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Context is everything

Nick Robinson | 11:25 UK time, Wednesday, 30 July 2008

What on earth did he mean by that? That is the only question that matters about today's extraordinary intervention by David Miliband in the debate about how the Labour party recovers.

David milibandNow no doubt, he will say that we should understand him to mean precisely what he wrote and not a word more. Why then do I and most political observers refuse to take his article at face value? Quite simply because in politics context is all.

Consider the choices that faced the foreign secretary at a time when there is furious speculation about a challenge to Gordon Brown.

Firstly he could have called for that speculation to stop and for people to fall in behind the leader. He did no such thing. Indeed Gordon Brown is not even mentioned in his article.

Secondly he could have said nothing at all and simply gone on holiday. But oh no, he chose a third option. To set out the way forward for the party without doing anything to prop up his leader's position.

So what on earth did he mean by this? Not, I'm sure, an open challenge to Gordon Brown. The foreign secretary has no intention of trying to bring him down. On the other hand he does want to make it clear that in this leadership contest - if there is ever one - he will not hesitate, he is ready for the fight. And he will represent the candidate promising change.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    I doubt Miliband will get to be leader.
    He dithered the last time about running for the leadership, in the end bottling it (just like GB did over the election).

    And further, his name and face are recognisably part of this government of failure and therefore the public won't accept him as change in direction (after all they were told that's what they'd get with Brown and look how that turned out!)

    If Labour are to get out of their self inflicted mess (and I for one hope they don't), they'll need an unknown as leader. Someone who is not tainted with NuLAb past.

  • Comment number 2.

    Read what he actually says in the Guardian and he is pursuing the same 'we're not to blame' game as his current boss.

    If he thinks the electorate will warm to that message from him but not from Gordon Brown then he's as delusional as his boss.

    Excess credit and over leveraged banks is not a problem that 'came form America' It's home grown and encouraged by the laxity of the Tripartite structure put in place by NewLabour.

    He has the charisma of a wet handshake and is about as relevant to the ordinary men and women of this country as a cold winter in Siberia. that's where we'll all be headed with any more Newlabour Initiatives.

    There is no message to communicate; just directives from comrades Brown, Miliband, Purnell and their like.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick,

    If this does turn into a leadership challenge, I'm looking forward to another outing of your pun "Milibandwaggon". Superb!

    John Hickson, [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 4.

    Clearly the Labour-Ferret-Fight has begun............

    Miliband says that Labour should start the fight back by winning the debate over its record in government - oh dear...... the public know the record.

    Goodbye Labour.....

  • Comment number 5.

    What ever have we done to bring such wretched politicans upon us? It is well known that whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad. The question here is whom is being driven mad? Gordon Brown or the citizens of the UK? Miliband may be sly, but he is without intellectual depth, and will suit Harriet Harmman well as a colleague, since he is not vigorously male, more an over-age adolescent, with the bum-fluff over his upper lip. He will present no threat to her feminist agenda.

  • Comment number 6.

    As my comments the other day and today suggest, you're misreading this one Nick. Jack Straw is suggesting the party needs to calm down, Jacqui Smith is suggesting it engages with the electorate and, gosh wow, David Miliband is shifting the focus onto building up the success of ordinary people. This approach by Miliband isn't a leadership challenge. That's just old politics talking.

    This point position Miliband is taking will 'detoxify' the leadership and shift the focus more onto achieving and reaching out to the electorate. It's what I'd hoped Labour would do and they're doing it. There's times when I wonder if anyone bothers reading these comments and it looked like Miliband got here before you did. Honestly, dude. Keep up.

    By removing himself from the front line the Master Strategist casts a less psychologically less intimidating image for people, and steps outside of the reach of Tory personality bashing. That enables Labour to take ten steps forward and get close to the electorate. The rest depends on Labour MP's getting off their duff and proving their worth.

    It's so perfect I'm gonna have a cry.

  • Comment number 7.

    What change exactly. Surely if he were he to become leader he would have to call an immediate General election, an election he may actually win, because surely the conservatives would not want to take power now.

    So, labour win with a hugely reduced majority, they may even be a minority government. Miliband would then soon have to come to the country again, probably within the year.

    The Tories would be in turmoil because they have invested so much in Cameron and he failed. So, there is just the chance that we would have to have coalition governments, labour with the SNP, labour with liberal democrats, Conservatives with liberal democrats, who knows? The possibilities are endless. What fun the political commentators will have. We may even end up with a government of national unity!

    In the meantime the deaths continue in our foreign wars. Bring the troops home, they will be needed to keep everything under control.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nick

    You correctly refuse to accept it at face value.

    Your assessment is on the ball.
    He wants to be leader.
    He has set out his manifesto.
    Now he can go away for his hols safe in the knowledge that his supporters can drum up 45 signatures in time for conference.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nick,

    We all know what David sillybland is up to. He's feeling a little edgy right now. He's seen into the future, and while on the one hand it's looking pretty bleak for the party, on the other, it's looking pretty promising for him. But God help us if he ends up in charge. Blair no 2? Another round of spin, lies and minipulation with another slick media managed image. Anyhow, I don't know why I'm so aggravated by it all, soon enough there'll be the usual falling-out between them all. They'll all be slagging each other off in public and we can all sit back and watch the result.

  • Comment number 10.

    Dear Nick

    Although not many comments yet I feel there is going to be alot from two bloggers, in particular - they know who they are - who love the sight of their words. For example in "Yawning Gap" they contributed approx 50 comments out 187!

    May I suggest a limit to the comments that can be made by bloggers on a topic - as per HYS - and a time gap between contributions as per 606 Sports?

    Thanks.

  • Comment number 11.

    Context is indeed all.
    Its good to see a Cabinet member who is willing to offer some analysis and ideas.
    After Crewe and Nantwhich, the London Mayor, 5th place in Hendon and now the disaster in Glasgow East what will it take for Labour to get rid of loser Brown.
    I for one dont want to see the Tories back.
    In Milliband we have a man with ideas who is not oversold like Brown was.
    But who will be prepared to wield the knife?

  • Comment number 12.

    'Let the work of change begin'.

    'Change you can believe in'.

    And now 'promising change'.

    In my opinion, only the SNP (Scotland) and Plaid (Wales) are effecting real change in this land.

    England is politically dormant and awaits its fate.

  • Comment number 13.

    He's basically Brown half the experience and double the smugness. They're doomed.

  • Comment number 14.

    Bring it on!

    Miliband's might not be everyone's dream PM, but

    a.) he has to be better than Brown (ok, anyone could be)

    b.) he has demonstrated serious intellect in recent interviews as well as the ability to communicate.

    Also, I'm glad Harman has realised she didn't have a cat in hell's chance (I mean after her performance in PMQs a few weeks ago). I'm still shuddering at the prospect though.

    The only chance of Brown turning things around - marginally - is a truly shocking reshuffle. Get rid of Darling, Smith, Browne and bring back Beckett, Clarke, Milburn and Reid (if they will accept!).

    But I don't think Brown has the courage. He'll rather limp on for another two years believing there's been an international conspiracy against his premiership and that none of it is his own doing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Carrying on the motor racing analogy from the last article:

    Labour are squabling over tyre choices....

    At the first sign of rain they got rid of the 'slicks' (Blair) and put on 'intermediates' (Brown), but because it is pouring with rain he can't stay on the track, although he is refusing to come in and put on 'wets' (Milliband).

  • Comment number 16.

    Nick,

    I know you don't actually like comments to Blogs but suggest you look at the comments left on Mr Millibands' piece in the Grauniad.

    I think the problem is he's written a piece for Westminster Village and has started ignoring what the public actually think. He may be considering his political manoeuvres but at some stage, he WILL come face to face with the public's view
    I think you had a similar experience in your reporting of David Davis.

    Westminster would be wise to remember that the area outside is watching and judging ... and the mood is turning pretty ugly.

    CiF is a pretty good litmus test - Labour, tories, Lib dems - all can't stand him it seems.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am beginging to tire of this over-employment of the word `change' from the direction of New Labour.

    We have had eleven years of their change and are even worse off now than when it started. I can get that sort of change just by sitting on my backside, doing nothing!

    It is said they have spent £1.29 trillion pounds on change and Darling is now telling us there is no change left.

    I could accept this sort of essay from an undergraduate seeking office in the Students Union, but not from the Foreign Secretary.

  • Comment number 18.

    Charles:

    It's so ridiculous I'm gonna have a drink.

  • Comment number 19.

    6 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    It is time to take your head out of the sand.

    Milliband has 'held up the political knife' and he is hoping that someone is going to plunge it in Gordons back.

    It took Gordon a long time to stab Tony. The knives for Brown will find their target much faster.

  • Comment number 20.

    No 14 ajmy06:

    Bring back Reid: Oh my God! Isn't it bad enough that we're suffering the credit crunch?

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    Someone said that there should be an uknown to lead the party, because most if not all of the Cabinet are tarred with the NuLabour disasterously tainted brush.

    Well, not completely an unknown, but step forward Kate Hoey! A good Northern Irish girl (like myself), not afraid to speak her mind and rock the NuLab boat and her voting record on the issues that matter is good.

    Seriously, from what I can see all David Cameron has to be is Not-Gordon, which he does very well!!

  • Comment number 23.

    This reminds me of that remark allegedly made by the late King Hussein of Jordan about a previous Labour Foreign Secretary "Is he any good as a Doctor?"
    This sent me to investigate the background of Mr Miliband. I am not surprised to discover that he hasn't done anything but politics since leaving leaving school so he wouldn't bring a wealth of relevant experience to being PM.
    At least he's got Peter Hyman as his speechwriter so he will sound just like Blair.

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    Interesting language he uses in a well crafted (if shallow) article.

    "The Tories overclaim for what they are against because they don't know what they are for."

    "Every member of the Labour party carries with them a simple guiding mission on the membership card: to put power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few. When debating public service reform, tax policies or constitutional changes, we apply those values to the latest challenges"

    Seems simple enough, and yet ....

    His "guiding mission" is mom and apple-pie. Many in all parties would subscribe to those ideals. There are individuals in the Tory and Labour parties (not to mention the Lib-Dem donor) whose practices are clearly designed to put power and wealth in their own personal hands.

    It seems to me, as a friendly observer, that there is no longer a Left/Right battle in England. The difference is between the means of achieving common aims.

    The Tories had a history of non-intervention and decentralism. The Liberals had a history of intervention and decentralism. Neither, it seems to me, are confronting the critical issue of centralisation of power in the hands of "the few" who, of course know best.

    New Labour admire Thatcher because she knew best, and centralised power - (a very untraditional Tory stance), while being re-distributive of the resources of the state .

    Milliband is making a play for the leadership of a party whose traditions are entirely centralist.

  • Comment number 26.

    re: 15

    They're still squabbling over what year in which to hold the race!

  • Comment number 27.

    @10

    Maybe you should limit your contribution to zero if the only thing you can do is complain about people that actually have something to say just because you dont like what they are saying.

    Despite Labours best efforts we do still have freedom of speech in this country.

    To get back to the motor racing analogy from earlier blogs, you now sound like a commentator complaining that the leader of the race is driving too fast and making it difficult for the others to keep up. I'll give you a clue, the right foot makes you go faster

  • Comment number 28.

    Was Miliband one of the many Labour MPs who queued up to go on record last year saying that no-one should oppose Brown in a leadership contest because Brown was "by far the best the party had to offer"?

    If, by his own admission, Miliband would be a worse PM than Brown, what can the country expect if he does take over...?

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi Nick

    For my sins I work as a salesman. In a competitive market I never say disparaging things about my competitors because in comes across as petty and small minded.

    To sell something I find out the aspirations of the customer and then show how I can help them get there.

    What I find most troubling about modern politics is that there is no idea of where they want to take us. Do they believe in big or small government? Is rugged individualism the answer or the greatest mistake?

    This far from an election I understand parties are not about to give much detail of how things will be achieved but I would like to know what the want to achieve.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    Et tu, Mili?

  • Comment number 32.

    There is of course one way Brown could forestall a leadership challenge. He could go to the country.

    There would be many who would see this as a suicide pact in which the PLP would be characterised as so many lemmings running blindly towards the cliff edge. There would certainly be others, however, who would see it as an act of courage bring the infighting to an end and asking those who really matter - the people.

    The fact is that this is the one option Brown has which he can exercise all to himself. Surely even Labour is not stupid enough to have a leadership contest in the middle of a general election.

  • Comment number 33.

    You're spot-on with this one Nick. Miliband is clearly laying the groundwork for when someone of importance dares to wield the knife.

    Also interesting to see Denis MacShane - the perennial also-ran - is angling for a cabinet role with his slurping appraisal of Miliband in the Guardian...

    If Labour were sensible, they'd ditch Brown now and leave the Tories with a disastrous economy, to come back for 2020. Instead they'll cling to power, take the worst of the flack and give Cameron another 18 years.

  • Comment number 34.

    Charles:

    '90% of the comments in here are dreg' Yes Charles and they're all from you.

  • Comment number 35.

    It seems appropriate that we should have a nice young man like Mr Milliband to take on the nice Mr Cameron. Sorry, Gordon, dour and lugubrious is out!

  • Comment number 36.

    How many people and who read "The Guardian" outside London.If I wanted to articulate my visions for the future throughout the country,the last paper I would go to is this paper.The Guardian is nothing more than gloryfied rag for London political "luvvies" set.If Milliband truly wanted to get a message out throughout the UK he should choose a source with a much wider distribution around the country or explain his vision in interviews with some of the bolshy commentators who would test the robustness of his argument.

  • Comment number 37.

    30#

    Says more about you than Milliband.

    Aren't you the one that would vote for the BNP rather than (was it Harman?)

    Good to see the "name calling" tendancies remain at the fore of right wing debating skills.

  • Comment number 38.

    Just scanning the latest view from Peter Mandelson, it looks like his view on Labour is broadly similar to my own. He acknowledges the state of flux, praises David Miliband for his contribution, and cuts to the essence of the challenge facing members. I also note Harriet Harman is continuing to develop her new spine, and David MacShane concentrating on developing the real pluses Labour have to offer. It's the roundest view so far.

    It's easy to beat down or get sucked in by the gesture politicians and those who just want to grab their turn at the wheel, but that strikes me as being useless and a waste of time. The Roman Empire never laid siege to a city but passed them by. Instead, they allowed the benefits of their governance to make themselves clear and reward people who signed up to their programme. This looks like the model of success Labour is beginning to develop.

    People often confuse goals, processes, and outcomes. This leads to unrealistic ambitions, disasters, and regret. Everyone wants a better world but frustration obscures that and just causes infighting among a people. There's something to be said for focusing on the how. People can understand that, use it, and see for themselves. If Labour's message can tune slightly more towards that, I suspect, the enemies on Labour's flanks will scatter.

  • Comment number 39.

    If you want a good laugh, have a quick read of the comments about his article at the Grauniad website. Commenters from all political sides are incandscent with rage.

    Hilarious.

  • Comment number 40.

    #30

    excellent - had me laughing out loud. They couldn't polish Brown and they sure won't be able to polish mini-stool Miliband.

    as for #6, dear old Chuck, what you need to ask oyourself is exactly why your man and your brand need detoxifying? What heinous crimes have they committed that make them nuclear waste to their electorate.

    As for taking ten steps forward to get closer to the electorate, I think they'll find when they finally do that that the debate has moved on. No one wants you anymore. Tax and spend didn't work. It lead to waste, cash for peerages, a busted bank, a collapsing property market and the largest budget deficit since 1946.

    We've all moved on. newLabour are occupying a space no-one wants to be. They stand for disempowering the individula, undermining his freedoms, taking awaty his self respect. In fact they stand for everything that is NOT British.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sorry, sp in comment 39.

    "incandscent" should be "incandescent".

  • Comment number 42.

    If anyone in the Labour Party think they can take over from Gordon Brown they are very much mistaken. There is no-one at the moment who is big enough, so if they try, it will precipitate a General Election and Labour would undoubedly lose.
    They should hold their nerve and try to ride out the present situation.

  • Comment number 43.

    #30 power_to_the_ppl

    I agree 100% with yoru assessment. Miliband isn't even a rough diamond, just a polished t**d.

    #37 Eatonrifle

    It was quiet for a while. Have you crawled out from under the bedclothes?

  • Comment number 44.

    re: 37, Eatonrifle

    *Yawn* see post 106 on the previous blog, it's clear from the context that I didn't mean it literally. And even if I did I wouldn't have to justify anything to you :p

    re: 38, Charles

    "The Roman Empire never laid siege to a city but passed them by. Instead, they allowed the benefits of their governance to make themselves clear and reward people who signed up to their programme. This looks like the model of success Labour is beginning to develop."

    And look what happened to the Roman Empire!

  • Comment number 45.

    @38
    Quick history lesson re the Romans and seiges

    The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 was a decisive event in the First Jewish-Roman War, followed by the fall of Masada in 73. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in 66. The city and its famous Temple were completely destroyed.


    That looks like a duck to me

  • Comment number 46.

    Sorry Nick, but your informants are wrong.
    Miliband decided to try and unseat and replace Gordon Brown a month ago - along with his chums in the Miliband of Men.
    He's been getting soundings and lining up support in a very discreet but highly organised manner since that time.
    Along with his brother and an inner circle of 5-6 others (inc from time to time James Purnell) his aim was always to hit the ground running as soon as another by election went against the Party.
    His letter to the Guardian is almost word for word what a reliable source gave me as his private view a good six weeks ago.
    My guesstimate is that the PM has far less time left than people realise.
    Check it out - people who were www.notbornyesterday.org were first warned of this move on 15th May 2008.
    Read the link at http//:www.notbornyesterday.org/miliband.htm
    Regards
    Oldbutnofool x

  • Comment number 47.

    The most remarkable thing about Millibrands piece is that he assumes that the 'opposition' are the Tories.

    They are not, they are simply there to fill-the-boots, by default, in England, if Labour cannot revive the economy in the next 24 months.

    The real opposition are the SNP and Plaid but Labour are strangely silent about that.

  • Comment number 48.

    #37 Eatonrifle

    Dear, dear, and you actually voted, do vote, and will vote NuLabour...........?

    As me old nanny used to say, "Where there's no sense, there's no feeling"

  • Comment number 49.

    The political correspondant on the Sky web-site has cast Milliband in the role of Brown's assasin.


    Not sure I agree - the article was too limp for an assasination attempt. To me it looks like Milliband is trying to goad someone else to plunge the knife in public so that he can 'appear' clean on this one.

  • Comment number 50.

    Sky did reveal one interesting bit of news..... recently Number 10 kept dodging the question of wether Milliband was present at the recent Obama Downing Street talks and conclude that there may already be a rift running between Milliband and Brown.

  • Comment number 51.

    '90% of the comments in here are dreg' Yes Charles and they're all from you.


    If you want to know what's happening today, read Nick Robinson. If you want to know what's happening yesterday, read a newspaper. If you want to know what's happening tomorrow, read my comments.

    Forgive the ego, but I've been quoted by the international media and won two awards for trolling on the internet. You guys are just small timers. That's okay by me because your dreg just makes me look good.

    To address Robin's point: Britain used to be more purposeful, sociable, and patient. Getting some of that back into the mix isn't just what Britain used to be, it's what we have to be.

    Remember, you heard it here first.
  • Comment number 52.

    re: 48

    True, there's no sense or feeling in the Labour ranks, just a blind lust for control. They must be stopped.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    48#

    Me and millions of others 1997, 2001, 2005 ring any bells Loser.

    If you know what Cameron's Cons offer as a better alternative feel free to enlighten me OR enlighten everyone as no one seems to know (even himself).

  • Comment number 55.

    #51 - Oh NO - not meditation with attitude!

  • Comment number 56.

    Really?!? How surprising you and Peter agree! Well there's a shock.

    That should tell you something Charles.

    I've been around here long enough to remember when Charlie swore he was neutral, at least he's finally nailing his colours to the mast.

    Welcome to the debate!

    Oh and please refrain from belittling anyone who doesn't agree with you. It's just not cricket.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Why do I refuse to take it at face value?"

    ... perhaps Nick, that like so many other media political commentators these days, you've taken Benito Mussolini's nostrum to heart .... If the facts cannot be made to fit the theory, then the facts must be called lies ......

  • Comment number 58.

    #54,

    Insightful, cutting and witty as usal...

  • Comment number 59.

    Eatonrifle:


    Post 37:

    'Good to see the "name calling" tendancies remain at the fore of right wing debating skills.'

    post 54:

    'Me and millions of others 1997, 2001, 2005 ring any bells Loser.'



    You definitely have that Nu Labour trait called hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    Re #36 gavin_humph

    You're missing the point, I think. It's not about who reads it but what the "Guardianistas" themselves like Polly Toynbee & Michael White are saying about "Duff" Gordon.

    I strongly recommend you at least to have a look at David Miliband intervenes: Labour needs to change and change now. If, like me, you find the audio doesn't work, you can listen to Michael White: 'He didn't mention Gordon Brown once' on MP3.

  • Comment number 62.

    In case you hadn't noticed Nick, the leadership race has started. Milliband in the Guardian. Full page puff piece in the Evening Standard yesterday on Harriet Harman, praising her fine(!) *koff koff* performance at PMQs. Andy Burnham popping up in Mark Easton's blog., and I'm sure there'll be a load of Balls arriving shortly.

    Of course, they'd do better going off on holiday and actually thinking about how to do their respective jobs better, but why do that when there's power to be fought over? Expect the internecine war over the next 18 months to be every bit as edifying as the last days of the previous Tory government. No wonder we feel comtempt for politicians.

  • Comment number 63.

    Re #51 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    And how long is "Britain" going to last, thanks to your chums' asymmetric devolution?

    Some insightful insider "dope" about how "Duff" Gordon will meet the challenge of the SNP on his native links would at least make a change from your usual claptrap.

  • Comment number 64.

    Really?!? How surprising you and Peter agree! Well there's a shock.

    That should tell you something Charles.

    I've been around here long enough to remember when Charlie swore he was neutral, at least he's finally nailing his colours to the mast.

    Welcome to the debate!

    Oh and please refrain from belittling anyone who doesn't agree with you. It's just not cricket.


    Peter Mandelson is in grave danger of looking statesmanlike. There's a place for fun and freedom but where it turns into immaturity it tends to end badly. His contribution to the body politic is thoughtful and timely. His advice is universally sound.

    And I do tend more towards the neutral. Sound purpose and a sense of context is important. Studying both American and Japanese cultures is informative in this respect. People could move beyond taking the worst interrpetation and move more towards the better potential.

    I don't debate. I discuss. Debate is a winners and losers game, and I'm mostly focused on excellence, sharing, and the long-term view. If the Tories weren't so bullish and the Liberals not so fond of wagging fingers, perhaps, some positive consensus would have space to emerge.
  • Comment number 65.

    Just an example: The Roman Empire never laid siege to a city but passed them by. This is patent nonsense, as any properly educated schoolboy or girl could tell you the story of Scipio Africanus who led the siege of Carthage. (Or the siege of Jerusalem 69A.D. and the subsequent destruction of the Jewish Temple).


    Typo. I could've said the Roman Empire never routinely laid seige, but anyone who isn't nitpicking would get the point. Plus, a little more fact checking in other directions would be useful around here. It would make stuff more readable.

    As for your support of Labour (Broon, Millipede, the unspeakable Mandy, Harridan Harperson, etc.), you remind me of Emperor Hirohito's famous declaration of surrender: ?The war has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage.?


    Japan won the peace. In many ways, Britain is more similar to Japan than America, and the post capitalism and globalisation situation we've been through isn't so different. Britain has a shattered industry and society, and a sense of purpose, cohesiveness, and playing the long game will help rebuild things.

    Say it ain't so.
  • Comment number 66.

    It's been almost a week, but we still haven't seen Gordon Brown's Geoffrey Howe moment.

    Instead of a public disection, we have the MilliBand of Brothers sniping from cover. At the moment they're missing, but pretty soon someone's going to make the kill shot.

    Or to continue the motor racing analogy from earlier posts, we're in qualifying; waiting to see who gets pole position for the main race.

    Intriguing times.

  • Comment number 67.

    #65 Charles

    I'm sure there's a place for discussions, but this is a political blog - politics is about the power to take decisions.

    Also, when you got needled, some of your own postings were more than a little barbed!

  • Comment number 68.

    It's probably a sign of advancing years, but I can't take any politician seriously who looks like a teenage school prefect, I'm afraid. Miliband is not the one.

  • Comment number 69.

    #65 Charles

    "Britain has a shattered industry and society"

    Hardly an evidence based statement, I would have thought.

    Politically, it's not shattered yet, though it will be if Brownedov's "asymmetric devolution" is not addressed.

    Personally I'll settle for "surgical separation" rather than "shattered" (with a bit of sticking plaster in the short term).

  • Comment number 70.

    Millibands accusations of overclaims by the Tories is somewhat tempered by an article steeped in them.

    "Every member of the Labour party carries with them a simple guiding mission on the membership card: to put power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few."

    *This* from a government that has overseen an increase in the rich/poor gap, stalled social mobility and has centralized power? did he type that with a straight face?

    "I really believe that it is only our means, the political creed of the Labour party combining government action and personal freedom"

    That sounds like an excellent creed and has little in common in the current Labour creed.

    "If people and business are to take responsibility, you need government to act as a catalyst."

    Well, you could start by not trying to weasel out of Labours contribution to the current financial mess? No? Oh well.

  • Comment number 71.

    #66 - SudaNim

    Horse racing might be better. Lots of jockeying for position, improper use of the whip, a horrible pile up at Beecher's Brook and a rank outsider running wide to take the race.

  • Comment number 72.

    #65

    I'll say it ain't so. Japan did not win the peace. Japan, like Germany, was bunged full of cheap US cash for decades to salve the US conscience and rebuild the economy.

    The Uk post the second world war was bankrupt and put into further dire straights by a labour government that bungled the negotiation of a ruinous loan from the US that we have only just paid off.

    Japan went into a ten year recession in the nineties when the rebuilding and the US cash had run out. It has barely got its act back together now.

    You Newlabour bloggers are always asking for evidence, but don't you just love crediting the rest of the world with greater successes than our own.

    This is the real problem with socialists; they don't actually like this country and they put on their rose tinted spectales about everywhere else.

  • Comment number 73.

    Nick, did it mean "Gordon we have polished the gun, loaded it for you and we will now retreat to a respectful distance for you to do the necessary."?

    Its a bit like Geoffrey Howe. I can't remember what he said but the fact that he said it meant that Thatcher was on her way out.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    I think Labours biggest problem over the last few years is having bought into their own bull.

    The attitude is one of "if the people don't like X, it's because they don't understand it." No concept of people disliking policy and ideas precisely because they _do_ understand it.

    This is what they simply don't get, they repeat that they're listening ad infinitum, yet discard anything they don't want to hear.

    Unless they reverse that hubris and arrogance they're facing a very, very long time out of power.

  • Comment number 76.

    I feel sorry for the Italian Foreign Minister having to hang around on the podium while the English hacks repeat questions endlessly on Labour leadership.

  • Comment number 77.

    It's started hasn't it?! Instead of Governing, Labour MPs have begun to turn on themselves...

    Gordon has nothing else up his sleeve he should call an election - and if he is lucky, might actually win it. This will either shut his critics up or solve the problem of the leadership. A fourth term for the Conservatives ended up being their greatest defeat...

  • Comment number 78.

    If Miliband takes over - he has his work cut out. Labour has an image problem - they are the 'new nasty party' i.e:

    - 42 days

    - Pensions raid

    - 10p tax

    - Stealth taxes

  • Comment number 79.

    #71 threnodio

    I presume you meant both meanings of "rank"?

  • Comment number 80.

    "Britain has a shattered industry and society"

    Hardly an evidence based statement, I would have thought.


    There's plenty around if people want to run some metrics or go digging. The few savvy people I've met tend to think the British economy is running on momentum. That's why ditching the contrary and insular attitudes, and becoming more forward thinking, team orientated, and getting over short-term pain is useful.

    Most folks are capable but bad management or peer pressure can get in the way. It's the root of a lot of problems in Britian but if the tilt can aim in a more positive direction these faults can be transformed into strengths.

    I can't think of a British brand that makes universal headlines. Everyone's heard of Apple and Sony but Britain is a complete vacuum. With enough flair and hard work this can change. Heck, the next Steve Jobs could be reading this comment now.

    You gotta have little faith in yourself.
  • Comment number 81.

    "27. At 12:37pm on 30 Jul 2008, Pot_Kettle wrote:
    @10

    Maybe you should limit your contribution to zero if the only thing you can do is complain about people that actually have something to say just because you dont like what they are saying."

    Oh dear, I seem to have upset you, you sensitive soul! Just incase you are going to fret you are not one of "likes the sight of their own words" although you do go close! Your wit is so biting I don't know I will be able to recover from it.

    I will limit now myself on this blog to my usual quota of two comments.

    PS The comment was addressed to Nick - so please don't think you have to reply to EVERYTHING that you disagree with even when it's not for your consideration.

  • Comment number 82.

    Charles E

    Having a high self-regard for your own opinions about the future is fine.

    The problem is that this government has expressed great opinions about OUR future then pretend that the land we were led to to is absolutely fine. (Just a tiny bit more "change" and everything will be perfect.)

    If we all wore their spectacles, we could see England win the World Cup, poverty abolished in Africa, an educational miracle in our midst and an economy fit for the future.

    Many of us don't really care which bunch of politicians are in power. Just what they do with that power. NOT what they say to us or talk about amongst themselves and - with respect to Nick - not even what they provoke commentators, or self-approving posters, to write.

    Give us a bunch of people who realise that they don't actually own us or our incomes.

    Change is not the same as improvement.
    Spending is not the same as investment.
    Passing laws is not the equivalent of delivering an improved society.

    Getting other people to develop infrastructure is fine (PFI/PPP), but not so clever if you just load the burden of repayment onto our kids and it isn't just government borrowing. Most new schools and hospitals have NOT been developed via our present taxes.

    What exactly has this mob done to replace power generation over the last decade? Indeed, what massive injection of R and D money have they poured into new technologies to replace old, carbon hungry resources?

    What amazes me is that anyone really believes it's important to have a specific group of individuals in power. God forbid, but a random plane crash could take out a whole party's leadership (or a corporation's) at a major conference. At that point, it becomes the structure, not the words, that matter.

    It really is what they DO that matters. Ideas are easy. Delivery is the hard bit.

    Show why Brown and co could not have found a way to leave the 10p tax in place for the poorest.

    Show me the economic miracle we've apparently experienced over a decade and I could even endorse your viewpoint.

  • Comment number 83.

    #73

    The killer line was "I hope there isn't a monopoly on cricketing metaphors, (Thatcher had a few days earlier vowed to hit any challenger for six), but it's rather like sending your openers out to bat only to find, just as the first ball is bowled that their bats have been broken by the team captain."

    When he said that there was an audible gasp from the MP's. He was refering to Thatcher undermining his attempts at negotiating in Europe. That is how a political assasination should be done! Milliband, Purnell and co wouldn't have the collective intelligence to come up with something that eloquent!

  • Comment number 84.

    #73 - thegangofone

    You mean you want him to shoot himself in the foot again?

    "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find, as the first balls are being bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain" (Geoffrey Howe).

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick,

    Remember your blog when Gordon was knifing Tony in the back?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2006/09/this_one_will_r.html

    The chickens have come home to roost Mr Brown. No doubt you are not grinning now like you were in that blog photo.....

  • Comment number 86.

    #79 - oldnat

    Indeed - and 'wide'.

  • Comment number 87.

    The leadership plot is gestating
    (At least Harm-man's bid is deflating)
    The Guardian's full
    Of Miliband's bull
    And it hardly needs any translating.

  • Comment number 88.

    #84 threnodio

    Yes well done on the Howe quote.

    As for the "gun", very metaphorically, I think hes done his feet a few times now. I think those pesky M.P.s are starting to quietly hope for something more drastic.

    If I was a Labour supporter, and I am sure they still exist, many have already said he should avoid doing a Hague. Get all of the flak and Cameron gets the glory later.

    That said I don't think Labour even now realises just how much doo doo they are in. Its going to take a long, long time to get trust back.

  • Comment number 89.

    Ahh. Wot goes around comes around Gordon.


    But whats this:

    New Labour won three elections by offering real change, and must do so again.

    How can you offer change when you are the incumbent.

    Will it be like the renewal after blair?


    Hes half right though, hes cottoned on to the fact tha people want change, hes just being a tad optimistic if he thinks people want it from him.

    Oh what the hell have a go any how.







  • Comment number 90.

    # 80

    There is a 'British' (well English really) brand that is not only universally known but furthermore, has done more for the sum of human happiness than any economist, politician or religious leader can even remotely dream of.

    I refer of course, to The Beatles.

  • Comment number 91.

    @81

    Your comment was addressed to Nick
    Oh well that makes everthing alright then
    Apology accepted and I trust you will be limiting yourself to zero in future as two posts with no opinion is such a waste of computing power and associated Carbon footprint

  • Comment number 92.

    #80 Charles

    So no response to my comments on your assertion of a "shattered society" then?

    It's easy to argue against points which weren't made.

    In response to your arguments, you clearly haven't considered the relative spends of Celtic and Rangers, as to which might win the Premier League. Indeed you completely ignore the prospects of a resurrection of Aberdeen's squad!

    That, I think, is a clear refutation.

  • Comment number 93.

    Chuck @65,

    Hmmm.... Your plain wrong assertions (or distortions), nonchalantly reduced to a 'typo' with anyone who questions you reduced to a 'nitpicker'. How very New Labour.

    As for Japan wining the peace: I certainly wouldn't want to live there - or copy the nature of their society. If that's 'winning' I'm a happy loser.

    You say "Britain has a shattered industry and society". I disagree with the first part (we are, after all, the fifth strongest economy in the world - and not having antiquated coal mining or tractor factories, btw.)

    I agree with the second part regarding our shattered society, but would contend that this is attributable directly to the rise of the welfare state and the social policies (moral-relativism, educational malpractice [by not enforcing basic standards], multiculturalism, etc., etc.) championed by the very people who run - or support - this government.

    After all, thing have not gotten any better during the past 11 years of New-Labour stewardship - in fact they have deteriorated in almost every area of public conduct.

  • Comment number 94.

    I have a lump of cheese in my fridge, it has been there for about 6 weeks and is starting to smell.

    If Labour need someone to run the country, this piece of stale cheese is at a loose end and could step in.

    It couldn't do any worse than the current government, and if it does fail, at least we can all say 'ah well, it was just some mouldy cheese - what did we expect?'

    I think the british public might find that a little more reassuring than the current alternatives we have.

    Crackers anyone?

  • Comment number 95.

    What amazes me is that anyone really believes it's important to have a specific group of individuals in power. God forbid, but a random plane crash could take out a whole party's leadership (or a corporation's) at a major conference. At that point, it becomes the structure, not the words, that matter.

    It really is what they DO that matters. Ideas are easy. Delivery is the hard bit.

    ...

    Show me the economic miracle we've apparently experienced over a decade and I could even endorse your viewpoint.


    The Thatcher and Blair years gave people what they wanted but Britain didn't always make the best of that. Today, the new structure David Miliband is outlining is by the book perfect. While national goals are important the real success happens when people run with the plan.

    Two of my favourite gurus are Peter F. Drucker and David Ogilvy. They're out of fashion with Masters of the Universe but the focus on practicality, customer relations, and quality are time tested and proven to deliver results. Britain can learn from that sense of purpose and context.

    I'm not going to write a thesis on star quality in 60 words or less, but movie stars, business gurus, and Zen is about developing enlightenment. By working both ends we create a virtuous circle. As both work in perfect harmony, the master and student are indistinguishable.
  • Comment number 96.

    #80

    What is the matter with Chuck Hogwash and all the other socialists who have such a downer on this country? They don't understand that the country is Great despite them not because of them.

    So here are some names for Chuck and his mates:

    Rolls Royce - number one supplier of aero engines world wide.
    BAe Systems - world class defence and civil aerospace company
    LandRover - world class auto manufacturer
    Aston Martin - wrold class luxury catr manufacturer
    Marconi - world class manufacturer of telecoms systems

    Who do these people think invented the telephone, the television, the light bulb, where was Concorde developed? Inwhich country did the industrial revolution begin? Was it started by socialists? Of course not.

    The problem for them of course is that socialists have not been responsible for anything except more pay, disruption, strikes and waste. They should stand aside immediately and let the country get on with its job. Cut the culture of dependency and meddling and waste.

    And David Miliband wouldn't have the first idea how to do this nor any of his socialist mates.

  • Comment number 97.

    re: 95

    "I'm not going to write a thesis on star quality in 60 words or less, but movie stars, business gurus, and Zen is about developing enlightenment. By working both ends we create a virtuous circle. As both work in perfect harmony, the master and student are indistinguishable."

    I think you need to pull your thumb out of your bottom Charlie boy!

  • Comment number 98.

    Since we have learned in the past couple of hours that British Gas are hiking prices by 35%, everyone's favourite aunty has been fined a record 400,000 GBP for fixing phone-ins and the Lords have ruled that the SFO was acting lawfully in dropping the BaE enquiry, one could be forgiven for thinking that hitting rock bottom is not limited to the Labour party.

  • Comment number 99.

    I've just read the article. What an odious little two-faced creep David Miliband is.

  • Comment number 100.

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

 

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