Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brown Loses Compass, Neal Lawson Calls for Him to Go

Neal Lawson runs Compass which is the liveliest of Labour’s soft-left factional campaigning organisations. He is a prickly character, some will attribute his knifing of Gordon today (Indy) to a mixture of disappointment and perhaps irritation that post-Blair he has neither been listened to, nor given any preferment by Gordon. He might not have taken up a position in Gordon’s big tent, but it would have been nice to have been asked…

Compass was a strategic part of the “coalition of the willing” to unseat Blair, so Lawson should accept some of the responsibility for saddling Labour with Brown. The month after Brown took office Lawson wrote a piece for the Guardian gushing like a school girl:

The skilfully engineered bounce witnessed in the first days of Gordon Brown’s premiership could be turned into something more: a political earthquake. The time is ripe not just for a better Labour government but for a shift in the centre of gravity of politics decisively to the left. Brown could be the first Labour leader since Clement Attlee to recast British society – not by taking small steps but giant leaps. This is why. Once in every generation a political revolution takes place in which thinking and behaviour shifts not just by degrees but qualitatively. It happened in 1945 under Labour, as the experience of the war and the economic depression before it heralded the centralised welfare state.

He concluded his paean with a quote from the left-wing theorist Gramsci: “The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions, without becoming disillusioned.” Well today he has himself failed Gramsci’s challenge, his disillusionment is total. He complains that since Gordon funked calling an election in October he has been an “unmitigated disaster”. Gordon’s “responses have been both wrong and weak” or merely “dog whistle policies”. How hard it must be for Lawson and his Compass followers, who connived with the Brownies so long to make life difficult for Blair, to see left-wing hopes crushed as Labour now campaigns on an authoritarian agenda, promising British jobs for British workers, attacking the Tories for being soft on foreigners and ID cards so soon after publicly taking tea with Mrs Thatcher. Gordon is now reviled both by the vindicated Blairites and the disillusioned left. The worry for the Tories must be that the factions might just unite to dispatch Brown early…

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guido Predicts…

Boris will win and nothing else will really matter tomorrow. Polly Toynbee and all the rest of the chattering classes will choke on their words. Labour will finally understand in their collective consciousness that they made a terrible choice in replacing the triple election-winning Tony with the triple election-avoiding* Gordon.

They will also know that if Boris can win London, Cameron can win Britain. Gordon is a loser…

*1994 avoids risking challenging Tony for the leadership. July 2007 engineers a coronation through menace and intimidation to avoid a challenge for the leadership. October 2007 funks calling a general election to obtain a personal mandate in the face of a resurgent Conservative Party.

Friday, April 25, 2008

American Idol Producers Baffled by Ratings Collapse

idol
According to the LA Times the curse of Jonah Brown has struck the ratings of the (until now) most successful show on U.S. TV:
And the pace of the fall off may be quickening. Last week’s performance show, featuring the songs of Mariah Carey, one of the most successful pop singers in history, was the lowest-rated Tuesday “Idol” in five years among TV’s most important demographic, adults ages 18 to 49. The subsequent results show, in which country warbler Kristy Lee Cook got the hook, delivered “Idol’s” worst Wednesday numbers among adults ages 18 to 34 since its first season back in summer 2002. Producers also saw depressed ratings for their “Idol Gives Back” charity extravaganza, which this year aired as a stand-alone show with no competition-related material.

Guido has warned before – beware the one-eyed son of the manse, for he is accursed, and all he touches is cursed by him…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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.

Monday, April 21, 2008

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…

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Labour PPC : "Gordon is Giving Me Nightmares"

John Wiseman, Labour PPC for Westmorland and Lonsdale has, writing on LabourHome, candidly admitted that he seems “to be in the middle of a nightmare at present… Everyone seems depressed where I am standing for parliament. Gordon has decided to take money away from his core vote, PPS’s are threatening to resign!! When are we going to wake up!!! There is hundreds of councillors who are going to lose their seats if Gordon doesn’t listen. I am asking please Gordon for the last time wake up and smell the coffee…”
He blames it squarely on the abolition of the 10p tax rate…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jonah Brown Goes to America, Dollar Crashes to All Time Low

The Jonah effect is becoming scary, Gordon lands in America in the morning and the dollar crashes to an all time historic low by lunchtime. There really is something in this – within weeks of him becoming PM the country was hit by terror fire, pestilence and floods. He is a curse on everything he touches.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Summer Fashion Must Haves

Bet Wenger is Sorry Now

Guido has confirmed this with Ladbrokes: back in February Arsenal were the odds-on favourites to win Football’s Premier League title. In March Gordon held a summit with President Sarkozy at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.

Many of Guido’s co-conspirators predicted that what has now come to pass would result. The curse of Jonah Brown hit Wenger’s boys in red as surely as if the PM himself had attended each and every match since.

The once-mighty Arsenal were beaten by Manchester United yesterday and are now out of the running for the Premier League title. They were doomed from the moment they agreed to let Gordon on to the pitch…


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