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Waiting in the wings

Gavin Allen | 15:50 UK time, Thursday, 18 September 2008

Forget the cliche: a week must feel a terribly short time in politics for all those rebels racing for the exit in time to be today's shock resigner and tomorrow's news cover.

Gordon BrownSuch urgency and so many people queuing up to go.

Quibbles over "resigned vs fired" aside, it's an unhappy departure list for Brown backers.

And more in the wings waiting and wilting.

There's admittedly no shortage of weeks to choose from, but is this, in time-honoured journalistic fashion, Gordon Brown's "worst week since becoming prime minister"? Well possibly.

But as far as historic party resignations are concerned he's got some way to go yet (not that I imagine he's too keen to try).

Ten left government and called for Tony Blair to go just two years ago.

Eight Conservatives resigned over Suez in 1957.

Twenty four abandoned Labour altogether in 1968 over planned social services cuts.

Cast your own vote, but in terms of significance it's probably hard to beat the 1981 Limehouse Declaration when Labour - albeit in opposition - split altogether and the current Lib Dems (after a rename or five) were born.

But every cloud...

Because even before the swirl of latest resignations, The Politics Show had decided to bypass government spokesmen this weekend.

No chance therefore of being caught inviting a minister on for an interview only to find they're an ex-minister by the time you get to conduct it.

Instead, we'll be in Manchester for a live debate with a panel of already long confirmed "exs".

Ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, ex-Home Secretary Charles Clarke and ex... well, ex-Gordon Brown-cheerleading-columnist, Polly Toynbee.

And ex men (and women) certainly do talk.

No kremlinology required over interpreting their words, as Foreign Secretary David Miliband put it to us last week.

I wonder what they - and our invited audience of Politics Show viewers and conference delegates - will make of all these resignations.

I'm confident they'll all have a few words of advice for Mr Brown...


  • Comment number 1.

    So since i last asked you to come clean about the economic crisis, a fair amount has happened.

    Lehman collapses, a few more merge and others get bailed out, more of our public money going to private hands.

    So i am guessing that if you don't feel safe to explain the theft that is going on right now you never will. No discussion of central banking, non on fractional reserve banking, still no mention of the m3 index.

    Then again it's not as though it is your job to report the facts, that would be the job of a journalist. A calling that no longer seems to exist.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why has there been no BBC coverage of the MORI poll showing the Conservatives with 52% of the vote, 28% ahead of Labour on 24% and the Lib Dems on 12%? This is the largest lead by any party for many years and is worthy of reporting.

    This story has been carried on Reuters, AFP, all of the national press, in Australia, Malayisa and the US and yet the BBC deems it unfit for publication.

    To an impartial observer like me, this looks like an overt act against the Conservatives.

  • Comment number 3.

    It strikes me that in the wake of a collapsing financial infrastructure you cannot find the heart to interview Mr Brown in some minute detail. What did he know as Chancellor? Did he ignore regulation breaches? How much information was he given about the sub-prime fiasco in the US? Was the sub-prime manipulation a hedge against other deeply destructive forces in world economics (such as over valuation)?

    The crumbling of New Labour was always likely because a lie can only ever lay undetected so long. It is not the few exes that need coverage but those remaining in cabinet for whom honour clearly has no meaning at all.

  • Comment number 4.

    rmarkwilliams - I heard a brief reference to that poll on News24, and the BBC news website has also mentioned it.

  • Comment number 5.

    When will we be able to close this chapter in politics.
    I haven't overspent, I've never been on a foreign holiday, I don't drink. I know it may sound boring, but I love my life.
    I smoke, not the best of habits maybe, but there you go.
    If Gorden Brown had been good with the economy he would have my respect.
    But this mess even I seen comming. Not the size it is but I knew it was going to bust.
    The rules and regulations realy do it for me, lying, I can not abide. Living in this country now it seems Government want to tell the people what to do and fine them if they dont comply.
    He should have listened. now it is too late.
    brown resigns and any of the other partise let me live my life I will vote for UKIP .

  • Comment number 6.

    Gordon has excellent credetials. So when you see some of his colleagues sharpening their knives, waiting in the wings and hoping to oust him, one is deeply saddened. After all he has served the Labour Party faithfully and has looked after the economy intelligently. Hunger for power brings out the worst in politicians!

  • Comment number 7.

    Looked after the economy intelligently? Which economy are you talking about? I assume you surely can't be referring to the British one.

  • Comment number 8.


    "and has looked after the economy intelligently"

    Posting that is just asking for trouble.....


  • Comment number 9.

    *6 " Has served the Labour party faithfully". Yeah right, what a great pity he had not done the same for the rest of us or for his country. The man has proved himself totally incapable of holding high office, he has no sense of what truth is and unlike most polititians who are sparing with the truth, the man is a blatant liar. He has reduced this country's status and it's finances to a critical level, poured money down the drain in more and more funding for failing services and is now in a state of denial, believing that somehow, he, and his abysmal government can still repair the damage ten years of incompetent government has done. Surely someone amongst the psychophants who surround him can convince him that it is time to go.

  • Comment number 10.

    Intelligent, the nearest to an intelligent thing that Brown did was give the Bof E its independance from the treasury. That was a bit like Magnus Maximus divesting himself of the title Pontifex Maximus and creating the Pope. In both cases these were to do with damage limitation in case things went wrong as they invariably do.

    Add to this the fact that Brown left the Banks to manipulate market forces watching as house prices soared ahead of anything the average person could afford with banks profiting questionably as a result. That smacks of Obtaining profits by pecuniary deception. In effect its theft which was also what Brown was guilty of when he plundered the pension pots. Perhaps Brown's real claim to fame along with Blair is as closet communists is rexplaining the rule that property is theft by inverting it- theft of property is OK.

    There is no doubt that they have served Nu labour faithfully but what about the Socialists.

  • Comment number 11.

    I enjoyed today's debate a lot. It contributed a great deal to clarifying the positions held in a clear, easy to understand way. It was far, far better than the normal cross-party arguments which are mired in meaningless politic-speak. Thanks.

  • Comment number 12.


    "has served the Labour Party faithfully"

    I rather suspect that those who belonged to the Labour Party in 1997 would disagree that the Blair-Brown comedy act did anything of the sort. Brown followed Tory economic policy to the letter and even the National Minimum Wage was devalued to placate the CBI. The policy on single parents has been a hopeless parody of social justice and the tax credit system a complete fiasco.

    In truth the only people who have served the Labour Party honestly and faithfully are those who would have chosen opposition over government if it meant departing from the basic requirements of a fair society - that you pay taxes according to the size of your income. Most people are crippled by income tax and council tax not to mention VAT etc etc.

    Mr Brown served the betrayal of the Labour Party faithfully and now, a little too late for many, he is paying the price.


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