Was Thursday another chicken day for Brown

So Peter Hain’s gone. It did have an inevitability to it and we’ll have to see what he does to attempt to clear his name. What I’ve found interesting is the reshuffle that followed. James Purnell to Works and Pensions, Andy Burnham to Culture, Yvette Cooper to the Treasury and Caroline Flint to Housing. On the face of it, jobs for the boys and girls. Literally in some cases.

James Purnell is an interesting choice for Works and Pensions. I can’t find much evidence that he’s had a proper job but that’s not that unusual now is it. On his Sunday morning TV interview, he showed himself to be true new Labour. Platitudes and targets plucked out of the air. Saying the Government would give more freedoms to people claiming disability benefit like choosing the time of their taxi (which is the case now). No real indications about how to achieve these blind aims.
Andy Burnham helped architect the shameless pinching of Tory Policies for the budget which helped Labour so much. Yvette Cooper has put in place the disastrous and useless HIPs just at the wrong moment for the housing market and so has been awarded a promotion for that, and anyone in the Housing department who thought they were rid of an arrogant hectoring woman are out of luck, as she’s been replaced by another.
When the resignation was announced, I wondered would Brown use the opportunity to show he has changed and doesn’t hold grudges. He could have done that and bought Alan Milburn back in to Works and Pensions. At a stroke he would have showed there were no factions in the party, that he welcomed experience in his cabinet of pygmies and he wasn’t as paranoid about his own inadequacy as Prime Minister as everyone believes.
However a leopard never changes its spots, and considering Brown’s character as we know it, it was fanciful to believe he could undertake such a bold move. So the pygmies remain and Milburn and co remain on the outside.

As a side note, have you noticed how Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn, Peter Mandelson, Neil Kinnock and co have disappeared from the media completely since chicken Saturday. Talk about fair weather friends.


inflation smokescreen

For the past few years, I’ve been amazed at how little is made of the fact that Gordon Brown changed the rate inflation is measured from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Prices Index. We know why he did it of course, and that was to make his target easier to attain whilst ramping up public spending. The problem is we now have an inflation figure that no one trusts and bears no relation to the costs people are facing.
Today the rate went to 2.1%. Now when I think of living costs, there is food which has been ramped up, fuel which means motoring and heating costs have been ramped up by double digit percentages and nothing going down in price. The idea of 2.1% is a joke. Much more realistic is the 4.2% RPI index which is what employers have to use the pay settlements (because the unions would destroy them for using the CPI).
So what is the point of the CPI? No one believes it, and it is hiding the real problem of inflation in the economy at a time of economic slowdown. If Gordon Brown was interested in candid Government, he would scrap it and allow the bank to deal with the proper inflation rate which is overshooting its target by 2%. Much of which is being caused by fuel, of which the Government is taking 76% in duty and VAT and which it added 2.7 pence last month.
The Government needs to work with the Bank of England to sort out these problems before they escalate, and getting rid of unrealistic measures like the CPI would be a start. However, after Northern Rock, can anyone have confidence that they can work together?


Is Gordon Brown a Jonah?

Well what a week for English sport. Lose to Russia through a dodgy penalty which could well knock us out of Euro 2008, lose the Rugby World Cup final due to a foot touching the line (Still don’t understand the rules properly even though I played for my school) and the Lewis Hamilton’s engine cuts out losing him the World Championship. Add in floods and foot and mouth, and it seems like the nations luck has turned since Mr Brown took up residence in Number 10.   
The purpose of my article was to be on Brown’s nauseating attempts to play politics to survive this job. His first 100 days have consisted of playing political games. Announcements of policies which are unlikely to happen on Housing, The NHS and British jobs for British workers. Alongside this there were stunts like Iraq, inviting Baroness Thatcher for tea and the early election cock up.
On Saturday though he managed to combine both of these traits. With the chorus of boos he received when England played Germany at Wembley a few weeks ago, you would have thought that would have been enough to put him off trying to make himself popular through sport, but then on Saturday there he was again at the Rugby World Cup final. The sight of a very nationalist Scottish leader sitting in the stands supporting England was pretty bad, but then it got worse.
Alongside head of States, the head of Government took his place in the trophy presentation party. Looking like a spare part hanger on at a wedding, he took on a duty I would have thought a member of the Royal Family should be doing. As a piece of PR, it looks like another cringeworthy failure from someone who can’t fake sincerity.
So back to the main point. Is Gordon becoming a Jonah. Well since he became Prime Minister, I can’t think of much he’s associated himself with that can be described as a success. The budget, The NHS with its recent troubles, The EU constitution and Ed Balls. He’d better hope his luck picks up soon because it won’t be his courage that sees him through.


PMQs 17th October

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The latest cut and thrust of Prime Minister’s Questions is now available to download. You can either click the download button above, or listen to it in our media player at the top of the website.

Michael Crick scored last week’s performance as a 5-0 win to Cameron and this week a 2-1 victory. What do you think?

who wants an election?

According to Gordon Brown in PMQs because only 20 or so people had signed a petition calling for a 2007 General Election on the Downing Street website, that was anotherreason why he was right not to call one.

One wonders what would happen, if say, lots more people asked for the election.

Request time

Unlike traditional radio stations, Tory radio doesn’t do requests. However a listener sent us a link to a youtube clip which they wanted played for a certain G. Brown. You can listen to it by clicking the video in the right hand column.

Not sure of the name of the song… I think it’s called chick chick chick chick chicken? Can’t think what they mean.

Told you so Told you so Told you so

Right that’s enough gloating about the forecast I made here that Brown would bottle the election. What will be the fallout from this though.
Firstly Brown will have to reassess which of his advisors he can actually trust. Ed Balls, Douglas Alexander and Ed Milliband and the young turks have their paw prints all over the fiasco. Can Brown trust their advice in the future or does he turn to his older heads. Maybe we’ll see the likes of Jack Straw becoming more prominent and even the return of Margaret Beckett!! Either way I think we’ll see a distinct lack of direction from Brown as he won’t know where and who to turn to.
Secondly there seems to be a definite change of tone in the media. Brown has got away with so much in his honeymoon which they won’t let him do so now. Northern Rock, Government labs causing Foot and Mouth ect. After making his interview an exclusive with Andrew Marr, the media will look to come down on him like a ton of bricks if an problem is even slightly related to him. I also expect the print media to sharpen the knifes especially if he refuses the EU treaty vote. A John Major style hounding could be on the cards.
Thirdly, what he’s done for the Conservatives is quite priceless. The media guns are temporally off Cameron and on Brown. The Conservatives have policies to sell, a sense of unity and direction, and a target in their midst. In being ready and procuring resources for the election, many marginally seat campaign teams will be better focused at this stage of an election cycle than ever before.
In conclusion, this is a cock up of monumental proportions. He’s deflated his own side, alienated a huge section of the media and gave the Conservatives a sitting duck target. And this from a man who’s supposedly a master political tactician!!!

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Local election results won't put Gordon off

Over the past week General Election fever has reached new heights. Brown is going to go to the polls! No he’s not he’s a cautious type! Yes he is – he’s hiring staff ready for an election! Look at the polls it’s now or never.

Today we learn of some stunning Conservative local election results which seem to make the 11% Labour lead look questionable to say the least. But all these polls are surely a bit misleading.

Firstly no one can really believe that Labour have an 11% lead and are polling someting like 44%. Others have aleady pointed out that this as the level reached by Blair in those oh so sunny days for Labour in 1997. Bro

Secondly – and equally importantly – everyone who has campaigned in local elections (and local by elections) knows that people are often prepared to vote for an individual, or even the candidate who has bothered to actually campaign, rather than along party lines which come more into play at a General Election.

Gordon and his camp have teased us with the possibility of a snap General Election over the past week. Whilst it may be just that – teasing, I can’t imagine that a handful of local election results would put off the clunking fist from calling an election if he wanted to.

In 1997 Labour had the Things Can Only Get Better anthem. I’m not sure that applied to Gordon’s poll prospects. So come on. what are you waiting for?

Thatcher meeting Brown at No.10

Now I am pretty sure she isn't also going to be an adviser to Brown!

PMQ's – Round 2!

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Gordon Brown had his second outing as PM at PMQs today. To listen to the half hour exhange click the link below. Was it a points win for Cameron – or did Brown use his clunking fist to delivery a knock our blow?