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A disorganised panic

Nick Robinson | 11:18 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

As I was saying...

Gordon Brown does not face an organised conspiracy to remove him as Labour leader.

What he faces, instead, is a disorganised panic.

Gordon BrownThis is in stark contrast to this time last year when a number of cabinet ministers were actively discussing resigning en bloc to force their leader out. Only a change of heart by some over the summer of 2008 combined with a worsening economic crisis saved the prime minister then.

Today some of those involved - though not all - argue passionately that it would be wrong, as well as unfair, to drop the pilot at this time.

As has often been observed, Labour's rules make it very hard for a "peasants' revolt" or a stalking horse campaign to succeed.

What's more, even though many senior Labour figures now expect to lose the next election they are united in believing that an economic recovery combined with a slip by David Cameron means that a turnaround is possible.

They believe that the Tory leader has already made a mistake by abandoning sunshine and embracing gloom. Hence Gordon Brown's contrast in his speech yesterday about the "politics of opportunity and growth" versus "the politics of austerity and defeatism."

Today Peter Mandelson puts intellectual flesh on those political bones. In a speech to the CBI, the business secretary argues:

"We will neither exit the recession as quickly as we can, nor build the future strength we need, if we allow pessimism to descend on us or lower our expectations of what we can achieve.

"A lot of research has been done over the years about how a recession affects the basic expectations of a society.

"Sometimes recession creates a sense of shared purpose. Sometimes it does the opposite, replacing the greater tolerance and optimism that often comes with economic growth with a starker and more fatalistic mindset.

"A recession, in other words, is a psychological event as well as an economic one."

Thus, Labour MPs whether pro or anti Brown will - if they can stop talking about themselves - argue that Tory talk of debt and austerity and cuts are bad for Britain.

Now, of course, there needs to be a "but" in this piece. Disorganised panic can all very easily turn into organised conspiracy if things get even worse and the leader fails to lead.

Gordon Brown can, though, still as he's done before turn things around in his party. That, of course, is not the same as turning things around in the country...

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Nick,

    "Tory talk of debt and austerity and cuts are bad for Britain"

    Your piece fails to acknowledge that by most peoples estimation that it will take at least 2 governments terms to re-balance the debt that Labour have saddled us with.

    Getting the finances under control is priority number 1. Priority 2 is the "sunshine" - hopefully whilst getting the country back on its feet, Cameron will also be able to deliver some reform that improves the country as well.

    Brown is a bully and a loser. He will be rejected by the public.

  • Comment number 2.

    "They believe that the Tory leader has already made a mistake by abandoning sunshine and embracing gloom. Hence Gordon Brown's contrast in his speech yesterday about the politics of opportunity and growth versus the politics of austerity and defeatism."

    It's called being realistic about the economic mess we're in and coming up with ways of balancing the books. Something Gordon has singularly failed to ever do, even during the boom years.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 3.

    This posting started out fine - but then you start spouting a line provided by the Labour Party. This is not the level of journalism I would expect from a BBC Editor - however it is what I have come to expect from you Nick.

    Labour is not in a mess because of the nuances between a positive spin and a negative one on the economy. It is because they have lied over the true mess they created. It is because they have become the most authoritarian government in modern political history. It is because they put party politics ahead of the national interest.

    Examine their record, expose their failings - that is what we need from you Nick - not just rehashing press releases from Mandy.

  • Comment number 4.

    They believe that the Tory leader has already made a mistake by abandoning sunshine and embracing gloom. Hence Gordon Brown's contrast in his speech yesterday about the "politics of opportunity and growth" versus "the politics of austerity and defeatism."

    But Nick that just makes Labour seem even more out of touch than they undoubtably are.

    To enable Opportunity and growth we need to pay off what we already owe through austerity.
    This is the basic economics that Labour have never understood even after the lesson taught them by the daughter of a grocer.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick the real reason that Brown wont be defenestrated is that anyone with real ambition is going to let him take the fall for this shambles and take over after the next election.
    They all know that the game is up for this government and a new leader after an election failure can be painted as a party hero rather than taking over now, losing the election and having the recriminations fall on their head.

  • Comment number 6.

    "Labour MPs ... argue that Tory talk of debt and austerity and cuts are bad for Britain."

    So, for labour it's a case of burying their heads in the sand, and at a time where we've got a public debt which is greater than all the debt we've had in the last 300 years put together, they continue to increase the debt without a care in the world, and then say the tories are evil for even considering any kind of public sector reform or an attempt to rebalance the books?

    The electorate aren't that stupid nick, they know that labour's bankrupted the country and that it needs sorting out and not just ignoring.

    Pretending that everything's fine and that nothing needs to be reformed in the public sector is nothing less than a scorched earth policy.

    If Labour's election campaign is just putting their fingers in their ears, going "la la la I can't hear you", ignoring reality completely, and continuing blindly to destroy the economy, then they're not going to do very well.

    It's typical of labour's approach; despite a bankrupted country in the worst economic situation we've ever had and being in the worst economic situation in the developed world, they still won't admit that any of their policies are wrong, and just continue to make things worse.

    But, then again, as far as labour's concerned, they've never made any mistakes; all our problems/debt is entirely due to the Americans (and Thatcher), despite labour being in power for 12 years and destroying the financial systems and following insane unsustainable economic polices, right nick?

  • Comment number 7.

    So what you're saying Nick is that Labour believe we should just say that everything is fine and then stand with our fingers in our ears if any nasty man says otherwise. Its like poor Hazel over the weekend talking about the problem being the message.

    Will they ever get the message - stop spending time on the message and start delivering - I'm sick of the constant repetative phrases 'getting on with the job', 'hardworking famililies', 'do nothing tories', 'talking down the economy'.

    This government still believe that spin is all you need.

  • Comment number 8.

    Successful economies are based on confidence, not optimism. There is a difference. Blind optimism is likely to undermine confidence, not bolster it. Labour can label the Tories as pessimists, but the majority of the electorate will more likely regard them as realists, and a realistic assessment of the future prospects for the UK economy is always more likely to improve confidence than damage it.

    John McFall has today admitted there may be difficulties selling Gilts "down the line", which Peter Mandelson may decry as talking down the UK, but most will admire as an honest reflection on the state of the economy. Constantly whistling "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" is becoming a sick joke.

    If the best that the Labour Party can hope for is that the electorate will get fed up being told the truth, I truly fear for all but those MPs with the most solid majorities.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Disorganised panic can all very easily turn into organised conspiracy if things get even worse and the leader fails to lead"

    - they could be in danger of falling into the Tory trap that led to IDS.

    Milliband has all the charisma of IDS and would do well to keep out of the fray at this stage.

    If they want to see out term they just have to stick with Brown, a leadership challenge without a credible alternative would lead to civil war and the electorate would perceive they were more interested in themselves than the country.

  • Comment number 10.

    You have run up massive credit card bills and reach the point where you are having trouble keeping up. What do you do? Tighten your belt and get rid of the debt as quickly as possible OR do take out another credit card and keep spending?

    It's not about sunshine or defeatism, it's denial versus realism.

    We've (not all) spent too much on things we couldn't really afford and now we have to pay it back. The biggest spender in town was/is the government so that is where the biggest cuts are possible.

  • Comment number 11.

    And this is one of the main reasons why the public are so distanced from Government now
    Instead of buckling down and trying to sort things out, or at least do the job we very handsomely pay for, they squabble like kids. The tories instead of pointing out the problems , instead of offering to help out sit on the side lines point scoring, meanwhile WE pay for them and their second homes and expenses to Lord it over us.
    This is reason alone to change the way we have government working for us instead of for other peoples agendas to the detriment of us
    Sack the lot of them

  • Comment number 12.

    "Sometimes recession creates a sense of shared purpose. Sometimes it does the opposite, replacing the greater tolerance and optimism that often comes with economic growth with a starker and more fatalistic mindset...."

    Hard times can, frequently do, encourage people to work towards a common purpose. But when most people believe that the current government has been a major contributor to this recession, they will find it hard to carry the electorate with them.

    "Thus, Labour MPs whether pro or anti Brown will - if they can stop talking about themselves - argue that Tory talk of debt and austerity and cuts are bad for Britain."

    Meaning what? Let's not talk about the debt tsunami that is predicted to last until 2018? Pretend we can keep on making up money? Expunge from the collective conscience the simple facts about wasted tax money sprayed over failed "visionary projects"? (Brown's favourite - tax-credits - is a hugely expensive way of churning tax-payers' money. The NHS has been "re-organised in circles" over a decade. Schools have been interferred with ad nauseum.)

    Everyone I know believes that the recession will end. Most people believe that spending GBP 5 BIL on an ID card is, at best, a flakey proposition. After all, there may be a card, but there are no readers - even immigration control has very little equipment. So how will they prevent crime, fraud, identity theft, if there is no mechanism to check whether the card is even valid? How long before biometric data are transferred to another name? That will be the start of identity theft on a truly industrial scale.

    I don't need "the vision thing". Just some sensible decisions, a brake on legislation and regulation and then a focus on DELIVERY.



  • Comment number 13.

    AS USUAL - Robinson can NOT give FACTS but spins ZanuLabour guff - I AM FED UP WITH THIS WASTE OF MY MONEY.

    The UK is broke and straight talking is what is needed - well done Cameron - tell it like it is, and for those who think Brown is best for ZanuLabour - great - u will be really humiliated in 2010 and I for one can not wait.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Parliament should be moved to a big top.

  • Comment number 15.

    Of course he is not going to be thrown out. He may be doing really badly and everybody knows a lot of Labour MPs are going to lose their jobs come next election. However, for Brown to be replaced you need somebody prepared to do the job - and there are only a handful of possibilities.

    Given that everybody knows Labour are very unlikely to win the next election and in all probability the election results will be very very embarassing. Then the party leader (whoever that might be) will have to step down. Thus, anybody taking over now will get to be PM for a few months and then right to the backbenches. Wait until the next election then Brown will have to step down giving the contenders the same odds at becomming party leader.

    Given the state of the economy in all probability things are going to stay pretty bad through the next term so whoever does get into power (probably Conservatives) may easily lose power at the end of their term, allowing Labour and their new leader a chance - so whoever takes over will stand a chance of a 5 year term in the future.

    So it is PM now for a few months then backbenches (at best) or wait and get long term leadership with a shot a PM in around 6 years. Nobody wants a few months as PM only to then have to step down in failure. Whoever might take over will have to take the blame for election failure/disaster. Let Brown take that blame then step-up to the leadership.

  • Comment number 16.

    So Nick, basically we are in for another 12 months of drift, rumours about plots to Brown and more allegations about Brown's tantrums, all this obessing when the country is on the rocks?

    It looks like Labour are trying to repeat 2005 all over- tory tax cuts and all that vereses the labour 'investment'. But were is he going to get the money from ? The treasury is empty and we are reliant on the nervy Gilt market to keep the govt afloat.

    At least Cameron's attempting to point us in the right direction, although he's too scare to admit the full scale because of what labour will say in response (a bit like the Tories said about labour's tax bombshell campagin in '92) .

    The government can't go on like this , so what's the plan to bribe the voters (is he going to get Merv King to start the printing presses and order him to put 'new' money directly into people's bank accounts )? Or is he going to campaign the next election on total negatives (from what's left of the Downing street spin /smear machine) ? .

    People are comparing Brown to Callaghan and Major. Neither of these PM's had any majority in the equivelent of the electoral cycle in their periods of office and it only took a few troublesome MPs to defeat legislation if all of the opposition parties voted against as well. Brown has a majority of 60 , yes 60 and yet he still can't seem to get his legislation through.

    Also at least Major and Callaghan both has a sense of integrity and were extremly dignified in their moments of defeat. I wonder, will Brown be able to handle his election defeat in the same way or are we in for a really vile election campagin?

  • Comment number 17.

    What a bunch of gutless *$%^^&&. So the cabinet will rally round GB thus allowing him to continue to lead this Country into the abyss. You would think one of them would have some sort of conscience, I did hope Ruth Kelly would when she resigned, but clearly turning your back is the easier option. If what Simon Heffer has written about GB is true then he's not fit to run a whelk stall let alone the Country.

    Sunshine, what sunshine!! It's about time Labour faced up to the facts and fessed up to all of us and maybe we can then get through this mess in the shortest time possible. But honesty in politics are not bed fellows are they.

  • Comment number 18.

    I refuse to take anything Cameron says seriously until he details exactly which public services he would cut if elected, and by how much.

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes Nick, you and friend Gordon are absolutely right, the last thing anybody needs at this time is a considered and realistic outlook. The unprecedented debts incurred by a failed and spendthrift government can just be 'smiled' away.

    Incidentally and on the subject of comrade Gordon's troubles, I believe 'Britishness' to be practically indefinable. This will not stop 'Gurning Gordon' from writing an unreadable and turgid book on the subject at some stage and generally ramming it down our collective British throat. How ironic therefore that in the case of the Gurkhas, he completely failed to recognise an absolute cornerstone of Britishness probably means i.e. a sense of fair play in the treatment of courageous fighting men. In his defence, I suspect that when you lack that quality yourself, it is difficult to appreciate it in others.

    No doubt I have written enough to incur the wrath of the censors.

  • Comment number 20.

    I got lost somewhere in the middle, and I'm not totally actually sure what you mean or whom you are commenting on

    Is it only disorganised chaos when the mob hasn't yet laid its hands on the pitch forks and torches?

    Is it only disorganised because the abyss the labour party is looking into is causing panic which means leadership isn't important?

    What you need to ask is why Brown believes he is better hanging on to power instead of regaining a new mandate to ensure he has the time to put things right.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have some sympathy for Brown and no time at all for Cameron. But it's surely clear to almost everyone that unless the nation turns to the Liberals in protest, en masse, Labour are going to be buried. Really buried. And so many Labour MPs just don't seem to be able to see it coming. I can't understand that. I seriously wonder if many of those that can see it are just trying to accumulate as much as they can in 'expenses' before the impact. Perhaps I'm being naive?

  • Comment number 22.

    Nick, I'm not sure that many Labour MPs have any grip on reality left. The party is just a complete mess and anything they do now concerning the leadership is a waste of time.

    Surely they know that the game is up. They have failed spectacularly and need putting out of their misery.

    And so do we.

    We need an election this year. The longer it is delayed the worse it will be for Labour in the long run.

  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

    Labour have a massive, and insurmountable problem here, in that they've only really got 2 choices:

    1) Admit reality
    This has the downside for labour of finally admitting that labour/Brown have actively destroyed the economy with total negligence, and that for the last 12 years their policies have made no economic sense.

    2) Ignore reality
    This has the downside that the electorate will see labour as being too stupid to understand basic economics/maths, or that labour are so deluded that they simply don't live on the same planet as anyone else.

    Either way they're doomed electorally.

    If I were a labour MP, I'd cut my losses and have an election now before my party made things even worse.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well, Mr.Robinson, you again swallow Labour spin as put out by Mandy, not what is happening in the real world.

    Just look at the monthly Premium Bond results. Last year I commented that the Treasury had 'Stolen' a large chunk of our interest in the Bonds. Now I note that the interest payable to winning Bond holders has dropped from 1.8% to just 1%.

    Another case of cheating the public. Who authorised this?

  • Comment number 26.

    Nick are you deluded or what? The only reason labour are sticking with brown is that the humiliation of getting rid of him before he has even run for an election would be too much to bear and would spell the death of new labour.

    Additionally the alternatives:- smith, harman, milliband are not real alternatives at all. Any of them running for election would also kill the labour party.

    So Brown is the only hope for labour despite the fact he has failed spectacularly in his time in office.

    Brown was not elected either by the people or the labour party, he threatened and bullied the party to ensure he ran for prime minister unapposed and he has failed.

    After ten years of brown as chancellour pouring our money away on useless projects and borrowing even though we didn't need to we are now in a very sorry situation, worse than anyone else in europe.

    We have nothing left and its gordan browns fault.

  • Comment number 27.

    There's a good reason GB doesn't face an organised conspiracy to remove him as leader - he won't call a general election...

    PMQ's is usually a disgrace these days but was more so today. GB didn't even attempt to answer any questions, and treated all questions of his leadership/position as irrelevant to the issues of the day, as if the people of the country don't care about their leader's position, only that he can spout trivialities on the record when needed. He swiftly moved onto accusing every such question as ignoring the opportunity to ask a serious question. Right... The very next "question" is from a Labour sycophant talking about Brighton football club's successes! And GB "answers" it with a straight face! Talk about treating the House of Commons correctly. The failure to deal with the deteriorating moral decrepitude of this government by its own members casts them in a very bad light - why are they not taking action to deal with an incompetent and worn-out leader? Are they not obliged to work for their constituents, and not their leader/whip? They should throw GB out before the people of the country get their chance to.

  • Comment number 28.

    It is disorganised panic because nobody in the cabinet feels inclined to show leadership or take responsibility for the mess they have created. In this Gordon and his cohort must reflect that they have learned something from the banking crisis even if it is only a brutish and selfish attitude to the the electorate.

  • Comment number 29.

    Your views will be music to Tory ears. Brown is the Tories biggest asset - as long as he's at the helm, Labour have already lost the next election. He's unliked across the whole political sprectrum, apart from by the Brown-nosers within the cabinet. Most Labour MPs hate him almost as much as they fear him . . . .

    The trouble for Labour is that it needs a lot of courage to get rid of him. He has very determined (OK, nasty) people around him who ruthlessly put down any hint of rebellion. The thinking in the party is that it's easier to let him fall on his own sword than try to oust him. The worry lurking at the back of everybody's mind, though, is if he doesn't resign when he loses the election then it could get very bloody.

    And, even worse, if Labour actually manage to scrape through the election, we'd be saddled with Brown for another 5 years. The prospect of that horrifies us all. His autocratic control is stifling debate on what it means to be Labour.

  • Comment number 30.

    18. At 12:06pm on 06 May 2009, big__ted wrote:
    I refuse to take anything Cameron says seriously until he details exactly which public services he would cut if elected, and by how much.

    ===

    I refuse to take anything Brown says seriously until he details exactly which public services he would cut if elected, and by how much!

  • Comment number 31.

    This piece is nothing short of disgraceful but what we've come to expect from the most one eyed political journalist on the block ! Stick to being a London based Man Utd fan , Nick , you'll have more success with them than you hero , Gordon Clown !

  • Comment number 32.

    Nick, if it is disorganised chaos, how come the government lost the Gurkha vote, and how come his chief whip and up to 150 backbenchers are plotting against him over the (part) privatisation of Royal Mail?

    It sounds more organised to me than the current machinations within Cabinet.

  • Comment number 33.

    At PMQs Gordon criticised the tories for not asking questions about policy, but what's the point when he never attempts to answer questions anyway? He just spouts tractor statistics.

    Brown is thoroughly deluded about the state of the country's finances and his own competency as leader. The only person in the country who can't see this obvious fact is him.

  • Comment number 34.

    If they are duly routed at the Euro polls and the trend is downwards then are there going to be any takers for the position? The McBride emails could yield more facts and there is the Iraq War inquiry to begin. The economy is not going to bounce back quickly - or at least quickly enough - and the HBOS/FSA risk regulation could also gradually lead to a better understanding of the causes of the crash.

    Johnson might take the role but then he thought the man who, probably, was behind the McBride mails was "better than him".

    I don't see many donors rolling out the cheques right now and so if they are going into a general election on a downward trend I don't see how they "pull the nose up" in time. Will there be a Labour Party in twenty years? Old Labour (Unions for unemployment?) and the New Labour factions (deregulators regulating after a crash?) all pulling in opposite directions.

    But then as ever they push on with ID cards we can't afford and don't want. They seem oblivious to the idea that Scotland may be going to vote for separation. They have not begun to tackle the problem of indebtedness. The anti-terror strategy seems to rely on locking up Tory MPs.

    Whatever disaster lies in front of them they fully deserve it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Disorganised panic? Does this mean compared to organised panic? Oh well, the old agage still holds good, "When it trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout"!
    Just watched PMQs, so excuse me whilst I go to the lavatory to place a feather down my throat.

  • Comment number 36.

    What is the problem with David Cameron telling it like it is? I would far rather be told the truth - even if it's unwelcome - than be given a load of "guff" that means absolutely nothing.
    Until the Government start to come clean about how dire a situation the UK is in, nothing they say has any credibility.
    However as lying about expenses, referendums, reasons for going to war etc - seems to be the norm these days, I really don't expect any change in the forseeable future.

  • Comment number 37.


    # 27 ChiefWhiteHalfoat

    Everything you raised and more.

    Gordon Brown accused David Cameron of treating Parliament with contempt (pot and kettle) and then showed fully his lack of sense of humour following the 'bullying' question.




  • Comment number 38.

    The government consistently denied we were heading into recession when it was abundantly clear to us all that we were. At other times they've said we're in the most serious economic situation since the War whilst refusing to believe anyone else's figures except their own.

    With all this spin is it any wonder people have stopped believing a word they say and are reluctant to go along with the optimistic approach.

    As regards the Tories there is very little point in them outlining their economic policies at this stage because the economic situation could be very different in 12 months and they won't want to make promises they can't keep.

    Brown keeps talking about policy not personality but would he rather be talking about the Gurkhas, the Post office, 10p Tax rate, Iraq - all are policy issues where he's failed.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Nick,

    I watched the Daily Politics show today and heard you refer to 'a senior source'. IMHO any politician who refuses to be identified with a comment, view or opinion isn't worth quoting and provide information that is of no more value than red-top here-say, title-tattle and conjecture. I just wish TV and radio commentators would stop referring to them. To me, they are no better, and just as despicable as the government 'moles' that plagued previous administrations.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick I do not always agree with your views but at least you are using your brain and thinking things through. Can you not prevail apon the current tory politicians to accept that notwithstanding we are in recession and there is not much we can do about it save weather the storm. There must surely be something more than denigrating Prime Ministers Question time to little more than at slanging match. Have they reallyneither constructive suggestions nor indeed criticism to make. To have Cameron as leader would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire - surely there is someone else more fitted to the position of Prime Minister than he. What are his qualifications, other than to have married into a tory political family? I am completely mystified as to how he gained the Grandee's support. I do not mean to be deliberately rude about the man but he just does not inspire my confidence or support. Am I being unjust? Brown is dour, he works hard and whatever one thinks of the man he gives an air of dependability. unafraid to pick up the cudgel and fight with his back to the wall. A lesser man might well capitulate and bow out of the mess but he is in for the long haul and you have got to admire the man for that because there is no one in the Labour Party who could stomache what he has to take from his own and the other side. He is a doer and that is what we need right now. He will be abandoned by the public as Churchill was after the war - like him, Brown is needed just now and the Tories will no doubt get their chance - God help us, if all they have to offer is the present batch of politicians.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm inclined to agree with Nick that there will not be a movement within the Labour Party to remove Gordon Brown. Not least because this cabinet have proved themselves to be a particularly supine bunch.

    What I cannot foresee is how the government thinks it can postpone the election for 12 months. If they are destroyed at the european and local elections on June 4th, as I think they will be, the pressure from the public and the media will be so great for an election to be called. They have no major policy initiatives to implement, they will simply be drifting along reacting to events.

  • Comment number 42.

    It's strange, but while Golem Brown talks of the Tories as being the party of cuts, I'm more or less certain I heard of circa 15 GBP cuts in the last budget. Ah yes, sorry, the Tories cut and Labour make "efficiency savings" - typical obfuscation from Golem Brown.

  • Comment number 43.

    NIck.. you really are a..out of touch (i did want to say some thing else , but thought i would probably get moderated), the main problem in this country that we now have, along with the obvious recession, pandemics, unemployment etc, is gordon brown and this government, there is absolutely no point in any opposition addressing these topics as gordon brown is not capable, proven time and time again of giving anyone an honest straight forward answer, . the only way the British Public will start to regain any confidence, which is absolutely necessary for any recovery is to change this government. and the only way to do that is to 'call an election'.
    but once again Nick you brown nose for your own 'stupid' (word should be allowed Nick Clegg quite rightly used it to decribe PM without reprimand)benefit/ego, as political editor of the BBC a paid for by the British Public service, you are doing us a 'real' not perceived dis-service, not only should gordon brown go but i think you should too.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nick

    I am not sure whether I've lost the plot because I am reading what you write or whether you've lost it by writing this rubbish in the first place.

    That's beside the point because why on earth anyone wants to form the next government is beyond me because they (and the country) face years of misery trying to extract us from the diabolical mess we are now in. The faces of GB with an optimistic grin or DC looking austere will quickly turn to something akin to Edvard Munch's iconic painting once their feet feel the Downing Street Wilton under their desk.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Nick, I think this particular set of stories will run their course in time but I can't help thinking that more bad news is around the corner for the labour gavernment. It does appear to be in terminal decline where even good news is spun into bad. I also think there is a seige mentality building up which could be seen by the ham fisted way Gordon Brown dealt with some pretty inocuous ribbing at PM's questions today. This will further isolate the Labour Party from it's electorate.

  • Comment number 46.

    @40 mrswick
    "Brown is dour, he works hard and whatever one thinks of the man he gives an air of dependability. unafraid to pick up the cudgel and fight with his back to the wall."

    What!

    This isnt the Brown that is PM in this country that you are describing.
    He may pick up a photocopier and throw it in a temper, but count the number of times he has gone into hiding or left the country when bad news hits. Its virtually everytime

  • Comment number 47.

    41. At 1:21pm on 06 May 2009, Ed2003 wrote:

    What I cannot foresee is how the government thinks it can postpone the election for 12 months. If they are destroyed at the european and local elections on June 4th, as I think they will be, the pressure from the public and the media will be so great for an election to be called. They have no major policy initiatives to implement, they will simply be drifting along reacting to events.

    ...........................

    They may not have any major policy initiatives, but, knowing they won't have to deal with the consequences, they can do a lot of damage that any following administration will have to repair.
    Even more irresponsible borrowing and promises of funding for yet more unworkable or un-needed projects spring to mind.


  • Comment number 48.

    #23 superAngry

    Thanks for the link. Naturally I wish you well.

    I would be interested to know why you chose a form of words on sovereignty which implies a continuation of sovereignty continuing to lie with Parliament, and not the English people. Was this simply to continue with your traditions?

  • Comment number 49.

    Nick

    Instead of cutting and pasting advance speeches from Mandelsonovitch and spinning the NuLab line; why not ask why the Summer spending review has been cancelled?

    I presume there is a reason other than naked politics?

    Could you ask and let us know?

    Thanks

  • Comment number 50.

    Brown has blown it.

    I suspect that he and his followers know it, but they are too frightened to let go of power gracefully.

    To a certain extent, I sympathise.
    It must be excruciatingly painful and humiliating to be in their position.

  • Comment number 51.

    The reality is that they (the Labour Party) can't topple Brown. He has bullied any potential rivals out for so long that the quality of those that are left is laughable. Added to this is the sticky problem of that thing called democracy. One unelected leader we could take, but two in a row? The calls for a general election would be deafening, and it is one they would lose.

    They will hold on for as long as possible, while Brown continues to bungle every week. It will not be pretty and it will not be at all the best thing for Britain. However it will mean that once 6th May 2010 comes around the thumping that Labour get will be historic.

  • Comment number 52.

    Is Gordon Brown allowed to choose which questions he will answer in PMQ's? Is it permissable to simply ignore the ones he does not want to respond to, saying that the question is incorrect?

    The country does not want him to be Prime Minister, and yet he refuses to comment on it. Instead, he tells the opposition, and the country, what they should be thinking. He is a disgrace, he needs to go.

    40, Mrs Wick

    "Can you not prevail apon the current tory politicians to accept that notwithstanding we are in recession and there is not much we can do about it save weather the storm."

    Very, very strange comment. Do you not think it is abundantly clear that it is Gordon Brown, the man determined to spend his way out of the recession, who needs to accept this?

  • Comment number 53.

    50. At 1:48pm on 06 May 2009, expatinnetherlands wrote:
    Brown has blown it.

    I suspect that he and his followers know it, but they are too frightened to let go of power gracefully.

    To a certain extent, I sympathise.
    It must be excruciatingly painful and humiliating to be in their position.


    Why do you feel sorry for a man who has destroyed the futures of millions of hard working Brits retirement?
    We have to grow older not knowing whether whats left of our pensions will be enough to live on.

    We have to sit through the pain of the next government and watch them struggle with the mess that Brown will leave while he walks off into the sunset with his fat pension just like Fred Goodwin has.

    No difference really between him & Goodwin, both ripped off the public and both walk scott free with a nice golden handshake.

  • Comment number 54.

    I distinctly remember Michael Heseltine saying on the night of Labour's 1997 victory that "it will end in tears". Maybe that's how all governments eventually end. It is certainly true today, as Labour - deservedly - looks into the abyss. I for one can't wait.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick, care to comment on the speculation that Brown knows he is a busted flush, is deliberately embarking on a "scorched earth" policy to make it as awkward as possible for a future government, and that by delaying going to the country he hopes that the Lisbon treaty will be ratified and therefore nullify Cameron's promise of a referendum on said treaty?

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick

    Your argument probably makes sense in the "Westminster village" but a constant complaint is that Brown and his ministers are out of touch with the public. This is why I think you are wrong, being part of the establishment as you are.

    I know of no-one among my friends and acquaintances (who are from all walks of life) including Labour supporters (one a former activist) who who wants Brown to continue as PM. The activist says she will abstain at the next election rather than vote for Brown.

    Brown is now so tainted that he has no hope of winning as most, including MPs, know. He is commonly seen in the real world outside London as a nasty, bullying and un-truthful person.

    I am proud that I have voted for him to resign. The reason is quite simple. I put my Country before party politics and the ambition of one man.

    Brown will go down in history as the worst PM we have had since Ramsay Macdonald.

    Call an election NOW.

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear Nick

    Is it possible that you might in one of your next posts tell us of your approach to writing the posts? Many of us tend to think you a bit biased towards Labour so now would be a good time to put the record straight.

    I'm not asking you to slam McBride or anyone else - just how you decide on what to write, and in fact broadcast since your blog appears to be simply what you have said on TV.

    As opinion former I think we have the right to ask you to do this.

    Best regards

    Mike

  • Comment number 58.

    It is very simply Nick. The reason no senior figure will put his head above the parapet is because no one wants the job. After all, the only job left for the Labour leader is to be the fall guy. Brown wanted the buck and now it has become a poisoned chalice and he must carry it to then end.

    One ought to have some sympathy. Many in his cabinet have contributed to his woes. Jacqui Smith and David Milliband come readily to mind. Even Brown could not have screwed up this badly all on his own. The difference now is that there is simply no mileage in for anyone else. So of course, the whole cabinet is now behind him, not with knives drawn because there is no need. When they get to the cliff edge, does it actually matter who the chief lemming is?

  • Comment number 59.

    The only reason the Labour MPs are allowing Brown to stay in office is that replacing him would mean an election now, and two thirds of them would have their heads pulled out of the Westminster trough. There are plenty of willing traitors to the cause waiting in the wings, but none of them have the courage to risk their seat in the cabinet getting rid of Brown, because there are so many looking to replace him, and all of them will fight to stop someone else getting their foot in he door. Lie Julius Caesar , they are all waiting for someone else to stick the first dagger in.

  • Comment number 60.

    Sigh, another day, another piece of pure party political broadcasting from Nick Robinson.

    Like the leader he obviously has so much time for, he has proven that he is not fit to do his job, indulging in petty party political banter while the country goes down the plughole.

    Perhaps it is why Nick has such admiration for Gordon - they are both promoted above their abilities, and neither have any honour to put the country ahead of their own personal ambition.

  • Comment number 61.

    The Great Leader has another clip on You Tube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dEDhcNs_c

  • Comment number 62.

    I was not too impressed with the Tories at PMQs today. GB had a point when he said that they asked few questions to do with policy.

    However GB/Lab did not come out of it well. Hideous planted questions saying how wonderful they are for created some more shopping arcades! That will be where Wollies can set up shop! And, the same old tripe from our leader. If DC stood up and asked GB his name the same old twaddle would come out.

    I am fed up with the lot of them. Could Lab, Tories and Libs please tell me what they are going to do to stop the debt mountain? If that means cuts then I am fine with that. Please do not tell me what the other parties are going to do. And Mr Brown I do not care if you spent an additional 1p, 1 pound or a billion pounds on some policy or other. What has been achieved and what has not? It is value for money not the cost that is important - this is the fertile ground for the Tories and where Labour have to work hard to convince me.

  • Comment number 63.

    Gang
    "The anti-terror strategy seems to rely on locking up Tory MPs."

    Excellent idea. I look back with some nostalgia at the incarceration of Jeffrey Archer and Jon Aitken - happy days.

    Pleased you're thinking outside the box.

  • Comment number 64.

    RE :48
    Thank you oldnat. I am not sure which form of words you refer to on The claim of right, the Downing St petition or on the post.

    However I can deal with all three. To me the form of words is irrelevent in the sense that if we spend 20 years aguing about what words to use we will get nowhere.

    You will see from the Downing St petition that it calls for a Constitutional Convention for England where all matters can be discussed.

    In my view however sovereignty rests with the people of England.

    If you look at what our politicians say about sovereignty about others you will see the betrayal they have perpetrated on the English

    On the Falklands Islands. "sovereignty is for the people to decide."

    On Northern Ireland "sovereignty is for the people to decide"

    On Scottish Indpendence "sovereignty is for the people to decide."

    On the European constitution /Lisbon Treaty England CANT decide in fact we are not even allowed to call ourselves English. On Government forms we must be British on the next census apparently we cannot have the option to say English.

    Our political elite have betrayed England and the peoples of England they have sold us in Cromwell's words, "like Esua for a mess of pottage. The English are 2nd class citizens with the UK.

    Speak up for England and let England speak up for you.

  • Comment number 65.

    For all the winding up at PMQs I still fail to see the point. Clearly the recession has a way to run yet with employment forecast to raise further. Goading GB into calling an election will of course not cause that to occur but at most will cause for him to be ousted by another more acceptable Labour candidate (an elected one!?) and ultimately strengthen Labours credibility.

    It all seems very clever to take the mickey out of the lame duck that is GB but the strategy could back fire very badly.

    And as for taking the downside rather than the sunshine... being downbeat might work in the short-term to show the government for what it is, i.e. a dismal failure, but in the long term we need optimism so I hope the opposition can cheer up a bit once it gets to the real election.

    I did like the bullying reference tho... that was a classic!

  • Comment number 66.

    What is far more depressing is Brown still talking about borrowing or investing as he calls it.

    When we begin to hear what the cost to future taxpayers could be like not retirng until 70 or paying nearly half of what you earn in tax how depressing can it get.

    We need someone to tell the truth not a whole lot of waffling on about curing debt with more debt. Who in their right mind could believe that?

    What have we seen for it so far? More businesses going bust more people out of work and no one capable of creating any order out of all this chaos. It's not getting better it's getting worse and the debt is piling up.

    And that's just as the recession is beginning to kick in.

    Another six months of this and Brown will have to be concreted into his bunker if he doesn't quit first.

  • Comment number 67.

    The problem with the Government having this policy of looking on the bright side instead of the down side is that reforms to our economy that are desperately needed will yet again be delayed. By not telling us the truth about our deepening debt the population in this country will not be prepared in any way for the measures which will definitely be needed to get us out of this mess we are in.

    I live in fear of what silly thing this Government will do next to waste more money and incur more debt, just to keep them in power. Reforms need to happen now and I do not mean these tax rises for high earners. We need to cut our spending and quickly. I do wish some MPs in the Labour Party had the integrity to put their country first.

    I watched PMQs today and have to say the person who worried me the most was in fact Nick Clegg. His obvious loathing for Brown is becoming a little bit too evident and he needs to curb that very quickly. He is very much in danger of getting himself in hot water if he does not. There are things you can say and things you cannot in Parliament and he is sailing very close to the wind in my opinion.

    As to Camerons performance at PMQs, I think it was right to remind the public that Brown is now a weak leader and that he has lost the respect of his party. There is no point in asking relevent questions about the economy as Brown will not answer them. Cameron needs to now press home that we need a fresh start with a new Government to produce any changes in this country.

  • Comment number 68.

    55. At 2:03pm on 06 May 2009, yellowbelly1959 wrote:
    Nick, care to comment on the speculation that Brown knows he is a busted flush, is deliberately embarking on a "scorched earth" policy to make it as awkward as possible ..........

    When you think Gordie and da Boyz were trying to get it right for past 12 years this prospect becomes very very scary...

    10 years of pain and suffering under Maggie got us to the better places, where for a few years we lived happily in the warmth of the economic miracle left by Ken Clarke. As we slowly rolled back towards the edge...

    Then in a little under 3 years Gordie and da Boyz put us back even deeper in the hole than at any time ever.

    The thought of them doing a "if we can't have it lets smash it and spoil it for the rest job" like a teenage gang banned from the park, really scares me.

  • Comment number 69.

    Nick,

    According to the BBC reports - a committee of MP's has said that the budget forecasts are too optimistic.

    Rather kills off Mandelson's "sunshine versus gloom" claptrap doesn't it?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8035800.stm

  • Comment number 70.

    #40 Mrswick
    Your post is somewhat hypocritical since you accuse the Conservatives of being negative, yet all you can do is be negative in return.

    Let me see if I can help you out a bit. The government is racking up huge sums in borrowing. David Cameron will reduce that borrowing by 'efficiency savings'. Gordon Brown wants us all to have ID cards. David Cameron will scrap ID cards, thus making further savings.

    There you go. Two sunny thoughts for to-day - what more could you ask for, except a date for GB to go and let it start to fall into place?

  • Comment number 71.

    58 threnodio

    You are quite right in saying that nobody of any standing wants Brown's job.

    Labour will lose the next election badly so anyone standing against Brown now would then be tainted by him. Better to let him lose, the Conservatives take government at a bad time, Brown resign and go to the Lords/EU/UN/HELL and a potential leader take over then.

    It is well known that John Major was only elected by the Conservatives, after the demise of "The Blessed Margaret", as a stand-in PM to be replaced after they lost the 1992 election. But it all went wrong; Major was re-elected and his weak government went down the pan. Rather like Labour now.

    Miliband (both of him), Purnell, etc, are all young enough to bide their time until 2015 when they would stand a better chance of being elected.

  • Comment number 72.

    Well, I don't need any therapy thanks - it's Brown that's lost the plot!

    Telling us that we need to look on the 'bright side' and not to be pessimistic does not face up to the fact that he has driven this country into the ground simply because of bad government policies, this is his responsibility I think.

    The reality is people are being made redundant, businesses are failing and the people are suffering.

    We are not all fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of 'let's pretend' - this is a child's game. Perhaps Gordon has finally flipped.





  • Comment number 73.

    'What's more, even though many senior Labour figures now expect to lose the next election they are united in believing that an economic recovery combined with a slip by David Cameron means that a turnaround is possible.

    They believe that the Tory leader has already made a mistake by abandoning sunshine and embracing gloom. Hence Gordon Brown's contrast in his speech yesterday about the "politics of opportunity and growth" versus "the politics of austerity and defeatism."'

    Nick. Does this mean that senior cabinet members do not think they are going to have to set out a programme of significant public expenditure cuts before the next election? Such cuts are certainly implied by the recent budget, and it will presumably be on the respective plans for future economic management that the public will judge, not who was more optimistic in 2009.

  • Comment number 74.

    'Thus, Labour MPs whether pro or anti Brown will - if they can stop talking about themselves - argue that Tory talk of debt and austerity and cuts are bad for Britain.'

    ======

    So what you're saying, Nick, is that Labour MP's will simply put their finger in their ears and sing la la la la la la until this all goes away?

    Sounds awfully familiar. Bit like the recent budget.

    What needs to happen is for someone, anyone, to get hold of this 'downturn', tell the truth for once and put together a plan as to how we get out of it. It's going to take one hell of a time but most people are happy to accept the truth and get on with it.

    What we have now is a complete shambles. Labour are simply denying there is a problem at all. And we will all be the poorer for it int he long run.

    Oh, and the BBC don't help pandering the party line day after day.

  • Comment number 75.

    63 Dorset_Wurzel

    "was not too impressed with the Tories at PMQs today. GB had a point when he said that they asked few questions to do with policy."

    I think the idea is that the opposition can ask questions about what they like. I am sure that the control freak Gordon Brown would love to select the questions he is asked, though even then I would expect him to avoid answering them.

    Perhaps if Gordon Brown would really like to decide what questions are asked at PMQs he should call and election.....assuming he can hold on to his seat.

    PMQs are really a joke now, and I don't mean that flippantly, this is only one part of a much wider problem that Gordon Browns government have brought our entire political system and democracy into disrepute.

  • Comment number 76.

    66 - virtualsilverlady
    I can offer the "truth" on retirement if nothing else...
    My Grandad (born c 1890) left school in his early teens and worked till he was sixty five - at which point his statistical (and actual as it turned out) life expectancy was a further seven years. He therefore worked over seven years for each year he was to draw a state pension.
    Nowadays many people are in their early twenties before they make a NI payment. They optimistically aspire to retire a little over forty years later. Thereafter they can statistically expect to live another twenty years. We are now down to two years of work for every one of retirement.
    Whatever your politics or mine, the arithmetic is inescapable.

  • Comment number 77.

    #23 - superAngry

    I have visited the links you kindly provided.

    As regards the petition to No.10, while I accept that Mr. Field is an honourable man and an astute and competent person for the purpose, I think you are unnecessarily limiting your options and restricting the potential popular appeal by nominating a named individual. I have therefore not participated.

    I have also visited the Englishclaimofright website and have noted that a large proportion have chosen to give spurious or incomplete information in those fields which are visible on the signatories page. It seems to me that if one is going to stand up and be counted, the least one can do is identify oneself.

  • Comment number 78.

    Aw, bless. A little bit of sunshine...

    I think you could well be right Nick. Maybe people need to feel good instead of being gloomy. Do you know what? I think that if everybody around the country holds hands and really believes in them, the chancellors forecasts will come true.

    If you want something badly enough, you can make it happen*.


    WARNING: Chancellors forecasts represent best estimates by our chancellor and a team of chimpanzees. The economy is not guaranteed to improve. The economy may go down as well as up, though probably down. The government accepts no responsibility for risk to individuals' capital made on the basis of these forecasts.

    *Making it happen is subject to having the potential, ability, perseverence, determination and fortune to make it happen. Being optimistic is no guarantee of improvement in economy.

  • Comment number 79.

    #64 superAngry

    Thanks. I meant on the Claim of Right. We come from different legal domains, and in Scots constitutional law, (and, therefore, in our Claim of Right) the people are explicitly restated as being sovereign. Under normal circumstances, it doesn't have any effect, but it does mean that since the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament was approved by referendum, it is only under English constitutional law that our Parliament could be abolished by Westminster without our consent - and that law doesn't apply in Scotland.

    My advice would be not to trust politicians of any party with your fundamental rights.

  • Comment number 80.

    This is a Machivillian plot construed by Brown, who is really a member of the Monday Club. He knows that if he stays in office, the chance of Nu Labour being re-elected is dim. Blears is a true socialist, just looking at her one can see this, whereas Gordon would look far more at home on the other side of the House.

  • Comment number 81.


    As many posters have already alluded to, what we have here is more Number 10 cooked up spin masquerading as policy.

    You cannot balance the books with optimism and words alone. As much as we'd all wish we could.

    Without balanced books you cannot consider recovery, let alone survival.

    You may have examined whether you think the public need reality or more spin, and if you think you know the answer, look for the spin versus reality in what we are being told and by whom.

    Yet those mendacious Brownian political dividing lines are repeated here and elsewhere by the BBC with little analysis of the facts.

    Peter Mandelson says this so we must say this, seems to be the rule. This post has little to do with why you believe, and no doubt hope, that Brown will not suffer the Churchillian pole axing he so richly deserves, and more to do with getting the party line out.

    It seems to be a recurring theme here, write a piece ostensibly being analytical, but slip in the odd line like, "his successful G20" or
    "Good on the economy". Please stop.

    We are fed up of spin.

  • Comment number 82.

    I would just like to point out that the English Democrats are fieling candidates in every constituency for the first time in the European Elections.

  • Comment number 83.

    "We will neither exit the recession as quickly as we can, nor build the future strength we need, if we allow pessimism to descend on us or lower our expectations of what we can achieve." [Peter Mandelson]

    Translation:

    "We've ruined the economy. Cheer up!"

  • Comment number 84.

    67. At 3:08pm on 06 May 2009, Susan-Croft wrote:

    As to Camerons performance at PMQs, I think it was right to remind the public that Brown is now a weak leader and that he has lost the respect of his party. There is no point in asking relevent questions about the economy as Brown will not answer them. Cameron needs to now press home that we need a fresh start with a new Government to produce any changes in this country.

    =======================================================================

    I think Cameron should start with a question asking if Gordon had a good weekend, then ask him about the weather where he spent it, and continue in this vein until his questions are done then simply sit down.

    I would love to see the look on Gordon's face, and those of his spineless party. You never know he might actually answer one or two of them.

  • Comment number 85.

    "Gordon Brown can, though, still as he's done before turn things around in his party."

    ... in the way that an armed robber can turn things around with post offices?

  • Comment number 86.

    Proposal for Labour's General Election campaign slogan:

    "Cheer up everyone! You know what would ease your mood? Maxing out a brand new credit card! Yay!"

  • Comment number 87.

    #40 mrswick

    Nick I do not always agree with your views but at least you are using your brain and thinking things through. Can you not prevail apon the current tory politicians to accept that notwithstanding we are in recession and there is not much we can do about it save weather the storm.

    =========================================================================

    'Weathering the storm' is another way of saying 'doing nothing' about which GB constantly criticises DC.

    As for untried politicians, New Labour had plenty in the early days especially as they had been out of office for 18 years; however many of them showed efficient capability as they grew into their various roles.

    The Tory front bench have been in a similar wilderness for 13 years and although one can't always tell by looking at them and listening to them, they too will grow into the role as well.

    As for leaders, they tend to grow too as power is foisted upon them; whether it's for the best or not is another thing.

    All things come to an end. Accept it. Your turn will come again either as a New Labour supporter or as a Lib Dem supporter if your lot are wiped out.

    I remember how it was in 1997. I couldn't stand Blair and New Labour but even as a Tory I could see that John Major did not deserve to continue what with all the sleaze around him and his party; also the party had run out of steam.

    History is repeating itself again.

    I know as a New Labour supporter, you are now feeling as I did then.

    But I have no sympathy for you or any of the other New Labour supporters on this blog, the reason being, that if you don't think Brown and his lot are not doing anything wrong then we live in very dangerous times.

    As I write this New Labour are not just behaving badly, they are behaving appallingly and should go immediately; they are way past their sell-by date and this should be embarrassingly evident to their own kind.

  • Comment number 88.

    There is a huge difference between trying to be optimistic when things are bad to totally ignoring the significance of the situation. Labour are hoping that if they tell the population often enough that everything is going to get a lot better by next year people will actually believe them and start spending. However, this does not wash when all the economic signs are showing that this recession is far from being anywhere over. Spending in a large scale manner will not bring the recession to an end sooner but will artificially buoy the economy for a short period of time and then it will crash all the harder.

    The Labour MP's which are dissenting are fully aware that their time at the trough is limited and they are trying to put the blame whole-heartedly on the shoulders of Gordon Brown who, by the way is only Prime Minister by default. There should have been a selection process and vote when Tony Blair resigned.

  • Comment number 89.

    #62
    The final paragraph of your comment - I think this is at the heart of the problem Labour always has had over the last 12 years. They have been fond of throwing money at problems without looking at how effective their solution is. This is the main problem we now face with the "fiscal stimulus" as provided by Brown/Darling - that there will be no measure of whether this spending has had any effect at all. No doubt much will be made of the fact of the spending and the size of the spending, but there will never be any hard facts about how much help it has actually been in making the recession easier to bear.

    The forecasts by Darling have been hopelessly optimistic so far - and we know that it true by his own admission - so being bright and breezy is hardly the answer. The "laughing policeman" Brown imitated on Youtube is just the sort of thing we do not need.

    Businesses often look upon adversity as a time to renew themselves - if they possibly can and I expect many will. But I'm not sure it is up to parliament to stick on a smile while many other businesses go to the wall. I really don't mind that the Conservatives are being realistic and saying how things are going to be - because the government clearly does not have a clue.

    The notion that we should not "talk the country down" prior to the recession was bandied about enough then, but I don't think it made a jot of difference to the fact that the recession is now here - and I don't think reality should be confused with pessimism as Mandy seems to do.

    As for Brown standing up and being strong for us - well, I do not see it.
    He says the right things, then walks away:

    No more boom and bust (Oh, hello bust)
    42 days detention for terrorists (Oh, what happened to that?)
    British jobs for British workers (Oh, this is no time for protectionism)
    Fred's pension is not acceptable (Hi Fred, how ya doin?)
    This is no time for a novice (Oh, Hello Mr Obama)
    We'll provide another fiscal stimulus if need be (Oh, no we can't)
    I've had this great idea about living allowance for MPs (Oh, no I haven't)
    ID cards will defeat terrorism (Maybe ID cards will be just jolly useful)

    There must be more...

    I think it is well recorded that GB is a bully and he would be a nightmare if he ever was deposed (defenestrated). I expect he will run his course and when the Labour party is left in tatters and in flames he will say "It had nothing to do with me", Mr Teflon shoulders to the last. He will no doubt write an interesting Autobiography in a couple of years time; you know, when he has less to do.

  • Comment number 90.

    I would like to refer to the comment made by mrswick concerning how David Cameron managed to get the top spot in the opposition. Has she forgotten how Tony Blair got to being leader of Labour? He had to rely on his wife to pay the bills etc. He was a kept man! Let me see? Kept man or someone who has fought to get where he is? Give me the fighter anytime because they have a better vision of the situation.

  • Comment number 91.

    "We will neither exit the recession as quickly as we can, nor build the future strength we need, if we allow pessimism to descend on us or lower our expectations of what we can achieve."

    The best way to exit the recession is to have an election. The next 12 months is going to be full of pessimism as Brown goes on doing the headless chicken routine on Youtube

  • Comment number 92.

    Personally I think that Sir Richard Mottram best sums up our current situation. Mandelson of course would use the word happy, the rest of the population know the truth.

    We're all "happy".
    I'm "happy".
    You're "happy".
    The whole department is "happy".
    It's the biggest rock-up ever.
    We're all completely "happy".

    Mandleson should change his name to Lord Sunshine.

  • Comment number 93.

    The idea that voting makes any difference is rubbish its done to make you all think that you are taking part of a democratic act but over the last few years you have seen how you are Joe Bloggs are ignored and beaten and robbed and Brown spouting what he is told Britian is not run by whom we see but those we never see. Blair went off after failing his role as leader of the pack to fill his pockets with money and wife and is give a job of being envoy to the Middle East this many who backed the killing of many Muslims as both him and Brown are friends of Israel they back this country through the USA. But is making people follow and that will not happen nor for Cameron who is rabid to take over but nothing will change no matter what he promises. How about George Galloway for Labour not New, leader or is he to transplant for the dark forces.

  • Comment number 94.

    #77 threnodio

    My parents were among the 2 million Scots who signed the Scottish Covenant in the 1940s, petitioning for Scottish Home rule.

    The only thing that influences politicians is voting for somebody else who advocates what you want.

    Scotland is where it is constitutionally because the Labour Party was under threat.

    The most recent Scottish poll gives voting intentions as

    Holyrood Constituency, SNP 41%, Lab 29%, Con 15%, LibDems 11%
    Holyrood List, SNP 40%, Lab 30%, Con 13%, LibDems 10%
    Westminster, SNP 32%, Lab 36%, Con 19%, LibDems 9%

    Until the English vote for English parties, there will be no change.

  • Comment number 95.

    Gordon Brown does not face an organised conspiracy to remove him as Labour leader.
    What he faces, instead, is a disorganised panic.


    As I look at my young sons, their futures in this great country ahead of them, I can only reflect, with pride and optimism, the two pressing directions being pondered by the great and good tasked to lead us.

    As shared by on of the key media WUVI's in a uniquely-funded position to know.

  • Comment number 96.

    Nick
    I do not normally pass comment as to your perceived political bias. I am just grateful that the BBC via your good self allows for people like me to express our thoughts both political and financial. However, this post does seem spin one way in particular if you don't mind me saying.

    On topic. Whilst I agree that in an ideal world the Tories should outline their master-plan for the recovery of the Country. However, as this will inevitably lead to cuts in public spending on as fairly grand scale and possibly an increase in taxes, leading to a period of austerity, they will be rightly concerned that this will cost them votes. Unfortunately, a significant element of the population will vote selfishly and for the short term, rather than think about our long term prosperity. As it is the Tories are perfectly entitled to point to the Government's failings and responsibility for our troubles.

  • Comment number 97.

    I'm lucky in respect of the fact that I had to retire early through ill health although my life expectancy is dubious because of various ongoing health conditions. If I thought for a moment that I would be forced to retire at 70 because of mistakes made by Gordon Brown and his administration I'd be incandescent with rage ( a state of mind attributed to GB when he briefly coralled Hazel Blears after a recent Cabinet Meeting). I was a primary schoolteacher and although many refer to the long holidays the stress involved in the daily routine is such that looking back I believe I was virtually burnt out at the age of 50. The prospect of people working to the point of death to bail out a bankrupt government is frankly beyond the pale. I predicted some days ago on another thread that retirement age would be a casualty of the present shambolic financial position and now I am being proved correct. I sympathise with all those individuals out there who are casualties of Gordon Brown's regime. I suggest that you register your strong disapproval at the forthcoming elections.

  • Comment number 98.

    big mac @ 81

    Without balanced books you cannot consider recovery

    but what do you mean by balanced books in this context?

    - zero govt debt?
    - govt debt back to 40 pc of GDP?
    - nil annual deficit?
    - or a surplus?
    - over what timeframe?

  • Comment number 99.

    I believe that David Cameron was indulging in overkill when attacking the Prime Minister for his leadership and authority failings in PMQs today. He would have done better to allude to the terrible economic predictions for ailing growth. Gordon Brown is scoring enough own goals for the opposition to concentrate on what really matters. We are all savvy enough to realise that The P.M. is a dead duck without constantly being reminded of it.

  • Comment number 100.

    A Labour apologist on Newsnight last night warned that attacking John Prescott would be counter productive because it would annoy the core Labour voters. I'll leave it up to you whether or not we should stop picking on this bastion of extra marital dalliance in order to appease the core labour vote.

 

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