Brown’s Bushisms

Gordon Brown was quoted in the Telegraph saying that he spends “every day that I wake up” trying to keep the economy on track. Does he not wake every day? Are there days where things are just too bad to get out of bed?

Last week he made two great Bushisms in his speech to the Scottish TUC:

  • “I remember the 1940s.” Gordon Brown was born in in 1951.
  • “The Government has done more for poverty over the past fifteen years” Yes, beginning when John Major was in charge of the government.
  • He also told Sky’s Adam Boulton last week that Britain had been “diversifying into gold” by selling Britain’s gold reserves. And it was the Tories fault anyway.
  • “Nelson Mandela was freed in our lunchtime.” Well, Prezza’s lunchtime…
  • “Britain and China are both centres of invasion….”
Do send Guido any more Brown language mangling Bushisms to the usual Guido.Fawkes@Order-Order.com.

U-Turn : Dithered to the Death

At PMQs Dave called Gordon “a loser not a leader”. The hastily cobbled together deal placated Frank Field this morning and he withdrew his amendment. Apparently the sticking plaster for the lower paid will be backdated and will include “changes to the winter fuel payment system, tax credits and the minimum wage in order to compensate those losing out from the ending of the 10p rate.”

Nice and simple. Not.

Cast your mind back to last week’s U.S. trip. On the flight to Washington Gordon personally briefed the Lobby on the usual off-the-record basis that “No one will lose out.”

He dismissed Lobby hacks claims that dozens of Labour MPs were set to rebel over the issue, saying: “It is just one or two MPs asking questions.” The Mail on Sunday was not on the trip, so was not bound by Lobby terms, it accurately reported Gordon claiming
“You’re wrong. No one will lose out. Come on . . . you guys have exaggerated it all.”

When BBC political editor Nick Robinson insisted there was a sizeable Labour revolt, Mr Brown fired back*: “No it isn’t. There are just one or two MPs asking questions.”

When a journalist from a Labour-supporting paper insisted that the rebellion was far bigger, Mr Brown scowled: “Really? Really? That’s what you say.”

He was equally abrupt with ITN political editor Tom Bradby, who had asked him at the White House about the resignation threat by ministerial aide Angela Smith.

Mr Brown was forced to break off from his White House talks to beg Ms Smith not to resign. “You said a Minister was going to resign, but she didn’t,” Mr Brown told Mr Bradby.

Asked “What did Angela Smith say to you?” Mr Brown replied: “She just phoned me to say she wasn’t resigning.”

BBC Newsnight political editor Michael Crick asked sarcastically: “She phoned you up at the White House to tell you she wasn’t resigning? Do all your Ministers do that?”

Another journalist put Mr Brown on the spot: “Do you acknowledge that there will be some losers from this tax change?”

The Prime Minister replied: “No. It’s not as simple as that.”

Such was the extraordinary nature of the exchanges with the assembled Lobby that the papers, even though bound by Lobby terms, were full of phrases hinting along the lines of “PM Privately Furious” the next day. Downing Street spin officials were horrified by the disastrous briefing. The PM appeared to be either in complete denial or out of touch with reality. He was also close to losing self-control and on the edge of throwing yet another tantrum. Gordon was convinced by officials he should give another personal briefing during the trip in an attempt to repair the damage done.

Clearly if you start talking transparent bollocks to the Lobby when you are off-the-record, you will inevitably get a bad press. The whole point of the Lobby and off-the-record briefings is that they are supposed to allow candid honesty in return for non-attribution. Gordon’s psychological flaws and unwillingness to accept criticism make it impossible for him to accept that when he has made a mistake, and this was a huge mistake, he has to openly make amends. His usual bullying didn’t work in this case – he has now made a humiliating U-turn – not an act of leadership.

*Nick Robinson has obliquely confirmed the Mail on Sunday’s version of events. He blogs that “Gordon Brown had shouted down those who told him there were many many losers from his last Budget as Chancellor and those who told him he faced a real political crisis as a result.” Guido suspects that Nick himself was, as reported, one of “those” shouted down.

UPDATE : U-turn letter (pdf) here.

Vince Backs McCain

He has just told Brillo on the Daily Politics that he would rather support McCain against Hillary Clinton. This puts him to the right of many Cameroons…

+++ Alliance & Leicester Drops 10% +++

Perhaps they need another £50 billion…

Gordon’s Local Garage Hikes Fuel Price 25%

Britain is getting more and more like Zimbabwe every day, a leader afraid of elections, food prices soaring and now petrol prices jumping 25% in a week.

The Rix garage in Kirkcaldy has been charging an outrageous £1.45 a litre for diesel and £1.25 for unleaded petrol. Not that this will bother Gordon – he has never had to pay for petrol.

The Grangemouth oil refinery is on the verge of shutdown as it looks like a two-day strike by staff will go ahead this weekend.

Reports from around the country tell of queues of panic buyers worried that the 200,000 barrel-a-day Grangemouth refinery closure will force the BP Forties Pipeline System, which transfers oil from more than 50 North Sea fields, to be turned off. If the dispute lasts for more than two days Britain will run dry…

Is Jack Straw Four Votes from Becoming PM?

Sky’s Jon Craig, who didn’t join the Lobby to stand around in bars speculating idly, is playing What If…
  1. Gordon loses Monday’s vote to double the 10p tax rate on low earners on Frank Field’s rebel amendment?
  2. What if Ken Livingstone loses to Boris Johnson in London on May 1?
  3. What if Labour rebels throw out 42-day detention for terrorists next month?
The first would be a personal defeat for Brown, he introduced the 10p rate, he is abolishing it. If Londoners voted for Boris it would put real fear into Southern Labour MPs. If the third vote is lost, and most Labour Party MPs and activists don’t have their heart in needless 42-day detention, it will surely be curtains for Gordon.

Who would the PLP then want to lead them in times of trouble? Not one of the young pretenders. Jack Straw would be their Michael Howard figure. Safely captaining the sinking ship, hopefully without the loss of too many lives / seats. The PLP would vote for Jack ahead of Cruddas…

Labour Looking After Themselves

If you go to the Labour website and type in a valid street name you get a customised page.

Such as: www.labour.org.uk/downingstreet.

Clever? Not really. Hacked in 30 seconds. Type in below (or something ruder) to your browser…

http://www.labour.org.uk/flash/street_sign.swf?street_title=Gordon Has Lost His Way

Hat-tip : LibDemVoice
UPDATE 17.25 : The spoilsports have blocked it now. Does Ed Balls know the party site is promoting Excellance [sic] for All“?

UPDATE 17.45 : The geeks at Tangent, Labour’s web specialist should check this out.

Spink : I’m Not Joining UKIP

Less than a month ago Bob Spink emailed Nadine Dorries to say why it was nonsense that he would be joining UKIP:

click to enlarge

This morning he did just that…

Is Des Down?

Ever since that bizarre interview on the Today show last week people have been speculating about Des Browne’s state-of-mind. John Humphrys tore him to pieces following a High Court ruling that families of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan could sue the Government under human rights laws. Des was all over the place.

Then MoD documents released under an FoI request showed he had misled the Commons over the 15 weeping Royal Navy sailors taken prisoner by Iran last year. Contrary to his claims they had been in Iraqi rather than international waters. He will have to apologise to the House for his lies.

Whitehall reckons Browne is down and possibly suffering from mental exhaustion because he is both a part-time Defence Secretary and a part-time Scottish Secretary. His SpAds spin that he has a chest infection. Guido prefers to believe that in the dark hours of the night his soul is tortured by the ghosts of the soldiers he sent to their death under-equipped.

Or perhaps he is ashamed of himself over the failed court action (in his name) to gag a coroner’s ruling from becoming public which criticised the MoD over troops deaths?

Oil Hits Record High as U.K. Strike Shutdown Proceeds

Ineos Group is proceeding with the shutdown of its 200,000 barrel-a-day Grangemouth refinery as talks with unions to avert industrial action look bleak. The plant takes crude from BP’s Forties Pipeline System, which transfers oil from more than 50 North Sea fields.

So the housing market is dropping on the back of the credit crunch and U.K. oil supplies are about to be turned off. Not exactly the best economic outlook is it? Expect to see queues at petrol stations just in time for the local elections….

Lobby Hacks Show Professionalism

At the end of last night’s meeting of the PLP Ian Austin, Gordon’s PPS, came out to give the official word to the thirsty gentlemen of the Lobby. Last time he did this his cunning plan was to say that everyone loved Gordon and everything was fine.
This had only one tiny flaw: it relied on 350 unhappy Labour MPs keeping their mouths shut. They of course did not, and we all now know that there was a mutiny over doubling the tax rate on low earners. So what did Ian do last night? He explained again that everything is fine and everyone loves Gordon! “That’s what you told us last time,” said Newsnight’s Crick. “I stand by every word of what I said last time,” Austin replied, “I tell the truth. I stake my reputation on the accuracy of my briefing.”

Guido has previously implied that Lobby hacks are unskilled. On reflection they did show professionalism last night. Not one of them laughed until after Ian Austin was out of sight.

Ofcom : “Guido is a Public Service”

Guido has only just become aware that Ofcom has published a consultation paper on Public Service Broadcasting in the Digital Age. So what?

Well, this blog is cited in the review of “public service content available online” as “an example of a widely read and influential blog that has become a must-read in Westminster.” Of course, but is it a “public service”? It is, after all, primarily for Guido’s personal amusement and mischief making merriment. This is not a public space, it is private property.

On the other hand, the Tories have a policy proposal to top slice the telly-tax to other public service providers to promote diversity and stimulate the creative industries market. If Guido is a public service content provider, does that not mean as content goes multi-platform, with online video-on-demand and suchlike, that Guido should get a splash of the £3 billion gravy train? Drinks all round on the telly taxpayer, why waste all that money on the BBC?

Bank of England Chief Economist :1,350,000 Borrowers Face Negative Equity

Charles Bean is the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, he gave an under-reported speech last week that shook up the Gilts market. It should shake up everyone. According to Mr Bean the Bank’s research has found that 5% of mortgagors have less than 20% equity in their home. That is equivalent to 1,350,000 homeowners.

Along with many other reputable forecasters Professor David Miles, chief UK economist at blue chip investment banking powerhouse Morgan Stanley, is predicting that by the end of 2009 house prices will have dropped 20%.

In pockets of London prices have already fallen 20% from their highs. If that trend goes nationwide Britain is looking likely to have more than million homes in negative equity before the next election. This is based on the Bank of England’s own somewhat conservative numbers…

If Gordon Loses the Vote, Gordon Has To Go

As Cameron signals that he will probably line up his troops behind Frank Field’s amendment could we be looking at a no confidence vote? Effectively yes. Gordon introduced the 10p rate, Gordon abolished the 10p rate, Gordon complicated the tax and benefits system with his endless tinkering at social engineering. This mess is 100% Brown stuff.

The paper pundits are intoning gravely. Jackie Ashley says Gordon could be gone this week, Kavanagh says kick Ken out next week and get rid of the unelected PM. If only…

Despite Alistair’s grandstanding calls on the banks to buck the markets and drop their lending rates, even Northern Rock, controlled by the Treasury has upped lending rates. Meantime the socialist dreams of Gordon Brown the student are being realised with the back door nationalisation of the banks. Another £50 billion is to be pick-pocketed from the taxpayers to prop up banks. Guido does not know what the exact terms of the bail-out are, but in principle is opposed. Why are taxpayers expected to take risks which properly should be borne by shareholders?

Why should the banks listen to Gordon when his own government ministers don’t listen? Many junior members of the government are expected to rebel on the 10p rate, 42 days and even ID cards. We have a shambles of a government by the shambolic, with support slipping away. Bring on the General Election…

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Lower Taxes for the Lower Paid

Watching Darling spluttering explanations for abolishing the 10p rate this morning it is clear that the Brownies can’t see that their preference for taxing with one hand and then paying benefits back with the other hand, is a wasteful bureaucratic merry-go-round that doesn’t work – except on paper.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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