A PM isolated by Europe

The Prime Minister yesterday reported on the European meeting he had recently attended. Once again he used the occasion to lower his office, playing crude politics instead of answering the questions put. At a time of financial crisis the nation would appreciate engagement with serious points from all parts of the House and country rather than juvenile political tricks and ill informed propoganda.

The benches behind him were far from full. He ploughed on, lecturing Mr Cameron that he was isolated in Europe. The PM seemed isolated in the UK. All his grandstanding as a Euro statesman is ceating an ever bigger gulf between him and the electors,and between him and his own MPs. Once he had finished both his Statement and his prepared rant against the Leader of the Opposition, it became embarrassing to him that there were not nearly enough Labour MPs willing to ask him a question to keep the show going. The House had to continue with just Opposition questions until proceedings could be brought to a merciful end for a PM who was losing the plot.

He didn’t even try to answer my simple question of how much total UK state borrowing and guarantees now amounts to.

The two main poitns he made from his “summit” were his enthusiasm for more transparency, and his dislike of protectionism. He fails to explain why this transparency does not extend to an honest balance sheet for the UK as a whole. He has yet to tell us how a large devaluation and heavy subsidies for the banks relates to his crusade against protectionism.

He did honestly report his continued love of more regulation and more borrowing as the ways out of the crisis, which was itself brought on by overborrowing and wonkly regulation.

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15 Comments

  1. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The complete contempt Brown has for the public and their Parliamentary representatives was once more in evidence during the session following his European meeting statement. He deliberately failed to answer any question put to him but continually played his game of cheap party politics. Just how MPs can put up with this both surprises and irritates me. There were few Labour MPs in the chamber – they must be as fed up of his droning as the rest of us. There must be some way to bring this despicable man to book. As I keep saying, every day he is left in power we are further impoverished. If he clings on to the bitter end he has more than a year to drive us into total penury.

    • figurewizard
      Posted March 24, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Last week the IMF predicted a deeper and longer recession in the UK than the rest of the world. Today the Bank of England reveals an ‘unexpected’ increase in CPI to 3.2%. despite the fact that quantative easing has hardly got off the ground here.

      This is a clear signal that the world’s financial markets, which deal in trillions are now delivering a damning verdict on Gordon Brown and his government which deals in billions. The measure of the markets’ disapproval is the international value of the pound. As today’s news shows it is already beginning to show signs of wrecking what’s left of our economy. If therefore, as history tells us we are facing a full blown Sterling crisis sometime this year your prediction that we can be driven into total penury will become an unavoidable fact.

  2. Simon D
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I agree with Brian’s comment about the Prime Minister’s total contempt for the public – and the country. Winning the next election is everything. He would do well to listen to Chancellor Merkel who argues that once a stimulus package is in place you take a step back to see if it works rather than follow it with a firestorm of initiatives.

    I find the polls and the attitude of the public very odd. We should be marching on the streets and DC should have a 20 point lead. Instead, there is the worrying prospect that the British public could re-elect a Labour government or (even worse) produce a hung parliament.

    Brown should worry about the G20. He will not be the only person trying to grandstand to the media as the saviour of the world.

    • APL
      Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Simon D: “He would do well to listen to Chancellor Merkel”

      JR: “his grandstanding as a Euro statesman”

      The fact of the matter is Brown has no allies in the EU, all of them were sick to the back teeth of his incessent crowing about how the UK economic model was an example for them all.

      The fact of the matter is, the man is a buffoon, an international laughing stock and a domestic liability.

      • APL
        Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        One too many ‘fact of the matter’ there.

        Since Brown doesn’t answer questions of significance. Perhaps you could ask him something trivial. Has he managed to watch all the DVDs his great friend Obama gave him?

  3. a-tracy
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    JR “He didn’t even try to answer my simple question of how much total UK state borrowing and guarantees now amounts to.”

    It sounds to me that he doesn’t know!

    If we are feeling secure, we can enjoy the beautiful daffodils appearing and the fantastic spring weather, however, instead we’re worrying our employers aren’t busy and new orders are hard to find. We’re concerned our families pensions were a false promise and they won’t have enough to live on (believe me the sales people convinced people these private pensions were a good safe home for savings and over time people couldn’t lose) .

    People in civil service pensions think they’re safe, when in reality they are relying on the good will of future taxpayers who have been told they can’t retire until they’re 68 and all final salary pensions are off the menu for them. These people are the generation that will have to pay back GB’s loans, their student debts and tuition fee debts, their own enlarged compulsory pension savings contributions plus ever increasing national insurance contributions – they won’t be able to do it.

  4. Robin
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    He’s a debt Debt-Junkie.

    The Conservatives should be CROWING about what tax rate they will inherit – unless spending falls – 45% basic income tax or something like that.

  5. chris southern
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Surely someone who bails out part of a countries financial sector, when the other part is still functional is aware of the irony in being against protectionism!
    Surley someone who is for the “single” market (which is just a large trade block with enforced tarrifs for those outside of it and heavy regulation for all) is aware of the irony when talking about protectionism!

    And how can a politician, even the Prime minister be allowed to regulary get away with not answering question, but just reading out a spiel that is just state statistics (sometimes not even releated to the question.) As i understand it, the House of Commons is set up like a court, where the speaker is effectively the Judge, surely the speaker is supposed to enforce that the questions are answered in a manner that is acceptable, as he can make people retract statements, or even find them in contempt and have then removed/fined.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Chris
      I agree entirely.
      But MPs will not remove this Speaker, it is suggested because they are afraid he will not call them to ask a question.
      These sort of blackmail tactics to hold onto a job, for that is what it is, should be absolutely stamped out.
      There are already enough questions over the Speakers financial expenses and allowances, and the benefits of travel for his wife to fill Hansard.
      John
      Can the Speaker be removed for incompetence, for failing to follow proceedure, or is it a job for life.
      Certainly I and many of my collegues are appalled at the refusal of any Government Minister to answer any sort of questions at all.
      When this happens Democracy has died.

      Reply: A Speaker can be removed by passing a Motion of No confidence in him at any time.
      This Speaker still has the confidence of the House, as the majority are happy with him.

  6. mikestallard
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Conservatives all know that Mr Brown is in no sense a credible figure.

    There are real green shoots, though, in Labour. Last night on Panorama, Frank Field, who was tasked with the reform of the Social Services and told to “think the unthinkable” under the controlling magnificence of Mrs Harman, made a statement that there would be rioting in the streets when the pensions issue hit home.

    In Australia, I had the privilege of staying with a family who are firmly Labour. they believe in equality for all. They are firmly on the side of the little man and woman. The wife teaches in a State School and tells snidey stories about the local “posh” school. They are proud of their hard working lives. they speak, of course, with Australian accents.
    What staggered me was the fact that I utterly believed in their every aspiration! I, too, am on the side of the little man. I believe in equality and in one nation (Disraeli). I firmly believe in State Education.

    So where are the sensible Labour people in my country, please?
    IDS seems to be the only voice standing up for the poor.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Mike the difference is that in Australia they have a Prime Minister who is believable.
      When he speaks it makes sense, and you really do believe that he is sincere.
      Because of this, your faith in Politics is upheld, no matter what Party you support.
      Here we cannot even get any Minister to answer a simple question, they appear to just be out for themselves.
      Most Government ministers here know the policy they have to uphold is wrong, but they lack the character to stand up and be counted when it is made, because if they do they will be sacked, and be hit in the pocket.
      To be perfectly honest it would seem that we no longer have honest debate at all by Cabinet Ministers. The Prime Minister fills the positions with yes men and women who will do his bidding.
      That is why Frank Field was sacked, he had a mind of his own.
      We can only hope that the next Government is rather more Democratic.

      • mikestallard
        Posted March 26, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Good comment!
        Please may I repeat my plea for a secret ballot on all motions within the House of Commons?
        Once the terrible power of the Political Parties is controlled – not broken – I think MPs would be freed up to be what they usually are – straight, decent people determined to make a difference.

  7. Brigham
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I looked up the question you asked Brown about the taxpayers commitment in total, on the website “They work for you” His reply was totally unacceptable. Is there nothing that can be done to make him answer questions? He is, I feel, the worst PM this country has ever had. When I look at him I get the feeling he isn’t far short of a megalomaniac. It wouldn’t suprise me if he doesn’t suspend the election when the time comes under the pretext of a national emergency.

  8. Robbie
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if this link has already been posted, but Mr Hannan explains it almost as well as you do John!

    See:-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lW6Y4tBXs

    • David morris
      Posted March 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      would that a mainstream Tory politician have given such a concise, absolutely spot on, appraisal of the misguided, self serving, devastation Brown continues to dump on our nation and children’s future. Although, to be fair, Gorbals Mick wouldn’t have let Mr Hannan get beyond the first sentence.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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