Mr Brown’s candid self assessment

It was good to hear some candour from a former Prime Minister. The main reason of course that Mr Brown’s tenure came to an abrupt end in a General Election was the failure of his economic policy, and  the disaster of banking regulation by the FSA and the so called independent Bank of England. Mr Brown put the UK economy through a cruel boom/bust cycle. First they let the banks expand far too much, as many warned at the time including the Opposition parties. Next they collapsed the credit by withdrawing too much liquidity too quickly, leading to a deep and damaging recession as a few of us predicted.

In this he did on a larger scale  what John Major did by adopting the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. They both achieved the same outcomes. They delivered a  recession to UK households and businesses. People lost their jobs, and businesses closed down.  This in turn led to huge and understandable unpopularity, and to the end of their respective parties in power for a long time.  In John Major’s case it kept the Conservatives out of power for 13 years, and without a majority for 18 years. In the case of Mr Brown it is 7 years out of power for Labour so far, and at least 12 years assuming this Parliament lasts the Statutory five years.

The second order issues of Mr Brown’s  handling of the social media, his attitude to the softer side of politics and communication, are minor in comparison to the economic damage. It is true he was no Tony Blair or David Cameron when it came to making a friendly presentation of what they were trying to do. Those two  had a considerable amount in common.

Both Mr Blair and Mr Cameron were well presented, intelligent and articulate. They “looked the part” of PM. Mr Cameron came to the job with great self confidence born of apparently effortless success in his life to date. Mr Blair acquired great confidence from his large majority and from his ability to take to the corridors of power with enthusiasm. He especially seemed to enjoy the relationships with foreign leaders.

They both had a fixation about following the EU and avoiding disagreement with it. This led Mr Cameron into terminal trouble when he failed to stand up to the EU to  negotiate any kind of good deal to stay in. Mr Blair got away with his feeble approach to new EU Treaties and aggressive accumulation of powers from the member states because most in his party did not want to fight him over EU matters and agreed with him to keep it all quiet and pretend  the Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties were unimportant.

Both wanted to use UK military power to intervene in a number of Arab states, and were impatient with critics in their own parties who thought such interventions ill judged or even illegal. Both liked disagreeing with their own parties in the hope that this would attract voters from other parts of the political spectrum. In the case of Tony Blair he did convert a number of Conservative voters to his  cause in the first two elections. Mr Cameron remained stuck some 7% lower in the popular vote than Margaret Thatcher, and alienated a chunk of his voters by his pro EU stance.



  1. Dame Rita Webb
    October 31, 2017

    “Mr Cameron came to the job with great self confidence born of apparently effortless success in his life to date.” Success? The only proper job he had before entering politics was working briefly as a PR for a TV company. With a limited CV and set of life experiences such as that it was inevitable he was going to be found lacking as a PM. The best thing Mssrs Brown and Cameron have done, for their country, after leaving No 10 is to disappear into relative obscurity.

    1. Peter Wood
      October 31, 2017

      Agree! And we’re still looking for that illusive leader who is charismatic, intelligent and worldly-wise…. (right now I’d settle for a ‘leader’..)

      1. Hope
        October 31, 2017

        Brown does not accept any responsibility for his failure to control banks which he used and courted to expand his welfare state. He took away control way from the BoE against advice and instigated the failed FSO. He also helped the doomed merger of Lloyds and HSBOS currently at the high courts. He presided over stupid PFI agreements currently costing us a fortune, boom and bust, his failed banking regulation costing us all a fortune in bank bailouts, loss of interest and income, suppressed wages etc. A huge deficit and a two trillion debt! Overall a complete failure who will be remembered to our grandchildren and our grandchildrens children when they pay tax or go to university. On an upbeat note he looked good compared to Osborne who despit crtising him continued his failures.

      2. Frank Salmon
        October 31, 2017


    2. Hope
      October 31, 2017

      Cameron had self entitlement and was quite rightly described as a posh boy who did not know the price of milk. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth given every privilege of education that he denied others to have. It was evident from the leadership contest that he had no substance or experience. However, the Tories are a bizarre bunch. They got rid of Thatcher by sculduggery, not the public wish but their own.
      Blaire had the appearance of a con man aided by a slick media deception by Campbell. Like the three pea cup trick. After the looney left took over his party there was no way it would come back in the same form. Blaire got in because of the sleeze and scandals under Major’s govt in conjunction with the harsh outcome to us through the ERM venture. Major put the EU before our country and citizens. Cameron forgot we would remember.

      Parliament making the same mistakes. It did not learn from Major govt sleeze, it has not learned from the expense scandal, each time treating the public with disdain and like fools. Right to recall and all the promises to reform. They still police themselves despite telling otherwise, still make themselves exempt from the norms of employment, and for their families, exempt from tax, impose CPI to pension indexing for the public service retaining RPI for themselves! With over 302 MPs having fiddled or been overpaid expenses it was institutionalised corruption. It would be inconceivable that those who did not take part knew what was going on.

      As for Brown, Gillian Duffy spoke volumes. He came across as a condensing self serving prick. And he was not very good at adding up either.

      Reply MPs are not exempt from tax. Most of the MPs who were made to repay expenses had to repay legally received payments following a retrospective change of the rules

    3. Lifelogic
      October 31, 2017

      Richly deserved obscurity though not obsure enough for Mr, war on a (dubious basis ed), Blair. A shame the BBC keep wheeling out John Major and Hesetine as if they were fonts of wisdom.

      The BBC yesterday seemed very excited by atmospheric co2 concentrations and predicting the World was going to hell in a handcart as a result. They, needless to say, did not give the actaual figures.
      Difficult to get right anyway as the concentrations vary so much depending on sampling locations and times anyway.

      No significant warming since 1998 despite this co2 increase, so the green priests models are clearly wrong. Anyway extra CO2 means more crops not less. Co2 cannot make everything worse on average it is the reverse. Why are the BBC so anti real science?

      It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. Richard P. Feynman

  2. Mark B
    October 31, 2017

    Good morning

    They “looked the part” of PM. 

    That is a bit of a sideways dig.

    GB disaster of an election was not as bad as that of JM. At least GB had a chance of forming a government but blew it down to said lack of social skills.

    TB and CMD were just snake oil salesman with rosette pinned to their sharp Italian suits. They were the acceptable face of the party. One could almost draw parallels between them and that of Heath and Wilson.

    But all these people were nothing without ‘others’ behind them. And it is those ‘others’ that did the damage.

  3. Lifelogic
    October 31, 2017

    A good summary of “no return to boom and bust”, let’s augment the fecklesshugely and buy some votes with other’s money. The absurd, baby bond pushing dope Gordon Brown was appalling. The man who claimed to admire Adam Smith but cleary had understood no a sentence he wrote.

    Cameron on the other hand was essentially a brazen con man. He claimed to be a cast iron, Eurosceptic, low tax at heart Conservative to get elected. But in his actions he was the complete opposite, he was essentially Nick Clegg. He had two sitting duck elections that he could have won very easily with a proper low tax real Conservative agenda but chose not to.
    May is alas even worse, another big tax, big government, red tape pushing, tax borrow and waste, interventionist Libdim without even the gift of the gab.

    a con man.

    1. Hope
      October 31, 2017

      Look at all his cabinet who ate the most vocal against leaving the Eau, i.e. Clarke, Grieve, Soubry , Morgan, Hammond.

      Today the BoE claiming 75,000 finance jobs will be lost with Brexit! Carney must be sacked.

      1. Ian Wragg
        October 31, 2017

        Project Fear Mark 2 is ramping up to full power.
        Now there is a good chance of NoDeal the establishment is quaking in their boots.
        A deal, any deal is acceptable to them as long as the EU is in control.
        We are heading for a revolution if the likes of Clogg Sourbry and Clarke get their way.
        Catalonia will be a side show in comparison.

      2. Denis Cooper
        October 31, 2017

        Could be lost, in the worst case scenario. At least the Bank is not joining in with the pretence that the jobs of all 2.2 million people employed in financial services could be at risk when we leave the EU.

  4. Newmania
    October 31, 2017

    The sub text is not very sub is it . What politician , in the opiniooin of John Redwood, might not have looked the part or had Cameron`s social advantages but, in his own opinion , was right about everything and “should ” have been PM …. gosh who could he mean ?
    I think I may have an inkling, but he and his resentments will be glad to know I am wasting no more of my time trying to slap sense into the dead eyed Brexit believers . Get on with your nutty religion I am getting on with my life


    1. sm
      October 31, 2017

      Your absence from this blog will be unmourned, by me at least.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      October 31, 2017

      Newmania. Well, that’s cheered a lot of us up this morning.

    3. zorro
      October 31, 2017

      Yay! 👍😁….. You do mean it?


      1. Mitchel
        October 31, 2017

        I expect,like Ed Mahony,who has had more comebacks than Cher and Barry Manilow combined,he will find a return irresistible.

        I’m surprised he didn’t sign off like Christopher Lee at the end of those old Fu Manchu films,intoning menacingly :”The world shall hear from me again”!

    4. Glenn Vaughan
      October 31, 2017


      My sympathy goes to the next forum that will be infected with your nonsense.

    5. Oggy
      October 31, 2017

      Excellent news. Toddleoo.

    6. eeyore
      October 31, 2017

      Well, I’ll be sorry to see Newmania go – if he does. The drive to comment is not so easily suppressed. As usual, his observations today contain just enough sense to make them provocative without having enough to make them remotely realistic.

      JR has given us a very unusual post today. He normally looks forward, not back, and eschews personalities. But politics is the most human of activities and the character of individuals is at its heart. I’m glad he has relaxed his own rule a little.

      1. stred
        October 31, 2017

        He will return when the meds are reduced.

    7. Anonymous
      October 31, 2017

      What Mr Newmania fails to realise is this:

      The £350m Battle Bus claim is nothing.

      The Cameron Tories won a surprise majority because of the offer of an EU referendum and guess what – only people who wanted to leave the EU wanted a referendum. Those who wanted to stay in the EU didn’t want a referendum (they were already in it.)

      The Battle Bus had nothing to do with the result. Minds were made up long before hand. Once the referendum starting gun had been fired Leavers were raring to go.

      Why ?

      No borders = No country.

      It’s not about dislike of foreigners but of liking ourselves and loving our country and countryside. The EU has been diversifying and crowding us out of existence and it doesn’t stop until this country is as shit as everywhere else and no-one bothers to come anymore.

      Only dead eyed people think about money – Leavers are above that and I’m proud to be one.

    8. Turboterrier.
      October 31, 2017

      @ Newmania

      Get on with your nutty religion.

      I think you and your peers have got it so wrong. It is your religion that wants to keep us within a superstate which as reported in several newspapers over the weekend show clearly how countries semi independence will be sacrificed on the high altar of madness and total control as dictated by your church elders.

      “The Commission agreed on Tuesday to build on the ‘current momentum of confidence’ to accelerate integration by tabling the reforms i n the European Parliament. They could be completed by the time of Brexit in March 2019.
      The plans, set out in a paper called The Future Of Europe, also call for a banking union across all member states, an EU army by 2025, an EU- wide work permit, a new pan-EU cyber-security agency and EU expansion to include Serbia and Montenegro. The plans rubberstamp the ‘vision of Europe’ set out by Juncker in a speech last month”

    9. Denis Cooper
      October 31, 2017

      I’d say “Good riddance” if I believed you, but I expect you’ll be back even if you decide to hide behind a different pseudonym to deliver your insults.

    10. Ian Wragg
      October 31, 2017

      Thank the Lord for that
      Another wet remainiac who can’t get over losing the referendum.

    11. acorn
      October 31, 2017

      Likewise Newmania. I am giving up trying to educate this lot on how our fiat currency economy actually works. My first comment today failed moderation yet again. Alas, this is increasingly understandable. Leading neo-conservative Brexiteers, are changing their underpants much more frequently lately.

      I know all the mistakes our neo-liberal Chancellor is going to make in his next budget. Mistakes that will create exactly the opposite fiscal conditions that a “re-birth” of the ex EU, UK economy will need post Brexit.

      Even my fellow Poker playing continental number crunchers, like me mostly retired, are saying Brexit is a “busted flush”. And, to further the metaphor, Mr Davis is increasingly trying to “draw to an inside straight”.

      1. a-tracy
        November 1, 2017

        Don’t hold back acorn tell us who you mean? “Leading neo-conservative Brexiteers, are changing their underpants much more frequently lately”
        “I know all the mistakes our neo-liberal Chancellor is going to make in his next budget” give us your list ahead of time, then we’ll see how prescient you are.

    12. Mark B
      October 31, 2017

      I am genuinely sorry to hear that you have decided to go. I even miss the likes of, uanime5. Why ? Because it is those that contribute to articles and their eclectic spread of option and thoughts that make places like this such s pleasure.

      Others may not like what people have to say, but the truth does sometimes hurt and does need to be said.

      Take care.

    13. 37/7
      October 31, 2017

      I’m heartbroken.

      No. Really.


      Bwahahaha !

  5. Duncan
    October 31, 2017

    ‘They ‘looked the part”. And therein lies the reason for their political success. Veneer, fake, empty vessels. A gullible electorate hoodwinked and conned by image, word and presentation. Such is contemporary politics

    Thatcher came to power on principle, truth and action. She wasn’t a politician. She was a civilian in public life. Strong willed, dedicated to her cause and absolutely determined to do the best for the UK. Her raison d’etre was nothing more than the resurrection of the UK as a great trading power. She achieved that by economic liberalisation and the freeing up of human energy. She depoliticised the economy and politics as we all know is a cancer, an infection, a necessary evil whose only aim is the pursuit of power for power’s sake

    In comparison the …..Blair and the …….Cameron are mere gnats on the backside of a rhino.

    Alas, it makes little difference. The UK is heading in a direction where personal freedoms will be severely curtailed. The rise of feminism in both parties will lead to the regulation of male-female relationships with the ultimate aim is the legal and social castration of all white, heterosexual men

    I hope Blair and Cameron are both content with their contribution to the rise of liberal left fascism for they are both directly responsible for creating such a climate

    Brown for all his faults as a politicians retained, to a degree, his dignity. I for one found him an engaging character unlike the grotesque he succeeded

  6. Nig l
    October 31, 2017

    Yes a big beast politician with depth that neither Blair or Cameron had, maybe the last of a breed, however unfortunately for him, he did not have the charisma and was swept away by his hubristic approach to the City but they were giving him zillions to throw at the public sector.

    Whatever people’s views we should never forget he and Ed Balls kept us out of the Euro, he ran intellectual rings round Blair who seduced by the power and the glitz of rubbing shoulders with the elite of Europe (same as Cameron) was going to take us in and unbeknown to many voters had made serious preparations for that event.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 31, 2017

      Indeed he did keep us out of the EURO, but after Major’s predictable ERM fiasco that buried the party for many terms (still no apology from this appalling man), then only a complete idiot would have gone in to the EURO. Someone like Clegg or Blair I suppose.

      1. Hope
        October 31, 2017

        He kept us out of the Euro, not sure what his motif was or if there was any intellectual rigour, spite to be leader?

        1. Ian Wragg
          October 31, 2017

          I think it was Ed Balls who kept us out. Brown wanted the honour of joining when he became PM. By the time that happened the EZ was going pear shaped and it became politically impossible to join. That’s why he gave away our gold.

          1. rose
            October 31, 2017

            Rupert Murdoch says it was he – he kept going in at the back door and discussing the question with GB till he finally convinced him.

    2. Lifelogic
      October 31, 2017

      What “depth”? Do you think saying “no return to boom and bust” endlessly, his absurd tax credit system, his absurd tax complexity, the absurd property HIP packs, and baby bonds shows depth? It showed what a complete dope he was.

      1. getahead
        October 31, 2017

        Not to mention trashing the final salary pension system.

    3. Dame Rita Webb
      October 31, 2017

      GB was no great intellect. We were kept out of the euro simply because the role of Chancellor would be vastly diminished and not worth having. GB another PM whose only real job was in TV and the PhD was in Scottish trade union history.

      1. Nig l
        October 31, 2017

        And your PHD is in, just so we can understand where your thoughts come from? Maybe it is in cynicism?

        1. Dame Rita Webb
          October 31, 2017

          “Employment studies” Libertarian will vouch for it!

  7. Roy Grainger
    October 31, 2017

    What has never been explained is why Cameron and his ilk in the Conservative party (John Major etc.) are SO enthusiastic about the EU. I can see why Labour/LibDem politicians like it but not Conservatives.

    1. agricola
      October 31, 2017

      Quite possibly the two mentioned are only quasi conservatives.

    2. Mitchel
      October 31, 2017

      This country has been effectively bust since the end of WWII and the effete Establishment rather than conjure up the energy to dig us out of the hole(pace Thatcher)has accepted a) the inevitability of socialism and b)subservience to US interests,whilst creating comfortable roles for themselves in transnational bodies and keeping the country’s head (just) above water by turning it into an offshore tax haven cum launderette for dirty money and selling it’s assets.

      Stalin showed greater belief in us when he mistakenly presumed we would rise again after the war and come into conflict with the Americans.

    3. forthurst
      October 31, 2017

      Wrong question, Roy! Try: why do globalists’ lackeys always emerge as leaders of the Tory Party? … and what of the furore when someone not of that ilk becomes leader of the Labour Party? Look behind the curtain, Roy; it’s not a pretty sight.

      1. Mark B
        October 31, 2017


  8. alan jutson
    October 31, 2017

    Looking the part, and looking comfortable in the part is always going to get you votes.

    Likewise nowadays using social media to best effect to help you communicate with the public, is also going to get you votes.

    Unfortunately these two traits seem more rather popular with huge numbers of the public, especially the young, than competence, patriotism, and honesty.

    Thus eventually we get the government that the majority vote for and deserve.

    MP’s have not helped their own, or the Countries interests, with poor leader selection.

  9. Sakara Gold
    October 31, 2017

    Remind me never to do anything to attract the level of opprobrium that you have written above! I always thought that Tony Bliar was a left-wing tory anyway. But I think you should address the failure of politicians of all persuasions to successfully address the real problem of the structural deficits in the economy. If we don’t address this fairly soon I see huge problems looming on the horizon as the BoE is forced to raise interest rates rapidly to defend a serious run on sterling. We cannot continue to live beyond our means indefinately.

  10. Dave Andrews
    October 31, 2017

    John Major left the economy on the up. What finished the Tories in 1997 was a combination of sleaze (cash for questions) and the Blair effect – a fresh enthusiastic face compared with the grey Major. I always considered Blair shallow.
    My complaint with Gordon Brown was that in spite of inheriting a successful economy to nurture, he squandered the success on leveraging more debt. The state expanded far more than was sustainable, leaving no flexibility when the 2008 crash came, and responded by piling on yet more debt.

    Reply The polls for Conservatives plunged on the recession and never recovered. It was the ERM that killed the Conservative government

    1. mickc
      October 31, 2017

      Yes indeed it was the ERM which killed the Tory vote…not helped by Clarke’s tax, tax and tax again…

    2. Hope
      October 31, 2017

      No JR, you read too much into polls. Sleaze was at the heart of Major govt, (named person I do not recall ed) going to jail, the self entitlement Tory Tory image. We were all raw through the loss of houses, jobs and poor through ERM. Those who did not understand what the ERM did knew they had to pay mortgages they could no longer afford. Major lacked any charisma and was chosen by your party like May now. It will once again be your party’s downfall.

      Osborne centralised candidates from HQ, candidates need to come from the ground who represent the area they come from. Not chosen universities kids with a good educational background. That is a sign of privilege and self serving politicos. May made that stupid point recently. She intended it to show her ordinary past when in fact it showed she denies us the same educational opportunities she and her siblings had. Your party does not seem to learn from experience.

    3. Pat Bryant
      October 31, 2017

      I always thought that cash for questions was a smokescreen – a put up job. No prosecutions were ever made – there was no evidence to stand up in court etc ed

      I fear that this sexual harrassment rumpus is a similar ploy and that people will be forced to resign – by elections will be won by Labour and Brexit will be cancelled. Note how the press are only naming tory miscreants.

  11. Philip Stephens
    October 31, 2017

    The Road to Hell
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Tony Blair, standing shoulder to shoulder with George Bush, took us into Afghanistan to rid the country of Al-Qaeda. But there was no exit strategy. The US is still there.
    More controversially, the same leaders invaded Iraq. Blair’s intention was to rid Iraq of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Like an illusionist he used exaggeration, deflection and distraction, if not bare-faced lies, to persuade Parliament. Bush simply wanted to replace Saddam Hussein. The vacuum left by premature troop withdrawal and failed policy initiatives led to first Al-Qaeda then ISIS over-running large parts of the country.
    Nor are such mistakes limited to these two leaders. Cameron and Sarkozy, laudably, wanted to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people. So their forces reined bombs on Gaddafi’s tanks. It is more difficult to accuse Cameron of not having an exit strategy; his policy was to let the Libyans do the ground-fighting. The UK was never really there. But Cameron and Sarkozy are directly responsible for the ungovernable country that Libya now is.
    Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Tony Blair’s government. In 2005 he boasted to Parliament that he had ended “boom and bust” – two years before the financial crash. At the very moment when tighter fiscal measures were necessary in 2005, Gordon Brown continued to borrow. He can be forgiven for not appreciating the precise timing and depth of the crash – few did – but not for thinking that he, as Chancellor, could buck the economic cycle. His arrogance rode a close second to his complacency.
    David Cameron’s biggest mistake was over Brexit. Many pro-EU supporters claim that it was a mistake to give the people the opportunity to vote in a referendum. That argument can never be valid in a democracy, particularly when, over forty years, there was little to choose between the policies of the two main parties on the EU (or the EEC before it).
    Cameron’s first mistake was for his government to support Remain after he had secured virtually no concessions on freedom of movement and self-governance. His government could have been neutral. Instead the Remain campaign introduced Project Fear. Cameron’s howler, however, was that he had no Brexit strategy. He forbade civil servants from working on a potential Leave outcome in the referendum before it took place. Whether or not this was arrogance, it was definitely against the national interest. No Prime Minister can be forgiven for that.
    The problem with most politicians is that they are short-sighted. They cannot see beyond the next ballot box. The consequence of this is that they care less about long-term outcomes and more about short-term gain. Yet in all the examples above it is the long-term outcome that is paramount. The world would be a better place if politicians were more concerned about their legacy than winning the next election.

  12. Glenn Vaughan
    October 31, 2017

    I agree with your assessment John so what’s changed regarding the current governing party’s attitude to the EU?

  13. Tabulazero
    October 31, 2017

    Why does the Government refuses to release details of studies into economic impact of Brexit ?

    After a referendum campaign marred by lies and gross approximations, one could think some hard facts & analysis would be welcomed unless those documents are so dire that the Leave politicians are actually afraid to release them.

    If there is nothing to fear as Mr Redwood keeps repeating then release the studies by all means.

    As for weakening the UK’s negotiation hand, you would need to be extremely gullible to believe that the EU has not already conducted this exact same analysis already. The Commission is not a bunch of amateurs and you are not going to tell them something they do not know already.

    Please, release the documents. On what ground do you deny the people and parliament the right to know what is in store for them?

    In short, what are you hiding ?

  14. agricola
    October 31, 2017

    All three failed the country in their various ways. We seem to have suffered politicians, but very few statesmen. In the present situation, moving towards our departure from the EU, I do not see anyone in power with the stature to free us from this monster in it’s death throes. The majority of parliamentarians are at heart remainers, whatever their voting record. Many have much the same qualities as emissaries to Phillip of Spain, and should face an Elizabethan fate.

  15. David Murfin
    October 31, 2017

    Water under the bridge, dirty though it was.
    What of Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn?

  16. Bert Young
    October 31, 2017

    John’s blog today is an illustration of the damage that leaders can do to us . The misguided notion that ” I am here and I know best ” is a trait that is associated with bloated ego . Blair cost us lives through his alignment with the USA over Iraq and he has never apologised for his mistake . Brown was determined to compensate for being out done by Blair and pursued a policy of disregard to our economy . Cameron – well , he was just a young boy who grew up with an ambition well beyond his experience . This all goes to show how important it is for the public to be better informed when they cast their votes .
    We face probably the most important feature in our lives now in winning back our independence ; leadership and cohesion among our leaders is the key to the messages that reach the public and cause us to follow them or to despair . I am not a confident person at the moment that we will get what we voted to obtain . There is not a lot of time left .

    1. graham1946
      October 31, 2017


      The problem is not one of ignorance of the voters because they get little choice, just what the parties foist upon them to choose from. But even that does not matter much. The old saw that ‘whoever wins, the government gets’ in is apposite. Whatever the attractions and qualities of individual candidates, voting is merely electing a dictatorship of the leaders and most politicians are just lobby fodder who have to support whatever nutty ideas the leadership has. One minute the leaders are all seeing wisdom, the next when they lose office they are ridiculed by the same people.

      I cynically tend to think that more informed voters would not vote at all although I do more in hope than expectation.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    October 31, 2017

    His fragility was exposed pre 1997 with allowing Blair to sideline him. When they shared an office Brown apparently was the master and Blair the pupil, he should have contested the leadership in 1994 on John Smith’s death, he was the heir apparent. After Blair’s massive victory he should have done something else.

  18. Anonymous
    October 31, 2017

    “In the case of Tony Blair he did convert a number of Conservative voters to his cause in the first two elections.”

    But he didn’t tell the public he was a Eurofederalist or that he was going to fling open the borders (not even did he admit it while he was doing it.) He did not tell us he was a republican and was going to take a sledgehammer to our institutions.

    I am proud that I saw through the man and never once voted for him.

    1. Handbags
      October 31, 2017

      I once had the pleasure of photographing Tony Blair – before the 1997 election.

      He was talking to a bunch of ‘ordinary’ people but when I turned up on the scene he spotted my camera straightaway.

      As I walked ar0und him to frame my shots he turned and kept his ‘good’ side towards the camera. I actually did a couple of circuits around him and he turned in unison with me while at the same time answering questions and talking to the people around him.

      I realised then that he wasn’t a genuine character – he was an actor playing the role of a politician – to him it was simply showbiz.

      I never voted for him either.

  19. Shieldsman
    October 31, 2017

    Brown’s biggest disaster (he had trouble reading) was his signing the Lisbon Treaty without consulting the PUBLIC. The Conservative opposition did not challenge him.
    The Irish had to vote twice.

    Coping with the financial crisis at the same time was too much for him. Prudence had gone out the window a long time before.

    1. Hope
      October 31, 2017

      Cameron promised it as well. His pathetic excuse showed the lack of substance he had particularly after the strong language he used against the Lisbon Treaty, still available youtube.

  20. Bob
    October 31, 2017

    Students are afraid to to express an honest opinion at university.
    What kind of country has this become?

    1. stred
      October 31, 2017

      The country has become one where the government and academia do not share the same thinking processes as most ordinary sensible citizens. Hence, the recent instructions to avoid language which may offend the few people who have changed, or think they have changed, their gender. To allow people to change their gender just by declaring so. To extradite UK citizens to face imprisonment for ‘crimes’ abroad if that country issues a warrant but, in the case of citizens who join a caliphate dedicated to our destruction and go out committing genocide, rape, torture, and gruesome murder, to allow them back, give them counseling and a council flat….
      Eural McCameron, having realised his own genius, decided to back Hillary and create a failed state in Libya and go on to unsettle the rest of the secular Middle East, by funding ‘moderate’ jihadis. Then he got green and decided to hug huskies and build windmills on the Dogger Bank. While Mrs May at the home office allowed Libyans to go back and forth from Manchester to fight Gadaffi, but deported Australians and Americans who had lived here for ages for not having the right documents. While the Royal Navy runs a ferry service refugees who later turn up in the engine of a bus carrying policemen on a booze trip.

      The answer to all this may be explained by the decision to go for a Big Society and get Common Purpose to run courses for the top civil servant which were ‘ mind changing’. This was backed by other ministers and, of course, the aim is to ‘go further and lead with the aim of implementing the 17 principles of UN Article 30 or some idealistic nonsense written by oneworlders. We are being ruled by the insane.

  21. Peter
    October 31, 2017

    Brown sold our gold reserves at rock bottom prices.

    Brown destroyed our private pension schemes.

    Brown was a bit of a curmudgeon, useless with people but driven by his intense rivalry with Blair.

    Mea culpas are a bit late now.

    1. rose
      October 31, 2017

      He also muddled up tax and welfare and made it all horribly complicated. A cats cradle Hammond isn’t untangling but should be.

  22. BOF
    October 31, 2017

    Today’s post is a very interesting look at the past, but is our host hinting that we should be taking the past into consideration when looking for new leaders?

    It will be a novelty for the CP to elect a leader with strength of purpose, character and real leadership qualities and ideals. Also with a Conservative mandate that will be carried through. A forlorn hope I think.

    I cannot think of a promise that DC kept.

  23. Epikouros
    October 31, 2017

    Sound judgement and analytical skills in just one discipline leads to some people becoming highly successful in the sciences, legal profession, business, the arts and the like. Some but they are few become successful in more than one discipline. These are our great people without which we would still be hunter gatherers. Where this is less successful is in the profession of politics as those who rise through the ranks of this profession to become our leaders less arrive there by merit many more by other circumstances. This leads to a dilution of the success achieved by those outside that profession and sometimes to total negation. As was the case with Gordon Brown.

    He is not alone in achieving this there have been a multitude since the time of tribal chiefs. Fortunately there have been many that have been considerably successful capitalising on all the good achievements of others to at least keep the momentum of human progressive moving forward. Of late with the odd exception like Margret Thatcher one mediocre or even totally incompetent leader like Brown has followed another. The jury is still out on the current one but the evidence to date is not encouraging and the one that may follow will make King John look like a paragon of virtue.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    October 31, 2017

    Just in case you haven’t noticed, our ultra-loose monetary policy has led to an obscene escalation of asset prices, in particular house prices. It’s no use blaming Mark Carney. Your party appointed him and has failed to sack him.

    Fewer than 40% of the young are in the owner occupier market and many people under 40 cannot get into it. If this trend continues, the Conservative Party will surely lose the next election or the one after it.

    Besides measures to increase supply and to help some at the expense of others, you need a strategy to reduce demand using the macro-economic levers available. Zero immigration is right up there, and I’m not just referring to immigration from the EU. Simultaneously, the Chancellor needs to take back control of monetary policy and use the levers available to ensure that house prices decline relative to incomes by 3% per annum. A 1% reduction pa in nominal house prices coupled with 2% pa inflation would do the trick. If this strategy were to be pursued for at least 10 years, houses would be 30% more affordable.

    Present policy acts against the middle classes in favour of the rich. Lenders ask the question: “If interest rates rose by 3% could you afford the repayments?” Middle class people have to say “No”. The rich can tap into the bank of mum and dad, who will stump up a bigger deposit.

    On the supply side, we need to put more land with planning permission into the hands of small builders, who will build rather than sit on a land bank.

  25. Richard1
    October 31, 2017

    Mr Brown thinks more bankers should have gone to gaol. Possibly. But was there a greater act of incompetent negligence than the decision to sell 1/2 the nations gold reserve at a 30 year low, against all expert advice at the time? Does Mr brown think he deserves a stint in the slammer for this or is it just other people?

  26. Lawrence John
    October 31, 2017

    Cameron and Blair both went to Oxford University, along with large numbers of MP’s and BBC employees. I am coming to the belief that Oxford university’s political degree course has a large responsibility for the weak position that Britain is in.

    1. hefner
      October 31, 2017

      You are on slippery ground. Where do you think our kind host got his various degrees?

      1. rose
        October 31, 2017

        His subject is history and he is a Fellow of All Souls.

  27. Quixote Don
    October 31, 2017

    Be careful! I believe JR just about scraped through his 11+ at Oxford.

  28. Monty
    October 31, 2017

    The BBC is wondering whether the Head of the Catalonian Government is going to be granted political asylum in Belgium. As far as I’m aware this is not permissible, anyway , under EU law….for an EU citizen to be granted asylum in a fellow EU state.

    1. Monty
      October 31, 2017

      It seems he wishes assurances via Belgium from Spain. I do hope Mrs May and Ms Rudd do not somehow attempt to grant he and his Ministers refuge however described in the UK. That WOULD scupper our negotiations with the EU for the rest of all time. I bet they’re considering it!
      If I see any of them on our streets I’ll escort them to the seashore and throw them aboard the next passing Spanish trawler. Criminals should not get sanctuary here!

  29. Mike Wilson
    October 31, 2017

    I believe it is fair to comment that the Tories stood by mute while the credit boom took place – and even called for less regulation of the banks. Let he who is without sin …

  30. stred
    October 31, 2017

    At least Gordon got his two aircraftless aircraft carriers built near his patch, even if we are now having to sell the Marine’s boats and a few frigates to pay for them. Best keep them away from those hypersonic missiles that the Chinese have made.

  31. ian
    October 31, 2017

    They the gov will have to pay them off or otherwise they will go public with their stories.

  32. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    October 31, 2017

    If these fairly charismatic figures all failed, then who exactly has had the influence to take us downhill or at least take us over? Why couldn’t they do it? Tony Blair had personal interests in Rome and wanted the RC influence. Gordon Brown wanted Scotland to do well and Cameron wanted Cameron to do well.
    I watched about an hour from the Finance Bill debate . It took the whole hour to make a few points: fairer tax, simpler tax , watching the loopholes, ensuring investors were not over burdened with tax.. No wonder we don’t get anywhere quickly as really all agreed on the main principles and a few ( you being an exception ) took the stage simply to practice their oratory skills, however with so many ums and ers no one on the house today showed any thing like PM material.

  33. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    October 31, 2017

    in the house

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