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An opportunity for Gordon Brown?

Nick Robinson | 12:27 UK time, Monday, 26 April 2010

RCN Conference, Bournemouth: It's the unplanned moments in elections that can bring them alive. A punch, a heckle, or a slow handclap. "You guys are looking for someone to throw an egg," the PM said to reporters who asked him whether he really intended to meet and greet more real people in this campaign.

Gordon Brown

Mr Brown will be hoping that today's spontaneous standing ovation at a nurses' conference could help him in the way that an egg may have harmed him. It was unplanned, it did seem sincere and it followed a passionate speech in which the prime minister thanked the nurses and praised them as "angels in uniform" and "the country's heroes".

It helped, too, that he promised to protect their pensions, to avoid a pay freeze and to increase NHS spending - something that is not entirely spelled out in Labour's manifesto.

Labour was written off before this campaign began, and being consigned to third in the opinion polls behind the Liberal Democrats has made that problem worse. There is, though, at the start of this week, an opportunity for the party as well as a huge problem.

As David Cameron and Nick Clegg get tied up in questions about hung Parliaments, electoral reform and post-election deals, Gordon Brown can talk about what matters to people beyond the Westminster bubble. The PM insisted, not entirely convincingly, that he is "not worried at all" by "rumours, speculation, innuendo and gossip" about the consequences of a Labour's current poll rating.

The PM believes that if people focus on the choice as he sees it - a £6bn Tory cut in public spending this year versus maintaining spending to keep the economy growing and protect public services - he can still win.

One problem he will have to overcome is questions about his own spending plans. The Royal College of Nursing is warning that the government's planned efficiency savings could cut more than 30,000 health-service posts in the next three years and its president says it is "disingenuous" to deny it.

Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    Nick,

    You're right. If Gordon Brown can concentrate on telling his audience at such meetings that he can increase public sector spending, continue to ignore the public sector pension black hole and promise pay increases - all at the same time as bringing the deficit under something approaching control, then yes, he may boost his poll rating.

    Or, he may be continually contradicted by bodies such as the Royal College of Nursing and forced to admit that he is making it up as he goes along.

  • Comment number 2.

    So the Brown fightback begins! Hold you horses haven't we heard this before, like every week for the past 2 years. But wait no - Maybe this ones for real?

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    "It helped, too, that he promised to protect their pensions, to avoid a pay freeze and to increase NHS spending - something that is not entirely spelled out in Labour's manifesto."

    he can promise what the hell he likes, he and his party are still going to end up in third place swapping benches in the HoC with the Liberals.

    Can but hope that they'll be relegated to the benches occupied by the likes of the SNP, but.... one step at a time.

  • Comment number 5.

    Funny isn't it? All the stuff you could be reporting and you choose to portray Labour as the underdog and that GB is beavering away for the good of the country while the other parties "are tied up in questions about hung parliaments".

    That is a heck of slanted view you put there Nick, if you don't mind me saying so.

  • Comment number 6.

    last year I clapped Cliff Richard and the Shadows - Not that is was a great stage performance but because hopefully it was probably one of their last ones before setting across the fields and into the sunset.

    Mrs N likes Cliff - Don't know why, but always has.

  • Comment number 7.

    What does "we will deliver up to £20 billion of efficiencies
    in the frontline NHS," mean other than cuts to nurses and doctors?

    (C) Labour Manifesto 2010.

  • Comment number 8.

    What really infruates me about Brown is that he constantly goes on about protected public services whilst happily ignored the majority of private sector workers who end up paying for it.

    He really needs to start telling the private sector how he is going to support and encourage business to grow and expand. With expansion of the private sector comes an increase in tax revenue, more jobs, fewer people on benefits, more money availble to produce better public services.

    You cannot have one without the other. We need to be supporting business and business leaders, not encourage them to leave.

  • Comment number 9.

    So, Gordon Brown cannot take the chance of meeting 'real' people just in case he is fried.

    You journalists should'nt egg him on.

    Worst of all, Nick Clegg has poached his job.

    I'll stop now.


  • Comment number 10.

    Most important were the questions.

    This time he was dealing with intelligent people who know the truth behind his aspirations.

    As one quetioner put it behind the aspirations what will really happen post election. Can't remember him giving a proper asnswer to that amid all his other waffle.

    Like his fairness to all.

    Looking at the rich list this weekend. The rest of us have been deprived of a fair return on our meagre savings which is lost spending power to the rest of the economy.

    Brown's failed strategy has over the past year made milliomaires into billionaires and billionaires into even bigger billionaires.

    The only ones appearing to gain from this near zero interest rate are those who can borrow near free money to speculate in the stock market.

    No wonder he is getting frustrated that his strategy is not working and yet he has the front to ask us to give him even more time.

    Unbelievable!




  • Comment number 11.

    Here you go again Nick _ heaping praise on Gordon's con of spend spend spend.You must be seriously worried that your man is slipping into the abyss of history . Trouble is that we, the public, are no longer fooled by Gordon's lies although poor, simple you may be.Gordon still throws money at everything trying to buy votes _ what a disgrace of a PM, country always last !

  • Comment number 12.

    Do you get the feeling now Nick that because Labour are in third place, and Brown has less chance of being PM than Clegg, he can say anything and promise anything he wants to the electorate?

  • Comment number 13.

    I think if someone stood up and said they would protect my pension, avoid a pay freeze, increase spending in my particular business and called me a hero too, I would stand up and applaud. Unfortunately this is not something that Brown can deliver. It is obvious Brown is still living in denial of the financial crisis and believes he is still able to fool certain sections of the electorate. The fact that some misguided people in the NHS believe him is not unexpected.

    I would imagine many people in the private sector who are losing all their benefits, facing pay freezes and even their jobs, would like to hear these words too. However they will never hear them from Brown, who seems intent on destroying the wealth producing side of Britain. I wish just for once, some political journalist would ask Brown how he intends pay for all these promises. Perhaps like his claim to have eliminated 'boom and bust', he will say he has found a new way, for the first time in history, for a recovery which is public sector led. After all, the way this election is going, it seems any politician could claim anything and someone would believe them.

  • Comment number 14.

    The ITV correspondent travelling with the PM has a slightly different perspective

    lucymanning

    Although PM got standing ovation of the four nurses i randomly asked only 1 def voting for him 1 not, 2 undecided

  • Comment number 15.

    JohnConstable wrote:
    At this juncture, it would be perfectly understandable if Gordon Brown sought some light relief from attractive nurses in in crisp, starched uniforms.

    I am sick and tired of this sort of stereotypical sexist attitude regarding a group of degree qualified (or higher) professionals.

    Just because Nurses choose to listen and understand that the Labour Party have done both in inventing and continuosly supporting the NHS doesn't deserve outdated comments like this.
    I remember that creeping privatisation went some way to losing the election for the Tories when Blair came to power.
    By the way starched hats and cuffs disappeared from the NHS a while back, or do they still use these in Private Hospitals?

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    It does look like a one eyed report to me. Gordon Brown being cheered. Perhaps it was ironic cheering, or a standing as one does when a funeral cortegen goes past.

    In the words of Nick Increase NHS spending No pay freeze and protect pensions? Come on this is plain electioneering waffle and does not deserve to be published. Brown must be taking lessons from Mandelson in mendacity. Those are three of the biggest woppers ever told.

    Is it not time that you ask him some hard questions Nick. How? would be a good place to start, how can they have a pay rise, how can he protect that pension and not the rest of the population, how can he increase NHS spending? Then you could ask why protect NHS pensions when he has not done anything to protect anyone elses?

  • Comment number 18.

    6 billion pounds is the same amount with which Brown increases the deficit each 2 weeks.

    6 billion is less than 1% of the 700 to 750 billion the government will spend this year, and since by election day only 1 month of the current government financial year will have past it is less than 1% on an annualised basis in the current fiancial year. Now I can not economise 1 out of every 100 pounds that I use for various things including champagne and taxis, but I'm sure the government can.

    And no, leaving the 6 billion in the pockets of employers and employees does not mean taking the money out of the economy. Clearly, those who say that have instantly forfeited the honour to govern.

  • Comment number 19.

    A politician of the first rank (Gordon Brown) fighting for his political life and fighting hard. He may lose - probably will, let's face it - but he's not going to leave anything out there on the pitch. No regrets. Impressive and not a little moving.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nice to see the BBC bias in full flow, an entire blog to Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 21.

    No4 Gerry.
    Being third in the polls is certainly less than desirable.
    Any ideas on why the main opposition party are unable to make any impact similar to that made by Blair in 1996?
    Are you aware that the polls suggest a majority of seats in the new parliament for Mr Brown?

  • Comment number 22.

    I cannot believe how critical some posters above are being about Gordon Brown and Nick's reporting and analysis of this event.

    The investment since 1997 in the NHS is one of the best legacies of this government and today, the nurses are clearly saying that they trust him based on the evidence of their own experience.

    I'm a Labour man and was deeply disappointed by some aspects of Blair/Bown (Iraq and the relaxed approach to the banks to name a few). Surely no-one can doubt that the NHS is safest under Labour?

    Double Dip Dave has good cause to want to protect the NHS and I think his sentiments are genuine but he'll find this very hard if he's in Government in a few weeks and we then slip ino recession again.

  • Comment number 23.

    Gosh, Sagamix, you're almost bringing tears to my eyes.

    Of laughter.

  • Comment number 24.

    POSTAL VOTES
    POSTAL VOTES
    POSTAL VOTES
    POSTAL VOTES

    That's what we need some scrutiny on Mr Robinson.

    We all know that audiences (nurses) dutifully clap for their paymaster (Brown). That is not noteworthy at all, although it is noteworthy that a BBC reporter find such a standing ovation a surprise and describes it as spontaneous. Perhaps the BBC should start using some IQ tests of which there are not that many copies in issue. Just an independent thought.


    PS Mr Robinson: can we get some more detail on the labour letters that urges broadcasters to focus on policy. The letter seems to have been organised by Mandleson's buddy Wegg-Prosser who is now a consultant to Deripaska after having also done a stint at the Guardian.

  • Comment number 25.

    Did not provide money for frontline squaddies kit now they are taking away their vote with the system we have.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/constituencies/8641567.stm

  • Comment number 26.

    Sounded valedictory to me! Goodbye, Gordon.

    And he lied in what he said. Again.

    Increase NHS spending - not according to the Labour Manifesto! Making policy on the hoof or just an inveterate, unbelievable liar?

    Plans are clearly being drawn up for large cuts in the NHS across London, the closing of many E&A departments, etc. You just have to read the reports on the leaks to know, whatever Gordon's and Labour's denials.

    Frankly, Labour deserve the thrashing the Tories got in 1997 for the indescribable mess they've made of this country and its economy. Tory or Lib Dem: take your unappealing pick. For me, I will vote to get Labour out.

  • Comment number 27.

    ouch, i wrote past in stead of passed, and I went to Eton so I can't even blame the council school

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    16 APbbforum

    It is not just Tories, where there are Academies in County money is taken from school budgets as well.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nick

    as you pointed out a couple of blogs ago Brown cannot be trusted on the figures he produces.

    £1 billion savings on a £74 Million budget this is the measure of Browns numerical skills.

    Brown believes that cutting £6 Billion from a £1500 Billion budget will threaten the recovery while increasing the Tax on every current and new job as a good idea. (A position that St Cable has flip flopped on)

    But there is no doubt many people who just soak up what they are told you can after all fool most of the people most of the times. And I must say that you have bought in to it reading this blog.

    Also can you ask Nick Clegg what the cost of his 1 million immigrant amnesty will cost especially if each one is allowed to bring in 1 if not more people into the country? The cost would be enormous and someone should point out to Clegg that all the money has gone, Brown spent it.


  • Comment number 31.

    Brown may well be ignoring all but the messages he wants to put across. The messages that are needed though are different.

    The electorate want a referendum on the EU on a basis of in or out and then beyond that. Brown refused that with a fudged answer.

    The electorate want politicians who can be seen to be honest, truthful and reliable and to be working for the voters and the Country. Brown and all the others want to tell voters what they can and cannot do, and treat much of the electorate as if it was stupid, when it is not.

    The electorate wants the political system and the politicians who took advantage of the expenses system to stand down from politics. Brown and the other leaders failed to organise that, so the sitting MPs are creating a situation where the electorate may well not vote for their normal party preference simply because of an MP not having been told to stand down, when he should.

  • Comment number 32.

    Couldn't agree more with many of the above comments. We, the public, ask for honesty from our politicians but when they try and give it to us their poll ratings go down. It seems everyone is agreed that there are cuts to services and tax hikes to come (and also agree that they shouldn't impact them). A great article in today's FT shows that whoever gets in there are BIG cuts and BIG tax rises to come.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee people

  • Comment number 33.

    sagamix 19

    '...(Gordon Brown) fighting for his political life and fighting hard. He may lose - probably will, let's face it - but he's not going to leave anything out there on the pitch. No regrets. Impressive and not a little moving.'

    Agreed, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

  • Comment number 34.

    Opportunity?

    He can tell everyone the truth (for once in his political career) - Vote for me - and get Balls!

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    Careful girls. His factual deficiency in public speaking is well documented

  • Comment number 37.

    "The PM believes that if people focus on the choice as he sees it - a £6bn Tory cut in public spending this year versus maintaining spending to keep the economy growing and protect public services - he can still win."

    Good grief - the man has nothing else to say. He squeezed this nonsence into the debate on foreign affairs numerous times last week. Heaven knows how many times he will say "taking 6 billion out of the economy" in the debate this week. 25 times? In fact will he talk about anything else. The man is an incompetent bafoon with absolutely nothing to offer.

  • Comment number 38.

    21#

    Yep Souter, I am, thanks to the vagaries of the constituency Boundaries. Regardless of which political colours you attach to each constituency, it doesnt reflect on the existing system very well.

    But, I suppose in many respects, its a fact of life, isnt it? The bigger cities have higher population densities than the rural areas and as a result have more - and arguably need more? - parliamentary seats.

    Until there is real sustainable momentum for that to change, I guess we're stuck with it.

  • Comment number 39.

    Saw the speech, thought he did quite well, all things considered. But then I've never been in any doubt that underneath it all GB is actually quite a decent sort of guy, with good intentions, but let down by tunnel vision, stubbornness, and a larger than average dose of incompetence. I almost feel sympathetic towards him really.

    Labour will be the third party after this election, and that's only something they deserve after their performance in government. It's not all Gordon's fault but he's still had his part to play in that, and my hope is that he has the dignity and gravitas to accept that after his defeat and not make an embarrassing spectacle of trying to cling onto power or anything like that.

  • Comment number 40.

    Labour has had 13 years to put nurses back in charge of the NHS, funny how Brown has only just realised that a bunch of quangos and accountants are perhaps not the best people to know how to run the health service never mind individual hospitals...

    Yes, Thatcher and Major might have introduced the "Internal Market" and PFIs into the NHS but it has beenNuLabour since '97 who has taken them to levels never dreamt of by Thatcher and Major.

  • Comment number 41.

    What about the report this morning in the news about NHS job losses due to efficiency savings coming into effect, no mention of that ?...good day to bury bad news eh

  • Comment number 42.

    DeepingDavie 22

    'Surely no-one can doubt that the NHS is safest under Labour?'

    The NHS is in deep trouble if Labour get re-elected as is the rest of the public sector. Labour has spent the last 13 years recking the private sector on which the public sector depends. 5 more years of the same and we're all in deep trouble. At least those of us that can't emigrate.

  • Comment number 43.

    22. DeepingDavie "labour is safer with the NHS"

    Quite simply because it isn't. e.g. I live in a town of about 100,000. Since 1997 our local hospital has reduced in size. Now, instead of travelling 2 to 3 miles to a maternity ward you now travel 12 miles on a busy motorway as the local one is closed down. It is also the same for the A&E department.

    Quite simply, whet GB tells you and what is actually happening are completely different. Across the country local hospitals have been gradually reduced bringing and consolidated into larger locations. My GP now looks after two surgeries instead of one.

    Should I go on.

    GB has made a lot of promises to the NHS that he will not be able to keep. I cringe every time he says the word "guarantee" or "promise".

  • Comment number 44.

    "Surely no-one can doubt that the NHS is safest under Labour?"

    Those who work in the NHS might be safest under Labour, but the poor bloody patients arent. Not with what happened at Alderhey, plus North Staffs, plus the NHSpfIT that doesnt work, plus NICE's vagaries, plus MRSA, C-diff, etc....

    the NHS isnt there for the benefit of those who work in it, its meant to be there for the benefit of the patients.

  • Comment number 45.

    13. At 1:10pm on 26 Apr 2010, Susan-Croft wrote:
    It is obvious Brown is still living in denial of the financial crisis and believes he is still able to fool certain sections of the electorate. "

    Unfortunately he is indeed able to fool much of the electorate Labour should be on about 10% by now, the fact that they aren't shows just how selfish, lazy and jealous some of the electorate are. (looking at Voice of Reason here)

  • Comment number 46.

    I sincerely apologise for my spelling and grammar mistakes today - all I can say is that the PM is not much better!

  • Comment number 47.

    is it me but are all of these bbc debates descending into petty squabbles between party aparachiks (no doubt pretending to be joe public)..

  • Comment number 48.

    DeepingDavie 22

    Of course the nurses trust Brown with the NHS, Labour have been a Government that has spent mega amounts on the NHS which the Country could not afford. Most of the extra money went on wages not on the patient and the NHS did not even have to show vast improvements for all the money spent. Anyone under these circumstances would vote for a Government who allowed this to happen. Now the money has run out, so even if Labour get voted back in they will have to make cuts. Or did you miss Nicks last paragraph about Brown making cuts.

    I will let you into a secret, it is Brown who is leading the Country to a double dip recession with his policies, no doubt on purpose. Then of course if the Conservatives do get in Labour can blame it all on them.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Daily Mail says 64% of the people want electoral reform including PR. If David Cameron refuses to include this in a deal with Nick Clegg he will drive the Liberal Democrats into an alliance with Labour, if not with Gordon Brown. Crass stupidity is not what we expect from a would-be Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 50.

    19. At 1:19pm on 26 Apr 2010, sagamix wrote:
    "A politician of the first rank (Gordon Brown) fighting for his political life and fighting hard. He may lose - probably will, let's face it - but he's not going to leave anything out there on the pitch. No regrets. Impressive and not a little moving."

    Or a man realising that his life is an utter failure. A man who thought he was born to rule, who first failed miserably as Chancellor and then became the most unpopular and incompetent PM in memory.

  • Comment number 51.

    #21 IPGABP1

    Being third in the polls is certainly less than desirable.
    Any ideas on why the main opposition party are unable to make any impact similar to that made by Blair in 1996?
    Are you aware that the polls suggest a majority of seats in the new parliament for Mr Brown?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You answered your own question there. The current system has an inbuilt bias towards Labour and even when they could be third in the popular vote they may end up with the most seats.

    In 1997 Tony Blair won 43% of the vote not far ahead of the Tories BC (Before Clegg) and yet Labour won a thumping majority.

  • Comment number 52.

    Gordon Brown the one dimensional prime minister.

    How many hospitals is he going to visit while he's 'electioneering'?

    He opened the campaign in a new one, he immediately whizzed up to a health centre in Leeds on day one and now he's getting a round of applause from people he pays to vote for him.

    Is there anything else he gives a damn about except the NHS? Is there any wonder there are so many complaints about the NHS when this man spends his entire life showering them with praise and taxpayers' cash?

    It's a public service and should be treated as one; with equal measures of respect and expectation. The signs telling people that any abusive behaviour will not be tolerated should be compulsorarily taken down. We are paying them to do a job and they should get on with it. If they can't do their job without politicians insisting on a daily basis how vital they are we have come to a pretty pass.

    It's time Gordon Brown was an angel and stepped aside. But it appears that this job will be done for him. By us.

    Taxi for Brown!

  • Comment number 53.

    and to hopefully highlight another misrepresentation of the word guarantee if GB comments.

    Do you remember when GB said there were more police on the beat?

    About three or four years ago we had need in our street to call the police. They took about four hours to arrive because

    a) their map didn't have our estate on because it was only 10 years old
    b) Our local policie station was closed at the weekends. Just reopened agin in the last year (interesting that)

  • Comment number 54.

    As a nurses in the RCN conference I can say it was a good and inspiring speech by the prime minister, but I wish to goodness he and others would not refer to us as "Angels" we are no such thing, we are a group of professionals tryig to do a good job in sometimes diificult circumstances. Angels don't need a living wage.

  • Comment number 55.

    Yes, he's at it again, promising something he cannot possibly deliver, he may want to but he can't. Aside from his hoping that this part of his campaign will focus on his ring-fencing the NHS, other questions have to be asked. What about the un ring-fenced departmets? How many job cuts are going to happen there? And what about all those under performing PFIs hidden off book? The chickens are coming home to roost. Explainations are now urgently required.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 56.

    So why am I being censored. I said Brown was taking lessons from Mandelson; he has just told 3 woppers. Suggested asking how he would avoid a pay freeze, increase spending and protect pensions. Then suggested he be asked why he would protect the NHS pension when he has not done that for the rest of the country?

    Oh I did suggest that the nurses stood as a sign of respect as one does when a funeral passes.

    So please tell me why I am being censored.

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick,

    I am completely perplexed by the lack of Tory biteback every time Gordon Brown uses his phrase 'its a choice between Labour throwing money at the problem or the tory cuts that will kill everything stone dead'(or something along those lines). In a 2 trillion pound annual economy why is nobody pointing out that a 0.000003% decrease in the amount of money floating in and out of the UK has less chance of affecting our daily lives than the possibility of the pope manufactoring condoms? I trust you will ask him this very question when you are next on the Labour Battle Bus and get back to us. Thanks mate.

  • Comment number 58.

    21#

    Any idea why the other party is failing to make an impact?

    Well, I have my suspicions mate. The self appointed heir to Blair tag was a blunder, IMHO. I personally dont think he's got the grit, the leadership qualities really needed. Osborne up until recently I think has been an electoral liability.

    Strip out the tribal votes on both sides, and to the real floaters, memories are still fresh of pre-1997 and they basically havent put enough flesh on the bones about how a) they're different to how they used to be and b) how they're different to New Labour. People just see themselves getting more of the same.

    Plus the emergence of the smaller/newer parties and the belated rise of the LD's.

    Plus, they're not as media savvy as New Labour have been. Its seemed that up until recently, they've been a party scared of its own shadow, scared witless of anything giving any rise to any claim of still being the "nasty party". They're terrified of it to the point where they start sliding, value-wise towards the left of New Labour, rather than just saying look, this is what the nation needs, this is what we are and what we stand for and this is what you'll get. Everyone's terrified of scaring the sheeple, lest the gravy train be brought to a juddering halt.

    All rather unedifying really....

    Just my tuppence worth.

  • Comment number 59.

    "Double Dip Dave has good cause to want to protect the NHS and I think his sentiments are genuine but he'll find this very hard if he's in Government in a few weeks and we then slip ino recession again. "

    There is no double dip, there is no recovery. The economy has only "grown" because Brown went bezerk printing money.

  • Comment number 60.

    Perhaps there is a belief amongst the nurses, and workers in both the public and private sectors that a party that has sold out to the Ashcrofts and Murdochs of this world, and who have 'a glint in their eye' at the prospect of an opportunity, will be only to happy to destroy first class public services.I rather suspect that the Bullingdon Club Kids now leading the Tories, and the individuals from the News of the World and The Sun who are running the Tory campaign will not have much of a need for the services that are of such importance to the general population.

  • Comment number 61.

    We all know who sang the lyrics below (I didn't even try to be clever when I wrote up this sentence the way I did). Much more to the point than a booked Elvis impersonator. The lyrics will prove particularly apt if libdems help labour to introduce aletrnative vote!

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around me
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    Don't get fooled again
    No, no!

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  • Comment number 62.

    Nothing will change until the system is changed. The process has run its historical course and change in structure is badly needed. The current system of lobbyist for big business and banking making all the decisions has been corrupted beyond repair. Everybody is being made whole in the banking crisis except the people who actually lost their money. "Efficiencies", as the banks lend the governments back monies that they were given for free at a higher rates...something wrong in that. Banks only help banks they have no interest in the well-being of the economy or the people, yet this is who the government takes instructions from for policies. No matter who wins, nothing important is going to change. A representative form of government should be attempted.

  • Comment number 63.

    as another person said

    "Funny isn't it? All the stuff you could be reporting and you choose to portray Labour as the underdog and that GB is beavering away for the good of the country while the other parties "are tied up in questions about hung parliaments".

    That is a heck of slanted view you put there Nick, if you don't mind me saying so."

    I totally agree with this . Nick Robinson is a member of the Conservative Party and has proved himself to be a low level journalist who is biased towards his political roots. Cant wait to see the change to his smug face if Labour carry it through in the last 10 days

  • Comment number 64.

    The other two parties need to demolish this whole "I am the one with government experience" line that Brown was pushing in the last debate. Experience isn't the same thing as good judgement. For one, people with good judgement need to be open-minded and don't assume they already know all the answers. For another, lack of government experience certainly wasn't a problem for Blair after 1997.

  • Comment number 65.

    26. At 1:31pm on 26 Apr 2010, bluntjeremy wrote:

    Increase NHS spending - not according to the Labour Manifesto! Making policy on the hoof or just an inveterate, unbelievable liar?


    £100 on option 2 please.

  • Comment number 66.

    a few 0% increases for some public sector budgets on the way it seems

    Brown dared to say it in parliament, so ....

    Come on Brown, book another Elvis to focus on policy! And let the missus learn the lyrics. Holy smoke!

  • Comment number 67.

    does mr brown think he can still win this general election .with the city bankers still getting rich,mps still claiming they havent done anything wrong at the taxpayers expence;a war which we cant win but still sending soilders over to afganistan. come on mr brown just give in and let see what a conservative coverment can do any better ,,

  • Comment number 68.

    Nick,

    I am sure Gordon can be trusted to get a good response from the public sector unions. I am equally sure that he can come up with a raft of figures, a few scare stories about the other parties, and perhaps even a new initiative or three.

    However, on the day that Gordy gets a relaunch, Ed Balls hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, yet despite this, Balls hosts a key briefing session. Since similar problems have befallen other Labour Ministers in recent months and years (Harriet crashed her car, Mandelson (minister for passports) etc., two jabs Prescott etc. etc.), it seems to me that you have to have been investigated and / or prosecuted before you get one of the best jobs in government. In which case, I wonder what we don't yet know about the other key members of Gordon's cabinet.

  • Comment number 69.

    Don't be like that, people (like Roland at 23 and Jobs at 33), there are times to be elevated - get ourselves out of this "snipe at politicians" habit - and this is such a time. The guy's in the fight of his life and he's digging deep. You have to admire that, whatever your politics. As for me, I'm with him. It's against the odds, I know, but I hope and pray that Gordon can pull this thing off. It’s not so much the policies – although the policies (if we knew them) would be important – it’s more about the type of country we want to be. Do we want to be an expansive and self confident people, measuring our success by the life afforded to those not blessed with natural advantages and good fortune? Or do we want to be a mean spirited and small minded people, obsessed with “value for money” and building our own stack? I went to the park this morning (one of London’s great parks – a communal asset of the sort which adds immeasurably to the cycle of life) and I saw something nice. Saw a few nice things actually, but one thing in particular was nice. At the cafe an affluent looking chap (had the air of Paul Newman circa 1965 about him, so was getting quite some attention) purchased a chocolate muffin and a large latte. He was halfway through his muffin when he noticed a child of about eight looking longingly at it; it was clear enough that the child had tried and failed to persuade his Mother to buy him one. What did the chap do? He dealt with the situation beautifully, that’s what he did. The child wanted a piece of muffin, Mother had said no – for all the right reasons, no doubt. Our hero waited until M wasn’t looking and then (with a conspiratorial wink) he passed a piece to the child. Exercised his natural generosity without undermining M’s authority, in other words. Squared the circle. If we get a tory government we’ll see far less of this sort of thing, and that saddens me. Saddens me a great deal.

    So come on Gordon!

  • Comment number 70.

    Mr. Robinson,
    whilst I fully acknowledge your undoubted skills as a journalist and political commentator, I do have some reservations about your 100% impartiality. I understand that whilst at Oxford you were President of the Oxford University Conservative Association and, as with Messrs. Cameron, Osborne and Johnson, you too were a member of the Bullingdon Club.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

    Nick,

    You wrote:

    'The PM believes that if people focus on the choice as he sees it - a £6bn Tory cut in public spending this year versus maintaining spending to keep the economy growing and protect public services - he can still win.'

    Surely what you should have said is:

    'The PM believes that if people focus on the choice as he sees it - a £6bn Tory cut in public spending this year versus maintaining BORROWING to keep the economy growing and protect public services - he can still win.'

    The country's indebtedness will catch up with us soon, and it is going to be extremely painful, though much of the electorate seems to ignore or be unaware of it.

  • Comment number 73.

    Gordon Brown – "You guys are looking for someone to throw an egg," he said to reporters re meeting & greeting more real people in his campaign.
    Yes, Gordon Brown is withdrawn, oftentimes dull, but he’s also experienced and intellectually quite bright. He must’ve been thrilled at the spontaneous ovation at a nurses' conference. He’s not the sort of speaker that generates many standing ovations. The nurses too must have been sincerely thrilled – pension protection, avoidance of pay freezes & increase NHS spending. I was happy to read about this because I sincerely believe that spending cuts cannot come at the cost to NHS, except of course for valid whistle-blowing and good management oversight to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
    Unlike Gordon Brown, I am worried by "rumors, speculation, innuendo and gossip" re the consequences of a Labour's current poll rating. Why?
    Because Gordon Brown is experienced, more capable than people give him credit, and the man that is needed in these precarious economic times. As I have said many times before, you do not switch horses when the wagon is in the middle of a lake sinking. I believe Gordon Brown can still win, but I worry about all those people that want change – any change – Conservative, LibDem – any combination thereof will do.
    The Royal College of Nursing is warning that the government's planned efficiency savings could cut more than 30,000 health-service posts in the next three years and its president says it is "disingenuous" to deny it. So what have the three parties said about the NHS?
    Labour - safeguard investment in the NHS, greater local autonomy, the (I think quite proper) threat that poor NHS trusts will be taken over by successful ones. Patients will be given more choice of provider, services will become more “personalized”. More care will be provided closer to home; it will become easier to see your GP after 5 pm. A big change under Labour is the introduction of legally enforceable “guarantees” on things like waiting times. In the future, you can take the NHS to court if it fails to deliver on its guarantees.
    The Conservatives - promise more money for the NHS, big crackdown on wasteful bureaucracy and poor productivity. They too pledge better access to GPs, fewer central targets and more “worker control” (cooperatives and the like). GPs will commission services again and unpopular hospital closures will be resisted. There will be a new statutory body to investigate complaints and support complainants.
    The Liberal Democrats - do not promise more money overall but like the Conservatives they are keen on reducing “bureaucratic waste”. They will introduce directly elected health boards and reward those that are successful at health promotion. They pledge to maintain access and other targets, will prioritize research on dementia, and will require the NHS to introduce language tests for new employees.
    Noteworthy 1.research on dementia and language testing.
    Noteworthy 2.Plaid Cymru obviously doesn’t have a policy for the NHS in England but it does have a small health section in its Westminster manifesto. It wants a healthier nation through a high quality, publicly-funded NHS, free for all at the point of delivery. Its vision is of health services is rooted in the heart of our communities, a health service that is as much about promoting well-being now as it is about tackling illness. Plaid Cymru asserts that now is the time to invest in a healthy future.
    So, it seems to me that Gordon Brown has been consistent and sincere. Lauds will earned!

  • Comment number 74.

    What a shame the TV debate on the BBC will not be chaired by Andrew Neil. He is the best for getting information from people and has so much in his memory that they cannot pull the wool.

    Can you book him in to do it BBC? It would be the most powerful debate if you do...

  • Comment number 75.

    Oh dear Gordon.

    I'm not sure who to be most angry with. Gordon Brown for promising what can never be delivered without bankrupting the country. The guilible electorate for believing it, or even if they know it can not be done hammering the poll rating of any party which dares tell them the truth, or the media who should be asking the awkward questions.

    Instead the media are obssesed with Ceggamania, personality X factor basement journalism which I can expect from the cheaper press, but not from some of the more quality media, and not from the BBC. Cameron and Clegg are not tied up with doing deals as you imply. They talk about policy, aspirations and so on just like Brown. Then the media ask them about a hung parliament and that becomes the headline.

    There can be no doubt with the terrible state of the economy that this is the most important GE for a generation. Yet the lack of candor from all the main parties, the frivilious reporting style is turning it into a joke.

  • Comment number 76.

    Every which way Gordon tries to spin it he is going to be hit by the brick wall of reality. If the NHS is so important and nurses are so wonderful (I think they are) why did GB&Co hire proportionately more administrators & pen-pushing paper-producers than nurses between 1997 and 2010? And was it not 2 to 3 years ago that GB sent Patricia Hewitt round the country making nurses redundant? And how many hospitals did New Labour close? And how many parts of the UK lack certain critical facilities after thirteen years of massive NHS investment?
    GB started the campaign talking about fairness, no doubt the sort of fairness that wipes out pensions and savings, gives 78p increases to pensioners and takes away the 10p tax rate. Then on the TODAY programme he tried to toady his way out of thrashing by Humphrys by talking about inflation. Unfortunately JH was bamboozled by that move but it drove me to the stats to check what I had been feeling in my wallet: RPI inflation 1997 to date more than under John Major. And other non-existent or little inflations? Petrol/diesel taxes up 30% or more, Council Tax up 50% or more in most areas and housing costs up XXXX%!
    Can't wait for GB to start reminding us that he has abolished sleaze, unemployment, boom & bust and eliminated terrorism. Mind you, the trains are running a bit more on time these days ...

  • Comment number 77.

    I hate the way blogs limit the topics of conversation. Where do we put general comments on the election like the following...

    The BBC News channel has been showing a Breaking News story along the red banner all morning about Labour's suspended candidate. Still no sign of it on either the News front page or the Election front page, just this page - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8644018.stm which is not referenced anywhere. How are we supposed to find the truth about what is going on??

  • Comment number 78.

    #22 "Surely no-one can doubt that the NHS is safest under Labour?"

    Well tell that to the cancer and MRSA victims. "Substantially behind" Western Europe according to the Lancet. On par with Poland despite spending three times as much!

  • Comment number 79.

    Hey Nick, why don't you just go and work full time as Gordon Brown's spin doctor. It seems that in your eyes Gordon can do no wrong and your reporting is certainly pro Labour. The BBC is supposed to be an independent unbiased voice remember we the licence payer pay your wages not the Labour party.

  • Comment number 80.

    In defence of Nick - Im sorry but Mr Robinson ( despite apparent Tory leanings in his youth ( and who knows now)) has been a paragon thus far of impartiality. If I hadnt been told I wouldnt have guessed he had any past Tory connections. In the event better him that that gushing Lib Dem Ben Brown - he cant open his mouth without fawning in front of Cleggy. That said the Beeb do generally have a love fest with the Lib Dems anyway. This is likely borne of a self interest as its the only way of possibly keeping the Tories out and saving the budget!

  • Comment number 81.

    If the debate is about who should pay the higher price for getting us through these unprecedented market failures and cutting the deficit – nurses or millionaires? I work in Bank Insurance (Not Investment Banking) and think I know who is to blame.....





  • Comment number 82.

    Populism wins votes - who would have guessed?

  • Comment number 83.

    The future resident of Number 10 is going to find cutting back front-line services is not all it is cracked up to be. Health Trusts have already hived off many of their employees to low-wage agencies in order to make savings.Many schools rely on part-time staff to balance their books.Our county firebrigade will be operating with fewer firemen and fewer engines. Nobody has yet suggested a cut in the amount of our money that is spent on P-R by Parliament or any of the departmenets of government. No politician has come out to say he-she is going to cut the number of statisticans in any of their departments,ie,department for work and pensions to name but one. The list endless I agree,a start must be made where the damage to the economy is negible instead of the areas that will cause more problems which in turn need even more funding to keep essential services running and anarchy at bay.

  • Comment number 84.

    shillo @ 15

    Perchance a humour by-pass?

    Nevermind, you ask if they still have starched hats and cuffs in Private Hospitals?

    Yes, they do, in fact, they seem to be very heavily into this and the place I saw recently was absolutely spotless as well.

    A relative had been having excruciating backpain for months and was on liquid morphine and getting nowhere with the NHS.

    But, by magic, the production of ten large ones meant that she was whisked into the private hospital and job done.

    £10K for a 45 minute operation - everyone's a winner.

  • Comment number 85.

    Labour made very firm commitments before the 2001 election not to increase university tuition fees. A few months down the line after being elected, they introduced top up fees, reneging on their promise not to do this.

    Given the state of the economy and the hideous state of the UK's national finances and budget, I cannot possibly see how GB can honour the pledges he made to nurses whilst also honouring his other pledges.

    It is cheap telling people what they want to hear for a few easy votes. I for one do not believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

  • Comment number 86.

    48. At 1:52pm on 26 Apr 2010, Susan-Croft wrote:

    I will let you into a secret, it is Brown who is leading the Country to a double dip recession with his policies, no doubt on purpose. Then of course if the Conservatives do get in Labour can blame it all on them.


    Wow, Susan, every single one of your posts contains something that makes me stare in disbelief.
    What a fiendishly clever plan - have you told anybody else about this?

  • Comment number 87.

    It's hard to see an 'opportunity' for Gordon Brown. He is finished.

    Even if Labour does better than expected in a hung parliament, Clegg has made it clear there will be no deals whilst Brown stays.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8642447.stm

    Nevertheless, a hung parliament is more likely to result in another Lib-Lab pact than a coalition with the Tories. The Lib-Dems are a tax and spend party, just like Labour, and cannot be trusted to keep manifesto promises, just like Labour.

    What the country needs now is a clean sweep - and 180 degree change of direction, not more of the same, tired old Lib-Deb/Labour big-government-knows-best.

  • Comment number 88.

    Was it just me who thought Gordon Brown, appearing at a weekend rally wearing no tie, looked slightly ridiculous? Obviously 'stage-managed' by his enforcers to make him look more 'hip'. It failed.

  • Comment number 89.

    Well it must have been becaused I suggested that NR had taken a one eyed view of the situation. Now if this is being seen as a slur on the PM I suggest that someone with a knowledge of English usage is employed to moderate the blogs!!!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    The credit bubble - and the recession and massive hole in the public finances that we now find ourselves in - will be Gordon Brown's legacy in just the same way that Iraq is Tony Blair's legacy.

    Brown was touting his experience in the last debate. But good judgement is about a lot more than just experience. It's about being open-minded, listening to others, and not thinking you already know all the answers.

    Tony Blair's team had zero government experience when they came to power in 1997. But most people, if they're honest, would say that Blair did a pretty good job, right up until he invaded Iraq.

    Brown does have real intellect, and integrity, to his credit. But there comes a point in every politician's career when it's time to move over and let someone else have a go. And Brown is way past that point.

  • Comment number 91.

    Gordon Brown says "You guys are looking for someone to throw an egg,".

    Not quite.

    What has been thrown is a Cl-egg.

    * JOKE *

  • Comment number 92.

    The dice has been rolled and the scores are in. The polls are not going to change a jot from their current entrenched positions, established after the first televised debate. Let's therefore cut to the chase (6th May) and be done without all the hot air, lies and Pinocchio impressions from rather desperate men (mainly) in grey suits over the next 10 days - please!

  • Comment number 93.

    61. At 1:59pm on 26 Apr 2010, Econoce wrote

    Nah
    its got to be this from the Strawbs

    Now I'm a union man
    amazed at what I am, I say what I think
    that the company stinks
    Yes I'm a union man

    When we meet in the local hall
    I'll be voting with them all
    With a hell of a shout its Out brothers Out
    and the rise of the factories fall.

    Oh you don't get me I'm part of the union

  • Comment number 94.

    70#

    And........................?????

    That has precisely what to do with the price of fish???

  • Comment number 95.

    Gerry Mandering wrote:
    "Surely no-one can doubt that the NHS is safest under Labour?"

    Those who work in the NHS might be safest under Labour, but the poor bloody patients arent. Not with what happened at Alderhey, plus North Staffs, plus the NHSpfIT that doesnt work, plus NICE's vagaries, plus MRSA, C-diff, etc....

    the NHS isnt there for the benefit of those who work in it, its meant to be there for the benefit of the patients.

    Maybe you should go and live in the USA and pay private health insurance there just to get basic healthcare.
    As to other comments about the level of Policing under Labour, didn't Boris Johnson get elected on a reduce knife crime ballot? Now who do you think is responsible for cutting police numbers at the Met?

  • Comment number 96.

    simon @ 57

    The tories made a big deal of how they could cut the planned NIC measure on the back of these "efficiency savings" - including the notorious £6 billion - and that's deliberately misleading the Great Ignored. In doing so, they left themselves open to the "taking money out of the economy this year" charge (which is technically right, even though I agree with you on the overall context) and so they - the tories - deserve everything they get as a consequence. So long as "everything" is all of the bad variety.

  • Comment number 97.

    #64 well I think labour give us both views

    97 Blair no experience total lashup

    2007 Brown experince of a sort, second fiddle to Blair net result a lashup again

  • Comment number 98.

    69#

    Anybody dishing out muffins to kids on the sly on Hampstead Heath mate, should be on "the" register.

    Also, cant help but be a bit suspicious of men who drink latte. Not exactly a mans coffee is it? Tends to bring to mind someone wearing tussle loafers and elasticated waistband chinos. Its a bit of a girly drink innit?

    Would have thought you'd have been a skinny double soya macchiato type myself... :-)

  • Comment number 99.

    What next? Gordon Brown promises an selected audience of benefits claimants that he is going to protect their benefits and receives another standing ovation? Come on Nick, this is very poor. Brown is still only taking audiences of Labour stalwarts. When he has stood in front of a group of factory employees who have lost their pensions and seen their wages diminshed via pressure from immigrant labour and somehow then received a standing ovation, thats news. Getting a clap from workers in the public sector is not news at all. I wouldn't expect anything else. They form part of Labour core support, alongside immigrants and chavs.

  • Comment number 100.

    SAGAMIX

    At the cafe an affluent looking chap (had the air of Paul Newman circa 1965 about him, so was getting quite some attention) purchased a chocolate muffin and a large latte. He was halfway through his muffin when he noticed a child of about eight looking longingly at it; it was clear enough that the child had tried and failed to persuade his Mother to buy him one. What did the chap do? He dealt with the situation beautifully, that’s what he did. The child wanted a piece of muffin, Mother had said no – for all the right reasons, no doubt. Our hero waited until M wasn’t looking and then (with a conspiratorial wink) he passed a piece to the child."

    At which point you looked on horrified as the child's throat closed up due to a vicious dairy allergy as she gasped for breath. If your Paul Newman lookalike gave my son something I had specifically told him he could not have, I'd be having words. This little ditty works quite well for your ideology Saga. The mother is the private individual, and the Newman clone is the State. Nanny knows best, even when not knowing the individual circumstances eh?

 

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