Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’

The mystery of Gordon Brown’s voting intention.

February 24, 2010

One of the highlights of last night’s canvassing session was knocking on the door of a resident with the vaguely familiar name of ‘Mr Gordon Brown’. I was very keen to find out whether he was a Labour supporter or not.

Unfortunately Mr Brown was not in last night so I had to make do with leaving him some leaflets. However, I am determined to return soon! Hopefully he will not be massive grump who screams profanities at me whilst wearing a towel or who throws mobile phones in the direction of bad news.

By the way, the canvassing results last night were very positive. The only person to mention the ‘Bully-gate’ story was a voter who thought that it was the press who were bullying the Prime Minister and that they should lay off the personal attacks.

Half the people we spoke to identified as Labour. All the rest were undecided. No-one admitted to being a committed Lib Dem/Tory voter. Everyone appreciated that the upcoming election would be very close and that voting was important. If we can keep this up, we’ll have a chance of scraping through in Islington…

Cowards are flinching, traitors are sneering.

January 7, 2010

There are two good posts over at Though Cowards Flinch today.

Paul points out that Hoon’n’Hewitts’ call for a secret ballot amongst the PLP to decide whether Gordo should remain Labour leader completely neglects to take into consideration the party rules. Party members and affiliated trade unions and socialist societies also have a say in the matter. Their opinions could not be completely side-stepped.  

The ignorance and arrogance of the terrible twosome demonstrates how some of these politicos are not only living on a different planet to the general population; they’re even detached from the realities of the political movement of which they are senior members and which has been kind enough to give them very profitable careers over the years.

I also like Dave’s post in which he finds himself in total agreement with Shaun Woodward. It’s not often you’ll find Dave praising a Cabinet minister for being “so righteously on message”! His analysis of the media response to the half-arsed coup attempt is bang on, IMO.

Corporate chemists and private equity companies pay Patricia Hewitt a lot of money for her advice so that we in the Labour Party don’t need to listen to it.

January 6, 2010

I only became aware of this latest anti-Brown plot this evening. I spent all day working outside today (takes more than a little bit of snow to stop me) and then went straight to a ward Labour meeting where we are so wholly fixated on local campaigning that the national political situation was not mentioned at all.

If only ‘Comrades’ Hoon and Hewitt were similarly focused on sorting out when the next round of leaflets will be ready to go out and on putting dates for phone canvassing sessions into their diaries.

Their very unconvincing attempt at toppling the Prime Minister (sending out an email! Apparently incompetently! With no obvious preferred candidate! Deary me!) only a few months before the general election will take place suggests that they are living on a different planet to the Labour activists who are getting geared up for the upcoming electoral struggle.

I’m full of criticisms of Brown’s leadership and I think there was a lot to be said for exchanging him for a fresher face after the disastrous European Parliament results last year. However, there is no doubt in my mind that we’ve now got to accept the leader we’ve got in place and put all energies into fighting our real opponents.

With Tory election posters going up across the country (I drove past my first one on the bus today – Cameron looks very CGI and the message doesn’t make much sense) and glossy Lib Dem propaganda coming through the letter box, the maneuverings of Hoon and Hewitt seem like pure self-indulgence.

I liked Martin Salter’s response to the email invitation to rebellion (as I’ve said before: he’s a good egg!):

Dear Geoff and Patricia,

I have to say that I agree entirely with Lynne Jones about your ill-judged circular calling for a leadership ballot.

I also happen to feel that it is inappropriate, to say the least, for a former Chief Whip and a current member of the Board of British Telecom  – who is standing down at the next election –  to be advising hard-working and full-time Labour MPs on who would be best placed to secure a Labour victory and their future employment prospects! The fact that you have chosen to broadcast your views to the media rather than in the confines of a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party speaks volumes about your true intentions.


Martin Salter

Well put, that man!

After the Conservative confusion over how much bribe money they really will give to married couples and the holes in their spending plans, I really did feel like Labour were doing a good job of rebutting the Tory arguments.

I hope we will be able to maintain some positive momentum even after this most unwelcome distraction provided to the media courtesy of the former Chief Whip (who has obviously forgotten a lot about party loyalty) and former Health Secretary (now essentially a part-time MP due to all her business interests). For shame!

Flashman Gordon.

December 13, 2009

The BBC is reporting that Gordon Brown has become the first Prime Minister since the Second World War to spend a night in a combat zone.

Ok. Maybe it’s not quite as dramatic as Winston Churchill’s foolhardy determination to be present at the D-Day landings (and only being dissuaded from this by the intervention of the King).

But as wartime propaganda stunts go, this is far more impressive than – for example – George W Bush walking around an aircraft carrier and declaring victory in Iraq.

Scum Sun.

November 11, 2009

The Sun have been displaying a disgusting lack of respect for dead servicemen by misspelling Jacqui Jane’s name. Harry’s Place has the evidence.

I hope the Sun’s web editor at least has the excuse of being blind in one eye. Perhaps the appropriate course of action now is to tap the grieving and clearly distressed Jacqui Jane’s phone as she calls the Sun to express her anger. That would be both sensible and sensitive.

Yes, someone should definitely have been checking the spelling in the PM’s letters to the bereaved and should have got Brown to write another one. This story is yet another example of a boob that could have been avoided through there being just a bit more competence at No 10.

But only a political ignoramus could fail to recognise that the Sun is shamelessly exploiting Mrs Janes’ grief as part of its ongoing efforts to destroy both Brown and the Labour government. They’re loving this.

Sun owner and creepy capitalist Rupert Murdoch recently supported infamous Fox News mentalist Glenn Beck in his assertion that President Obama is a racist who hates white people.

Remember that Fox is also part of Murdoch’s media empire. Can we expect similarly unhinged ‘journalism’ to become more mainstream in Britain? Is the Sun’s pushing of the Jacqui Janes story evidence of this happening? Who knows? The whole saga has, however, reminded me of Mike Royko‘s quote:

“No self-respecting fish would be wrapped in a Murdoch paper”


“Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home!”

September 22, 2009

I recently read Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights for the first time. Now that I know all about Heathcliff’s violent temper, his obsessive hatreds, and ultimately tragic life-story, I can’t believe that Gordon Brown ever thought it was a good idea to say it was “absolutely correct” to compare him to Heathcliff as he did in this interview last year with the New Statesman.

Gordo is said to be a great lover of books but maybe on that occasion he got his classic works of fiction mixed up. Did he perhaps instead think that people were comparing him to Mr. Darcy, who first appears to be an arse but then turns out to be a good bloke (and of course in the 1995 BBC adaptation makes all the ladies swoon with his pond-diving antics)? Mr. Darcy is surely a better role model than Heathcliff, who is so psychologically-tortured that he ends up as a  child and wife abuser and generally nasty person.

Here’s Kate Bush’s take on the whole thing:


Ramsay MacDonald responds to the economic crisis

July 12, 2009
So what did you think of my speech?

"So what did you think of my speech?"

A week or so ago VoteRedGoGreen wrote a post on what he would like to hear Gordon Brown say in a speech outlining the Labour government’s response to the country’s economic problems.

In October 1930 Britain was suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. The U.S stock market had crashed in 1929 and the worldwide economic downturn was exacerbated by the onset of protectionist fervour (such as the moronic U.S Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act) and a subsequent collapse in global trade. Unemployment was growing and Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour government was feeling the pressure.

Of course, it all went horribly wrong after a bit, but MacDonald’s speech to the 1930 Labour Party Conference (the last he was to make, if I’m not mistaken) was a tour de force which managed to convey the impression that here was a Prime Minister undaunted by the scale of crisis:

“So, my friends, we are not on trial; it is the system under which we live. It has broken down, not only in this little island, it has broken down in Europe, in Asia, in America; it has broken down everywhere, as it was bound to break down.

And the cure, the new path, the new idea is organisation – organisation which will protect life, not property.

I appeal to you, my friends, today, with all that is going on outside – I appeal to you to go back on to your socialist faith. Do not mix that up with pettifogging patching, either of a Poor Law kind or of Relief Work kind.

Construction, ideas, architecture, building line upon line, stone upon stone, storey upon storey; it will not be your happiness, and it will certainly not be mine, to see that every stone laid in sincerity has been well laid.

But I think it will be your happiness, as it is mine, to go on convinced that the great foundations are being well laid…and that by skilled craftsmen, confident in each other’s goodwill and sincerity, the temple will rise and rise and rise until at last it is complete, and the genius of humanity will find within it an appropriate resting place.”

Ok, so the image of a socialist temple being slowly but surely built is a bit wacky, and MacDonald seemingly managed to get through the speech without any serious discussion of government policy.

But it was still a triumph. Through appeal to principle, MacDonald successfully rallied the previously discontented party behind him (temporarily at least).

James Maxton’s motion criticising the government had the misfortune to be scheduled for discussion immediately after MacDonald’s address. After the enthusiastic cheering for the leader’s speech had begun to die down, big leftie Maxton rose to half-heartedly condemn the leadership’s feebleness.

Maxton had to pay tribute to MacDonald’s “very great speech” even as he listed his many complaints against MacDonald’s policies (or lack of). The Maxton motion was then defeated by 1,800,000 votes to 330,000.

Ideally a leader’s speech is solid in both the style and substance departments.

Talk about values and utopian visions (unlikely these days!), fine, but be prepared to explain to your party how you will make those values and visions a policy reality.

We’ll see what Gordo comes up with in the autumn…

Speeches I wish Gordon Brown had made (number 94)

June 29, 2009

I’ve been thinking recently about the comparisions between the Credit Crunch and the post-9/11 crisis in foreign policy, mostly in terms of how leaders have chosen to respond to the emergent situation.

In 2001, the US/UK consensus on foreign policy came to an abrupt end, and leaders – foremost among them Tony Blair – were keen to expound new doctrines to guide the formation of the post-9/11 policy on diplomacy, allies and security.

Surveying the scene less than a month after 9/11, Tony told the Labour Party conference on 2nd October 2001:

This is a moment to seize. The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.

Today, humankind has the science and technology to destroy itself or to provide prosperity to all. Yet science can’t make that choice for us. Only the moral power of a world acting as a community, can.

“By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we can alone”.

For those people who lost their lives on September 11 and those that mourn them; now is the time for the strength to build that community. Let that be their memorial.

Whatever his faults and whatever the flaws in this “re-ordering” process, this is Tony’s raw leadership quality shining through.

The world needed a new foreign policy for a new age: Tony sought, within a month, to establish its case, to demonstrate that this posed an opportunity and not just a threat, and to establish some clear moral principles around which the new way would be ordered.

So how does Gordon compare?

Personally, I think Gordon has handled the technical detail of holding back the worst of the recession well. I also think that a lot of the blame being laid at his door for the recession happening is unfair.

But all of this assesses Gordon as if he were a mechanic, called in to fix a broken machine. He’s not: he’s a leader. What is really lacking – and is is particularly lacking in comparison to Blair’s approach post-9/11 – is the vision for what is to come next. Indeed, it’s the analysis of what got us here in the first place too.

I’m no speechwriter, but I’d like to have heard something along these lines: (more…)

Brown on Maxton

June 19, 2009

I was having a quick look through Gordon Brown’s biography of left-wing firebrand James Maxton MP today.

Brown has divided the Clydesider’s life into four sections:

  1. 1. Socialist in the making.
  2. 2. Socialism into Parliament.
  3. 3. Socialism in our time.
  4. 4. Socialist retreat.

 I wonder if a future biography of Gordo will be based on similar divisions. Do you think we are at stage four now, or is stage three just around the corner?

The basic thesis of the book seems to be that the politicians of the 1920s and 1930s were too timid to accept the radical ideas put foward by socialists such as Maxton. The PM comes across as a big fan of Maxton, writing that he “had every quality except one: the gift of knowing how to succeed”.


Results in Islington

June 8, 2009

The Labour Party – 12,428

The Green Party – 8,551

Liberal Democrats – 8,167

Conservative Party – 6,170

United Kingdom Independence Party – 2,639

British National Party – 1,488

So not too bad considering the devastation for Labour across the rest of the country.

More people voted for UKIP than Labour. We were beaten in Scotland by the nats. Second to the TORIES in WALES. We came behind the Cornish Nationalists in Cornwall. And that’s not even mentioning the fash bastards now going to the European Parliament to represent the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Awful awful awful. By the way, have you seen this new blog on the block?