"Emails smears: Now Brown pays the price"

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"Emails smears: Now Brown pays the price"

Post by racehorse » 04-19-2009 01:10 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... price.html

Emails smears: Now Brown pays the price

Gordon Brown has paid a heavy price for the email saga that has engulfed his government, with support for Labour falling by five percentage points, a poll discloses today.

By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor

Last Updated: 11:20PM BST 18 Apr 2009

The Marketing Sciences survey for The Sunday Telegraph puts Labour's support at just 26 per cent, with the Tories 17 points ahead on 43 per cent and heading for a Commons majority of 120.

Labour's support has slumped alarmingly in the wake of the scandal which saw the Prime Minister's former key adviser, Damian McBride, resign after it emerged he had sent emails from 10 Downing Street suggesting smears against leading Conservatives.

In the last Sunday Telegraph poll three weeks ago Labour stood at 31 per cent with David Cameron's party on 44 per cent. Other findings in the new poll suggest Mr Brown's government is now seen by voters as more likely to resort to "spin" and dirty tricks than Mr Blair's, despite the Prime Minister's pledge to clean up politics when he came to power in July 2007.

More than a third – 36 per cent – blame Mr Brown for presiding over a dirty tricks culture at No 10.

The poll comes at the end of one of Mr Brown's worst weeks since becoming Prime Minister, with his government coming under pressure on a range of issues ahead of this week's Budget.

Alice Mahon, the veteran former MP, resigned from Labour on Saturday over the emails affair, saying she had been "scandalised" by what happened.

She added: "I can no longer be a member of a party that at the leadership level has betrayed many of the values and principles that inspired me as a teenager to join.

"Like everyone else I think that most decent people in the party would be shocked and absolutely scandalised by the smears that were about to be launched on our behalf."

There was also continuing speculation over the future of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, after the decision not to prosecute Damian Green, the Tory MP whose offices were raided by police in a leak investigation.

Meanwhile, the selection of a Labour general election candidate in Erith and Thamesmead, one of Labour's safest seats, had to be postponed after a ballot box full of postal votes was found to have been tampered with.

As the email scandal showed no signs of abating, last night Ray Collins, the Labour Party's general secretary, denied claims he had played a central role in plans to set up a website, Red Rag, originally planned to be the platform for the smears.

Mr Collins admitted he had been at a meeting last December with Mr McBride and others "to discuss online digital campaigning and how we could support and encourage left of centre websites and bloggers." However, he added: "I have had no knowledge whatsoever of any smears."

Meanwhile Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, denied that he had "run" Mr McBride in a bid to smear ministerial rivals. A spokesman for Mr Balls said: "These allegations are completely fabricated and malevolent nonsense without any foundation in fact."

Reports quoted an anonymous "Downing Street whistleblower" claiming Mr Balls repeatedly protected Mr McBride when fellow ministers wanted him sacked and was in regular communication with him - sending him up to 20 emails a day.

The Sunday Telegraph decided not to publish the details contained in Mr McBride's emails. Frances Osborne, the wife of George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, and one of those targeted in the communications, has complained to the Press Complaints Commission after two newspapers, the News of the World and the Sunday Times, did so.

Mr McBride, who resigned from his £60,000-a-year No10 job without severance pay, has spoken of the "utter despair" he feels over the way the row has damaged the Government.

He told friends this weekend: "I was prepared for what would happen to me personally but I've been in utter despair about the impact it has had on Gordon and on the Government more widely.

"I cannot understand why something I did entirely off my own bat – while a terrible mistake – has been partly blamed on other people."

Mr McBride's concern over Mr Brown's fate appears to be well placed, with the Liberal Democrats, on 21 per cent, just five points behind Labour in today's poll. To add to Labour's woes, 17 per cent of those who voted for the party in the 2005 general election now say they support the Conservatives, a high proportion of direct "switchers".

Three-quarters of voters say removing Mr Brown would make no difference, with another 13 per cent saying they would be less likely to back Labour, and 11 per cent more likely, if this happened. Offered a list of potential replacements, 25 per cent said they did not know who they wanted. Mr Straw was the most popular with 23 per cent, followed by David Miliband (14 per cent), Alan Johnson, (7 per cent), Harriet Harman (6 per cent), Ed Miliband (4 per cent), Ed Balls (3 per cent) and James Purnell (1 per cent).

The findings show that despite Mr Brown's unpopularity no rival candidate can yet command any significant level of support. Ms Harman, Labour's deputy leader, launched a strong defence of Mr Brown's leadership yesterday.

She said: "He is demonstrating conviction leadership, not waiting for the economic commentators to agree and then following, not waiting for public opinion to point the way and then following."

• Marketing Sciences Ltd interviewed a random sample of 1,007 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 15th and 16th April 2009. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.

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Post by HB3 » 04-19-2009 02:10 PM

That's great news. Can't wait for the elections!

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Post by racehorse » 04-19-2009 02:18 PM

HB3 wrote: That's great news. Can't wait for the elections!

;) :D

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Post by HB3 » 04-19-2009 08:12 PM

Tangentially related, but here's a video of a protest in Luton on the 17th.


Compelling viewing. It's very sad to see the English police turning on their own people like this -- you just feel something's wrong in viewing it. But the truth is that the political upset much get much more severe for things to even begin to get better.

"There is no point sitting in your armchair and shouting at the TV. The only way to get the message across is to take it to the streets. This is a chance to show the Police and the council the power of public opinion.

"The entire country is behind us."

Well, not the entire country....

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Post by racehorse » 04-24-2009 12:02 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/fina ... ounce.html

David Cameron gets Budget bounce

David Cameron has almost doubled his lead over Labour in the past month, according to a new poll carried out in the wake of the Budget.

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor

Last Updated: 10:22PM BST 23 Apr 2009

An exclusive YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph gives the Conservatives an 18 point lead. If the result was repeated at a general election Mr Cameron would be returned to Downing Street with a majority of more than 150.

It comes after a wretched few weeks for Gordon Brown. The Prime Minister was embroiled in a spin row when his close aide Damian McBride was exposed for writing emails that smeared senior Tories including Mr Cameron and George Osborne.

That was followed by Wednesday’s Budget which laid bare the record £175 billion levels of debt and introduced a new 50 per cent top rate of tax..

Many Labour MPs and activists had seized on recent polls which indicated the gap between the two main parties was between 10-12 points. Last month’s YouGov/Telegraph poll put the Tory lead at 10 points.

But the jump in support in the latest survey will raise alarm bells in Downing Street. Mr Brown had regarded April as a crucial month for his Premiership.

It started well with the G20 meeting in London . Many of Mr Brown’s advisers considered the summit as a success which boosted the Prime Minister’s standing.

But any boost in popularity he received from it was almost instantly destroyed by the smear row.

In today’s poll the Conservatives are on 45 per cent, up four on last month. Labour is on 27 per cent, down four, with the Liberal Democrats on 18.

The last time the lead was that large was in September before the Labour party conference.

After that Mr Brown enjoyed a bounce in popularity that was attributed to his handling of the financial crisis. That perception has now been shattered.

Today’s poll found that 39 per cent of people thought the Conservatives would be more likely to run the economy well, up four on last month. Only one in four (24 per cent) believed Labour would.

There was more good news for Mr Cameron in terms of his own personal standing. For the first time more than half of those surveyed - 56 per cent - said that the Tory leader was proving a good leader of the party, a rise of seven per cent.

By contrast 69 per cent are now dissatisfied with Mr Brown as Prime Minister, a rise of four per cent on last month.

While Mr Cameron will be pleased with his polling, George Osborne, the shadow chancellor is only rated by 15 per cent of voters as the man who would make the best Chancellor - the same as Alistair Darling. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman tops that poll with 22 per cent.

The new poll was carried out after Wednesday’s Budget and it found that 46 per cent believed the package of measures introduced by Mr Darling, was not fair. Thirty two per cent believed the Budget was fair.

In a further vindication of Mr Cameron’s strategy to oppose the high levels of Government borrowing the survey found that more than half - 58 per cent Â- believed it was wrong to borrow so much in the short term because Britain’s economy will suffer in the longer term.

Mr Brown has painted the Tories as the party who would stand by and “do nothing” rather than borrow to help stimulate a recovery.

The main headline measure in the Budget, the raising of the top rate of tax to 50p for those earning £150,000 was welcomed, with 68 per cent agreeing with it. The move to increase the limits on Individual Savings Accounts also went down well.

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, yesterday urged voters to give the Government time to show that its Budget measures were the right decision for the country.

He appeared to indicate he expected the General Election to be held in spring 2010.

He said: “The public and the voters will save Gordon Brown and this Government when they look back at the decisions we have taken in this Budget and look at the strategy we are pursuing to get through what is by any measure the severest international recession that any of us can remember.

”Judge us by results, judge us on delivery, judge us by where we are in a year’s time and when you can look back and say 'They took the right decisions, they were tough, they were responsible and they were fair’ and then see where we stand in a year’s time.”

*YouGov surveyed 1896 adults between 22nd - 23rd April 2009

British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron

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Post by racehorse » 05-01-2009 01:16 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... sters.html

Gordon Brown has lost it, say ministers

Labour is heading for an election defeat as heavy as that suffered by John Major because Gordon Brown has lost control of the parliamentary party, two senior Cabinet ministers have privately warned.

By Andrew Pierce, Andrew Porter and James Kirkup

Last Updated: 11:09PM BST 30 Apr 2009

The Prime Minister was forced to surrender in his battle to reform MPs’ expenses yesterday after backbenchers threatened to defy his authority for the second time in two days.

The retreat was announced to avert another humiliating loss in the Commons, only 24 hours after the Government was defeated over the right of Gurkhas to live in Britain.

After another day of whips’ desperate bargaining with Labour MPs had failed to produce sufficient support for the Prime Minister, it was left to Harriet Harman, the Leader of the Commons, to announce that reform of the second homes allowance would be left to an independent inquiry.

The turmoil of the past week, following the damage to the Prime Minister over the emails smearing senior Tories, has produced “meltdown” in the parliamentary party according to one minister. Even Mr Brown’s usually loyal Cabinet colleagues are losing patience.

One minister close to Mr Brown told The Daily Telegraph: “We can still turn this round, but Gordon is not listening. He is lashing out and reacting to headlines. It’s all so reminiscent of the last months of John Major.

“If we don’t get our act together — and that means Gordon needs some better advice — we could go down to a defeat every bit as big as, if not bigger than, the Tories in 1997.”

Another Cabinet minister said: “Gordon is looking for someone to blame for the Gurkhas but he refused to see that we were in trouble and did not see it coming. Instead we had the spectacle of the Prime Minister, insisting at the dispatch box at 12.15, that the deal was the right one, only to be defied by dozens of our MPs only hours later.

“I am afraid we are giving the impression that we have lost control of our own side. We have to get a grip, give him better advice, otherwise there will be more talk of leadership challenges, which is the last thing we want.”

The series of setbacks to Mr Brown’s authority — which followed last week’s poorly received Budget — has raised questions about his continued leadership of the party.

One senior minister said: “The Parliamentary Labour Party is in total meltdown. It is worrying. The backbenchers will now rather hit Gordon’s authority than allow things like the Gurkhas to go through.

“What that means is that we will stop putting tough legislation through the Commons for fear of getting defeated. The public are not stupid. They will soon spot that and it is then that you risk looking like a busted flush.”

Another Cabinet minister said that while they had been “jolted” by this week’s events, they remained united behind Mr Brown. Ministers are now increasingly pinning their hopes on an economic recovery to revive the party’s fortunes

One loyalist minister conceded that Mr Brown has lost the respect of many of his own MPs.

“It’s a mess,” he said. “The biggest worry is that this isn’t just the usual suspects any more, it’s the decent, quiet guys who want to be loyal but can’t take any more. They look at Gordon and where we are now and they think we’re going to get slaughtered.”

A petition on the Downing Street website demanding his resignation has now attracted almost 36,000 supporters and, with polls predicting disaster at next month’s European and local elections, some Labour MPs predict an attempt to oust Mr Brown before the next general election.

A former minister said: “He’s in a very bad situation and he has lost a great deal of authority. It’s worse because it’s self-inflicted. Just because there is no single consensus candidate to replace him, it doesn’t mean he’s safe.”

Tom Harris, a former minister who supported the Government in the Gurkha vote, said: “Governments fall apart when discipline fails. Major’s government collapsed when his MPs saw no reason to toe the party line.”

The withdrawal of Mr Brown’s proposals for the reform of expenses means that the contentious issue of the £24,000-a-year second home allowance, available to all non-London MPs, was shelved. Instead, only London MPs will lose their second homes expenses.

Other measures proposed by the Prime Minister were agreed, but they will only act as interim reforms pending the outcome of the inquiry by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said: “This was another humiliating defeat for the authority of Gordon Brown. Only a week ago he came up with his big idea on YouTube which was to pay MPs to turn up and do their job. Today, under pressure from all sides, he had to withdraw any idea that that was going to happen.”

Last night, Mr Brown rejected suggestions that his authority has been diminished. “I don’t accept that at all,” he said in a BBC interview.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown outside 10 Downing Street

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Post by racehorse » 05-24-2009 11:38 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/5374 ... ction.html

MPs expenses: Reform can wait; what the people want now is an election

With politics in the A&E department, it will take more than cosmetic surgery to provide a cure. It’s time for Gordon Brown to go to the country, says Matthew d'Ancona.

By Matthew d'Ancona

Last Updated: 6:46PM BST 23 May 2009

The long Labour era will be bookended by a lot of nonsense about constitutional reform. In 1997, Tony Blair promised what some of his acolytes called “a Reformation”: an ideological march through the institutions, a purge of all that was fusty and traditional, and the birth of “Cool Britannia”. Twelve years on, Gordon Brown’s Cabinet is reported to be pressing for a constitutional convention, electoral reform, a modernised Parliament and – yes, you’ve guessed it – a “new politics”.

In Monday’s Independent, Alan Johnson, the man mysteriously poised to replace the Prime Minister if catastrophe strikes Labour in the June 4 elections, declared that “we need to overhaul the political system and… we should complete unfinished business by discussing again the Jenkins review [of the Westminster voting system] and consulting the British people on proportional representation, which gives greater power to the electorate.”

Nothing happens by accident in Mr Johnson’s apparently breezy world. So why has the Pearly Dauphin chosen this moment to demand that Labour honour its promise to hold a referendum on electoral reform – a promise that was meant to be honoured in its first term?

Constitutional reform is the panic button of the political class: “In case of cataclysmic story about political sleaze, break the glass and call for institutional change.” There is no doubt that – in their first flush – Labour modernisers were drawn to some aspects of constitutional reform: its promise of novelty, innovation, and shiny new government bodies. Blair devoted the first John Smith memorial lecture in 1996 to institutional upheaval, attacking hereditary peers for being descended from the illegitimate children of royal mistresses, and promising “a politics which treats people as full citizens, gives them greater power over government”.

Now that socialism was dead, the bien-pensant prescriptions of Charter 88 filled the Marx-shaped hole. The presiding spirit of that group, Anthony Barnett, provided New Labour with an eloquent blueprint for change in his 1997 book This Time, which spoke of a “Velvet Revolution against corruption” and a “new democratic settlement”.

Some of that settlement was indeed enacted (Scottish and Welsh devolution, a Freedom of Information Act, partial reform of the House of Lords). In retrospect, however, Blair’s interest in constitutional reform was clearly governed by convenience and calculation rather than deep conviction. Before the 1997 election, he engaged in long talks with the Lib Dems about such reforms – an act of seduction chronicled in Paddy Ashdown’s diaries – which brought new meaning to the phrase “he meant it when he said it”.

Conscious that he might need Lib Dem support if the election result were close, Blair strung Ashdown along with promises of coalition, electoral reform and (naturally) a “new politics” based on the realignment of the centre-Left. When Blair won a 179-seat landslide, his interest in this love affair evaporated before you could say “Don Juan”.

Roy Jenkins’s commission on the Westminster voting system reported in 1998, recommending a complex electoral procedure called “AV-plus” – and was promptly shelved. Likewise, the House of Lords remains lodged in an embarrassing, semi-reformed limbo.

Now, as MPs clamber from the wreckage of the expenses scandal, the panic button of constitutional reform is being pressed once more. The crisis has already claimed several scalps, most notably and necessarily that of the Speaker, Michael Martin, who displayed an almost heroic incapacity to see what all the fuss was about.

The election of his successor will certainly give the Commons an opportunity to dramatise its supposed contrition and to promise to behave in future. But only the most credulous dweller in the Westminster stockade would kid himself that the selection of a new Speaker, however noble of spirit he or she may be, will assuage public fury at the astonishing inventory of shame yielded by the Telegraph investigation. Just when you think it can’t get worse, up pops Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North, using his expenses to pay for his daughter’s home in London, and then selling it to her for half its market value.

A few weeks ago, we still had a rickety parliamentary democracy. Now, the veil has been lifted on something rather different: a disgraced political plutocracy that trembles at the prospect of something like mob rule. Not the storming of the Winter Palace – not yet, anyway – but the ugly populism that thrives when disenchantment with mainstream politics grows. As John Wick, the whistleblower in this story, puts it, nobody could predict “how violent the writhing of the snake was going to be”. According to one poll yesterday, 80 per cent of voters want non-party candidates to stand against incumbent MPs.

No wonder the vile leaders of the BNP are licking their lips as the local and European elections draw close. And no wonder the scramble for what remains of the moral high ground is so desperate. Only Joanna Lumley soars above the fray, a lone figure of uncontaminated authority who could form a government of national unity tomorrow if she wished.

Back on terra firma, party leaders compete to appear more severe in their response to the crisis. Star chambers, investigations, deselection: these are the new currency of routine political action, a currency that inflates by the day. Andrew Mackay’s departure is the most grievous loss yet to one of the main party leaders; it will not be the last.

The corollary is a high-minded demand for (but of course) a “new politics” – “a blueprint for reforming government” as the Guardian called it on Thursday – and a carnival of constitutional reform.

I don’t buy it. There may be arguments for aspects of the so-called “reform agenda”. But the notion that what is required right now is a grand process of constitutional introspection – a talking shop on unprecedented scale – is spectacularly misguided. Politics is in the A & E department. The first thing it needs is a tight tourniquet to stop the arterial bleeding, not a series of elective cosmetic procedures, followed by aromatherapy. Why, for instance, are the advocates of PR so sure that it would improve matters? Would a system that weakened the constituency link and depended upon party lists make MPs more accountable and less corrupt? Precisely the opposite, one might suppose.

The central political fact of the hour is not incomplete constitutional reform but Gordon Brown’s refusal to go to the country. Sometimes, looking at the wood can distract you from the trees: in this case, the 646 members of the Parliament elected in 2005, and the complete collapse of their collective moral authority. The voters brandish their axes, demanding the right to chop down the disease-ridden timber. They are owed nothing less: in a general election, now.


Matthew d’Ancona is Editor of 'The Spectator’

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Post by joequinn » 05-24-2009 12:45 PM

The Labour Party, once the champion of the lesser fellow at the dawn of the twentieth century, sold out, long ago, to the global capitalist plutocracy. It deserves what it gets from the electorate. My only regret is that Blair is not standing trial at the World Court, in chains, with Bush and Cheney, for war crimes...

But the British people have no reason to applaud the impending success of the Conservative Party, the party that gave them Thatcher and Major. Believe me, there was a definite reason why Tony Blair was selected Prime Minister in the first place! The British people may have forgotten it, but Cameron will remind them of it soon enough! :(
"Fuggedah about it, Jake --- it's Chinatown!"

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Post by racehorse » 05-24-2009 12:58 PM

joequinn wrote:

the impending success of the Conservative Party, the party that gave them Thatcher and Major.

Don't forget Winston Churchill. :)

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Post by racehorse » 06-04-2009 06:23 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... binet.html

James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, quits the Cabinet

The Prime Minister was put under further pressure to step down tonight as Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell dramatically announced he was quitting the Cabinet.

Published: 10:22PM BST 04 Jun 2009

In a resignation letter released to several newspapers, Mr Purnell called on Gordon Brown to step aside for the good of the Labour Party, saying that his continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more, not less, likely.

The senior Blairite's departure follows the loss of four ministers from Mr Brown's Cabinet in the past three days, amid reports of backbenchers collecting signatures demanding his removal.

It is a massive blow to Mr Brown and comes after two other Cabinet ministers walked out earlier this week.

Mr Purnell last night told the Telegraph that his move was not “a plot” and he had not told other Cabinet ministers he intended to stand down.

But his exit could open the floodgates and lead other MPs and ministers to demand Mr Brown goes.

Mr Purnell said he would not be a candidate in any leadership election.

The resignation, announced as polls closed for local and European election results that are expected to be disastrous for Labour, came after senior backbench MPs began organising to oust the Prime Minister.

The departure of Mr Purnell follows the resignation of Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary.

It will dramatically shorten the odds of Mr Brown being removed by his own party in the coming days.

Mr Purnell, one of the leading Blairites in his top team, told Mr Brown in a regretful letter: “We both love the Labour Party. I have worked for it for 20 years and you for far longer. We know we owe it everything and it owes us nothing. I owe it to our party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may be. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more not less likely.

“The Party was here long before us, and we want it to be here long after we have gone. We must do the right thing by it.

“We need to show that we are prepared to fight to be a credible government and have the courage to offer an alternative future. I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our party a fighting chance of winning.”

He continued: “My actions are my own considered view, nothing more. If the consensus is that you should continue, then I will support the Government loyally from the backbenches. But I do believe that this question now needs to be put.”

He also thanked Mr Brown for “the privilege of serving” in his Government.

As Mr Purnell made his announcement, another senior Labour figure openly called for Mr Brown to go.

Barry Sheerman, a senior Labour MP, last night called for a ballot of MPs to decide on Mr Brown’s leadership.

He said: “There is widespread disenchantment about this leadership.

“He has come out lacking. I think we are going to have a vote and we are going to have a new leader.”

Labour MPs who are unhappy with Mr Brown’s performance and fearful that he will lead them to a general election defeat are organising attempts to remove him.

Some of the plotters say the final straw was Mr Brown’s response to the Daily Telegraph’s revelations over MPs’ expenses.

Four ministers have said they are resigning from the Government, and some MPs believe more could follow them.

A letter is circulating among Labour MPs seeking support for a message to Mr Brown asking him to step down for the good of the party and the country.

The organisers say they will not launch their attempted coup unless they get 50 signatures and the outcome of Thursday's elections will be vital to determining whether enough MPs are prepared to sign on.

Amid signs that the election results will be dismal for Labour, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, has urged Labour MPs to stick with Mr Brown.

Lord Mandelson accepted that the expenses scandal was hurting Labour, but insisted all parties were affected.

In a direct appeal to Labour MPs, he said: "Don't please, through your actions, make it any worse for the Labour Party than for the other parties who have all got to come to grips with this crisis affecting British politics."

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Post by racehorse » 06-05-2009 10:32 AM

I wish you well, Geoff. You will be okay!


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... Brown.html

Geoff Hoon resigns as pressure mounts on Gordon Brown

Geoff Hoon has become the fifth Cabinet minister to resign in a week as Gordon Brown battles to maintain his authority.

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Published: 3:53PM BST 05 Jun 2009

The Transport Secretary's departure follows that John Hutton, the Defence Secretary, this morning and James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, last night.

Margaret Beckett, the housing minister, is also leaving the Government.

In response to the crisis, Mr Brown had brought forward a planned reshuffle to shore up support but Mr Hoon's announcement threatens to overshadow the new appointments.

"What we see today is a Government that is so weak it's hard to believe. The Prime Minister isn't reshuffling his Cabinet - they are reshuffling themselves," David Cameron told party activists in Devon, one of a number of successful areas for the Conservatives in local elections. "People who are watching this today will think, 'If you can't run a reshuffle, if you can't run a Cabinet, how can anyone expect you to run the country'.

He repeated his call for a snap general election, where his party could hope to capitalise on the dozens of council seats already won by them in early counts from yesterday's polls. Labour have already lost three of the four councils they controlled.

James Purnell yesterday threw the Government into chaos with his unexpected resignation, accompanied by a statement urging Mr Brown to step aside.

Mr Purnell's letter to his former boss stated: “We both love the Labour Party. I have worked for it for 20 years and you for far longer

“I owe it to our party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may be. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more not less likely.

‘‘That would be disastrous for our country. I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our Party a fighting chance of winning.”

While Mr Hutton tried to distance himself from Mr Purnell's call, explaining that his decision was motivated by "personal reasons", some Labour backbencher urged a change of leader.

Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, backed Mr Purnell's resignation as "courageous".

"I'm not particularly close to him personally or politically, but I think what he's done is a courageous act, and reluctantly and very sadly his assessment is correct," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"There have been too many mistakes and misjudgements over the last two years, so in the interests of the country and the Labour Party I think Gordon must really consider his position."

Nick Raynsford, former London minister, said: "I personally have considerable respect for Gordon Brown but his leadership is now so seriously damaged that I can't see the likelihood of him leading Labour successfully into the next general election.

"It's now appropriate for the party to look for a new leader.

Asked when the Prime Minister should step aside, he added "It's a matter of days rather than weeks."

Earlier, Mr Purnell used his resignation letter to make a similar appeal for Mr Brown to step aside, saying his presence was making a Conservative election victory more likely.

Sheffield Heeley MP Megg Munn added her support to the outgoing minister:

The Sheffield Heeley MP, who served as minister for equality under Tony Blair and was appointed to the Foreign Office by Mr Brown before stepping down from Government last year, told Sky News: "I am very sad to say that I have come to the view that I think we should have a different leader now.

"I think that what James Purnell put in his letter was right, unfortunately. Although Gordon Brown has done a good job at the start, I don't think he is providing the sort of leadership that the country needs.

A number of Cabinet minister's came to Mr Brown's defence, including potential rivals such as David Miliband, who gave his departing colleagues a dressing down.

"Today is a day for working, not resigning and that's what I'm going to do," he said. Mr Miliband was rewarded by escaping an anticipated demotion from his job as Foreign Secretary.

Another potential Labour leadership candidate, Alan Johnson, was promoted to Home Secretary, although his support for Mr Brown was more equivocal.

"I'm supporting Gordon Brown, I'm backing Gordon Brown and have no ambitions to be leader. I ran for deputy leader and didn't win that," he said.

But he proceeded to qualify his statement by adding: "I'm not saying that under no circumstances I would never run."

It was left to Mr Brown's former enemy, Lord Mandelson, to offer the strongest endorsement.

He told Sky News that he was 100 per cent sure that Gordon Brown would be in charge of the Labour party at the next election and dismissed talk of a Blairite plot.

"I know what's going on among the Blairites. We are going along with all the others in government in a single united team".

His brief as Business Secretary was expanded in the reshuffle to include science and skills.


The Right Honorable Geoff Hoon -Former British Transport Secretary who previously served as Minister of Defense.

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Post by racehorse » 06-05-2009 12:46 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... ebels.html

Gordon Brown's fate could be sealed by Monday, say rebels

Rebel Labour MPs working to oust Gordon Brown have named Monday as the day when the Prime Minister's fate will be decided.

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent
Published: 5:53PM BST 05 Jun 2009

Amid Cabinet resignations and a string of defeats for Labour in the local government elections, more backbenchers have broken cover and called for the Prime Minister to quit.

Among the MPs who openly called on Friday for Mr Brown to go were Megg Munn and Nick Raynsford, former ministers, Siobhan McDonagh, a former whip, and backbenchers Paul Farelly, Paul Flynn, and Mark Fisher. Lord Soley, a former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party also said he should go.

Their comments followed similar calls from MPs including James Purnell, who quit the Cabinet on Thursday night, Barry Sheerman, a senior backbencher, and Graham Allen, a former whip. Other MPs who have called for Mr Brown to go include Graham Stringer and Gordon Prentice. And Stephen Byers, a former Cabinet minister, suggested Mr Brown could be ditched on Monday.

Miss Munn said: "I want Labour to continue in power and I think we need to move on with a new leader."

Mr Fisher said: "Now it is clear that there is no stability in the Government whatsoever and the time is right for him to stand down.

Lord Soley said: "It's time for Gordon to stand down. I think otherwise the defeat we are facing will be greater."

However, even as more MPs went public, many more stayed silent and some of those involved in the attempted coup admitted their cause had been set back by the support for Mr Brown shown by many ministers.

The MPs who are trying to organise a public demonstration of opposition by between 50 and 70 members will now spend the weekend canvassing colleagues.

One MP involved in the email plot said fewer members were declaring themselves against Mr Brown than they had hoped, saying: "It's a trickle not a flood."

He admitted that the results of the European Parliament elections, due to be declared at 10pm on Sunday, will be crucial to the progress of any backbench revolt.

He said: "We'll let the voters have their say, let people digest the results and see where we stand on Monday."

Mr Brown is expected to address the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night at Westminster.

Mr Byers said that meeting could be decisive. He said: "On Monday, Labour members of parliament will have to answer a very important question: is Gordon Brown a winner or his he a loser?

"On Monday, when we gather back in Westminster, we should consider what the future direction of the labour party should be, and what the future of Gordon Brown should be."

Within minutes of Mr Purnell's resignation on Thursday night, Downing Street successfully flooded the airwaves with ministers proclaiming loyalty to the Prime Minister.

One former minister who wants Mr Brown to go said that show of unity had disheartened the rebels.

She said: "If ministers are standing by him and he is not going to go himself, even 40 or 50 of us coming out against him will not shift him but it would split the party and turn people against us even more."

Another senior backbencher who wants to remove Mr Brown said he was "depressed" and now believed Mr Brown will survive.

He said: "I was elated when Purnell went and I was going to come out and call for Gordon to go myself. But then when spineless ministers like [David] Miliband started coming out in support, I started to think it's just not going to happen."

He added: "Are there 70 Labour MPs who want Gordon to go? Easily. Are there 70 Labour MPs who will say so publicly? That's much harder."

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Post by racehorse » 06-05-2009 08:32 PM

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 440935.ece

From The Times

June 6, 2009

Labour suffers wipeout in its worst local election results

Jill Sherman, Fran Yeoman and Fiona Hamilton

Gordon Brown was dealt another huge blow last night when Labour lost all its remaining county councils in its worst ever local election results.

Counties turned from red to blue in quick succession as the Labour vote collapsed in its heartlands. Hundreds of councillors lost their seats and their share of the vote fell to 23 per cent.

Labour councillors blamed their defeats on the Government’s difficulties and the MPs’ expenses scandal as Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire slid from Labour control into the Tories’ clutches.

Most of those counties had been held by Labour for nearly 30 years. Labour parliamentary seats in the North and North West look suddenly more vulnerable.

With results still pouring in yesterday evening, Labour had lost more than 300 councillors and was at risk of disappearing entirely in some southern counties.

The Tories were delighted by their strong performance in Labour strongholds and by seeing off the Liberal Democrats in the South West. By gaining Somerset and Devon from them, the Conservatives made big advances in areas where the Lib Dems have many of their Westminster seats. Later in the day they even pushed Cornwall, another Lib Dem stronghold, into no overall control.

“Labour have been wiped off the electoral map in key battleground areas,” Eric Pickles, the Tory chairman, said as his party looked set to win well over 250 seats. “We now have a lame-duck Prime Minister running a lame-duck Government. The country clearly wants change and the only way that can be delivered is through the general election.”

Mr Brown admitted the results were appalling for his party. “The elections yesterday were a painful defeat for Labour. Too many good people doing so much good for their communities and their constituencies have lost through no fault of their own,” he said.

The Liberal Democrats, who also lost more seats than they gained, admitted that they had had a mixed day. The party was pleased it took Bristol, a unitary authority, from no overall control and that it gained 28 per cent of the vote.

The share of the vote for the two other parties was down from last year’s council elections. Labour dropped to an historic low of 23 per cent, 1 percentage point lower than last year, while the Tories fell by 5 percentage points from a 43 per cent share to 38. Tony Travers, a local government expert at the London School of Economics, suggested that the Tories would have to do considerably better at a general election to get a convincing majority.

The Tories’ targeting of seats they needed to win, such as those in the South West and the northern counties, suggests the party has enough activists where it needs to make breakthroughs. Even now it still has no councillors in Newcastle or Liverpool.

A widespread protest vote against all three main parties as a result of the MPs’ expenses led to strong showings by the Greens and the UK Independence Party. The Green party gained five councillors in Norfolk, largely at the expense of Labour, forming the largest ever Green group on a county council. It also picked up its first two seats on Suffolk County Council and made gains elsewhere, including in Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire.

The BNP failed to get a single seat in Essex, where it fielded candidates in all 75 seats. But it won its first ever county council seat in Burnley, Lancashire, bolstering the party’s hopes that its leader Nick Griffin will land the party its first seat in the European Parliament on Sunday. The BNP later took seats in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire and Coalville in Leicestershire, but only appeared to poll well where there were no alternatives — such as UKIP and the Greens — to the main parties.

It was a torrid day for Labour in Norfolk as the party lost 19 of its 22 councillors. Sue Whitaker, who was the Labour group leader but lost her seat yesterday, said that the expenses row had “swamped” the local campaign.

She added that there was a lot of anger about the treatment of Ian Gibson, the popular Labour MP for Norwich North barred from standing again over expenses revelations. “People have been saying if the party can treat a person like Ian Gibson like that, why should I vote for them?” she said.

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Post by racehorse » 06-06-2009 11:15 AM

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ac391308-5209 ... ck_check=1

Brown’s fall will mark the end of British radicalism

By Robert Shrimsley

Published: June 5 2009 20:53 | Last updated: June 5 2009 20:53

Gordon Brown may be days from departure. Or – like the twitching body at the end of a hangman’s noose – his final spasms may be more drawn out. But there is an altogether more dramatic subplot being played out as the New Labour government reaches its last act. For the death throes of this government herald the end of something remarkable in British politics – the era of radicalism.

The immediate causes of Mr Brown’s demise may be mundane matters: the limitations of his personality and the cost of Jacqui Smith’s bath plug. He is also being subsumed by an economic tide.

But whatever the reasons for his looming downfall, it is set to mark a definite break with the recent past.

For nearly 30 years British politics has been dominated by radical figures with ideologies quite alien to the political parties that spawned them. First Margaret Thatcher affixed an iconoclastic, radical market ideology to a rather unideological, pragmatic and paternalistic Conservative party. Then in the mid-1990s Tony Blair did much the same thing to Labour.

Neither prime minister was ever of their party. Both frequently defined themselves against their party’s sacred cows and preached continuous revolution. Both evinced little sympathy for institutions and traditions. Both delivered a trio of electoral successes but were ultimately toppled by parliamentary parties that retained an instinctive – almost visceral – discomfort with them.

And after the fall, both saw the flame kept alive by a small but fanatical cadre of loyalists determined to keep the faith even at the expense of party unity and electoral prospects.

Mrs Thatcher was replaced by a man with a more consensual style but whom she and her followers mistakenly believed to be a disciple.

John Major’s government was ruined by events, sleaze scandals, exhaustion and its narrow majority. But it was also destroyed by ideological warfare once it emerged that he was no true heir to Thatcherism. Like Gordon Brown, he became a prisoner of his cabinet; unable to sack ministers he disliked and promote those he trusted. The embattled Tory leader tried reshuffles and relaunches. As Mr Brown this week faced an assault from James Purnell, the ultimate Blairite ultra, so Mr Major faced John Redwood, the purest of Thatcherites. Mr Redwood jumped alone and failed to bring down Mr Major; it remains to be seen how badly Mr Purnell has wounded his target.

One can argue about degree. It is probably true that the Thatcherites penetrated deeper into the Conservative party than the Blairites ever managed with Labour. It is nearly 20 years since Mrs Thatcher’s fall and it has taken almost that long for the Tories to play out their internecine conflict. But David Cameron has finally restored the party to something close to its roots. With his attachment to environmentalism, even at the expense of business concerns; with his avowed support for public services; with his departure from some of the harsher social policies of recent years; Mr Cameron has returned the Tories whence they came. Some – especially those watching from the European mainland – might argue that his euroscepticism is still highly ideological. But even this is tempered compared with his predecessors and, in any case, remains hugely popular within Britain.

Many complain that he lacks policies. This is wrong. What he lacks is ideological dogma. He still inclines towards the free market; he still veers towards nationalism. The old Etonian, Mr Cameron believes in things; but he believes in them in moderation. This puts him back in line with Conservative tradition.

Labour, too, is purging its Blairite appendage. Mr Brown was, of course, a New Labour man himself – Mr Blair’s most important partner in the refashioning of the party away from its hard-left policies – but for him the “Labour” was as important as the “New”. His elevation appeared to offer Labour the best of both worlds. Like Mr Major, he appeared more aligned to the traditional party while offering reassurance to the ultras that he would not destroy all they once believed in. While he shrank from the most free-market aspects of Blairism he never abandoned its economic orthodoxy.

One can never divorce events from all this. Had Mr Brown gone to the country early – as his allies urged before the financial crisis struck – he might well have been re-elected and escaped his current travails. But he didn’t and he hasn’t, and now Labour, like the Conservatives, looks set to return closer to its roots. It will start now, as a weaker premier finds it hard to resist his traditionalist MPs, and will continue after Mr Brown’s departure – whenever that comes.

The sudden enthusiasm in some quarters for the unproven Alan Johnson may, in part, reflect the new home secretary and former postman’s personable nature and inspiring backstory. But Mr Johnson is also a trade unionist who, in office, has backed the rights of public sector workers against economic expediency and the views of the true Blairites.

We cannot yet say how much longer Mr Brown has, but Labour is turning back in on itself and back to its roots. The next Labour leader – whenever he or she comes – is not likely to be an über-Blairite. This may be particularly problematic for Labour, as the country has shown a preference for smaller government and free markets, which the current financial crisis is unlikely to shake over the long term.

Mr Cameron has led the Conservatives back to their roots. Labour is heading down a similar path.

Britain’s 30-year experiment with radical politics is at its end. The new order is dead. Welcome to the past.


Robert Shrimsley is managing editor of FT.com and a former chief political correspondent

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Post by racehorse » 06-07-2009 12:29 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... ossus.html

Gordon Brown: The flawed colossus

In his pursuit of power, Gordon Brown has mistaken arrogance for forcefulness, riding roughshod over his opponents. And even as Labour collapses, his defiant 'I will not walk away’ has undertones of King Lear, says Anne McElvoy .

Published: 9:00AM BST 07 Jun 2009

The moment of truth came on Thursday night, when a small but precisely aimed bombshell hit No 10 Downing Street. James Purnell, the charmed Blairite, entrusted by Gordon Brown with one of his central objectives, of welfare reform, was leaving Cabinet, because he did not think Mr Brown could improve Labour’s poor standing. For the sake of the party “which we both love”, he urged him to stand aside.

Mr Brown’s fury was brief when the call came, his response instant: “I am not going to let them get me out like this.”

Thus began “Operation Save Gordon”, a frantic night of shoring up allegiances and flushing out suspected doubters, culminating in a shotgun reshuffle to salvage his flailing authority.

It has been the climax of a brewing drama around the leadership of a man who both attracts and magnifies misfortunes, and keeps battling against them with stubborn vigour.

Now he resembles a political King Lear, a once towering figure on the blighted Labour landscape, the storms of the expenses crisis and economic turbulence howling around him, a dissolving retinue and senior figures coldly naming their terms for continuing to stay with him.

Mr Brown sometimes makes changes, but he never really alters. His strengths and flaws are too firmly set. He says so himself with the aggrandising references to “my inner core”, those Scottish “values” and the ever-present “moral compass”.

This is the kind of leader he wants to be: not flash, just Gordon, as the slogan for the abortive election campaign of two years ago was planned to proclaim. He might smile more (though not much right now) or seek to sound more relaxed, with varying degrees of success. “Did you ever hear anyone sound as strained being relaxed as Gordon?” asks one former aide.

Still, there is something distinct about him: an aura of Labour grandeur which harks back to the immediate post-war era of titanic characters and mighty egos seeking to build a new Jerusalem in postwar Britain.

Steeped in the party’s history in a way that his rival Tony Blair never was, Gordon Brown believes in the stories of great men, and a couple of approved women – Aung San Suu Kyi is a current favourite – shaping the destiny of their countries. From boyhood, he set out to be one of them: dreaming of running Labour in his teens, in the way that most of his Kirkaldy schoolmates dreamt of playing football for Scotland or topping the charts.

One reason that Mr Brown’s fall fascinates even those who dislike him intensely is that he has a quality of flawed grandeur which Shakespeare would have recognised. If he were a less serious figure, it would all matter less, this ungainly struggle to ward off decline. It’s also the unwinding of a personal quest, which begins before New Labour: a feisty new MP setting his mark on the Commons under Thatcher, fighting over privatisations and condemning her stringent approach to social security benefits. Tempora mutantur: he’s now doing both.

“Blair was mammothly dazzled by Brown’s power,” recalls Lord Falconer, Blair’s close friend, of their early

co-operation. “I don’t think he thought he’d be leader of the party. Brown was the obvious man.”

Being the “obvious man” marked out his career – but also increased the bitterness when the ascendancy of Blair made him wait too long for the prize. “He got it too late,” adds one Cabinet wife close to him. “That’s something he can’t change.”

It’s also the reason he hangs on so grimly to the job: something he has aspired to in Parliament for two-and-a-half decades is not, to his mind, to be snatched away in a rictus of panic or a back-stab from some slick young thing in sideburns.

But the air of failure and dissolution now hangs heavy over Mr Brown’s leadership. When Peter Mandelson said of Purnell’s departure, that he just “didn’t like the face of the man at the top”, it was rather too telling to be an excuse: Mr Brown, even freed from the dominance of his old frenemy Tony, has never won the hearts of the electorate or colleagues outside his own band of loyalists.

It’s the running theme in criticism of colleagues from Alastair Campbell’s “psychological flaws” observation to Charles Clarke’s broadside to me two years ago about his “absolutely stupid behaviour” and need to address his character deficiencies.

So many conflicts go back to Mr Brown’s personal behaviour. Lord Turnbull, who worked at the Treasury with him as Permanent Secretary, broke with the Whitehall omerta to accuse him of “Stalinist ruthlessness” and treating ministers “with contempt”.

In his pursuit of absolute power, he has mistaken arrogance for forcefulness: riding roughshod over ministers who opposed him, drawing dividing lines in his own party as well as with the Opposition. “You were just with him or against him and the decision was final,” says one (sacked) minister.

There has been, although he would hate the thought, a rich vein of comedy here, too. Everyone has their favourite Gordon joke. Mine is the one about him being told by his staff that he needed to sound more personal when calling backbenchers to elicit their support, and then saying to one: “How’s it going in the constituency, and how are your two children, aged seven and nine?” Apocryphal, Brownites will surely object, but the grain of truth is unmistakable: Mr Brown is myopic about the private worlds of others.

Derek Draper, who worked for him in the final haul of Opposition in the mid- Nineties, told me of his boss getting ready for an important dinner, and raging about some undone task in a volley of swear words – while wandering about in shirt and underpants because he couldn’t find his trousers, and had forgotten that he was looking for them at all.

Stories of “bad Gordon” – the rages, the feuds, the obsessions, would fill a book – and already have. But he also retains so many of the great gifts: a strong intellect, astounding memory and interest in the “big picture”.

Hence the abiding interest in global poverty and his conversion to the cause of climate change – and an intense, even impolite frustration with those who don’t “get” the importance of the weft and weave of global affairs and their ultimate impact on our lives.

He’s a more interesting conversationalist than many would credit, if not the greatest listener: you have to fight jolly hard for airtime. He can range across American politics (encyclopedic on any major Democrat figure and the Great Depression), sport and philosophy and has a prodigious memory for the past struggles and stories of his own party.

Talking to him once about the miners’ strike, I was struck at the way the characters of that era were still so alive in his mind and that he seemed steeped in the continuities of Labour, in a way that few politicians today carry much awareness of a time before the very recent past.

What kind of Britain did he set out to create? A more equal one, certainly, hence his lasting emphasis on redistribution. But he has made limited gains here, in part because closing the equality gap is much harder than those who try to do so imagine – the pull of differential progress and the uneven rewards of advanced capitalism are against them. Too often, he fails to match his goals of greater opportunity and social improvement with innovative enough means and is slow to accept new thinking – the major frustration of New Labour modernisers.

The Laura Spence case, in which he singled out the admissions saga of one student to “prove” Oxford discriminated against applicants from ordinary backgrounds, was a low point. It’s an intervention he still defends, though most thinking ministers shudder at the memory of this mini class-war.

His personal story, from serious son of the manse to precociously brilliant student, even after a debilitating injury leaving him blind in one eye, is well known. But he remains a figure people find difficult to understand.

He has had his share of terrible misfortune, with the death of his first child, Jennifer, days after her birth.

The chronic illness of his second son, Fraser, seemed like an unnecessarily cruel blow of fate, though he and Sarah cope with equanimity with the condition and its demands and he is determined not to define the child by his illness.

He once gave me a very fond, Gordonish description of watching one of his babies at play and noticing that they distinguished between square and round objects: an intriguing observation on infant development, but it’s not exactly common-or- garden paternal chat. As a young man, he was devastatingly handsome: the brooding intensity has sex appeal and he made some use of it, with a string of girlfriends, before Sarah Macaulay finally brought him to the altar: a PR wife for a politician who desperately needed his image burnishing. “She was manna from heaven really,” says one of his court.

No one doubts the strength of the relationship. It’s an asset Mrs Brown shrewdly played on when she introduced “My husband, your Prime Minister” in order to rebind the already fraying ties of the party to its leader at last year’s Labour conference.

But even Mrs Brown, with her widening network of causes and international contacts, ranging from Naomi Campbell to Michelle Obama and Paris Hilton, seems to be quietly preparing for a life after No 10.

Hardly anyone, except perhaps Brown himself, thinks the next election is winnable, but he does believe he can avert a wipe-out, because his faith in his own judgment of an economic revival is unshaken – and he is convinced that he can burst the Cameron bubble, though that also goes with underestimating the force of the New Tories.

Blairites used to say Brown would “hate being Prime Minister”, with its constant demands, lack of thinking time and endless procession of visitors. How wrong can you be? He even warms nowadays to the flummery of state visits like the glitzy Sarkozy fest and his piece de resistance, the G20 meeting.

A good part of his downfall is written in the unforgiving stars of the political and economic cycle. But he does bear heavy responsibility for failing to prepare for the downturn and believing his own propaganda of “unprecedented” British growth. Self-criticism is not his thing. Other squanderings of capital have been foolish misjudgments: one ministerial critic notes that for a man so steeped in politics, he can be “a bloody awful politician”. So the 10p tax row, intended to reposition him as a champion of middle-class earners, ended up affecting millions on low pay and causing a revolt.

He gambled, too, on the 42-day terror detention Bill, without probably even believing it was necessary, in an attempt to be the “Security Prime Minister”. That backfired. The expenses backlash is worse for him, not only because he is ultimately in charge, but because he had ample opportunity to be more serious about the matter and thought it beneath his interest.

Like the bullish former Tory leader Michael Howard, a more similar character to Mr Brown than either would care to think, he makes an unpopular populist, because it is a role that is alien to him and he cannot really master. The YouTube pratfall was the performance of a man who did not really enjoy or feel at home with what he was doing.

On Friday, at his “I’m still here” press conference, a little humility at the dreadful election result soon gave way to irritation with journalists’ questions he did not like. The defiant “I will not waver, I will not walk away” headline was intended to invoke command, but for those watching, it also had an undertone of Lear’s “I am tied to the stake and must stand the course”.

He really does believe that he has vanquished his challengers, who are divided and scattered, though the cost to his reputation and that of his Government is deep and maybe impossible to redress.

Shortly afterwards, however, a leading member of the Cameron team called and noted that he had found the fightback “Gordon’s best moment”: “He just has this solid, ox-like thing about him.You have to admire it.”

“Is this the promised end?” cries Lear in his final torment. It’s a feeling Mr Brown must privately share. So much promise, so close to a bitter end and fighting a battle he is doomed to lose: Labour’s flawed Colossus.

Anne McElvoy also writes for the 'London Evening Standard’

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