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Relieved and nervous

Nick Robinson | 16:45 UK time, Friday, 5 June 2009

On the one hand, the Conservatives will be relieved that - just for the moment - Gordon Brown seems secure as leader.

David CameronThey believe that a new leader - say, Alan Johnson - would be a more formidable electoral threat.

On the other hand, they will be nervous. While they're likely to end the day having won overwhelmingly and having taken a handful of councils, their projected share of the national vote is not as good as it might have been.

They also know that there are swings in politics and that, having had a bloody few days, Gordon Brown has an opportunity to reassert himself.

At his Downing Street news conference, he is likely to address criticisms that he has no support by indicating that key members of his cabinet are still around him.

He is also likely to point to documents to be published in the next week - one on political renewal; another one on what are described as achievable and measurable targets on the economy, health and education - a kind of mini-manifesto for the next six months, if you like.

David Cameron has been around long enough and seen enough ups and downs to regard this as another marking post on the route to possible power - and to know that Gordon Brown has recovered before and he might just do it again.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Nick, four posts in a day?

    Number 10 must be working overtime!

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course MPs want to become ministers, they get more money. They will receive more than £100,000 between now and the election next year, who would turn that down? Only somebody with the country at heart rather than the Labour party and their position in it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick, You are so pro-Gorden it is untrue. Labour are dead. Everyone knows it, so why won't you say it? At work all anyone talks about when you ask them is how long we have to wait before we can get rid of him and his hopeless government. It's not even a tory win that is so desired, but an absolute slamming for Labour, because they've got it coming.

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh come on Nick, you are kidding right?

    Gordon is surely the only person who still believes the repeating nonsense that comes out of his mouth.

    Please will someone put him out of our misery.

  • Comment number 5.

    Please, by all means, let Brown win the next election, or get a hung parliament: I'll short gilts or just sterling.

    Re the mini economics manifesto: interesting to see Brown tackle the 80 billion to 100 billion pounds per annum structural government deficit in it (according to IFS and OECD estimates respectively). Yes, that will be roughly the amount that the budget will be in deficit after a bit of recovery. Since it's the estimate for the structural deficit, it assumes some recovery and hence lower unemployment benefit outlays and higher tax revenues than at the trough (often-used word these days) of the cycle.

    Pity the UK tax payer, regardless whether Brown will still be there in June 2010.

  • Comment number 6.

    This man (Brown) simply will not accept that the electorate have sent a signal that they want him to go and he simply refuses.

    He alone has taken the honourable role of PM to the lowest levels ever seen.
    He simply will not accept he and his policies are not wanted yet he remains.
    Labour MP's are as gulity of ignoring the electorate in not removing Brown from office.
    They are party driven and not putting the country first.
    Brown is a disgrace not only as an MP but as an individual for showing so much arrogance and contempt for democracy & the UK electorate.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    The BBC's projected share of the vote for the Conservatives is plainly wrong. They are taking masses of seats off Labour and the LibDems, but the BBC has them down 6% as against Labour down 1% and the LibDems up a lot.
    This is a disaster for Labour and a disaster for the country because we are stuck with Brown as Prime Minister.
    But the Conservatives have triumphed in the local elections and have a lame duck Prime Minister as their opponent in the general election which must take place within a year.

  • Comment number 9.

    The Liberal Democrats are the only main party to actually gain percentage of the votes and come second places, even though they have lost a two councils and seats (what a electoral system we have).

    Fed up with Labour and Gordon Brown. Tories for government, Lib Dems for oppoistion!

  • Comment number 10.

    Just watched Broooon on the BBC player.

    Oh dear, its time for the men in white coats ! The man has totally
    lost his marbles.

    You can see him being carried off shouting that "No one understands"

    I hope they have a bed for him, poor chap !

  • Comment number 11.

    Am i completely missing something, has the monarchy lost control?, the Queen should dissolve parliment and call a general election, we have a Scottish socialist, with scottish constituency, get rid of the scottish labour party and install the tories ASAP

  • Comment number 12.

    Government of the living dead.

    Mrs Kinnock obviously needs a top up to her considerable public pensions pot. The Nu Labour dynasties are created and prolonged.

    The Blairite trio of women ex-ministers are now sat huddled on the back benches dreaming of a return to power. Meanwhile Brown continues to "Carry on with the job" and denying any media claims of difficulties?

    What is this man on?

  • Comment number 13.

    Out Like Flint.

  • Comment number 14.

    I want him to explain the 99 billion annual waste or our taxes paid as audited by the Central European Bank.

  • Comment number 15.

    At the expense of seeming rude `its the economy, stupid!'

    The state of the public finances and the PSBR for this year leave this government as a hostage to fortune and things will get bad again. However, it does give us the opportunity of focussing on issues that matter to the people.

    All compliments to those who came to the aid of their party: there is still some integrity left among the flipped homes, dirty videos and kitchen sinks.

    I do feel however that this government has nothing to offer, is desparately hanging on in the hope that something will turn up, and it is all only a matter of time. Is this Rourkes Drift or The Retreat from Kabul? I fear it may be the latter.

  • Comment number 16.

    The Hoon's A Balloon

  • Comment number 17.

    Nick is right about Cameron being aware that GB will not resign until the fat lady sings.
    I have never seen 'headless chicken' government until today.We could well be twinned with Italy !
    I guess there will be a steady stream of bye elections over the next six months until GB realises the situation.I didn't classify GB as being stupid as he has totally misread the mood of the country.

  • Comment number 18.

    Only Nick could put a negative spin on the Tory's trouncing at the hands of Labour !

  • Comment number 19.

    Why has my post awaiting moderation as a newcomer completely disappeared??

  • Comment number 20.

    I note the standard labour response - disappointing results but we'll learn from it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Nick, comments like these just make you look a bit silly. The writing is on the wall. Gordon is in the Brown stuff. Another minister resigns. It just kooks like a house of cards tumbling to the floor.

  • Comment number 22.

    Um, you should be updating this minute by minute Nick. In fact given current events, second by second! Can he really survive this? Really?

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh come on - There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see.
    Gordon is finished, NuLabour are finished.
    They might not know it but the country does, perhaps that is the problem, the Westminster Bubble and those within, live in another World.

    Gordon will be gone by this time next week, and he knows it.

  • Comment number 24.

    7 unelected peers in cabinet. Unbelievable.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am watching Gordon Brown answering questions to the press and as said one thing I like every much that is that he intend to put a statuary system in place over MP's pay expanses and allowances

    Which will put all MP's claims out to independent auditing and public view

  • Comment number 26.


    Your questions to Gordon Brown today at his news question were both very pertinent and very clear regarding 'candour'. True to form Gordon Brown made no attempt to answer your question(s) as repeated and I think was candidly arrogant with his answer.

    I think this is why so many people like me and in the electorate, media, parliament - wherever - have a huge problem with Mr Brown - he mentioned the parliamentary gentlemen's expenses club as if it had been wrecking his mental health for the last 20+ years - Here we have the most arrogant, devious, oppportunistic, lying meglamaniac perhaps we have ever seen in Parliament - his Presbytarian sympathy patter also makes me physically sick. So arrogant to imply that he has been troubled by the old boy's expenses club as a direct beneficiary of that corrupt system for more than 20 years.

    Oh when oh when will this most arrogant man 'get it' and when will we see more truth conviction decency and courage from MP's like James Purnell in standing up and saying what needs saying - the truth is that the 'trough snouters' who support Brown in Parliament and keep him in power are just as devious and dangerous - these are the real threat to our democracy and incapable of reforming or cleaning up anything in Parliament.

    The labour government is characterized by incompetence and instead of admitting that they lie and spin their way through in the most arrogant fashion.

    That is what I think is wrong with this rotten government - at least with Messrs Cameron and Clegg you're likely to get a straight answer - Gordon Brown is just completely insulting.

    Candidly arrogant, indeed!

  • Comment number 27.

    Just watched the out of control Brown at his Press Conference -- and 3 Minister's resigned while it was in progress.
    Then we hear Brown is appointing more members to the Lord's.
    And then he says he is not arrogant -- amazing !
    The Queen should refuse to allow any further appointments to the Lords until there is an election.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nick. just 20 mins after you blogged this, Caroline Flint resigned. Salvator Mundi has now lost 5 Cabinet Ministers in 24 hours. Gordon is politically a walking un-dead. You are supposed to be a professional political analyst, not a syncophant. The Tories did not "win a handful of County Councils", Labour have now lost control of every County Council in England. Labour have been nearly wiped out in Kent, and unless Dover reverses a trend, will be wiped out. Even though Surrey has had it's problems, the County Council is now a Labour-free zone. Now analyse that and commentate on the reality of the situation

  • Comment number 29.

    Robinson as deluded as Brown!

  • Comment number 30.

    I hope people will see that the ministers who have stepped down and the mps who criticise M.Brown mostly have all been right at the center of the expenses scandal.
    M.Brown is not media savy but he is a decent honest man hopefully the british public will see this with the brilliant way he has dealt with this economic crisis.
    Who knows we may see another gordon bounce

  • Comment number 31.

    #8 "The BBC's projected share of the vote for the Conservatives is plainly wrong."
    The Lib Dems want proportional representation for exactly the same reason that NuLabour want toilet seats and the Tories want duck houses.
    It's called "self interest". Why else would any sane person want to be a politician?
    But I agree that projecting shares of the vote is just playing political games, unless you also know the share of those who couldn't be bothered to vote for a bunch of nonentities with their snouts in the local council pig trough, but might want to give their MP a good kicking if they live long enough to get the chance.

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    Quote from Nick's blog: At his Downing Street news conference, he is likely to address criticisms that he has no support by indicating that key members of his cabinet are still around him.
    What he won't say however, is that the only reason they are still there is that they would have been at the front of the queue to slaughter him if he hadn't given in to their demands.
    The very epitome of the tail wagging the dog!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Nick just cant help yourself can you, what on earth are you talking about, the tories have absolutely nailed labour, they are not nervous, they have been given overwhelming support from the British public, hello, look at results, read the blogs talk to the public (random) get into the real world and out of labour world, the tories could'nt give a toss who leads labour, they just want the election called now.

  • Comment number 35.

    Flint quits half way through Brown's press conference saying the Brown treated women in the cabinet as nothing more than window dressing.
    However, this is barely mentioned anywhere on the BBC site. Are the BBC just a bit slow, or are they intentionally hiding the truth from the people who pay the license fee just to protect their beloved leader?

    By my reckoning we've now got 3 unelected people in the cabinet, being led by an unelected PM. How can this possibly stand without riots taking place?

  • Comment number 36.

    One other issue you have overlooked, Gordon has had his "night of the long Knives" Cameron still has to do what he promised and look at his own backyard and not slip it all under the carpet with a General Election. Look forward to seeing how ruthless he will be, as With Kirkbride I was a little bit amazed at how he accepted what she had done and was suprised at his lack of any ire at her and her husbands antics. Hang on Gordon I still remember how dire the Thatcher and Major days were and how I saw my mortgage interest get to a point where it was obscene. At least under Gordon I have been able to pay off said mortgage and retire early.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick surely it is fundementally wrong for so many peers to be in cabinet, the public has absolutely no way of holding these people to account, until we have our election democracy is dead in the ||UK now do your job Nick and stop your petty shot's at the conservatives.

  • Comment number 38.

    think they'll be more nervous than relieved - not saying this will happen but it may well be that, a year from now with GB still in place and an Election finally upon us, the economy is recovering a little, the expenses fiasco is old news, and the public starts to focus on the following (important) choice ... a straight binary choice:

    either ...

    another term for an interventionist Labour government, committed to supporting the economy and protecting the most vulnerable from the worst ravages of the global downturn

    or ...

    throw caution to the winds and elect the more hands off Clowns, promising a quicker paydown of the National Debt and may the devil take the hindmost

    and that, my friends, could go either way couldn't it?

  • Comment number 39.

    Watching Brown at this afternoons News briefing, it was like watching a very sick man giving a dying speech, for he was saying that he went into Politics not just to be in the Head-Lines but has turned out very much to be a Clown figure firmly transfixed and caught in the Head-Lights of everyday Politics where Daily every News Story is ALL about himself Brown as P.M. and HIS failed Policies along now with his lost of grip on Leadership, in NOT being able to reshuffle his pre-shuffled Cabinet.

    Brown is now a figure in the mode of a former Labour Prime Minister namely: Michael Foot, whom at least gave good entertainment value to the Post of P.M., unlike the Dead Man Walking approach in performance that Brown along with his Cabinet of the living Dead are giving.

    This now begs the Question: How much longer can Nu-Labour substain itself on their current Road to Nowhere.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    Just watched the Brown conference. The man was truly floundering and tripping over his words well before the end.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree it's a absolutely disaster for the Tories.

    Labour have only lost 60% of their councillors
    The Tories have actually not managed to win 4 councils of the 19 so far declared.
    The Lib Dems have only lost 29 councillors and only 1 council

    Mr Cameron and Osborne must be running round like headless chickens looking for scapegoats for this unmitigated disaster.

    Anyway - that's how the BBC seems to be portraying it - witness the prominence earlier today that the Tories had actually lost a councillor in Julie Kirkbride's seat.

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    BBC all upbeat, new spin... all the resignations have in fact been helpful to brown, oh my, bbc labour you just dont get it do you. soon we may get some proper political journo's

  • Comment number 45.

    Caroline Flint yesterday falling over herself to praise Gordon Brown....
    now she hasn't got the promotion she thought she was going to get she doesn't have a good word for him.

    Pass the sour grapes!

  • Comment number 46.

    I think the current opinion on the government is over stretched, I realise that there are problems with the labour government, and a wave of people resigned in the last few days, but you have to consider that it was only four people. Its like football if I may digress for a moment David Dein quit Arsenal two years ago as director of the club and the football media were calling it a sinking ship at Arsenal, but arn't they not the same team now as when he was in charge. This is the same for the labour government that the government is bigger than any four individuals and that its a team effort so who ever is replacing these individuals should work as a team.

    I'd also liek to question those people that support the conservative party, I respect if thats who youve supported throughout the years or if your familly support them, but the people who supported labour and have turned to the conservatives, you clearly have short memories Im 26 so I only vagley remember what life was like in the conservative era. This made me think how life was difficult for the working class person.

    Also I would like any conservative supporter reading this to list any potential policies which they have stated as alternative to the ones that labour have announced, I would be very interested as all I have heard is pure smoke and air with no real substance not that I would vote for them, even if you might.

  • Comment number 47.

    The Caroline Flint comment that Gordon Brown has an inner circle and then the rest of The Cabinet certainly rings true. I will miss her sexy presence on politics shows. Her assertion that he treats women as window dressing needs to be addressed.

  • Comment number 48.

    No, Brown will not recover this time.

    The public DESPITE the expenses outrage has shown that they overwhelmingly prefer the Conservatives.

    Brown - in his press conference just now a shell of a man - is defeated but in denial.

    He has the arrogance to say "I am the right person for the job" when it is us the electorate who should be deciding and NOT him.

    We need Her Majesty to dissolve parliament. We cannot lumber on with this dreadful man at the helm and a bunch of newly appointed cabinet ministers on a learning curve. Glynnis Kinnock in the Lords as Minister for Europe? Please, give us a break!

  • Comment number 49.

    On the one hand, the Conservatives will be relieved that - just for the moment - Gordon Brown seems secure as leader.

    On the other hand, I, as a mere member of the working, voting (if not for Lords and Ladies stocking the cabinet hourly) classes, despair at the 'security' of such a 'leader'.

  • Comment number 50.

    I take it all those in the moderation queue watched that debacle of a press conference?
    "the public wants me to get on with the job" "
    The public wants me to clean up politics" Dead right and we'd like to start with the Labour Party!
    Correct me if I'm wrong but this " I will introduce legislation to clean up politics" bit, is already on the books i.e the Green book.
    Was there not once a lady by the name of Filkin , who did such a good job scrutinising MPs that they got rid of her??

  • Comment number 51.

    At his press conference, Brown says:

    "I know where I and my cabinet team want to take this country"

    Which cabinet 'team' does he mean? Yesterday's team, or today's team?

    Why have so many members of the old team resigned? Why is Brown appointing unelected people? Is it because he has run out of MPs who are willing to serve?

    If Brown doesn't trust the electorate, why should the electorate trust him?

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    Will brown ask our unelected europe minister to publish her allowances from the european parliament,so that she is the same as other ministers? how exactly is she answerable to her constituency if she does not have one?
    So we see that brown's idea of making parliament more open and fair is to stuff his cabinet with unelected cronies who have no mandate from the voters.

  • Comment number 54.


    Have just witnessed the Prime Ministers Press Conference. Was I imagining things - but to me Gordon Brown was in a total state of shock. Emotionally he was a spent force and was just rambling . Anyone seeing this performance surely must question his ability to carry on in office? A very sad sight to witness.

  • Comment number 55.

    bbc play the only bit of the brown interveiw that sounds it was made by a rational man, the very begining before questions were asked, show him at the end aswell to ensure balance, show some of the questioning, i accuse the bbc as an organisation are labour spinning traitors. repeat your snippet as much as you like put it on loop, but we know the truth, we also know the bbc are not capable of the truth or balance

  • Comment number 56.

    This is probably not the right Blog/Log but I am so infuriated by Caroline Flint (One minute she's lovey dovey the next minute not - " Hell Hath No Fury As A Woman Scorned" springs to mind. The less women in a cabinet and in this world would be better for all. C'mon Dave get your Party in and get rid of this moronic shambles. Come and meet me Dave and I'll work for you for nothing (that's zero salary and zero expenses) That is the TRUTH

  • Comment number 57.

    Just a thought: if GB is serious about reforming the House of Lords, will the reforms include removing the PM's right to stuff it with his own unelected cronies (Digby Jones, Alan Sugar, Glenys Kinnock) so they can join the govenerment?
    No, I thought not. Silly me for ever imagining "an elected upper house" might actually mean "elected by the general population"...

  • Comment number 58.

    at least sky show a little more balance and seem to get, head and shoulders above bbc.

  • Comment number 59.

    No 37
    Yes, I'm uneasy about peers in government as well.
    As with the other concerns about the "unelected" nature of Brown,(which seems to cause so much consternation on these blogs) isn't this an opportunity for Dave or any other delegate to the forthcoming Conservative Annual Conference to get a motion on the order paper that a future Conservative government will
    (a) Not have more than one/two/three/whatever peers in cabinet
    (b) Ask HM for a dissolution within (say) six months, should the leader at the time of the election be able to continue as Prime Minister until the next General Election.
    If he gives a public undertaking to this effect he can justifiably claim the moral high ground and dare Labour to do likewise.
    Not holding my breath, however.

  • Comment number 60.

    15. At 5:22pm on 05 Jun 2009, stanilic wrote:
    "...The state of the public finances and the PSBR for this year leave this government as a hostage to fortune ...All compliments to those who came to the aid of their party: there is still some integrity left among the flipped homes, dirty videos and kitchen sinks...
    ...Is this Rourkes Drift or The Retreat from Kabul? I fear it may be the latter."

    I agree that they are hostages to fortune, even though so many of them deserve all they get.
    I also agree that it's the latter. A ragged band, desperately trying to keep together, marching towards their Gandamak!

  • Comment number 61.

    Why on earth isn't there a mechanism whereby the electorate can demand a general election? This is such a shambles.

  • Comment number 62.

    i watched GB avoid answering your question...... why dont the press get together and just ask the same question over and over until he finally answers!
    your analysis of the local election results is laughable....!

  • Comment number 63.

    Sorry, but I don't understand the BBC's projection of the voting percentages: the numbers show a 6% decline for the Conservatives and only 1% decline for Labour.
    In this election, the Conservatives have taken maybe 200 council seats from Labour. Clearly, in these seats, the Labour vote has declined by more than the Conservative vote. So this means that the Conservative vote has declined by more than Labour among council seats that the Conservatives held already: e.g. in safe conservative seats where Labour had few votes to begin with.
    If this is the case, then things are very ominous for Labour. The Conservatives are making inroads exactly where they need to. And their losses are in places which will not matter in a general election.

    I would be grateful if you and your colleagues could provide more insight on this. Because the figures being presented don't add up.

  • Comment number 64.

    well done to the Conservatives, MSM may still be on your back but the public has overwhelmingly given their opinion.

  • Comment number 65.

    Nervous tories, lmao!!!!

    If I was Cameron I would be really nervous about annihilating Labour in these elections. Even Brown's sycophantic lapdogs in the cabinet cant put up with him anymore so he has to fill it with unelected lords.

    Roll on next year when even the thickest skull ever to occupy number 10 will get the message - the public despise this government....

  • Comment number 66.

    Come on Nick, Brown recover??I've seen skeletons with more chance of recovery. Flint has now described him as using her a window dressing. Parnell has walked. Hoon has vanished, but when did we ever see him. Those backbenchers will be doing the maths, looking at the county council election results and the euro results, and calculating whether they may just have a chance of remaining as an MP if there is a new leader. Its true that only 45% of the population has had the chance to pass judgement, but the electorate have sent a very clear message - they just don't want to vote for Labour with Brown at the helm. That e-mail may yet get a momentum of its own and Brown will have no alternative other than to take on a challenger or stand down.

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    @46. Scrapping ID cards, resistingthe enormous increase in our national debt and actually keeping their manifesto promise on our referendum spring to mind....

    (and I'm just a Labour hater and not a tory supporter)

  • Comment number 69.

    One of the reasons Labour wanted to reform the House of Lords was to remove hereditary peers who were only there because of an ancestor who had shown allegiance to a long dead monarch.

    But now Brown fills the House of Lords with people who (he hopes) will show allegiance to him.

    This government has never understood democracy - only how to abuse it.

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick said:

    "At his Downing Street news conference, he is likely to address criticisms that he has no support by indicating that key members of his cabinet are still around him."


    Would that include Caroline Flint, Margaret Beckett, Geoff Hoon and Tony NcNulty?

  • Comment number 71.

    Good grief Nick, which planet are you on? Are you hoping for a peerage? Minister for Communicatons perhaps. You don`t seem to have been listening to what has been going on today. Its been carnage for labour!

  • Comment number 72.


    The Tories are not the story.

    The fact that Brown has appointed 3 unelected Lords (some in waiting) rather than elected MPs to his 'new' Cabinet demonstrates his lack of confidence in, and his utter contempt for, the PLP.

    If I was a Labour MP I'd be seething at the disrespect shown and seek to defenestrate him at once.

  • Comment number 73.

    oh gawd Nick. Please, not another "Brown bounce" narrative. The last one was excrutiating enough. If the public are that superficial as to give Brown another chance - then perhaps they deserve him.

  • Comment number 74.

    Incredulous is the only way I can describe the mayhem we have seen today.

    A PM who laughs like a kid all the way through his press conference.

    Had he not wanted to see what the people are telling him.

    Resignations of some of the best ministers flowing across our TV screens as he tells us he is reforming the constitution by bringing in even more unelected people by promoting them with peerages. Glynis Kinnock just off the EU gravy train being one.

    Accused of female window dressing by appointing women but not allowing them into his two tier inner circle. Where's Harriet Harman and her equality commission in all this?

    He's super glued himself to 10 Downing Street and the country will go down before he does.

    What price did he have to pay to keep himself there today? Is it really worth it when he will now have to do as he's told by those who kept him there.

  • Comment number 75.

    So he brings in ANOTHER unelected minister in the form of Glynnis Kinnock to replace Caroline Flint.

    Mandy and Glynnis - how desperate is Brown.

  • Comment number 76.

    The opinion polls over the last 9 months have been skewed by two major events:

    1. The credit crunch.
    2. The expenses scandal.

    It is indubitably the case that the second has been pursued by a Tory-supporting newspaper and drip fed for party political- and private business advantage. The public is now tired of that and wants all the information on the table, now, so we can get on with more important things.

    The credit crunch was global and was caused, in its entirety, by banks and financial institutions which, traditionally, mostly will support the Conservative Party. As a result, the Tory Party should be made to state their levels of support from insitutions which have caused that crisis and continue to cause misery to a large number of people. If David Cameron refuses to do that, a witch hunt of HIS party, similar to that carried out on the Labour party by the Telegraph, should be undertaken.

    The ONLY justifiable attack by Tories on Gordon Brown on those two issues is his management of Govt finances over the previous 10 years. You can argue one way or the other, just as you could have argued that 18 years of Tory Govt saw North Sea Oil revenues funding tax cuts rather than building a sovereign wealth fund analagous to that in will note that my comments are neutral, as I know full well that sovereign wealth funds could be used to benefit Labour voters, just as tax cuts can benefit Tory ones........

    You can also argue about Labour's fundamental philosophy - centre-led, top-down and emasculating. It will be interesting to find out whether the Tories are different or whether they will merely take from the top the fruits of the labour of those below them.......

    You can argue about the accountability of public run bodies, the quangocracy, the council-controlled schools system and the culture within the NHS.

    On almost all of those, we have heard nothing in 9 months.

    It is perhaps noticeable that the Tories, albeit from a high base, have dropped 6% in vote share this time in the Local Elections, despite most councils contested being in what might be considered their traditional heartlands.......28% for Lib Dems is hardly disastrous........

    You will note from my comments that I, as a voter and citizen of this country, expect detailed examination of ALL political proposals and do NOT expect the traditional diet of bullshit, palming off, muddling through, lying or refusal to answer questions which has become the staple diet of politicians.........

    In other words, I, like millions in this country, expect the remainder of this Parliament to be used by ALL PARTIES, and the RESPONSIBLE MEDIA (does it exist??) to treat their voters with the same respect that President Obama displayed yesterday to the Muslim world in the Middle East, by addressing the key choices honestly, cogently, fairly and passionately so that WHEN a choice is made, it is made on KNOWING WHAT THE CHOICES ARE, receiving reliable VALIDATED evidence to back up the claims made by all sides and not being diverted with the sort of patronising, jingoistic, nationalistic, tribal RUBBISH that we have been served up since 1979.......

    Now is that a requirement which is too onerous for MPs and their back-office party hacks, or have I fired the starter's gun to emancipate politicians from their media-addicted serfdom to return to the matters which matter to their ELECTORS, if not to the belt-notching political one-nightie-standing Don Juans of the Parliamentary- and multimedia lobbies??


  • Comment number 77.

    This 'two party, first past the post' system is a choice between 'The Devil and the deep blue sea'. It is unfair, out moded and frustrating.

    Why isn't there a box for 'none of the above'? This would surely promote reform (in a non rhetorical sense) and would make more people come out and vote.

    Guess it's just back to spoiling the ballot paper again for me!

    (and I bet Auntie will reject this!)

  • Comment number 78.

    I'll miss Caroline Flint, she was great eye candy! "Bint" as she was known in the cabinet inner circle....

    Love the "handful of councils" reference, how many do they need to win to have an overwhelming result?

    Will you be so circumspect when we know the Euro results? Labour nil points me think!

  • Comment number 79.

    Do we just start referring to the BBC as the (old) Iraqui Propaganda Machine?

    You can see the enemy in the background (and getting bigger and stronger), the leader is holed up in his bunker and all we are getting from the BBC is propaganda. Soon we'll be getting martial music and endless repeats of Gordon Brown's speeches.

    I am sorry to say: RIP the BBC.

  • Comment number 80.

    the old saying " better the devil you know" springs to mind, and its true in this case as in many others if neu-labour elect new leadership they may turn out to be as popular as tony blair was when he became leader.
    but looking at this crop of mp's to be honest all of them are not able to run for a bus let alone run the country so where does the british voter look for real leadership sadly i just dont know.
    all the local elections prove is that tory councilors look better than labour at the moment nothing more, could we trust the tories at a general election again no one knows and with the apathetic voters of this country of late who cares.

  • Comment number 81.

    I have long admired your reportage of the Westminster village, Nick, but your coverage of today's developments
    would suggest that you have got too close to the trees!

    The PM is a gonner and the sooner the better. Tom Bower's definitive biography of GB revealed the man's inability to take advice from anyone other than the unfortunately named E Balls and that trait has become more pronounced since he became the leader of ZaNuLabour.

    One final point: Elevating our Glenys to the peerage is the last straw.Remember that rally in Sheffield when Labour was led by a certain Mr Kinnock?

  • Comment number 82.


    "I will miss her [Caroline Flint] sexy presence on politics shows."

    If past failed/resigned/sacked (either by us or by party leader) MPs turning up on politics shows are anything to go by you might just be seeing a lot more of her!

  • Comment number 83.


    Throughout all the turmoil of the past 4 weeks concerning MPs expenses, one name has been conspicuously absent - Tony Blair!
    Is he untouchable?

    Many believe that he is responsible for all state of the country.

  • Comment number 84.

    They are all hoons.

  • Comment number 85.

    having watched brown's ludicrous news conference, which he delayed after a bust up with yet another minister, and caroline flint resigned as he tried to bat off questions from a selection of the media who continued to press him, i find it bizarre that your teatime blog, puts questions against other parties?

    yet no analysis of labour and brown's position?

    brown told you and other media questioners, that he knows the public want him to carry on and "finish the work"
    brown is so out of touch hes not of this planet!

    labour run just a handful of local councils, they run not a single county council in england, losing the only ones they did run in yesterdays county council elections, so where does he get his opinions from?
    id say one county election sums up aptly what the british public think of him, where his party went from a more than 30 seat majority to 4th place (with only 3 seats) behind conservatives, liberals and ukip!

    even by die hard labour supporter's standards, this is a clear message from the voters?

  • Comment number 86.


    "The public DESPITE the expenses outrage has shown that they overwhelmingly prefer the Conservatives."

    That's a very partisan comment (which I suspect you meant it to be...), whilst the public have certainly shown there displeasure at Labour it's not at all clear (without knowing the share of the vote in those areas) if the vote moved from Labour to Conservatives or moved away to the none two main-stream parties.

  • Comment number 87.

    Nick - you have a great future as a novelist, writing fiction. Oh, you've already begun.

  • Comment number 88.

    #61 x333xxx

    You say: "Why on earth isn't there a mechanism whereby the electorate can demand a general election? This is such a shambles."

    Yes, if a government is clearly out of control and long past its sell-by date, it would be good if there were some way for the voters to force them to stand down and call an election.

    This government has not only broken its manifesto promises, it is now seeking to bring in new last minute constitutional changes that no one has voted for, without any consultation or any mandate.

    The problem is, there is talk of bringing in 'fixed term' parliaments. This would be a disaster. Governments need to know they can be forced from power by a vote of no confidence as happened in 1979 (the last time Labour brought the country to its knees)

  • Comment number 89.


    "Will brown ask our unelected europe minister to publish her allowances from the european parliament"

    No need, I think that you will find that all EU commissioners and MEP allowances are already published on-line.

  • Comment number 90.


    Gordon's resignation honours list can only be around the corner. All the while you remain loyal and batter the Tories, the more likely you will hear the words you've been longing for:

    "Arise Lord Toenails of Rectum"

    Can I suggest you take a look at the electoral map and measure the amount of blue compared to either red or yellow?

  • Comment number 91.

    Come on Nick. You must leave the pro Labour bias behind and at least try for balance in your reporting. Who else but you be putting a negative spin on a conservative victory while we sit in the midst of a government in meltdown. How many more Cabinet ministers have to resign before you report in the negative on Gordons disasterous term in office?

  • Comment number 92.

    63 SocretestheGooner

    I am grateful to you for your observation that the number of victorious councillors are at odds with the BBC vote projection. Your suggestion that this is due to a low turn out in Tory safe seat makes some sense.

    I have listened to some of Gordon Browns latest speech twice, on the radio and just now on ITN. Did anyone else detect a slight catch in his voice at times, as if he was struggling to keep his emotions in control?

  • Comment number 93.

    RE: 47. sicilian29

    > The Caroline Flint comment that Gordon Brown has an inner circle
    > and then the rest of The Cabinet certainly rings true.
    > Her assertion that he treats women as window dressing needs to
    > be addressed.

    It can't be. The real problem is that Labour's use of women-only shortlists leaves Gordon with a relatively large number of female MPs - but almost all of them are useless. They fail because they aren't up to the job and never were. Brown is left with an impossible dilemma. He could abandon the sexist policy of women-only shortlists - but that would alienate the feminocracy, or, he can try to make use of what he has by putting them in visible, undemanding jobs - but then they fail anyway.

  • Comment number 94.

    Nick Robinson and the BBC are as deluded as Gordon himself...

    Political Renewal = unelected ministers, no madate PM AND Bigger shredding machines to get rid of the evidence of the last 12 years

  • Comment number 95.

    Can anyone post a link to watch the press conference? I am fascinated to see Browns 'performance'

  • Comment number 96.

    Whatever question Brown is asked, his replies are entirely predictable. You know them as soon as the questioner has finished. He never seems to be bored trotting out the old, tired, notions of the "do nothing Tories". etc.
    It is this inability to think rationally and intelligently on his feet which reveals what a second-rate intelligence he actually possesses. He is pedantic, dull and obsessed by numbers. In addition, the claims by his clique of cronies that he is really a terribly jolly and charming and amusing bloke are surely suspect. Tell a chap what he wants to hear and he'll love you?

  • Comment number 97.

    You must also be relieved personally Nick. Cameron's certain to cleanse the Beeb of all of Labour's fellow travellers.

  • Comment number 98.

    83 Burnside312

    I'm sure that i have read somewhere that Tony Blair's expenses details were shredded. Accidentally of course!

    In my opinion the Tories will be concerned only if Mr Brown is ousted and a new leader enjoys the usual honeymoon period and goes to the people. This could lead to a hung parliament.

    Their second best outcome would be for Mr Brown to call an election now, to get his own back on the whingers in his party, many of whom would lose their seats.

    Their best outcome is that he sticks to his guns, thereby allowing further infighting amongst the various factions and he has to call an election in the Autumn, when the wipe out will be complete.

    There are probably other scenarios, you know the one where the British public acknowledge that he has saved them from the evils of world recession, sorted out the middle east problem, world poverty and hunger. But then I don't believe in fairy stories

  • Comment number 99.

    #89 so where are the expenses online,

    "Tory and Labour Euro-MPs decided that their expenses would remain exempt from public interest requests under existing rights and privileges contained in the "Members' Statute"........

  • Comment number 100.

    oldreactionary @ 92:

    Yes. I also detected a slight catch in his voice. He was indeed struggling to keep his emotions in check. Not sure whether this was out of embarrassment or pent up fury that mere journalists should deign to question his competency.


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