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Westminster's answer to Britain's Got Talent

Nick Robinson | 11:05 UK time, Monday, 1 June 2009

The cartoonists have relished portraying Gordon Brown as a political equivalent to Susan Boyle: an awkward, inarticulate Scot who's feeling the pressure. However, the prime minister shows no sign of walking off the stage, let alone agreeing to be escorted away for a rest cure.

Gordon BrownThis morning he declared that "I am in the best position to clean up the political system", just as he insists that he is the man to get Britain out of the deep economic hole it's in.

"People know", he went on, "that I'm determined... I work hard... and I get on with the job". This was a pre-emptive plea to his party ahead of election results which they all expect to be dire.

His warning to those dreaming of putting Alan Johnson into No 10 is that they'll have to drag the prime minister off the stage first.

In Westminster's answer to Britain's Got Talent, Gordon Brown is telling the audience: you may like the cheeky cockney postman more than me, but I've got the talent to run the country.

Now all we have to do is wait for the verdict of the people and of the party.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Lots of "I"s there, not much on "We". Brown IS part of the problem and is most definately NOT part of the solution.

  • Comment number 2.

    The mans arrogance is startling.

    Call an ambulance and take him to The Priory under police escort.

  • Comment number 3.

    I noticed during yesterday's Andrew Marr interview that Gordon Brown acknowledged that the electorate was 'disengaged' with Government/Parliament, although he struggled very hard to acknowledge that the population was more than just disengaged but were in fact very angry. The person who seems to be more disengaged (whatever that means) than anyone else is Gordon Brown himself. There is, I am sorry to say, a complete blank wall that comes up whenever he is confronted by any sugegestion that he could be challenged - by the electorate, by his own party, by the press, by anybody in fact. Although I am not a Labour supporter I have tried, and continue to try, to find some positives in what our 'masters' tell us but for the life of me I find it impossible to square anything that Brown says with what is going on in the real world and this blustering 'I know best' attitude must surely be rubbing more people than not up the wrong way. Whilst I hope that the BNP has no success whatsover in the elections this week, there really has to be a more practical way to explain to these guys in Government that they really just don't get it. Sadly not voting, or voting for 'dangerous' minority parties, is not the best option.

  • Comment number 4.

    Poor Mr Brown just does not get it.

    It is not up to him to decide he's staying put because "he is the best man for the job". He, nor his party have any experience in cleaning up parliament, (12 years in power now), and his performance on the Andrew Marr Show was at best, desperate. It is up to the electorate to say who they want to do this job and he should ask them as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes, but Gordo hasn't a clue, and his timing is just ridiculous.

    I want him out as fast as he can be pushed, but if he is trying to hang on to power why is he letting the Euro elections meltdown for his government happen, and then act?

    Why didn't he do the 'clean-up' thing and bounce Blears, McNulty etc. out a fortnight ago, and then he could claim he had new momentum?

    Meantime he (or is it Balls) is trying to float Mr Popularity Ed. as a fresh broom for No. 11 and push his biggest rival Ally D. out of the boat.

    It is just an unrelenting shambles. You watch what happens at the end of this week......... absolutely nothing. There will be no coup and no-one will stick their head up above the parapet.

    A general election now please. The BBC could force it, Nick -as well you know. You have to represent the people, since their MPs don't.


  • Comment number 6.

    Quellé suprisé!

    Received opinion was sure Our Glorious Leader would not call an election until the last possible day permissible in May 2010. Why on earth would you believe he would do anything to hasten his exit before hand?

    Politicians are great at quoting 'for the good of the Country' upto but except if involves their own personal position.

  • Comment number 7.

    'Our PM' is quite clearly delusional.

    He should go and seek help, just like the BGT aspirant.

  • Comment number 8.


    In case you haven't noticed, the public were given the opportunity to vote for someone other than Susan Boyle, whereas Broon didn't allow us the chance to vote for or against him as a leader of a party, and won't give us the chance to vote on his record as PM. Aside from that, your return to the political debate is lightweight in the extreme. Haven't you noticed that there are senior members of the opposition calling for Darling to go, or even that Labour are trailing UKIP in the EU opinion polls?

    I wish I could say it was nice to have you back!


  • Comment number 9.

    Joe Public seems to hold the entire party political process in extremely low esteem at present, largely as a consequence of the expenses revelations but also, I think, because it has become increasingly clear over the last few years, that the party politics of Westminster have proved to be utterly disfunctional in terms of holding the Executive to account. Now that public opinion has turned conclusively against the Government in general, and Gordon Brown in particular, Labour MPs risk even greater alienation (were that possible) if they do not hold their leader, the man who has led the country to its current, sorry state, to account.

    The question ought not to be, do they have the backbone to force Brown out, it should be, do they have the courage to face their constituents if they do not.

  • Comment number 10.

    This is Gordons version of cleaning up government:

    STAFF at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) who presided over the near failure of the banking system were last month awarded bonuses of £19.7m a 40% increase on the previous year.

    I wish I got a 40 percent increase in my bonus when I made monumental cock ups like this.

    I think the people have had enough of his version of clean government

  • Comment number 11.

    The fat lady has sung. The show's over.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's too late Gordon. You have had your chance and you have failed the party. Nothing you say can convince me otherwise. Now is the time to admit that you have tried the PM role and it's just too big for you.

    It's time to go

  • Comment number 13.

    Brown is starting to sound like a one-man band, as #1 said, lots of "I did this, I did that", few "We did this, We did that" in his recent speeches (including about his role in the G20 etc.) - one think is certain though, Superman he is not and the quicker he realises that further away from the self-destruct button he will be, no political leader is bigger than their party...

  • Comment number 14.

    I started to watch Gordon Brown on the Andrew Marr show, but I quickly had to turn over.
    The PM was just re-hashing old lies that he'd spouted a thousand times before and never been believed.
    His credibility is so low that you cannot believe anything he utters.

  • Comment number 15.

    I simply cannot understand why the great Labour party is so meekly allowing itself to be destroyed by one man's hubris.

  • Comment number 16.

    Problem is Nick that Gordon Brown also managed his second allowance property(s) to his financial advantage. Someone should be asking him to justify his "flipping" of his London home [now in Sarah Brown's name] and his Scotland constituency home. Also why did he feel it necessary to spread the cost of a new kitchen over 2 billing periods. And why was it necessary for the Brown's to claim for a London home at all, considering he has had grace & favour homes [No 11 and now No 10] available since 1997.
    Last but not least -- I somehow feel that Alistair Darling is being "setup" this week to give Gordon the excuse to replace him with his henchman Ed Balls -- you know the guy that had been having behind the scenes strategy meetings.

  • Comment number 17.

    Nick Robinson

    BBC News Answer to Harry Hills TV Burp

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm with The Sun on this one, who suggests that on June 4th we all vote "ABL"

    .........Anything But Labour.........

    We the people have our chance to let Labour know just how dire they are. We should all get out and vote ABL.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Nick
    Starting your blog off with the PM was a nice thought but really GB, is now a irrelevant foot note in the real issue of what new revelations we can expect about our grubby MP's money grabbing ways. I note that there were major revelations about cammys expenses over the weekend, yet the BBC concentrated on the Liverpool MPs failed five pound donation claim. Has the old boys club got at you? I dont want GB as Pm nor cammy or Clegg they are all tainted in one way or another. GB pulled his Presbyterian roots out of the bag on Sunday as if that assuages the fact that he has not sacked the guilty in his own cabinet ( I know a reshuffle is in the offing but as usual GB dithers)
    I think the PM is safe for awhile because even with a General election we will not get a clean parliament just an off grey veering to muddy brown one. Cammys got questions to answer over expenses so why should that make him any better than GB, he ahs turned out exactly what the critics said when he became Tory leader - a clone of Blair. Do we really want more spinners like Blair in power, now that positive spin (or being economical with the truth) has not worked to bury the expenses fiasco? GB, cammy and Clegg we dont need the same old, same old, we need a completely new product. Next time your interviewing them Nick, put that to them.

  • Comment number 20.

    In reply to comments made @ #5

    "A general election now please. The BBC could force it, Nick -as well you know. You have to represent the people, since their MPs don't."

    The BBC can't force anything, and to try would be very dangerous for it and the British people, the BBC's duties extend to only reporting the facts - not to changing them...

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    Mr Clown and his Presbyterian conscience!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a joke - where was it when Iraq war, David Kelly, etc etc etc occurred. He has had 12 YEARS to sort out snout in trough - he would have kept us all in the dark, like the rest of them if the Telegraph had not exposed them. He also paid a cleaner via his brother and sub let his office - complete breach of all rules. As for his Darling flipping homes - not a word. Finally, if Marr`s pathetic show was an interview ,can I get a job at his salary????????

  • Comment number 23.

    Looking at Brown yesterday on The Marr Show, my impression was of someone whose sanity is hanging by the merest of threads with with overdramatic hand guestures and strange smiles. Robert Peel was once described as having the same smile as an undertaker would give to a fresh corpse, looking at Brown, I think I know what that must have looked like!

    He clearly intends to fight on, there is no prospect for Labour in getting an IDS style quick, clean kill and with an agreed successor in waiting. Even if they do force Brown out, the indications are that Johnson and Miliband will both stand and trigger a vicious civil war, (which is inevitable anyway when Brown finally goes) which will paralyse the government for several months. If Brown hangs on, he will make Balls Chancellor on Friday and prepare for a massive pre-election spending splurge that the country simply cannot afford. Darling has by all accounts resisted such pressure but Balls will be only too happy to oblige. The intention will be to conduct the GE as Labour investment versus Tory cuts, more likely it will just result in the IMF being called in by Christmas after the gilt market freezes up!

  • Comment number 24.

    #15 Because they, the MP's, are spineless careerists who allowed themselves, at least 313 of them did, into being coerced into nominating Brown for his coronation. They know the game is up but they're desperate to hang on to power until the very last moment.

  • Comment number 25.

    Brown has stated more than once that he is "listening".

    In this case it is self evident that the only reason he is still in power is that there is nobody to replace him.

    The public aren't quite in a literal revolutionary mood - but then nobody has ever seen the public as angry as this since Napoleonic times.

    Brown can't rely on his record as, for example, the Iron Chancellor was one of the principal architects of light touch regulation and being "pally" with investment bankers. He voted for Iraq, 10p etc. etc.

    So now he says he won't quit.

    Who ever believed that politicians have a natural feel for the national mood and know what is and is not possible? It won't be possible to continue.

    We haven't even had the full McBride gore nor the Iraq War Inquiry. The 2010 Scottish referendum could well signal the end of the union. Would the monarchy, the glue that holds the union together, in a post union scenario?

    Et tu Harriet?

  • Comment number 26.

    If the PM learned any values as a son of the Manse he would know that the right thing was to call a general election in the Autumn. The first Thursday in October will do nicely. Make your feelings known sign his own petition!

  • Comment number 27.

    What's the difference between Susan Boyle and Pa Broon?
    One is a mad Scot who wants to be popular and the other

  • Comment number 28.

    Just go Mr. Brown!! You have never had the ability to be Prime Minister, a fact that has been evident to many people for many years. As a man (person) manager you are clearly dysfunctional and as the leader of a country you are utterly deficient. We, the people, need to be able to respect and trust our leaders - and that does not necessarily mean to agree with them all the time. The fact that there is no clear replacement for you, apparently, should not be a reason for you to stay.
    A new leader will appear in time maybe even from outside our now riduculed and deluded political class. For a group to achieve such self damage and then still have its leaders proclaim, as you do, that they are the only ones with the ability to make the essential changes is truly preposterous.

    So, for the good of all Mr. Brown just get up and go.


  • Comment number 29.

    These comments just go to show how fickle and easily led are the great british public. Easily led that is by an over dramatised and manipulative press. Whether it be the credit crunch or the current story of MPs expenses. The british media cant resist the slow drip drip of over the top dramatics that only results in a contemptuous public. Pity the contempt can't be aimed at the so richly deserved public media. Perhaps were heading towards the american type press where everybody knows from the start that they only print lies.

  • Comment number 30.

    To be frank I never wanted a Scottish Prime Minister to replace Blair: It is fundamentally undemocratic that Brown stepped in to No.10 without being subject to a UK General Election to see if his leadership and Political Party was what English, Scots, Welsh and Irish voters wanted to have happen.
    This is particularly so when the huge Majority of the UK Electorate/Tax-payers are English and devolution has brought significant changes to the UK body-politic and constitution.
    Then again, it is undemocratic that the Scots, Welsh and Irish MPs are still entitled to vote on purely English affairs; it is undemocratic that a New labour Government actually relies on MPs from 3 other Union Nations in order to maintain its Governing position at Westminsters. This lack of democractic transparency extends in the 21st Century to the Scots, Welsh and Irish still able to justifiably complain about 'english interference' in their affairs because the English have not made them stand on their own feet as entirely independent Nations with no claim on the English Exchequer.
    There is an undemocratic hollow ring in the Prime Minister on the Today programme claiming that, "..people know.. I am determined.. will work hard.." when actually nothing of the sort has been agreed by any of the electorate from any of the 4 UK Nations, especially the English.

    I would forgive every MP at Westminster their Expenses transgressions in return for a fully Independent England with an English Parliament consisting of MPs Elected by the English.

    With such an institution in place England just might have a chance of a Referendum to consider withdrawal from the EU.

  • Comment number 31.

    Crash Gordon couldn't run a drinking session in a brewery, yet in his delusions he thinks he should run the country?? Anyone as delusional as him should be checked out under the mental health act

  • Comment number 32.

    I can't look at MPs now without wondering if I bought the clothes they're wearing!

  • Comment number 33.

    I watched Gordon Brown on Andrew Marr, as did many others commenting. To think we might have another year of this arrogant, delusional and pig headed man being in charge is just incredibly depressing. I just wish the Monarchy would step in and end this farce by demanding an election, as nobody in the Labour Party seems to have the guts to put us out of this misery.

  • Comment number 34.

    I feel sorry for GB. Much of the problems facing the UK are really not of his making. He has inherited a political party and a mindset that is simply out of touch with the real world. They are throwbacks to the 60's hippy era, when everything was Lurv Man! The real world just isn't like that. Equality is a myth. Giving Aid to Africa has achieved diddly squat. The drift into lawlessness and the decaying moral fibre of the nation are a direct result of all those witless hippy visions. The banking crisis, corporate rip-offs, Westminster oinks, all these are symptoms, not causes. Alas, the Labour Party in particular, and Westminster in general are populated with these dimwits. Unfortunately, the country still has sufficient of their generation remaining to carry political clout. So until that generation die off in sufficient numbers, it seems we shall be saddled with either a dimwitted Labour government or an equally dimwitted Tory one.

  • Comment number 35.

    I cannot help but have some sympathy for Susan Boyle as she quite clearly has not had the advantages in life and so finds herself struggling. I pray that she finds what she wants from life.

    Whereas Mr. Brown has had all the advantages that a good education can provide but still finds himself struggling. Perhaps if you are given all the advantages without question you consider them your right and expect to be given the top job as well. You just don't understand how to struggle.

    As a dour product of the Caledonian diaspora myself I do not consider Brown to be inarticulate. What he does seem to be missing is self-management. Events only go your way when you work at making them go you way, this requires organisation and not dependence upon some sort of divine right.

    His conversation with Andrew Marr yesterday oscillated from incredibly boring to hysterically funny. The sad fact was that Mr. Brown saw neither of these characteristics in what he said. The absence of any self-criticism was most telling.

  • Comment number 36.

    He's toast.

  • Comment number 37.

    Like Boyle...Brown also needs to be assesseed by the mean in white coats under Section 41 of The Mental Health Act!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    what goes quack, quack, hobble, hobble, quack, quack....

    Our lame duck PM!

  • Comment number 39.

    Parliament: a refuge for those for whom "care in the community" did not work out.

  • Comment number 40.

    Well, that stunning insight was worth waiting all week for, eh?

    Nicholas.... if GB had been on Britains Got Talent, he'd have got 3 buzzers two years ago, would have breifed slurs against Simon and Amanda and been begging the old Mirror lapdog Piers Morgan (already in his back pocket anyway) for another chance at it... "can I start again??"

    God, I'd rather see Stavros Flatley running the country than Gordon!

  • Comment number 41.

    The talent-contest analogy leads me to reflect that, if you want serious topics discussed seriously, it is not democratic politicking that you need so much as philosophers, which is why they have played such a distinguished role in French public life, of course, and are consigned to an ivory tower to contemplate their navels in Blighty.

    Compared to the political philosopher, your average democratic politician deserves to have the following PG Wodehouse witticism applied to him: "He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more." This is not intended as a reference to Mr Brown specifically, as one can safely leave Brown-bashing to the usual suspects here.

    What fun this is. Let us just swap PGW quotes instead of discussing anything, although someone will get very cross before long, because it is not unlike going shooting, the fascination of which as a sport, as PGW said, "depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun".

    Alternatively, you could be discussing the political and economic reality which is taking shape, a reality which is increasingly appearing to be what the Far-Left French philosopher Alain Badiou is referring to as 'un moment charniere' in history, a defining moment which marks the end of an era and which will determine the character of the next one.

    But no, this is Blighty, and you blighters appear to be much more at home with a sort of Punch and Judy show in which "an awkward, inarticulate Scot who's feeling the pressure" is portrayed as competing in a talent contest with "the cheeky cockney postman", whom the Great British public is sure to prefer, as lightweight cheerfulness goes down a treat with the English masses while heavyweight substance does not.

    Is it any wonder that the whole framework of UK government and representative democracy is apparently coming crashing down as MP after MP is targeted by the media shooting party, shot down and trampled in the dust as the UK economy creaks and cracks under the strain of an historically phenomenal recession?

    What a spectacle and how entertaining! But who is going to clear up the mess afterwards? The "cheeky cockney postman"? I don't think so.

  • Comment number 42.

    On Today Brown said:

    'I was brought up to believe that integrity, telling the truth, taking responsibility are at the heart of the political system'

    In his time in office, Gordon Brown has never 'taken responsibility' for anything. He's taken plenty of credit, but never responsibility.

    At least we were spared his: 'what people want is for me to get on with the job' line. What people want - overwhelmingly - is a general election.

    What part of that does Gordon Brown not understand?

  • Comment number 43.

    He hides away until things become so desperate he can hide no longer - then finally does two interviews explaining how he is going to change parliaments 'Gentleman' Club' culture, making politicians answerable to the people! And who does he explain this to - why his old friends Andrew Marr (son-in-law of Labour Life Peer, Lord Ashley of Stoke), and Evan Davies whose easy ride interviews to Labour politicians are legendary!

    The idea that this unelected, self-serving and ever more desperate individual is still sitting at the wheel of Britain after the damage he has already done, is truly frightening!

  • Comment number 44.

    How a man that cannot differentiate between truth and fiction can continue to play the " son of the manse " card is beyond comprehension, the man is in denial like the hairy angel. There was an old chestnut about when a sinner goes to hell , he won't be able to get near the fire for ministers. He is arrogant enough to believe that he still retains the right to " clean up " parliament ; he still isn't listening to the voices of the people, we do not want him to " clean up " parliament, we want him to call an election, and we , will clean up parliament. Waiting till after the EU elections before getting rid of those cabinet ministers who stole taxpayers' money only shows how devious and untrustworthy he is. He knows full well that with electoral wipeout staring them in the face, the parliamentary Labour party will let him do anything in the hope it salvages a few seats .

  • Comment number 45.



    Very very rarely do you and I see eye to eye, but that post is absolutely right on the money.

    Apart from Harry Hill can sometimes - rarely - be entertaining.

  • Comment number 46.

    How can anyone give Brown any respect when he can't even stop chewing on his finger nails? If he can't control himself then how can he expect us to let him control this country?
    And how dare he talk of reforming the constitution, the one we have is working just fine, but then Brown would march us all into the E.U. which means civil law in this country, no more common law.

    This matters but is not being mentioned by any media, funny that.

  • Comment number 47.


    The 'facts' you cite are actually the opinions of a narrow band of self interested elite experts mostly. The BBC reports on their 'opinions' and offers no judgement. We keep seeing the same incumbent faces saying the same incumbent things, there is only the illusion of choice in the current political and media 'arrangement'.

    It is at that point that BBC journalists whom are in the best position to see what is actually going on should be allowed to have an opinion in the national interests.

    The last time the BBC tried that it is an interesting co-incidence that a dead body was found in a field under mysterious circumstances a short time later and they had all thier journalistic teeth removed because of it. His name was Dr david kelly when the BBC blew open the '45 minute claim ' construction'. Exactly how many weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq someone remind me? Was the BBC right or not... Things are far from correct in our current system.

    On the subject of Gordon Brown, he has already lost his chance for redemption, he is condeming himself to a legacy of ridicule becasue he thinks he can ' grind it out' like he always has in the past. He is in fact simply continuing on the act of digging 2 graves, one for his reputation and one for the labour party itself.


  • Comment number 48.


    Can you find out at what date the "Green Book" rules from the Inland Reveniue informed MP's that they could in effect have different Main residances for Tax purposes and for expense purposes.

    Did it happen under Gordans tenure?

    After all gordan keeps telling us that is within the rules BUT did he set that special tax rule for MP's

  • Comment number 49.

    Brown appears to have a bunker mentality now. The Euro and council elections will go badly but he won't quit over that.

    More importantly, Mandelson does not appear to be backing down over the Royal Mail part privatisation. If they go ahead with this and lose in the Commons, then Brown's position bedomes less tenable. If, in addition, the BNP makes gains in Labour heartlands, then the backbench revolt may become a rout.

    He could go with honour, either by stepping down, or calling a General Election. However, his character does lend himself to this way of thinking. Things are likely to get very bloody within the PLP. A new leader or General Election would help reunite the Party. The question is, Is Brown too stubborn to see this and make the right decision?

  • Comment number 50.

    I think that the Andrew Marr show yesterday put things in perspective regarding Brown. The contradiction was there for all to see.

    He said that it wasn't the government's fault regarding the expenses problem over the past 12 years as it was a matter for parliament, and then went on to say how he (ie the government) was going to sort things out.

    Then he said that people aren't interested in the expenses problem, only in the economy; so why does he want to change everything.

    The problem, of course, is that the vast majority of the population have lost all confidence in Brown and labour. That confidence will not return whatever he does.

    Now it seems that there is nothing we or Labour can do to remove him such is the Labour system, and he can continue to damage the UK.

    Call, an election now.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear viewers,
    i have already written about Susan!s sudden health problem in a American website.
    I wish her for early recovery from sudden shock.
    my comments were published.
    Here, i am saying that, there should be proper co-ordination,good arrangements for conducting talent show in future.
    Regarding English Prime Minister,being a highly intelligent person,but English economy is bad.
    There should be a strong fundamental economic coverage, like in India,China, Russia and Brazil.

  • Comment number 52.

    Brown is delusional. He said that the people wanted him to fix the system. No, the people want an early Autumn Election.
    There is nothing wrong with the system. (OK maybe a few tweaks here and there). The rules were not followed, "wholly and exclusively for parliamentary work"!.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Nick,

    Thought you had disappeared!

    Only thing missing from the Boyle/Brown cartoon was the man with the long hook who used to haul unpopoular acts off stage before the audience,(electorate ), rioted.

  • Comment number 54.

    wait for the bill that states as this is a national crisis, the next election can be suspended indefinitly.

    Back in the late 70's there were rumours of a military coup against
    the then PM as the country was in such a mess. What are the odds today , other than the fact they are in 2 threatres of war, maybe that why they are there, to stop a coup in the UK.

    PS first we had baby P (and many others) now we have baby K as a result of Zanu-labour social engineering programmes. Apparently the mother is too "thick" to look after the child ? that is a very dangerous place to be, maybe she was not going to vote the "left" way, remind you or anywhere in the 1930's in europe ?

    NicK can we talk about "forced adoption" please as that going staight to the core of what is wrong with Zanu-labour ?

  • Comment number 55.

    A delusional PM called Broon
    And his Party were quite out of tune
    To the peoples disgust
    They'd been pillaged and bust
    Just Quit, it can't be too soon!

  • Comment number 56.


    The ghastly spectacle goes on ... and on. In the face of a mass of incontrovertible evidence that shows grossly unacceptable - and in some cases criminal - behaviour, not a single MP has resigned. Not one. Extraordinary.

    "Standing down at the next election?" Too right you - to avoid the humiliation of devastating defeat at the ballot box. I'm paying it back?" Thanks. Since when did returning some of the swag provide a basis for avoiding prosecution? "I'm sorry?" Your sorry you've been caught.

    I think the word "unsatisfactory" struggles to encompass my feelings.

    It's quite clear (Is it? Or is this just a bad dream?) that a very large number - if not all - MPs have been fiddling their expenses on a scale that is astonishing. It's been going on for years and the evidence is MPs' own expenses claims. There's no doubt it.

    Having fought tooth and nail to suppress this evidence (well done, Telegraph!) these same MPs are now falling over themselves to support the reform they obstructed in the past. And who are the proponents of this reform? Why, non other than the party leaders, who if not themselves guilty, must have know what was going on and did nothing to stop it.

    Worse, the scores of MPs - currently approaching a hundred - who have been shamed into standing down at the next election, remain in their seats. Will they be involved in this "reform"? How can they be? Their demise demonstrated the need for it. Your asking turkeys to vote on the subject of Chrstmas! If they are to be excluded from voting on reforms, then they are denying representation for their constituents.

    Reform can only be undertaken by a new Parliament - with as few representatives of the current one as possible.

    The need for an immediate General Election is already overwhelming. The likely results of the imminent local and European elections should make it inevitable. If not, then we can conclude that we are not living in a democracy.

    I, for one, serve notice on this government that I do not recognise it as a lawful authority.

  • Comment number 57.

    Time for many government figures to stand aside....

    Yes, I'm afraid that includes you Mr Browm.... i know its hard to hear, but it for the best......... there there

  • Comment number 58.

    Nos 20 & 21
    Glad I'm not the only one who finds the role of the media deeply disturbing.
    Several weeks into the expenses saga, the only escaped and unexpurgated version of who claimed what lies in the hands of the Daily Telegraph. The latter, despite its new-found enthusiasm for freedom of information, won't reveal its source, apart from trotting out some old ex-SAS number whose protestations that he was only the middle man would have done Pontius Pilate proud.
    With the Telegraph holding the only known copy of the answer sheets, we would be deluding ourselves if we thought we knew everything we needed to know in order to make an informed choice on Thursday. We remain ignorant of the extent of our ignorance and will remain so until parliament publishes a full and undoctored version. Until it does so, the Telegraph holds a potent weapon and will seek to influence voter opinion as it sees fit
    Meanwhile the Beeb website yesterday led with an article on an MP who had claimed a fiver for a poppy collection. So far as I can make out, the claim was disallowed by the supervisory authorities at the time. He may have been stupid, he may have been tight, he almost certainly had poor administrative procedures, but as I understand it he didn't actually get his fiver back. Is this worthy of the same attention-grabbing headlines as bogus mortgages and moats?
    The relationship between politicos and media seems always to have been incestuous. Politicians need the media platforms and the media need the political inside tracks. Both earn far more than most punters on the street, both have liberal expenses structures. Both are disengaged from the normality of the average voter. The only difference is that the voter at least has the chance to offload the politicians. However it seems there is little we can do about sanctimonious and overpaid media types who never have to be held accountable for their errors.
    Good holiday, Nick?

  • Comment number 59.

    #54, There is no chance that could happen. By all accounts the relationship between Buck House and Number 10 has broken down, something Brown implied yesterday in his dismissive response to the Queen not being invited to the D-Day commemoration. If Brown was really unhinged enough to try and declare emergency rule he could not do it without the support of The Armed Forces, who swear their loyalty to The Queen and not to the Government. Given the way Brown has forced them to use death trap equipment such as Nimrods and snatch Land Rovers just to save some money, they would be far more likely to send the tanks through the gates of Downing Street and drag Brown out by his heels!!

  • Comment number 60.

    When faced with a potential slaughter at the polls, with the economy in ruins, with expenses corruption rife within Parliament (at the very heart of Cabinet), with open dissention from within his own ranks, with taxes running wild, with fast growing unemployment figures, with the people clamouring for a General Election now ... our PM was asked would it not be right for him (for the sake of the Labour Party, Government and the Country) to go? He said, "No ... I am getting on with the job, blah blah blah." What will it take for him to go? Gordon Brown is hubris personified.

  • Comment number 61.

    How bad can it get before GB calls an election. Reading the international press, this Labour Govt is making us a laughing stock! This parliament has no moral authority to make any of the crucial decisions needed to get us out of the hole GB and his cronies have dug for us. How can we trust a party that has reneged on so many manifesto pledges, Referendum on Europe, Income tax etc.
    This crippled government cannot be allowed to limp on for another year. How much more LABOUR debt, LABOUR unemployment and LABOUR weasle words must we put up with?

  • Comment number 62.

    I heard Gordon Brown say on Today this morning that if Parliament's expenses system wasn't 'cleaned up' before there was an election all we would get was a 'few new faces' and nothing would change. It's not fair to tar all MPs with the same 'dodgy' brush but surely we should expect those who seek to represent us to behave in a fair-minded way without having to devise a system so watertight that it makes abuse impossible. Every claim was a conscious decision on someone's part so blaming 'the system' is a ridiculous excuse for unethical behaviour. Think back to the amount of righteous indignation there was in Westminster about wealthy people's 'tax avoidance' methods during the height of the banking crisis. It all looks a bit hollow now !

  • Comment number 63.

    '"People know", he went on, "that I'm determined... I work hard... and I get on with the job".'

    Sounds more like The Apprentice to me than Britain's Got Talent!

  • Comment number 64.


    I could not have put it more eloquently nor as suscintly.

    All I would add is that this is no longer a scandal but a constitunional crisis. A General Election...NOW... is the only possible, rational way that it can begin to be resolved; with the new, untainted Parliament implementing the recomendations of the Kelly report.

  • Comment number 65.

    With no prospect of a Labour victory there's no prospect of a General Election before next May. GB is too indecisive to go for an early one even if it was "in the country's, best interests".

    So we are left with 12 months of Government and Parliamentary paralysis, with a protracted leadership struggle in the Labour party, and half of the Commons absent as they wait a whole year to "stand down at the next election".

    The question is...will this total lack of Government make any difference to our daily lives? I suspect not, in fact I think we'll be better off as a result. This begs the question "why do we need them at all?"

  • Comment number 66.

    56 cassandra

    Agreed. No-one is going to fall on their sword as the severance pay, other allowances, another year's pay and expenses and the top-notch pension are too inviting. It needs the police to charge criminal, allegedly, MPs with fraud before we get anywhere near what we the public demands. At present they are trying to drag this out so that we get bored.

    By the way, what did anyone think of Brown's make-up on the Andrew Marr show? He didn't look tired enough to me. Perhaps he had Botox beforehand.

  • Comment number 67.

    #29 Mick

    "These comments just go to show how fickle and easily led are the great british public. Easily led that is by an over dramatised and manipulative press. Whether it be the credit crunch or the current story of MPs expenses. The british media cant resist the slow drip drip of over the top dramatics that only results in a contemptuous public. Pity the contempt can't be aimed at the so richly deserved public media. Perhaps were heading towards the american type press where everybody knows from the start that they only print lies".


    I'm intrigued.

    1. What lies are you referring to?

    2. Where do you get your truth from?

    3. If not fickle, who or what should we be led by?

    4. Over dramatised and manipulative press? The press have been fed their lines by the spinners for years, or at least they were since the likes of Campbell, McBride, Whelan, and Draper departed. If you don't believe me, just ask Nick.

    5. The public could quite easily aim their contempt at the media but when they are exposed to the truth that Crash and his colleagues tried hard to conceal, it does not require rocket science to work out which way they are going to go. Now let's actually assume that the Great British Public accepted your suggestion and vented their fury at the Press. What would be the content of their vent? Are you seriously suggesting that this expense fiasco has been made up by the Press?

    In a bygone era, Mick, Beria would have awarded you a medal either for silencing the freedom of the press or for only allowing your own opinion to be aired to the detriment of others.

    Just accept that Gordo is making us all endure his long goodbye; his fate is sealed, his obituary is written, he is going. This is the beginning of the end, his end, and the sooner the better.

    When all is said and done and has Nick has intimated above, it is the people collectively who will decide. Not me on my own, not you on your own. Not even the media on their own. It will be the majority of the people who decide and sometimes you just have to accept that they don't think like you.

    Harsh but true.

  • Comment number 68.

    "People know", he went on, "that I'm determined... I work hard... and I get on with the job".

    Same could be said for Robert Maxwell, Sir Fred Goodwin, or even Hitler.

    Being the architect of a nation's destruction does not mean that you're the right person to set it right. In fact the opposite is true; by being in charge during the 12 years leading up to all this means that he's self-evidently the wrong person to be in charge because he didn't understand (or didn't want to do anything about) any of the causes of the problems that we're suffering from.

    His logic/arguments make no sense. His entire party defies logic in all the arguments that they use. The electorate have had enough of the lies and false logic, and most of us want to boot this government out immediately.

    "No time for a novice"? What kind of logic is that? If you used that logic then WW2 never would have happened and Hitler would have been put in charge of the whole planet.

  • Comment number 69.

    58. At 1:32pm on 01 Jun 2009, Fingertapper wrote: Nos 20 & 21
    Glad I'm not the only one who finds the role of the media deeply disturbing.......... it seems there is little we can do about sanctimonious and overpaid media types who never have to be held accountable for their errors.

    Thank God!

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick Robinson finds it hard to disguise his political affiliations and despite overwhelming criticism of Gordon Brown and his Government, Nick still tries to persuade us that this dyed in the wool Stalinist apparatchik is a suitable Prime Minister. Any single strand of Government you care to mention is tainted by complete ineptitude and incompetence. The very latest saga is the failure to secure an invitation to the D-Day celebrations this year. I think St Trinians (the original version) was more organised than this ponderous, unimagintive and cluless collection of political incompetents. The game's up Nick, you' have to start switching sides soon (as I'm sure you will when the time is right).
    John Mason

  • Comment number 71.

    @20 -
    'the BBC's duties extend to only reporting the facts - not to changing them...'
    Someone had better tell the BBC, then, so that the first B can stand again for British, rather than Blair, or Brown, or Balls

  • Comment number 72.

    First John Prescott, then Michael Martin, please excuse my intellectual snobbery, but do we really want an ex-postman running the country?

  • Comment number 73.

    67. At 1:39pm on 01 Jun 2009, andfinally wrote: #29 Mick

    "These comments just go to show how fickle and easily led are the great british public. Easily led that is by an over dramatised and manipulative press. Whether it be the credit crunch or the current story of MPs expenses. The british media cant resist the slow drip drip of over the top dramatics that only results in a contemptuous public. Pity the contempt can't be aimed at the so richly deserved public media. Perhaps were heading towards the american type press where everybody knows from the start that they only print lies".

    Quite right. Shoot that messenger immediately!

  • Comment number 74.

    Yep, we'll just have to wait for the verdict of the people. Gosh, I wonder what that verdict will be?

  • Comment number 75.

    I fervently wish that our electoral system was reformed to such an extent that the prime minister was voted for a la the US president (I know he's not the head of state but that's by-the-by).
    At least that way, when the previous prime minister quits we would be forced to have another election and not be the only country in the developed world with a prime minister (for that read National Representative) that no one voted for and no one wants.

  • Comment number 76.

    If the answer is Alan Johnson then what on earth is the question?

  • Comment number 77.

    As a Political Editor, paid by the taxpayer,could u PLEASE show some initiative and stop being a lapdog for Browns Bias Corp by reporting that Darling named 4 homes in 4 years as his primary home and managed to skin us off a considerable sum of money, even down to claiming 75p for a carrier bag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET REAL and start telling the real story please or better still take an even longer holiday - u will not be missed if this drivel is what passes for political coment.

  • Comment number 78.

    Just a "thank you" to today's excellent and speedy moderator.

  • Comment number 79.

    20. At 12:02pm on 01 Jun 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    Whilst agreeing, might I suggest the addition of one small word to perhaps better reflect the current situation?:

    "the BBC's duties should extend to only reporting the facts - not to changing them...

    But it is a difficult line to walk. Though one also not perhaps best served, as in the author's original post, by what appears to be simply reprinting what another person has told them, without much, or indeed any question. Though there does still seem to have been some 'interpretation of events', as Jon Humphrys likes to put it: Gordon Brown is telling the audience: you may like the cheeky cockney postman more than me, but I've got the talent to run the country.

    Er, if you say so, or have been helped to that understanding. All I heard was a deluded soul who the WUVIs seem happy to spin is thinking all will be made well with the populace by being crafty with what is not said about a Chancellor who inherited his, and is now waiting for another excuse to get another Balls up.

    Which rather begs another question, which is what are so many highly paid folk on the public payroll actually doing for the money, and for those who actually fund them as opposed to merely distributing the largesse?

  • Comment number 80.

    To misquote King Henry, "Who will rid us of this meddlesome PM?"

  • Comment number 81.

    In my opinion Brown is not going anywhere, because if he does not go voluntarily, it will take 70 votes for any candidate who wishes to stand against him. I do not believe the insipid Alan Johnson can get that many votes. I am more concerned about who will replace Darling as Chancellor as he certain to go now. The economy is in such a mess that I do not know which would be the worst Balls or Darling. I would also be interested to know the state of Balls and his wifes expenses if there was not an injunction preventing us from knowing. It is a pity that their expenses came to light before the strom errupted over expenses for MPs and they were able to say they had acted within the rules and get an injunction to protect themselves from the public scutiny.

    However Balls would do anything to keep himself and Labour in power, he is a dreadful man, therefore it concerns me that he will become Chancellor. A lot more wrong decisions from a poor Chancellor now would definitely kill off our economy completely.

    So do we have Darling who is inept or Balls who is danger to everyone around him and the Country. Of course it could be his wife Yvette Cooper, I would not put that past Brown in an effort to look as though he is progressive, the result however would be the same.

  • Comment number 82.

    I notice that the way the Telegraph is presenting the MP's expenses claims is still being questioned. What they have is 'redacted', so goodness knows what is really there. There is no way that the Government would have ever published this data.

    Other people are stating they are sick and tired of the constant drip of information and that the Telegraph are 'milking' the story. On the contrary - the people of the UK owe a debt of thanks to whoever made the information available. It is not merely the 'expenses scandal', but the way the revelations have been handled by those named - utter contempt for the public.

    It has been said more than once that "we get the Government we deserve". How true!

    BUT, are we (collectively) going to stand-by and wait for the Government/Parliament to sort out the situation - not only of the expenses, but the urgent NEED for Parliamentary reform.

    I'm not interested in Gordon setting up a committee to 'look into it. I want - NO, demand action NOW!

    Can the Queen not disolve Parliament?

    The Government are after all merley servants of the people, yet we seem to have no say in the matter.

    Who will save us and the UK from these miscreants?

  • Comment number 83.

    How Brown must be suffering inside. He just cannot come to terms with the fact that he is and never will be Prime Minister material. If he really believed he was then he would call an immediate election to prove himself to the electorate. Why is he in denial of the truth and why has he put himself before the party?

  • Comment number 84.

    Nick, your penultimate sentence above contained a spelling mistake :
    "but I've got the talent to run the country" - you missed the 'i' from 'ruin'!

  • Comment number 85.

    I love it the way whenever a Prime Minister goes on television it's somehow a news story that he says he's not going to resign - like he was going to go on and have some magical moment of clarity that leads him to suddenly say "Yes, erm, actually I'm rubbish. You're right, I should quit"

  • Comment number 86.

    12. At 11:44am on 01 Jun 2009, wirralwesleyan wrote:

    It's too late Gordon. You have had your chance and you have failed the party

    Errrm. Rollocks to New Labour - it is the country he has failed. New Labour ushered the idiot in without so much as a vote, so they are getting all they deserve.

  • Comment number 87.

    Gordon. Do you think I should resign?

    No. Don't do that Gordon.

    OK, Gordon.

  • Comment number 88.

    For a party that doesn't do God,Blair played his God card when he joined the speaking circuits in the U.S. no doubt to add to add more dates to his calendar & son of the manse has played his God card twice,shame no-one believes him as his actions do not match his words.

  • Comment number 89.

    Dear Mr Brown,

    When will recognise that we, the people, do not care about what you want and think.

    Tha majority of us want you gone. I know that you may find that to be unbelievable, but it is the case! Your arrogance is astounding and that is your flaw.

    Just call a general election, give the people you are supposed to serve the chance to decide which MPS stay and which ones go. You may be lucky and keep your seat unlike many of your cabinet colleagues.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 90.

    The only comparisons between Susan Boyle and Gordon are that they have both been under a lot of pressure and need a good sleep to sort their heads out.
    The main difference now though is that Susan has a potentially wonderful career in front of her, and the general public wish her well in her recovery and the next stage of her life.
    It would be difficult to say the same about Gordon

  • Comment number 91.

    Gordon's 'I am the person to put it right, please don't kick me out yet' comments (or was it an appeal?) sound reminisicent of the big bank CEOs' stance of "we're so very incredibly talented, you really must pay us vast wages and bonus packages or we'll run off somewhere or other'.

    Both seem to be just not supported by the evidence and track records.

    Just as you can still find the most fifth rate of customer services being doled out day in and day out by some UK banks - despite their CEO's alleged mighty magnificence at running big organisations, so it is that Gordon has missed opportunity after opportunity for delivering outcomes that could have given him a genuinely serious reputation of being the 'one who got things done'.

    Quite the contrary, on his watch, things have gone from farce to fiasco. Furthermore, his game of drawing lines of demarcation between differing bodies and agencies to try to side-step the buck stopping with him, for things that his govenment should have managed/governed, is just getting to be amazingly boring.

    The truth is that if he doesn't much like how people now perceive him, then I can only say that he is the author of his own misfortune.

    The fact is the prime minister's role is one of leadership. If you don't truly have that leadership quality, then you just ain't really going to hack it and that is, in my view, pretty much what has happened here.

    (And I say that despite the fact that, in many respects, I reasonably like the guy and would consider him a lot more capable than some of the alternatives.)

  • Comment number 92.

    Nicks Back !! So apparently is the left wing lady Head of News who dictates what he has to write, in order to save his job and Browns Broadcasting Corporation's taxpayer funded pension. ( I bet he wishes he was old enough to retire )

  • Comment number 93.

    Brown: "I think what people want is to clean up the system first."

    Perhaps instead of just assuming what people want, he should actually ask them what they want. Or at least listen to what people have already told him. According to his own website, over 64,000 people have specifically told him that they want him to quit, and only about 15% of voters want his party to remain in power.

    Call me old fashioned, but I don't think a 15% share of the vote means that you should be allowed to continue in power, especially when your leader was never even elected in the first place.

  • Comment number 94.

    Gordon Brown is to British politics what Revolution was to the British Film Industry.

  • Comment number 95.

    Does he think he is being subtle?
    His own reputation as a Prime Minister and the standing of his miserable failed rag bag of a party in the eyes of the British public are in melt down. SO, he ,not very subtly, proposes to dismantle the electoral system and replace it with something that will help to keep them all from totoal extinction.
    Do the country a big favour, Gordon. For God's sake man, stop all this wriggling on the hook and just GO with whatever dignity you can rescue!
    John C.

  • Comment number 96.

    In my opinion, Brown is being arrogant and selfish. End of.

  • Comment number 97.

    Gordon Brown the Scottish "Walter Mitty"

  • Comment number 98.

    Apparantly Gordon is wanting to go through your expenses Nick! I'd get sharpening your knives quick if I were you!

  • Comment number 99.

    One month to go before all the expenses are published and all the other (no DT) journalists can start digging
    At least two months for them to worm out the wrong doers not yet "telegraphed"
    Another month for them to stand down for family/health reasons
    Another two months for the three parties to agree on reforms
    Add another couple of months to waffle on about no electorate appetite for an election in winter.
    May 2010 - Election
    Clean parliament elected fat chance.
    Ruling class goes on as before, but mindful of FOE, they find other wheezes to milk the taxpaying cash cow.

  • Comment number 100.

    Nick, wrong tv programme analogy.

    "Gordon, you are the weakest link, goodbye."


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