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Labour's long night of painful firsts

Nick Robinson | 02:49 UK time, Monday, 8 June 2009

It was a long night of painful firsts for the Labour Party.

eu_uk226.jpgThe first time that Labour has been beaten into third place by what we used to call a minor party - UKIP.

The first time - since 1918 - that the party has not come first in a Welsh election.

The first UK-wide election in which the Scottish Nationalists have beaten Labour.

The first time that the BNP has been elected to a parliament or assembly in areas where Labour's vote collapsed.

Those who dedicate their lives to the party will feel the pain and, looking at the success of the BNP, the shame of a night they will wish to forget.

Individual Labour MPs will now ponder what it means for their future in their patch.

That is unlikely in itself to restore enough momentum to unseat Gordon Brown.

It will, however, ensure that the leadership question will not be closed today, this week or next.

The prime minister may now be given the chance to unveil the policies he believes can dig his party out of the deep hole it is in - but, if the polls don't budge, his party will keep on talking about budging him.


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  • Comment number 1.

    if he is more stubborn, voters will be even more.
    from 3rd place they will finish 5th or 0.
    we need elections now, so we can clean up the place, not Brown with his MPs.

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Daniel Hannon speaks for the nation. The rest is an irrelevance.

  • Comment number 4.

    The arogance of both Gordon Brown and the Labour party is astounding. When will they realise that it is us, the British public who want an election so we can democraticly elect our prime minister.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh Dear, how sad, too bad never mind as the sargeant Major would say.

    It won't make a jot of difference as Gordon will till see himself as the "Best man for the job" and he is assuming the job is drive labour into a 20 year wilderness. As I see it, if Gordon showed some guts and called an election he would a) retrieve some respect and b) Lose but fairly narrowly. Something like a sub 50 majority. Labour might lose two elections and be back in power somewhere around 2017 or 2018. If he clings on like a hobbit to his ring his "preciousssss" until the very last second he could condemn Labour to destruction and 20 years out of power as the Conservatives will win by a 100. Gordon is hated across the country from John O'Groats to Land's End via Anglesey. He, and his wife, are the only ones that don't see it. His lackeys see it but are too cowardly to co-ordinate the final coup. Mandelson sees it but knows his game is to smile and slither his way to the top. Unelected. Like Gordon. Yes I know Gordon is constitutionally valid, but in Harriet's court of Public Opinion he is still unelected and unwanted.

  • Comment number 6.

    Good grief - how much more can Gordon ignore??? There is arrogance and there is blind stupidity! Surely either option isn't an appropriate stance for an unelected leader of our country. He MUST be feeling a little insecure by now.....(and rightly so as far as I am concerned).

  • Comment number 7.

    Ummm technically the votes arent all in yet so you cant say whether or not UKIP are second and Labour third. At least you did meantion the SNP who appear to have a good result but we shall see tomorrow when the final results are out.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Nick,

    It's clear that the 'less EU' parties - Tories, UKIP, Greens, Libertas, No2EU etc - have won this election overwhelmingly. They all think that the transfer of powers to the EU has gone too far and that radical reform is needed. They all oppose the Lisbon Treaty and support a referendum. You could even argue that this election was effectively the referendum first promised and then denied by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, and more than 63% have voted 'No' to Lisbon.

    The question for Gordon Brown - at this sensitive time for faith our political system, when we are desperate for evidence that our political leaders are listening - is whether he will go to the next EU summit on 18-19 June and, despite this clear message, engage in another bout of EU 'carry on regardless'.

    Carry on conspiring with others to push Ireland into voting twice on exactly the same rejected treaty. Carry on overlooking EU waste, fraud and pre-recession levels of lavish living while the rest of us tighten our belts. Carry on believing that Britain's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty carries any real democratic legitimacy.

    Our political system simply cannot stand another incident of a clear public expression of opinion being ignored. Brown's fate rests not on the horror of the election result itself, which many could predict. But on how he now responds to it.

    He now has a golden chance - maybe his final chance - to show us that he can deliver what the majority want. Namely, he must rescind our ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and, at the EU summit, start the process of getting powers back from the EU to Parliament. Start the process of making Parliament *matter* again.

    His fate is in his own hands. Will he take that last chance, or will he bungle it?

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Agree with #4, #5 & #6. however,it sadly makes little difference to this, the worst PM in history.

    Roll on June 2010......

  • Comment number 12.


    You say in your blog:

    'That is unlikely in itself to restore enough momentum to unseat Gordon Brown.'

    I disagree. I think the meeting with backbenchers this evening may cause the event. More likely though, through abstentions or otherwise, I think the motion on Wednesday will be his final undoing. I also think Cameron will be less sympathetic at kicking a man when he is down at this week's PMQs!!

    As ever, we wait and see, some more patiently than others!

  • Comment number 13.

    The voters are using the only mechanism at their disposal to say - 'Oi! Enough!'

    Short of a revolution, what can the people of this country do to get rid of this incompetent bunch of clowns?

    Listening to Mandleson on Andrew Marr I was physically cringing at the complete scorn, dismissiveness and arrogance that he shows for the people of this country.

    Oi! enough!

    The people's good is the highest law. - Cicero, De Legibus

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course Gordon Brown won't go of his own accord, Nick.
    He wasnt elected into No 10, so he certainly won't leave it because of few poor election results (seemingly whether they be Council or European elections!) Clearly, the long held British belief and trust in the power of the Election Box, is now being systematically undermined and ignored. Democracy eroded.
    So the Big problem now for the Labour party is, will someone, rise up, risk all, at this very last moment with an open challenge to his leadership, thus giving the Labour Party just a fleeting chance of victory at a General Election, or will they all quietly hide themselves away in collective cowardice, thus showing a watching electorate, that with the exception of the now martyred James Purnell, not one of them is courageous, or worthy, enough of leading their party, let alone the British nation.
    Like it or not, General Election or not, Gordon is now surely leading them all out from the Last Chance Saloon and over to that nice Mr Bernard Matthews processing plant, where they won't need to take an early vote, as Christmas is quietly and irrevocably coming to meet them.

  • Comment number 15.

    We now live in a world where the BNP have two MEP's. More than anything, this should upset the left beyond all measure.

    That is specifically and personally Gordon Brown's fault. Those people protesting in Manchester should not be stopping Griffin get to the count, they should be stopping Brown getting into No10 before he does any more damage.

  • Comment number 16.

    I hope UKIP coming second provides the straw that breaks Brown's back, They owe the British public plenty.
    An examination of the Labour marginal results from 2005 shows a UKIP vote in many many cases in excess of the Labour majority.

    Please do not let it happen again.

  • Comment number 17.

    In February, Harriet Harperson convened the court of public opinion.

    The verdict is in. Will the defendants acknowledge it?

  • Comment number 18.

    The result in Wales says it all - Labour is finished.

    Faith in Labour has been declining ever since the 'saintly' Blair took us into Iraq on a lie, since he fixed the Kelly Inquiry. Brown has finished the job by reducing this Country to its economic knees.

    Now Brown clings onto office, not for the Country, but for the sake of the Party and his own personal ambition.

  • Comment number 19.

    What does the BNP's European vote translate into for a UK General Election? Whatever it is, I hope the Labour Party realises it is shoving and steering a segment of the British population towards outright fascism. The sweet irony is that Gordon Brown is himself behaving like a fascist - which I've always thought he is anyway - clinging to office in the face of the British people's desire for a General Election. Brown and his increasingly dishonest, indecent and ultimately pointless political party will pay dearly for their contempt of the British people.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think the BBC, the Tories amd Labour parties should try and understand why people have voted BNP instead of giving them bad press all the time.
    The hard working tax paying voters feel they have no voice in this country where they are paying more and more and receiving less and less.
    We see people who have contributed nothing to this country arrive and receive everything when our friends and families need help and receive nothing.
    For example my friend is 62 and my mother 82 bith have very painfull varicose veins which they have to live with as the operation is deemed cosmectic. They have both worked and paid tax all their lives.

    Wake up and see whats happening here.

  • Comment number 21.


    a reshuffle will fix it then we will all be fooled.

    We need more unelected Lords to show that our Government is in tune with the voters.

    It doesn't matter about the Nazi's because he's getting on with the job.

    Tory Wales will fall back into line when they see how our great leader is leading they world.

    Meanwhile in the real world the electorate is sick to the back teeth of this bunch of corupt re-treads.


  • Comment number 22.

    Gordon Brown ignores the verdict of the people at his peril. They will never forgive him for hanging onto power with no mandate.

  • Comment number 23.

    Labour big wigs last night and this morning are once again spewing out the rehearsed phrrase. 'The people are blaming the party in Government for the expenses scandal'.
    Total and utter rubbish!
    If anything you would have expected the moat and the duck island to have caused more anger amongst the voters. But for stories like these The Conservative annihilation of Labour would have been even greater.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Labour government at Westminster has tainted everything.

    We now have a "Government-Of-All-The-Cowards".

    Labour only exists in order to maintain its grip on Westminster. That is the full extent of Labour's vision.

    Labour are too cowardly to depose the most despised leader of all time and too cowardly to call an election.

  • Comment number 25.

    This just shows where all Brown's barefaced lies about the Lisbon Treaty and the referendum has got him. People resent being cheated, and it is now beyond doubt that there is no popular mandate for further federalism in Europe-and that's before an MEP expenses scandal blows up. Nick Clegg should take note too, although we know he's desperate to get back on the gravy train.

  • Comment number 26.

    Listening to the speech of the BNP leader I worry that a seismic shift has occurred in British Politics. There can only be one conclusion and that is in these hard times people are seeing things through a very narrow lens, the broader picture and implications are not being looked at by those voting BNP. The MP expenses thing has clearly shone through here in terms of the anger being expressed. Many did stay away however, I wonder how many of them are Labour supporters? High turn outs tend to give Labour an advantage. Many Labour supporters could not bring themselves to vote Tory, it is simply not something they can do. So the best thing is to stay away and register th protest that way, even if it means doing that in Wales. If I were David Cameron I would be quite clear that this is not over yet. The fat lady has not sung tonight because the Labour vote stayed at home. If the Labour Party had the guts to ask the Prime Minister to step down there is still a lot to play for as their natural constituency would return, in droves I suspect, as for many voting for a Eton educated, multi-millionaire, is simply too much.

  • Comment number 27.

    Day after day I read these blogs and become more and more depressed. I think I may have to stop.

    The sad truth is that Gordon Brown has always been unelectable. Both Blair and Mandelson knew this so the only way he could ever become PM was by Blair leaving early.

    Once Brown had tasted what he had craved for the last 15 years there was no way he would agree to step down. I'm afraid destruction of his party and the country come a poor second consideration to his own personal ambition. His recent interviews reveal a desperate man, in denial and near to mania. He reminds me of Chief Inspector Dreyfuss from the Pink Panther films.

    With the disenfranchisement of the people maybe these blogs are the only way left for everyone to register feelings so maybe I won't stop reading the blogs after all.

  • Comment number 28.

    Almost half as many people voted for the BNP as they did for the Labour party! What does that tell you? If I was a labour politician I would not only be worried, but also totally ashamed of that result! But will we get admissions of policy failure, implementation failure and broken manifesto promises that will now be addressed, of course not! Instead we will get more comments on how the party will "listen and heed the lessons and win back these misguided voters". Unfortunately however nothing will change we will get more spin, lies and deceit and Labour therefore deserves everything that is coming its way....humiliation at the polls.

  • Comment number 29.

    14 sbpsman

    "Gordon is now surely leading them all out from the Last Chance Saloon and over to that nice Mr Bernard Matthews processing plant, where they won't need to take an early vote, as Christmas is quietly and irrevocably coming to meet them."

    An excellent analogy!

  • Comment number 30.

    Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister who gave Fascism a voice in British politics.
    May God forgive you, because we the people never will.

  • Comment number 31.

    If Gordon Brown continues with minor policy changes and doesn't give us the electorate the election we need to cleanse Parliament, then Labour will be consigned to the wilderness for decades. People will remember that they were so desperate to cling to power they would ruin this country rather than do whats right.
    I for one will be outside Parliament on the 4th of July demanding a British Independance Day: Independance from this bankrupt, grasping, conniving, dead-as-a-dodo government.
    They have lost the mandate to govern shown by the results of last weeks elections. They must go now, its that simple.

  • Comment number 32.

    Enough is enough, we don't want to hear any more Labour nonsense, the public have spoken and it's time for you to stop talking and start accepting.

    Labour are dead in the water, you have an ex prime minister, your chance has expired, go, go now, you're not wanted anymore!

  • Comment number 33.


    The BNP result is, for me, a direct consequence of anti-EU rhetoric by all/many people in the UK. The anti-immigration stuff, for whatever misguided reasons (economy, jobs) and crime, equally misguided in connecting rises in crime to immigration (specially Eastern-European countries) has brought an unbalanced fear, instead of a much needed unity between communities and peoples of the European community.

  • Comment number 34.

    A humiliating defeat of a humiliated Party lead by a totally humiliated Leader.

    Wait for it: "I will do everthing in my power" the tune never changes.

    Get the message?

  • Comment number 35.

    the trouble is a General Election now would benefit only the minority parties - Labour need time to avoid a complete meltdown - Cameron needs time, too, to build up some sort of enthusiam in the country for a period of Clown government ... it would be a shame to cheat him out of that time, wouldn't it?

  • Comment number 36.

    In the last few days, Gordon Brown has reiterated - ad nauseam - that the British people want him to 'get on with the job'. Sadly, he's been saying this since he became PM and the phrase is wearing a little thin. The elections last week surely suggest that the British people want him to take notice of what they really think.
    He may, as his supporters suggest, be 'good on policy', but he does not have the required leadership qualities it takes to unite the country in bad times. Leadership qualities include a strong, likeable personality - not, heaven forbid, 'celebrity' - and, regrettably, he still presents a dour image, not helped at all by the contrived bonhomie with which he has recently tried boost his character. I suggest it's time for him to go.

  • Comment number 37.

    Neither his friends or his enemies in The Labour Party are willing to face a General Election because they are fully aware of the probable consequences. We have reached a stand off that will last until May 2010. The Government will be paralysed in terms of the policies they can bring forward and it is the country that will suffer.

  • Comment number 38.


    I hear what you are saying and once again agree with you that the main parties need more time to get their message accross. However I don't believe the extra time will benefit The Government. I think it's more likely that the meltdown will be more pronounced as people become more and more annoyed that they continue to cling on in spite of their unpopularity.

  • Comment number 39.

    Nick Robinson should stand accused with his various compadrés of making rather than reporting the news.

    Whatever I think of Brown, does anyone seriously expect that elections, poorly supported Europe-wide - where candidates are indeed joining the ranks of faceless bureaucrats and parties like the BNP and UKIP prosper because of it - have any meaning whatsoever?

    Only, it seems, if you want to perpetuate the big 'Brown' hunt. Note it is guaranteed that 99% of those bothering to vote in the Euro elections would neither know the candidate and/or the policies! Where is there any credibility to your assertions that this should ultimately bring the Prime Minister down? Listen to yourself, it's pathetic.

    Add to that council elections, well known as a protest vote on a national scale, taken as a major signal that Brown was not wanted. What complete and utter rubbish. ask John Major!

    Then rebellions. Nick - Purnell aside, there has been NONE in the cabinet and the evidence was well and truly shredded by Peter Mandelson yesterday when he turned your colleague, Andrew Marr, into a jibbering wreck.

    Please cencentrate on reporting news and staying objective. You have tried to create a Cabinet revolt which is just not there and promote the murmurings of disaffected and largely ignored (Raynsford, Falconer, Flint) backbenchers and political has-beens into an organised push against Brown. You are, in effect, making a mockery of your own profession and when this all comes to nothing perhaps you could
    should consider your own position.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think we can now look forward to a Mandleson stitch up Mk1. Tonight Barry Sheerman will get his way and there will be a secret ballot amongst Labour MPs over Brown`s leadership.

    This ballot will be on a par with the vote over the Iraq War when there was a lot of arm twisting behind closed doors. Promises over anything will be given to Labour MPs to ensure Brown wins.

    Mandleson`s strategy will be to close down debate about the Labour leadership until the next General Election.

    That is providing nothing else goes wrong for Gordon - but it usually does.

    What would Brown do without Mandleson. The bigger question is, why is Mandleson so concerned about keeping Brown in post? What`s in it for him?

  • Comment number 41.

    So overall Labours vote is the only one which declines sharply so this is a clear message to labour, its not about expenses. What no one appears to be debating is us,the public. What more do we have to do, what other lawful, peaceful and democratic means are left to voice what we want. In fact is anyone interested in what we want, not what the parties want or think we want. It seems not to me.

  • Comment number 42.

    "His recent interviews reveal a desperate man, in denial and near to mania. He reminds me of Chief Inspector Dreyfuss from the Pink Panther films."

    "as Christmas is quietly and irrevocably coming to meet them."

    hahahahohoho...some good coming out of all this in the turn of phrases from yr readers Nick!

  • Comment number 43.

    Gordon Brown has never been elected prime minister by the people of Britain. They have once again cast their verdict on this, and the state of his leadership. To hell with what labour party members want, the country wants an election, and now!

  • Comment number 44.

    Hands up anyone who thinks the discussions currently being held at No.10 have anything whatsoever to do with what is best for the country. No... thought not.

  • Comment number 45.

    Dear Nick,

    BNP got elected because they canvassed on subjects (Za)Nu(Improved)Labour called racist.

    Mass un-checked immigration.


  • Comment number 46.

    Why should one man takes all the credits and all the blames.
    Of course, the man at the top had to shoulder more blame. But could this have happened if every politicians is clean?

    Do the politicians seriously believe the voters are voting against GB and not against politicians in general?

    Trust is earned, not won, taking responsibilities is a good start.

  • Comment number 47.

    The BBC seem to be being biased - as they always refer to "The right wing British Nationalist Party"

    Is there a "left-wing British Nationalist Party"? To be consistent they should therefore speak about the "left wing Liberal democrats", the "left of centre labour party", the "right of centre conservative party" and the "eurosceptic UKIP".

    It's like the Northern Ireland marching season where marches are held down "The mainly nationalist garvachie road"

  • Comment number 48.

    Brown won't go, he'll have to be pushed. He arrived unelected he does not want to go down as the first prime minister in modern times to hold office without a popular mandate and lose it without an election. The personal damage to him is too great. I would expect a 14 day window in which Labour will get the support needed for a vote. The media must love this! As for an alternative we don't really have one, the political class are all the same. We don't have a single statesman/woman in politics now keen on putting the country first and self interest a very poor second, what happened to public service.

  • Comment number 49.

    "The Labour Party's rules are written to make it extremely hard to oust a sitting Labour Prime Minister who refuses to resign. For a leadership election even to be held, 70 MPs would have to nominate a challenger. A contest would then need the approval of party members and trade unions at a full party conference" (from the DT).

    So, anyone who thinks Gordon Brown will be leaving office in a hurry should think again. The British people may be apoplectic with rage at the Labour Party's incompetence; it may look on aghast at the Government's utterly disastrous economic and social track record; it may believe that Gordon Brown has been a catastrophically bad (and illegitimate) Prime Minister; we, the people, may want a General Election now.

    Forget it. Gordon Brown's very own brand of fascism beats anything the BNP can come up with.

  • Comment number 50.

    "What would the electorate think if we turned our backs on them now?"

    Well, actually mister Brown... we'd cheer, we'd laugh and hug each other. Tears of joy would run down our faces and small children would grasp the sensation that something great is beginning and something bad is ending... in short, HOPE WOULD BE RESTORED!

    Stand down now please... pretty please?!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Here's a first; a party scores 15.4% in a national poll but fails to sack its leader and remains in government for eleven months.

    What newlabour MP or apologist can possibly claim the faintest degree on legitimacy to the governement or leadership of Gordon Brown.

    If there is any justice in the world the Quenn will tell Gordon Brown at their next meeting that he has no mandate, no authority and no legitimacy. Quite simply, why on earth should she utter the government... at the next Queen's speech.? Elected by whom? Supported by whom? With what mandate?

    Meanwhile government ministers plod on with their lack of the faintest political antennae, the latest being Andy Burnham who tragically declares today a sad day for British politics? For whom, Andy? Not for the 85% who registered freely their oppostion to you and all you stand for.

    Anyone who utters the words, I will not walk away from this, is allready on the way out. The whole country knows it.

    Dissolve parliament. Call an election.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is not a defeat, it is a vote of no confidence by the people for its governmemnt.

    Let us see if we do actually live in a democracy, let us see a general election called.

    If it is not called labour will be obliterated in the next election and suffer the most excrutiating period of government ever seen over the next year.


  • Comment number 53.

    Having watched Brown yesterday I was wondering what planet he lived on.

    He stated that it was right to invest as he was in apprentiships, university places, help with mortgages and for small businesses, school and hospital buildings.

    Well in the real world out side the bunker:-

    The goverment claim that there are 30,000 new goverment apprentiships created this year. A survey discovered that will over 90% of those so called new apprentiships were actually for EXISTING staff and a lot of the rest were rebranded training jobs. In my area I now know of 27 apprentiships (including my daughters boyfriend) from goverment funded bodies that have been closed down. In my daughters boyfriends case the entire apprentiship department closed placing over a dozen on the dole in one stroke.

    University places. Expensive but extreamily important courses and departments (physics, astrominay, chemistry, engineering and electronics)are closing, the percentage of graduates that are taking history, literay and arts courses is increasing at an alarming rate, the drop out rate is shooting up, and the average salary of graduates after 12months in the jobs market is falling. It looks like this year 180 thousand graduates will be fighting over under 100 thousand graduate jobs (a vast majority of those jobs are in the public sector).

    Last year rules came in place that any teenager who acheaved average or above science at stats would be able to take the 3 sciences as seperate GCSE's YET under 50% of schools offer the 3 sciences.

    Almost NO schools offer Computer Programming, Computer design/repair, Engeneering or Electronics at ANY lever let alone GCSE or A Level. IT teaching is restricted to word processing and spreadsheets and possibily writing a simple macro. The only computer programmers are either in their 30's or self taught, the games and software indrustry is leaving the UK due to lack of a new skilled workforce.

    School leavers (or the under 20's) are being promised that after 12 months with no job they will be garanteed further education / training, a job or an apprentiship. This policy will mean that all school leavers will start their working life with a year on the dole. This is because this years leavers in July will not be able to get a job (thare are almost none in the UK), they will sign on and at the point that they have been unemployed for a year the next batch of school leavers will join them. Employers will have the option of the current years leavers or the previous years who come with a goverment back hander to get employment. Which would you employ?

    As for his schools and collages rebuilding, this policy has fallen into schambles with collages being told they have ringfenced cash and can start work only to find that they dont. And like ALL capital expenditure by Brown it is done on very very expensive PFI. Schools that want to take up the new building program have to submit 3 complete designs from 3 different arcutects costing in some cases millions before one is approved and then built. All funding is under PFI that has an average charge of around 10% interest and contracts are signed so that adding a new power socket or changing a light bulb costs hundreds. We even pay if the building is unused and in a lot of cases dispite paying a fortune the building and site belong to the PFI company after the 25year lease!

    Gordan get out of your bunker and actually listen to what is going on in the REAL world!

  • Comment number 54.

    I am a behavioural expert and make my living by advising companies whether the people they are about to employ are up to the job in question. Sadly, ever since it emerged that Gordon was going to be Tony's successor, I have known that disaster was inevitable.

    There are two aspects to matching people with jobs: eligibility and suitability. Brown is definitely eligible, but equally definitely totally unsuitable for the role of Prime Minister in today's world.

    Sadly, it is often impossible to explain this to hopeful candidates desperate to land what they think is their "dream job." No matter how much the want it, no matter how much THEY believe they will do an excellent job, no matter how hard they try to be something they are not, their natural personality will emerge, often sooner than later, to scupper their chances of success.

    Had I been asked for a recommendation, Brown would not even have got an interview, let alone make the short-list. This does not make him a bad person, or even an incompetent one; just unsuited to the job of PM. He should have stayed at the Treasury where he was, arguably, doing a good job - apart from letting the Banks of the leash, but that's another story!

    Poor Gordon - he just doesn't get it...

  • Comment number 55.

    "43. At 08:11am on 08 Jun 2009, pavlosmac wrote:
    Gordon Brown has never been elected prime minister by the people of Britain. They have once again cast their verdict on this, and the state of his leadership. To hell with what labour party members want, the country wants an election, and now!"

    Slightly wrong, when Labour went to the country at the last election at reqular press conferances (though it was not in their manifesto) Blair repeatedly stated that he (Blair) would be PM for the majority of the parliment, standing down just before the next election and handing over to Brown.

    I.E. Brown did have a mandate when he became PM, but that mandate as promised at the last election was to call a gerneral election at the earliest possible moment. He has failed that mandate!

  • Comment number 56.

    The most telling comment in this whole blog is

    "The prime minister may now be given the chance to unveil the policies he believes can dig his party out of the deep hole it is in"

    Notice the emphasis on the party. No hint of policies to dig the country out of the mess it is in (one trillion pounds of debt and rising, before you even count public sector final salary pensions or Gordy's beloved PFI schemes). Clearly the few hundered MPs who will lose their jobs at the next election matter far more to Gordon than the millions of ordinary people who are already losing their jobs.

    Perhaps if we had a government who just once would actually put the needs of the county ahead of their own self interest and the needs of "the PARTY", the voters would not have just elected two right wing extremists as MEPs

  • Comment number 57.

    My view, devoid of nick robinsons obsessive comments is that a large number of Labour voters have protested by voting minor parties. This is a protest against Euro policy, expenses,and immigration.Interestingly they have not turned to conservatives or Libs. The question is how would they vote in a general election and I beleieve it is quite possible that the realisation that they could end up with a tory government will return them to Labour, especially those of us who remember the last tory government.

  • Comment number 58.

    Labour might have to change its rules, it looks like thay will not have 70 MPs after the next general election. We/They could be stuck with Brown as leader for the next 5+ years untill they actually get 71 MP's to vote him out (they need 71 as he will NEVER vote against himself or resign).

    Is this Browns master plan to stay in control?

  • Comment number 59.

    I do enjoy it when people decide to toss around percentages and they conveniently forget the context.

    Europe-wide this is the lowest turnout ever at just 43.1% and the UK turnout was lower than that!

    I hardly think the UK people have spoken about anything given 60% of them didnt turn up to express an opinion. "Just can't be bothered" was the general remark around my place of work. Can we conclude that they are satisfied or disaffected. Either viewpoint is valid given they failed to turn up and have an opinion.

    Maybe now our current politicians will be brave enough to make voting complusory. Would certainly concentrate the minds if 97-100% of the electorate turned up to vote wouldn't it?

  • Comment number 60.

    Brown will stay, hoping to squeeze a hung parliament out of the next elections, which he then can present as a victory (victory relative to polls today, not opinion polls late summer 2007).

    The hung parliament is not such a far-fetched idea. Many benefit claimants and public sector employees will vote labour in general elections because that is in the interest of their wallets. Voting UKIP or SNP at european or local elections does not come at the cost of getting a conservative government in that most likely will put a lid on government spending. With 28% of households receiving more than half their income from the government, that hung parliament is certainly not out of Brown's reach. Labour got 36% of the vote in the last general elections, while in many households receiving benefits or with one employed in the public sector, there is perhaps also another relative keeping a firm eye on maxing benefits or public sector pay. Brown has been cultivating this angle for many years when he expanded the reach of means-tested benefits and boosted public sector employment.

    Constituency boundaries favour labour and postal voting are other aces that Brown holds up his sleeve.

    Expect the beeb, the guardian and the mirror to talk up the lib dems in the next months, in addition to attacks on the conservatives. It will all help to get the hung parliament that opens the way for a labour-lib dem coalition government headed by .... Brown.

    Sell gilts and sterling (remember that 100 billion pounds per annum structural budget deficit; Roger Bootle today writing in the telegraph that he expects a 16% budget deficit next fiscal year).

  • Comment number 61.

    Could I add, the first time that Nick looked uncomfortable and weak questioning Labour ministers because he could see their depression and extrapolate to the loss of a Labour government?

    In all this, however, can someone help me understand how the Labour vote has increased so dramatically in Leicester? Totally against the rest of the country. What specific factors were at play in that area?

  • Comment number 62.

    I don't know why people are acting so surprised re Gordon Brown & ZanuLab not going to the country in a General Election. It has been obvious for many years before Brown was 'elected' Prime Minister that once he had achieved power he would not relinquish the reins, irrespective of the circumstances. I fully expect the nearer we get to an election which would mean certain defeat for ZanuLabour, we will have an ever increasing 'swerious security situation' or something similar that will make it plausable for Brown to 'postpone' the election until matters are resolved (i.e. Labour have a good chance of winning). Even if a vote of no confidence was passed in the HoC, Brown/Mandleson would find a way to ignore it. Whaever happens, this 'axis of evil' will find a way to cirumvent the will of the people. The alternative answer to this potential conundrum frightens me to death. Such is the responsibilty of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the decision it has to make over the next day or so.

  • Comment number 63.

    Quite honestly all I am hearing is about the survival of G. Brown and Labour. I really do not care about either, why is no one talking about the survival of the Country. Labour at the moment represents no one, it has lost its sense of purpose and its mandate to Govern. Labour needs to go into opposition to get back to its core values. It has totally lost sight of the reason why people voted for them in the first place.

    This really is not about Labour and Conservatives its about uniting the Country in time of recession and crisis and Labour just cannot do this. Any Government that has allowed the BNP to win 2 seats shows the discontent within the Country and that they have ignored the public on key issues that they are concerned about. If immigration is controlled as it was under the last Conservative Government the problem of the BNP disappeared. These people did not vote for the BNP because they are racist they voted for them because they could see their lives being changed because of uncontrolled immigration and no one was listening. Now if no one sits up and takes notice soon it will lead to further problems of discontent throughout the Country.

    It is time some in the Labour Party got some backbone and put the Country first instead of wanting to remain in power at any cost. We need an election so that people see that they are getting a say and not just being controlled by Brown and his cronies. Changing policies after having 12 years of labour Government would just be a farce. The Country needs a fresh start with new ideas, not a change of leader, only then will we make progress as a Country.

  • Comment number 64.

    Just one correction. I don't think the Labour party has been behind the Conservatives in Wales EVER. The Labour party was formed in 1900. Between 1900 and 1918 I suspect the Labour was behind the Liberals. This is basic stuff even form those of us that just do politics for fun!

  • Comment number 65.


    You ought to compare this result with 1994, when the Tories were mired in the mess of the fall out from Lawson's bust and the ERM debacle.

    In the midst of that, the Tories won 28% to Labour's 44%!

    To win just 15% shows how truly awful Labour's performance has been and it has to be said that Brown's economic record is contributing to this and claims of his brilliance really do need challenging.

    Labour trot out the line about sorting out the economic crisis time and time again, but it is Brown, who spent £180bn more than he got in in taxes between 2001 and 2008, pushing debt up in the good times and making no preparation for bad time, who made that crisis worse for Britain.

    Please, check the figures on the Nat Stats website and throw them at the next Labour minister to tell you Brown is the man to sort this out!

  • Comment number 66.

    Harriet Harman says "People expect Gordon Brown to sort out the economy and clean up the expenses problem and that is a massive responsibility on him but he is very resilient and that is what he will do."
    Sorry Harriet. Stop deluding yourself. The people do not expect anything from Gordon Brown, but to dissolve parliament and call an election.

  • Comment number 67.

    Regardless of the winners and losers last night, I'd just like to congratulate Nick Robinson on his excellent in depth knowledge and analysis of such a difficult system to commontate upon.

  • Comment number 68.

    trikynik 54
    Behavioural expert ? thats not even a proper job. Seeing as alot of companies are struggling in a global recession maybe you should take some of the blame ?You dont have to be an expert to guess your persuasion.So you have foresight as well, are you nick robinson in disguise? You just dont get it

  • Comment number 69.

    Did I read this right? Labour fifth in the South East & South West!

    8.2% of the vote in the South East and 7.7% in the South West.

    When will Gordon realise that he is the problem not the solution for the Labour party.

  • Comment number 70.

    I was struck on Friday by the attempts by the TV coverage (both Sky and BBC) to make what was really a rather boring re-shuffle of the Cabinet into 'high drama' for the sake of the cameras and to throw caution to the wind with some of their conclusions.

    O.K. I'm not particularly knocking that.

    Hopefully today, as events pan out, we will hear a lot more remarks caveated with "According to rumour ...", "Whilst it has not been officially announced, it is speculated that ..." "Some sources have suggested ..." as opposed to the "as we already know, Alistair Darling will not remain as Chancellor" level of certainty of comment.

    I am still of the view that professional journalists, who should have performed better, allowed themselves to be 'wrong-footed' over whether Alistair Darling would move or not. When the political shananigans gets to the heightened state of a possible change of prime minister, there will be more 'wrong-footing' of the press going on - and some of it very deliberate.

  • Comment number 71.

    First off I didn't vote BNP, nor backed them in any way. (Shame people have to say things like that in a 'democracy')

    Why is it the BBC can't understand the BNP thing?

    Nearly half as many people voted for them as voted for labour.

    People are voting for them because, quoting one poll, over 80% of the population believe there is too much imigration. Despite that, in many settings people could not even say that, let alone do anything about it.

    If any of the major parties want to even allow people to discuss the issue, let alone do anything about it, then may be people would not feel a need to (effectively) waste their vote on a minor party which could never form a government.

  • Comment number 72.

    Labour decimated in Wales, embarrassed in Scotland. Is this the end of Labour as a British party? Not that Labour in England looks that pretty either..

  • Comment number 73.

    there is indeed a left wing Nationalist Party wee johnnie, Nellist and Crowe's - No2EU party with the ludicrous name. Personally I find it interesting that the BNP is always described as right wing - because of the association with Nazism I suppose - but it's vote largely comes from disaffected Labour Party supporters. Mind you looking at the illiberal policies on id cards, detention without trial and so on, as well as the British Jobs for British Workers rhetoric maybe I shouldn't be suprised.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ Strongholdbarricades (61)

    Re surpirse pro-labour swing in Leicester: look into nr of postal votes there (or is postal voting not allowed in euro elections?)

  • Comment number 75.

    Just a thought, Brown and his supports are saying "He is the ONLY persion who can save the economy" if thats the case he does not need any more tax payers money to do it!

    Come on Brown put YOUR money where YOUR mouth is! Stop flushing ours down the pan!

  • Comment number 76.

    I am not a natural Labour supporter but I would regret and fear a complete collapse of the Labour vote because only the most ardent Conservative supporter would welcome them having power with no-one holding them to account.

    This, then, is the basis to my concern about Gordon Brown staying on. I don't want to get at him to bash the Labour party - quite the opposite. I fear that if he does not go then a bad loss will become a complete rout.

    Many have said this should be about policies rather than personalities but, in order to carry out policies, votes need to be won and Gordon Brown is definitely an electoral liability to the Labour party.

    I understand those who are afraid of pressing the emergency button for fear of making things worse - but how much worse could they be for a once proud major party?

    I was interested in the comments of Peter Hain on Friday night, (when he was trying to support Gordon Brown), where he was listing the negative effects of a leadership change. My quotes are from memory but the sense is correct. He said a change of leader would result in :-

    A caretaker government led by an unelected leader without the power or authority to provide strong leadership and government during a financial crisis.

    That really describes the current situation with the current leader. Gordon Brown is so weakened and compromised that, even if he were the best person for the job, there is a great danger that he will not be able to do what is necessary because of his weakened position - and that is not good for any of us.

  • Comment number 77.

    Why is Daniel Hannon wasted in the EU, he could name his seat right now.

    Our great leader must be under enormous pressure now despite his narrow escape last week; i suppose now we will see whether NuLab MPs have what it takes. Irregardless, they have to show what they are made of now - men or mice.

  • Comment number 78.

    Nobody expects the PLP to get rid of Brown. If I were a Labour backbencher I would abandon Westminster now and set about getting myself re-elected. Labour has to rebuild from the bottom up and forget being a party of power for a generation. The party is more important than the government. Get to the life-boats and abandon Brown. Every person for themselves!

    Before the expenses scandal I remarked that the prospect for Labour was a wipe-out. They should be grateful that the expenses row which has tainted all mainstream parties has if anything prevented the total collapse that could have happened as it drove the dissenters to the minor parties or into not voting at all.

    The problem that the PLP has is that the public spending cuts planned by the current government but not advertised will begin to cut in by the autumn. This makes the prospect of the party recovering on the back of an economic bounce by the spring about zero.

    Labour is going for wipe out at the next election. The electoral system will to a point prop them up so that the party will survive to a degree. The government won't; so save yourselves, boys and girls!

  • Comment number 79.

    # 72 Shandon397

    "Is this the end of Labour as a British party?"

    Yes, I wonder just what the Labour Party is for? Socialism is and was always a flawed idea. As we're finding out now, redistributing wealth and spending money on the welfare state and other weird and wonderful state-sponsored jobs, like there's no tomorrow, is all very well until, er, the money runs out. Despising entrepreneurs and wealth creation (if not saying so explicitly) doesn't help either (to say the least!).

    All Labour governments end this way, ie in economic chaos. The only difference this time is that Gordon Brown has been so spectacularly clever at stealing our money ("stealth taxes"), piling up public sector debt and wasting it all on a biblical scale, that the economic meltdown on this occasion is unprecedented.

    So, indeed, what on earth is the Labour Party for?

  • Comment number 80.

    Thanks Gordon. You managed to spectacularly lose your own vote so badly last night that the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire voted in the BNP. The day after the 65th anniversary of the deaths of so many brave young men who laid down their lives to stop fascists from entering this country. The vile insidious Nick Griffin will now claim that he was VOTED in whereas you Gordon.... you're too scared to even face a vote of the British people.

    That's another one to chalk up for your CV of democractic victories Gordon.

    The vile insidious Nick Griffin will now claim that he was VOTED in whereas you Gordon.... you're too scared to face a vote.

    Nobody in the Labour Party has the spine to challenge this man and he will lead your party to the final and ultimate humiliation when the sand timer runs out and he HAS to call an election. If you think this weekend was bad; wait until this time next year. People will be more than mad by then.

    Until we are given a General Election the country will limp on in limbo with a delusional Leader it hates so much. Gordon has retreated to his bunker to grasp hold of the little power he has left, just like in the final days of the Reich.

    What a joke.

  • Comment number 81.

    I really do think people need to stop comparing current events with previous leadership challenges within the Tories, e.g. Thatcher and Major.

    It's like comparing bankruptcy as done under USA law with bankruptcy as done under UK law. Yes they are similar, but they are also very different because the rules of the game are very different.

    If Gordon Brown were a Tory Prime Minister he would already be gone. As a Labour leader - as he and his supporters well know - he has a very good chance of pulling off staying in place until the next General Election.

    All that really seems to be happening here is that his critics, one by one, are raising their heads above the turrets and giving their positions away.

    The Cabinet members seem to have pretty clearly decided what side their own slices of bread are buttered on. That may perhaps be not for the most altruistic of reasons.

    For sure, Gordon Brown is hardly an Obama, or even a Blair, when it comes to how he presents in the media. Does that make him a bad prime minister? Perhaps and perhaps not.

    On the other hand, if we demand, as a society, (as seemingly the US has) to only have the most slick, word perfect, media savvy of 'celebrity performer' heads of government, then doesn't that perpetuate having 'career politicitians' over having people's representatives in both Parliament and Government?

    Increasingly I fear we're facing a choice having either a democratic, or a media-managed, government.

  • Comment number 82.

    *46. puzzling
    "Why should one man takes all the credits and all the blames".

    Its called being in charge. Success or otherwise is determined by one individual steering the boat in the right direction. Get it wrong and you sack the captain.

    Gordon Brown unfortunately is now so deluded he no longer knows when he is telling right out porkies or not (I never had any intention to move Alistair Darling a prime example. Low paid workers will not be worse off with the removal of the 10p tax band) How can we ever trust this individual again? It was he who sought to put the publicaton of MP`s expenses on the back burner until after the next general election. Wonder why? Now he is going round, telling anyone and everyone he is the best person to clean the system up.

    He was in the cabinet when the decision was made under TB`s leadership in 2004 to allow MPs to flip houses so he can hardly claim to be the right person to clean it up now. Or do we now have a bunch of poachers turned gamekeepers?

    The local and EU elections were a clear vote of no confidence in GB and his cabinet. He will undoubtedly stagger on - Mandy will see to that. But we will have a government paralysed by fear - just waiting for something to go wrong and it finds itself in the mire again.

    Nothing will get done until after the GE. UKPLC will get further into debt as Brown carries on regardless - spending money by the bucket load which we do not have just to keep his toadies quiet.

    Its been said many times but how true it is - Brown`s government is financially and morally bankrupt.

  • Comment number 83.

    Harriet says "People expect Gordon Brown to sort out the economy and clean up the expenses problem...."
    Can I ask Harriet what makes Gordon the best person to clean up the expenses problem, when there is a person in the current government who was forced to resign, twice, on some very dodgy looking circumstances?

  • Comment number 84.

    What miserable drones and traitors have we nurtured and promoted who let their people be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born PM! Will no one rid us of this turbulent man?

  • Comment number 85.

    After this next set of election results, if Labour ignore them.... As I beleive they will... Then it is up to people like Nick and Andrew Marr to harry them on our behalf. BBC Jounalists have the chance to ask the questions we want to ask, but appear to roll over and die rather than press the point.

    This is a Governemnt that now has a significant number of unelected cabinet ministers... Has a number of ministers of cabinet rank who have been sacked or demoted under (at best) dubious circumstnces. Has deployed British Troops on more operations than any other government since world war two but significnantly deosn't have a single MP who has worn uniform. Has managed, under various education secretaries to cock up the examination system in education and so on and so on. They are not good at anything. Start attacking them with bit of vigour PLEASE.... Where is the "radical" left when you need it?

  • Comment number 86.

    Please stop calling the BNP "far right". They are extreme socialists.

    Their economic and social policies are reminscent of Labour in 1983 and it is only their immigration policy - which is abhorent - which is in any way "right wing". Indeed, it ought properly to be called facist.

    Lord Tebbit was, I think, correct - and the votes on Thursday back him up, that the BNP are "Labour with racism added".

  • Comment number 87.

    It is a little disconcerting that very few political editors and journalists (if any...)when questioning either the Prime Minister or the de-facto Deputy Prime Mininster (Lord Mandelson)ask them the reasons why the then "Honorable" Peter Mandelson had to resign from the Cabinet in disgrace, not once but twice!. Does that tally with the Prime Minister Presbyteran upbringing? Why does the PM now appoints the wife of a former European Union Commissioner (Lord Kinnock) who sacked a Euro MP from Denmark, who had the temerity to blow the whistle on the Euro MP's abuse of allowance? Does that tally with the Prime Minister telling us constantly of his honesty and integrity?

  • Comment number 88.

    47. At 08:17am on 08 Jun 2009, weejonnie wrote:

    "The BBC seem to be being biased - as they always refer to "The right wing British Nationalist Party"

    Is there a "left-wing British Nationalist Party"? To be consistent they should therefore speak about the "left wing Liberal democrats", the "left of centre labour party", the "right of centre conservative party" and the "eurosceptic UKIP".

    It's like the Northern Ireland marching season where marches are held down "The mainly nationalist garvachie road""

    I totally agree.

    Furthermore, I would dare to suggest that it's caused by well intentioned but inadequately self-critical people trying to make the endless hours of "rolling news" vaguely exciting and dramatic.

    It's like everything else - with just so much news coverage to be pushed out onto the media nowadays less and less of it becomes of the best quality.

  • Comment number 89.

    If we examine history it is clear that it would be a grave error to change any leader save those who clearly do not have their nation and global best interests. It is the anxiety caused by the recession which is fuelling this campaign against Gordon Brown along with politicians who are Blairites as far as I can see - the five who resigned did so as part of a Blairite campaign to get rid of Brown. They do not have this country's interests at heart! The thirties recession and subsequent very real anxieties gave Hitler the chance he needed to gain power. I am horrified to see the BNP gaining votes. Brown is solid, steady, has a massive intellect and is best able to steer us through this recession. It is well documented that change at such a time as this gives the far right the opportunity to gain power and cause absolute mayhem which takes years to recover from. This is a time to support the Labour Party!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    What we need to worry about the most is that the BNP now have the opportunity to link up with other far right parties in Europe. They will also gain funding which will enable them to spread their ideas much further than they have up to now. If we do not get rid of Labour with its liberal ideas on immigration we can expect much more troubled waters to come.

    To me the concept of Euope as an institution relying on one another is dead. We should trade with each other but that is all. It has done nothing but harm linking our laws and policies to Europe, plus costing us a great deal of money. Pushing us further into Europe by the Lisbon Treaty is again denying the people a vote they should have.

    I sincerely hope as well that the Lib/Dem idea of PR is lost forever as in my opinion it is a very bad voting system.

  • Comment number 91.

    IF Gordon clings to his preciousssss then the electorate will not forget.

    They will not forget the outright lies that Lablour have told and spun into Truth. The Referendum that never was, Iraq. We Will Not Forget!

    I guarantee you this, if Gordon, Harriet and Peter carry on regardless they will lead Labour not into a 20 year wilderness but Total and utter OBLIVION.

    Whilst I am here if Labour think that trotting out "Chief Trougher" and nepotist Neil Kinnock and his awful Wife will help they are sadly mistaken. They are loathed by the electorate almost as much as Crash, Mandy and Harriet. In fact it is amazing that a cabal of people so widely despised cannot see it.

  • Comment number 92.

    72. At 09:00am on 08 Jun 2009, Shandon397 wrote:

    "Labour decimated in Wales, embarrassed in Scotland. Is this the end of Labour as a British party? Not that Labour in England looks that pretty either.."

    It might, if repeated by the time we have the next General Election, mean the end of something more.

    If Labour does really significantly shrink in size and influence in the medium and long term, then the operation of parliament and government could become very different. It's improbable, at the moment, that there would be a hung parliament, as it would seem the Tories would have a significant majority if Labour were out of the picture.

    The interesting thing might be the make up of the Opposition and just who might become political bedfellows with whom against the Tories.

  • Comment number 93.

    Is it any wonder that the two most prosperous countries in geographycal Europe are Norway & Switzerland, yet neither of them are in the European Union. This does not in any way prevent those two countries from being part of several European Trade Agreements and Switzerland is even a member of the Schengen free travel area whereas Great Britain (a European Union Member) is not!

  • Comment number 94.

    Less than 10 hours for Labour to decide between survival and oblivion.

    If the PLP chooses to ditch Brown, they'll be defeated, but survive and live to fight another day.

    If the PLP chickens out, Labour will be annihilated.

    It's up to you, Comrades....

  • Comment number 95.

    Good news that the country has given the unelected Gordown brown pants. Labour is trashing this country. They are out of control. Time to get him out. Now.

  • Comment number 96.

    Post 58. It is 20% of the total number of MP's not 70 as a finite number.

    With Labour having 350, approx, at the moment it currently happens to to be 70 MP's.

    If Labour was reduced to a rump of 150 MP's after the next election only 30 would be required.

  • Comment number 97.

    Re: 61

    The reasons for the pro-Labour swing in Leicester? Look at the immigrant vote.

  • Comment number 98.

    The "minority" parties have succeeded because we know what they stand for (or think we do). They have not taken us for granted yet.

    The established parties give us lots of what we don't care too much about. They ignore things that are "politically" sensitive to them, as if they know what people want, and will deny, avoid, smear etc. to try to suppress basic view.

    We all know what happens when you suppress an economic decline - depression.

    We all know what happens when you suppress MP's pay - scandal.

    We all know what happens when you suppress public opinion - you work it out.

    The "clunk" will not do anything until it slaps him in the face.

  • Comment number 99.

    "On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years.

    To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants (...)"
    just a tiny bit from BNP policies.

    you have to ask yourselves WHY people voted for BNP, and not slagging them off!

    Anyone who lives in UK can see clearly that it is time for BNP to act, and give few years, Nick Griffin will become Prime Minister!

  • Comment number 100.

    This is a well-balanced viewpoint from over the pond - distance lending ability to see things rather more clearly than us in knee-jerking panic.

    We have to be really careful we do not allow the fascists to gain a hold. Gordon Brown has the financial situation stabilised. We need his intellect and experience more than any of the idiots who have been elected in. BNP - known racists - elected by the British people!! I despair.


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