BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

At least Gordon's smiling

Nick Robinson | 21:18 UK time, Wednesday, 8 October 2008

As you ponder the half-a-trillion pound and counting - that's a five and 11 noughts, by the way - cost of the mother of all bank rescue plans, you may not be feeling that cheerful. Worry not.

Gordon BrownThe prime minister's maintaining the spirit of the trenches. On the evening after the long, long night before he delivered a speech to celebrate the publication of the Power List - a list of the most influential black men and women in the UK.

When someone's mobile phone interrupts his speech he joked "I don't know if another bank has fallen...", to guffaws of laughter before adding "you'll be pleased I'll not be giving financial information this evening".

Everyone at Westminster has noticed that he's grown in confidence and stature during this crisis. Could he even be enjoying it?


Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    I can't help but notice that we've adopted the American "billion" which is actually only a thousand million.

    What's that about?

    Now if you put 5 and 11 noughts in British money, it doesn't sound quite so depressing now does it?

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course he's enjoying it. All we little people are suffering. Isn't that what he lives for?

  • Comment number 3.

    He is having his Falklands moment. We will have to wait and see if the historic lifeline he threw actually works. If it doesn't then he will go down like the Belgrano.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sounds plausible: "Dour son of the Manse", just what we need in these chastened times he has helped inflict upon us.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course he is enjoying himself, the problem is SO bad that none of the other parties can afford to give him the kicking he deserves as it is all hands to the pumps.

    If the other parties turned on him for his role in this then the problem would just get worse as Labour pull ranks and defend themselves.

  • Comment number 6.

    At least someone's having a good time. He'll have plenty more time to enjoy himself once he calls that General Election!

  • Comment number 7.

    Why do the media say that this rescue plan is being done with "our money" The money that is being used may be taxpayers' money but once we have paid that tax it belongs to the Government not us. They use that money for a lot of things we may not agree with, wars, benefits, etc. but if they sit back now and do nothing and the banks collapse then we will all suffer, jobs will be lost and then there will be less money in the coffers.

  • Comment number 8.

    The package and base rate cuts do not resolve the fundamental problem in financial markets. the massive counterparty risk that exists in the system.

    No-one knows who is on the other side of many deals and no-one knows if the other side can pay up. Sometimes the other side does not know if they can pay up either. This is what is keeping Libor higher than base rates.

    Where is the plan to address the fundamental problem? Was that it? What about making all the under-the-counter transactions become over-the-counter and public?

  • Comment number 9.

    Of course he's enjoying it; the worse things get the happier he is; it's in his psychological make-up because he honestly believes he's the Messiah who's single-handedly saving the planet.

    "I am your world leader now. Kneel before Zod" will be his next words I suspect.

  • Comment number 10.

    9 Now do you see what I mean when I said that at the beginning of each blog you get these one post wonders, I haven't read them yet as there awaiting moderation but I'll bet there ninety five per cent Tories,

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh lord half a trillion to make Gordon feel good.

    Thats just made it 10 times more abominable.

    I feel queasy

  • Comment number 12.

    3 flame patricia,

    "If it doesn't then he will go down like the Belgrano."

    That was another proud moment for the Tories wasn't it.

  • Comment number 13.

    BBC News crisis graphic

    Who's going to determine when the arrow in crisis goes - a graphic artist or an economist?
    Dump the arrow - bring back an "i"

  • Comment number 14.

    10 not far out lads especially if you discount my observation, but the big guns are beginning to emerge now, so of we go again.

  • Comment number 15.

    Clearly you're not enjoying it, Nick.
    It must pain you to see Brown eclipsing shallow man Cameron on the issue that really matters.
    So can you tell us yet whether you'd be willing for work for Cameron if he became PM?

  • Comment number 16.

    #7 .. I wonder too why the news media keeps talking about the taxpayers money ... anything a government spends is taxpayers money. It doesn't have any of it's own ... on reflection, wouldn't it be amazing if the government announced that it was going to take money from shareholders, stockbrokers and bank executives to pay for the bailout ?

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm amazed the he can laugh. The markets are now substantially lower than when Labour came to power. We've all been made poorer by the incompetence of this man. Perhaps he'll be singing "Je ne regret rien..." in the shower tonight.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    It's interesting that during all this bad news the parliamentary standards office issued a statement that Balls/Cooper had complied with the spirit of the rules on parliamentary expenses. The rules need changing if they are so lax.
    No wonder that politicians don't feel the pain of the taxpayers in the UK.

  • Comment number 20.

    No wonder Brown is smiling.

    He's like the arsonist who's spent years running around starting fires and now someone wants him to come and help put them out.

  • Comment number 21.

    The really good thing for GB is that this is going to go on for some considerable time, probably well into 2010, when Britain will need the firm hand of experience on the tiller to see us through the difficult times.

    Of course he's laughing and confident. Everyone is talking economics and nobody's talking politics.

  • Comment number 22.

    Interesting that with all this fuss about huge bonuses in the City no-one's mentioned footballers' exorbitant wages.

  • Comment number 23.

    Yes he is enjoying himself, he has found a way to conceal all of the problems that the country was due to face, even if this global problem had not materialised.

    Remember when he bottled the election? Many thought then that he had missed the boat as the economy would only get worse. He knew that too but was too scared of losing the election.

    But those UK problems are now masked behind the cloud of global problems.

    What has he got to lose in his billion pound gamble?

    He was going to lose his job anyway, now there is a chance, as he sees it, that he will "rescue" the country with his "experience". It might just save his job for him, and if the country loses billions - well it just makes it worse for the Tories when they get in.

    When you can have a win/win bet there is only one way to improve on the situation - he's found it...
    Use somebody else's money!

  • Comment number 24.

    #22 - power_to_the_ppl

    Damned right! I am not having my hard earned tax wasted on the wages of Preston North End's inside right! Over my dead body.

    Give it a banker, I say!

  • Comment number 25.

    "The arsonist who started fires"

    Well....fairlyopenmind thats an unabated response.

    Londons burning......was there a history lesson in that statement?

    Its clear that Osborne and Hammond (the tories treasury machine) is in a state of numbness, nothing to offer!

    There are more question to ask?
    the pound will probably have to devalue.

    The post offices, will become more relevant.

    The russian economy, with all its fuel resources, will also be a central concern in the coming months and years.

    If london is burning, then all the major cities in the world are also burning, Wow...Gordon must have struck one massive match.

  • Comment number 26.

    Dis nobody else spot the planted question about Afghanistan. I wonder if the recent report about the number of innocent civilians killed by an American bombig raid has anything to do with that.

    We, like the Americans are guilty of killig innocent women and children. When your labour MP says how many young women are now in education just ask them how many women and children have we killed, note we, killed to get these children into school. Are any lives worth it.

  • Comment number 27.

    #19 skynine

    Even more interesting is that the standards bloke said the general test of where the main home is located should still be where the MP spends most nights, and yet Balls / Coopers argument was that the non-London home was the main one because that's where they spend their weekends.

    In other words for some unknown reason we won't bother applying the general test in the specific case of two of GBs closest allies.

    Wonder why that is then?

  • Comment number 28.

    Did anybody notice how long Gordon took to read out the names of the dead in Afghanistan during PMQs. Why not read out the list of names of those we have killed. After all it is Afghanistan where the dead are being counted.

    How much longer will this go on. What exactly is the purpose, when we know that we are talking to the insurgents, and the Talibhan.

    I so think that Gordon may well be very intelligent. No problem there. However, I think that he is also pathetically small minded. Why do I say this. Because after the last question from David Cameron he made a facetious remark which had the labour back benchers rolling in the aisles. It demeaned Gordon, it actually made him look pathetic, whilst David Cameron was going along with the economic crisis being of national importance, which it is.

    Gordon Brown looks more pathetic for his cheap shots, which may invigorate labour back benchers but which seriously demean the position which he holds. Take off the gloves and go for his jugular, he so deserves it. He is responsible for our deaths in Sfghanistan as much as Tony Blair was responsible for the deaths in Iraq. Gordon has the blood of these people on his hands, son of the mase, forget it.

  • Comment number 29.

    So the man we did not elect to be in charge is smiling at the end of 08/01/08

    Please could you remind me what the ten physical attributes indicating the signs of on setting madness are?

    I will forgive anything in the list except “forgetting the list”

    When I type madness I am reminded of the inmate in the asylum pushing the wheel barrow on its rim, wheel in the air so that they could not put a load in it for him to push.

    Well at this time in the morning after yesterday we all need to go to bed smiling trouble is there is not a lot to smile about.

  • Comment number 30.

    "I'm amazed the he can laugh. The markets are now substantially lower than when Labour came to power. We've all been made poorer by the incompetence of this man." (#17)

    Actually the FTSE hit an all time high after labour came to power at around 6,900. After the dot com bubble it dropped substantially before bouncing back to around 6,700 last year.

    Obviously it is currently far lower than that, but it is all snakes and ladders.

    I find it odd that you see Brown as more complicit in this than, say, Richard Fuld (The CEO of Lehman Bros) or another faceless banker.

  • Comment number 31.

    14. grandantidote
    10 not far out lads especially if you discount my observation, but the big guns are beginning to emerge now, so of we go again.

    Hey Ho, Once more to the trenches dear friend.

  • Comment number 32.

    Of course Broon is now smiling, he's got a big smokescreen to hide his incompetence.

    It won't last, thankfully, and then we can ask how this government is going to finance the health, welfare and defence systems of the country.

    Oh, and build more prisons, solve the terrorist problems, stop kids playing football in the streets, and hide all the christmas presents.

  • Comment number 33.


    Too right power. It seems odd that the political establishment seem to have turned on people who actually create wealth for the nation when the money floating round sport in TV rights and wages dwarfs it in comparison. We live in a strange world indeed.

    I for one am having another of those queasy moments after the picture Nick has just painted of GB enjoying himself while 99% of the population suffer. I don't think it's appropriate for him to be cracking jokes at this time when the economy is in free fall either.

    Pass the bucket quick.

  • Comment number 34.

    Of course he's enjoying himself. He thinks he's going to single-handedly save the country and, in his deluded state, the British public will all tell him how wonderful he is and re-elect him next term.

    He doesn't need to worry about whether his pension will see him through his old age, whether he will be able to afford his heating bill this winter, whether he will be able to pay his mortgage, or whether he will be out of work for a long period of time (I live in hope on that one).

    He's not even on the same planet as the rest of us.

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    Does the son of the manse still go to church I wonder? Ostensibly perhaps.

    Could this whole financial exercise have been a huge feat of Social Engineering? Has it got anything to do with New World Order or Common Purpose I wonder?

    What we can count on though is that the general public will now need to be resourceful, frugal and less greedy to say the least and Gordon will take more than a proprietorial interest in us. Perhaps?

  • Comment number 37.

    Dear Nick
    Politics is a dirty game as you know, and i do not think Brown will be smiling for long
    POLITICIANS have not tackled the root cause of the problem. Rogue traders and Bankers are still attacking the Bail out plan, especially Russian traders, whilst their stock makets remain closed to normal trading, to put this problem right there has to be a level playing field,and where markets are not accessable, there has to be question mark over the viability of the Bail out, after all Russia has Guaranteed Icelands economic fall from grace, but will not pay out for British investors.?

  • Comment number 38.

    Yeah, things have turned around for Gordon haven't they? His body language and whole demeanor has changed. He is, quite clearly, "luvin' it".

    It's not that fair, politics wise, and you have to feel a little sorry for the wretched BTP.

    I don't have to, though.

  • Comment number 39.

    @12 - re the Belgrano - it went a long way in winning the war so yes it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Or do I get to witter on about military neccessity, the damage a cruiser of that size could do to the fleet, how long it takes a ship to turn around, shallow shoals, keeping the Argentinian surface fleet cowering at base and teh fact that it was the remaining ships that left the crew to die

    But oh no those poor innocent disabled kiddies on that pleasure boat never stood a chance. The infamy

    Purlease give me strength.

    As for Cheery Brown, well lets see how it all pans out shall we. I'm of the mind that its nowhere near as bad as some commentators make out, not looking at you Peston, oh no. So lets see what happens, especially with the Councils losing the money in the Icelandic bank crashes.

  • Comment number 40.

    He is smiling because he's keeping the red flag flying here....

    What are a the socialist's views on this hitherto capitalist society?

    Are the brakes on now and we will see an end to excess disposable income giving rise to binge drinking, drug taking, fraudulent benefits, foreign trips and holidays, excesses, designer clothes, throwaway culture ...list goes on. Could be no bad thing! Income, what income my son? Outcome more like.

    It is the most phenomenal earthquake ever to hit and it's hit the whole world except, curiously, Africa.

    Whilst it's been brewing he's kept us busy with recycling mania and so called Global Warming. GLOBAL WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    Either way, he's finished. If it's a success, it's Churchill and Atlee. If it's a failure, it's Hoover and FDR.

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm worried that all the politicians have lost the plot, and we have absolutely no chance of meaningful discussions if we get another election in this country.
    The breathtaking amounts of money that Lucky Gordon is waving at the financial markets make a complete mockery of any attempt at financial prudence that any future government tries to adopt.
    The good thing is that he and his minions won't be able to accuse the conservatives, or the lib dems for that matter, of not having properly costed spending plans.
    If all the banks in all the world get nationalised, by whatever means, will each countries banks get consolidated? After all, with just one group of beneficial owners, us the tax-paying electorate, will there be any need for banks offering competitive services to obtain our business?
    Oh, what am I thinking? They've always been screwing us, just different hands holding the screwdriver now.

  • Comment number 43.

    "The post offices, will become more relevant."

    Well, if the PO offers financial services with better "guarantees" than other institutions, they may attract more customers.

    But this government is still intent on closing hundreds (thousands?) of offices and sub-offices. In many cases these will be in small communities, with no very close alternatives. Great news for the elderly and the transport-poor? No. Who could change things? The owners of this Private Limited Company - the Government. But instead of looking to build on potential opportunities, the branches are restricted to a narrow range of services. Daft.

    BTW, it's obvious that the Wall Street bright sparks invented the obscure financial instruments that have changed the face of "money management". They should have been quietly taken aside and told to take their creative inventiveness elsewhere...

    Can't/don't blame Brown and Co for that. The US authorities should have stepped in much earlier to chuck water on the fire.

    My beef is that UK governments never checked that Directors and senior executives in UK finance houses actually understood the detail of what their staff were creating or dealing in.

    Betcha that two-thirds had no real understanding of the true risks they were taking on. So I don't much like bailing them out.

    Brown's creation - the FSA - doesn't seem to have stamped and shouted at the institutions they were supposed to oversee. Why not?

    It wouldn't have prevented a general problem with "trustable credit" - but it may have limited the degree of exposure of institutions operating within the UK.

    Isn't that all that any individual government can do?

    Don't we expect them to do that?

  • Comment number 44.


    What are the free-market Thatcherites views on the nationalisation of our banking system?

    Shouldn't we have just let them fail instead of trying to buck the market?

  • Comment number 45.

    Brad @ 39

    ... "it went a long way in winning the war " ...

    You call that lop sided piece of grandstanding by Thatcher a "war"?

    Aw, sweet.

  • Comment number 46.

    "I find it odd that you see Brown as more complicit in this than, say, Richard Fuld (The CEO of Lehman Bros) or another faceless banker." #30

    I place plenty of blame with the likes of Richard Fuld but it's the job of government to regulate markets. Let's not forget that Gordon Brown tore up the regulatory framework in 1997 and replaced it with his own tripartite arrangements. Further it's him that changed the taxation of dividends in pensions - pocketing £5bn of year in strealth taxes.

    GB has been very happy to take credit when everything's going his way but all I hear from him at the moment is "it's not my fault... it's global blah, blah blah". Credit where it's due and blame where it's due. Plenty of blame for where we are falls onto Brown's sloping shoulders.

  • Comment number 47.

    Could Gordon Brown be smiling and cracking jokes because he is one of a few of people in the world who is actually in a position to do something about the world credit crisis?
    I am able to read a few of the entries to this newlog again and I notice there are still contributors grumbling about the fact we didn't have a general election soon after Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party and therefore PM. I think it is more likely Gordon Brown is smiling and cracking jokes because at last his own party is behind him.
    This is something which has been obviously lacking since the previous PM's wife threw that childish parting comment at him when she left Number 10. It is perhaps a relief for all of us that this PM has the political experience and maturity to be able to deal effectively (we hope) with this kind of crisis when it arises. I for one wanted reassurance in the current climate and its good to see most of the mudslinging seems to have stopped, albeit probably on a temporary basis.

  • Comment number 48.

    Gordon Brown was growing in confidence before this crisis hit and this just provided a platform to raise the bar. If the Prime Minister is anything like me he's probably relishing the sense of purpose and putting down some of the wannabes.

    The Tory tactics have been to lower the tone and pepper him with a 1001 derogatory comments. This created a wall of black propaganda that rose to dominate folks minds but the Prime Minister is regaining the initiative.

    You can see similar games played out in here over the past few days. People are confident when they have the upper hand and mob behind them but when faced with a few realities or caught on their own they're not so hard.

    Some people might not get this but the Prime Minister is probably more concerned about the 'vision thing' and would prefer a more consensual approach in politics, but some folks can't leave the crack alone.

    Personally, I'd recommend he has some business and social policies lined up as a follow through. If folks are focused and have a chance to contribute that should help reform the current atmosphere to something more civilised.

    The Tories had their chance but Cameron blew it. So, I expect the Prime Minister will make it happen. The only choice the Tories have is to go out standing up or on the knees. The rest is wind.

    All hail the King, baby!

  • Comment number 49.

    Beware of the smile of the tiger

  • Comment number 50.

    #49 my own

    Forgot to add Tim after Tiger. Cheers!

  • Comment number 51.


    What are you twittering on about?

    The Belgrano and the Tories?

    that was 26 years ago, you want to look at governmental military disgraces (which I don't bellive that particularly was a big one to be honest) you don't have to go that far back! Try 2003.

  • Comment number 52.

    It seems to have become quiet, so time for some reflective appreciation of what has happened in recent days.

    There has been a certain amount of turmoil caused by a lack of credit being available amongst the banks of the world. This was because the number of banks has been shrinking, thereby reducing the amount of possible offerers of liquditiy, and the banks themselves suffering losses caused by writing down the value of their assets, which reduced the actual amount of liquiditiy that was available.

    Furthermore, the banks all knew that the other banks were in the same situation as themselves, and so were reluctant to lend more money to others.

    That problem has been solved at a stroke, with central banks offering to underwrite all the assets that these banks have, and being prepared to accept them as collateral at original face value, and not the marked down value.

    It takes real skill as an economist and practical banker to perceive the benefit of doing this, committing vast volumes of future expenditure that this government, and any unlucky successive governments, might have wanted to expend on health and social services.

    Our serene leader, living deep in his bunker, perceives the need for control to be exercised, preferably by him, since he is the only one with experience of the problem, and the underlying reason that it exists.

    So, control is the requirement, which he now thinks he has, and avoidance of responsibility for the events that lead to this, which is apparent in all the outpourings from our leaders office, means that he can only see an upside, and a glorious day when he might win an election.

    Our only hope is that the poor deluded fool will call it now, looking for a mandate to keep things as they are.

  • Comment number 53.

    The situation might just improve if the press could be more positive instead of concentrating on all the negatives. Maybe the BBC could take a lead in this!?

  • Comment number 54.

    #12 - Gradantidote wrote:

    "If it doesn't then he will go down like the Belgrano."

    That was another proud moment for the Tories wasn't it.

    Well, yes it was. It removed a significant threat to our fleet and, more importantly, the decision was from a politician able to make hard decisions and take responsibility for the outcome.

    Not something we see very often from Labour politicians and never from Gordon Brown.

    If McBroon is happy at the moment it can only be a good thing. Perhaps the fool will find some confidence and develop the Balls to call an early General Election. Then we can get rid of him once and for all.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick, can I now claim my free bottle of Champagne as being the ONLY blogger (and member of the Labour Party) who shouted it in here that:

    Inflation was not the major concern of this Country and Gordon and Alastair along with the Bank of England were targetting, wrongly.

    Inflation isn't and wasn't the concern, as dropping interest rates by 0.5% now shows.

    I claimed it was STAGFLATION and I am now proved right.

    Remember my name, Nick because I am now claiming that MANUFACTURING is our saviour.

    You can send the champagne to the usual address (safe house) but please don't tell Gordon or Alastair where it is.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 47 - newtactic

    "It is perhaps a relief for all of us that this PM has the political experience and maturity to be able to deal effectively (we hope) with this kind of crisis when it arises"

    - gordon brown's own words "this situation is unprecedented, never before have we faced such global financial conditions"

    he cannot have both, he's spinning again.

  • Comment number 57.


    "Personally, I'd recommend he has some business and social policies lined up as a follow through".

    Well, Charles, Peter Mandleson is now the MP in charge of Business, but I can't help feeling that a twice-failed politician (who borrowed an amount of money which was way above what his salary dictated he could afford) probably won't have the best interests of the country at heart.

    ....and what about all the local councils who invested into the Icelandic Bank? I wonder if the Government will be as diligent when it comes to bailing them out too.....or whether they will just remove the cap and allow them to increase our council tax to cover the shortfall. It goes without saying that we will all suffer whatever the outcome.

  • Comment number 58.

    #48 Charles_E_Hardwidge

    If the Prime Minister is anything like me ...

    we're all doomed

  • Comment number 59.

    Finally! ... something I'm pretty happy with. Only works if you're honest and I've tried to set a good example by being honest myself.

    Revolves around 2 political values:
    Freedom of Choice (FOC)
    Equality of Opportunity (EOP)

    and their impact on something real:
    Overall Educational Standards (STAN)

    Now unless you are totally apolitical (in which case you wouldn't be on here, would you?) you MUST be in one of the following 4 camps.

    EOP is always more important to me than FOC. Thus, when it comes to education, even if I knew the impact on STAN would be negative, I would still support the
    abolition of private schools.

    # 2
    I'm not ideological either way. Both EOP and FOC are important to me although, as regards education, I would lean towards EOP as being the more important of the two. For me, whether I would support the abolition of private schools, depends very much on whether I think STAN would go up. I can see that it might but I would have to be convinced.

    # 3
    I'm not ideological either way. Both EOP and FOC are important to me although, as regards education, I would lean towards FOC as being the more important of the two. For me, whether I would support the abolition of private schools, depends very much on whether I think STAN would go up. I am very doubtful of that, I have to say.

    # 4
    FOC is always more important to me than EOP. Thus, when it comes to education, even if I knew the impact on STAN would be positive, I would still oppose the
    abolition of private schools.

    Where are you then? ...

    #1 is Left Wing Extremist (like me)
    #2 is Moderate Left
    #3 is Moderate Right
    #4 is Right Wing Extremist (like Carrots)

    I would say, but without making out that I know you all better than you know yourselves, that we have on here a few #2s, several #3s, and an absolute ton of #4s.

    And I wish I wasn't the only #1 but I rather fear that I am! ... I guess there can only be one #1 though, can't there?

  • Comment number 60.

    #7 #16

    It is our money because the government hasn't got spare cash. It has to borrow (more) to pay for the bank rescue, which means they will have to raise taxes in future to pay for the interest on extra money they have borrowed. Presumably at some point they have to pay it back with our money too.

  • Comment number 61.

    Perhaps Gordon Brown has got the Nero syndrome and feels compelled to play his fiddle as the City burns around him!

  • Comment number 62.


    I certainly hope the government do suspend
    their plans to axe over 3000 post offices.

    They are the corner stone for many in rural communities and do offer more services in terms of savings.

    I think there was a short fall from the government in as much as they didn't recognise the urgent need to build more homes for rent over the last decade.

    Young people are often forced into the mortgage trap through the lack of decent homes for rent.

    There are also those, private land-lords, who charge outrages amounts for their properties.

    So in general there is a very strong case,to point the finger of shame, that a labour government, has been some-what posted missing in helping those who need help the most.

    When the life expectancy in the east end of Glasgow is less than the gaza strip, then it does begger belief that the 500Bn will do little to tackle that problem.

    I do wish we were a society that caters for everyone, to take post offices away from needy communities is a digrace, to shore up the banks and peoples mortgages and then forget about the needy is not right.

    Why didn't the government do the same kind of back up for the poorer communties in Britain.?????

  • Comment number 63.

    Of course Brown is enjoying it.The Renationaliztion of Britiain Project is payback time for the trade union dinosaurs that survived Thatcher and who now provide more than 90% of "New" Labour's funding.

    There isn't much of a manufacturing base left to nationalize, and the foreign owned companies would cause complications in the utility sector, but the banks are a soft target.

    Labour hasn't changed. Brown hasn't changed. The Blair project was just a smokescreen to con the electorate, and as con tricks go it was a pretty successful one.

  • Comment number 64.

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

  • Comment number 65.

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

  • Comment number 66.

    Now that the government is taking stakes in Uk banks, its good to see that the Chancellor immediately starts acting like a banker.
    Why on earth is it necessary for him to go the US to discuss something that was done yesterday? Couldn't he have a conference call? It's what they were invented for.
    Is it time yet to start re-naming the banks as part of a re-branding exercise? Lloydstsbhbos could be Bank 1, RBS Bank 2, Barclays Bank 3, etc.
    As I mentioned yesterday there are local authorities with funds in Icsesave that are outside the scope of any guarantee. Intirguingly it seems TfL has 40 million there.
    Surely this is scandalous. These councils take public money, in the form of poll tax and business taxes, and are always needing to put these up since they run out of money. We should respond to next years council tax demand with a government guarantee of the value of the tax, and see if we can avoid being sent to jail.
    I think I've hit everyone I was aiming at.

  • Comment number 67.

    Your analysis of the mix of posters is probably right, and that, in itself, is no bad thing. Happliy, in case you hadn't suspected it, I sit very nicely in group 4.

    However, your analysis of the education debate doesn't seem to give any weight to the fact that private education stops the STAN from flatlining.

  • Comment number 68.

    60. Duncan
    Yes it's our money but anybody who comes here with seven children from Afghanistan gets given a mansion in Ealing and the council pays out £12,000 a month for them.

    No wonder the decent Brits. are leaving these shores....

  • Comment number 69.

    Remember my name, Nick because I am now claiming that MANUFACTURING is our saviour.

    The biggest stumbling black has been a closed minded business sector and greedy City. Fighting this is been very difficult as the merest whiff of change had the CBI and their Tory pals thumping the tub.

    The Tories have tried pulling the trick of "owning" the solution to the problem they and their CBI friends created, but they have no policy or credibility in this area.

    Now the broken fundamentals have been flushed out into the open, folks have a choice to go down with the ship, or make for the shore. Mandelson's appearance on the scene is a raft folks might find useful.

    Welcome to the party, pal!
  • Comment number 70.


    Nice Idea Saga, however, do you have children?

    Then things change, look at Diane Abbott, she would have been a #1 right up to the point when she was deciding on a school for her children.

    Not blaming her really I'd do the same if I could afford it. Freedom of choice is so important. A thousand years of political development has pushed us in this direction.

    Equality for all does not exist, show me a communist country of which this is the dictum where there is equality.

    Certainly not China.

    Mafia Run Russia?

    or North Korea where young children live on starving Rats.

    The lesson learned is power corrupts, and absoulte power corrupts absoultely.

  • Comment number 71.


    Any military man would tell you that racing after the bling and broadcasting silliness would be the quickest way to dig a hole.

    Can anyone explain what the hell the above statement means? my enigma decoder is busted,

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    Ah, it's beginning to liven up.

    The initial premise of this blog was about whether Lucky Gordon is enjoying this, and it seems the concensus thinks he is. Whether it will give him future pleasure might still be open to doubt, but not on might part. It certainly won't, because he will have to wrestle with the huge financial burden that he has placed on his own government and future governments, and he has offered prudence as a hostage to fortune in future economic debates in the UK.
    Am I the only person who wonders if Lucky has ever given up the keys to the treasury to Darling? He seems to continue to take the lead, but only when he detects there might be some credit going, but as soon as there are tricky questions Darling gets pushed to the front.

  • Comment number 74.

    the PM can smile all he wants it will make him just as unreliable.
    it seems the american bail out of there banking system will need at least ten times what they have pumped in already and thus the knock on will be our governments rescue plan will need a lot more taxpayers money pumped into it. thus sadly i can see tax rates increasing to cover the deficit, or will yet more spending be cut in health, military,and policing etc.
    forgive me for seeming dumb but why didnt the government just nationalise these banks etc prior to wasting multi million pounds of taxpayers money just as there predicessors did in 1940's rather than pay the debts that had occured, the debt this problem will rack up may well greater and thus do more damage to us all.

  • Comment number 75.

    Gordon Brown has grown in confidence and stature as Prime Minister. Let's just hope the British people have got the sense to realise it.

  • Comment number 76.

    But does anyone really think that Cameron would be a better man to have at the helm at this time... really?

  • Comment number 77.

    Investments are plummeting, people are worried about their savings & Brown thinks Bank failures are funny!

    Go now.

  • Comment number 78.

    No doubt he will claim credit for sorting out the mess which he has condoned and watch happen over the last 11 years.

  • Comment number 79.

    I have two comments to make:
    1. How did the local authority treasurers forget about BCCI? Why were the investment guidelines not amended to prevent this debacle? In order to earn an extra 1/2 of 1 per cent in a whole year, these highly paid local civil servants have risked 100% of the cash, and LOST.

    2. Whatever your politics, the smug griping about bailing out overpaid fatcats is very sad. If you want to throw the baby out with the bath water, go ahead, but as anyone can now see, if the financial system grinds to a halt, then you can't sell your house, because no buyer can get a mortgage, you can't borrow money to pay for your college education, you can't get an overdraft to cover the odd shortfall, and the holiday company/airline that you booked your holiday with has gone bust. Your employer is closing down because they can't refinance, and now you are looking for a job. And I could list a thousand other ways that this will ruin our lives if allowed to continue. Don't tar everyone with the same brush. In every walk of life there are people who are paid beyond their contribution or ability. However I did not hear a suggestion that all football managers should be fired because one or two were paid for expectations that were never delivered.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    Seaumus Milne writes an interesting essay on the current state of play but is slightly missing the point. After creating calm the the most pressing issue is forming policies and attitudes that create a better alternative to the broken fundamentals.

    Focusing on raising R&D and increasing liquidity for new business and battered communities will help tilt commerce and society into a more purposeful and self-sustaining model of success. This is a step beyond Keynes and Freedman.

    Traditional politicians, media, and the electorate don't get it yet. Standing up on your own two feet, society, and realising the self is part of the system are not mutually exclusive. But, this integral view has a good chance of developing.

  • Comment number 82.

    Well I'm glad at least Gordon is amused because I certainly am not.

    Aside from the fact that my close friends are now steadily being laid off, probably me next, the amount of national debt Gordon Clown has racked up is now absolutely eye-watering.

    Public debt last year stood at £515 billion (38.6% GDP), now to that has been added:

    Northern Rock - £87 billion
    Bradford and Bingley - £40-50 billion
    Yesterday's bail-out - £50 billion
    plus £250 billion in bank loan guarantees
    Day to day borrowing - £30 billion
    Off-balance sheet debt PFI - £100 Billion
    Public sector pensions - £800billion

    not forgetting the 10p tax 2.7 billion giveaway plus the probable retraction on VED costing goodness knows how much.

    I hope every one likes much higher taxes because that's what is going to have to come next.

    Perhaps Brown is happy because the crisis has saved his neck and seen off the rebels in his own ranks - nothing to do with helping the rest of us. At least he will still have a comfortable pension after 2010 when he's out of a job.

  • Comment number 83.

    Yeah Nick he's grown in confidence because he's just been on a spending binge with our money. Love to do that myself, you know, just get somebody's money and throw it where it's going to do the most damage (subsidising rogue banks and bankers). It must be quite exhilarating. The trouble is that after the binge comes the hangover, but Gordon's still smiling because he's determined to share that with the rest of us.

    No mention of course of an investigation or committee to look into the activity of these rogue bankers. Not one iota of humiliation being thrown by New Labour at these financial scroungers. I heard this morning Evan talking to a couple of chirpy chaps from the city on The Today Programme. Loved it when they said it was about time the government intervened to sort the mess out. What got me is that they said it without any sense of irony, they actually meant it. like they and their associates simply had the right to expect the taxpayer to subsidise their gambling. Not a shred of remorse, not one apology for driving us all into ever greater debt and misery, no, just 'about time they did something'. They make me sick, Evan was fawning over them, sad really because he's pretty hot on these issues.

  • Comment number 84.

    #68 .. lamepatricia ... as an Afghani with 7 children living in a rent-free mansion in Ealing, I can tell you that you are quite wrong ... I only got £11,999 in benefits last month .. I expect it's the credit crunch kicking in.Looks like we'll all have to tighten our belts ..

  • Comment number 85.

    Mr Hardwedge, your use of Mandelson as an analogy for raft to use when escaping a sinking ship is highly amusing.

    He, of course, is no novice when it comes to sinking, so that experience would be highly desirable.

    I am curious about whether Lucky Gordon is aware about how much political damage has been done to him, and which will become obvious once the dust settles.

    His claim that "now is no time for novices" doesn't exactly square with his declaration that "these are unprecednted circumstances", indictaing that he is in fact a novitiate in these matters.

    Similarly he has abandoned any claims to acting prudently in financial matters, and is not apparently having cabinet decisions to back up all the actions he has taken.

    It will be interesting to see what the son of the manse's moral compass will tell him to do when he finds he has no electoral clothes to wear, so to speak.

  • Comment number 86.

    balhamu wrote:

    What are the free-market Thatcherites views on the nationalisation of our banking system?

    Shouldn't we have just let them fail instead of trying to buck the market?

    Are the government really trying to "buck" the market though?

    We have to hope that the government actually expect the price of the banks shares to increase - in which case what they have done is a nice bit of business (buying shares in a company which we expect to rise in price).

    I would consider that "playing" the market rather then bucking it.

    Bucking the market would be more like trying to grow a buisness when the market is on the downturn.

  • Comment number 87.

    Planning his strategies and fighting from the trenches, Gordon is growing in confidence. Never count him out! A brilliant financial strategist, Gordon was at the helm at the Treasury for over a decade and knows the ills of the global economy. The prescriptions he is following at this dire period will further fortify him from the Opposition on-slaught and will test his real mettle. Of course this is a recession which is not easy to manage and calls for cool heads. Gordon may be on the ropes but will come out fighting valiantly!

  • Comment number 88.

    He's smiling because Labour can whitewash and say everything is a global issue and push real politics back, shouting 'gordon is the experienced man for the job' seems to be working

    truth is, neither of the two main parties have any real solution, Labour are just reacting to situations and I somehow doubt the tories would make it noticeably worse/better - so forget using the economy and stick to political decisions when it comes to supporting a party

    I for one remember ID cards, 42 days, and a cannabis upgrade, Gordon, and you're failing to prove anything with the economy no matter how loud your cronies shout that you are - you're a lucky man most people don't think like that

  • Comment number 89.

    Listen up Robinson. Instead of bluffing about why dont you get a real job. As I suggested to your business ego man why dont you and him try living on the minimum wage for a year to see how you handle. It will take the arrogance out of you. How much do you earn? Is your mortgage safe or do you own your own house? I presume the latter.

  • Comment number 90.

    To stay on topic "At least Gordon's smiling" and his extremely tasteless remark.

    Charitable view. The guy is a social ninny with no idea how to behave in public.

    Alternative view. He sees this crisis, partly of his own making, as his potential salvation.

    If the latter send me a bucket!

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of the more regular posters, I despair that many contributors have moved off topic, when we should be discussing the mentality of a PM who can crack such a joke at such a time.

    Doesn't he get it?

    My fear is that he does, and he sees this as his only chance of political survival. If I'm right then that says a lot about the man, and what it says doesn't look very good from where I'm standing.

  • Comment number 91.

    sagamix wrote:
    Brad @ 39

    ... "it went a long way in winning the war " ...

    You call that lop sided piece of grandstanding by Thatcher a "war"?

    Aw, sweet.

    I admit that my memories of the Falklands is pretty flakey as I was young at the time, but didn't the Argentines invade?

    If the resulting war turned out to be lop sided that is hardly Thatcher's fault. What was her other choice? Telling Argentina they could have the Falklands because she wasn't going to fight an inferior enemy?

    It wasn't Thatcher who was grand standing but the Argentines - they were trying to cover up problems at home by winning back the Falkland Islands. They invaded (against the wishes of the inhabitants) and the UK liberated the islands.

  • Comment number 92.

    Gordon Brown can laugh, he can probably afford to pay his heating bills.

    Maybe he should try to show more compasion and respect to those people who have falling pensions and savings, or the thousands upon thousands of people who are losing their jobs.

    It looks like the only way to get this crowd of Gravy Train robbers out of power is to inhialate them at the next UK election.

  • Comment number 93.


    I think your analysis is flawed. The ONLY reason people have a problem with private schools is that it is seen as unfair that some people can buy a better education for their children than those less well off can afford.

    The left immediately jumps on the unfairness of money making your life better.

    What should be the main concern is raising the standards of the bog standard comprehensives to the point where private schools no longer provide a better education, which then removes the unfairness perceived by those who can't afford them.

    Therefore I see myself as a #5 in your list.

    #5 I would support the abolition of private schools when the standards of education in the state sector had risen enough to match their results.


  • Comment number 94.

    He's clueless. Printing £500billion is going to send sterling through the floor.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'm disappointed that an earlier comment was taken down as it made a pertinant point on the general situtation.

    Nevertheless, Steve Richards and Hamish McRae offer similar comment: proper form and attitude are more useful than speed and hysterics in creating sound outcomes.

    The Prime Minister has played this game well so it's no surprise that he's feeling pleased. He has a lot to be pleased about and folks have a lot to be grateful for.

  • Comment number 96.

    75 The hand of history:

    What were you on last night?

  • Comment number 97.

    my concern in all this is, where are the great thinkers of our generation? It has taken Buffett's move on Goldmans for some jobsworth to say 'hey, that's not a bad idea that, we could do that here' and Buffetts agenda is obviously not as wide-ranging as the Chancellor's should be. Let's hope the dream team at 10 & 11 downing street aren't on a par with those in Iceland.

  • Comment number 98.

    Of course Brown is smiling, he's been saved for the time being. To see him smirking through PMQ and AD's statement yesterday though just sums him up. The economy is on the brink yet he can hardly keep a straight face.

    He sees himself as the saviour of the economy and we'll all be so grateful at the next election. Wrong. You don't put the arsonist in charge of putting the fire out. He put petrol on the fire over the last 11 years and now we'll be paying for it for generations to come. He's overseen a house price explosion and massive government and consumer debt. The chickens are coming home to roost.

    Amazing where all this money has suddenly come from yet it took him over a year to compensate the 10p tax losers.

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.


    Would agree to an extent, but you neglect the social benefits and labour-market dividend (over and above qualifications) of being privately educated in terms of future social networks, not being led astray, 'cultural skills' in terms of knowing how to act in an upper-middle class way (of course there are also costs in terms of not understanding what life is like for most people, not being exposed to a diverse range of opinions, arrogance etc).


    I think there is some evidence that those who attend private school perform a little better than if they had gone to a state school.

    I think, at GCSE level, the value-added scores suggest that someone educated in the average private school achieve approximately 1 GCSE grade higher in each of their subjects sat than they would have done attending the average state school (this is according to Civitas, I can't find a decent academic source for this research yet).

    Whether this is a big gap or not is not a question that can be objectively answered. But it does not seem massive to me.


Page 1 of 8

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.