Gordon Brown

Brown.jpg

The British public … were at no stage invited to vote on whether Gordon Brown should be PM.

I don’t remember any Labour spokesman revealing that they planned to do a big switcheroo after only two years.

..a transition about as democratically proper as the transition from Claudius to Nero.

Brown’s looking for a Scottish ally

It’s the arrogance. It’s the contempt. That’s what gets me. It’s Gordon Brown’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people. It’s at moments like this that I think the political world has gone mad, and I am alone in detecting the gigantic fraud.

Everybody seems to have forgotten that the last general election was only two years ago, in 2005. A man called Tony Blair presented himself for re-election, and his face was to be seen – even if less prominently than in the past – on manifestos, leaflets, television screens and billboards. We rather gathered from the Labour prospectus that said Blair was going to be Prime Minister. Indeed, Tony sought a new mandate from the British electorate with the explicit promise that he would serve a full term.

The British public sucked its teeth, squinted at him closely, sighed and, with extreme reluctance, decided to elect him Prime Minister for another five years. Let me repeat that. They voted for Anthony Charles Lynton Blair to serve as their leader. They were at no stage invited to vote on whether Gordon Brown should be PM.


I must have knocked on hundreds of doors during that campaign, and heard all sorts of opinions of Mr Blair, not all of them favourable. But I do not recall a single member of the public saying that he or she was yearning for Gordon Brown to take over. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t remember any Labour spokesman revealing that they planned to do a big switcheroo after only two years.

It is a sad but undeniable truth that there are huge numbers of voters (including many Tory types) who have rather liked the cut of Tony’s jib. They have tended to admire his easy manner, and his air of sincerity, and his glistering-toothed rhetoric. They may have had a sneaking feeling – in spite of Iraq – that he has not wholly disgraced Britain on the international stage; and though you or I may think they were wrong, they unquestionably existed.

In 2005, there was a large number who voted Labour on the strength of a dwindling but still significant respect for the Prime Minister. They voted for Tony, and yet they now get Gordon, and a transition about as democratically proper as the transition from Claudius to Nero. It is a scandal.

Why are we all conniving in this stitch-up? This is nothing less than a palace coup, effected by the Brownites, and it is possible only because Tony had run out of road. He knew that the Brownites would eventually assassinate him, and so he decided to go “at a time of his own choosing” and, with North Korean servility, the Labour Party has handed power over to the brooding Scottish power-maniac.

The extraordinary thing is that it looks as though he will now be in 10 Downing Street for three years, and without a mandate from the British people. No one elected Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, which is bad enough; but what makes things worse is that he now proposes to share power with a group of people even less elected than himself – the Liberal Democrats.

Yes, that’s right: in revelations that yesterday rocked Westminster, it emerged that Sir Menzies Campbell has been engaged in talks with Gordon, about a “government of all the talents”, which must be faintly mystifying to all those Labour candidates, activists and voters who have been engaged in fighting the Liberal Democrats. They thought they were campaigning for Tony Blair – and it now turns out there was a secret plan to bring in Gordon Brown and assorted Liberal Democrats, including good old Paddy Pantsdown.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember the electorate being asked their views of a Gord-Ming Lib-Lab coalition. It is fraud and double-fraud.

Why is Gordon Brown doing it? Because he is worried, of course, about his own democratic credentials to lead the United Kingdom. Last week, the exuberant Scottish executive, led by the Nationalists, decided that they would scrap any kind of co-financing for Scottish universities. Scottish students would go Scot-free, and so would Finns, Latvians, Germans, French, Portuguese, Luxembourgers and everyone except, of course, the English, who will continue to pay.

One of the consequences of this decision to return to taxpayer-funded universality (except for the English) is that the financial and competitive position of Scottish universities will continue to deteriorate. English universities, on the other hand, have received a cash injection of Β£1.35 billion in fees, and are thereby able to lure away Scottish lecturers; and many English university vice-chancellors hope to get more cash if it ever proves possible to lift the cap on fees.

In those circumstances – with a potential conflict of interest between English and Scottish universities – it is unthinkable that Gordon Brown and the other 58 Scottish MPs should be able to sit and vote on higher education finance in England, when English MPs have no say over the matter in Scotland.

How can Gordon Brown decide on the rights and wrongs of English top-up fees when they could put Scottish universities at a further financial disadvantage? Of course, he might decide he wants English students to pay more for tuition in England, whatever the consequences for Scotland. But how can he really assess the impact of fees that will never be paid by his own constituents?

He must know in his heart that the position is increasingly morally repugnant, and I would guess that is one reason why he would like to bring in Ming Campbell, his neighbour in Fife. He can see trouble brewing, and would like to forge an alliance with another Scottish party leader against the logical and obvious Tory solution – English votes for English laws.

We cannot allow this Belgian-style coalition to be foisted on us. We know that there is not a cat’s chance in hell of a referendum on the new EU treaty, in spite of the further transfers of sovereignty involved. Gordon Brown could appease public indignation over that, and secure the democratic mandate he needs, by asking the public to vote at once on him, on the new EU treaty, and on the implications of the devolutionary settlement. Let’s have an election without delay.

80 thoughts on “Gordon Brown”

  1. The British public … were at no stage invited to vote on whether Gordon Brown should be PM.

    The British public were at no stage invited to vote on whether Tony Blair should be PM either. To suggest otherwise belies ignorance of the Westminster electoral system, which the Tories are using to their advantage.

    The system is simple. Each party elects a leader. The Queen then chooses a Prime Minister, whom is by constitutional convention the leader of the largest party.

    Any objection to the coronation of Gordon Brown is by definition an objection to this system. Do the Tories object to this system? No, of course they don’t. In fact, I remember them being critical of proposals to ensure a US style line of succession (where the Deputy PM take the reigns in the event of the PM’s demise), because it removed the absolute right of the monarch to choose a PM.

    The Tories’ objections are partisan politics, through and through. They oppose Gordon Brown’s coronation, because they hope to win a snap general election. But they also oppose sweeping electoral reform, including the direct election of a PM by the people. They oppose any measure that would prevent the same thing happening in five or ten years’ time, when it might be a Tory leader being crowned.

  2. Nor were the British public invited to vote on John Major who was foisted upon us by a party happy to stab a serving PM in the back.

    Really, look to the mote in one’s own eye first Boris.

  3. Good old party politics. Chris is absolutely right. I’m not convinced Mr Johnson genuinely agrees with the principle that there should be an election on the grounds that Brown was not chosen by the electorate to be PM – I suspect you are driven by a personal desire to stir it up for Labour! After all, there weren’t too many Tories calling for an immediate election in 1990 when John Major took over from Thatcher (not surprisingly, then it was the Labour party crying foul).

    However, there is the argument that the Labour party has broken its manifesto pledge for Blair to serve a full term. And with Brown coming in, he will virtually be implementing his manifest rather than the manifesto Blair took the people back in 2005. On this basis, you could argue that Labour do not have a mandate as they are no longer governing on the platform they stood for.

    Boris knows that there is not a chance that Brown will call a snap election and he just wants to stir things up. If there was a chance, maybe he wouldn’t be so vocal – with the electoral system the way it is the Tories will need a good 11% lead at the polls, right now they only have 2% which will mean another 4 years or so on the wrong side on the house. Patience Boris, patience.

  4. Boris, how true. I well remember the days when Mrs T was elected, and despite thousands of us around the country sticking pins into her effigy, she refused to roll over. We then had the spectacle of her being ripped to shreds (metaphorically, alas) by the dross that had risen to the top of the pile of ordure known as the cabinet. The country then had to put up with that funny chap John Major, who should really have been working in an accounts department.
    Yes, this was so much more edifying than the handover from Blair to Brown. Isn’t it about time your party changed its leader? We seem to have had this chap for longer than Duncan Smith and Frankie Howard put together. Have you run out of knives (backstabbing for the use of)?
    Personally, I care little for any of those mentioned above. I am waiting for the revolution, and only hope that Michael Foot lives long enough to serve at least one term as president.

  5. Now now Vicus, we have to let “Blair-lite” get elected first, before the putsch from the right, which will lead us into a glorious free market, lower taxes and grammer [sic] schools for all.

    Heck, I’ll vote on that hope that they dump the wet spineless idiot they have fronting them now and have someone with policy instead of public opinion driving them.

  6. No one elected Gordon Brown as Prime Minister (Boris).

    And not many elected New Labour at the last election. They got 35.2% of the vote on a turnout of 61%. That means barely one in five actively voted for them.

  7. So am I to take it that Gordon hasn’t invited you to join his cabinet yet Boris?

    He will … he will … he’s rapidly running out of alternate choices.

  8. AP but that would introduce competition for “Who has the least styled hair in the cabinet”. That would never do πŸ™‚

  9. < ‘Why is Gordon Brown doing it?’ (Boris)<

    Desperation? On a more worrying note, I see one of his supporters in the private equity business has come out with a tabloid-esque warning that the income gap will lead to civil war or suchlike.

    OK, I exaggerate, what Gordon’s mate Sir Ronald Cohen said was that a widening gap between rich and poor could lead to ‘violence and rioting on the streets’. Anyone else smell a rat here?

    He was using the Paris riots as an example. According to wikipedia:

    < ‘In 2004, 68.8% of the French population aged 15-64 years was in employment, compared to 80.0% in Japan, 78.9% in the UK, 77.2% in the US, and 71.0% in Germany.[25] This phenomenon is the result of almost thirty years of massive unemployment in France…’ (Article on ‘France’)<

    <<'Protesters told The Associated Press the unrest was an expression of frustration with high unemployment and police harassment and brutality in the areas. "People are joining together to say we've had enough," said one protester. "We live in ghettos. Everyone lives in fear." (Article on '2005 Civil Unrest on France') What do Gordon Brown and Labour councils do again? Import lots of poor foreigners, cram them into inner-city ghettos to swing marginal wards to Labour or keep Labour seats safe, tax the living daylights of out the middle classes, swell the size of the public sector, then stunt economic growth through a period of worldwide prosperity to the extent the Irish now have a higher GDP per capita. Now his stooges are making noises on his behalf about 'inequality'. For this read more punitive taxation on the hardworking to fund more social engineering and wealth redistribution to people who, to call a spade a spade, decide to breed like rabbits.

  10. Sorry I forgot to include this quote from the wikipedia article on ‘2005 civil unrest in France’.

    < ‘Protesters told The Associated Press the unrest was an expression of frustration with high unemployment and police harassment and brutality in the areas. “People are joining together to say we’ve had enough,” said one protester. “We live in ghettos. Everyone lives in fear.”<

  11. Another excellent article Boris. The only point where I disagree with you is in respect of Paddy Ashdown. In common with x million other women, I’ve always had a weak spot for Paddy. You have to admit that he’s quite delicious.

    My theory is that this is the real reason old Darth Vader breath, wanted Paddy on his team, to win the female vote. Paddy would have been the only charismatic and good looking man among the lot of them πŸ™‚

  12. “Why is Gordon Brown doing it? Because he is worried, of course, about his own democratic credentials to lead the United Kingdom”

    That’s the problem though Boris, Brown and his predecessor don’t appear to let little issues like democratic credentials disturb their sleep at night, if the last decade is anything to go on.

  13. Genius comment about ‘Borat’ on QT Boris, really stole the show for you. I bet drab New-Labour types must really wish they had the personality to say something as honest as that!

  14. I agree Boris, well said. And to take the logic a little further – if the government wasn’t (in my view) anti-democraticaly, unconstitutionally, and unethically enforced by government whips, creating what is effectively an elected dictatorship, we wouldn’t be in this fine mess (to coin a phrase). We would be able to vote for our local MPs, instead of their dictator, in the first place.

  15. Despite the obvious flaw in your argument (e.g. John Major and the fact that nobody voted for Blair too), you’re correct in that there is the realpolitik that though they actually vote for an MP, they often vote for the PM – as it’s the only outlet.

    Are you advocating electoral reform, Boris?

    A seperate vote for MP and PM?

    … or an automatic general election within, say, 2 months of a PM change?

    If you are advocating electoral reform, then let’s do it properly and introduce the single transferable vote instead of first past the post (so we can maintain the constituency link and reduce the I’d like A, but B might get in, so I’ll vote C’ factor).

    Let’s also address the West Lothian question.

    What say you, Boris, old chap?

  16. Boris,

    I couldn’t agree more with what you have written here – but you know that anyway because I was the guy in the green shirt sitting at the back on the right (asked the first question about Rushdie) at QuestionTime in Aldershot last night.

    Frankly I was gagging to ripost to McNulty when he responded to my point that ‘Next week we are going to wind up with a PM we didn’t vote for and he is a guy who is trying to assemble a cabinet out of people who’s party we didn’t vote into govt’.

    McNulty dismissed it as just being another example of a previously set historic precedent.

    I really don’t think so !

    The stock answer to the issue about Brown taking over from Blair without an election is for Labour people to say… Yes but Major did it…

    Err.. very different situation. For a number of reasons and just to expand the argument a little further.

    1) Thatcher did not fight the 1987 election with Major sitting in the background hankering after her job. She wasn’t forced to commit to serving for a full term because the opposition said ‘Vote Thatcher get Major’. Whereas of course Blair did have to make this commitment to deflect exactly this accusation (Vote Blair get Brown) from the Conservatives – which turned out to be absolutely bang on the money…

    2) Thatcher’s assasinator (Heseltine) did not get the spoils. He lost the leadership election and Major took over. Had Heseltine taken over his position would quite possibly have been significantly more difficult than Major’s was. Would the electorate really have accepted Heseltine as a leader if he had sat on the throne wiping the blood off the blade of his knife on the arm of the chair as he did…? That’s exactly what Brown will do next week. He will sit on the throne of govt with his grinning grimace with the blood still dripping from the knife that he plunged into Blair’s back.

    Are we really going to put up with this ?

    The attempt to draw LibDems into cabinet this week was utterly wrong. If anyone had the slightest doubt that somehow Brown was going to reverse the anti-democracy movement that Blair has delivered on us with ID cards, 90 days detention, extraordinary rendition and the acceptance of torture and detainment without trial (i.e. Guantanamo) then that illusion has now been shattered…

    Brown has marked out in the clearest possible terms exactly what his terms of business are.. Ignore the democratic will of the people, ride roughshod over any sense that this country needs change and just barrel on with his own self-serving agenda.

    Anyway why are we having this mindless brute foisted upon us.. ?

    Supposedly he has been a great chancellor…

    Is he a great chancellor because the housing market has priced an entire generation out of the ability to start a home and build a family ? and causing the kind of social dislocation which affects every part of society.

    Is he a great chancellor because consumer credit is at an all time high with interests rising now and set to continue rising…

    Or his he like the extravagant footballers wife who returns home to her 4th division husband laden with designer label bags and says to her browbeaten spouse, ‘You will never guess how much money I saved on my shopping today..’

    Is he just a failed fool who has been laden with expectation from his own party, creating an expectation in his mind and an illusion in the electorate’s mind that he can actually deliver anything..

    The only credit he can deserve is that he followed the Conservative spending plans for his first years in office. He examined the position and concluded he could not improve on their plan..at all.. and, for a time at least, didn’t try to change it.

    But that is now just a footnote in history because since then he became the deluding clunking fool he is today and went on a mad spending spree. Massive and unsustainable increases in public sector employment and that’s without taking account of the horrific costs of PFI which he structured in such a way that we will not know the full costs until years in the future..

    He has delivered us with an economic millstone.. He has delivered us with exactly what he promised he would not do – a tax and spend policy that we know destroyed this country in the 1970s and which we all had to endure the pain of in the early Thatcher years when hideous choices had to be made to make the country first viable and then finally competitive again.

    But this time, the legacy is arguably worse. The social fabric of the country is broken. An entire younger generation disenfranchised from the ability or motivation to build their skills and prosperity because the basic building blocks of society are so far out of reach. And people of every generation left with a feeling that their leaders and their government are not reflecting their desires and worse are responsible for hideous crimes against humanity on the international stage.

    We have to be rid of this disaster as soon as possible..

    Perhaps the clunking fool thought that with such an exhausted talent or just lack of talent in his own party he could get away with pulling in the LibDems to cabinet to plug holes in the sinking ship. No doubt he attempted to build a pathetic Scottish mafia with Ming the Mindless and strong-arm the public into accepting his chosen govt rather than a democratically elected one.

    But the answer is simple. If he can’t form an effective government from the people that we elected then fine.. quit.. or to be more exact call an election and let the people decide if we do want him to attempt to plug the holes or if we can see another way out of his disaster..

    I thought perhaps that last night McNulty was going to quote the example of Churchill forming a coalition govt of all parties in the second world war as justification for Browns ridiculous actions..

    But that argument is ridiculous.. We are NOT in a position where we have to cast aside democracy for the sake of survival. We ARE in a position now where it seems that when Brown takes the reigns of govt he will not allow democracy to survive.

    Please give my kindest regards to Michael Gove when you next see him.

    Kindest Regards

    Robin

  17. Robin Horsley I was watching Question Time when you popped your question, “good” I thought “this chap must be a CEP supporter” (Campaign for an English Parliament).

    You should have added that Gordon Brown will be the leader of a party that is now in opposition in Scotland, his birthplace, and where he was voted for, for a seat in the home of the English Parliament, Westminster.

    Other comments on the John Major comparison, are missing the point, John Major was elected by an English constituency, he came out on top in the leadrship election post Thatcher, but the most significant point is the fact that it occured pre devolution, it is like comparing apples with oranges.
    We will soon have a Prime Minister in England that is both un-elected here and in opposition in his home constituency, how democratic is that ?

  18. “the logical and obvious Tory solution – English votes for English laws.” (Boris)

    Well said, Boris. Better still, an English parliament to wipe out the EU-nulab hegemony which is destroying England.

    I wonder if an English parliament would put an end to nulab’s perverse persecution of smokers? How long it will be before these vindictive and impossibly complex and illogical new regulations are challenged in the courts? It’s not just a question of the regulations themselves but the perverse and illogical manner with these new regulations will be extended into more and more areas of our lives by government and its apparatchiks.

    The situation of Mary, a friend of mine illustrates this. Mary has been fostering children for over 20 years and is greatly respected by her local Social Services department who recognise the exemplary standard of care she provides. Many of the children Mary fosters come from abusive homes and her considerable experience and love of the children in her care have given many children their first experience of happiness and ‘parental’ love.

    Mary’s a down to earth, working class mother, which is just what the many down to earth working class children she cares for need. However Mary smokes – though never near her children or indoors. Now Mary has now learned that she might not be allowed to continue fostering children solely because she’s a smoker.

    In view of the 10,000 shortage of foster homes, would Mr Blair/Brown like to explain the perverse logic behind this insane persecution of decent, hard working and caring people like Mary?

  19. Apologies for the typos in my previous posting. One day I’ll get around to cleaning out the splog of honey jamming my keyboard πŸ™‚

  20. “- – against the logical and obvious Tory solution – English votes for English laws. ”

    But, Boris , EVOEM is neither logical nor obvious ,in fact it is idiotic .
    Remember , we are talking here of the splitting up of membership the H of C for different Bills and matters depending on whether they are deemed English or not . But :

    1. How to decide which Bill applies to which country.
    Eg the Health and Social Care Bill/Act 2003.

    A lengthy Act semmingly applying to England and
    Wales but not Scotland . In fact :

    Part 1(foundation hospitals)applies to England only
    Part 2 mainly to England ,yet chapter 47 to Wales
    Part 2 variously to England Wales but not both
    Part 3 ( recovery of costs ) accepted in Scotland
    via a Sewell motion
    Part 4 applies to England Wales ( seemingly )
    Part 5 England and bits to Wales , then again ,
    there are bits to Great Britain ie
    including Scotland , bits only to NI ,
    mainly to England , sometimes to England
    and Wales .
    Part 6 tries to round up this mish mash with this
    pitiful clause

    ” 202 Extent,
    (1) The amendment or repeal of any provision by this Act has the same extent as the provision being amended or repealed (subject to any express limitation contained in this Act).

    (2) Subject to that and except as provided below this Act extends to England and Wales only.

    (3) The following provisions also extend to Scotland-

    (a) sections 124 and 125;
    (b) Part 3, except for section 163(3);
    (c) sections 185, 187 and 188 and Schedule 12;
    (d) this Part.
    (4) The following provisions also extend to Northern Ireland-

    (a) sections 124 and 125;
    (b) section 186;
    (c) sections 187, 188 and Schedule 12;
    (d) this Part.

    Logically , MP’s from S , W and NI could all argue to come in for bits of the bill and yet you cannot vote for bits only for the overall Bill .

    Additionally , as the SNP have pointed out , because of the Barnett Rules , there is a knock on effect with all British government expenditure . A MP for a Scottish constituency , could , and they do , argue that ANY measure on expenditure in England has implications for Scottish expenditure also .

    2. EVOEM will cause an intense politicisation of the office of Speaker – since it is the Speaker who will pronounce on whether a bill is ” English ” or not .
    This will be the final end of the concept of neutlality of this office .
    At the moment the Speaker is Michael Martin , a highly partisan Scotsman . Are you seriously arguing that it is acceptable that such a man has such power over England ?

    3. If a minister is from a S , W or NI seat , that minister will not be able to vote on E bills . This is ludicrous . Additionally , E bills would be discussed in the British cabinet which includes people from S, W and NI . Ludicrous and highly unfair to E .

    4 House of Lords . Contains members from across the UK. Why should Lords from S, W and NI have any say in E legislation any more . They do not have any say in S legislation ,you will note .

    5. EVOEM can never be an adequate forum for the English people nor an effective champion of their concerns . It will always be a part time British/ part time English forum with members from S , W and NI carping from the sidelines and trying to influence English affairs .

    6. EVOEM is not intended to initiate legislation , only vote on it . Thus England will still be denied her own forum , still condemned to be satisfied with a British parliament which by its very title can never be specifically English .

    7. EVOEM will not provide England with any representation withi the EU . S, W have their own distinctive voices over there . However ,E will be condemned to be “represented” only through the distorted lens of the British government – in which highly partisan representaives of S, W and NI are present .
    Are you saying that this is fair and satisfactory , Boris? Think over the debacle of payments to English farmers of EU subsidies . This does not apply to S and W !

    8. EVOEM is a direct threat to the British Union and will pit Union MP’s directly aginst one another o the basis of nationality . It will be divisive and destructive of the very basis of the Union – that when the Parliament of the Union meets , all the Mp’s of that Parliament are equicompetent . Sure , they are already variable competencies eg with Scottish MP’s being able to pronounce on English affars but not Scottish ones . EVOEM will make this hugely more so and hugely more complicated .
    I doubt that the Britsih pariament will long survive the friction which you will so blithely introduce .

    9. There is nothing at all to stop EVOEM being undone. Any future government can simply ignore it or reverse it .
    Rather more difficult to ignore or reverse the Scottish parliament as established by the Scotland Act 1998 , though !

    10. EVOEM will not provide England with her own executive ie government . Nor will there be specifically English minsters , or a First Minister .
    Nor an English civil service.
    Nor an England Office .
    Nor any English institution be it ministry ,a
    museum or a TV channel .

    The West Lothian Question and the English Question are intimately connected . EVOEM will not grant self governemnt to the English . There would still be no constitutional or political equality with Scotland and Wales . The injustice will remain.

  21. I support Jake in his appraisal of EVOEM, it is a total dogs breakfast and unworkable, cobbled together by closet unionists, there is only one answer to the WLQ…independence for England…a level playing field for all NATIONS of our island

  22. Who is going to survive Gordies coup next week?
    [b]NOT[/b]
    John Prescott – for services to secretaries
    Pat Hewitt – for the MTAS cock up
    Des Browne – for returning iPods to sailors.
    Ruth Kelly – for Hips
    Lord Falconer for setting up prisoner B and B’s.
    Douglas Alexander – for losing Labour Scotland and being wet behind the ears.
    Hilary Armstrong – for being a nonentity and lightweight.
    Jessa Towell – for the efficiency and spending on the Olympics and having a Tossa of an ex husband.
    Margaret Beckett – for being Tony’s foreign poodle but really because she likes caravans.

    Not much left to make a choice from, hence the call to Paddy Pantsdown

  23. Churstonchappie,

    Thanks for your response. I wasn’t trying to address the Scottish dimension in my points about Major – just addressing the issue that the standard response of Labour is to tell us it is perfectly acceptable for Brown to take over because it has happened before. This is untrue and even if it were would be irrelevant.

    I do think the point that Brown is simply ignoring democracy can be a bit confused by introducing the complexities of the Scottish questions into it..

    I just hope Boris can keep hammering home the message that Brown, rather than being sensitive to the fact that he has no mandate, is in fact behaving in such a way that clearly tells us he cares nothing for democracy.

    I just think this needs to be a clearly communicated to the electorate as Boris said at the start of his post. There must no illusion in people’s minds that he is acting correctly or with justification.

    The dismantling of our democracy and our liberties has now reached a point where, not far from here, we may reach a point of no return – or at least one that we cannot recover from without some kind of revolution. I know that sounds alarmist but the historic precedents are overwhelming.

    So it could well be the killer issue for the Conservatives at the next election and there will probably never be a clearer or more stark example of what Brown is up to than this.

  24. Cameron has as much charisma as the pong that comes from the waste veggie compost heap. Get him OUT. You are much nicer, Boris. I like your style and I enjoyed you on \\\”Have I got News for You\\\”. You were (are?) the most hilarious politician I have ever seen. You do not want to be a has-been all your life, do you? You could go far if you could untether yourself from the fence of whichever donkey field you are living in.

  25. I hope that the compromnise which has been achieved in Brussels today, imperfect as it is will allow my party to get on with winning the next election.
    The treaty is full of words which can mean whatever you want; I now urge you to get into Europe as it is and get on with it for the benefit of us all.
    William, please stop showing you were right and move on.

  26. stephen bull…”The treaty is full of words which can mean whatever you want, I now urge you to get into Europe as it is and get on with it for the benefit of us all”…err what benefit would that be then, no, on second thoughts don’t bother to explain!

  27. churstonchappie said:

    I support Jake in his appraisal of EVOEM, it is a total dogs breakfast and unworkable, cobbled together by closet unionists, there is only one answer to the WLQ…independence for England…a level playing field for all NATIONS of our island

    And I support you both. We don’t need another layer of bureacracy, we’ve too many of those now, we need independence for all parts of the Union.

  28. churstonchappie said:

    I support Jake in his appraisal of EVOEM, it is a total dogs breakfast and unworkable, cobbled together by closet unionists, there is only one answer to the WLQ…independence for England…a level playing field for all NATIONS of our island

    And I support you both. We don’t need another layer of bureacracy, we’ve too many of those now, we need independence for all parts of the Union.

  29. …a transition about as democratically proper as the transition from Claudius to Nero.

    This must have been said before I’m sure, but also perhaps from Mrs Thatcher to John Major?

    It has been blindingly obvious among the electorate for a long while now that Gordon Brown would almost certainly succeed Tony Blair once he stepped down. This was no doubt in the minds of voters as they went to the polls.
    Although that said, Boris’ point does raise questions about the British system that he himself would – as a shadow minister – be ill-advised to raise. Chris Walker’s first comment illustrates this point perfectly.
    Boris – I love you, but you really do have to stop walking into these things old boy.

  30. Yes yes, the West Lothian question does seem to be rather unfortunate. The last decade has been led by Scots – who are lovely people – but it’s a bit much when they’re red in the face for independance.

    Let’s hope the SNP speed up this whole independance thing – then we can go to the EU Court of Justice and moan about them. Also then we could elect a Conservative government. It works out for everyone.

  31. Gordon Brown is OK in my book – just a bit on the dull side. He has been practising in the mirror on his sparkler technique with his new shiny methodology. I think it may be working, too.

    I do not know why people feel the urge to throw beer and eggs over you, Boris. Maybe they think your candyfloss coiffure looks too snowball-like and they want to turn you into a recipe. I do not know why you need police protection and a team to guide you through the back alleys and tradesmen entrances in order to avoid the general public. David Cameron does not attract this kind of attention. Perhaps people are jealous of your toff-like background and they think you are out of touch with real people and reality. Maybe you should go on Big Brother, NOT CELEB BB, to experience the real side of life and the trials of ordinary people. Maybe you should go incognito for a while, dye your hair black, grow a beard and live as a tramp for a couple of weeks. Maybe people would accept your politics if you got your hands dirty. Maybe if you could experience the hardships of others, then the rankling problems that you drag about with you could be assuaged somewhat. Maybe you should rid yourself of parasites like some of the wannabe Tory schmucks that attach themselves to you like limpets. That would be a definite bonus.

  32. Cameron’s Left Foot said:

    Maybe…maybe…maybe…maybe

    You sound like a seedy, spin doctoring, failed politico apparatchik, Cameron’s Left Foot. Though I wouldn’t like to guess for which party.

    Maybe you should admit how horribly jealous you are of Boris’s broad popularity and go and get a real job.

  33. Oh Liberty, Oh, Liberty!! This is your job????

    I am on holiday from my job. This is my hobby. This is my excuse for posting well-intentioned humorous advice to a politician. At least I am not throwing eggs and beer. What is your excuse???

    Boris has only two responders in his mainstream tabloid article and I would not even dare to venture there, because I am on holiday and my advice would not be applicable in the mainstream world. Boris has conveyed his points perfectly well without ulterior dabbling therewith.

  34. As others have pointed out, both the main parties of government have given us Prime Ministers who served time at No 10 without having won a general election as leader.

    I belive that the Conservatives have 3 post-war – Anthony Eden, Alec Douglas-Home and John Major, of who only Major was able to win a general election. Labour gave us Jim Callaghan, and now Gordon (who may yet call an election sooner rather than later).

    I also think it was fairly obvious to people who voted for Labour in 2005 that they might get Brown. It could not have been less obvious to voters who picked Maggie that they would get John Major, who very few people would have even heard of in 1987.

    It’s legitimate to use the Brown situation to argue for constitutional reform, but not for a Tory MP to accuse Labour of bad faith with the electorate when they themselves have done exactly the same thing in the past, and will undoubtedly do the same thing in the future when they make it back to government.

  35. Boris you ask, “Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t remember the electorate being asked their views of a Gord-Ming Lib-Lab coalition. It is fraud and double-fraud. Why is Gordon Brown doing it?”

    GB is looking for the big one, the big idea/move/or thing that will give him the unassailable position. He knows that without it he will drive us all completely mad with his fiddling and meddling. He will quickly prove he’s no leader and will be asphyxiated in a mire of his own making.

  36. Camerons Left Foot said:

    Oh Liberty, Oh, Liberty!! This is your job????

    Oh, alright, perhaps I was a bit hard on you. I apologise for that – though not for defending Boris. We should all stand up for Boris, CLF, because he’s one of the few decent, human and honest politicians we have.

  37. < ‘Maybe you should go on Big Brother, NOT CELEB BB, to experience the real side of life and the trials of ordinary people’ (Camerons Left Foot)<

    So going on a reality TV show would be a better way of experiencing ‘the real side of life and the trials of ordinary people’ than taking constituency surgeries, and dealing with reams of correspondence from ordinary members of the general public?

    I can’t think of a better way for a ‘toff’ to understand the trials and tribulations of life than to become an MP.

  38. Even as a faithful Labour man, thanks for giving a mention to George MacDonald Fraser on Question Time the other night; he deserves a knighthood much more than ‘Sir’ Salman.

    Alas, even though the man is utterly brilliant, I fear he will always be denied top honours because of his fearlessly honest reportage and welcome gift for humour, which, so many – bizzarely – find a threat…………..

  39. I can’t see much substance in your arguments this time Mr J.

    Swapping the PM (under the radar so to speak) is a time honoured tradition of both parties so presumably you are implying that the next Conservative government will effect legislation such that a change in leadership of the party in government signals a general election.

    Didn’t think so.

    What is iniquitous in my view is when a member of the house elected on one ticket, such as Grantham’s Quentin Davies, crosses the floor without having the courtesy to resign their seat.

    So, the good people of Grantham and Stamford were under the impression that they had a Conservative representative in the house only to discover that the duplicitous wretch was sailing under a flag of convenience.

    Entirely disgraceful in my opinion.

    P.S. I second Mr. Comiskey’s motion to ennoble George MacDonald Fraser; utterly brilliant writer and far more deserving of public honour than the slightly weaselly Mr. Rushdie.

  40. Stop press: In other related news – Quentin Davies (Conservative MP) has moved over to Brown:

    Davies’ resignation letter

    In his resignation letter to Conservative leader David Cameron, Me Davies wrote, ” Under your leadership the Conservative Party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything, or to stand for anything.

    ” Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership

    ” It has no bedrock. It exists on shifting sands. A sense of mission has been replaced by a PR agenda.”

    ” Believe it or not I have no personal animus against you. You have always been perfectly courteous in our dealings. You are intelligent and charming.

    ” As you know, however, I never supported you for the leadership of the party – even when, after my preferred candidate Ken Clarke had been defeated in the first round, it was blindingly obvious that you were going to win.”

    He said that believing what he did, ‘” Believing that as I do, ‘ I clearly cannot honestly remain in the party. I do not intend to leave public life’.

    Mr Davies said he had found increasingly that ‘I am naturally in agreement’ with the Labour Party. He praised Mr Brown as ‘a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share’.

    The 63-year-old is a former diplomat. He has been shadow Northern Ireland secretary and shadow defence secretary. He became an MP in 1987.

  41. Remember Matthew Paris attempting to live on unemployment benefit on a sink estate? That’s an experience that would do members from both sides of the House some good.

    Somewhat ironic Mel, when the way Davies describes Cameron, even if valid, sounds exactly like a description of Blair. I find it slightly difficult to view it as an act of conscience when it’s so PR timed. Mind you, the boy David is affable, but does appear somewhat too weak. Is Boris going to follow suit?

  42. Yet another Cameron-inspired defection is oddly remininscent of the numerous Labour defections in the late ’70s in the wake of the growing leftist stranglehold on the party. Thankfully, many of them joined Thatcher’s Conservatives.

    What continues to unnerve me with the current situation however is that the more fluffy, centrist, ambiguous and ‘New Labour’ the Tories become, the more they push people with legitimate (and traditionally conservative) concerns into the arms of far-right nutcases that promise them solutions from their platform of discrimination and hate.

    Already the UK Independence party is becoming a refugee camp for disillusioned Tories. I admit to knowing very little about UKIP, though it is a party frequently accused of being the respectable face of racism and far-right radicalism.
    Does anybody here have a good authority on them? From what I’ve read of their policies they appear a solidly Thatcherite party, but this could very well be a faΓ§ade.

  43. Melissa said:

    Stop press: In other related news – Quentin Davies (Conservative MP) has moved over to Brown:

    Very small beer by comparison, I know, Melissa, however Cameron’s attack on Brown & Blair’s refusal to stand by Blair’s Referendum promise may have driven pro-EU Quentin out but it’s driven anti-EU me – and many others too – back into the fold.

  44. < ‘A sense of mission has been replaced by a PR agenda’ (Quentin Davies resignation letter) <

    Anyone with so much as one eye poking out of the sand can see that PR has become central to politics on both sides, and that David Cameron is a good PR man. However, this is surely a natural reaction to a celebrity and media obsessed electorate. Hardly anyone seems to go out in search of the facts these days or to make much effort to form their own opinions. Is it any wonder that politicans have to embrace the media to get their points across to the voters?

    As for the Tories not standing for anything, I’m not sure how he can come to this conclusion. Cameron has made it perfectly clear that he champions the environment, less state interference, sharing the proceeds of economic growth between the taxpayer and public services, a less federalist EU, forging political alliances with New Europe who see eye to eye with many British Conservatives on this, builidng on both Thatcher’s and Blair’s policies on secondary education with regards to Grammar Schools/City Academies and greater individidual responsibility.

    It’s quite apparent to many voters that Gordon Brown believes in more state interference, taking the proceeds of economic growth in the form of tax hikes to spend on an ever increasing, and ever more pointless, public sector, a federalist EU and punative wealth re-distribution based on crude means testing policies that reward irresponsible behaviour whilst penalising self-respect.

    I hope Quentin Davies enjoys admiring Gordon Brown from behind on the Labour back benches and sharing his vision for the future of Scotland. I’m sure you’ll meet all sorts of wonderful new friends in the Labour Party and have many inspiring after-dinner conversations about Gordon’s wet dreams of financial equality for the criminal classes with all your new comrades.

  45. “I admit to knowing very little about UKIP, though it is a party frequently accused of being the respectable face of racism and far-right radicalism.”

    The problem with these right wingnuts is what they say and what they do may be two entirely different things.

    For example, If you read the BNP manifesto literature on their website, it’s not entirely dissimilar to a robust, if somewhat right wing, Tory agenda. You certainly don’t come away with the impression that a pair of jackboots and an armband are quietly waiting in the stationary cupboard. It’s this thin and undeserved veneer of respectability that allows them to operate at all. Sadly, as with Boris’ slightly hypocritical tilt at Labour in the article above, no other party could legitimately criticise the BNP for such a fraudulent representation because they all do it.

    This tacit acceptance of pre-election mendacity, if anything, epitomises modern democracy; it’s a license to lie. And, because we unconsciously expect this type of behaviour from our elected representatives, when such mendacity is exposed we just blithely accept that that’s what politicians do: Lie. It’s almost in their job description nowadays.

    Kelly, BEA, Dodgy dossiers all scream cover-up but what do we do? Give a Gallic shrug and ignore it.

  46. Liberty – you have a point on EU matters and I agree with you on that. Let’s hope that Blair doesn’t head the Eurocrats next as in top dog for Council of Ministers. That would send many of us reeling…

  47. I don’t know about ‘good authority’, but I did go to one UKIP meeting. The leadership is OK and very entertaining (also very polished), but you can hear the heels of the jackboots click when some members talk, and the local organiser is ex-BNP. Others seem to think it’s possible to return to the 1950s. Their main funder ran betting shops round here and he’s alright, his wife used to dabble in antiques and I was in her shop several times, she’s a nice lady. They are producing some quite good publicity/propaganda … I particularly liked the map that depicted S.E.England as part of France, but then I realised that there were advantages to being part of France. However, despite claims to the contrary, they still appear to be a single issue party.

    On the other hand they do still have open public meetings, and how many other politicians dare risk that today?

  48. “Blair Has Accepted Mid East Envoy Role”

    Yup, it’s another world beater.

    Consider this:
    1) Mr Blair makes no secret of his Christian fervour.
    2) Mr Blair is an ardent amateur theologian and, given his Catholic leanings, no doubt takes the Bible more literally than many.

    Whichever side of the fence one sits in terms of the Israel/Palestine issue how can anyone select a mediator who:

    a) Perceives the point of departure in the whole situation to be that the land in question was given to one side by God?

    b) Has been co-responsible for the deaths of between 100,000 and 650,000 (ref Johns Hopkins) Moslems.

    c) Has just, inexplicably, knighted Slim Rushdie presumably to show Moslems who’s boss. (I can think of no other reason. It certainly can’t be because of Rushdie’s writing which can only be described as turgid at best. Given a choice between reading ‘The Satanic Verses’ and a telephone directory I would already be skipping through the C’s)

    d) Expresses his embrace of hard line Christianity to which Islam is a direct contradiction and therefore, one presumes, an affront.

    e) Is friendly with the world’s foremost despot who makes no secret of his antipathy to all things Middle Eastern and whose government supports one side in the dispute to the tune of $15M – $50M dollars per day.

    You can almost hear the collective Palestinian “You’ve got to be f**king kidding!” from here.

  49. So it’s a good place to send him then. I wonder if he could be persuaded to wear a target on his back?

  50. Quentin Davies’s defection is of no consequence. The new generation of Tory supporters will be glad to see the back of a pompous old windbag and Labour will be lumbered with him. Good luck to them.

    Paradoxically, Davies has done Cameron two favours. He has also taught DC a lesson he badly needed. Let’s hope he learns from it.

  51. “So it’s a good place to send him then. I wonder if he could be persuaded to wear a target on his back?”

    Lol.

    A friend of mine made a wry comment today along the same lines and added the following observation: If you say something derogatory about Mohammed or draw an amusing cartoon, it appears that some Iranian Mullah will obligingly issue a fatwah making it incumbent on all Moslems to whack the offender. So, rubbing out a significant percentage of Iraq’s Islamic population is therefore, presumably, pretty much okay.

    I think they should issue some sort of rule book.

  52. klinker, I was a Mod in the 1960s. I wore stilettos, winkle pickers, platform shoes and other contraptions which would now be banned on grounds of ‘elf and safety, eye make up you could scrape off with a knife and hair sprayed bouffants which were a fire hazard and made a scraping sound when a brush was dragged through them. On various occasions I was decidedly anti-social. I’m now a law abiding and sensibly dressed businesswoman.

    Rebellion is a – necessary and healthy – stage which most young people pass through before eventually growing out of it.

  53. Is it true that Blair’s Middle East envoy role is designed to provide Blair with immunity from prosecution in respect of any crimes he’s committed? If so, this is one law which must be changed.

  54. I’m afraid, Liberty, that the Bullingdon was not normal teenage rebellion, but rather David (and Boris) continuing to wallow in etonian privilege when finally they had a chance to mix with people from different backgrounds. Aged 18, they really should have been mature enough to know better.

  55. Aged 18, they really should have been mature enough to know better. (Klinker)

    Aged 18, some of them probably hadn’t even had carnal knowledge. And how do you know they didn’t “mix with people of different backgrounds” while also having the occasional silly get-together with their old school friends? It would be odd if they didn’t.

    Never judge a man by the child he once was.

  56. < ‘I’m not sure how I feel about someone who belonged to something like that [the Bullingdon Club] running the country. It would be better if he was willing to speak out against that sort of extreme privilege. (klinker)<

    I can’t help but think, that one of the people who has done more for our country and it’s people than just about anyone I can think of, and who carries on promoting our country and good causes tirelessly into old age, came from a background that is the very personification of extreme privilege. I am talking of course about Her Majesty the Queen.

    There are all manner of student gangs, clubs and cliques up and down our campuses. Many do shameful things, steal, vadalise, take drugs and generally abuse our freedoms. Please remember that one of the most trusted members of Blair’s cabinet was once a member of the Communist Party, and stood firmly not only against any sort of ‘privilege’, but against the very freedoms that make us British. I’m sure that Brown’s new cabinet will include a few people with skeletons in the closet.

    This Bullingdon Club thing about smashing restaurants is the sort of behaviour that warrants a good clip around the earhole, no-one denies that. Mind you they pay for the damage. I never gave back the road sign I nicked when I was a student. No one needs to speak up against privilege, it’s opportunity and freedom that Britian needs more of. Privileged people seem to do a lot in the way of extending opportunity to others less fortunate than themselves. HRH Prince Charles runs the Princes Trust, Cameron want’s to see a ‘grammar stream’ in every school. Boris speaks up for the freedom to attend university, and enjoy the opportunities it provides, against middle-class whinges that too many kids are being hurded in.

    What have New-Labour done exactly to provide more opportunity, or more freedom to people? As they destroy freedom with their regulation agenda, and stifle opportunity by politicising and dumbing down education, all they do is exacberate the effect of privilege.

  57. PaulD said:

    Aged 18, some of them probably hadn’t even had carnal knowledge.

    ‘Carnal knowledge’. That lovely expression reminds me that I’ve been wondering if our Jimmy (aka Gordon) has been reinvented and given body language and speech presentation lessons by Bill Clinton or, more likely, one of his aides. Isn’t that partly what Clinton was hinting at during his speech at the last nulab conference?

    Watch out for Jimmy to try to copy the Clinton thumb – he’s already had a go, dismal attempt it was too. No matter how hard he tries, poor old Jimmy’s own – very revealing – body language and the subconscious compulsions underlying it creeps in. He just cannot keep the lid on his compulsions for long. Just wait until the nulab honeymoon’s over and he’s under pressure, he’s going to be hilarious when the learned responses begin to unravel πŸ™‚

    How do I get from Carnal knowledge to Clinton? Well, aside from the obvious explanation, the secret of Clinton’s charisma and prowess as a speech maker has been said to be his ability to have carnal knowledge (presumably tantric?) with each individual in his audience.

    Lord help us if old Jimmy gets any ideas along those lines, since his idea of carnal is probably a good old nose pick. Yuck! Too disgusting to even think about that.

  58. klinker said:

    I’m afraid, Liberty, that the Bullingdon was not normal teenage rebellion

    What exactly is ‘normal’ teenage rebellion, klinker? You’d be horrified by some of the dreadful stuff I got up to as a teenager. I was a real junvenile delinquent. Yet now, aside from the occasional demo, I’m such a Goody Two-Shoes.

  59. Steven_L said:

    I can’t help but think, that one of the people who has done more for our country and it’s people than just about anyone I can think of, and who carries on promoting our country and good causes tirelessly into old age, came from a background that is the very personification of extreme privilege. I am talking of course about Her Majesty the Queen.

    Good point, Steven_L!

  60. Well Liberty, it’s quite simple really. Rebellion (at a personal level) means rebelling against your background. What else have you got to rebel against? And Cameron (and Boris) didn’t: they chose to remain in the reactionary cocoon of privilege and wealth.

    Please, no more talk of rebellion when it so clearly wasn’t.

  61. Steven L:
    “This Bullingdon Club thing about smashing restaurants is the sort of behaviour that warrants a good clip around the earhole, no-one denies that. Mind you they pay for the damage.”

    That’s the worst bit: they peeled off a few notes from a wad of money they’d never lifted an idle finger to earn. What a shameful lot these etons were, and are.

  62. …continuing to wallow in etonian privilege

    The Klinkers of the world make me pewk. Theirs is the cheapest shot. They are the first to scream if anyone makes an oblique remark about someone who is “different” by accident of birth, yet they are quite happy to crucify someone whose accident is the school they were sent to.

    What is so very wrong with some people in power having the benefit of an education at one of the world’s finest academic institutions, which also happens to have produced a succession of great Prime Ministers over the centuries?

    What does he want? Hansard in rap?

    And no, the nearest I’ve been to Eton is getting lost outside Slough.

  63. Furthermore, Klinker, what shred of evidence do you have that either Cameron or Boris have made bad decisions on the basis of their background, other than trying to uphold standards of common decency?

    Compare with the class-ridden bile pouring from certain quarters of New Labour and there’s no contest.

  64. I think a privileged background is a good thing to have for a Prime Minister myself. Less likely to have a chip on their shoulder that way. People like Boris go into politics because they care about the nation and want to help shape it’s future for the better. If all he’d wanted was money, with the contacts he’s got, he could have walked into any investment bank he’d wanted. I’m not saying Gordon Brown didn’t enter politics with the same intention, it’s just I disagree with his politics, Cameron, and Boris, on the other hand I like the sound of.

  65. Chris is right, Boris. You seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking the PM is a President, even though I’m sure you would use ‘presidential’ as a criticism.

  66. I tend to judge people by what they think, say, and do, rather than where they come from. Since I’m something of a disciple of Peter Kropotkin’s, and he was a Tsarist prince, this is hardly surprising. He was also a revolutionary and a genius. I do however crack the odd joke at public school boys’ expense (never at public school girls’ expense!), but then I do the same to that NuLab shower … Prescott talking about ‘class war’ when he lives in a mansion had me in stitches … just what class does he think he represents? Has he never heard of social mobility? There are very few, if any, working class representatives amongst Labour’s front ranks anymore, unlike the days when Churchill pointed out that class background and privileged education didn’t seem to inhibit the opposition front benches in a memo to Butler.

    As I told Mel in an email, I was at Kings. It was for a party back in the days Liberty is talking about (though I’m not sure she’d have liked my flares, long hair and dope, but I would have traded some for some of her pills and we could have listened to Otis and Aretha together). Coming from red-flag Hull I managed to persuade the lads (the most privileged group at the time, or so I was told somewhat disgustedly by the middle class socialist bloke that had invited me down to Cambridge) to nick a crate of champagne … they were very good thieves once I got them into the idea (Kings can afford it, I assure you). We laid on the grass and drank it from the bottles as the sun rose, recycling the bottles by chucking the empties into the river. There was nowt wrong with them lads Clinker.

    I’m not sure however that ‘paying for the damage’ can excuse vandalism. Does paying off the life insurance premium excuse murder?

    My objection to this Bulligdon Club biz is that the boogras never invited me along … I do a damned good line in vandalism guys!

    The problem with elitist education is that it puts everyone else at a disadvantage, there’s no problem with the nature of the education itself. I would suggest that there is a contradiction here for a contemporary technology-based democracy worthy of the name, though I’m not suggesting any solution to it.

    Perhaps it’s time that we either elected our PM in a presidential manner, since both Thatcher and Blair have acted in that way, or curtailed such abuse of the position. Not too sure about Her Maj for PM though (or about such emotive arguments) … if Scotland does leave the Union, will they crown a Stuart king? We always did rebellion much better than revolution in this country.

  67. PaulD: “Furthermore, Klinker, what shred of evidence do you have that either Cameron or Boris have made bad decisions on the basis of their background”

    calling people from Liverpool plebs. It’s a cheap and predictable shot that no doubt gets a few sniggers in posh circles, but ultimately serves to reinforce stereotypes that contribute to stopping people achieving their potential.

  68. < ‘Does paying off the life insurance premium excuse murder?’ (Agent Provocateur)<

    In some cultures the payment of ‘blood money’ is perfectly acceptable. In British culture, if you break something it is polite to pay for it. If you spill someones drink you offer to buy another one. Let’s face it, if you were a restauranteur in Oxford you’d rub your hands together when the Bullingdon Club booked a table, get the cheapy crockery out, invite your hardest looking mate around for the evening and squeeze them for everything you could get.

  69. “It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure,
    It’s the poor wot gets the blame ……”

    Yobs are yobs, whatever class they’re from. And crime is crime. As Durkheim pointed out, on an island of saints dropping litter is a death penalty offence. Reference to more primitive cultures is irrelevant when considering the laws of this country. To excuse such behaviour is pure hypocrisy if one then intends to punish chavs for similar behaviour simply because they can’t or won’t pay. All must be treated equally under law or law itself is brought into disrepute. If the rich can be seen to be getting away with it why should anyone else obey it?

  70. Further to Chris Walker et al (initial comments)

    Agreed.The constitutional position is that we elect a government not a PM and that the cabinet is responsible for the UK. Gordon Brown has the legal right to be PM and the cabinet has the legal right, as the executive, to introduce and adapt legislation in the legislature.

    I would argue that Gordon Brown and any MP not elected in an English constituency does not have the MORAL right to govern the English in matters not equally applicable to the electorate which provided the mandate.

    This is not a little England hissy fit. This is coming mainstream and the degree of ‘frustration’ that is felt across England is actually, to me, getting frightening. Believe me, I know.

    This is not about disliking the Scots. Not that there has ever been anything but the greatest kindness and fraternal love directed southwards and not that a little bit of harmless banter is now being directed northwards.

    This is about equity.

  71. Brown’s elevation to PM wasn’t exactly democratic, but it seems that nobody else wanted to take over as party leader (and who could blame them?), so he’s probably the best of a bad lot.
    As for bringing in MPs from other parties, I say it’s a welcome change from the tribalism that’s dominated politics for far too long; whilst I’d prefer a greater diversity of points of view in the House of Commons, I’d also like to see a little less competition and a little more cooperation.

    As for Menzies Campbell, he has stated publically that his MPs are entitled to vote according to the will of their constituents rather than their party leader. If he is sincere, then that alone makes him a worthy Prime Minister.

  72. Perhaps you weren’t paying attention. During the last election campaign Blair left Brown sulking at home, until it became obvious that everyone hated Blair and only the inspired choice of Michael Howard as Tory leader was giving Labour any chance of winning. Blair then trundled Brown out and it was stated very clearly that he would be taking over at some point during the ensuing parliament. Insofar as anyone voted for a Prime Minister, they voted for Blair and Brown (except the three people who actually wanted Howard). Get a grip, Bobo!

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