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Taking the political mood

Nick Robinson | 17:28 UK time, Wednesday, 29 April 2009

THE TRAIN TO MANCHESTER: News reaches me en route to Old Trafford of the government's defeat over the Gurkhas.

It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues.

Gurkhas outside Parliament

His handling of MPs' expenses and the Gurkhas - issues that are far from being the major questions of our age but which generate huge public emotion - suggest if nothing else that he is being badly advised.

Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson are both shrewd political strategists but are simply too busy to give day-to-day tactical advice.

Damian McBride was valuable to the PM before his ignominious exit from Downing Street. However, taking the political mood on this sort of issue was not his strength.

Alastair Campbell is now a regular visitor to No 10 but, undeniably talented though he is, Gordon Brown needs full-time not part-time advice.

It won't be long, I predict, before Labour MPs demand that "someone gets a grip". The question is who?

Incidentally, today's vote is a significant victory for Nick Clegg who, as his predecessor Paddy Ashdown did many years ago with the case of passports for the Hong Kong Chinese, found his voice speaking up for Britain's moral obligations.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    The most popular petition on the number10 website is currently the one calling for Gordon Brown's resignation.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/

    My only fear is that if Gordon Brown was forced to resign Labour might actually stand a chance in the next election; just think what damage they could do with another five years in charge...

  • Comment number 2.

    Bye Bye Gordon , good luck in your future endeavours

  • Comment number 3.

    more proof that he has lost it.......he really appears to think he is always right..... on pmq's he said we couldnt afford the supposed £1.5 billion.....i bet if it was a Gurkha bank he would have found the money...!

  • Comment number 4.

    He's lost the plot. He must go. Sign the petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/

  • Comment number 5.

    Now is the time for Mandelson to to step to the plate. A 'night watchman' Prime Minister (and first sitting member of the upper house since Lord Salisbury in the early 1900's).
    It gives Labour time to lose the election with some honour (and without the liability of Brown)and the real contenders the opportunity to show their hands.
    Must pour myself another Stella ..........

  • Comment number 6.

    Why make an exception of the economy?

  • Comment number 7.

    'Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson are both shrewd political strategists but are simply too busy to give day-to-day tactical advice.'

    Nick. Are you honestly trying to tell us that these two could be responsible for Gordon Brownn's misjudgements. He has always been his own man. He is arrogant and has always been a poor listener. Who's to say that they didn't advise him to follow this course anyway? Before the vote came in I had the feeling that because of The PM's obstinate stance he would lose out whichever way the vote went.
    His authority is now smashed to pieces and the end will be brought forward that much quicker in my opinion.

  • Comment number 8.

    Not only does GB consistently misjudging issues, but he appears not to learn from his mistakes. This I find a much more worrying factor. Surely the measure of intelligence of an living creature is its ability to learn from its errors.

    Time to go Gordon, I'm afraid. We have lost confidence in you.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Alastair Campbell is now a regular visitor to No 10 but, undeniably talented though he is, Gordon Brown needs full-time not part-time advice."

    ===

    Gordon Brown is a grown man, and he is Prime Minister. That his moral compass has failed him on these two issues, and that he might need to take advice, says everything.

    He should know what is "The Right Thing To Do."

  • Comment number 10.

    Nick,

    Your words do not go far enough. Gordon Brown is the most dire, disastrous and inept Prime Minister we have ever, ever had.

    What is worse, is that he is also devious, dishonest and a bully.

    I for one am not surprised that nearly 30,000 members of the public have put their names against the petition on the Downing Street web site demanding that Gordon Brown resigns.

    Labour are an embarrassment to the UK.

  • Comment number 11.

    "It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the Prime Minister is consistently misjudging issues."

    And a £606 billion PSBR, the biggest bust since the 30's and une,ployment rocketting suggests he's judging the economy well?

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick

    What do you mean, "Away from the economy"? He's handled the economy appallingly - remember "no more boom and bust", "not just a light but a limited touch", 10p tax band, 50p top rate, the list is almost endless...

    Truly a Ceausescu moment!

  • Comment number 13.

    Brown has simply lost the plot. I defy anyone watching the videos below to deny that simple fact.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anX2rILSh3M&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS37nnFYzZ0&feature=related

  • Comment number 14.

    "It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues."

    ===

    Nick, I think you will find that in matters of the economy as ell, the Prime Minister is misjudging issues.

    No comment from you on the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's lecture on fiscal management to Brown?

    No comment from you that the petition urging Brown to resign, on the Prime Minister's own website, is now the most popular petition? 29,455 signatories, only 24,278 voted for him in 2005. The man has no mandate, he should resign.

  • Comment number 15.

    A rather nice little victory for common sense, however no doubt many jumped on the band wagon just to punch the government on the nose. Cynical I may be but realistic would be better. Here's to the Gurkhas they offer to lay down their life for this country and are refused residency while other spongers from far off fields come here, get benefits and then try to blow us up! Something a bit wrong with this place.

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick,
    are you applying for the job of 'GB's special advisor' ? You should stand a good chance, however you are probably of more help to him in your current position. But good luck anyway.

  • Comment number 17.

    "that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues." Away from the economy? Nick, Have you seen the news recently?

  • Comment number 18.

    Yup, he'd do better to keep his mouth shut. Watching Dispatches we heard him praise the creativity and drive of the finance industry, setting London as a world-class financial centre.....Not what we heard recently.

    What's WRONG with the guy?

  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting. I have a feeling, despite their problems, that the LibDems might have an important role to play in moderating the next election. Obviously everyone's fed up with Brown. But there are a lot of people out there - quiet people usually - who won't forgive Labour for dragging us into Iraq and who are very unhappy about poisoning a generation to support insolvent banks.

    They'll never vote for Cameron's new/old Tories, who won't say which front line services they'll cut to increase the debt repayments before the election and who don't fancy an old age of waiting lists and poor health so that the a few rich people pay less tax.

    Question is - can they be motivated enough to actually vote LibDem? Maybe the shock of the racist parties pulling off a few near results in the summer Euro elections will show them what happens when you don't vote?

  • Comment number 20.

    I no longer think it's a lack of advice It's a stubborn man who won't take it. Unless it's what he wants to hear.

    Is he still trying to convince himself that he's untouchable ot is he now totally self destructive.

    Very worrying signs from a man who would cling to power until the bitter end. More worrying for those who are watching it.

    Nice to see cross party support for the gherkas. Commonsense does prevail But not from the man in Number 10.

  • Comment number 21.

    Did I detect a note of disdain in your PMQs piece when David Cameron jumped with such alacrity on Nick Clegg's bandwagon. He really showed himself to be what he is, a slick, opportunistic PR salesman, when he tried to grandstand and take the plaudits for something he had never once mentioned before today. Is he and those who support the case for the Ghurkas aware that until the 1997 Labour government, the Ghurkas did not have the right to British residence. What will happen when the South Africans, the Sarawak Rangers from Borneo, the Fijian Infantrymen, the Indians, the Sikhs and anybody else or their descendants who can prove their forefathers fought for Britain in the then British Empire, wishes to settle in the UK with their families. Are we going to welcome them with open arms as well?

  • Comment number 22.

    Nick, I'm with Yorkbar at 6, but nice try on slipping the economic competence line by us but we know your games.

    Your second para is missing the word "even" which rather changes its meaning to something closer to the mark:

    "It is proof, if any were needed, that even away from the economy (where of course his incompetence is a matter of public record and expectation - ed) the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues."

    I agree that our Leader is indeed in need of some quality help, and I suggest he gets it as part of his recuperation after he has removed himself quickly from harm's way - his and ours - permanently.

    Enjoy the football.

  • Comment number 23.

    'It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues.'

    The implication is that Gordon Brown is consistently judging issues well on the economy. He presided over a decade of reckless spending and borrowing and is now failing to clean up his own mess. Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted doesn't absolve him from partial blame in my book.

  • Comment number 24.

    Nick,
    This is not off-topic, although it is yet another indictment on one of the worst prime ministers ever to sit in the House of Commons. I hope you will not suddenly close this board when it becomes obvious that the majority of bloggers share this view. The Ghurkas, I believe, have been shrugged aside, since they are mainly Hindus or of the Bahai faith. No political clout there, and no fears of violent reactions if they don't get what they want. Terrorists fleeing justice from their homelands are made welcome here, homes, benefits, whatever they need, but brave veterans are treated in a cavalier manner by mean-minded little men and women. No, Nick, I don't think Brown has misjudged things, it is just the way his 'brain' works.

  • Comment number 25.

    Tony Blair promised that Gordon Brown would prove to be a "big clunking fist" ... he was partially right. He is a clunking Prime Minister who is so out of touch with the electorate and what we want that it is almost frightening. If challenged I can almost guarantee that he will make the standard comment that he is "getting on with the job". No doubt Ms Blears will step up and tell the Labour faithful to "get a grip". If Labour want to even scrape through with a hung parliament at the next election they need to get rid of Gordon Brown - now.

  • Comment number 26.

    Many contributors keep referring to the online petition as if it is going to make a difference. It will not be taken seriously - when last I looked, Adolf Hitler had signed it!

    Unfortunately, we will have to rely on a brave soul within the Labour Party (Do they exist?) to risk a photocopier being thrown at them and tell Gordon that his time is up. Otherwise, we will have to wait until June next year to oust him.

    The only good thing that will come about if we have to wait, will be the likelihood of a much bigger implosion of the Labour vote and the harder it will be for them to get back into Government.

  • Comment number 27.

    Is Gordon Brown becoming a laughing stock? And will Youtube be responsible for finishing him off? More here:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/bagehot/2009/04/laughter_and_forgetting.cfm

  • Comment number 28.

    How Brown could use finances as an excuse to further kick the Gurkhas in
    the teeth after he has shovelled it around with wild abandon when it suits
    him,shows once again how dishonourable he is.This vote was a victory for
    decency and justice,qualities Brown wouldnt recognise.

  • Comment number 29.

    In PMQs today there was no sign of him accepting that he had made a misjudgement on this issue rather an assertion that Labour had done more for The Ghurkas than anyone else. The result of the vote must have shocked him to the core! Bring on tomorrow's vote on MPs expenses, yet another issue on which he is standing on shaky ground due to his silly you tube pronouncement.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Ed Balls and Peter Mandelson are both shrewd political strategists but are simply too busy to give day-to-day tactical advice."

    "Alastair Campbell is now a regular visitor to No 10 but, undeniably talented though he is, Gordon Brown needs full-time not part-time advice."

    Nick

    This is real apologist stuff.. why not mention the rest of the cabinet while you're at it?

    As others here have said, Brown should have enough experience and insight to have made the right call on these issues. Some of his backbenchers appear to have more common sense. Does he need advisers to tell him when to wipe his nose?

    BTW Well done Nick Clegg & the LDs.

  • Comment number 31.

    Congratulations to Nick Clegg

    I ponder that you don't make any comment about the requirement for Brown to reconsider his policies.

    Have you seen the video of Brown leaving the chamber after PMQ's despite the speaker calling "statement from the Prime Minister"...Lucky Ed Balls was there to stop him escaping the chamber and point him back at the despatch box

    There is even some off message stuff appearing on LabourHome, maybe they realise they need to make a change to stop oblivion

  • Comment number 32.

    My feeling is that typical though this error was of New Labour, it was typical of New Labour as nurtured by Tony Blair, clumsy misreading of public opinion and all. Mr Brown picked up that particular ball and blundered on with it. What is remarkable and gratifying is that finally this blundering has been slapped down. Labour must now attend to national expectations rather more closely, though it is doubtful on past form that they will manage it. It would take a rather courageous reshuffle of people and policies. But the fact that Mr Cameron is too opportunistic to promise such a thing in even the medium term is not encouraging. It could be that only the no-chance Liberals have acquired this knack. Election day may too close for such opposition to matter.

  • Comment number 33.

    21. At 6:17pm on 29 Apr 2009, valdan70 wrote:
    Did I detect a note of disdain in your PMQs piece when David Cameron jumped with such alacrity on Nick Clegg's bandwagon. He really showed himself to be what he is, a slick, opportunistic PR salesman, when he tried to grandstand and take the plaudits for something he had never once mentioned before today. Is he and those who support the case for the Ghurkas aware that until the 1997 Labour government, the Ghurkas did not have the right to British residence.

    ===

    Please try to keep up. Before 1997 it was not an issue as the Gurkhas were able to settle in British controlled Hong Kong. After the 1997 hand over to the Chinese, this was no longer an option, and their Training Depot Head Quarters were moved to the UK, so settlement in the UK was the obvious option then, as Hong Kong was no longer available.

    "Training Depot Brigade of Gurkhas TDBG was once again relocated to Malaya Lines in the New Territories, Hong Kong in 1971. At the TDBG in Hong Kong, recruits were taught basic English alongside military subjects such as field craft, drill, weapon-handling etc. More importantly, being in a modern city like Hong Kong, these young recruits from the hills of Nepal were given the opportunity to experience life in a different culture and environment. Such experience would be crucial for their future deployments in different corners of the world.

    Due to Hong Kong's handover from the UK to China, the TDBG was closed down in December 1994. However, it was reconstituted immediately as the Gurkha Training Wing (GTW) at Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Church Crookham, Hampshire in the UK."



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigade_of_Gurkhas

  • Comment number 34.

    I wonder how many of Brown's lobby fodder will have the courage to vote against the party line tomorrow when there is a danger of their noses being pulled out of the Westminster trough. Not many I think. However, now they've gone against him once, it might become easier to stick the odd head above the parapet, though it will take more than a few defeats to force this immoral bunch to go to the country. Brown himself has now lost all authority in the house, and his reputation abroad is fast unravelling, so this may look like an opportune time for the pretenders to his throne to make a move, though I doubt if any of them have the courage to try.

  • Comment number 35.

    Nick:

    It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues.

    Yes, that is very much proof that Gordon Brown, chances of winning in the next general election; he and the Labour Party will certainly lose the election..

    I am not advocating for any political party...And/or advertising an
    election date in the United Kingdom...


    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 36.

    valdan @ 21 wrote:

    'What will happen when the South Africans, the Sarawak Rangers from Borneo, the Fijian Infantrymen, the Indians, the Sikhs and anybody else or their descendants who can prove their forefathers fought for Britain in the then British Empire, wishes to settle in the UK with their families. Are we going to welcome them with open arms as well?'

    You mean like we do the thousands of illegal immigrants from places like Sangatte who squeeze onto our overpopulated country and benefit so well from our generous welfare programs?

  • Comment number 37.

    Get Ms Flanders to do Mr Robinsons job - I AM TOTALLY fED UP WITH PRO LABOUR BIAS.

    As for the Clown and his Govt - morally and financially bankrupt like our once great naton.

  • Comment number 38.

    "...away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues."

    Oh dear.

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    Did you leave the top off the liquid paper pot when you typed that?

    Are we to assume that you believe the PM to be consistently NOT misjudging issues on the economy? Do you honestly, genuinely actually believe that?

    GB cuts a very haunted figure of late. Problem is that even if he tried to rattle his spectral chains, he'd trip over them.

    Just how much punishment can the Labour Party take as he bumbles from one shambles of an episode to another?

    I left work having checked BBC News and everything seemed fine. I only popped to the supermarket on the way home and then this.

    You can't be trusted for five minutes, can you Gordon, without goofing up and then walking off, seemingly oblivious to the world around you? Even if it is in the midst of one of your increasingly rare parliamentary appearances.

    I'm hoping that by the time I've finished typing this, I can check back on BBC news and discover that he's locked himself out of Number 10 and is trying to get in by shinning up the drain-pipe. Or maybe he will have tried to pull a wheelie on his BMX to impress his few back-bench mates, only to have knocked his front teeth out on the handlebar.

    4th June gets ever closer oh Labour ones.

    Seriously, how do you think you're going to do?

    Annihilation or just mere carnage?

  • Comment number 39.

    The Gurkhas vote is of course important and Messrs Clegg and Cameron should be congratulated for putting other differences aside and joining in support of this brave and dignified people who have given so much to Britain. Those Labour MPs who voted with the opposition are also to be congratulated for having the courage to oppose an inequitable decision. Lets hope that they get the habit!

    Not to be congratulated was the MP ( I did not get his name) who said on 5Live that by abstaining he was supporting the Gurkhas. He is more typical of the majority of the Labour parliamentary party who do not have the nerve to upset Gordon. The ghost of McBride no doubt.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick

    It is the economy, stupid.

  • Comment number 41.

    "AWAY FROM THE ECONOMY THE PRIME MINISTER IS CONSISTENTLY MISJUDGING THE ISSUES", so he hasn't made any misjudgements on the economy then..Hmm !!

  • Comment number 42.

    31. At 6:34pm on 29 Apr 2009, StrongholdBarricades wrote:
    Congratulations to Nick Clegg

    I ponder that you don't make any comment about the requirement for Brown to reconsider his policies.

    Have you seen the video of Brown leaving the chamber after PMQ's despite the speaker calling "statement from the Prime Minister"...Lucky Ed Balls was there to stop him escaping the chamber and point him back at the despatch box

    ===

    Maybe he had come to the realisation that he is not the "Prime" minister any more. In office but not in power!

  • Comment number 43.

    Nick, just because Brown lost the Commons vote does not necessarily mean that he misjudged the issue, or was wrong in his view. It was toe-curling to see the Conservative MPs claiming the moral high ground on an issue that when in power they did precisely zilch about, but the most telling contributions that I heard were those from former Defence Secretaries saying that the strong legal advice they had received while in office was that if the LibDem proposal was accepted there would be a flood of claims from other former Commonwealth soldiers who had fought for the UK also claiming right of residence here. They would have essentially the same claim as the Gurkhas ("if a soldier has been willing to put his life on the line for this country, there is a moral obligation to let him live here"), and the courts would be almost certain to uphold any claim of discrimination. I had also not realised the potentially ruinous effect on the economy of Nepal if former Gurkhas came to the UK, rather than receiving their pensions in Nepal.

    It would be interesting to see how any future Tory government would deal with that. Of course, the LibDems don't have to think about ever having to face the consequences of their grandstanding.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think everyone should now attach their names to this petition.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/please-go/

    It is the most popular petition currently active on the number10 Website. In light of Brown's crushing defeat on the moral issue of disallowing brave, honourable and loyal soldiers who fought and risked their lives for this country from living IN this country. HE MUST RESIGN.

  • Comment number 45.

    The Gurkhas are honorable people who have shown that they are willing to stand up for the freedoms and traditions of this country. Which is more than you can say for members of Gordon Brown's shambolic government, who have no shame and no honour,

    MPs award themselves huge salaries and expenses for destroying this country, while ignoring those who have made genuine sacrifices. This government does not know the meaning of sacrifice. This country needs Gurkhas, not shirkers.

  • Comment number 46.

    Things must be really bad with Stephen Pound voting against the government. Brown has no one left to come out and defend him on the telly now. I think Brown may as well give up and retire to a croft in the northern isles and do us all a favour. It is quite clear now that Brown`s judgement is totally flawed. Its one thing after another. I think what happens tomorrrow over the MP expenses debacle may well signal the beginnig of the end for him.

  • Comment number 47.

    '.. away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues.'

    No, please, let us get him back to where he has, is and will do his best work. Clearly.

    And they say Aunty doesn't know how to crank out great comedy any more.

    Not quite sure who the joke is on, mind.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Incidentally, today's vote is a significant victory for Nick Clegg"

    I do hope so, I would rather he became leader of the opposition than any of the labour mob. Tories to win, Lib-Dems second labour third or fourth.

    I would prefer to see labour utterly and totally wiped out and Parliament filled with independents. however there are far too many people who would vote for any version of the labour party, no matter who lead them, even if they had a hobby of garrotting little fluffy bunnies on prime-time TV.

    Some people are just utterly brain-dead that way. They think that they are helping the poor and the working class by voting labour in spite of mountains of direct and painful evidence to the contrary, filling dole offices and alcoholic's clinics the length and breadth of the land.

  • Comment number 49.

    Obviously, we can't expect Brown to be grateful to Joanna Lumley for her magnificent campaign.

    But hopefully, after a change of Government in the near future, her efforts will be duly recognised for the great service she has done, not just to the Gurkhas, but also in helping to restore the honour of this country.

  • Comment number 50.

    @21

    All serving members of the Commonwealth can stay here after serving ONLY four years in the services

    Why should the Gurkas be treated in the foul and discriminatory way that Brown wished to impose?

  • Comment number 51.

    21. valdan70

    Jumping on the bandwagon:
    Maybe, but I suspect that as Brown would not be at the debate Cameron wanted to put him on the spot personally. Clegg only had two questions. It may have been done with Clegg's knowledge.

    Other Commonwealth troops: many of those who have served want to keep their nationality as was discovered in 2004 when they were ordered to adopt British nationality, and some from countries like South Africa last fought 'officially' for the Commonwealth in the late 40s and 50s. They may not want to travel at their age.

  • Comment number 52.

    The implication in your report is that Brown is running the economy well and is only lacking in areas which are less important. I have to say I am surprised at you saying this, as we have proof positive that he is not running the economy well either.

    In fact watching Brown at PMQs these days is a very embarrassing experience. He now dithers all over the place and is unable to pronounce his words properly.

    Are you really telling us that he needs Mandelson and Balls to baby-sit him before he is able to make decisions or perform in public. Well that must explain why we are in such a mess, when we have a PM who is incapable of dealing with issues without his advisors telling him what to do and how to behave.

    Trust this dreadful Government to only take a stand on immigration when it is worthy people like the Gurkhas that they refuse. This is just another example of poor judgement on behalf of this Government, it really is time for them to go.

  • Comment number 53.

    The decision to only allow Gurkha officers to settle in Britain ... yes, I know that Wackie Jacquie didn't know that Gurkha riflemen only sign up for 18 years, not 20 - but she should have known ... will, I think, prove the defining moment in Gordon Brown's ministry. Forget all the mistakes in supporting greedy bankers, this is the cock-up that has cost him the next general election ... most people dont understand the ins and outs of the economy and the stock market, but they have a finely developed sense of what is right and fair. ... bye, bye Mr. Brown.

  • Comment number 54.

    As usual, Nick, you totally misunderstand the true mood, both in Parliament, and in the country.

    While you're busy trying to shore-up the PM with fluffy words about labour thinking that they should just whip themselves into shape a bit better, the electorate (and most labour MPs) have reached a state of rebellion which is only going to increase.

    By the time Brown suffers a defeat on the expenses (or pulls all expenses votes from the timetable which amounts to the same thing), the time will finally have come when my BBC blog name of GetRidofGordonNow becomes no longer relevant.

    The electorate have finally all seen Brown for what he is (a mind-blowingly negligent idiot who does not understand any aspects of reality), and labour MPs are getting that reaction from their own voters and are running scared.

    Brown is not going to last another week in office, we'll have an election within 3 months, and labour will be lucky if they come 3rd.

    I shall get the champagne ready.

    (well, I can dream, can't I?)

  • Comment number 55.

    21#

    Well, Labour have quite happily let everyone else in, regardless!! Labour were warned and warned and warned time and time and time again, that the Immigration policy and its supporting infrastructure was not fit for purpose, to put it diplomatically. What did you do about it?

    NOTHING.

    So, every man jack from every dispossessed corner of the globe still thinks the streets of London are paved with gold and your feeble government's Immigration department misses most of them, lets those who overstay have leave to stay and cant even throw them out when they come out of jail. You've had 12 years to sort immigration out, stop making excuses.

    I will give Brown credit for one thing. ONE thing. He quite correctly said that prior to 1997, the Gurkhas didnt have ANY such rights that they've got now. That is true, the conservatives had more than enough opportunity to right that wrong and it is somewhat hollow of Cameron to take a high profile on it now. Gordon's problem in this case is as Clegg said, he gave a technocratic answer and just does not understand the phrase "Debt Of Honour". This is what we owe to the Gurkhas, it is what we owe to the Sikhs, the Fijians, the South Africans, all the commonwealth nations whose sons our politicians have sent to their deaths on the battlefields over the last 100 years. So its going to cost. So what? Someone's son or father has paid the ultimate price in blood to this country. If they've served the time, they deserve our thanks and a place in the country they have served with incredible bravery and dignity for 200 years. This is the very least we owe them.

    Maybe our politicians will think twice about sending our troops on foreign adventures if they work out the consequences of their actions first.

    Compared to what was shelled out to Northern Crock, RBS and the like, not to mention the VAT giveaway that never was, £1.4Bn for 200 years of unquestioning, loyal, faithful service to the crown is a drop in the ocean.

    Gordon should just have gone the whole hog and did what needed to be done, instead of getting that waste of space Woollas to try and deliver the bad news. But, as a egomaniacal PM, who deposed the elected PM of the day in what is tantamount to a coup, what would Gordon know of the words "Debt Of Honour"?

    Nothing.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi Nick

    Saw you on the Daily Politic regarding the Gurkha vote. Your observation was that 'governments win, always assume they have the votes. The issue is not how likely it is that they are defeated.'

    What went wrong with that theory then !

  • Comment number 57.

    43#

    It does not necessarily mean that they WILL all stay, but they should have the choice. That is the least we owe them. And yes, given the choice, I would welcome those who had worn the uniform of the UK's Armed Forces with open arms, if they wished to settle here, compared to those who come here now.. particularly those who do nothing but slag the UK off, go on training camps to blow up the population and demand their own parliament, whilst holding their hands out grasping at whatever benefits they can get.

    Anything less is an insult to those who have served and died for our freedom. Brown could have righted this wrong, but as ever, spectacularly failed to think it through properly and see it through.

  • Comment number 58.

    So it's the fact he no advisers that he keeps cocking up?

    He can have all the advisers on God's earth but, at the end of the day, he's meant to take the final decision, take the resposibility.

    Isn't he, Nick?

    Or is he just not up to the job?

    Let me have a think.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm not sure that the advice Gordon Brown is getting is the issue here at all.

    The government lost the high court judgement declaring the policy towards the Gurkhas to be unlawful. This should have told him that the situation required a major rethink. Did he get it ? No.

    The government gudgingly produced after some months a policy which made as little difference to the situation as they possibly could. There was considerable adverse public reaction to this, and not only did Phil Woolas attempt to talk up what was being proposed, Gordon Brown actually supported the proposals. I get the impression that the government went to great lengths to appear to be doing a great deal whilst actually achieiveing and offering very little in reality. Did he get it ? No.

    Even today, all he was further offering was another review. NO prizes for guessing what that review would conclude. They have had months to have a review after the high court ruling but failed to address the issue. Did he take the opportunity do so? No. He mentioned today something about the changes being "staged" and 1.4 billion pounds being need. Where has this come from ? Phil Woolas didn't mention staging last week.

    Exactly what do the government have against the Gurkhas ? Opening our border to 100,000 people as claimed ? The Gurkhas have earned the right to live here, serving our country when we really needed them. The government, however, are happy to sign a treaty opening our borders to 500 million people in the EU, most of whom have contributed or done nothing to warrant the right to be here. Does he get it ? No.

    I do not know a single person who is opposed to letting the Gurkhas live in the UK. Why does Gordon Brown think the opposite ? Its about doing the right thing. Gordon Brown loves to lecture us about "his moral compass", and "what his father told him", so how does this nasty, spiteful approach of his fit in with that ? It's not about advise, its about right and wrong and moral responsibility.

    Whilst todays vote was lost by the government, I fear that this may not be the end of the matter. Apparently its not legally binding. Who's to say he'll ignore the high court ruling and the parliamentary vote and carry on regrdless in the usual "Gordon knows best" manner. ?

  • Comment number 60.

    #sicilian29

    My point entirely. You can't have it both ways. David Cameron may live to regret his words if he should win the next election. It was he who said we should offer residence to ALL THOSE (and their families) who fought for this country. The numbers could be enormous. Words and grandstanding are cheap; its actions that count. Let's wait and see if he puts his money where his mouth is if he comes to office.

  • Comment number 61.

    Badly advised? No an ignorant choice, along with most of his decisions.

    Nick you forget that this man is supposed to be leading the country, if he can't use his own senses to see the massive weight of public opinion against him then he deserves to go.

    More importantly if he sees it and chooses to ignore it then he needs to go even faster.

  • Comment number 62.

    Forgot to mention well done to Joanna Lumley and Nick Clegg for all their work.

  • Comment number 63.

    Well done to all those MP's that voted against this morally bankrupt government. is there a list that can name and shame the mp's that voted for the government, i believe their constituants and the public have the right to know.
    Also im am getting mighty fed up with this latest spin line and no one challenging it's content, that it is the Labour party that are the only ones that have ever done any thing for the ghurkas, LIES LIES and MORE LIES, pre 1997 the ghurkas we're able to apply to reside in Hong Kong a British colony when Hong Kong was handed over to the chinese in 1997, it was then beholdent of the British government at that time, which was nu labour, to make alternative arrangements, which they have continuously made a pigs ear of (no relation to swine flu) so Nick will you at least try to give some actual facts regarding this issue, or are you still going along with this crass governemnt to ensure your place on the PM's global jaunts. absolutly disgusting. and pray tell exactly what positive benefits has gordon brown brought to our economy, Nick if you are going to spout these things at least have the decency to back your comments up with facts.

  • Comment number 64.

    Nick, when you speak in such glowing terms about the contributions of Balls, Mandelson, McBride and Campbell as if they understand and alwyas did understand the mood of the people, you and they are misguided; they only succeeded because New Labour had such a commanding majority in the House despite being elected by only 25% of they electorate.

    This meant they were able to orchestrate and get away with, in a talented way (your words, not mine), the dark art of spin and deceit and dishonesty..... With articles like this, Nick, you are in danger of joining this infamous lot as well.

    (The only time New Labour got the mood of the country right was when Princess Diana died; the Peoples Princess and all that.)

    I know, I know, before the rabble starts reminding me that this is how the UK system works with the first past the post system, it does not get away the fact that the mood of the rest of the country resides in the remaining 75% outside the New Labour bubble and Westminster; all this is coming to the fore now. When, in addition, you start to lose the mood of your own majority party, you are completely stuffed.

    Until this government realises that the vast numbers of this country are a proud, honourable people who have integrity and a sense of fair play, they do not stand, nor do they deserve a chance to win the next General Election.

    As regards your 'away from the economy' remarks, Nick you are away with the fairies and it does even warrant further comment.

    But well done, at least this story was on topic.

    Enjoy the football.

  • Comment number 65.

    He's being badly advised - just who is running this country? Advisors or the PM. Why on earth should 'the man who purports to save the world' need advice on this issue.

    GB is a walking talking....scrub that, GB is a mumbling bumbling liability of the highest order. It is not a question of bad advice...it is another admission, if another was required (take not accepting comments to number 10 tv), that he simply does not listen to anyone except the voices in his head.

    I have raised a petition (waiting for it to be accepted) for him to ask the Queen to dissolve parliament this summer before he resigns so we can have our say.

    WHat was his riposte on being defeated on this issue - oh yes, it's not binding - I expect there will be a few Nokia's and printers smashed this evening....no doubt paid for by us!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Just imagine, if the Brown government looses the Thurday vote on expenses, isnt that tantimount to a parliamentary vote of no confidence?

  • Comment number 67.

    GB wrote a book on courage didn't he, I can't think of anyone less qualified to do so, he clearly doesn't recognise true courage. I was in Normandy recently, you cannot fail to be moved by the lines of gravestones of soldiers who died to preserve our freedoms which this government seeks to destroy.

    Gurkhas, and those from other countries who fought beside our forces, deserve to be allowed residence in the UK. No, not just allowed, actually the right of residence, they have earned it and if it costs it costs, end of story.

    It's about time some of those cowards in the PLP took GB to one side and told him to get his coat, but they would take courage wouldn't it.

    By the way, on Amazon you can get a 65% discount on GB's book, sadly the value of the man himself is now zero.

  • Comment number 68.

    Badly advised?? Do we inhabit the same planet Mr Robinson? Brown listens to no-one because he thinks he is always right. The first lost vote of many.

    General Election NOW!

  • Comment number 69.

    I believe that many contributors have probably missed a major point. I suspect that Gordon Brown is so unsuited to the job of PM that he is cracking under the strain and his mental state is becoming unbalanced. Were he a navy captain, his officers would now be discussing replacing him in his position of authority, with the possibility of a charge of mutiny if they were judged to be wrong. This is the position which Labour MPs are now in. Give it time (perhaps not too long) and Gordon will have a breakdown and have to leave office.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Incidentally, today's vote is a significant victory for Nick Clegg who, as his predecessor Paddy Ashdown did many years ago with the case of passports for the Hong Kong Chinese, found his voice speaking up for Britain's moral obligations."

    How about his moral obligation to support a referendum on the EU constitution?

    Oh of course, it's only when he can score political points. Same old Lib Dems.

  • Comment number 71.

    Old Trafford?? You always seem to be absent when Gordon needs you most.

    On this issue and many, GB is so far out of touch that he is almost delusional. He has done some things right about the economy, but that which he has done has been too long in the making. This odd trillion quid he's looking to wast....spend I mean over the next few years is not a great idea. He's been lectured in Chile and this week in Poland about his policies.

    He looks like he needs a holiday and I hope the MPs decide that is what he needs for the good of him, and the country.

  • Comment number 72.

    #63 tisfedup: "pre 1997 the ghurkas we're able to apply to reside in Hong Kong a British colony when Hong Kong was handed over to the chinese in 1997, it was then beholdent of the British government at that time, which was nu labour, to make alternative arrangements, .."

    So why didn't the tory government pre-May 1997 announce that all former and serving Gurkhas would of course be able to come to the UK after completion of their service? If you are going to try to re-write history you should make a better job of it than that.

  • Comment number 73.

    No. 69

    I'm no fan of Mr Brown, however I would not wish any sort of breakdown on him. For his sake please, someone who has his ear, risk a laser printer on the toe and tell him its time to go, before its too late!

  • Comment number 74.

    Nick,
    "Damien Mcbride was valuable to the PM"
    What is this meant to mean, half of labours own MPs did not have a good word for the man, are you sure you not looking to be his replacement.

  • Comment number 75.

    The government stopped listening to people along time ago. Iraq, ID cards, Freedom on information act, MP expenses are all examples where they thought they knew best. Thank god for the House of Lords (never thought I would say that). They stopped/slowed down some of the more crazy schemes.

    The simple issue is in UK politics people remain in power too long. The same thing happened to Thatcher and Conservatives. There should be term limits so that you can only be a member of the government for two terms and then you have to go to the back benches.

  • Comment number 76.

    Ironic, that the first real nail in Brown's political coffin looks as though it will be from a military issue. The Armed Forces have never been high on Labour's agenda, except when they were needed to appease the Americans.

  • Comment number 77.

    Gordon Brown may have made misjudgements on The Ghurkas and MP's expenses but the comments on here just go to show that you made misjudgements with the words by which you opened this thread. If you look carefully you will see a common element in the responses of those who disagree with your opening remarks. I may however forgive you as like me you are a Manchester United supporter but I suggest you choose your words more carefully when you open your next blog.

  • Comment number 78.

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, the Gurkha motto is:

    Better to die than be a coward

  • Comment number 79.

    60 valdan70

    "My point entirely. You can't have it both ways. David Cameron may live to regret his words if he should win the next election. It was he who said we should offer residence to ALL THOSE (and their families) who fought for this country. The numbers could be enormous. Words and grandstanding are cheap; its actions that count. Let's wait and see if he puts his money where his mouth is if he comes to office."

    I see - it was obviously David Cameron who made the really big mistakes and misjudged the public feeling leading upto this vote........no mention of Gordon Browns judgement in your posts though.... or if you think he was right.

  • Comment number 80.

    The Gurkhas were prepared to put their lives on the line for our country, and Brown doesn't want them. He does however want unrestricted immigration from Pakistanis who want us to educate their children, provide them with free healthcare while they work out how to blow us up, is it just me or is something wrong here.

  • Comment number 81.

    "It is proof, if any were needed, that away from the economy the prime minister is consistently misjudging issues."

    Nick get a grip, you've been travelling with Crash too long. Why did you exclude the economy? Tax, borrow and waste for 12 years!

  • Comment number 82.


    With respect you seem to have missed the political significance here, Nick.

    This shamed government has been brought crashing to its knees by a feared alliance of Tories, LibDems and back-bench Labour MPs which cast further doubts on Brown's authority. 

    It's what New Labour dread. A deadly alliance of Tories, LibDems and backbench Labour MPs.

    This Dad's Army bunch of ministers and pay-roll MPs led by corporal Brown deserved their comeuppance. Fancy picking a fight with the Gurkhas.

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/gurkha-shame-brings-brown-to-his-knees_29.html

  • Comment number 83.

    I hope other brown faced people like me look at the British Govenment and remember what it is doing and when it comes begging for help say No. Robert Maxwell as he became fought for Britian and look what he got and what he did not enough questions there, Conrad Black be came British to get a gong for him and his wife no problem living here, Penocha man of peace I think Thatcher called him in one of her chemical moments he lived here along with many other undesirables the double standard is typically English elite, kill for us but your not living next door. It makes you proud to be a black woman in England, god knows how Joanna Lumly feels. Who cares what Brown says he is not even elected.

  • Comment number 84.

    21. valdan70 wrote:
    What will happen when the South Africans, the Sarawak Rangers from Borneo, the Fijian Infantrymen, the Indians, the Sikhs and anybody else or their descendants who can prove their forefathers fought for Britain in the then British Empire, wishes to settle in the UK with their families. Are we going to welcome them with open arms as well?
    =========================================================

    Valdan70, I'm writing in response to your above posting, so I don't think it should be removed as being "off-topic". In reply, I simply state, how come we have to welcome Pakistanis, Iraqis and Afghanistans, who have never served in the British armed forces with open arms?I will probably be (wrongly) accused of racism because of currnt political expidiency.

  • Comment number 85.

    Surely some praise must go to Martin Salter,the chair of the all party parliamentary group on gutkhas rights.This brave parliamentarian showed his support for the gurkhas by abstaining from voting.This same politician has been doing the rounds of the tv stations trying to take praise for something he didn't do,vote against his leader.

  • Comment number 86.

    PurpleDogzzz has it spot on, what a way to treat heroes. Crash should be very ashamed.

  • Comment number 87.

    Nick, are you having an identity crisis?

    If I move my mouse cursor over your picture at the top of this blog, it says "A picture of Razia Iqbal". Are you moonlighting as the BBC arts correspondent?

  • Comment number 88.

    There is so much hot air about the subject of the Ghurkas, who I think are very worthy people, and deserve recognition. But everybody is critical of Gordon Brown, and nobody asks the question: What did any Tory government do for the Ghurkas in the long years since the end of the second world war ? As Gordon said today, the situation may not be perfect, but more has been done for the Ghurkas since 1997 than ever before. In my opinion, the Lib Dems have a hidden agenda and are using this issue as the only way they can see to get the public's attention.
    I think in difficult circumstances Gordon Brown is doing a good job,and is the only leader, apart from the U.S. president who has any idea of how to handle the economic crisis. I realise I am in the minority in this opinion amongst these comments,but that does not mean that I am wrong. I do not naively follow the biased propoganda that is pumped out by the media which is overwhelmingly governed by right-wing management.

  • Comment number 89.

    Two points

    [a] All credit to Joanna Lumley for helping to bring the Gurkha issue to public attention; but I am somewhat concerned over Britain's obligations to Nepal the country - as well as to those Nepalese men who have served with such distiction in the British Army.

    I understand that the traditional pattern of life for a Gurkha soldier has been that for as long as twenty years he has served in a "foreign field". Meanwhile his income has supported his family back in Nepal, which made a treaty with England in the Nineteenth Century by which Nepal- an independent and unconquered state- accepted this arrangement.

    During periods of summer leave the Gurkha would usually return home to keep in contact with his roots, and these visits allowed his family to grow. At the end of his service he would return to his family, that by this time usually had one of the best houses in his village; and he would receive a pension for the rest of his life that would allow him to live comfortably in Nepal.

    The system obviously offered some advantages to Nepal in return for the loss of some of the "Flower" of each generation- not just the fallen but the "absent with leave". I do not know what else besides tourism allows Nepal to earn a living in the global community; but clearly the flow of money into the country for some of these men who have been retired for more than forty years must have some benefit to the country...

    So surely the Nepalese State is an interested party in this issue.

    [b] While we awaited Gordon Brown's succession to power, I reflected that this would be a third Scottish Succession,and the previous two resulted in major revolutions-
    (1) James I and the English Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, and (2) Lord Bute, George III's old tutor, who George made his First Minister when he ascended the throne in 1760. It led to the Wilkes and Liberty movement in England and the American Revolution.

    I wondered how what would happen this time!

    Still wondering.

    Cass

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    Has anyone seen Nick Robinson and Razia Iqbal together, well then the answer is obvious.

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    Brown lacks all the qualities the British admire so much in the Gurkahs.Courage,integrity,leadership,determination and courage once again.

  • Comment number 95.

    #88

    You ARE Derek Draper and I claim my 5 pounds.

    You say: "I think in difficult circumstances Gordon Brown is doing a good job,and is the only leader, apart from the U.S. president who has any idea of how to handle the economic crisis"

    Did you not read the news of his Vistit to Poland yesterday...or the wise words from Chile, or the kicking he gets from Germany, or France...or the IMF! Or the Gov of BofE...or any leading economist...or Vince Cable....even Joanna Lumley gave him a taste of his own hypocritical medicene when asked where should Gordon find the money...

    Are you one of the believers that the mess we are in has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Brown...at all???

    As with the Ghurka vote, this PM has shown he is not fit to make himself a coffee...

    We need an election

  • Comment number 96.

    Nick,

    Knowing how these things go in political parties, I think you're not thinking deviously enough about what has happened.

    We all know that there's little huddles of Labour MPs and ministers plotting Brown's downfall, and this may well be the opening salvo. He was probably advised, maybe by Balls or Mandelson or Campbell, to take this stance. He was probably assured that the party was behind him, in the full knowledge that he'd lose the vote. This could well be Blair's long-awaited payback, but I strongly suspect it's the opening gambit in a bid to replace Brown as leader. It's a clear sign that he's lost the confidence of Labour MPs and ministers, and I think we'll see Brown resign in the next few days.

    Quite frankly, Labour have nothing to lose and everything to gain by changing leader now. It gives time for the new leader to start working with people rather than in isolation, to build up a team spirit which is sadly lacking in the current one-man-band government we have at the moment, and to show the country that they are different to Brown. And in Brown they have the perfect scapegoat for the mess the country is in.

    For the Tories, of course, a new leader is the nightmare scenario. If Brown hangs in there, they are bound to win the next election, but with Mandelson or Straw or Khan as PM instead, it's much less certain.

    Interesting times!

  • Comment number 97.

    Let's try again as I was moderated at 91.

    I will try it in stages - 1. Brown has no idea of the mood of the British people.

  • Comment number 98.

    Let's try again as I was moderated at 91.

    I will try it in stages - 2. What is Robinson doing watching a football match when he should be doing his job? That job is to report on Political Matters - He is after all the ' Chief Political Coreespondant' for the BBC.

  • Comment number 99.

    Let's try again as I was moderated at 91.

    I will try it in stages - 3. The Ghurkas deserve to be in this country. They are a proud and responsible people, who have served us well, and should be respected. They will not live on society, but rather contribute to it. How do I know - I am honoured to have served with them.

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick, can you hear all of this? Can you hear the noise?

    You're out of touch or in denial, but Brown and ZaNu Labour are on the way out. Stop being biased and start reporting the news.

 

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