wages in China we managed to pay back a small amount of government debt by the sale of radio spectrum. For the rest of the time we had "growth" fuelled by years of government and personal debt. Inflation was under recorded by the use of CPI and interest rates were too low in consequence. Were we as a country really better off? I think not, it was a mirage assisted by the theory that Brown was the greatest chancellor of the last 100 years. How will history judge him? Remember you hated Thatcher but history is now giving her a place in history.

    What pub have you been drinking in?

  • Comment number 73.

    Brown may have had the fear from all those years of plotting and planning, he may well be a great bloke in private, but the credibility has never really been there with the continued misplacement of judgement on political issues. The election that never was, the 10p mistake, the poaching of ideas on inheritance tax, the laughable statements around saving the world by increasing the debt (where is the stimulus package by the way?), now this. The point is simple Blair made poor choices over Iraq, but at least had the authority of election wins. Blair also decided to go. Brown has lost his fear factor which was his "X" factor, so much so that Have I Got News for You poked so much fun at him recently that it almost was cruel to the point of sympathy. But Brown is simply a man spent and done with no need to bounce back, there is no appetite amongst the population nor at Westminster for any more Brown afterall brown is not that intersting any more. Time for the Broom of time to sweep away and usher in the new.

  • Comment number 74.

    @47. At 2:11pm on 30 Apr 2009, flamepatricia wrote:

    "Blair came into government with the best wishes and hopes of the majority voters."

    No he didn't. There has not been a Prime Minister and party elected with a clear majority of the votes in over 100 years. Every parliamentary majority came from a minority of votes. Not one party has achieved a share of the vote above 49%.

    Blair's 1997 victory was around the mid-40's percent but the 2005 victory and 66 seat majority came from a 36.5% share of the vote and only 22% support of the total population.

    Those figures would be much worse for labour now. I cannot see labour getting more than 15% public support at the moment.

  • Comment number 75.

    I thought hard about signing the 'Brown must resign' petition but as we have all become accustomed to doing under this government started to think spin not substance. As others have pointed out the longer he is PM the better chance we have of getting rid of both him and Labour hopefully before too much more damage is done to the UK's standing and morale.I'm sure he is a decent man at heart but his blind political deviousness, unwillingness to consult beyond a few misadvisors, and his appointment of lap dogs to serve under him both as Chanecellor and PM, will ensure he is judged harshly in history whatever happens in the next year.

  • Comment number 76.

    #60 Doubledon1966

    Liked your post/rant - especially para.4 agree with this entirely

    Maybe this is our lucky day/week and we will get our wish!

  • Comment number 77.

    #68 Ah the Nixon analogy!

    Think it is too late for that now - Brown is no longer compos mentis a good interviewer would tear him apart.

    If he wants an easy ride maybe Nick is available?

  • Comment number 78.

    75. At 3:54pm on 30 Apr 2009, hammersmithjack wrote:

    I really can't bring myself to sign the petition for fear of him leaving before his landslide election defeat in 2010.

    If New Labour were to win another election then I for one as a small business owner will shut up shop and try and emigrate because another 4 years of Labour will destroy any hope of a recovery and i'll be dammed if I'm going to work to support a socialist pay people to stay at home government.

  • Comment number 79.

    The only hope for the Labour Party is a change of Leader. The only hope for the UK is for Labour to win the
    next election. Sadly Brown lost the plot utterly when he decided that he was the World's Chancellor. He
    exists in some sort of cloud-cuckoo land where he is out of touch with reality. Anyone with half a brain cell could see that he wouldn't get the inhumane Ghurka bill passed as there were enough decent Labour
    MP s to oppose it.

  • Comment number 80.

    @ yellowbelly - "Oscar Wilde" yes it was Mr Wilde that wrote it, so that it would come from the mouth of.... guess who? yep... it's Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.

    Nick again shows his depth of knowledge, but surely he has made a mistake on being on the train.. can travelling to see a silly 90mins of leather being kicked about by overpaid yobs be more important than watching such a challenge to the Govt. Brown got a kicking in PMQ from folk in all parties surely when Nick saw this he should have realised where the real game was taking place. Better luck to be in the right place next time.

  • Comment number 81.

    Gordon Brown has broken the speed of ridiculousness.

    He is being ridiculous at a rate that is in excess of the rate at which he can be ridiculed.

    One startling implication of this is that people are starting to perceive Mr Brown's ridiculousness prior to becoming aware of Mr Brown himself.

    In preliminary tests, scientists became aware of test subjects beginning to laugh up to three minutes before they had been shown Mr Brown's youtube announcement on MPs expenses. This occurred consistently regardless of what was presented to the subjects in the preceding period.

    In one upsetting case scientists found an individual displaying signs of amusement during a clip of Horne & Corden. The individual involved is being monitored as a precaution.

    The public are being advised that those with an acute sense of the ridiculous should ignore Mr Brown for the forseeable future.

  • Comment number 82.

    "and gave us a decade of a stable economy"

    I'm sorry you must be looking for the pre-2007 forums. This is 2009. The last ten years have been characterised by perhaps the most unstable global imbalances in economic history, coupled with significant domestic instability in the west. The engine of UK growth over the last 10 years has been rampant public sector growth (which has left us with huge structural deficits), house and asset price bubbles and household debt. These sectors of the economy had to take up the slack left by the poor performance of the real economy i.e. low productivity growth, weak employment growth in the private sector and low private investment. None of that is stable.

    Brown is suffering from a classic 'bunker mentality'. The more pressure he comes under the more content he is to retreat into his comfort zone and surround himself with 'yes men' who will not relay to him the true scale of his problems. He is out of touch with public opinion and the more he denies that he's not liked the more out of touch he becomes.

    The thing is with Gordon Brown is that for so long he has been able to persuade the media and some of the electorate that he is a man of substance, that he will not compromise his principles for short term political gain. But when it comes down to it, when you dig beneath the rhetoric the simple fact is that there is nothing behind Gordon Brown the politician. That's all he is: a cycnical political operator. His time is up.

  • Comment number 83.

    Gordon is a one trick pony "the economy" and he doesnt do that well!

  • Comment number 84.

    37 Purpledogzz
    I'll accept there's a contrast in philosophies. What's missing are specifics to replace the generalities. I don't think anyone believes there won't be cuts, tax increases and general hard times under the next government, whatever its political colour. What I'd like to hear from Cameron - with less prejudice than you might believe - is what he plans to cut. What bits of the Labour "waste" he will get rid of? How will he implement "efficiencies"?
    He may have a lot going for him but at the moment all he has to do is not be Brown and to utter the occasional "utter shambes" and "humiliating climbdown". Utimately an electorate will demand more substance. Some of the Conservative cheerleaders on these blogs seem to think that all we have to do is kill off Bad Old Brown - then the sun will shine, the birds will sing, the little furry animals will come out of their burrows and all will be well for Middle England. I fear they are deluding themselves.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick, after the pasting you got (again) last night over the impartiality (or otherwise...) of your Gurkhas piece, do I detect the slightest hints of you starting to hedge your bets now?

    And even the teeniest hint from you that the Dear Leader might not, after all, have been the right man for the job in "...Donald Tusk pointed to his own country's fiscal rectitude, making the contrast with Britain all too obvious."? That last phrase seemed surprisingly unequivocal!

    Mind you, loyalty - like authority and unlike virginity - can of course be regained, after a fashion anyway; so I'm not reading much into this one swallow yet.

    But back to the Dear Leader and his increasingly-rotten administration: we are surely seeing here what we saw in 1996 and into 1997 - the start of the end-game for a government far too long in office? This is how it always starts...not with the really big things (the things the Dear Leader tells the house he is concentrating on...) but the little things. The little things that start to accumulate and aggregate, until the trickle becomes a torrent and the tide of public opinion turns too far for there to be any prospect of recovery.

    When history comes to be written, I think it will be around now - and over something like Jacquigate or the Gurkhas - that the records will show we passed that tipping point; the point beyond which the crash for this government became inevitable.

  • Comment number 86.

    Is the "Expenses debate" and climbdown, Harriet taking charge or is Brown still pulling ineffective levers in the bunker of Drowning Street?

    Please, someone take his surrender

  • Comment number 87.


    Francis Pym asserted prior to the 1983 election that a Conservative landslide would be bad for the country because there would be no need for the government to seek a consensus.

    This has been proven again with New Labour, putting personal preferences aside is a landslide defeat ever desirable for the sake of democracy?

  • Comment number 88.

    Brown as I see it is unelectable. My perception of him is that he cannot work in a team and cannot see the bigger picture with regards to the problems facing the world i.e. 'its the environment stupid'. He has failed to acknowledge the mistakes made when he was the chancellor and failed to convince the public that he has a vision for the future. In many peoples minds he has wasted tax payers money propping up the discreditied free market. He is seen as a tory in labour clothing. The public do not want a socialist Britian but we do want a fairer society. New Labour pinned its colours to the laissez fair system of free markets under Brown and he failed to ensure proper legislation of the finance companies. Brown is a busted flush. Labour have ZERO chance of getting a forth term with Brown in charge. Mandleson and Campbell would be well advised to start looking to the next generation. Britain needs an Obama type to ensure real CHANGE.

  • Comment number 89.


    Authority once lost, unlike virginity, can be regained. Maybe, but how often? And what about respect? Isn't that closer to virginity in terms of being unrecoverable? I fear so.

    I fear also that Gordon is a bit of a control freak who has lost a bit of control and is beginning to look like a bit of a freak.

  • Comment number 90.

    Yep, it's time for the grey men to troop in one by one with their...for the good of the party, Gordon... message.

    He just bounces around from one disaster to the next, constantly hoping to catch the latest tide and always missing it by a mile.

    The time has finally come for the labour party to face its worst nightmare; the proper election of a new leader and the inevitability of a general election it cannot win.

    It's a truly dreadful prognosis on all counts. Failure to face u to it will simply result in more humiliation and the inevitable steamrollering at the next general election. Ministerial careers will be crushed.

    What a way to end the newlabour party.

  • Comment number 91.

    Respect is a delicate flower. Brown seems to be wilting.

    I appreciate the man feels a need to get highly involved with all aspects of government. But there are obvious signs that he goes too far. It was just plain silly do his bobbing and weaving YouTube performance, without at least bringing the leaders of other parties on-side. Expenses / allowances are no part of Prime Ministerial policy (although somketimes PM's have refused to go along with decisions voted for in the H of C. As when Thatcher refused to implement a massive in their pensions.) Looks like he could do with a decent rest.

    Interesting that for years he berated other EU leaders because their economies weren't like "his". Now they seem to be happily stepping up to slap him down. He also wanted broad international regulation of banks and finance houses. Bet he's not pleased about current EU proposals. The City has reacted badly, while many MEPs and Commissioners seem to feel the proposals don't go far enough. Be careful what you wish for!

    I don't think GB understands that while, as PM, he can slap around ministers in Westminster, he has absolutely no power to make other sovereign states do what he would like.

    When governments lose empathy with their populations, things just keep going wrong. It's not just a UK problem. I have a daughter at Uni in France. Sarko wants to change stuff for lecturers. They plus students don't like the idea, so Uni is closed down. Not nice for her (although it's only her first year), but could be devestating for final year students who don't know when or even if they will be able to take exams. Some EdF employees are randomly cutting electricity supplies to homes, offices, hospitals because they want a bigger pay rise...

    So, if Brown feels a little hard done by, maybe he should take solace in the idea that the Brits don't normally take to the streets at the drop of a hat. If they did, Downing Street would have been blocked by steaming piles of horse dung for many months.

  • Comment number 92.

    I suspect that Mr Brown, in the end, is the victim of economic circumstances, the sleaze that infects Governments of all colours (look at the Tories in the 90s if you doubt that) after a decade in power and a generalised feeling (correct in my judgement) that the New Labour project has run its course.

    Also, with a personality like his, I suspect he needed to be PM first, not an afterthought. His intellect is probably superior to Blair's, but I wonder if he has the relaxed clubbability of a TB?

    The Tories can say what they like, but I'd wager the entire national debt that their regulation pre credit-crunch would have been no more onerous that that of New Labour and that the banks would have folded just the same. Lucky George Osborne to have timed his political career so appositely!

    I'm less sanguine about proper oversight of investment. It appears (and I use that word carefully as I don't have absolute evidence) that they have the American way of throwing money at problems. I can tell you for a fact that that often isn't appropriate. If the people you throw money at were so competent, why did they need the money throwing at them in the first place, eh? They need rules, an understanding of what is expected and a proper set of criteria for investment decision-making. My experience said that the term 'trotters in the trough' and 'the gravy train of Government funding' overlaid too much (not all by any means) of decision-making. And as Chancellor for 10 years, that certainly WAS something within his control........

    If one thing has been learned by throwing money at infrastructure and public sector industries, it is this: some things change only slowly, no matter how much money you throw at it.

    Tories, however, should be honest enough to admit that much of the new gleaming infrastructure will last for a long time and that new Labour should not be damned for starting a process of renewal which was markedly delayed under 18 years of Tory rule......

    The next decade can either be the decade when Britain decides to come together as a nation in peacetime or when the Tories go down yet another decade of 'you screwed us, so now we're going to screw you!'

    It will be Mr Cameron's most important two judgements to determine whether that attitude will lead to Britain's demise into a banana republic for at least 2 centuries and, if so, whether that is something that the Old Etonian New Guard are happy to allow to happen.......after all, even Banana Republics are ruled over by the banana republic equivalent of Old Etonians, aren't they?

  • Comment number 93.

    I know it's been said before, but could the mods perhaps have the wording changed on the blog? It says that "All new members are pre-moderated initially...". The rules of engagement don't say anything about "recognised members" being post-moderated.

    Wouldn't it be simpler to say that "ALL comments are moderated..."?

  • Comment number 94.


    You are rather late to the party - but better late than never eh?

    Was it hubris that made you think you could single handedly talk him back up?

    He is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

    Cameron is on his way - good bye bbc.

  • Comment number 95.


    Slightly off topic, I have finally had a chance to listen back to back to your Prime Ministers broadcasts and have enjoyed them. (I had to figure out that the North link was wrong and should have been, not - what a shame Auntie can find money for moderation but not to check urls).

    I was struck in the North piece that you referred to Pitt (which one?), Lloyd George and Churchill but only Lloyd George warrants a programme. Is there more in the pipeline, is Churchill too important to squeeze into 14 minutes and maybe there are too many people around who remember Thatcher?

    But surely both Pitts were sufficiently important to warrant a broadcast.

  • Comment number 96.

    #84 Fingertapper: "Utimately an electorate will demand more substance. Some of the Conservative cheerleaders on these blogs seem to think that all we have to do is kill off Bad Old Brown - then the sun will shine, the birds will sing, the little furry animals will come out of their burrows and all will be well for Middle England. I fear they are deluding themselves."

    Not at all unreasonable. "Some".

    I think though that "many", and like me not a cheerleader for anyone, recognise that whoever wins the election inherits a near-fatally poisoned chalice; that it will be many a day before we emerge from the darkness and back into the sun - if at all.

    Along the way, we'll have to make the hard yards with higher taxes and a slashed public sector. Nick knows it; the Dear Leader knows it; Cameron knows it; I think most on here know it; and I'm sure you know it.

    The minute Cameron - or anyone else - tells the public the truth though, opponents will scream the house down about "Tory Cuts" or "Tory Tax Hikes" whilst lying and misleading about what they would have to do themselves. Yes, most of us know Cameron is not being candid about the medicine required; and yes, I'm sure most of us can understand the reason why. The only time you can make any foul-tasting medicine palatable is when the patient finally understands the true nature of the disease, and accepts that taking it is the only way he will get better.

  • Comment number 97.

    Taxi for Brown !

  • Comment number 98.

    I believe there was some very good reasons that Tony Blair was so hesitant to hand over the reigns to Gordon Brown.

    They were the same reasons that the deal was done all those years in a restaurant in Islington (actually, I think that is press folklore - I imagine that all was negotiated over some time)

    Gordon Brown was a good chancellor (despite making the mistake of following the same misguided philosophy as the rest of the world - including the Tories)

    Being a good chancellor means keeping out of the public eye much of the time, dealing with vasts amount of tiny detail, and never working with the public in any direct form. Your advisors are highly intelligent, financially orientated man who you probably easily relate to.

    A Prime Minister has to balance all the various advice that he or she is given on EVERY subject and somehow some to some set conclusions (often on ther feet) and deliver them in a swift clear way to the public, over the heads of the duplicitous media.

    Blair was brilliant at it - and it was obvious back before 1997 that he would be. Brown is terrible at it and it was always obvious that he would be out of his depth.

    He does not know how to deal with all the advice coming from cynical back stabbers with hidden agenda's. He does not know how to work out good advice from bad (grief, Blair did not always get that one write, and he is good at this stuff). He cannot give a speach with natural lights and darks in it, makign him sound awkward, and so on.

    This does not make him a bad man - he is probably one of the most principled people in parliament - but it does make him a bad prime minister.

    And I think he has been drowning from day one.

    The trouble is, Blair new this. Alistair Campbell knew it. Mandy definitely knew it (and people are fools if they do not listen to Mandy - that man, love him or hate him, is very astute), and what is worse, the Tories knew it.

    They knew they could say what they like - this was a prime minister incapable of fighting back on a public stage. It is just not in his nature.

    That was why the islington deal - the people behind the coronation feared that Brown would not get them the landslide that was vital to get the country thinking positively again. And they feared that he would lose them the chance of a third term.

  • Comment number 99.

    I've been watching the debate on MP's expenses and surprise surprise I don't see GB in the chamber voting for his own proposals, or is he hiding at the back somewhere? Mind you the chamber hardly looks full, perhaps some of the members are in the House of Commons bar enjoying the subsidised drink and having a smoke.

  • Comment number 100.

    At some time in the future when we look back at the period spent in office by GB "the unelected as PM", the question will be asked "How could Britain have gotten into the position of having a madman as PM? How could our democracy have allowed the one-eyed lying scottish idiot to have been given enough time to bring the country to its knees?
    We need an election soon before this bunch of welders, postmen and expenses fiddling cheats take us beyond recovery.


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