Maggie Thatcher’s salivating disciples, eagerly awaiting their heroine’s Downing Street resurrection, may soon be frothing and foaming instead. Richard Stone’s oil painting of the Rusty Lady will not be hung, as was widely anticipated, on No 10’s grand staircase. Once unveiled she will, I hear,* be confined to an attic – or, more specifically, a corner room up the stairs and left down the corridor. Once installed in the Thatcher Study, as the room in which she long toiled is known, Maggie will languish unseen except by escorted visitors.
Back where she belongs – in Downing Street.
*“I hear” when written by Maguire in this context can be translated as “Damian McBride told me in the Westminster Arms”.
Wounded at home … wanted a news conference… got a low key meeting … didn’t seem to mind being the American President’s poodle …. Brown is desperate … the President pointedly didn’t make any promises about a global new deal…
This was on left-leaning CNN, Fox News basically ignored Brown. That went well didn’t it?
It was Wanless who failed in his responsibility to rein in that reckless gambling.
The government’s holding company, UK Financial Investments Ltd, is the majority shareholder in both RBS and Northern Rock. Based on the pensions data below, the taxpaying public as shareholders are funding a £14 million plus pension for Wanless. Does Brown think his friend Derek Wanless should be so rewarded given his catastrophic failure in his responsibility to exercise oversight of the risk?
Graphic credit : Paul Waugh
*Based on standard 20 x multiple.
*NatWest merged with RBS.
+++ More to Follow +++
UPDATE 12.00 : At this mornings Lobby briefing when asked about the City minister’s alleged pension links with RBS, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “It is not for me to comment on a minister’s personal financial interests.” Why not? After all, the taxpayers are paying for it.
…Several dozen members of Congress skipped the speech. Their seats in the chamber were taken by House and Senate staff and other guests.
According to the office of the House clerk, Brown’s appearance marked the 107th time a foreign leader or dignitary has addressed a joint meeting of Congress, going back to 1874 when King David Kalakaua of Hawaii gave an address.
No need for an apology.
UPDATE : From the Indy this morning;
Boy Scouts Swell the Clapping Crowds
It was all hands on deck with congressional aides ensuring the chamber was packed. Minutes before the session began, Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota led a knot of young aides and interns down the corridors of the Capitol. They were joined by a scout troop and other staffers brought in to fill empty spaces.
Finally Gordon Brown entered the chamber to resounding applause, reaching to greet members on both sides of the aisle like old friends. Many were. Mr Brown has spent decades cultivating the top political leadership of the Democratic party. It was the political version of This Is Your Life and he basked in the glory of it.
Gordon is not exactly a room filler…
On Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 11:00 a.m., The Right Honorable Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, will address a Joint Meeting of Congress. Permanent Congressional staff who are appropriately attired and displaying a Congressional ID will be permitted to attend the speech as space allows.
Permanent Congressional staff may begin assembling in the Hall of Columns (first floor of The Capitol near the South Door) at 10:00 a.m. Chamber security staff will seat Congressional staff on the House floor as space allows. Chiefs of Staff should proceed to the front of the staff line in the Hall of Columns and identify themselves as such so they may be seated first.
Should you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Office of the Sergeant at Arms office at 224-2341.
How embarrassing that they have to pack the chamber with staffers…
The Americans are a polite and courteous people, they will undoubtedly give Brown a standing ovation. Congress however is not an audience that can be manipulated by party apparatchiks and placemen “spontaneously” clapping. Nevertheless when Blair turned on the charm and upped the oratory to the US Congress they gave him 19 standing ovations. How many standing ovations do you think Gordon will receive?
UPDATE : Those young staffer’s legs have a lot of energy in them. By Gordon’s standards that was one of his better speeches. Guido counted even the half-hearted stand-ups ,making it 17, BBC reckons 18. Adam Boulton reckoned only half-a-dozen or so proper standing ovations.
The Prime Mentalist arrived at the White House yesterday and was welcomed by Gladys Boluda, who as the US State Department’s Chief of Protocol, is too polite to point out to Gordon that he was about to meet the most powerful man on the planet with his trousers tucked into his sock.
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Rob Colvile reviews Russell Brand’s new book:
“Oddly, the person I feel sorriest for isn’t Brand himself – although he certainly comes across as a rather pitiable figure, projecting his own brokenness on to the world around him – but Johann Hari. Drummed out of Fleet Street for plagiarism, the former Independent columnist has washed up as “my mate Johann, who’s been doing research for this book”. For a genuinely talented polemicist, it would have been a humbling experience to have to treat this sub-undergraduate dross as the scintillating wisdom of a philosopher-king.”