Steady as she sinks

The PM was wise to keep Mr Darling and his accountant tied to the mast, and to keep Mr Miliband close by. It was sensible to promote the potentially dangerous Alan Johnson. Mr Mandelson seems to be calling the shots, and has the Hesletine slot as Deputy PM as reward.

He may now be able to cling on. It all depends on how many junior Ministers now resign in anger, and how many Labour MPs demand change. My guess is the ship remains becalmed and holed but stays afloat a little longer.

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23 Comments

  1. Peter Mc
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Your opening sentence is rather reminiscent of the schooner that carried Dracula ashore at Whitby, the dead captain lashed to the wheel, a dreadful cargo aboard, as she crashed ashore a shadowy form with gleaming teeth leaped from the stricken decks to safety.

    Just Caroline Flint resigning.

  2. JohnOfEnfield
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The longer Brown holds on the worse the defeat for Labour at the next General Election. Good.

    My concern for the country is that running a budget deficit of over £175Bn per year for at least the next two years is the height of irresponsibility. The longer Brown hangs on the worse the country’s financial situation. Very very bad.

    The Conservatives need to fight even harder to remove this dangerous man from office. The sinking ship needs to be torpedoed as soon as possible.

  3. Demetrius
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Those with long memories can remember 1958-1959. Events, my dear boy, events.

  4. RPC
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    What’s with Glenys Kinnock being given an instant peerage so she can become Minister for Europe?

    I gather that there are now seven NuLab appointed peers in Cabinet. Seven unelected failed and/or dicredited ex-MPs.

    Is this country a democracy or a dictatorship?

  5. Robert
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    What about Harman? She has loyally defended the indefensible this week for no apparent reward.

    If the men can’t wield the knife there is perhaps a role for a Lady Macbeth to do it for them.

    If Johnson becomes Deputy Prime Minister, Harriet becomes number three. I wonder if she will stand for that?

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      The oddly desirable Caroline Flint is, in my estimation, Lady Macbeth, (I mean this in a highly complimentary way). I disagree with all of her policies more or less, and yet, can you blame her?

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted June 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        For me, the Mail said it all: BLOODIED BROWN AND THE CABINET OF PYGMIES.

  6. GV
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    The country continues to suffer. That Labour MPs seem to be talking in terms of a choice between a GE now (‘instant death’*) and one in a year (‘a slow, lingering death’*) yet choosing the latter says much about their mindset. For the sake of the country, they should go now. Brown’s press conference was most uncomfortable to watch; it was the same old words in a different order and he couldn’t wait to escape. (Fraser Nelson did well, I thought.)
    * Their own words, as reported on the BBC, of all places.

    Well done to the grassroots Conservative activists on their extremely good results – particularly in Lancashire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. These 2009 local election results are definitely heading for the history books.

    Btw, Mr R. We now have seven unelected Ministers in Brown’s Cabinet (not including our ‘Enterprise Tsar’ the soon-to-be elevated Sir Alan Sugar): Mandelson, Adonis, Malloch-Brown, Drayson, Scotland, Royall and, now, Kinnock. This makes a sham of ‘democracy’ and it just won’t do.

    Whether Brown can survive next week remains to be seen.

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Another nauseating press conference by Brown. He is a compulsive liar in total denial. The press will surely lambaste him again tomorrow after having to listen to his lies when they know the truth about Darling’s position for example. What about the expenses claims of Darling and the new cabinet? This forced re-shuffle sees more unelected peers in cabinet – so much for Brown’s much trailed constitutional reform. This is such an affront to the people of this country and yet Brown says that he never puts himself first – another lie!

  8. SJB
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The Rt Hon Caroline Flint’s resignation letter made me laugh: “Several of the women attending Cabinet – myself included – have been treated by you as little more than female window dressing.”

    Here she is about a month ago.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2009/may/10/fashion-caroline-flint?picture=346969477

    Did Gordon make her do it? Hell hath no fury like a woman expecting to be promoted to the Cabinet. 🙂

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      At the risk of appearing sexist, just tell ’em they are pretty, they can’t resist it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      I hope that she declared whatever fee she received for her second job as a fashion model, when she should have been working full-time on affairs of state and her duties as an MP.

  9. oldrightie
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The ship is stuck on rocks. The next strong wind will blow it off and under a very deep sea. The pollution, sadly, will be a giant effluent leak of “global” proportion!

  10. Lola
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Mandleson’s the key. Once Labour falls he’s done for and he knows it. Machiavelli could learn a thing or two from Mandy.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted June 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Mandy is over-rated. Seriously over-rated. He is like Kesselring, a moderate general, lashed to a failing regime. There is no place this man can now go. Except obscurity and the odd TV vox pop

    • APL
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Mandleson is nothing without the press. His reputation is rather like the credit bubble, overinflated.

      Before the ’97 election, Nu Labour had established their collaborators in the press and media. The public were also willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. In short he was rowing with the tide.

      Anything Mandleson did was either played down, as with his (word left out-ed) declaration to obtain a mortgage, or played up, as with anything favorable to Nu Labour.

      Fancy Brown making Mandleson, a LORD no less, deputy prime minister. Should Brown resign, Labour would have a party leader in the Lords.

      Am I the only one who thinks that a little ironic?

  11. a-tracy
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I agree Mandleson is the key, I feel that it was he who wrote the nice acceptance of resignation letters to Flint and Purnell, a work of art. If Brown had a dark haired Barbie doll to hand I’m sure it would be dunked upside down in a mug of hot water.

    As for Mandleson being “done for” if Cameron gets elected don’t you think he’s just biding his time until Blair becomes President of Europe, then he’ll connect him up to some real power. He is such a smooth operator if I were in Government I’d want as skillful a right hand man.

    What a bizarre day, very quiet at work and on the roads, as though the day was passing in slow motion. I feel so much anticipation in the air, everyone wants something to happen to turn the corner, unfortunately no-one is offering to steer a different course.

    • Chris H
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Mandelson is a slippery eel. He didnt get the Prince of Darkness title for nothing; he’ll turn up in some other highly elevated position in the future. Its a pity people like this can’t use their skills for the benefit of all, rather than just their own glory-grab. The war of Light v Dark is just beginning.

  12. David Boycott
    Posted June 5, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Could someone explain the 1958/59 reference for us youngsters? I fail to see any parallels between SuperMac (pre 1963 anyway) and Brown.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      There aren’t any.
      Except – hey – didn’t Supermac go to Eton? Does that ring any bells?

  13. Dominic
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get it either! Come on someone – help us out with a history lesson.

  14. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Any chance of a Coup Generals, I’m sure I could run this country better than Labour by spending most of the day in bed and just letting everyone else get on with their lives.

    We have ( or at least had ) an almost perfect constitution, Judges who can settle any arguments,.
    Currently only one in 58 police officers is on the street so I’m pretty sure I could reduce the number of police officers by a quarter and STILL Quadruple the numbers on the Beat

    Forget building Titan Prisons Mr Straw, any foreign criminal in prison can have a choice, fulfill your sentance or, I will give you £30 Grand and a plane ticket to anywhere you want.
    Problem solved.

    Every single one of our problems stems from a lack of respect for the Rule of British Law on the part of our Parliamentarians whether it is surrendering our soverignty to a foreign power.
    The sell off of our industries, giving away our fishing grounds rendering us less able to feed ourselves crippling our farming with EU red tape, not to mention the Very dodgy foot and mouth outbreak that was eventually traced to PirBright’s level 4 Bioweapons Laboratory.

    Mass immigration to dilute the Patriotic vote which must surely come under subversion of some sort, our fraudulent monetary system whereby Private Banks conjure money our of thin air that we borrow at full face value plus interest.

    Do we have laws in this country or not.

  15. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
  • About John Redwood


    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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