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 £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.