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A U-turn on YouTube

Nick Robinson | 18:53 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Thus the prime minister has finally responded to the slow-burning scandal of MPs' expenses - a scandal those close to him fear could taint his government just as one word - "sleaze" - tainted John Major's.

At first, Gordon Brown insisted that the question of how to reform MPs' expenses was a matter for Parliament not for him or the government.

Indeed, when proposals very similar to those he's outlined today were defeated in the Commons, he missed the vote and many of his colleagues backed the status quo.

Later, he called for an enquiry to report after the election.

Then, under pressure, he brought forward the timetable but rejected calls for him and other party leaders to lead the way to reform.

The anger generated by the home secretary's claim for the cost of an adult movie watched by her husband seems finally to have convinced Mr Brown that - fairly or not - he was getting the blame for a system that the public regards with anger and contempt.

Proposing reform and getting it agreed is, of course, a very different matter and will require many, many MPs - and not just the prime minister himself - to perform a U-turn.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    OMG, what an embarrassing performance on YouTube, he looked totally out of his depth with this technology.. thought at first this was a spoof... was I wrong... what on earth gave him the idea this would be a good idea to announce government policy on the hoof via YouTube... he never heard of Parliament... maybe he didn't trust Hazel Blears with the script! oops she fell for the quick show all too lol you couldn't make this up... is this a government, or a comedy act?

  • Comment number 2.

    ITV are saying this will actually cost MORE. Do you agree, Nick, and why do you think Duff Gordon went back on his word re making important announcements to Parliament first?

    Having seen the video, it looked to me like an act of desperation, with the sickly grin demonstrating his insincerity. What's your take on his presentation?

  • Comment number 3.

    Does the prime minister's latest pronouncement on MP's expenses mean that in the future he is now more likely to pay for his own Sky TV package?

  • Comment number 4.

    What do you mean Mr Robinson; "he was getting the blame" ? He definitely was and is to blame. This announcement today is no more than a cynical attempt to take attention away from the non budget tomorrow , which, if it runs true to form will be a masterpiece of soundbite, rhetoric,and downright lies but no actual substance. The idea of a quick solution to the problem of self serving MPs filling their pockets at the taxpayers expence cannot be resolved without much more than a two week Brown campaign of soundbite and rhetoric. While they're at it , the number of MPs should also be looked at, a reduction in their numbers by around 50% should not be unachievable and would perhaps deliver better value for the cost of this corrupt institution to the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 5.

    Firstly..Brown has yet again insulted parliament and the opposition parties by doing this on open media and without consultation.

    However..and probably more worrying...is that somebody told him to do it on YouTube.This is the sign of a man who has totally lost his marbles,and who fails to have any grasp of how young minds work,and what he is letting himself in for.

    Without doubt,if not already,some wag will put this video to music and absolutely rip Brown apart.He will be the laughing stock of the Country (OK..he already is)..and probably will be the new YouTube sensation..but not for the right reasons.

    He has shamed the Office of Prime Minister.

    Put him out of his misery.

  • Comment number 6.

    '...a scandal those close to him fear could taint...'

    'Could'?
    'Taint'?

    Plus, now I think of it... 'those close to him'?

    That seems to leave... 'a scandal'.

  • Comment number 7.

    How terrified GB must be of the budget judgement to have thrown this diversionary half-baked custard pie into the political area. It will be interesting to see on whose face the egg ends up. React in haste, repent at leisure. Is anyone fooled by this rash attempt at a diversion?

  • Comment number 8.

    It'll be the same as all the other labour "proposals" - the end product will end up nothing like the original soundbite which the BBC pronounce.

    It'll be like Brown's G20 communique (which was just lies and double-counting).

    Or like his "abolishing" of the 10% tax rate (a blatant lie; it was a doubling)

    Or like the 15billion efficiency savings which are double-counted and just a "hope over the next few years maybe" rather than a commitment.

    It'll get diluted until nothing's left of the original proposal, it'll get put towards review, and even the diluted version won't come into effect until after the next election.

    As a seasoned reporter, you don't honestly believe the rubbish that Brown's telling you, do you Nick?

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Gordon Brown knew about the abuses in the expenses & allowances when he conveniently absented himself from voting before & ever since he has tried to delay any reform.For some reason he thinks that without knowing what the daily allowance will be MPs will vote to change the allowances scheme.

  • Comment number 11.


    I thought it was you Nick who said expenses were unimportant and apart from a few exceptions MPs were all honorable.
    Once the full expense details are released in the summer (have we not waited long enough already) we will see that the majority of MPs have exploited the system.
    Time for you to switch sides from the parliamentarians to the general public and expose the MPs Nick.

  • Comment number 12.


    You do seem to have returned from your hols somewhat refreshed Nick and your third paragraph is the most telling and revealing.

    Why didn't he do this before, why today just before the Budget and why with a YouTube-style video?

    Brown, never the parliamentarian, suddenly popped up with this half-baked plan for a major U-turn on MPs' expenses, neatly bypassing MPs and the commons.

    This is a blatant and disgraceful affront to the parliamentary process. Still it's one of the funniest videos ever to come out of No10 and made me laugh - until I stopped seeing the funny side

    https://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/brown-gives-us-laugh-at-mps-expense.html

  • Comment number 13.

    Has all the hallmarks of a dictator panicking.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why should anyone be rewarded for abusing the system? MPs are so far removed from reality and how the rest of us live. Guess what? Turn up for work and we will pay you an allowance, WOW. There is a long history of abusing that system in the European Parliment, so will it work for our UK MPs? What do you think?

    Gordon has had 12 years to sort this, he has had the keys to the money. For 2 years he has been the PM. Why would you allow MPs to vote on their own conditions? They have shown that they can not to be trusted, so change that first.

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    It's nice to see Brown do a u-turn, but a couple of points:

    1) Why YouTube? Surely an announcement like this should be made in Parliament.

    2) the grinning and gurning performance on YouTube was appalling. His media advisors should be sent to Siberia. (maybe they were trying to reign him in.... Woul his ex-'media advisor', the disgraced Damian McBride, have allowed Brown to make himself look so grotesque?

  • Comment number 17.

    He must think we're totally stupid....

    He's been ripping us off to the tune of £17K per year whilst he has a home paid for him by us in Downing street. That's even worse than most of the rest of them.

    There's nothing wrong with the scheme just now - if only they'd follow the rules properly - "necessarily incurred in the course of their duties" and "not for personal profit".

    It is not fair to standardise the allowance - consider the difference between Shetland MPs & those in Birmingham for example. The plan of course is just to hide the allowances from us.

    So now he's hoping to be the "good guy" I take it?

  • Comment number 18.

    Actually I disagree with other posters on here.

    I think announcing policy measures on YouTube is a great idea. We could then do away with the House of Commons altogether, no need for any expenses at all then, all MPs could work from home via video-linking, and we the public could then vote on the announcements and leave comments, as YouTube allows you to.

  • Comment number 19.

    #9 stratstrangler
    "It is fashionable now not to give Brown any benefit of doubt."

    True, but what has Duff Gordon done of late to deserve any? His YouTube escapade does show he's stopped listening to his professional spin doctors, though, which I suppose is progress of a sort.

    I do agree with you that Cameron will be Tweedledum to Duff Gordon's Tweedledee, though. Perhaps the English electorate should encourage them both to emulate the '80s Gordon in instituting an English Claim of Right to win sovereignty for the people rather than the festering sore created at Westmidden by the supremacy of parliament.

    Having democratic elections (as promised in '97 by Bliar) instead of the least democratic system in the EU might just help, but there seems little chance of that in the current UK and so little chance of the existing UK lasting much longer as first Scotland and then Wales go their own ways.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 20.

    "At first, Gordon Brown insisted that the question of how to reform MPs' expenses was a matter for Parliament not for him or the government.

    Indeed, when proposals very similar to those he's outlined today were defeated in the Commons, he missed the vote and many of his colleagues backed the status quo.

    Later, he called for an enquiry to report after the election."

    ===

    Truly the "Do Nothing" Prime Minister!

  • Comment number 21.

    @Stratstrangler

    Forget the easy rhetoric of 'foaming at the mouth right wingers' as you call it. Parliament is an old and respected tradition that has served this country for hundreds of years. Parliament is not subject to Gordon Brown, he is subject to it. Exactly when was it decided that policy should be dispensed via You Tube, lobby briefings or appearances on the today show?

    Forget debate amongst the elected representatives of the people, just announce the policy of the country on You Tube thereby bypassing that tedious need to actually have a reasoned debate upon the subject. In fact use the office of state for cheap point scoring against the opposition rather than attempting to actually govern the country in an open and effective way.

    I am very saddened that the mother of all parliaments has been reduced to this and the Labour government has to bear responsibility for the cheapening of what has been fought for by generations of those who put right before personal gain.

    Cromwell's speech on 20 April 1653 seems to be particularly relevant today. Go look it up.

  • Comment number 22.

    A future Cadburys advert. Watch out for drumming gorillas (Prescott?) and kids with dancing eyebrows....

  • Comment number 23.

    PS to my #19

    The Spectator seem to be one of the first with some UK analysis in their The IMF's damning verdict. As the article says, they're the "figures Gordon Brown didn't want you to read".

    It may make the YouTube antics described by Nick a little more explicable - anything to divert attention away from the smoke and mirrors we can expect from Capn. Darling tomorrow.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 24.

    It does look as though Brown is panicking just weeks before the full disclosure of MPs' detailed expenses claims.

    He was right initially.

    The decision on expenses is not in the gift of the PM. He had organised an INDEPENDENT committee to examine the matter. They will continue.

    So why the sudden decision to simply give MPs an un-taxed slab of money which they will not have justify via sensible proof of expense?

    Not many people in the real world (even civil servants) would get away with simply saying "I clocked on so I'm entitled to expenses".

    I bet his mates Balls and Cooper are a bit cross that they will have to make do on London Allowances, rather than the full "expenses" whack. it's getting really tough to be a Minister.

    As for that YouTube stuff... You can only imagine that Brown accidentally hired a Tory supporting production company. Embarrassing!

  • Comment number 25.

    Sadly for "President Gordo" its all to late. Number 10's sleaze machine has run out of ideas and Parliament is being sidelined.

    Today's YouTube announcement is an act of panic. The damage has been done and there is no way back. The Budget will not make a difference either.

    You know as do I that Brown is finished.

    Everyone I have spoken to since the McBride affair and the allowances scandal has said that they will not vote for Brown, even several long-time Labour supporters who intend to abstain at the next election. They are ashamed of what has been going on.

    So can we now move on.

    If Brown were a man he would call an election.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    "a scandal those close to him fear could taint his government just as one word - "sleaze" - tainted John Major's."

    I was drinking a cup of tea when I heard you slip in this 'could taint his government'... you owe me a new keyboard. Where have you been for the last year, Nick?

    It HAS tainted his government. Irredeemably. Totally. In perpetuity.

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    We all remember the famous saying "The lady's not for turning", which can hardly apply to the present prime minister, Gordon Brown. Spin and yet more spin haunt the media day by day.
    The BBC is so obsessed in following its party line, blind support for Great Leader Gordon, that it alters facts and invents figures without conscience. Today on BBC 4, Eddie Mair in his PM programme, said that the USA was not alone in having a dynasty, a family with a history steeped in political power. Whatever one thinks of the Kennedys, it is impossible to deny that they were a powerful political family, and vestiges of it still remain, albeit in the dying form of Edward Kennedy, and the youthful aspiring Caroline. Mair stated that Britain has its own dynasty - wait for it - the Milibands! Now surely, two brothers both in responsible positions at the same time hardly qualifies as a dynasty. Their father was a foreign Marxist and held no position in European politics. As much as Mair is enthralled by anything Nu Labour, by the wildest leap of faith, it is impossible to justify his claim that the Milibands (popularly known as Millipedes) are a dynasty.
    The BBC is so obsessed in following its party line, blind support for Great Leader Gordon, that it alters facts and invents figures without conscience. Today on BBC 4, Eddie Mair in his PM programme, said that the USA was not alone in having a dynasty, a family with a history steeped in political power. Whatever one thinks of the Kennedys, it is impossible to deny that they were a powerful political family, and vestiges of it still remain, albeit in the dying form of Edward Kennedy, and the youthful aspiring Caroline. Mair stated that Britain has its own dynasty - wait for it - the Milibands! Now surely, two brothers both in responsible positions at the same time hardly qualifies as a dynasty. Their father was a foreign Marxist and held no position in European politics. As much as Mair is enthralled by anything Nu Labour, by the wildest leap of faith, it is impossible to justify his claim that the Milibands (popularly known as Millipedes) are a dynasty.

  • Comment number 30.

    I just cannot wait to see Captain Marvel aka David Cameron take over the reins at No 10,my grandad always said that empty cans make the most noise,and as for Baldrick aka George Osborne as Chancellor,I can see Vince Cable chewing him up for breakfast

  • Comment number 31.

    It's the expenses on the second homes that are actually their first homes that have really upset people.

    I can write off claiming for your TV package with your internet package as a mistake but Jacqui Smith claiming over £100,000 in 3 years is an obscene amount to claim and then to say it's within the rules just makes it worse.

    Do these MPs think what they are claiming is ethical and fair or is it a joke to mention ethics with politics now?

  • Comment number 32.

    The fact that he is proposing putting it to a vote by discredited politicians indicates that he just does not know what he is doing and has no moral compass.

    If he had any decency he would have accepted that his undemocratic minority government should have resigned long ago and stepped aside from government forever because of the harm they have done to so many people.

    The fact is that the collossal debt burden he has lumbered the country with will need to be paid for by all civil service pensions being capped, with all Labour MP's getting nothing.

  • Comment number 33.

    Good grief. Government by announcement. Drip feed the budget day by day, now expenses. 'Too late Gordon' does it again. Too late for the financial crisis, too late for MP expenses: Horse bolted stable door shut.

  • Comment number 34.

    The truth is that Brown and Co have made any announcements that have come into their heads in the last 7 days - subsidies for electric cars that don't exist, reducing speed limits, Hillsborough, expenses, etc., etc.; they are desperately trying to turn attention from Smeargate, papers left on trains and every other issue that exposes their true colours.

    Brown's performance on Youtube was that of a man in the grip of panic spasms.

  • Comment number 35.

    This is straight politics pure and simple - this is not an attempt to clean up Parliament, but an attempt to put himself in a good light and the opposition in a bad light. If Brown had really wanted to do the decent thing, he would have called a meeting with David Cameron and Nick Clegg to thrash out a common approach - after all, this is not a matter for the Government, but for Parliament as a whole.

    The self appointed PM has shown his low political side yet again!

  • Comment number 36.

    Your suggestion that there are dangers that the Blair and Brown administrations could become 'as sleazy as Major's' is either the words of an unrelenting New Labour supporter or some-one who is easily fooled.
    Let me take an early example, the Robinson/Mandelson loan. Any ordinary citizen would have been in a Police Station, charged and before a Court. Not so members of the then Blair Government. Do not think that we forget these things as it has been one example of Labour sleaze after another. Major was an amateur compared to this lot.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick,

    As much as I despise you as a 'repeater' one couldn't help but notice that you didn't post a link to the Prime Mentalists video today that one suspects you are referring to.

    I therefore shall leave it to the public to draw their own conclusions -

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3553301/smile-smile-smile.thtml

    Or how about the fine journalist, yes remember that is your supposed title also, Fraser Nelson here also on the state of the economy that the "chancellor of the world" as you described previously is responsible for-

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3554446/the-imfs-damning-verdict.thtml

    Or even this from the same said Fraser Nelson -

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3554911/balls-in-trouble.thtml

    All on the same day.

    Remind me Nick how you come to call yourself a 'Journalist' ???

    Strange how Mr Nelson has managed to pick up on all these and yet you haven't.

    How could that be...???

    Oh hang on, you work for the BBC don't you, silly me, couldn't go "off message" could we.

    My apologies.

  • Comment number 38.

    Let's not forget that Brown sublet his constituency office against the rules, quite an error for such a long-sitting MP.

    What has happened to the rental income Brown received against the rules?

    Has Brown declared the rental income in his tax returns before he was found out?

  • Comment number 39.

    When do the full expenses get published. Whips are talking about a host of resignations, and even potential suicides of sitting MPs.

    What price some MPs have been claiming for a 'second' home - without the knowledge of the good lady wife living happily in the 'first' home?

  • Comment number 40.

    The same urgency for reform would be welcome to intoduce some more safeguards for postal votes prior to the next election, but that will not happen because it is against the interests of the incumbent party who have perfected the art of postal votes.

    Postal votes played a key role in two recent labour candidate selections, following a fourfold increase in postal votes at the Glenrothes byelection where subsequently the voters register went missing. Local elections in Birmingham even saw postal votes featuring in court.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ syds_sports,

    You're on the money re Hillsborough. The files will be released a month prior to the election if there is anything in there that can be spun as cover up ordered by Thatcher.

  • Comment number 42.

    STOP PRESS

    Alistair Darling will not be in Parliament for the Budget, he's presenting it on YourTube, conveniently preventing questions in the house.

    This Government has lost sight of what it is, and what it should be doing. Gordon Brown started as Stalin, became Mr Bean and is now the Bart Simpson of British politics.

    Call an Election.

  • Comment number 43.

    30#

    I'd rather see the REAL Baldrick in 10 Downing St than Gordon "General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett" Brown, any day of the week! Baaah!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    It's a hard thing to say, but I don't blame Brown for the mess of MPs' expenses. The whole system has been appallingly devised and run as though "expenses" were simply another tranche of UN-TAXED income to be exploited.

    All parties have connived at that.

    I have absolutely no problem with "out of town" MPs receiving allowances to have a base in London. But I do object to them being able to say that the London base is a second home when their children go to school from there or a first home when their children go to school elsewhere.

    Hence the anomaly. Balls/Cooper live in London with their schoolchildren, but claim their first home is miles away. Smith lives with her sister in London and claims that as her first home while her children go to school from a family home miles away.

    In a fair and decent society, HMRC would have brought a test case to have some legal ruling on whether the rules of a club were justified.

    The fact that a club decides that a set of rules is "appropriate" does not make them legal.

    When MPs push half-baked laws through parliament, legal challenges occur on a regular basis. Mostly because MPs spend far too little time examing all the garbage flowing into rules and regulations. (Which makes it even more astonishing that MPs will have almost three months of summer break, while more and more rubbish laws and regulations spread across the country like effluent from an overflowing cesspit.)

    It would be good for every voter to pick at random one law introduced during this parliament and ask his/her MP to explain exactly how much time they had spent on examining it - and whether they understood it and its practical consequences.

    Some time back, I worked out that there were around 15-18 new laws or regulations passed for every day that parliament sat.

    So how many MPs actually know what they allowed to happen?

    I'd guess at NONE.

    Passing laws is a waste of time unless (a) you understand the consequences and (b) you manage and deliver against them.

    The first rule for a new parlimant should be to pass a law that says that any law the citizens/subjects don't know about will be scrapped.

    Keep it simple, stupid. Then we'll have a chance to make this country work properly.

    Brown has tripled the size of the law and regulations relative to business. Great for employment of lawyers and poor disheartened business people who are never quite sure whether they are acting legally.

    By the way, there are steps leading up to Number 10. Where's the ramp? Where's the hand rail? This is a public building WE own. So why hasn't Health and Safety been running around insisting on proper access for all?

    We don't need the legislature to produce a stream of duff rules. We need all laws to be well thought through, properly analysed and (if valid) properly executed.

    Far as I can see, if all the laws and regulations were to be properly monitored, then 50 percent of the work force would be employed to oversee the other half. Great way to deliver a growing economy.

  • Comment number 45.

    The nervous smiles, the scruffy hair and the accentuated jaw droppings were excruciating to behold. The idea behind daily allowances was also flawed. He is merely trying to be seen to do something about a thorny issue in order to gain approval. It simply won't work! His constant u turns on current issues display elements of total panic.

  • Comment number 46.

    As usual the BBC grants nu-labour's wishes and puts this diversionary spin as the main item on the front page.

    The pro nu-labour bias continues.

  • Comment number 47.

    These Youtube attempts to embrace the new media are awful just goes how out of touch all politicians are. Whats the point of announcing it on you tube?

    The expenses should be sorted out cross party and should be fair to MPs from all parts of the country. No party should take credit or claim sainthood on this as they're all at it. If labour and conservatives are taking the lead its guaranteed to be a fudge. They'll do as little as they can get away with.





  • Comment number 48.

    U TURN ON YOU TUBE?

    ANOTHER ILL JUDGED KNEE JERK MORE LIKE!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Why oh why did he make such a fool of himself by announcing this on You TUbe.

    Did Brown not state when taking Office that he would be making policy announcements like this first in Parliament.

    Clearly he has been looking at the Polls and is in a blind panic.

    Call an Election Gordon and put the Country, this hapless hopeless excuse of a government and yourself out of its collective misery

  • Comment number 50.

    Gesture politics of the worst kind designed to take attention away from a dismal budget and beleagued Ministers.

    Who will fall for this - apart from the BBC

  • Comment number 51.

    So Gordom has finally been knee-jerked by Public opinion into action by pandering towards a reverse gear to somehow take this serious Question of the Ripping - Off of the Public purse by all M.P.s' with deep pockets, when cashing-in their token receipt Allowances for cash Expenses from the Tax - Payer up and to the tune of around £25,000 Pounds a Year, by changing Gravy - Trains by informing further in telling ALL M.P.s' too in the future Clock - On for Work at Wasteminster at a time of their choosing while on their way to their advisary Paid Second Jobs in the City, and then they can also further command a Daily payment again from the Tax - Payer of anywhere between and around £150 / £200 Pounds Per - Day.

    So therefore, other than arriving at a Platform and changing Gravy - Trains the amounts that can be Claimed will remain the same, other than the FACT that once ALL M.P.s' are onboard this "NEW" Gravy - Train then there won't be any needs to produce any Receipts, and so therefore everything to do with Expenses will not face any Public Challanges as to any Questions of whether Daily Allowances are "WITHIN THE RULES".

    On the other Hand, all the 600 Plus M.P.s' may as well have been given a Pay rise in their stand alone Salary of an extra £25.000 Pounds this Year, but during this time of rising Unemployment of the Voters whom placed their trust in Wasteminster Politicians, there is further growing Public opinion in the view that ALL M.P.s' are surplus to requirement in meriting the trust that has been placed in them, and that all Politicians would better serve Society along side the Rank and File Voters lining up outside their Local Job Centers, where they can undergo a Test of Value in being able to see if they are qualified to Undertake a Real Full - Time Job of Employment.

  • Comment number 52.

    Shock horror, Gordon shows contempt for parliament. To be fair, it hardly matters now. The public have little but contempt for parliament now, so he might as well finish what he's started. To restore faith in parliament needs a clean start. A clean sheet of paper (written constitution) is the only way now.

    Contrary to many here, I thought GB's move was a clever bit of politicking. Yes, the presentation was stomach churningly bad, and the chosen media inappropriate, but the content has got people talking and I can't see how anybody can say he hasn't seized the initiative. While others are dithering with demands for consensus where their objectives are completely dependent on the will of their opponents, Gordon schedules the meeting, cobbles together an agenda and even sets limits on time allowed for conclusions to be reached. Nobody is a saint in this debate so what are a few more kicks and bites in this dirty fight? I doubt the public cares one jot who proposed the ideas and even less which parliamentary protocols / procedures are followed or not. They will judge results, less theft, more transparency.

    Cameron should be kicking himself. Important though the budget is, the economy is such a train wreck that a good or bad budget is unlikely to have much effect one way or another - we need a 5-year plan not a 1-year interlude. But a decent answer on MPs' pay and expenses could swing a few votes.

    If Cameron is as serious about this as he claims, then why does he need consensus? Does he know how to behave? Can he convince the rest of his party how to behave? If Conservatives do understand what the public expects of them in this regard then maybe they are finally ready to govern. Publish a new code of conduct unilaterally then comply with it immediately - no more talk, just action. Force the others to follow in their wake or risk electoral oblivion. Argue about consensus from a position of doing the right thing instead of just talking about it.

  • Comment number 53.

    nice one Gordon - may even get more hits than the Derek Hannan distraction

    you guys will excuse me if I don't watch it though, won't you?

  • Comment number 54.

    Nick

    jomforest Billys gonna gerrem is quite right #49 about the PM saying that future announcements of initiatives will be made to the House before anybody else. But they have been leaking to the media and Nick and your chums have "swallowed it" and been manipulated by the political spin machine.

    I find it interesting that Miss Blears is "caught" leaving No 10 with papers that show what the the PM wants to happen. Surely this was an accident and not deliberate!!

    The PM appears in a youtube video telling the world what he wants to happen with regards to MPs expenses. Could the two issues be related/planned, surely not.

    Well after about 2pm today this item will be off the frontpage because of the budget. Oh I understand from connections that we must read the very small "buried" print in the red book, the most embarrassing facts are well buried (again!).

    Finally Nick as you have a very close relationship with "New" Labour when is the "New" bit being dropped? Tarnished, tired, flawed, stained and all the other synonyms come to mind.

  • Comment number 55.

    No 30, Jimboots wrote:
    "as for Baldrick aka George Osborne as Chancellor,I can see Vince Cable chewing him up for breakfast"

    So, you also think that Labour will be decimated at the GE and that Lib Dems will be the formal opposition....interesting....I like where you are coming from!

  • Comment number 56.

    Let's face it guys,

    The government doesn't bother with policy announcement like it used to be (remember when it was a closely guarded secret?) and released on the correct platform. Nowadays they just leak policy details to the press and let them test the waters - then if there is a backlash they can claim that the leaks were incorrect and that wasn't policy after all

    I welcome the fact that he is trying to push reform through, but I don't see why he has commissioned an independant review to do this and then gone and ridden roughshod over them before they can deliver!

    I think the transparency of it is good. I also think that having to provide receipts for everything is also a good idea - but I do believe that he should have left this to the body of people assigned with the task and followed their advice afterwards; this is merely an attempt to win back public support and take away attention from the budget

  • Comment number 57.

    As we are into the sharing of other media to show self-destruction by the means of being given free rein to spout what you 'think is right':

    https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/21/climate-change-china-copenhagen?commentpage=1&commentposted=1

    Looking at the replies, I am wondering where exactly there's left for these outings that will actually get anything other than a derisory outing.

    I await the BBC sofa with morbid fascination. Broadcast only. No replies.

  • Comment number 58.

    17. At 8:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, graemepirie wrote:
    He must think we're totally stupid....

    =====

    Well, let's be fair, we've got form1 We've voted for these scumbags three times (I will exempt myself from that by the way!) so it isn't really a sign of intelligenece, is it?

    If Brown thinks this 'video' is trying to take the heat off the Budget, he must be nearly as mad as the people who put him into power. Oh, that wasn't us, was it?

    All he's done is

    a) Made himself look completely deranged. (Normal people don't smile on and off like a bath tap)

    b) Brought the expenses scandal back on to the front pages

    c) Made himself look like a dictator. It is NOT his role to decide how MP's pay is allocated. it's Partiament's as a whole.

    And shouldn't this announcement have been made IN Parliament?

  • Comment number 59.

    A much way to reform the allowances would be an announcement that MPs would have until June 1 to confirm that all claimed allowances were legitimate,& that all allownces claimed for the last five years were going to be checked by an outside firm & that any that were found to breach the above reproach rule would have to be repaid.By removing the ability of MPs to decide what is beyond reproach would clean up the system.

  • Comment number 60.

    Can't bring myself to watch it-I shudder at the sight of the gyrations of his jaw-does he need new dentures or a fixative?

    Utube? A younger generation's medium? Will there be party political broadcasts on it next?

    Please, Gordon, this faux pas is embarassing!

    Spare us all the agony and resign!

  • Comment number 61.

    In actuality I do not believe taht any of them are to blame.

    Would we push the limits of our company's expenses policies to get as much as we could? I suspect most of us would.

    Bear in mind that it is unlikely that any MP will be found to have breached the rules on expenses it shows that it is the rules themselves that were always to blame.

    Clearly GB had the opportunity to address it and was not interested. But now it is a flan in the face.....spin, spin and spin again.

    'Orators are most vehement when their cause is weak' - Marcus Tullius Cicero.

  • Comment number 62.

    There will of course be those in his own party who will be greatly annoyed by his decision to preempt the findings of The Indepndent Review on this matter merely in order to create what he perceives to be popular headlines. We the voters are not in any way deceived by his cynical ploys.

  • Comment number 63.

    "Slow-burning scandal of MPs' expenses"
    Only according to the bbc who should be totally embarrassed for supporting and acting as a mouthpiece for such an incompetent government.
    It has a long fuse and SuperGordo has made it longer by coming up with a suggestion that even an 11-year old would dismiss (my apologies to all 11-year olds)
    Of course the bbc is also renowned for its public money spending (waste) like £100,000 per year for car transport for Thompson and Byford.

  • Comment number 64.

    Nick,

    I'm surprised that you only make a glance at the method of delivery

    This is something that affects all MP's and yet he sought to take the message to the people rather than to parliament.

    It just looks like we are getting messages from the bunker, and Brown has no truck with parliamentary democracy, to me

  • Comment number 65.

    I watched Gorgon's announcement - it was like an entry for Brits Got Talent - that's three no's then.

    From the hokey cokey, some cha cha and hand jives - it was just the weirdest most insincere thing I have seen - it was creepy!!

    The real point however is, trying to manipulate C Kelly's report....what I don't understand is all the furore made about leaked this that and the other....the hypocrisy - leaking out little ditty's of their own to poodles about the budget, this pathetic attempt and pre-empting expense report - this is an act of Govt in desperation....

    ...sadly, the poodles lap it up and don't even analyse it - yes, they know who they are!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Maurice , the difference is that we have to justify our expenses with items called receipts and the finer judgemnet of necessity!
    The all singing , all dancing PM on youtube is entertaining ,if absolutely nothing else!
    There is no way MPs expenses are justified, there is no way that their holidays are justified ,indeed there is no way that some of them can justify holding down the job.

  • Comment number 67.

    I just watched the video :-P

    The full realisation that I will never get those minutes back is just sinking in..........what was that all about?

    Seriously - Gordon really needs some better advice on how to present himself, the whole hand thing? WTF? And as for the bottom jaw action: 'nuff said

    I do actually appreciate the sentiment of wanting to clean this whole debacle up. I do wonder what prompted it though - was it his sense of morality? Or the pure public outrage over this whole sordid affair. I would like to think that it's driven by a sense of doing the right thing; but i'm not convinced...........

  • Comment number 68.

    Why did Brown go to You Tube to make this allowances/expenses announcement? Because this stigma will stick to his name? It sure will. He is fully aware also that David Cameron asked for an enquiry last year and jealously wants to retake the initiative. As always, Brown is too late and his dithering will cost him dear.
    The timing of this announcement demonstrates panic and sheer embarrassment at the abuse of the system, particularly by his own Ministers. It also demonstrates he has no regard for Parliament and has sidelined it once again. He also has no respect for his Chancellor because this announcement has over shadowed the budget.His hasty announcement is another headline grabbing initiative that will have no real substance once the detail has been examined.
    It has to be said, this dysfunctional PM is floundering around grasping at straws to cling to power. After nearly 12 years of mismanaging power,allowing the abuse of allowances to continue without restraint, he has effectively consigned the Labour Party and his Government to the dustbin of history for the next 50 years.

  • Comment number 69.

    My last word on the matter is 'Yuk!'.

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    Brown has demonstrated to everybody just how much he holds us all in contempt with this latest stunt.
    Something as important as this SHOULD have been announced in parliament, so that's all MP's held in contempt and, inter alia, all the members of the electorate that sent them there.
    Only 3 weeks ago he stated in PMQ's that this subject was suitable for the Public Standards Committee to rule on and, apparently they were only told about this on Monday evening. Notwisthstanding the fact that any committee will take an inordinate amount of time to reach any decision, they have been shown how much contempt Brown has for them, this despite the fact that he stated that it was not proper for him to reach this decision.
    Finally we have meetings bewteen the party leaders today which will now discuss Browns, and only Browns, proposals. How much more contempt has he got in his pockets?

  • Comment number 72.

    Leadership involves many qualities; some tangible, others less so.

    Let there be no mistake, the most important thing should always be what is being said, but in this televisual age, and perhaps even more because it is so key in delivery of the message, how it gets delivered is critical, too.

    While a factor (and having the "X' doesn't hurt), physical appearance should not be over-estimated. That said, as with any job interview, you will get judged on certain passive aspects of presentation. Which is why I think to Winston Churchill, who was not exactly Brad Pitt. But what he had to say, and how he said it, motivated a nation.

    Not so sure coming across as Beaker from the Muppets wired to the national grid has quite the same heft.

  • Comment number 73.

    Brown obviously should take the blame. He's done nothing to stop the rot and in fact has let it fester and even intensify as his own constituency office arrangments, the Smiths, Mr and Mrs Balls, McNulty, Hoon, Cohen, Darling even Prescott.

    The fact he was apaerently too busy to address this three weeks ago, but yetserday decided it was ripe for a Youtune video nasty just compounds the liability. Mrs Dromey's Court of Public Opinion has spoken.

  • Comment number 74.

    Attendance payments? Not enough getting a salary, but also extra cash for rolling up? Reminds me of the bribes they are offering deliquent schoolchildren. Come to school, show and, and we will pay you thirdy pounds, or some such attendance allowance. It would be better for the nation if we paid them to stay home!

  • Comment number 75.

    If that is the performance Gordon Brown is intending to repeat at a general election when he asks us to believe that he's on our side/looking after hard working families/etc/etc..then please bring on the general elecion as soon as possible.

    This broadcast was beyond scorn; it looked like he was playing that children's game where an electronic device shouts 'bump it'.. 'hit it'... push it'... 'twist it'.. while he bobbed up and down in the background.

    For pity's sake call an election.

  • Comment number 76.

    I love all the pointless criticism here about his appearance on youtube.

    Personally, it is fine by me - he only used them because they have the necessary bandwidth.

    The important thing is what happens next - he has laid down a strong starting argument. It may well have problems, and the figures may need adjusting, but unlike the rest of the DITHERING leaders, at least it actually puts something solid on the table.

    Personally, it misses one vital component.

    MPs should be BANNED from moonlighting.

    How on earth can William Hague and many others really do their own jobs properly when they do other, completely self serving jobs as well

    Either you are an MP, or you do something else. NOT BOTH.

    And for those that say "you don't get the best people unless you pay enough and allow them their other incomes," well, it hasn't worked thus far!

    An MP should start by being someone who would do the job for free, if that were practically possible. THAT is the attitude we need to look for.

  • Comment number 77.

    72. At 09:29am on 22 Apr 2009, JunkkMale wrote:
    Leadership involves many qualities; some tangible, others less so.

    ...Not so sure coming across as Beaker from the Muppets wired to the national grid has quite the same heft.

    ===

    Thank you for this wonderful image!

  • Comment number 78.

    76. At 10:02am on 22 Apr 2009, Gurubear wrote:

    ...Personally, it misses one vital component.

    MPs should be BANNED from moonlighting.

    How on earth can William Hague and many others really do their own jobs properly when they do other, completely self serving jobs as well

    Either you are an MP, or you do something else. NOT BOTH.

    ===

    I agree. Those 19% of Labour MPs with second jobs should be ashamed of themselves, shouldn't they?

  • Comment number 79.

    76. At 10:02am on 22 Apr 2009, Gurubear wrote:
    I love all the pointless criticism here about his appearance on youtube.

    Personally, it is fine by me - he only used them because they have the necessary bandwidth.

    The important thing is what happens next - he has laid down a strong starting argument. It may well have problems, and the figures may need adjusting, but unlike the rest of the DITHERING leaders, at least it actually puts something solid on the table.

    ===

    Gordon Brown didn't even bother to vote on the amendment to MPs' expenses last year.

    Gordon Brown announced a review of MPs' expenses to report after the next election.

    Three weeks ago Gordon Brown announced at PMQs that the independent inquiry into MPs' expenses was to report by the end of this year.

    Yesterday Gordon Brown made a fool of himself gurning on YouTube and contradicting everything he had previously said.

    What a hypocritical idiot!

    Finally, it is not for him to decide what happens regarding expenses, it is for Parliament.

    However, to truly put something on the table he could announce that he is paying back the GBP17,000 he claims from us each year to fund his constituency home, when he has the use of TWO Grace and Favour homes as well.

  • Comment number 80.

    No 24

    Don't worry about Balls/Cooper under the new Brownian video proposals. Until they resign or there's an election they have two misiterial salaries (+exes) going in and two Second Home Allowances. Remember also that their consituencies (and their "Main Home" - don't laugh) are in Yorkshire so they will be able to claim their £175/day (x 2 of course) even if they only have to hop on bus from Stoke Newington. Kerrching as they say - it's alomost as if Balls wrote the video script himself.............

  • Comment number 81.

    On the second job front, how can all those hard-working consituency MP's possibly take on other responsibilities like, for example, being a Minister? Maybe, just may be, a consituency MP job is not actually a full-time job? Only a thought

  • Comment number 82.

    He's not actually used "YouTube" for his latest video outing.

    I wonder why... they always have the ratings and comments turned off anyway perhaps it's to discourage people linking to it and mocking the terrible performance there.

    They just don't get the Internet do they?

  • Comment number 83.

    Regardless of the all nonsense on here about the PM's hair (which is the intellectual limit of many posters on here) the real criticism I have is the length of time it has taken the PM to act.
    Many issues facing the Government do take time to resolve and careful policy formulation can't be constructed overnight. However, everyone instinctively knows that MP's expenses are an affront to public sensibility.
    Yesterday's announcement was a good first step but it should have been taken months (possibly years) ago.

  • Comment number 84.

    well i supose its a step in the right direction, even though the idea its self it completely rediculos, why has it taken this long and why is it after he said that it is a parlmentry issue is he sneaking around with a big fake grin? Personally i dont think that mps should get more to turn up to work, they already get well above national average. I personally thought that the anger was because mp's missused the expensises system and this new one that he announced is even worse. I seriously doubt that i could get away without submitting any of my receipts in my business, if i did i would be oon tial for faud!!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    45 Sicilian
    Just a few weeks ago you were telling me that you never call anyone in parliament by abusive names, and I've yet to catch you out but it will come believe me, as I have told you quite frequently that your the more predatory type,you like to make remarks about personal disabilities and dress or appearance that doesn't come up to what you consider to acceptable standards, my father always told me that it doesn't matter if you've got a hole in the seat of your pants as long you have a roll of cash in your pocket big enought to choke a donkey and a clear concience, he also used to say that that many people walked around with aires and graces but their fortune was the clothes on their back.

    Putting that aside, I have this picture in my mind of you as a Robert Redford or perhaps George Cloony and with a six pack like Arnold, a sort of modern day Adonis but with a brain like Einstien or maybe George Osborne, no one who didn't have those attributes could have the audacity to come up with this below.

    #The nervous smiles, the scruffy hair and the accentuated jaw droppings were excruciating to behold.

    As for this comment below,

    #We the voters are not in any way deceived by his cynical ploys.

    Since your not a voter and apparently choose not to be. you have no moral justification to voice your opinion on what we British voters believe or indeed don't believe, and the fact that you have paid taxes here makes not a iota of difference, in the same way as I paying Taxes in the land that you owe allegence too, doesn't give me the right to voice my opinion on the performance or the views of the people of the Netherlands or what they think of their government

 

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