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Who would have thought it?

Nick Robinson | 21:52 UK time, Friday, 5 March 2010

Imagine if at the turn of the year I'd predicted what Gordon Brown would face in the first few weeks of 2010.

First, a coup attempt organised by former cabinet ministers with the encouragement or acquiescence of some in the current cabinet.

Then, well-sourced allegations that the prime minister had had to be warned about his behaviour towards his staff.

Next, the chancellor revealing that No 10 staff had helped unleash "the forces of hell" when he'd had the timerity to warn of the worst recession in 60 years.

Finally, a televised hearing re-opening questions about the Iraq war and whether, as chancellor, Gordon Brown had underfunded the armed forces.

If I'd predicted that my guess is that you - and I - would have forecast that Labour's poll ratings would drop even further. Instead, of course, they've risen.

One of the joys of reporting politics is that, for all the pressure to speculate, it is unpredictable.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Today's Economist put an interesting slant on all this which is - maybe - these faint-hearted Cabinet ministers may yet rue their decision not to displace Gordon Brown. If the polls are right he might go 'on and on' which isn't what most of them want. Oh dear - what a mess we're in. Time for change I think.

  • Comment number 2.

    I suggest you look at the weightings YouGov use, they overestimate the labour vote. A poll tonight from BMRB is showing the gap widening again, do keep up.

  • Comment number 3.

    As we approach the election people have to adopt the mind-set of voting for something rather than registering a protest vote against something. On that basis voters will still be reluctant to vote for the Conservatives. People desperately fear another recession brought on by a party keen to reduce the tax burden for the rich whilst at the same time destroying the jobs of the man in the middle.
    My other feeling on this is the constant and voracious personal attacks on Brown are starting to backfire. Whatever Brown's failings his being a fundamentally decent man is undeniable. The British people have become massively turned off by the character assassination that has been waged against Brown by the Tories in the last 2 years. Worst of all, it merely confirms the suspicion of many floating voters that Cameron's modern Conservatives are the "nasty party" of old.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think we all know why the Labour is still holding up in the polls.

    Constant, aggressive support from the BBC, keeping the Conservatives disorientated and on the back foot.

    You should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 5.

    The one thing that will be a 'constant' factor in people's minds during the as-yet-undeclared General Election campaign will be the thought in everyone's mind: "Can the UK or I stand yet another 5 years of Gordon Brown being in charge of the United Kingdom?"

    I'd like to see what the Opinion Polss would show if the pollsters asked that question of the general populace. That would give an entirely different and, I believe, more likely General Election forecast result that Labour is going to get trounced!

  • Comment number 6.

    5. At 11:12pm on 05 Mar 2010, Menedemus wrote:
    The one thing that will be a 'constant' factor in people's minds during the as-yet-undeclared General Election campaign will be the thought in everyone's mind: "Can the UK or I stand yet another 5 years of Gordon Brown being in charge of the United Kingdom?"

    "I'd like to see what the Opinion Polss would show if the pollsters asked that question of the general populace. That would give an entirely different and, I believe, more likely General Election forecast result that Labour is going to get trounced!"

    I take it from your post you would preferred to be governed by the triumvarate Cameron,Ashcroft Hague.

  • Comment number 7.

    At 10:42pm on 05 Mar 2010, Jonny wrote:
    I think we all know why the Labour is still holding up in the polls.

    "Constant, aggressive support from the BBC, keeping the Conservatives disorientated and on the back foot.
    You should be ashamed."

    Auntie gives both sides and is blamed by everyone.As for ashamed, how you bear to reveal the depth of your political illiteracy by presenting this sort of mindless nonsense.

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't help wondering if Gordon is feeling little uneasy right now, as defeat at the polls is no longer certain.

    Having pursued a 'scorched earth' policy, deliberately running the economy into the ground to make things as difficult as possible for the next government, he now faces the prospect of having to clear up his own mess!

  • Comment number 9.

    2. At 10:26pm on 05 Mar 2010, Jim wrote:
    "I suggest you look at the weightings YouGov use, they overestimate the labour vote. A poll tonight from BMRB is showing the gap widening again, do keep up."

    Polls always fluctuate,it`s not useful to quote them to console yourself.
    The trend line favours the conservatives, especially in the marginals,that`s assuming the election is not declared illegal because it`s been bought.
    There`s a narrowing gap.I find repeating Cameron,Ashcroft,Hague helps me sleep.

  • Comment number 10.

    Menedemus:

    You sound like a character in one of the tragedies,Mendacious perhaps.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    The BBBC is pro labour and has been for at least 30 years. Anybody who denies this state of afairs is a labour stooge or a complete moron.

    Compare and contrast the hysteria over the Conservative's non-domiciled donor with the protection of the labour scum non-domeciled rivy councillors and HoL lawmakers.

    It's going to be fun watching you all down the jobcentre when labour are evicerated in May despite your best efforts.

  • Comment number 13.

    All of the stories that have come out this year regarding Gordon are not having the expected impact because frankly, I don't think peoples opinion of Gordon could fall much lower, the only way was up; and with the Conservatives seeming a little lacklustre and muddled in the past months I think thats giving him a boost.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Gordon won the election; I think there will be a great deal of people out there thinking 'better the devil you know'.

    What 5 more years of Gordon would do to the country is not something I personally want to find out, and while I'm slightly sceptical of what a Tory government would do, I think in this case, they would be better than the devil we know.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    My local Petrol Station is asking 116.9p per litre today. If that carries on. and it should get worse with the pound/dollar drop, then that is more likely to bring Brown down than any of things in Nick's blog.

    Fuel increases mean increases on everything and with pay restricted, frozen or even cut
    people are going to get really fed up.

    Friday night in my local, a very large country pub, 6 people. Always a good measure of peoples spending. Things must change.

  • Comment number 16.

    Byhers @ 6,7,9 & 10

    I suspect that the Labour Party has plenty of mendacious characters working for it and don't really need me to adopt their antics!

    Nevertheless, if you are really struggling to sleep, try repeating this sequence: Paul, Mittel, Cohen, Ondaatje, Noon, Bollinger, Khayami and Potter. All of them non-doms and between them have spent enough in the Labour Party Donations to provide enough sleeping tablets to go around the Earth's Equator quite a few times!

    Repeat those names several times and inwardly digest - I am sure they will stick in any Labour supporter's craw and make them crave the sleep of the dead.

  • Comment number 17.

    "People desperately fear another recession brought on by a party keen to reduce the tax burden for the rich whilst at the same time destroying the jobs of the man in the middle."

    Ancient dogmatic, propagandist twaddle. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Mugs start to believe it.

    "My other feeling on this is the constant and voracious personal attacks on Brown are starting to backfire. Whatever Brown's failings his being a fundamentally decent man is undeniable."

    Only to mugs and stooges.

    "The British people have become massively turned off by the character assassination that has been waged against Brown by the Tories in the last 2 years. Worst of all, it merely confirms the suspicion of many floating voters that Cameron's modern Conservatives are the "nasty party" of old."

    Tories the nasty party of old? Character assassination?

    One of Browns own spin doctors was fired for smearing! In Brown's inner circle! Inventing smears about opposition front benchers. He set about breifing against his own chancellor for telling the truth. Even Mandelson is on record as saying that Brown was out to get him, before he got brought back from Europe!

    Pete, if you're going to lie, do us all a favour. Do it only to yourself and at least try and be convincing instead of just regurgitating old tripe that only the brain dead and the tribal would swallow without question. That post was just a load of old reheated, recycled crap with not a single basis in fact.

  • Comment number 18.

    Didn't he say 'let the dead bury their own dead'?

    Mat 8:21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
    Mat 8:22 And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."

    They're going to busy chaps on the Labour benches on May 7th then. It'll be like a scene from the great plague.

  • Comment number 19.

    I take it from your post you would preferred to be governed by the triumvarate Cameron,Ashcroft Hague.


    A significant number would probably rather be governed by

    Pigs Head On A Stick

    Pigs Head On A Stick

    and

    Pigs Head On A Stick

    than Brown, Balls, Cooper or Cameron, Hague, Ashcroft.

    I'm sure that wont deflect you from the true path of Labour righteousness though bryhers.

  • Comment number 20.

    And as for elections being bought, think long and hard about irregularities in postal voting that have without fail so far always been observed around Labour constituencies in by elections.

    You can slate everyone elses political ignorance if it doesnt fit with your template (and after all, only the left are intelligent enough to be deep political thinkers arent they? LOL), but to pretend that there have not been polling irregularities and misdeeds on your own side is not only blinkered, but lying to yourself and attempting to kid others.

    Doesnt really leave you in a position to cast around accusations of mendacity against anyone. Not with any authority anyway.

  • Comment number 21.

    When was it my problem that someone else died? Why must we do everyone elses laundry in public? I've had enough of the suspicion hysteria and blame. If society wants killers under lock and key so they can live their lives in peace without fear of crime ok that's fine by me I want the same thing too but people pursuing vendettas for their entire lives and for generations is what war is called we have to cool it down sometime some of us think a quiet life is better than a violent one.

  • Comment number 22.

    Bill as a Tory zealot you could heed my advice and lobby your activist friends to adopt a different approach at Central Office. Or you could confirm my comment about the Tories still being the "nasty party" of old. Looks like you've taken the latter approach already.
    Damien Mcbride's antics do not mean the PM has not been subject to the most vicious personal vilification that I can remember since the days of Michael Foot. Whether you like it or not it is turning voters off. The Polls bear this out.
    When you don't like the argument as ever the retort is that it is a "lie" perpetrated by "brain dead" "mugs".
    The Conservatives need a positive agenda. Voters need something to vote for. Personal abuse targetted at the Prime Minister and anybody else that doesn't agree with your own particular brand of dogma might make you and your fellow Tories feel good. Unfortunately, it is starting to look like it wont win you many votes.

  • Comment number 23.

    # 20 Bill_De_Zas

    "And as for elections being bought, think long and hard about irregularities in postal voting that have without fail so far always been observed around Labour constituencies in by elections."

    Postal vote fraud is one thing - but now Labour wants to extend voting to children!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/23/hbennyoung

    Personally, I think the voting age should be increased - to at least 35.

  • Comment number 24.

    Labour swept into power on the back of tory scandals and everyone remembers that the old 'mcarthyite' complaint yes we do pay attention but that's not what I care about. I care about my own life I'm a selfish person ok so is everyone else at times.

    What am I interested in where is my pay is it appropriate for the job that I love? If it is not what am I supposed to do about it? Can I afford a modest lifestyle on the salary that I am being offered? who is offering and is it honest work?

    That's what I care about. I do not wish to get into trouble when all I want is my dinner my house my mortal existence to be sustained. I don't care about works of art I don't care about fancy curtains I don't need to change the wallpaper every month because I'm bored I want to spend my money on the things I like. Rather than spend every waking moment in fear of my life because someone else has got a problem.

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    At 10:29pm on 05 Mar 2010, peteholly wrote:

    "Whatever Brown's failings his being a fundamentally decent man is undeniable ..."

    You are joking, aren't you?

  • Comment number 27.

    Tory parliamentary candidates have undergone training by a rightwing group whose leadership has described the NHS as "the biggest waste of money in the UK", and also suggested global warming is "a scam" and that the waterboarding of prisoners can be justified.
    At least 11 prospective Tory candidates (perhaps more), an estimated seven of whom have a reasonable chance of winning their seats, have been delegates or speakers at training conferences run by the 'Young Britons Foundation' which claims to have trained 2,500 Conservative party activists.
    Donal Blaney who is YBF chief executive , and runs the courses on media training and policy, has called for environmental protesters who trespass to be "shot down" by the police and that Britain should have a US-style liberal firearms policy.

    Only when the tories and their policies are truly de-cloaked will we see the true nature of the beast.

  • Comment number 28.

    Yes interesting point Nick, I think part of the issue is that people who felt a great level of dissatisfaction and wanted to enter into the great British sport of moaning felt happy to have a go at the government. As the government you are always the story and it is always much easier for people to show what you are doing wrong or could do better than what you are succeeding at.

    What has changed is that for the first time in a number of years people have started to think about the conservatives and what they will actually be like in government. People are comparing Alistair Darling and George Osborne and saying which would I really want in charge of the economy, however you put it George looks extremely young/ inexperienced because he is. They are looking at David Cameron and saying is there any substance to the man, is he any more than a smarmy salesman. The problem for the tories is that they have no political project, no policies and so when pressed they have been flip flopping and the electorate know when they are being spun a line.

    They are really contemplating what is a country like when there is a conservative administration. Also for the first time in many years journalists who wanted to see change - news - having concentrated almost entirely on Labour are now looking at the conservatives and asking questions.

    Dare I suggest that the new news is not the Cameron procession to victory - but the greatest fightback in history...blah blah - so this is journalists new script.

    Brown now has also started to relax and be himself and play to his strengths, and they see someone who although not perfect is a man of substance, and they grudgingly know played a key role in stopping the worlds economies slide into oblivion.

    So I think the public are now getting both sides of the story - people are weighing up the relative merits of both parties - character and policies and finding the Conservatives wanting.

  • Comment number 29.

    Regarding the opinion polls, I suggest that we look at the last time the people had their say - the Local Council Polls. Labour almost disappeared from the map.

    I predict that this will also happen in the coming General Election.

    Brown and his fag end of a Government are clinging on by their fingernails. The time has come for a change.

  • Comment number 30.

    22. At 01:09am on 06 Mar 2010, peteholly wrote:
    Bill as a Tory zealot you could heed my advice and lobby your activist friends to adopt a different approach at Central Office. Or you could confirm my comment about the Tories still being the "nasty party" of old. Looks like you've taken the latter approach already.
    Damien Mcbride's antics do not mean the PM has not been subject to the most vicious personal vilification that I can remember since the days of Michael Foot. Whether you like it or not it is turning voters off. The Polls bear this out.
    When you don't like the argument as ever the retort is that it is a "lie" perpetrated by "brain dead" "mugs".
    The Conservatives need a positive agenda. Voters need something to vote for. Personal abuse targetted at the Prime Minister and anybody else that doesn't agree with your own particular brand of dogma might make you and your fellow Tories feel good. Unfortunately, it is starting to look like it wont win you many votes.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pete, pete, pete,

    you guys just cant help it can you? Anyone who is not "on message" is a tory, being steered by CCHQ. You have absolutely no comprehension as to how much of a dork it makes y'all look. And you think that everyone else who isnt on message is dogmatic!! Laughed My @rse off!!

    Its like the days of the Soviets when they saw counter-revolutionary spies everywhere and it all had to be a big plot by the omnipresent CIA. Utterly ridiculous.

    Stop and engage brain and think before coming out with your pavlovian responses, will you?

    I never said Brown hasnt been subject to personal attacks. He has. His whole career as a poltician has been built on personal attacks.

    He's had a fair number of them from his own side as well!!

    Three attempted coups against him!

    Dont you dare try and pretend he is the epitome of popularity in his own party, either. Not after the shenanigans of last time when it took David Milliband about 8 hours to issue a message offering his support to the PM and what a tortuous process that was, ministers waiting to see if enough backbenchers had joined the rebellion, seeing which way the wind was blowing before they issued any kind of messages of support for the PM.

    Your whole party, Brown's whole "campaign" to get into No10 was based on "nasty". He had a ten year running sore of a smearing, whispering, counter-breifing campaign to get Blair out so he could get the top job! And, as mentioned, anyone who had the likes of McBride, Watson, Whelan as a triumvarate in the bunker - is in no position to call anyone else "nasty".

    If anything Pete, the tories under Cameron are not anywhere near nasty enough. Theyve tried the positive agenda and its got them nowhere, because a) lets face it, its not them b) like your lot, this close to an election, they're scared of scaring the sheeple and c) every time they try and be positive it is ridiculed as "dont forget, they're the nasty party... dont fall for it"

    They're too scared of being labelled the nasty party that New Labour are being allowed to get away with lying their @rses off on a daily basis. Personally, I see this as a sign of leadership weakness in Cameron.

    I'd prefer to see the gloves come off and for the tories to be as nasty and as vicious as Labour are, because it is plainly obvious that playing by the queensbury rules is getting them nowhere. I dont think Cameron is going to be able to deliver the kind of leadership to be able to do that. I mean, If you're going to go down in a fistfight, you might as well do as much damage as you can to your opponent in the process. Cameron is making the mistake of thinking that the British people are bright enough to be able to see through Gordon Brown and his lying, his deception, his hubris. Unfortunately for him, he has given the British public too much credit that they dont deserve.

    But if you think you can kid us all that Labour are beacons of virtuosity, paragons of truth and Brown is some sort of Mao figure of wisdom, who has been picked on and misunderstood.... dont make me laugh. Brown is a hubristic, socially dysfuntionctional megalomaniac with a narcississtic personality disorder who is not fit to hold the highest office in the land and never was and never will be. End Of. No matter what he may have thought as a kid, how he was "born to it".

    Yeah right. Born to it, my @rse.

  • Comment number 31.

    22

    Incidentally, I call it a lie Pete, because it IS a lie. Labour lie as naturally as they breathe. Thats what it is. A big, fat, smelly, two faced, double standard lie.

    Labour and the truth are completely and utterly mutually exclusive.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm sure your tireless support for Gordon, always putting a positive spin on his every action and utterance, must have had something to do with it.

  • Comment number 33.

    8. At 11:47pm on 05 Mar 2010, DistantTraveller wrote:
    I can't help wondering if Gordon is feeling little uneasy right now, as defeat at the polls is no longer certain.

    "Having pursued a 'scorched earth' policy, deliberately running the economy into the ground to make things as difficult as possible for the next government, he now faces the prospect of having to clear up his own mess!"

    I take it this comment is meant facetiously as a rebuke to the economic neanderthals who stalk these sites.



  • Comment number 34.

    Lefty 10 - Typical labour propoganda again and again.

    The NHS IS the biggest waste of money - £120bn plus extra poured into since Labour took power, and yet there are fewer beds, fewer hospitals in real terms and instead of 4 managers per department there are now 11 managers per department. Surgical patients are kicked out earlier to free up beds and tick boxes leaving the lederly to care for their own without help.

    Global warming isn't the scam, the earth has been warming for the last 40,000 years since the last ice age. The scam is carbon trading and carbon reduction using global warming as its impetus. millions of pounds been traded by Labour's friends costing the UK jobs and money.

    As to the waterboarding of prisoners - I know of no Tory candidate or MP who has ever suggested that torture is acceptable. Me thinks you are distorting the truth some what. Has Labour ever done that before? Hmmmm now let me think.

    And ooh lets talk about attitudes towards activists. The recent death at the G20 protests, the confiscation by the police of personal items at power plant protests, the removal of police identification (just in case) and the removal of personal freedoms since Labour got in - the 45 day detention scandal, constant cctv surveillance, recruiting pepople to spy on neighbours, extraordinary rendition, kettling, removal of service to non-lifestyle conformity, the publican arrested for letting his mates smoke upstairs in the pub.

    You're right, how much better we are under this 'tolerant' regime. Lets hope for another five years so that our ghettos can expand further and more of rights and freedoms can be devolved to Europe.

    What a future.

  • Comment number 35.

    Obviously some people read, watch or listen to propaganda and believe every word they receive ...... the poor fools!

    "Want to buy a real Rolex wristwatch? Honest Guv', it is the real McCoy because I knows, yanno; It says so on the box!"

  • Comment number 36.

    12. At 11:55pm on 05 Mar 2010, Graves2002 wrote:
    The BBBC is pro labour and has been for at least 30 years. Anybody who denies this state of afairs is a labour stooge or a complete moron.

    "Compare and contrast the hysteria over the Conservative's non-domiciled donor with the protection of the labour scum non-domeciled rivy councillors and HoL lawmakers."
    "It's going to be fun watching you all down the jobcentre when labour are evicerated in May despite your best efforts."

    There`s a whole literature on the TV political message and on the effects of TV on voting. Overwhelmingly,people use media to reinforce their own opinions and this is consonant with the BBC charter which is to give both sides.There is no evidence of systematic bias,only an adherence to the values of a liberal democracy.

  • Comment number 37.

    And ooh lets talk about attitudes towards activists.

    Not to mention nicking people under terrorism laws for:

    1) being a WW2 veteran heckling Jack Straw at a Labour party conference

    2) Reading out the names of the troops who died in Iraq at the cenotaph

    Passing legislation outlawing protesting in Parliament Square.

    Using the Metropolitan police as a private militia to arrest opposition members of parliament for being in possession of leaked Home Office documents in parliament, for reasons of "national security" when the current PM, during the 1990s in opposition was in possession of and used on a weekly basis, leaked official material and yet, curiously was never arrested, with the complicity of the Speaker of the House and then trying to blame the whole episode on the Sgt At Arms.

    And the tories are the ones being mendacious??

    Its impossible to debate with liars, especially professional ones.

  • Comment number 38.

    16. At 00:19am on 06 Mar 2010, Menedemus wrote:
    Byhers @ 6,7,9 & 10

    "I suspect that the Labour Party has plenty of mendacious characters working for it and don't really need me to adopt their antics!
    Nevertheless, if you are really struggling to sleep, try repeating this sequence: Paul, Mittel, Cohen, Ondaatje, Noon, Bollinger, Khayami and Potter. All of them non-doms and between them have spent enough in the Labour Party Donations to provide enough sleeping tablets to go around the Earth's Equator quite a few times!"


    Lord Ashcroft`s non-dom status was never the issue as much as you would like it to be.It was the duplicity of public undertakings o residency and tax, revoked privately and not disclosed for ten years.

    Democracy cannot function withour transparency,secrecy, with hidden sources of power, subverts the accountability of public organs like political parties.Hague and the conservative leadership wasn`t told of his shabby little deal on the don`t ask,don`t tell principle.

    Should they have asked? Of course,it is because the British establishment is allowed to operate in a deeply hierarchical and undemocratic manner that money can be used to buy power.That this deeply unpleasant man operates at the heart of the British political establishment is corrupting.He should resign,


  • Comment number 39.

    #28 BalancedThought - I totally agree.

    The conservatives have not yet shown they have a true potential, which is hugely worrying. I don't think I can stand another 5 years of this manipulative lying hoard. If voting LibDem would guarantee getting Labour out I will vote LibDem this election.

    But I don't think it will.

    It would have been better if they had a poll asking 'None of the above?' the results I think would have staggering.

    Labour are so strong at manipulating and lying I don't think there is a party that can effectively stand against them.

    PMQ's is just constant Tory bashing without them having the forum to defend themselves.

    The Tories have never said there would be 'swingeing' cuts. That was Labour propoganda, but everybody now believes that is what the Tories plan to do.

    With the BBC also singing Labour's tune and highlighting these lies, it soaks into the British consciousness until people 'genuinely' believe that is what the Tories will do.

    And yet George Osbourne has consistently said, we will carry out an audit when we get to power and see where can make effective cuts as soon as possible without damaging frontline services. Read 'Swingeing cuts? and double dip recession!?'

    Despite all this we know that Labour plan to make at least 10% cuts across public services and yet no one says a damned thing!

    It is my opinion that the Tories are holding things back waiting for Labour to call an election so that Labour can no longer rely on the power of the civil service to manipulate their campaign.

    And that is also why GB is holding back from giving a date.

    One thing is certain - there needs to be a big change in politics and the media's reporting of it.

  • Comment number 40.

    20 Bill_De_Zas

    "And as for elections being bought, think long and hard about irregularities in postal voting that have without fail so far always been observed around Labour constituencies in by elections."

    Postal vote fraud is one thing - but now Labour wants to extend voting to children!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/23/hbennyoung

    Personally, I think the voting age should be increased - to at least 35."

    Revolutions are made by young idealists and veteran socialists.You would atrophy change and excitement from the political system.Imagine a politics dominated by BDZ,mendacious,sircumspect,maggot and their friends.An army of geriatric pygmies.


  • Comment number 41.

    34.
    "Global warming isn't the scam, the earth has been warming for the last 40,000 years since the last ice age. The scam is carbon trading and carbon reduction using global warming as its impetus. millions of pounds been traded by Labour's friends costing the UK jobs and money".
    ----------
    yes the earth has been warming but accelerated disastrously by us.
    maybe your grandchildren will be the ones to rue your words!
    (did you know the earth is not actually flat)??

    many many stories from patients who have had a good experience under the NHS. DESPITE ITS PROBLEMS AND THERE ARE MANY..WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF IT.

    Can you factually rebuff the Donal Blaney point I made????

    "Typical labour propaganda again and again"
    im sorry the truth is uncomfortable for you

  • Comment number 42.

    3. At 10:29pm on 05 Mar 2010, peteholly wrote:

    "My other feeling on this is the constant and voracious personal attacks on Brown are starting to backfire."

    It will be interesting to see what impact Labours constant and voracious personal attacks on Lord Ashcroft are then...

  • Comment number 43.

    Buyers
    re: #40

    Imagine a politics dominated by Peter Mandelson?

    To recycle your own mendacious words @#38, "... it is because the British establishment is allowed to operate in a deeply hierarchical and undemocratic manner that money can be used to buy power.That this deeply unpleasant man operates at the heart of the British political establishment is corrupting.He should resign,"

    Sauce for the goose is also good for the gander!

  • Comment number 44.

    37. imbecile.
    you have been outed as a daily 24/7 pro blogger using many different user names on here and actively blogging on many many conservative blogs with the same comments. your last sentence in 37. applies directly to you!
    your integrity and credibility completely blown away!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Nick - I agree, Labour's continued resilience is remarkable.

    I think it also reflects the Conservatives' inconsistency of message, e.g. around cuts and the economy, and their continued attempts to appear 'Blair-ite' when actually the mood of the country has changed and people recognise we're in trouble and want to vote for a Government that will face up to the challenge rather than just mouth platitudes. People worry that Cameron is a shallow PR man, not a leader; he hasn't as yet demonstrated that he has any real gumption. The odd unscripted emotional speech isn't enough. As such, the Tories are fighting the last election, not this one, and I think there's a high chance they don't win.

    In which case, I will have a wry smile when the new Labour government raise taxes to the point where people scream and leave the country and force through cuts which decimate the public sector. Not because they want to, but because they won't have any choice. Especially once the Bank of England stops printing money and we genuinely have to start paying our way in the world. Even if you put your head in the sand, as we are doing, reality will get you at some point.

    As Will Self said on Question Time, the scale of tax rises/spending cuts beggars anything Thatcher did; the current suspended reality is going to blow open pretty extraordinarily after May 6.

    I also loved Brown's comment shown on the News last night at the Chilcot enquiry that he couldn't allow the MOD to overspend by £12 billion as it would have been 3p on income tax. What are we overpsending by this year? £70/80 billion, 15/20p on income tax? That's DOUBLING tax on everyone!

    As I say, there will be a poetic justice in Labour being re-elected and forced to deal with their own consequences. After the election, people will finally twig the disaster they've led us to. As such, expect a 1997 style Labour annihilation in 2012/3. If we survive until then . . .

    P.S. Maybe when this all happens, you'll realise that running the country, spinning, drawing up mythical dividing lines isn't the sort of fun game that you seem to think it is when you report to us. It's playing with the prosperity and livelihoods of millions of people. The irony of the BBC's underlying support for Labour is that it may well be the source of Labour's own destruction: BBC help Labour get re-elected on the suspended animation we live in currently, reality bites, Labour then annihilated in 2012/3. If I were you, I wouldn't want to think about what the Tories will be prepared to do to the BBC then! Good luck . . .

  • Comment number 46.

    5. At 11:12pm on 05 Mar 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    "Can the UK or I stand yet another 5 years of Gordon Brown being in charge of the United Kingdom?"

    I'd like to see what the Opinion Polss would show if the pollsters asked that question of the general populace."


    Good point, many years ago we lived in an area with a well thought of Labour MP, no doubt it was the MP's intelligence (and moderate socialist leanings) that kept the seat 'Labour', many Tory voters liked the MP but often said that they could never vote for for the candidate as it also meant a vote for Labour (and, at the time, Wilson)...

  • Comment number 47.

    "Revolutions are made by young idealists and veteran socialists.You would atrophy change and excitement from the political system."

    Thank you bryhers, but we dont need any of those three things.

    We dont need a revolution, we need a coup to get rid of a PM who usurped power from the PM of the day who had, despite his faults, a popular mandate from the public. Brown never did have and never will get one.

    And as for young idealists and veteran socialists... thank you, but spare me from any more of their idealistic, think tank, non-real-world, focus group bulls**t. We've tried it for 12 years and it doesnt work. The Soviets tried socialism for 80 years and it didnt work.

    The political system isnt there to deliver "excitement", its there to deliver functional bloody government, in our case to a developed first world nation. Its not a plaything for peoples egos for christs sakes!

    Working "young idealists" and "veteran socialists" into an excited, priapic state indulging in political onanism? Dear God.... no thank you.

  • Comment number 48.

    #6. At 11:40pm on 05 Mar 2010, bryhers wrote:

    "I take it from your post you would preferred to be governed by the triumvarate Cameron,Ashcroft Hague."

    I would be prefer to be governed by the best people for the job, the best people to promote the UK on the world stage, the best people to protect the UK, who ever they are - "personalities" should have nothing to do with we elect.

  • Comment number 49.

    41#

    Well, lefty, I was going to be polite to you about Donal Blaney, but if your reply in 44 is the way you want it... fine, so be it.

    Blaney is plainly a nutter. However, I see no basis in fact in your original post (theres a novelty eh?) to suggest that anything that his ragtag are upto is in any way connected or sanctioned by the tory powers that be. If Tebbit threw out a similar outfit in 82 for being too right wing, god knows where this bunch of nutters could plausibly take a mainstream political party and I would imagine Cameron would run a mile from them. Plus any person who talks about the use of weapons in that manner is obviously not fit to handle them. Blaneys lot appear to be to the tory party what Militant Tendency were to Labour in the late 1980s.

    I think that is a fair and reasonable comment.

    But, so far as them having any official connection to the mainstream party, mate, you made it up. Which makes you a big fibber, mate.

    I've said it before and I know the tribal poodles like you will never listen (but I'm going to tell you again anyway) the pendulum has swung so far in one direction, that in order to achieve equilibrium, there must end up being a violent, counter-swing the other way first. So, regardless of who gets in next, you're liable to find a repeat of the Brixton and Toxteth and Poll tax riots, youre liable to get strikes crippling public services, you're liable to see a further breakdown in law and order and a continued rise of the BNP. As in Northern Ireland, if everyone tries to occupy the centre ground, what happens is that those that were previously in what were perceived to be marginalised positions end up becoming the mainstream and you end up with the stalemate of two opposing heavyweights counteracting each other and neither budging for fear of being seen as weak.

    Luckily, as Brown sold us out to the EU federalists, what happens at westminster in future isnt going to matter much in the next 5 years anyway. Arent we fortunate?

    You, mate, credible? Dont make me laugh!

  • Comment number 50.

    Would someone please explain who is this 'Gordon' I keep reading about? I admit to feeling queasy every time I read this new fangled, New Labour, Liberal 'we're all one happy equal family now' crap. The PM's name is Brown to distiguish him from many other Gordons. He might justifiably be called Gordon Brown or, heaven forbid, Mr Brown, but that would be just too pre 'Tony'! Nick, pass the sick bag please and be quick.

  • Comment number 51.

    "I also loved Brown's comment shown on the News last night at the Chilcot enquiry that he couldn't allow the MOD to overspend by £12 billion as it would have been 3p on income tax. What are we overpsending by this year? £70/80 billion, 15/20p on income tax? That's DOUBLING tax on everyone!"

    I caught that as well. It struck me that 12Bn was the cost of the hashed 2.5% reduction in VAT... I know what I would have preferred. Give the MOD the 12Bn and have less bodybags coming back from the middle east rather than lining the pockets of the retailers on a VAT cut that was a mere ineffective sop. And a ballsed up one at that.

  • Comment number 52.

    Well, put it like that, Nick, and it does all seem rather odd, doesn't it?

    I guess the main reason is that Plastic Dave has proven to be such an unimpressive alternative and that most people don't realise that there are more than 2 parties to vote for.

    Pretty depressing, isn't it?

  • Comment number 53.

    #4. Jonny wrote:

    "I think we all know why the Labour is still holding up in the polls.
    Constant, aggressive support from the BBC, keeping the Conservatives disorientated and on the back foot."

    Have a look at the story circulating that there is a Tory boot camp (Young Britons' Foundation - they call it a 'Madrassa') for new candidates that classes the NHS as a waste of money, waterboarding as good and calling for US gun laws in the UK so that we can all shoot trespassers. I don't have much time for the Tories but even I can't believe that Central Office is so stupid as to get involved with such extremists and still less to let any candidate remain a candidate for the party who has attended doctrination sessions with the YBF. Further why did Eric Pickles, the Conservative party chairman, address the Young Britons' Foundation if the group is not considered part of the acceptable wing of the Tory party.

    The Tories have tried very had (as the always do) to hide their extremists from view - but really what they should be doing is purging the party of such people. This is why the Tory lead in the poll is being cut - people are finding out what the party actually stands for - AND they don't like it one bit.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why is Mandy running the Government - did I miss a leadership election or even a by election for him to become an MP.

    Mandy must go, he is not doing Labour any good. Their reputation is questioned every time he opens his mouth.

    He is so used to spin, I don't think he knows what is truth and what is spin.

    Lately we have seen him get involved with the Cadbury take over and saw a plant shut after he had assured us all was going to be tickety boo. Then we have him ride into the Courus debacle at the eleventh hour only to see the blast furnace be mothballed. This is the end, as once cool the internal walls will collapse and that's the end of that. So nice one Mandy, I for one will not be voting Nu Labour while a twice disgraced, second rate, non politian dabbles with my future. If this is what experience is bring on the new boys they can't be as worse as this shower. They are no longer Labour, they are not socialists and care little for us, the people in the street.

  • Comment number 55.

    28. At 07:53am on 06 Mar 2010, balancedthought wrote:

    What has changed is that for the first time in a number of years people have started to think about the conservatives and what they will actually be like in government. People are comparing Alistair Darling and George Osborne and saying which would I really want in charge of the economy, however you put it George looks extremely young/ inexperienced because he is.

    But the same comments were said about NuLabour in '97 by some, to young, to inexperienced (or even no experience), it didn't stop one of the largest political swings in history from occurring - why - because most people looked beyond the personalities to the policies. I'm not so sure that the electorate will be able to do that this time though, the UK has become obsessed with the 'personality', be it in sport, entertainment or politics. All very dangerous really, most of the dictators of the 1930s were elected on the back of being popular, not on what their actual political policies were...

  • Comment number 56.

    bill,

    "Brown sold us out to the EU federalists"

    Risible comment.

    Pls get back to posting about the MoD and stick with it. That way you can add a bit of value to the blog.

  • Comment number 57.

    53 and you lefty....

    I googled Eric Pickles and the YBF and found this on a certain social networking site:

    "Join dozens of fellow young conservative activists from around the country to meet and hear from prominent politicians and leaders of the conservative movement who hope to make up and drive the agenda of the next government.

    Speakers will engage directly with you at this exclusive parliamentary rally on issues such as:

    - civil liberties, ID cards and the database state
    - the European Union and freedom
    - foreign policy threats and opportunities
    - Gordon Brown's recession
    - the upcoming General Election

    For security reasons, speakers will be announced over the coming weeks on Facebook and at www.ybf.org.uk.

    Places are STRICTLY LIMITED and will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.

    Speakers that have been confirmed so far include:

    * Eric Pickles MP, Conservative Party Chairman
    * Dr Liam Fox MP, Shadow Defence Secretary
    * Douglas Carswell MP
    * Andrew Rosindell MP, Shadow Home Office Minister
    * Iain Dale, Blogger & Publisher
    * As well many other prominent MPs and conservative movement leaders to be announced over the coming weeks..."

    Right. I see no reason to change my view of the YBF as being no different to Labour's Militant Tendency in the 1980's. I see no reason to change my view that if Tebbit chucked out a similar lot in the 1980's for being too right wing then they must have been nutters.

    If the mainstream party is truly thinking that there is political mileage to be had by encouraging an organisation that uses phrases like "madrassa" and "radicalisation", then they are off their heads and offering a political suicide note akin to Foot's 1983 manifesto. It would confirm to me an intention to chuck this election. And I cannot seriously believe that they would ALL voluntarily march like lemmings to their electoral doom in such a dumb fashion. Any party that officially endorses such a bunch of nutters deserves not to be elected.

    "only young idealists and old socialists deliver change", eh bryhers? This the kind of change you had in mind???

    However.

    Lets retain a bit of perspective here. Addressing these kind of gatherings, I would venture in itself, is not endorsing every one of their stated objectives by association. No more so than say Ken Livingstone inviting Osama's right hand man, Abu Qatada to the London Assembly would be seen as official endorsement of Al Qaeda by the Labour Party.

    So for lefty to say that tory PPC's have been recieving training from the YBF is an obvious lie, but is the thin end of the wedge as to how the party of liars will seek to exploit any possible chink in their oppositions armour.

    Helping the Liars party by saying "oh, by the way, theres another loose rivet here in the armour just below the solar plexus" is tantamount to political suicide.

    As we have found with Labour, if you repeat a lie often enough, the less cerebral of the tribal voters and then eventually the wider celeb obsessed, dumbed down public will start to believe it.

    Indulging the YBF is not the answer to 12 years of New Labour. I would, if I were a tory (and I'm not) implore the party to keep a serious distance from them, if for no other reason than Labour hardly need any more ammunition for their propaganda machine. And, there is not, at the moment any other single party capable of dislodging the socially dysfunctional megalomaniac with narcississtic personality disorder from No10 Downing Street. And his removal is what we need above anything else. Shooting ones self in the foot by indulging nutters is reckless.

    Learn from the only one thing that Kinnock ever got right in his political career, the ridding of the Militant Tendency from old Labour. If these nutters are allowed a foot hold it can only end in tears.

  • Comment number 58.

    chris,

    "Why is Mandy running the Government?"

    He isn't, but he is influential and so he should be. He's a talented politician and a senior member of the cabinet. You should be asking a different (and more interesting) question: why is a shadowy and secretive Belize based businessman running Her Majesty's Opposition?

  • Comment number 59.

    41. At 09:20am on 06 Mar 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    "yes the earth has been warming but accelerated disastrously by us."

    Tosh, the only reason the official climate records (based on the weather at the time) makes it appear that way is because about 200 or so years ago there was a mini ice age which, we are still coming out of.

  • Comment number 60.

    44. At 09:26am on 06 Mar 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    "37. ../cut abusive comment/..
    you have been outed as a daily 24/7 pro blogger using many different user names on here and actively blogging on many many conservative blogs with the same comments...//.."


    ...and your evidence is?

    Without such evidence exactly the same remarks could be made towards you and your other alter-egos posting from Labour party HQ...

  • Comment number 61.

    Imagine if at the turn of the year I'd predicted what Jo Bloggs would face in the first few weeks of 2010.

    First, an eviction attempt organised by the local authority for alleged non-payment of rent.

    Then, well sourced allegations that Jo bullied people in authority.

    Next, a neighbour revealing that Jo had helped unleash "the forces of hell" after he'd had the timerity [sic] to say at a local meeting that the local authority was only doing its job.

    Finally, a hearing in front of magistrates about the rent and whether Jo had withheld payment.

    If I'd predicted that, my guess is that you - and I - would have forecast that Jo's popularity would drop. Instead, of course, it's risen.

    One of the funny things about life is that it is entirely unpredictable even in reality.

  • Comment number 62.

    3. peteholly
    "The British people have become massively turned off by the character assassination that has been waged against Brown by the Tories in the last 2 years. Worst of all, it merely confirms the suspicion of many floating voters that Cameron's modern Conservatives are the "nasty party" of old."

    Do you not read your posts back to yourself?
    ANY character assassination will get a backlash from the public. Witness Damien McBride and the 'nasty' Labour Party. And what of the constant class based character assassinations on Cameron and Osborne? Same thing, more-or-less.
    Try using some objectivity. It's free and contains no allergens.

  • Comment number 63.

    43. At 09:24am on 06 Mar 2010, Menedemus wrote:
    Buyers
    re: #40

    Imagine a politics dominated by Peter Mandelson?

    "To recycle your own mendacious words @#38, "... it is because the British establishment is allowed to operate in a deeply hierarchical and undemocratic manner that money can be used to buy power.That this deeply unpleasant man operates at the heart of the British political establishment is corrupting.He should resign,"
    Sauce for the goose is also good for the gander!"

    Always better to put things in your own words,using mine brings out the worst in me.Peter is there through his intellect not his money,for past errors of judgement he was sacked,instead of rehabilitating himself by working for charities like Profumo and Aitken,his period of expiation was as Trade Commissioner in the EU and now a peerage.

    I am not aware he deceived the cabinet office over his tax status,misled his colleagues,a political party and the public for ten years,and has only divulged his true status through pressure from FOI.You don`t have to be illegal to be slimy, through breach of trust,backdoor deals and manipulation.You just have to be deeply unpleasant.

    That you tolerate this because of his services to the conservative party merely reflects on you.



  • Comment number 64.

    sircomespect,

    "Me thinks you are distorting the truth some what"

    Is that really what you thinks, or is it just you says that in a misguided attempt to appear more educated than the average joe? Me thinks it may be the latter, methinks.

  • Comment number 65.

    58. sagamix

    "Why is Mandy running the Government?"

    He isn't, but he is influential and so he should be. He's a talented politician and a senior member of the cabinet. You should be asking a different (and more interesting) question: why is a shadowy and secretive Belize based businessman running Her Majesty's Opposition?
    =================================================================

    Glad to see that everything is well in sagaland, though your selective amnesia appears to be getting worse.

    Mandelson is indeed a "talented and senior member of the cabinet" so senior and talented in fact, that he had to resign from it twice in disgrace. The first time over some issues surrounding a mortgage, a loan from a friend and a house he could never afford. Then there was the passports for mates issue. Remember them ? No ??? Did you see him being interviewed on ITV news the other day ? No? Talented wasn't the word that spang to mind. Shady and secretive .... I think so.

    So who elected Mandy back to cabinet, and who is he democratically accountable to ? Not me. Not even you. Or any other member of the electorate.

    We'll all be better off without him, he is yesterdays man with yesterdays politics.

    Please come and join us in the real world saga, you'll feel much better and you may even be able to contribute meaningfully to the sensible discussions.

  • Comment number 66.

    56#

    Its not risible Saga, it just doesnt fit with your agenda. The 2005 manifesto promised a referendum, Brown reneged on it on a technicality.

    Even the man who wrote it, Giscard d'Estang said that it was fundamentally the same document. It is a significant step towards federalisation.

    Just because something doesnt suit your twisted view of things does not make it risible, alright??

  • Comment number 67.

    58#

    Yeah, and Mandy has never been secretive has he. What with being on Deripaska's yacht, EU Aluminium tarrifs, two suspect mortgages, fired from the government twice, the Hinduja brothers, the recent fiasco of the sale of Corus to Tata... no, he's as clean as a whistle, isnt he??

    NOW who's being a risible fool???

  • Comment number 68.

    Nick, I greatly admire your cool analyses (most of the time, when you forget your post-Hutton resentments) but surely even you can see that there has been a massive gap opened up between the political pundits and the ordinary people of this country - even the ones who might make up the electorate. I don't claim to understand this any more than you do, but I guess the alignment of political reporting/commenting (now the same thing) with entertainment has something to do with it. We find you amusing, but unenlightening, when you spin off into some ornate gossip or coup speculation. (I exempt some of the soberer American sites from this gross generalisation).

  • Comment number 69.

    "You don`t have to be illegal to be slimy, through breach of trust,backdoor deals and manipulation.You just have to be deeply unpleasant."

    Never have you spoken truer words bryhers, but I would bet you a pound to a penny, if you asked a straw poll of people in the street who that sentence described, Mandelson or Ashcroft, you'd find more readily identifying it with Mandy. And I reckon even if you asked it in a tribal Labour heartland, you'd get the same answer.

    Mandy is indeed a capable politician, probably the most capable of his generation, but of the type that we dont need. Its hardly a ringing endorsement... like saying that Stalin was the best mass murderer of the 1930's.

  • Comment number 70.

    That Peter Mandelson is not God's gift to democratic politics in the UK is no defence for the Michael Ashcroft scandal.

  • Comment number 71.

    We are light years away from a Federal Europe. Zero chance of it happening in the foreseeable future. Reactionary bogeyman.

  • Comment number 72.

    Buyers @#63

    and yet, " ...You don`t have to be illegal to be slimy, through breach of trust,backdoor deals and manipulation.You just have to be deeply unpleasant."

    I guess if Mandelson can wear the cap; it would fit so much better than on Lord Ashcroft because he is at least legal for all that he has been criticised for by Labour, the Party of Cronyism.

    I guess Mandelson's dodgy mortgages, his slimy return to cabinet twice having resigned and finally, giving up his grace-and-favour-stipend as an EU Commissioner to wield power behind the scenes using backdoor deals and manipulation to achieve more power than the Deputy Labour Party Leader is a glowing example of how whiter-than-white the Labour Party is when it comes down to it?

    I hardly think so!

  • Comment number 73.

    Blunt Jeremy.

    "Nick - I agree, Labour's continued resilience is remarkable.
    I think it also reflects the Conservatives' inconsistency of message, e.g. around cuts and the economy,"

    I thought you had begun to ask why the conservative message is inconsistent? But you quickly fell back into a familiar narrative.

    The first reason is their leadership is still mastering its economic brief,using several sources including the BOE,the IFS and sympathetic economists.Up to a year ago,the message of swinging cuts reflected a pre-Keynesian mindsset until authoritative voices told them that to cut spending too hard risks both recovery and currency.

    As late as November,Cameron was opposing quantitative easing until Mervyn King took him aside.The policy is still being maintained.Then there was the week in which there were three different messages on cuts,one each from Cameron,Osborne and Clarke.

    This represents a genuine intellectual confusion which must be addressed before they are entrusted with the stewardship of the economy.

    The economics of the corner shop will no longer do,some reading and thinking required:The marginal efficiency of capital,declining propensity to consume,savings,investment,multiplier.The standard intellectual discourse of the past fifty years,not ideology but social science.

  • Comment number 74.

    I'm not surprised the polls show things that way.

    Firstly, most polls are skewed in favour of labour supporters anyway (as is the general election itself; due to the way the boundaries are setup etc, the tories have to get a much higher proportion of the overall vote than labour do just to get the same number of seats).

    Secondly, most people just hear the BBC news headlines but don't ever look deeper/elsewhere, and the BBC reports with such obvious pro-labour bias that anyone who only listened to the BBC would get a completely distorted and false/misleading understanding of the situation.

    Thirdly, just like some previous election years, lots of people who will vote tory won't tell the pollsters that, especially if other members of their family or friends are around them while answering the questions.

    If the BBC reporting was balanced, then I'd wager a large sum of money that those polls would be significantly different. Sadly most people trust the BBC and just take their word on things without considering the other side of the coin which the BBC never ever reports on.

    Luckily though, ITN does hold the government to account (unlike the BBC or even Sky) - ITN reporting is by far the most balanced that we have in this country, and I'm looking forward to the ITV leaders' debate with relish on that front, because I think that'll be the only debate where Brown is actually held to account and can't just get away with the labour/bbc "Anything that's ever gone wrong on my watch was entirely the fault of the Americans and Thatcher" defence.

    I don't really differentiate between labour and the BBC anymore; the BBC is really just the p.r. arm of the labour party in all but name, especially in the last few months where desperation by the BBC to stop the tories from getting in has been so blatent.

  • Comment number 75.

    59 & 60. bolier
    its so sad that there are still some climate change deniers. more sad for our kids and our grandkids though. perhaps they will look back on comments like yours in years to come and understand why OUR CLIMATE/ENVIROMENT IS DAMAGED SO MUCH.
    perry neeham is bill de zas. same phrses etc. google perry neeham and see for yourself...(sigh)

    im going away for the weekend. i hope bill de tories right wing anti left bile can be rebuffed by someone else. Donal Blaneys comments are factual and a google search will show this aswell as more damning info on the YBF. this is the real tory party.

  • Comment number 76.

    70. At 11:31am on 06 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "That Peter Mandelson is not God's gift to democratic politics in the UK is no defence for the Michael Ashcroft scandal."

    But there is no 'scandal', why, because the cabinet office knew exactly what was going on, if it's only taken until now for the cabinet office to understand the agreement that Lord Ashcroft made with them then if anything the real scandal is in how the cabinet office has been run the last 10 years at least!

  • Comment number 77.

    71. At 11:33am on 06 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "We are light years away from a Federal Europe. Zero chance of it happening in the foreseeable future. Reactionary bogeyman."

    Tosh, try reading the Lisbon Treaty, if there is enough votes in the EU parliament then the ball could be started rolling as early as a fortnight Monday...

  • Comment number 78.

    BDZ 47

    "The political system isnt there to deliver "excitement", its there to deliver functional bloody government, in our case to a developed first world nation. Its not a plaything for peoples egos for christs sakes!"


    From that intemperate rant I assume your salad days are so long over you have forgotten that regimes have their dawns and their sunsets,their epiphanies and elegies.For birth you need youth,for age,requiem.

    As Hegel wrote "Nothing great is achieved without passion." Merely functional government reminds me of Harry Lime`s speech in "The Third man." The renaissance produced the Borgia`s,Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci,what has Switzerland produced in 500 years of peace? The cuckoo clock."

    Plato and the Borgias saw the state as a work of art,that is a human artefact or instrument which could embody ideals as well as function.Without vision the people perish.We need the young,long may they flourish.

  • Comment number 79.

    70#

    "not gods gift"???

    Master of understatement!!!

    71#

    We'll see, shall we?

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    If the Tories are not capable of getting rid of this smug, odious government, at least the IMF will sort us out.

  • Comment number 82.

    75. At 11:41am on 06 Mar 2010, lefty10 wrote:
    59 & 60. bolier
    its so sad that there are still some climate change deniers. more sad for our kids and our grandkids though. perhaps they will look back on comments like yours in years to come and understand why OUR CLIMATE/ENVIROMENT IS DAMAGED SO MUCH.

    =========
    You need to read more, suddenly there are many more Scientific voices admitting that the case is not yet clear. It may well become so, but conviction before results was never good science, even if they are eventually proven. As Feynman says, 'You are the easiest person to fool', where 'you' means 'yourself' and not you as Messi (still love that post from Saga, sadly he's not as funny any more).

    Also, why should it be bad? In the 70's we were warned of an ice age, IF global warming stopped it, then that is GOOD!

    Finally, England's Green and Pleasant Land has been shaped by Millenia of Human Intervention. Every living thing changes the environment, if we cock it up, we'll simply be another evolutionary dead end. read the Skeptical Environmentalist, the environment has been improving for years, the Greens don't like him, I wonder why?

  • Comment number 83.

    75. At 11:41am on 06 Mar 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    "[re comment #59] its so sad that there are still some climate change deniers."

    Did you actually bother to read my comment or did you just fire of the usual insults that are normally aimed at anyone who dares to question the 'official MMGW NuLabour policy'?

    No one is denying "Climate Change", no one can, climate has been changing since the earth first formed, what people are questioning is the extent to which man has contributed.

  • Comment number 84.

    I see Brown is visiting the troops. Doesn't a criminal always return to the scene of a crime?

  • Comment number 85.

    "From that intemperate rant I assume your salad days are so long over you have forgotten that regimes have their dawns and their sunsets,their epiphanies and elegies.For birth you need youth,for age,requiem.

    As Hegel wrote "Nothing great is achieved without passion." Merely functional government reminds me of Harry Lime`s speech in "The Third man." The renaissance produced the Borgia`s,Michaelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci,what has Switzerland produced in 500 years of peace? The cuckoo clock."

    Plato and the Borgias saw the state as a work of art,that is a human artefact or instrument which could embody ideals as well as function.Without vision the people perish.We need the young,long may they flourish."

    Yes... I'm not sure I'd compare Britpop, Tracey Emin, "Cool Brittania" et al to the Italian Renaissance somehow... I would venture that the Italians during such a period didnt have the stifling, suffocating Health & Safety, pan-European bureaucracy and pin-headed petty official quango zealotry that has been around post 1997. And even if we were to invoke such a comparison, it was interesting to see just how fast the Cool Brittania crowd ran away from New Labour once they realised they'd been used. Which, if I recall, was within 18 months of the Blair landslide. Even now, a thoroughly working class insightful son of Sheffield Jarvis Cocker has been on record saying "in the absence of any real alternative, a Conservative government at this point unfortunately seems inevitable." and "People did get very disillusioned. (You had) the Stop The War march, a masive mobilisation of people and they still weren't listening to them. And that's when a lot of people get disengaged."

    Not sure it stands broad comparison with the renaissance, somehow. We do need the young, no doubt about it. But, as the other old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Blair, for a PM was the youngest in a long time. And, incidentally, with youth, according to Labour, you get inexperience and as Gordon is constantly reminding us, and I dont ever recall you differing from this point of view, "now is not the time for a novice". In Brown's eyes, it will NEVER be the time for a novice because that means someone else apart from him having the reins of power.

    So, do you want youth, a novice, inexperience and passion or dont you?

    Or yes, only as long as it fits your dogmatic template?

    The sun should be setting on this Labour administration. It just cannot set soon enough.

  • Comment number 86.

    Boiler,

    "But there is no Ashcroft 'scandal'"

    Depends on what one is scandalised by. Perhaps you are blessed with a high "scandal tolerance" factor, in which case I envy you. Or it could be because you're a die hard Tory, in which case I don't.

  • Comment number 87.

    Bryhers at 73

    I do think the Tory message has been inconsistent; agree with you entirely on this. Also think they have been utter idiots to allow this to happen.

    But let's also look at Labour: 9 months ago, Brown taunted Cameron over the need for cuts; Labour investment vs Mr 10%, remember?

    Now, even Labour openly admit that cuts will have to come; who's is the bigger U-turn? Brown's: the Tories highlighted the need for cuts first, Brown tried to lie and say there wasn't any need; then his position became so ridiculous, he had to change it - actually he was forced to by Darling and Mandy following the failed coup in January! Remember this?!

    Beyond this, Labour are in Government: they are charged with planning future public spending; but the pre budget report did not set out departmental level details; why? Because the headline numbers implied massive cuts of 12+%. They just don't want to have the open debate about where the cuts should fall. Why? Because they think it might harm their chances at the election.

    All the pre-budget report did was raise taxes on anybody earning over £14k p.a. and use this money to fund higher payments to those on benefits. But even this was a sleight of hand and benefits next year will be cut by the same amount. Counter-cyclical when you consider zero inflation meant no need for a rise. But, then again, there's an election coming.

    I used to vote Labour; not any more. I pay attention and know how we got to where we are. Yes, I do think the Tory leadership has been confused and weak. But I still view them as the lesser of two evils at the forthcoming election. As I say though, I still think Labour will win because most people aren't really aware of how appalling our financial position as a country really is.

  • Comment number 88.

    Love him or hate him, you can't ignore him.
    Yesterday he was "disingenuous" about funding the wars, before the Chilcot inquiry.
    Today he shows up in Afghanistan for a photo-op with the same people he betrayed.
    Such astounding hypocrisy!

  • Comment number 89.

    boiler (again!),

    "Try reading the Lisbon Treaty, if there is enough votes in the EU parliament then the ball could be started rolling as early as a fortnight Monday"

    I have read the Lisbon Treaty, couldn't put it down once I got going with it. Sensible set of reforms to a great institution. Thank god the British people didn't get the chance to spike it. The EU is a free association of nation states, co-operating in areas where it makes sense to do so, and it will always remain that way. Does it need watching as regards bureaucracy and spending money? Yes of course. Do we want them telling us what shape our bananas should be? Yes. Damn right we do. But is it a one way ticket to a European Superstate? Non. Nein. No. Reactionary bogeyman.

  • Comment number 90.

    "Depends on what one is scandalised by."

    Aint that the truth. Gordon could walk into a nursery full of disabled kids with a belt full of hand grenades and walk out leaving the place like Beslan, wearing a wedding dress with a saucepan on his head and you, my dogmatic, tory-hating chum would STILL not be scandalised by it.

    Someone else mentioned a keyword earlier on and it fired my imagination.

    "Spraying the boards with propaganda"

    Spraying.... Dunno why, but the image of an old lady's lapdog on a long red lead, cocking its leg up and urinating on every single lamp-post in the street came to mind. Which has the end result of leaving the whole street stinking of dog p*ss.

    Quite apt.

  • Comment number 91.

    Nick - do you ever read these posts? Would you kindly add a note on your next blog, letting us know?

    If the Conservatives win the next election - and I think they will, it seems that a big reorganisation of the BBC will be likely. Then the trendy lefties - reporters and commentators - will be looking for employment - and unlikely to find it - in the private sector.

    I enjoy reading your blog, also watching your broadcasts and listening to your insightful comments. But can we please try to be a little more even handed?

  • Comment number 92.

    69. At 11:29am on 06 Mar 2010, Bill_De_Zas wrote:

    Mandy is indeed a capable politician, probably the most capable of his generation, but of the type that we dont need. Its hardly a ringing endorsement... like saying that Stalin was the best mass murderer of the 1930's.


    Sorry, Bill. Call me a bit dim, but why is being an outstandingly capable politician like being the best mass murderer of the 1930s?

    And, why do we not need outstandingly capable politicians? If the Conservative party had any I would certainly consider voting for them.

  • Comment number 93.

    90 BDZ

    That was, indeed, the image I was going for.

  • Comment number 94.

    91. At 1:15pm on 06 Mar 2010, vandriver wrote:
    Nick - do you ever read these posts? Would you kindly add a note on your next blog, letting us know?


    NR reportedly never reads his blogs after first posting them. I have no idea why.





  • Comment number 95.

    #86. At 12:34pm on 06 Mar 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "Boiler,

    "But there is no Ashcroft 'scandal'"

    Depends on what one is scandalised by."


    The real scandal is that the cabinet office didn't seem to understand the totally legal agreement/arrangement that Load Ashcroft entered into with them, what other agreements/arrangements has the cabinet office made since 1997 which they do not understand?...

    I think you need to educate yourself sag's about the difference between "tax avoidance" and "tax evasion", one is totally legal and the other is totally illegal.

  • Comment number 96.

    89. At 12:49pm on 06 Mar 2010, sagamix (again!) wrote:

    "I have read the Lisbon Treaty,..//.."

    You might have read it but you don't seem to have understood it...

  • Comment number 97.

    90. At 1:00pm on 06 Mar 2010, Bill_De_Zas wrote:
    Gordon ...wearing a wedding dress with a saucepan on his head...


    I thought that sort of thing appealed more to certain Tory politicians?

  • Comment number 98.

    #40 bryhers

    "Revolutions are made by young idealists and veteran socialists"

    Well, there are some of us who don't want 'revolutions' - unless you mean restoring things to how they were. The damage that has been done by Brown and Co. will takes years to undo and repair.

    Fortunately, we do not have a history of military coups either. In other countries, one might have expected tanks on the lawn to dispense with such failure of leadership. Brown has seriously cheesed off the military, with former commanders accusing the Prime Minister of "deliberately misleading" the Iraq inquiry (in other words, telling porkies). Admiral Lord Boyce accuses Brown of "dissembling" - which is astonishing.

    These are very serious charges. If it turns out that Brown has not told the truth to the enquiry, he should be impeached or charged with dishonesty in public office.

  • Comment number 99.

    Imagine it going any other way.
    In spite of Gordon Brown's problems, he remain unflappable (at least in public).
    He understands the politicl landscape of the UK, and I honestly believe that he cares about the people.
    That he has survived all of the problems thrown at him while his party continues to rise in popularity does not surprise me because in order for Gordon Brown and Labour not to survive there would have to be a clear alternative with as much to offer. (I'm still waiting to hear David Cameron's solutions to all the problems he keeps throwing at Gordon Brown, and Nick Clegg is all but invisible.)
    In short, Labour's popularity will drop when that of the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats go up.
    What I enjoyed mostly about Gordon Brown is is cool courage to suggest at the last G-20 a Tobin Tax on all financial transactions. This is absolutely the correct thing to do in order to reduce the deficit, make money for social programs, and hit the rich elite where it hurts - in each and every financial transaction that they carry out; this would also establihs a clear audit trail to catch all financial evil-doing.

  • Comment number 100.

    92#

    because Outrage, those deftly honed political capabilities are not being used for the benefit of public service, rather more only for PARTY service and SELF service and self preservation.

    Whereas a capable politician with a true public service ethos could probably better have been embodied by Nye Bevan to pull a name out of thin air...

    Mandy is only in it for himself and his party. Nobody else.

    Hence, its a heavily qualified/caveated compliment of sorts, but not one he should necessarily be proud of. The "Prolier-Than-Thou" Champagne Socialist public schoolboy politicians of this age are just as execrable, if not more so, than their hated "Eton Toff" opposite numbers.

 

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