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Sore political heads

Nick Robinson | 11:18 UK time, Friday, 25 July 2008

It's morning after a terrible Glaswegian night before for the Labour Party. Gordon Brown will not be the only one who woke today with a very sore political head. The voters of Glasgow East have ensured that nowhere can now be called a safe Labour seat.

Margaret Curran and John MasonOvernight, a Labour majority of over 13,500 in Labour's formerly third safest seat in Scotland, and its 25th safest seat in the UK, simply vanished.

On polling day, the Westminster village - politicians and journalists alike - had convinced itself that Labour would just squeak home.

What's more, the collective mood was that it was time for the summer break, that the fate of the prime minister could wait until we all gathered again in the run-up for the conference season. Many, therefore, will have been shocked by the news they awoke to this morning. That means that what follows next is completely unpredictable.

Gordon Brown at least has an opportunity in the speech he gives today to describe how he plans to get himself, and his party, out of the hole they find themselves in. As he does, Labour MPs will be pondering whether their prospects are better with him or without. They will have the summer to debate, to discuss, to plot their next moves.


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  • Comment number 1.

    So Gordon Brown's reaction is just "getting on with the job" - More of the same. Exactly what has to happen beofre he senses that people are not happy with the way he is doing things ?

    Given the state fo the Labour Party finances and votes like this one, it is possible that when a gneral election is called that the parliamentary Labour Party could actually cease to exist.

  • Comment number 2.

    Unpredictable ? Surely not, Nick.

    The game is up now. There are only 2 possible outcomes to this result. Either Brown stands down as Prime Minister ... or he insists on soldeiering on knowing he cannot win the next general election and he is therefore ousted by a palace coup.

  • Comment number 3.

    Gordon Brown is blessed (or cursed) with what he believes is a G-d-given position to fulfill. He believes he is the natural choice to be prime minister and this divine task is his alone. Blair had to be replaced by him, and despite the ever spiralling downhill turn of his chariot of fire, Brown is determined to continue. Cherie Blair must be laughing her head off, together with the opposition.

  • Comment number 4.

    Doesn't Brown realise the people don't want him to "get on with the job" ? He has destroyed the country while in his previous job. We want rid of him and his tax-n-squander party !

  • Comment number 5.

    Gordon Brown responded just like most of us thought he would.

    Hes like the manager of a failing football team that keeps trotting out the same excuses. Eventually the fans get sick of them as it becomes obvious he doesnt have the answers to the problems.

    If you have one iota of common sense you have to wonder what Gordon Brown has been thinking with some of his decisions.

    I think its hard to not come to the conclusion he is simply not up to the job.

    On a side note - as someone thats voted for all the main parties and a Scot its great to see a change in a Labour stronghold. Some in Central Scotland would vote Labour no matter who is leading and what their policies are - the Ice is breaking!!

  • Comment number 6.

    A glaswegian kiss nicely delivered

    Sore heads you bet

    Prepare for panic.

  • Comment number 7.

    Gordon can pretend to listen now. So far that has consisted of planning for nuclear power that the majority don't want. Also trying to push through a GM "debate" that hasn't happened because 80% are opposed.

    So he's lost Glasgow East -worse than I thought. It means that the head in the sand approach to the 2010 Scottish referendum is working well then.

    Nobody will want his job but he's going to take Honest John Majors title of the most mediocre Prime Minister for a century or so.

    His legacy.

    We get the end of the UK and probable energy shortfalls because Labour did not invest aggressively enough in renewables at the right time. A lot of what we have is in Scotland and Wales and they may be separated soon.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sometimes it's nice to be wrong - I really didn't think the SNP could do it!

    OK, just a by-election, and Labour will probably retake it at the General Election, when the voters have the difficult choice of either voting for constitutional change here, or voting against having the Tories in power at UK level. Voting in Scotland is a little more complicated than south of the border.

    The result is good for the Scots and, and consequently, good for the English. Maybe time for the Welsh and northern Irish to consider what they want their constitutional situation to be after 2010.

    You British guys need to consider how meaningful your identity is, when parts of your country vote

  • Comment number 9.

    A new film? Carry on Gordon?

  • Comment number 10.

    Labour now have a lot to answer for. They have made the biggest mistake in their entire history. Thinking Scotland was their safe territory they created a big local council: the scottish assembly. Jobs for the labour boys when they next lost Westminster.

    The only problem is that Nats have got it sussed. With what little Labour talent there is located in Westminster, Labour's C team left in Scotland don't look too good against Alex Salmond (the SNP don't have anyone else of note).

    Do 5 million Scotts really need 3 tiers of Government? Who pays?

    This mess will have to be sorted out and soon. And not by independence.

  • Comment number 11.

    Keep doing your job Gordon, keep doing your job....

    Meanwhile, at every opportunity, we'll do ours and vote against Labour....

    Take the hint and say this prayer

    Oh Gordon, what in heavens,
    shallowed be thy name.
    The Kingdom's done,
    truley well done,
    with Labour in year eleven.
    Give up this day, you're politically dead.
    And give us back our stealth taxes,
    as we get back those 10p's taxed against us.
    And lead us not into desperation,
    and deliver us from Europe.
    For it's not your kingdom, your power or your glory. Not ever, ever, ever.

  • Comment number 12.

    I posted this on "oops" but things have moved on.

    Brown, did everything a dictator usually does. Now he has no-where to turn.


    1 Got rid of Blair after plotting against him for 10 years

    2 Surrounded himself with weak yes-men and women.

    3 Marginalised any real competition for PM by banishing them from cabinet

    4 Got himself a Chancellor who does what he says

    5 Jumps up and down when anyone questions him and is a bully

    6 Makes ALL of the decisions

    7 Thinks he is infallible.

    All of the great dictators have done the same, except they were able to send the opposition to Siberia or eliminate them.

    And in the end they go down with a wimper, having done huge damage to their counties.

    Labour need to say what Sir Roger Keyes said to Chamberlain in 1940, repeating the words of Oliver Cromwell

    "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go"

    Result. Chamberlain went, Churchill was made PM, we won the war, and we are all now British and not German.

    All it needs is a brave Labour MP, if there is one!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    This could be a seminal moment. Mr Brown has just lost any last vestige of leverage he might have had with the leaders of the trades unions. Expect his paymasters to make policy demands that will render Labour even more unelectable.

    Brown must be ruing the day he funked the general election he would have won. I suppose we'll have to tolerate him until the election. His heirs apparent in the form of Balls, Byrne, Burnham, Milliband et al are equally unappetising as not one of these callow youths has done a proper job or actually run anything.

  • Comment number 14.

    Labour MPs should now ponder the folly of their refusal to have a leadership contest and hold a coronation instead. A contest might well have exposed Brown's inability to communicate with a broad cross section of society including many Labour voters - even Scottish Labour voters. Instead he is resented my much of the populace who think he has been foisted on them and lacks legitimacy. That he seems utterly incompetent doesn't help either.

  • Comment number 15.


    GB is supposed to be speaking to the unions sometime soon. I'm sure they will hold him to ransom over the defeat in Glasgow by promising votes if he gives them what they want.

    Any coverage of this if it's happened, or if it hasn't, will there be any?

  • Comment number 16.

    re my #8

    "You British guys need to consider how meaningful your identity is, when parts of your country vote" should have continued "to dismember it."

    #10 Blogpolice

    I quite agree that there are too many layers of Government, the only question is which one(s) to remove.

    If you live in Scotland, then your views matter, and we could have a rational debate about them.

    If you live elsewhere, then you may have some useful points to add to our debate (though you'll need to display some evidence, instead of making assertions of your own opinion).

  • Comment number 17.

    #12 mikepko

    Have I got you right?

    Brown resigns, the UK Parliament forms a National Government, and we subsequently win a war against Germany.

    Aren't Iraq and Afghanistan enough for you?

  • Comment number 18.

    Nick, Nu (Improved) Labour and all the rest!

    The late Edward John Smith was just 'getting on with the job' as all around sank underneath him.

    History is now repeating herself with a big wide (TB) grin.

    After Labour arrived Nu (Improved) Labour, so what comes next? Diet Labour, Labour lite, or Classic Labour?

    May we all live in interesting times!

  • Comment number 19.

    In the US, a sitting president has never been deposed in times of economic success. Also a sitting president has never held on in an economic downturn. It looks like this is holding true for the UK as well.
    Some say we should feel sorry for GB as the problems are not of his doing. I dissagree he supported the Iraq war which has been one of the major factors in the oil price rises. He has borrowed to the point we no longer have any reserves.
    Whilst the current situation may not have been avoidable it can be said that they have been made worse by the actions of the Labour government over the last 10 years.
    It's about time for a well deserved pasting, I think.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ref 9. Blogpolice.

    Carry on Regardless 1961

    The Helping Hands agency employs a range of talentless odd balls to perform a range of everyday jobs. Even the simplest of tasks get bungled by this range of incompetents

    The film is unique in the series, in that it is more a series of interlinking sketches than being one continuous plot.

    Sounds much more appropriate.

  • Comment number 21.

    15 shelling

    Its happening NOW.

    The BBC says

    "At the Warwick conference, the unions, which now account for the vast majority of Labour Party funding, are reportedly putting about 100 demands on issues ranging from new rights for workers to free school meals for all primary school pupils.

    The three-day forum will be considering new ideas and amendments to current policies.

    It brings together 55 Constituency Labour Parties and 30 trade unions, as well as other socialist movements.

    It divides policy into six areas - Britain in the world; communities; crime and justice; education; health; prosperity. "

  • Comment number 22.

    Dear all

    Reading a detailed biography of Gordon Brown 2 years ago made it abundantly clear that his extreme obsessive personality is the reality rather than a media creation. This led me to believe he woul dbe high risk as a leader.

    But I thought his political skill and experience would get him through OK - however much I personally dislike him.

    But the mistake over last Autumn's election that never was - the fact that is showed how cynical he was treating the public - was in itself an error from which there could be no recovery. Let alone any subsequent errors.

    I cannot see that the public will ever elect him as PM. The Labour Party has an impossibe choice as what to do - but it is a consequence of having a leader elected unopposed last year.

    When the political histories of this era are written people will look back with astonishment that one of the two main parties (moreover the party in Government!)elected aleader unopposed. I do not know what the Labour Party should do. But lose they will. If they believe the tide can be turned back they are in a deluded state. The country is rejecting their leader and most of their policies too.

  • Comment number 23.

    Calling all post masters

    500 New post offices to open in Glasgow East.

  • Comment number 24.

    I will freely admit that I didnt expect to awake this morning to such positive news.

    To quote the begining of thunderbirds I think it was " anything can happen in the next half hour"

    Pat you missed the scenario where he hangs on and no one is mad enough to take over before the impending electoral defeat.

    If you go back to 97 there wasnt a tory to be found who was going to challenge Major because defeat was already assured. They certainly didnt expect to be behind for 11 years either so the wise money was to hang on and kick the leader once he had lost.

    It was a great move by Parnell, who was openly against Brown a few months ago to come in with a stealth policy announcement that ensures Brown ultimate defeat. There truly is now no recovering from this body blow.

    This is just political history repeating itself with one exception Major managed to win one term, other than that the scenario is identical.

    So long Labour see you in 15 years if you're lucky

  • Comment number 25.

    I have just listened to part of the Gordon Brown speech to labour party activists. He is beyond belief! I am sure that when Hitler was in his bunker he was saying exactly the same. I am here to lead the country through difficult times! We can still win the victory which we so deserve. You are volunteers working for nothing.

    What amazes me is that nobody any longer refers to cash for honours, loans made to the labour party, the court judgements which have found ballot fixing. Could it be that because these 'tools' are no longer available that parties which could rely on the votes are no longer getting them.

    Is Gordon Brown so clearing up politics that labour will never have any power again? Were things actually far worse than anybody ever thought.

    Another soldier killed in Afghanistan yet where were Gordons regrets.

    Every day more shame, more disgrace, look at extraordinary rendition which Milliband had to admit to, look at torture in Guantalamo Bay, an American base in another foreign state, Cuba. What exactly are they doing in Cuba, surely measures must be taken to close the base. This is shameful and we are as complicit as anybody. Announce our complete withdrawal from Iraq, and do it now! We were always the problem and never the solution, there is evidence that since our retreat to the airbase thankfully very few soldiers have died. Proof if any was needed that so many soldiers and innocent civilians have died in vain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Same old, same old. Brown will never accept the message that a Labour guvverment is most retrograde to our desire. He can't possibly have failed to notice that the people don't want him to 'listen' and to stay on as PM, so the only conclusion that can be drawn is that he's simply refusing to go. He seems to like the perceived authority that goes with being PM but doesn't understand that it's not enough to trot out the usual excuses and that he actually has to govern. Nobody's fooled!

    The time for repeating the same old nonsense is past! Get thee behind me Gordon!

  • Comment number 27.

    Such a dramatic result (albeit expected) yet it's reported by the BBC in such an understated way.

    As for Brown's comments about listening he's clearly not hearing. It's all over GB....time to move on!

  • Comment number 28.

    I've just seen a report on the treasury figures. Apparently, we're heading for a debt of £57bn (without the £100bn or so liabilities we got when GB nationalised Northern Rock) and it's still going up, when other western countries are tightening their belts. GB has got to stop spending money and reduce borrowing, otherwise the inflation rate will soar further and our economy will never recover.

    I think the fiscal rules have got to be changed and our spending should be managed totally by an independent body, otherwise we've got buckley's chance of ever balancing the books in my lifetime.

    Mr Brown is the instigator of all this mess and he should go, or be voted out as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 29.

    How many posts will we get to before someone comes in and waves a red flag, or even the white flag of surender, either will do.

    I reckon 50

  • Comment number 30.

    Anyone know when the last time an incumbant PM lost his own seat at a General Election?

    Every time we - the electorate - tell Gordon what we think of him, he just comes out again with the "we need to listen" line.

    Well, clearly Gordon, you need to get a hearing aid, as each time we get a chance the message we are sending you keeps getting louder and louder. As #12 quoted, ...depart and let us have done with you...

    If he stays at Number 10 then Labour have got to be in for a terrible mauling at the next election.

    As unimpressed with Labour as I am, that would not be a good thing, as I believe a good and effective opposition is vital in any democracy.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry chaps, but Tony Woodley, leader of the largest Union, has just said that Brown and labour are best for Britain, that there should be windfall taxes on utilities.

    So we know who has the power now, don't we. The Unions are in charge again.

  • Comment number 32.

    NewLabour have really got a lot to answer for.

    Limping along with a clown for a prime minister is not what this country needs.

    How many times are we going to be told that Gordon Brown is going to lead us through the difficult times? Doing what exactly? Wasting out time and money with useless legislation like 42 day detention and ID cards.

    How exactly do ID cards lead us through the difficult times?

    If this is showing us his vision, then I am a banana. He's shown us he's stubborn, incapable of understanding that 5.2m people lost out from the 10p tax debacle, incapable of accepting the blame the Tripartite system he set up (now "under review"). It's not even funny any more.

    No real leader waited ten years for the job. And Gordon Brown is not a real leader.

  • Comment number 33.

    Visiting several ex-pat friends in the middle-east a few weeks ago, none of them could understand why Gordon Brown is SO unpopular. As one of them pointed out, when he last lived here about 20 years ago; there used to be riots, football hooliganism, 3 million unemployed, high inflation, high interest rates and car ownership was more expensive in real terms than it is today (probably a good thing actually, as there were only about half the number of cars on the road).

    Yes, Gordon's made mistakes which he should own up to, but what about the rest of us? The main reason people are feeling hard up is because they've borrowed far too much money in recent years and now that their greed is catching up with them, they want to blame anyone but themselves.

  • Comment number 34.

    re comment 28 by Shelling out.

    I agree 100 per cent. I have been saying it for weeks. Is anyone out there listening?

    Deficit £57 billion this financial year is now a consensus prediction. Totally unsustainable. This is without so much "investment" of types not included. It is also with Northern Rock contingent liabilities taken on.

    The Government keep in announcing new initiatives every day. New plans. New measures. They all cost.

    But WHEN WHEN WHEN will the Government announce that it wil be cutting spending - and in what areas. It has no choice. It is politically horrible and an admission that the "prudence" has not been prudent - but we are all waiting.

    Normally in an economic slowdown the Government spending can be a counter-balancing cushion. But not this time because we already have an unsustainable deifict. Spending has to be reduced. And very quickly. It cannot wait a couple of years. This is the harsh economic truth. The unions need to understand this too.

  • Comment number 35.

    Browns insistence he's listening - when all available evidence is to the contrary - after each and every failure, has become repetitive to the point of it becoming a comedy catchphrase.

    At least once he's booted out of Number 10 he'll have a career - albeit as a warm up act for Little and Large.

    It's all getting a little odd, I thought Blairs final days had more than a little Norma Desmond about them, but Browns current divorce proceedings against reality is rapidly descending into Chris Morris material.

  • Comment number 36.

    @28, shellingout

    If you're concerned about waste I suggest looking at the recent PAC on the MoD, along with the underlying - and, sadly, mainly unreported - stories behind the recent Typhoon and aircraft carrier announcements.

    It's a pity the BBC isn't more proactive on these things, especially given its reach and the fact such waste is endemic throughout all tiers of government.

    At a time of such economic uncertainty and Browns insistence we all need to tighten our belts, now, more than usual, we need to have the governments fiscal obesity put under the spotlight.

  • Comment number 37.

    33 sbusdjh

    We are not in debt. We have money in the bank. We haven't borrowed other than the mortgage. We only spend what we have in the bank.

    And we too are feeling squeezed. And the feeling is getting worse by the day.

    Now we all know there is not much we can do about prices at the moment. The problem is we haven't any leadership from Brown. Saying "we will listen and learn" every five minutes doesn't help. Saying "I feel your pain" doesn't help.

    The problem for Brown is that everyone knows he plotted to get rid of Blair for 10 years, he is vain, he doesn't leisten and doesn't learn. Put simply he is a very vain man who "cannot" be wrong whatever he does. He is a loser.

  • Comment number 38.

    Song by Adrian Cairns, to the tune of 'Golden Brown' by The Stranglers:

    Gordon Brown shows us all fun
    Doing things like arresting your mum
    He thinks its right
    Don't need to fight
    Never in town with Gordon Brown

    Every time just like the last
    He will mess up wasn't it fast?
    Tax all the land
    Steal both your hands
    Constantly frown with Gordon brown

    Gordon Brown oh what a mess
    All our own cash is in your old vest
    Go far away
    Don't even stay
    He'll come to your town will Gordon Brown

    (Constantly frown) Constantly Frown frown (Constantly frown)
    (Constantly frown) At Gordon Brown (with golden brown)

    (Constantly frown) Constantly frown (Constantly frown)
    (Constantly frown) At Gordon Brown (with golden brown)

    (Constantly frown) Constantly frown (Constantly frown)
    (Constantly frown) At Gordon Brown (with golden brown)

    (Constantly frown) Constantly frown (Constantly frown)
    (Constantly frown) At Gordon Brown (with golden brown)

    (Constantly frown) Constantly frown (Constantly frown)

    Anyone fancy a go at writing another verse?

  • Comment number 39.

    was #33 a red flag?
    It was reasonably well hidden if it was.
    A bit like a magazine in a brown paper bag.

  • Comment number 40.


    It has nothing to do with over-borrowing or greed here mate. I have a small mortgage and run a very modest diesel car, which cost me nearly £70 to fill up at the garage on Wednesday. That won't last me the week getting to and from work so I'll probably have to fill up again before next Wednesday. That's £140 in the course of a week.

    I also heard that electricty and gas prices will go up, electricity by 17% and gas by 22%. I grant you that not many people have their central heating on in this weather, but come Christmas a lot of people will be a lot more hard-up than they are at the moment.

    As I've said before, GB had the power to stop the banks lending money, but he chose to sit back and collect the stamp duty instead. Due to his ineptitude, the greed of the banks, and the stupidity of some people who over-stretched themselves, we are now all paying for it.

    I wonder how much fuel costs in the Middle East?

  • Comment number 41.

    From the bbc report

    Mr Brown said there was "a brighter future that we can build".

    He added: "Have confidence that not only do we have the right policies but that when the time comes we will be able to persuade the British people."

    Newsflash Gordon we have already been persuaded you're a goner

    I agree there is a brighter future but it isnt red.
    You do indeed have the right policies and they have persuaded massive areas of the country that you and your party have let them down over the last 11 years and that the time is right for a change in government.

    And as for your 24 months comment, unless you are changing electoral law in less than 24 months you will wake up and not be in government you have 23 months maximum left unless one of your policies is to declare a national emergency in June 2010 and refuse an election.

  • Comment number 42.

    Gordon Brown takes all our tax
    He lies to us and twists all the facts
    Though Labour is dead
    He still flies the Red
    He’ll never back down, mad Gordon Brown

  • Comment number 43.

    Reading some of his speech was cringeworthy.

    In view of this defeat, what does he do? He attacks Tory policy. He must be mighty fearful of his fellow Scots views of the SNP if he chose not to decry their policy of independence. Once Labour territory, Scotland is now very much its own land and the potential for independence is now greater than ever.

    Gordon Brown: "Have confidence that not only do we have the right policies but that when the time comes we will be able to persuade the British people."

    Des Browne: the loss had been "directly related to the cost of living" and said "we need to do more of the sorts of things that we've been doing".

    So you see everyone, its not their policies at all, their policies are just perfect, not a jot wrong with them at all. It's just the cost of living, nothing else, there is no other reason whatsoever for people not to vote Labour. Cost of living right? Nothing else.

    Well, I'm convinced. Honest.

  • Comment number 44.


    I don't know quite what's happened to the Beeb. They used to give a lot of air time to serious issues but now they've been dumbed down, like everything else. I watch it first thing in the morning, but if I want more details about any topical political issues, such as the by-election in Glasgow, I watch Sky News. The coverage of such issues on the Beeb leaves a lot to be desired on some days. Sorry Nick, but it's got to be said.

  • Comment number 45.


    That was from Stingray, not Thunderbirds. My knowledge of classic TV is a lot better than my knowledge of politics!

  • Comment number 46.

    Gordon Brown, you’ve lost all our votes
    Labour MPs, go get yer coats
    He lost Glasgow East
    But we’ll still be fleeced
    We’ll never pipe down, OUT Gordon Brown!

  • Comment number 47.

    Couldn't resist letting you know that a sanctuary for bumblebees has been set up in Perth and Kinross.

    We look after our own!

  • Comment number 48.



    I havent laughed so hard in ages, my cat gave itself a hernia it was guffawing so hard.

    It was the "Steals both your hands line" that corpsed me

  • Comment number 49.

    Gordon Brown maybe have the ability to listen and understand although that is far from clear

    The problem is its the action part

    No leadership
    No political drive

    A prime minster and his chancellor riding on the waves of financial prosperity but the mediterrean clam has been replaced by a south atlantic gale and we are getting seasick.

    Not his fault! it is as much his fault as the credit for the last ten years he keeps droning on about!

    Give us an election the country wants and then retire gracefully to write your memoires and to sitting down with John Major and discussing its not your fault but my predecessors

  • Comment number 50.

    Quote: "On polling day, the Westminster village - politicians and journalists alike - had convinced itself that Labour would just squeak home."

    It seems like the Westminster Village make a habit of being out of touch i.e your comments, Nick (and others) regarding David Davis.

    Personally last night was great because I had whacked £100 on a SNP win partly due to the accurate analysis on the Politicalbetting blog which showed the contest was far far closer than a lot of 'Westminster Village' journalists seemed to think.

  • Comment number 51.

    I thought I'd post an amended (more-friendly) version of something I posted somewhere else, and that is...

    When your boss is an incompetent idiot who has control over the company you work for, there are, logically speaking, only 3 possible outcomes:

    1) Your company goes bankrupt
    2) Your boss gets sacked
    3) Your boss resigns

    There are no other alternatives; your boss won't magically start enhancing the company's (or his own) fortunes when he's an incompetent idiot, it only ever gets worse until 1 of the 3 points above happens.

    I don't think labour (or the BBC) have tumbled to the seriousness of any of this yet, they also don't realise that the whole party is tarnished with the same brush and all as incompetent as each other so a change of leader won't make any significant difference.

    "steering us through hard times", "I'm the best man for the job", "they're telling me they all love me and everything I do", "they're telling me it's nothing to do with me and that it's all the American's fault."

    They're doomed, and they'll be in the political wilderness after 2010 for over 20 years.

  • Comment number 52.

    Lets not forget how well the Conservatives did last night by not losing any votes to the SNP. Looks like the Cameron recovery in Scotland is well underway ;o). 1200 votes well done you. a gold star for effort.

    SNP probably played the Scottish oil card. An Ideal time to do so I think you'll agree.
    Linking the squandering of oil resources by the Conservatives to Gordon Brown having tea with Margaret thatcher would have helped. Any Thatcher worshiping loonies out there who want to say I wish her dead can forget it. I don't.

    Lets hope he's really listening. Scotland, North of England and Wales are a little fed up with the complacency of the government towards "safe seats" and look like they will no longer put up with Labour mimicking the Conservative party to pander to South East whingers because our voting system and the BBC favours them.

    That Conservative yesterday. Claiming a recovery in Scotland because they didn't lose any votes to the SNP was hilarious. It really cheared me up. They stand no chance. It could be another reason the SNP won. fear of the Conservative party and their record in Scotland might have made them more ready to leave the UK.

    Quite a good result in a way for those of us who think our voting system and safe seats are bad for democracy.

  • Comment number 53.

    42 power

    Like it. You should be a poet. Sums it up in five lines.

  • Comment number 54.

    It was interesting to listen to Alistair Darling (of the poisoned chalice) on "Wurlat1". He seemed to blame the defeat on the rising cost of living which seems rather strange as Corrupted Price Index of inflation is only 3.8%. Was he by any chance suggesting that he didn't believe the Office on Fraudulent Statistics claim like the rest of us?
    I do feel that MP's would have seen this coming if they weren't so wrapped up in claiming their expenses rather than having to manage on after tax income like the rest of us.

  • Comment number 55.

    GB's only job now is to irritate the electorate by staying in office. He is undoubtedly winning that one.

    In the depths of despair, gloom and incompetence hey presto! Brown goes in a spectacular coup and a newly energised Milliband steps forth sounding like Blair complete with a fresh NuLab vision to lead the country forward..

    I could write the script..

  • Comment number 56.

    51 wilko

    If that's all the sollace you can get from Glasgow East so much the better.

    At least Cameron visited Glasgow East unlike the cowardly Brown and Darling. 1300 votes there I would consider a triumph of sortsn since Labour have led the seat in one way or another since 1926!!!

    I'm afraid that trying to knock the Conservatives and SNP is all labour are good for.

    So to sum up Labour. No leader, no strategy, no policies, NO HOPE.

  • Comment number 57.

    When Gordon Brown fails to save the country from its economic fate and he has to have an election what can we expect. The good times are just around the corner, please let me finish the job. I won't let you down.

    What then, a government of national unity to save us from our fate?

    If he says one more time that he feels my pain then I will scream. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, trouble is we are no longer blind, and Gordon is and never was a leader. I would not follow him over the top.

    Gordon Brown is no action man, he has a future job alright, signing on as disabled at the employment office and being told you are quite fit for work, go get a job, that's what we are going to be told so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • Comment number 58.

    Who cares how well The Conservatives did in Scotland? Talk about trying to deflect bad news. Scotland has always been a wasteland for The Tories. Nothing's going to change that. The real loser was GB. The sooner Scotland is cut loose the better! GB and AD amongst others can then be left to fend for themselves.

  • Comment number 59.

    Aha post 52 before a real red flag waver appears, I just squeaked in there.

    I'm inspired by powers posts
    heres another song for Gordon
    its a working class classic

    Do you want to know a secret
    Do you promise not tell
    whoa oh oh
    let me whisper in you're
    say the words you need to here
    You are in a stew ew ew ew ew

    We've known a secret for a year or two
    everyone knows it except for you

  • Comment number 60.

    What happens next may be unpredictable, but I think we can narrow down the possibilities:

    1. Gordon Brown isn't going to resign. He's wanted this job for too long to give it up now. The only way he's leaving No 10 is when he's dragged out attempting to cling on with his fingernails.

    2. Nothing motivates MPs more than self-interest, and I'm sure there are plenty of MPs in marginal and even not-so-marginal seats who are now extremely worried for their nice cushy all-expenses-paid jobs, and I'd be amazed if they want Brown leading them into the next election.

    3. Therefore, Brown may be forced to quit as leader sometime soon even if Labour remain in power for the next 2 years.

    4. Having said that, I agree with Pot_Kettle's analysis (#24), that it's unlikely anybody else would be crazy enough to want to be party leader only to lead the party to certain defeat at the next election, so maybe Brown will get to stay after all.

    So, yeah, unpredictable.

  • Comment number 61.

    Nick I wrote earlier on Oops!,
    I thought I had better repeat it here just in case someone thinks I am in hiding
    "all you tory bloggers, gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat gloat ad infintum, if I were in your shoes I would too, but much of what you say I disagree with, but with you all in a state of exuberance I think it should wait for another day"

  • Comment number 62.

    33. sbusdjh

    You sort of answer your own question.

    Your friends are ex pats and not here under sufferance.

    Its Brown that has borrowed too much and now finds that he is in trouble. He broke up with prundence and she ran off with a trillon pounds.

    But do let your friends know they are welcome back here any time. And ask them to bring as much of that 1 quid a gallon petrol as they can carry.

    Ill meet them at the airport.

  • Comment number 63.


    It really doesnt matter whether the Conservatives win in Scotland, the fact that labour wont win there come 2010 and wont win in Wales come 2010 effectively banishes them from power in the union.

    Labours only hope for power now is if the SNP manage to carry the vote for independance and then they return to power in Scotland.

    I've a feeling Plaid will tie up Wales, the SNP will tie up Scotland. Conservatives will tie up england with a few inner city areas staying red due to the "My father voted red" factor.

    Its a little sad for a Union that got us through some tough times but Labours shambolic devolution policy leaving England with no parliament and failing to deal with the West Lothian question have brought us to this

  • Comment number 64.


    How about this one..

    Labour's done, can't take the heat
    SNP have taken their seat
    Curran's got up
    Mason's sat down
    Never a frown
    Unlike Gordon Brown

  • Comment number 65.


    Petrol is £1 a gallon in the Middle-East eh?

    No wonder sbusdjh's friends are out there and not here.

  • Comment number 66.

    Now the leaders of the GMB union is demanding a leadership challenge.

    It seems the unions are already starting to try and strongarm the government and would doubtlessly like a leader more to their liking.

    This is pretty much why I can't stand the modern unions, they're supposed to stand for their workers, not play politics.

    By all means fight for fair pay and equal rights, but trying to foist their own political aspirations on the nation is ridiculous. We have enough self-aggrandizing jackasses in politcs without the tinpot Stalins joining in.

  • Comment number 67.


    Some more bad news that auntie beeb nearly buried but I found it

    Dave Rowntree, the drummer with indie band Blur, has lost his bid to become a London councillor.

    The 43-year-old Labour supporter was beaten by Conservative rival Mehfuz Ahmed for the Church Street seat in a Westminster City Council by-election.

    It was the first time the traditional Labour stronghold returned a Tory.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think that Gordon Brown is now in a very tight corner.

    Labour Party sponsorship is now 'owned' by the Trade Unions and thay are already putting forward 100 'socialist' proposals which will inevitably cost the country more money.

    Gordon Brown is already scheming to derestrict his own fiscal limits on public borrowing knowing there is a shortfall in tax income at this time.

    If he stays the Labour Party will make a slight less worse hash of the public finances; if he goes the Labour agenda will inevitably swing towards the dictates of the trades unions.

    Either way, after the next election there will be a massive hole in public finances and the Geneeral Election will have become a poison chalice for the next government.

    On a personal note, I was a member of the Labour Party but have resigned as I do not believe that the Labour Party govern in the interests of the United Kingdom. If they bow to the Trade Unions 100 agenda items list, my disillusionment will be complete!

  • Comment number 69.

    What a ridiculous speech from the great Ditherer to the Trades Unions.

    He doesn't want to wake up in 2010 to school and hospital closures and tax cuts for the rich?

    Has he been smoking something? Do we just go on spending more and more on health and education without getting any measurable improvement?

    Tax cuts are not even on the agenda thanks to Gordon Brown's profligate ways. All people are asking for is an end to endless tinkering with the tax system and blatant abuses of 'green' taxation. Where is all this money going that we pay on green taxes? Where are the wind farms and nuclear power stations.

    What people don't want to wake up to is this man robbing them day after day and bleating about the awful international situation. He's broken record.

  • Comment number 70.

    48 pot kettle, As my old mum used to say "simple things please simple minds".

  • Comment number 71.

    re: 59 and 64

    It's funny because it's true.

  • Comment number 72.

    Why is it that the news continues to be reported by the BBC from Brown's point of view? Reporters and commentators, you must know that this ship is sinking. Start looking to the future and the policy makers for the next decade.

  • Comment number 73.


    ta for the personal attack that you profess never to commit

  • Comment number 74.

    re: 69

    "Do we just go on spending more and more on health and education without getting any measurable improvement?"

    It would seem so. Every Labour supporter knows that the only way to improve things is to measure them constantly. I take it they have never heard the phrase 'a watched pot never boils.' It's simple: what they ought to do is scrap all this pointless testing, the only reason it exists in the first place is to (a) employ even more bureaucrats ie. massage employment statistics, (b) make it easier to fudge the education statistics, and (c) make it appear to the press as if they know what they're doing. We could easily replace our MPs with crash test dummies and no-one would ever know.

  • Comment number 75.

    4. Having said that, I agree with Pot_Kettle's analysis (#24), that it's unlikely anybody else would be crazy enough to want to be party leader only to lead the party to certain defeat at the next election, so maybe Brown will get to stay after all.

    I have to agree with that analogy. the only danger is that by waiting for a miracle that never comes they might be out of a seat in 2010 anyway.

    Maybe be a stalking house, force a leadership when one of the lesser lights (balls, milliband) can run without appearing disloyal and then they go into an election when anything less than a total massacre a la 1997 for the tories will be seen as good work and that brown was the real architect as both chancellor and prime minister

  • Comment number 76.

    33 and 37

    Good points.

    People only comment here when they are unhappy. If (and probably when) Dave gets in, the only people commenting will be anti-Tory.

    Some of the problems are nothing to do with GB but I really want to see leadership. I was surprised when his response was "listen and understand" - he said this months ago. So has he not been listening or has he not understood?

    Labour sought the marginal seats to get into power and since coming to power, has continued to do so - ignoring the so-called safe seats. They can't do that now.

    The right policies, right now, are curbing the higher prices - whatever that takes. I'm not talking about houses but food and energy.

  • Comment number 77.

    A graceful retreat indeed. Very wise in the circumstances!

  • Comment number 78.

    What research can uncover!

    On the wonderful internet you have access to the Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol E-8 Documents on South East Asia, 1973-1976 of the US Department of State. Why is this interesting in the context of the disaster which is Gordon Brown, because it refers to the situation of Diego Garcia, which is where suspects were transferred to as admitted to by Mr Milliband, our illustrious Foreign Secretary.

    I could copy you the whole document but I refer to article 3 and this I will quote in full:

    'Although they invisage the agreement on Diego Garcia as a confidential diplomatic exchange, the Ministers expect the the existance of that agreement to become public. This could evoke adverse reactions from the soviets, the Indian Ocean littoral states, and the Arabs. The latter might conclude that the presence of US forces was directed at them presenting an obvious and serious risk to the possibility of the situation in the area. The Ministers are therefore interested in coordinating with the US the way the Diego Garcia matter is presented publicly in both countries'.

    Now that initself is quite interesting, well it is to me anyway so read on to Article 6:

    'The agreement itself should be a confidential exchange of diplomatic instruments but with both sides acknowledging its existence. The agreement, among other things, would provde for the operation and joint use of Diego Garcia facilities in exactly the same way as US bases in the United Kingdom are covered. This would mean that HMG would be able to assure parliament that Diego Garcia remains UK sovereign territory'.

    Now, with the admission by Milliband you wonder why some of us are appalled at our complicity in extraordinary rendition. America has fractured the agreement and accordingly it must be withdrawn with immediate effect and all American forces withdrawn. Now, if we were to act like men instead of mice then I may, just may, begin to support our pathetic Prime Minister. Show some back bone Brown and kick out the Americans from our sovereign territory.

  • Comment number 79.


    "We could easily replace our MPs with crash test dummies and no-one will ever know"

    At least we'd get more sense out of a crash test dummy.

  • Comment number 80.

    re: 72

    It is odd isn't it? I always thought Nick was a Tory, but there's undoubtably Labour bias there at times. Perhaps a Labour troll always stands next to him when he reports, just out of shot, with a gun to his back. Wouldn't be surprising given the current situation!

  • Comment number 81.

    Reading in yesterdays paper about the happy or unhappy after Glasgow get together with Labour and the unions, it comments that the unions will withhold founding if certain policies are not put forward. Is this not the same as cash for questions but far more blatant.

    Can some one out there enlighten me as to the legality of this.

  • Comment number 82.

    On another point -

    I don't think we'll see any party support a pact on leadership in the future. I think we have seen enough problems. Leadership elections from now on.

  • Comment number 83.

    My friends in the middle east don't pay any tax and yes petrol is very cheap. But there is no free education, no democracy and if and when they get seriously ill they freely admit they'll be on the first plane back to Blighty.

    Hard to believe for some of you I know, but we are still, on average, more affluent than we were 20 years ago, when Mrs Thatcher was still popular enough to have won a 3rd term in office.

    The big failure of Labour has been to allow the gap between rich and poor to widen. Brown should have the courage to introduce a 50p tax rate for anyone on a 6 figure salary.

    Let's give the electorate a proper ideological choice again and force the Tories to show their hand.

  • Comment number 84.

    I like the expression on The SNP winners face as Margaret Curran is speaking. Classic!

  • Comment number 85.


    I think Brian Taylor's blog sums it up nicely.
    If Labour were to oust Gordon they would have their third leader in one parliamentary term making their position untenable and it would be unprecedented.
    I dont think there is anything constitutionally that can stop them doing that however and surely something would need to be put on the statute books to cover such an evetuality in the future.

    I think we are living in interesting times.
    The Union now looks creakier than it ever has.

    All the partys now need to look at what they are going to do when the Scots declare independance, they are likely to be followed closely by the Welsh, the only reason they dont make more noise about it now i because Labour are in power.
    There will be loud shouts for an English assembly

  • Comment number 86.

    re: 79

    And a lot more value for money! (And no lies).

  • Comment number 87.

    What speech today?

    More tractor production figures.

    Labour members must be tearing their hair out!

  • Comment number 88.

    Has anyone got the courage to tell Gordon the game is up? I seriously doubt it. Most Labour MP's will keep their snouts in the trough till the electorate call time.
    The next 18 months or so will be about feathering nests outside the Houses of Parliament.
    Are there enough nests to go around, there's going to be a lot of Labour MP's losing their seats?

    Have the BBC got enough cameras for all the Ministers who are going to have their own "Portillo moment" at the next General Election. It will be with deep satisfaction to watch Labour getting a dose of its own medecine, and richly deserved it will be.

  • Comment number 89.

    If Scotland did split I wouldn't blame them. They must be seriously fed up with the Westminster government pandering to merchant bankers and white van man in the South East of England.

    I suppose it doesn't really matter if Scotland splits from the UK. We are all part of the European family now. I doubt if Cameron will do anything about that. He is just humouring the xenophobics to get their vote. Best to just embrace the future rather than complain about it.

    I don't think if Scotland leaves the UK we will be left with a 1 party conservative system. The boundaries would need to be changed and maybe the voting system. So I wouldn't be too hopeful about it.

  • Comment number 90.

    re: 77

    Yeah I think grandantidote and the rest of the Reds are taking time to regroup and plan their next comments carefully. I can imagine them poring over every dodgy statistic, typing and clicking so fast that smoke is coming out of the backs of their computers and saying to themselves 'must...justify...Glasgow...East...! Damn..those...Tory...bloggers!'

  • Comment number 91.

    Speaking without notes or a lectern, as seems to be the fashion these days, the prime minister made only fleeting reference to that humiliating defeat, praising the Labour candidate, Margaret Curran, and thanking her for her valiant efforts on his behalf.

    But that was it. The elephant in the room was given a curt nod and then pointedly ignored.

    Nice to know he was listening and learning.

    Its exactly those policies (Tax the richer than me) that have lead to the gap in the first place. As Labour have taken more in tax from the more affluent those people havent been able to spend as they wanted and so the lower end of the economy suffers. By making the poorer rely on handouts rather than bettering themselves they have remained static, due in part to the fact that so much of the tax take is wasted it doesnt benefit those that it is meant to.

  • Comment number 92.


    Serious question,

    If Gordo goes, and the Labour have their third leader in a single term of govenrment, surely the case for an immediate election would be unarguable.

    The problem is of course, that the Labour party are, as I understand it, flat broke, and couldn't afford to fight an election.

    What then?

  • Comment number 93.


    Granted, some people are more affluent than they were 20 years ago, but when I see a large chunk of my hard-earned pay being eaten up at the petrol station every month, it's hard to believe.

    We are not well-off by any stretch but we can manage on what we earn. There used to be some money left over in our bank accounts at the end of each month (particularly since our sons left home!), but even that is dwindling now.

    My mother and mother-in-law are both state pensioners. We could afford to help them out now and again but even that will be a thing of the past soon.

    What I mean to say is that the majority of people don't want handouts, they just want to be able to live a reasonable life in this country on the wages they earn. Surely that's not too much to ask now, is it?

    At least your friends can earn their salaries tax free, and if and when they decide to come back to the UK it will be on their terms. We don't have a choice here - we either like it or lump it!

  • Comment number 94.

    The Labour Party needs to face up to the fact that Gordon Brown is a liability and if they stick with him until the next election they will lose on the same scale as the Tories did in 1997 and then be faced with opposition politics for at least two terms. Cameron is certainly not perfect but he has significantly more credibility than Brown.

    Labour’s only hope is to dump the incumbent (health grounds would be a neutral explanation) and give Charles Clark or David Blunkett 18 months to turn things around. At the very least they could limit the Tories victory in 2010 to under 50 seats thus giving Labour chance to win power back in 2014/15. Sticking with Brown will pretty much guarantee a Tory majority until 2020 and beyond if the SNP wins its independence vote.

    To survive Labour (whether old or new) must think beyond Brown. He is a nice, honest and honourable guy but he IS NOT PM material and never was hence Mandleson’s backing of Blair in 1994. Labour Party please WAKE UP!

  • Comment number 95.

    @83, sbusdjh

    Why punish those earning 6 figures? That going to include the very GPs your friends fly over to see?

    If Brown wanted to reduce the gap between rich and poor he'd reduce taxes on longer hours and second jobs, increase availability of evening and weekend classes for people to improve their skills and introduce adult apprenticeships.

    I know its very British to want to punish those doing better than yourself, but why not try thinking of actual useful solutions beyond throwing cash at a problem?

    With benefits and the public sector we're so far past the point of diminishing returns, and we need to look at feasible actions, not decades old failed mantras.

  • Comment number 96.

    83, sbusdjh

    Great idea, lets increase tax.

    You should be a government minister.

  • Comment number 97.


    Are you seriously suggesting the rich have been short of cash in recent years? Look at the conspicuous consumption of luxury cars and second homes. That's definitely up. I've no objection to people making money, but how does this kind of selfish spendfest benefit the poor? It's time to restore some fairness to the tax system.


    I sincerely hope your mother and mother-in-law do prosper as pensioners under a Tory government. But don't hold your breath.

  • Comment number 98.

    Re #10 Blogpolice
    "The only problem is that Nats have got it sussed. With what little Labour talent there is located in Westminster, Labour's C team left in Scotland don't look too good against Alex Salmond (the SNP don't have anyone else of note)."

    Replace the C team with Gordon's B team and independence in 2010 becomes certain.

  • Comment number 99.

    I noticed that the betting exchanges predicted this by-election more accurately than the pundits. Now that William Hill has GB odds on to be dumped before the next election perhaps we should turn our attention to who should succeed him.

    The only one I can imagine voting for is Charles Clarke - but he has made too many enemies I suspect to stand a chance. Balls, Purnell, Burnham and Straw would all be electoral suicide. Miliband might do okay but he would be insane to take it now - if it happens it will be an old man in a hurry.

  • Comment number 100.

    re: 97

    The only way to restore fairness to the tax system is to have a flat percentage for everyone.


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