Gordon Brown’s Future

It was late on Sunday night, and like everybody else I was wrestling with the issue of the moment.

Would Labour get rid of Gordon Brown? Or would they stagger on?

In just a few hours’ time I would have to hand in my copy, which is now due at breakfast time on Monday, and as the evening advanced, and 10.30 turned into 11, I knew there was nothing for it. I would have to pronounce. Telegraph readers would be entitled to a crisp, clear and categorical conclusion, and so I ransacked the internet for clues.

Here was a statement from Jack Straw, in which he firmly dissociated himself from any plot. And yet here was a brilliant piece by Andrew Porter of this paper, revealing that 30 Labour MPs were already cooking up a killer letter, ready to be unleashed on the PM at the end of August.

By now it was 11.30 and my brain was swimming with data. As if in a trance, I rose from my desk and went down to the kitchen. Robotically I opened the fridge -and there, in the eerie radiance of the fridge light, I saw the truth. In that simple, reflexive act of yanking open the fridge, and beholding the cheese within, I had answered the nation’s question.

No, my friends, the Labour Party will not get rid of Gordon Brown, or not before the next election. The Gordathon will continue until the bitter end, and I came by this certainty as I looked at a pound of refrigerated cheddar.

Let me explain. It is all about survival, and the sacrifices you need to make to prolong your existence. If I am going to see my 64th birthday in 20 years’ time, then it is probably essential that I lose a stone.

And if Labour is going to prevent itself from suffering a Canadian-style wipe-out, then it might well be a good idea to have a change at the top. The Labour rebels do not seem to mind so much about the result of the next election, which they have written off. They care about their own seats, their own survival, and many of them have concluded that they could probably save their seats by whacking Gordon, just as I could probably prolong my life by axing cheese.

But as TS Eliot points out, between the thought and the action falls the shadow. Between the diet plan and the execution, between the idea and the reality, between the plot and the assassination falls the shadow.

It is like our strategy for combating global warming. We find it easy enough to will the end; but can we will the means? I can fantasise about being a stone lighter, and bounding about the tennis court like a greased panther.

But before I get to that state I must make all kinds of brutal choices. It means spurning that late-night cheese, and pushing aside the second helpings, and provoking endless impudent remarks from schoolchildren as I lollop around Highbury Fields.

I can certainly brood about losing weight. I can theorise and strategise, and devise ever more hyperbolical diet agendas. I can outline in detail to my wife the measures I will enact tomorrow – always tomorrow – that will bring about this blessed transformation. But will I actually do it?

My psychological inertia is nothing compared to the quivering invertebracy of these Labour plotters. “This is not the beginning of the end,” said one would-be Brutus as he surveyed the carnage of Glasgow East. “This is the middle of the end.”

Well, another half-week has gone by, Gordon Brown is still in office, and we might as well ask the Labour conspirators where they think we now stand in their timetable of doom. Is this the beginning of the end of the middle of the end? Or is it merely the end of the beginning of the end of the middle of the end?

For most of the next two years, it can be confidently predicted, the story of the Labour Government will be about coups and plots and Cabinet rivals warring for succession. One day we will be told that the armies of Hattie Harperson are mustering in the wings; the next day the media will be talking up the claims of Geoff Hoon – “Who Hoon?”, as Lenin so pungently put it.

One day a female columnist will announce that Miliband has the magnetic good looks to see off Cameron; and the next day a rival female columnist will proclaim that, on the contrary, James Purnell is the man, what with his sideburns and his interesting views on welfare reform.

On and on it will go, day after day, and at no stage will the plotters come within a million miles of actually jugulating Gordon Brown. For all their bluster, for all their off-the-record briefings, they know that the practical difficulties are immense.

They know how tricky it will be to line up those union block votes. They know they don’t really have a better candidate than Gordon Brown. Above all, they know that the British people will not tolerate, at any price, the insertion into No 10 of a second Labour Prime Minister who has yet to test his claims to government at a general election.

It is anti-democratic. It is wrong. It is not a runner. If they perform the switch this autumn, the new leader would have a year or more of trying to explain how he or she had the nerve to be there.

If they save the great switcheroo to the end, the manoeuvre will look like panic, and the rout could be all the greater, and therefore we arrive at the irresistible conclusion, that nothing and no one will prise Gordon from Downing Street save the electorate themselves.

All this came to me in a flash as I opened the fridge. As I stared at the cheese, I had a further inspiration.

It would be easier for me to lose weight than it would for Labour to lose Gordon, and I will bet anyone £100 that I can lose a stone – and tip the scales at less than 15 stone – before Gordon Brown ceases to be PM.

[First published in the Daily Telegraph, 29 July 2008]

124 thoughts on “Gordon Brown’s Future”

  1. Dear Boris, Don’t become like the other two faced civil service beings and commit to your promises prior to your election. Yuo promised to allow motorcycles in the bus lanes on the grounds of common sense but now we do not see that commitment. Its a bit like going into a shop and paying for something you will not ever recieve. Don’t turn out like the others.

  2. If the Labour Party ever seriously consider getting rid of Gordon Brown, they know that they will have to face David (There’s some among you have beheld me fighting) Cameron in the Commons flashing his sword in full cry, demanding an immediate election. They don’t fancy it.

  3. In mad charitable moments I feel a little sorry for McBroon. He may be a nail-biting control freak with mild personality disorders but he is not to blame for everything.

    It is the entire cabal of Labour’s deluded control freaks who should worry us.

    Not one of them is remotely PM material. The swivel-eyed Balls; the wimps, eco-nuts and clever dicks; the ghastly, bossy wimmin; the stultifyingly correct Harperson who wants to discriminate against jobless white males. Would you want any of them in your house, let alone running your life?

    But then I realise they are there at Brown’s behest to provide him with a circle of unchallenging puppets, so any soft feelings for the man quickly evaporate.

    Although they have proposed a few sensible ideas on welfare and immigration recently – mostly stolen from the Tories – who for a second believes their hearts are in it? Has the fridge door opened for them and the light come on? Not a chance. If they were at all interested in radical cures they would have spoken long ago.

    All this points to the ultimate solution – a general election. Now.

  4. Paul, he may not be responsible for absolutely everything that has gone wrong with the economy, but in every major crisis and every time he has been under extreme pressure, he has bottled it. Compare that to David Cameron, who every time he is under tremendous pressure, rises magnificently to the occasion. (As does BJ, whenever he is under huge pressure). David Cameron and Boris Johnson are winners and Gordon is a loser.

    Gordon Brown bullied Tony Blair into standing down, and acted like a bad tempered moody adolescent until he got his way. He schemed and backstabbed to get what he wanted. He has made huge mistakes, both as PM and Chancellor, and when he had a chance of calling an election and winning, he bottled that too. Don’t feel sorry for Gordon Brown, he got what he wished for. Feel sorry for the people of this country.

  5. Well, let Labour end with a whimper. Inertia may, for once, be an improvement over action as we have plentiful evidence of the problems caused by Labour-action (sold the gold cheap, eye-rak, Northern Rock, building policies that are now bypassing the normal planning processes, a tangle of educational qualifications that no-one can believe in …).

    Boris’s diet is much more likely to succeed – especially as he’s now going to have to answer to the nation if he gains so much as an ounce! Determination, direction, getting the people on your side, action. Spot the differences between that and the above.

  6. In the email advising of the new edition of Boris – could you insert www. in front of the boris-johnson.com to make it a proper link
    this would greatly help getting to the web site
    thankyou ie
    Visit boris-johnson.com for the full post and more information about Boris!] change to
    Visit http://www.boris-johnson.com for the full post and more information about Boris!]

    [Ed: We’ll investigate, thanks]

  7. 15 stone of Boris Johnson – happy thought indeed :-))

    I agree with you Boz Cat but also think it sad for this country that Cameron might well win the next election, because Gordon Brown is so bad, not because he is so good.

  8. “…the quivering invertebracy of these Labour plotters” 🙂

    I’m not sure what Fowler would have made of that, but then again I doubt my smiley would impress him a great deal either, so let’s not quibble on that front.

    Good blog anyway. I saw this: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CcgrZs4GXv4 …and that made me think of you. It’s excellent to see that you can write an entertaining blog, because it confirms that you have a good brain, and so you probably won’t make a complete hash of running London. Hope not anyway, because I have to live in the damned place.

    P.S. Motorcycle man puts his case well. Can we expect to see Ducatis in the bus lanes any time soon? 🙂

    Best wishes!

  9. David Cameron grabbed the Tory Party by the scruff of the neck and revitalised it all by himself. He will win the next election through his own outstanding abilities, and there is not a doubt in my mind.

    A lady e-mailed Sky TV and she said that the Labour Party over the past 10 years have ruined this country with their arrogance, their stupid political correctness, their appalling decision making and their dishonest spin, that has nearly wrecked the country’s faith in policitians. I know it must be very painful at the moment for Gordon Brown. We can see that he is suffering intensely because he is bearing the brunt of it, which is not fair. However, like that lady, I just feel so angry at what they have done to this country. David Miliband was speaking this afternoon, after his article in the Guardian that seemingly positioned him for the leadership and he seemed really jumpy and jittery. All I could think was OMIGOD!!!

  10. Boris, it doesn’t matter what Labour do. Whether they get rid of Brown or not, we will demolish them in the next general election, there’s hardly any contest. Miliband is talking a lot at the moment, but if I remeber right, someone else has talked that way for a year ago, and where that led to, is something we all have seen. I doubt that there is anyone who can win a turnabout for the Labour Party. We will demolish them, believe me. Just like you demolished Ken Livingstone this year in may.

  11. Has anyone looked at Comment is Free in the Guardian, where Miliband’s article appeared today? Astonishing – over 500 comments from the Guardianistas themselves pouring undiluted venom on his empty words and on the party itself. It’s hard to believe these are same the people who have kept New Labour in power.

    If Miliboy thinks he’s got an easy ride coming, he is very much mistaken.

  12. David Miliband better start stockpiling telephone directories to stand on in his feeble attempt to measure up to David Cameron. Cameron regularly demolished Gordon Brown (who has miles more experience than DM) in the House, and David Miliband will be blown away. It seems that courage is an asset David Miliband does not have – when teacher Gillian Gibbons was in trouble in the Sudan for letting a pupil name a teddy bear Mohammed, Miliband’s spinless response was “She might as well serve her sentence”.

    Boris Johnson would NEVER have responded in that way and I remember his stirring article on the subject. David Miliband, only courage will save you now, you may be slick, you may be bright, but courage is one quality you don’t have.

  13. William Hague regularly demolished Bliar in the House but that didn’t do him much good in the long run.

    You don’t need courage to be leader of NuLabour. Which means you don’t need courage to be PM. You only need courage to be a good PM.

  14. No disrespect, but I’m not sure Cameron is ready to become PM. Isn’t he just a bit young? To be honest, the thought of yet another whizz-kid in power could probably drive me quietly into the nearest pond. I had enough with Tony Blair.

    As for all this talk of beginnings and endings, and middles of either/or, as well as beginnings/endings of middles, I would also like to refer to T S Eliot:
    “There is no end, but addition”…
    This, I am sure, has clarified things for everyone in true Eliot style.

    Yes, Gordon Brown has made many mistakes, but some of the problems he is facing are not just the result of Tony Blair’s stay in power. If you go on ignoring the deepening divide between rich and poor, then you do it at your peril. There are more poorer voters than rich ones. And if you let the big companies rule the game (as Thatcher’s privatisations allowed), then they will do so (to your detriment).

    Gordon Brown should become more assertive – before he self-destructs – and start undoing the damage of the past. He has his work cut out!

    NB: Good on Boris for putting money into youth initiatives!

  15. Jaq you are right in what you say about William Hague, but unfairly the BBC hardly ever showed his witty ripostes to Blair’s putdowns. The BBC were disgustingly biased to the left at that time, so Hague’s skill was kept from the public and he didn’t have the chance to build up public support like Cameron has. Also, there is a certain diffidence about William Hague that I think acted against him; he almost seemed to lose heart, whereas David Cameron is a warrior and a fighter,very focussed, giving the impression that he is totally commited to defeating Labour.

    You need courage in a leadership bid, and Miliband looks like he is wobbling already.

  16. I think you are right about the BBC, Angela, but Cameron wins on looks – looks count with the MTV society, sadly, and Cameron is pretty. Far prettier than Milliband.

    Personally I don’t want a conservative leader “totally commited to defeating Labour” I want a conservative leader with the courage to enact policies I can vote for. I’m not interested in ‘them and us’ politics so much as learning from our mistakes and moving forward. Cameron and his front bench, as yet, have produced nothing that makes me want to vote Conservative. In fact quite the opposite.

  17. Richard and Judy – I’ve just reminded myself why I never watch the prog. Richard Wannabe wouldn’t let you make a serious comment, Boris. What did they have you on the show for? The only sensible questions came from the gorgeous Mylene Klass. But I suppose you have to go through this procedure on the offchance that someone may actually be interested in London and the achievements you are making there. Keep going, Boris, don’t let the perma-tans get you down.

  18. Jaq I so agree with you about the Richard and Judy show. Watched it with several girlfriends and such is the depth of our support, we were effing and blinding Richard ruddy Madeley, HOW DARE HE!! Boris has achieved so much and I respect him so much for his iniatives on knife crime, and also deprivation and inequality in London, to which he is giving his heart and soul and obviously deeply cares.

    He has shown such imagination in the way he is tackling problems – the iniative to increase boat travel on the Thames is still on, he is sorting out the problem of more expansion at Heathrow – he doesn’t want any, the ban on alcohol on public transport is working and had the simplicity of genius….

    I could go on. Instead, empty shallow, self centred Richard Madely runs an empty shallow self centred interview which Boris endures with his usual totally kindly tolerant genial personality…. IT IS AN OUTRAGE. I am complaining to Channel 4, migod, surely they could have thought of better questions than that to ask him. with all the great things he is doing? Raking up HIGNFU (not that we don’t miss Boris from our screens) and a stupid Paxo interview, months old. SHAME ON YOU RICHARD MADELEY, you did a lousy job, and you should buck your ideas up!

    This programme stimulated a discussion on the charisma and likeability of public figures. We all voted and the results were as follows>

    The charisma and likeability of R. Madeley, G. Brown, D. Miliband, J. Ross, Pres. Sarkozy, B. Obama, G. Clooney and J. Straw, added together, equALs the charisma and likeability of Boris Johnson.

  19. Helena K, although normally your statement that David cameron is a bit young to be PM would act as a red rag to a bull as far as I am concerned, I was soothed by the reasonable tenor of your blog. and the lovely quotation that you provided.

    So I will just say, no, David Cameron is not too young, he is so gifted and suitable and talented and up for the job, nobody could be more suited to the role than he. I would quote you examples of successful PM’s who were as young as him, but don’t have the time.

    Jaq there is always a lot of sense in your posts, so the only bit I will take issue with is that David Cameron is “pretty”.

    “Pretty”? Commanding, impressive, elegant, fresh faced, good looking maybe. Pretty, never! And I particularly like the way he gives his wife a big kiss on her face and it looks totally natural and she is blushing with happiness. Lovely picture of both of them, and she has superb dress sense, that skirt is Hennes and costs hardly anything and it looks amazing on her. Boris Johnson and David Cameron are both very in touch with their feelings and don’t mind showing their feelings and it makes a refreshing change and it is great.

  20. Jaq and Angela – I missed this Richard & Judy show (something to do with rarely watching telly). Do you have more details or, better still, a link?

  21. Angela I have to disagree with you – “The charisma and likeability of R. Madeley, G. Brown, D. Miliband, J. Ross, Pres. Sarkozy, B. Obama and J. Straw, added together, equALs the charisma and likeability of a verrucca. (I don’t know enough about G. Clooney to comment, I only saw him in O Brother, Where Art Thou?‘ and thought it was great stuff, but i would hazard it was this weighting which equalled the scales)

    PaulD – Richard set up a long clip of the crew betting on how many times Boz would deflect a question from Paxo in an old interview (as often happens when Paxman pushes for info the politician simply does not have to hand) Boris happily declared he did not know that info at the time. When Boris tried to tell Madeley that info Madeley was uninterested.

  22. Jaq, I have a feeling this kind of lazy, petty “analysis” of Boris is going to fizzle out. There is only so much dredging-up they can do; anyway it’s all been dredged up 100 times before. His colourful past and occasional indiscretions have been milked to death. With Labour currently tearing out each other’s throats and the robot Miliband apparently trying to take over, Boris looks more human than ever.

    The Boris-bashers are now having to swallow their words, particularly on the “hard right racist” stuff. He has done absolutely nothing to fuel their prejudices – as we knew he wouldn’t – and it’s reached a point where anyone still using these labels is in danger of making themselves look very silly.

  23. Paul ID, the interview by Richard Madeley was such a huge opportunity missed, I have written to Channel 4 to complain.

    The Mayor is committed heart and soul to a fight against knife crime that affects every family in London, but RM did not see fit to even mention this in his interview. He also did not raise the issue of housing,(big plans for that in the autumn), the way Boris immediately banned alcohol on public transport, (brilliant) or Heathrow, or the green agenda, or the idea for cycling superhighways, or the plan to extend boat travel on the Thames (beautiful idea) or ask about my absolutely favourite, the secret river in London…. I just love the idea of that… the Tyburn might be brought to the surface… SO MANY EXCITING THINGS, and what did Richard Madeley say? He said that he had voted for the Mayor for a laugh and showed a clip from HIGNFU, that he believes was responsible for the Mayor winning the election!

    Richard Madeley, Londoners are not totally shallow like you, you know! We care. We are deeply interested in all the things the Mayor is doing and want an intelligent interviewer to ask the Mayor about them. We are dying to hear about all these things and expect so much better from you.

    Oh I forgot… RM showed a months old Paxo clip, the one where Boris has forgotten a statistic, so what was the point of that?

    With this sort of reporting, viewers will only rally the more to Boris’s cause, with the same sort of fervour as when someone tries to put graffiti on a national monument.

  24. Angela, I’m afraid you’re not going to get much joy from C4. They will put it down to R&J’s “editorial style” which they don’t have to defend as long as it was within the broadcasting rules. But good on you for trying.

    The bigger mystery is why Boris agreed to appear on a show noted for its cynicism. They must have had an inkling this would happen.

  25. PaulD – it is well known that writing a best seller, for example, is no indicator of having ‘made it’ in this country – that indicator is appearing on Richard and Judy. I have no idea why but if Boz did not appear they would have mentioned the refusal and proffered their own reasons I suspect. I don’t think Boz had a choice really. Needless to say, Christopher Hitchens may be on every channel on the States and have written a best seller but has he appeared on R&J? No.

  26. Paul, I know. But here is something for Channel 4 to think about. We have a 5.3 BILLION drug problem in this country, affecting our youth. There is also a huge problem with alcohol. Because of these two problems, there is ensuing violence and kids are dying on the streets of London. The London Mayor was democratically elected to deal with these problems in London and he is trying to help the youth of London, make us safer and make the quality of our lives better.

    In the light of the above, do you really think it is relevant to employ an interviewer who says he voted for the Mayor “for a laugh!” And who bragged about it on national t.v. afterwards? Is this is the calibre of interviewing you want representing Channel 4? Do you really want someone interviewing the Mayor who is so shallow and ill informed that the best he can do is hoik out a months old Paxo interview and some clips from HIGNFU? The Mayor has more important matters to deal with, and we are backing him to the hilt and although Boris Johnson is always grat t.v. no matter what, if you had let him speak on what he has been doing for the past 100 days, it would have been really amazing.

  27. “Do you really want someone interviewing the Mayor who is so shallow and ill informed…” Of course not, Angela, and I’m sure you made your point well. Just that I fear they won’t be listening.

    If Boris handled it well then it did at least serve some purpose. If Madeley came out of it looking silly, better still!

  28. Angela – the standard of TV nowadays is so poor Madeley is considered the equivalent of Robin Day. If Madeley was to interview President Nasser of Egypt after the Suez Crisis he’d probably ask him about his moustache. Without Judy, Richard is nothing.

    I noticed a comment on the Speccie, responding to the observation, by Toby Young, of the amount of vitriol in comments on the net:

    By M McGregor (August 1st, 2008 3:48pm) I think the reason for so much vitriol amongst readers’ comments is pretty obvious. Several decades ago ‘differences of opinion’ were rather mild. Apart from a tiny number of hardly noticed political and social revolutionaries and general outcasts, and the occasional old gentlemen who wrote furiously to The Times on a variety of issues, everyone was in basic accord about how life should be conducted. We’ve progressed from disagreeing on how many times young adults should go out before holding hands, to considering an option of supplying 12-year-olds with contraceptives in case they feel like indulging; from doubtfully accepting the occasional rather dark (and probably Catholic !) Spaniard or Greek moving into our area, to being expected to approve as entire English cities are transformed into parts of Asia or Africa, and awaiting our fate as an Islamic Republic ; from frowning at the child who is slow to obey a parental command, to having to witness numerous adults ineffectually pleading with (or totally ignoring) kicking, screaming, swearing toddlers; from seriously believing that ‘crime doesn’t pay’ and viewing the police as wholly admirable in their smartness, efficiency, and staunch solidatity with the decent citizen, to knowing that honesty doesn’t pay, and the police are increasingly scruffy, petty, incompetent, and utterly obsessed with ‘political correctness’; from teaching our children to admire great explorers, soldiers, scientists and artists, to having the media champion ignorant, foul-mouthed, petulent, drunken, drug-sodden entertainers to the top of the list of suitable role-models; from having marriage, fidelity, and the family as the core of our society, to having that institution equated with people casually producing illegitimate children, and now co-habiting homosexuals; from being shocked at a bank robbery to being entirely unmoved by a constant flood of the most hideous murders. Add to that the pressures & frustrations of our modern world, and how can anyone be surprised that disagreements are often so bitter, and so ill-mannered ?

    Given the absence of criticism here I think Boris must be doing a fine job.

  29. I think Labour need to call an election asap. The majority of people would be highly unlikely to vote Labour, and that would mean relief. Much needed relief from a Conservative Government that would subsequently take control of the economy, helping hard working families cope with the challenges they are facing due to higher taxes and inflation. Taking control of many other issues such as crime, health an education would soon follow, Labour have failed this country so badly that it will be taking a long time to get it back on track, but in order to ever get it back on track a Conservative givernment is urgently required!

  30. Wow, Jaq, that was punchy stuff – and so very true.

    I rack my brains trying to find where this all started. If the finger settles anywhere, it’s on schools (or the “education system”).

    The greater part of children’s formative years are spent at school. No matter what your background, if the school is setting the highest standards of conduct and learning it will set you up for the rest of your life. A great education can lift anyone above the circumstances in which they were born.

    So why is Ed Balls in charge of schools?

  31. Angela – thank you for your charming message and, while I don’t remain entirely convinced on the question of youth/non-youth, I am totally prepared to take you at your word.

    But I must draw the line somewhere – I hope I’m forgiven! – and the thought of being subjected to endless pictures of DC and his wife cooing and billing away while the Conservatives attempt to wrest power from Labour does fill me slightly with dismay… It is so boring.

    For all I care, they can frolic about in their garden with nothing on but their plimsolls (Hennes or otherwise) – which would of course make it all marginally more interesting – but is still not going to provide the ideas and policies that this country seems to need rather badly at the moment…

    This is not even a Tory/Labour issue. After all, it was good old Tony Blair who started the fashion, but must all politians undergo this torture?

    The unfortunate thing about imitation is that, by the time the imitation gets to see the light of day, people are so weary of the actual original that they don’t want to see anything like it for a long, long time.

    But I was sorry to read your dismay at the R&J programme – it sounds like a dreadful trauma! That Man should be put in chains for at least a month and made to eat his own programme scripts. I hope you’ve recovered…

    Seems like some interesting stuff above, I have yet to read it.

  32. Is he chewing?
    Gorm Browns chewing is like John Majors Moustache, a dilema which will never go away, but will he be surprised to find himself clearing up after the eviction party that never happened and will he pass on a legacy that takes 10 years to destroy?

  33. PaulD – I agree, education is the thing: the formation of attitudes in the young. But I think the government is trying to interfere in families long before school age, and they have succeeded.

    Some think a lack of religion the root cause of our problems and some the change of attitude towards the married family – yesterday i read a sermon PH had given: http://st-michaels.org.uk/Sermons%202005/Peter%20Hitchens%20-%20City%20New%20Year%20service.pdf (I expected it to be uplifting, which it was at first, but ended up wanting to remove myself from society). PH might point to the no-fault divorce laws introduced by Roy Jenkins in the Sixties but I think Jenkins’ reforms to the penal system more indicative of the change in attitude that Labour has introduced in this country. The criminal was suddenly a victim to be healed rather than punished. We were all victims. To be healed by the benevolent State. Or criminals for thinking the wrong thing.

  34. Jaq, Boris is doing a fantastic job, and it is heartening to read the posts of all the people that think that. However, I am still absolutely FUMING. How ruddy dare Richard Madeley behave like that! If I wasn’t a lady, I would put it an awful lot stronger than that and I am itching to give him a good slap! He writes for the Mail on Saturday and I am going to e-mail to him there and say how irresponsible it is to vote for the Mayor of LONDON “for a laugh!” and that he has shown himself up so much he should never comment on politics again.

    Helena, I do take your point about the billing and cooing. There is criticism as well because DC allows his children to be photographed which is something the Mayor and his wife never do. I read the Mayor complained to the press council because of unauthorised pictures of his children, and you have to admire someone who protects his family that fiercely. The Mayor’s children are the most charismatic, great looking kids and he could get great publicity from their pictures, but he won’t do that, and that is admirable.

    However, the romantic in me just loved that picture of Samantha Cameron and the Opposition Leader. They are obviously crazy about each other and she is his inspiration, so he wants to parade that to the world, and if he wants to do that, he should! You can see it is genuine. There is enough pain and sorrow in the world and enough awful suffering, it is good to see such a natural, happy picture but maybe not too often!

  35. There are so many interesting points on this thread, don’t know which to comment on. I agree with Jaq about lack of religion, even if that doesn’t mean organised religion. Our spiritual sides are starved and stunted by drink, drugs, mind numbing t.v., but they are still there. Maybe the credit crunch might be a good thing in certain ways. It might make us look inward and nurture our spiritual sides. to be more spiritual, you have to suffer a bit.

    WE NEED AN ELECTION. If another PM is foisted on us who has not been democratically elected, it would be a crying scandal, and David Miliband is no Young Pretender. David Cameron could metaphorically knock him out with one hand tied behind his back. He will dissect Miliband’s arguments with the precision of a master surgeon.

    They can’t fight a duel on Wimbledon Common, as in Wellington’s day, but if they did, the outcome is clear.

  36. Angela – I recommend reading that sermon, PH always provokes thought. The danger with welcoming any religion (rather than spirituality) is that Islam is the elephant in the room and our culture was founded on Christianity and it’s teachings. The two do not rest easy together.

  37. I will definitely read it. Jaq, don’t you agree with me, Boris Johnson is such a fantastic communicator, we need him to appear more on our t.v. screens. This is a tough time for our country and we need inspiration from our leaders, to show us the good in life, not the endless concentration on what is negative.

    What is wrong with all the producers of t.v. programmes that they are not jumping on Boris’s vision for London and bringing it to our screens! I would adore to watch a programme on the secret rivers and travel on the Thames alone. But Boris’s view of our historic buildings in London, a programme to galvanise peoples’s support against knife crime, – it would be inspiring. TV is just an empty desert, only the political programmes worth watching.
    TV is supposed to communicate what is important, as well as entertain.

    Boris Johnson is t.v. gold, I know he is terribly committed and busy, but he doesn’t need to rehearse, he just walks in and does it and is ten times more brilliant, informed and amusing than the most experienced, rehearsed performer you could imagine. We are sick of dull pedestrian reporting. We want poetry and passion and brilliant wit, not brainless clods with nothing to say, and without a spark of imagination who can only preen their egos and snigger, or tell obscene jokes, for which they are paid vast sums.

    Richard Madeley, Paxo, Jonathan Ross, and their ilk are letting golden opportunities go down the pan. Jonathan Ross interviews David Cameron and instead of bringing out the brains of the man, the depths were plumbed. It wasn’t even funny. Dudes. You suck.

  38. The media are very unpredictable. I watched a debate on TV before the mayoral election actually took place, when all 3 candidates were being quizzed. I really can’t remember who the host was, but it was somebody quite respected and certainly capable of more sensitive questioning.

    It didn’t happen. All 3 candidates were expected to stand (why? were they on trial?) and, I felt, were put into a very point-scoring situation, where they had to answer quickly, were given very little time and were continually set against each other – a kind of ‘fast buck’ scenario. It was very annoying. Nobody was allowed to speak properly!

    It is all incredibly selective. There was an event I was part of some years ago. In this case, it was covered mainly by the Guardian and the whole thing was so misrepresented that I was left with the reaction – wha-a-at? – is this the same event? That was the press, of course, and misrepresentation is common in the papers, particularly in political coverage, but the TV debate I’ve mentioned above was positively discourteous. And to what purpose?

    Regarding M McGregor – yes, too much to assimilate in too short a time, especially when people aren’t sure they want to assimilate what’s being offered in the first place.

    The fact that you don’t have to put your real name and address in emails, though, means that you’re almost anonymous – that may have something to do with the ease of the vitriol!

  39. Helena, I think that was David Dimbleby. It struck me at the time as being a poor show, more The Weakest Link than The Strongest Candidate.

    What else do you expect these days?

  40. Paul, I think that was the Paxo interview they showed on R&J. I could be wrong of course but I would expect better of DD.

    Helena – give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth.

    Angela – what I like about Boris is he just tells it like it is. We could do with more honesty in Westminster.

  41. The David Dimbleby interview was a setup to boost Ken Livingstone, but it didn’t work. I wish Ken would do something more popsitive at the moment to use his undoubted talents. Whatever we think of his beliefs, he is a very intelligent man and a most astute politician. He ought to be doing more than interviewing and dee-jaying on LBC, and I hope he finds something more worthy of him.

    Paxo’s interviews are nothing to do with providing the viewers with information or giving them the guest’s point of view. They are just showcases for Paxo’s ever increasing testerone.

    Boris does tell it like it is and he is not afraid to say he has made a mistake or doesn’t know something. (which hardly ever happens). Have we ever seen Boris lose his temper or lose his equilibrium under pressure? His placid, steady nature is just amazing, and has to be a huge asset in a crisis.

    Helena K., I checked for you and the youngest Prime Minister ever of Britain was William Pitt the Younger, aged 24.

  42. Crikey I thought DD had more integrity. Or was that Richard? I lose track with that family.

    With Paxo I don’t think it’s an abundance of testosterone – I’ve observed that men tend to aggression when they are unable to raise a smile.

  43. Jaq the David Dimbleby interview was in front of a studio audience and DD went to different members of the audience with their questions. BJ had to deal with some questions that were totally out of order, and then was not given the proper right of reply. I cannot believe that it was an accident.

    Paxo enjoys treading on people and flaunting his assets. David Cameron had his measure when JP first interviewed DC. Paxo was trying to catch Cameron out by naming some cocktails, something like Slow Screws and Quick Lays and he asked in the most aggressive tone possible if DC knew what they were, trying to throw him off balance. No chance. The more aggressive Paxo got, the more laid back and relaxed DC got. He didn’t turn a hair. He just smiled into the furious scowling face before him, and although Paxo was really menacing, DC’s refusal to be affected defused the whole thing and Paxo just looked stupid. I remember when PAxo tried the same technique on Tony Blair about the war, tone heavily accusing, really threatening, and TB got really rattled and guilty looking, all red faced and embarrassed, in the end totally crushed.

    David Cameron is very psychologically astute, he is brilliant at reading people and knows exactly how to handle them.

  44. To go back to Gordon Brown, so many people are kicking him, there might be a slight upswing of sympathy – now Tony Blair is getting in on the act.

    I just don’t get the Labour Party at the moment. When Gordon Brown took over, all we heard was that he needed time for his ideas to work. He had ten years for goodness sakes! It’s the same with David Miliband and all the other people slagging off Brown. They were there for 10 years as well. They have had their chance and it was an absolute disaster, and they should be ashamed. No way is it all Gordon’s fault, nor is he the only useless one, they are all useless.

  45. ps. And I was talking to a taxi driver who has voted Labour all his life. He said he really hates them, they have ruined the country and Labour will never get in ever again. It sounded a bit extreme, but that was how strongly he felt. He said he was voting for David Cameron and Labour would never win another election.

  46. “I can certainly brood about losing weight. I can theorise and strategise, and devise ever more hyperbolical diet agendas. I can outline in detail to my wife the measures I will enact tomorrow – always tomorrow – that will bring about this blessed transformation. But will I actually do it?”

    It’s actually not all that hard. I essentially used the 900 old diet of the Knights Templar our of their Latin Rule, viz, meat only every other day and vegetables the rest of the time. Last year I did and replaced most of my meat protein with legumes and switch mostly from beef and pork to fish and fowl. Meats no more than 4-5 oz, carbs down to no more than 6-8 oz. No eggs, cheese or butter and reduce saturated and trans fats to 10-15% of “recommended”. Breads Scandinavian flatbread and sourdough. Calories set at 1800-2200 daily.

    Four months of that last year got my lipids from bad to textbook healthy leaving my doctor shaking his head in wonder. It also lost me nearly two stone in 4 months. I will have lost my third stone by about the end of this month.

    It should be a snap for you with only a stone excess on you.

    Once you get the fatty red meats out of your diet you will be shocked at how much you have to eat to make 2000 calories/day.

  47. Angela – well good for DC, what an incredibly puerile line of questioning from Paxo.

    And I agree with your assesment of Gordo and NuLab – a failure leading even bigger liabilities.

  48. PaulD – yes, it was David Dimbleby, and well spotted about the Weakest Link connection. Very funny. That’s exactly what it was.

    Angela – I am embarking on a study of William the Pitt the Younger.

    Jaq – good quote on the mask. Oh well, fire away with the vitriol, then…

  49. Helena – I have none for Boris and think he’s the best choice for London (or indeed anywhere – he was a good MP).

  50. I felt a bit bad last night for pitching in too strongly, but when you talk to people, they are even more vehement. It would probably be better if the Labour party grouped behind Gordon, instead of a horrible period of infighting that leads to nothing.

    A diet from the Knights Templar…. I might try that!

    Helena, you will love reading about that period, just think, 24 years old and running the country!

  51. One thing I do not agree with David Cameron on and that is his attitude to marriage. George Osborne is more reasonable when he says that it is not the State’s job to tell people how to live their lives. Hear, hear! Some people having tried marriage, (buried under rubble, as I call it), don’t want to try again, and are perfectly happy responsibly co-habiting. Some people object to marriage on principle. Some people cherish their freedom too much to be like everyone else. Why should these people be legislated against and are they any worse than the WAGS who don’t marry for love, or people who see being single as shameful and grab anyone handy? If you don’t have children, no need to take the walk of shame, at least you know that you are together because you want to be, not because you have to.l Mr Cameron, just because some people are slightly unconventional, does not mean they are irresponsible, in fact they might be more responsible the other lot.

  52. Angela – I would add the smug marrieds who bang on about their pious social state and weekly defend marriage yet seem to be bored by their family, spending an immoderate amount of time at their work and even on holiday spend their time Googling themselves on the internet. For those who champion the state of marriage they don’t all seem to enjoy it.

    I don’t think I would enjoy being regarded as an interruption to someone’s work and at the prospect of spending time with their children and life partner would endure them more than they enjoy them?! I can’t help but think – why did they have them in the first place?

    I think it was Dominic Lawson who wrote a very interesting piece in the MoS, and it contained this thought: “As the history of the 20th Century has demonstrated, those who affect the greatest concern for their fellow men are often capable of remarkable callousness.”

  53. So true. And it has even got to the stage that people on reality shows marry other contestants so they can get a huge payout. They then divorce them six months later and split the cash.

    People marry for all sorts of reasons and that is up to them, but to me, marriage is for the protection and security of children.

    I’ll put this subject in the forum and see if anyone else wishes to comment.

  54. While Boris is avoiding the temptations of the cheese in his fridge by taking a well-earned break, have you seen that his championship of higher education and lifelong learning for all has been picked up by John Hayes, the ‘new’ Tory spokesman for Innovation, Universities and Skills? Paul remarked earlier on the way a great education can set one up for life and wondered why Ed Balls was in charge of schools. The post-school educational landscape has fared no better. Society needs flexible, interesting, skills training and academic education opportunities for all from young to very old. Learning is not medicine. People do want to do it (see the outcry about closure of ‘evening classes’). Employers and employees want individuals to be able to dip in and out of meaningful university courses as their careers progress even if that means allowing undergraduate courses to be taken by people with PhDs. Older people want to be able to keep up to date in topics that interest them either so they can continue in less formalised work or so they can contribute to and be part of the social life around them. So, John, keep fighting to improve education opportunities for all. I wonder what Boris can do for Londoners in this area?

  55. I can only be cynical about DC’s wish to “extol the virtues of family life” and think it was prompted by 2 assumptions:

    a) that the number of married couples (with or without children) exceeds the number of everyone else
    b) that they will all vote Conservative

    Needless to say, I’m not convinced of the infallibility of logic such as this by any means. But – hey – there’s always clutching at straws…

    I remember finding it quite depressing at the time, when DC started down this route. We do live in a multi-layered society, with many divorced, single or co-habiting people. To set one sector against another – married versus non-married in this case – is quite destructive, and it was exactly this sort of ability to divide the country that marked NuLabour’s rule under TBlair.

  56. Incidentally, don’t worry at least on my account, Angela, about “pitching in too strongly”. I feel absolutely no affiliation for Ken L and his buddies – quite the opposite. And I am very well aware of Labour’s unpopularity.

    I do, at times, feel sorry for Gordon Brown – but what possessed the man in the 10p tax band fiasco? You really don’t have to talk to many people to know that, if there ever was a straw that broke the camel’s back, this was going to be it.

    On the other hand, I can’t fault Labour in the Doha negotiations, whatever the result.

  57. That’s good Helena. I can express myself quite forcibly at times and afterwards I always think “Crikey! I hope I didn’t offend anyone!”

    How is your reading coming along? Do you read a lot of history?

    ps. What possessed Gordon Brown to duck the election? That was when the rot really set in…. still we would be lumbered with the miserable Scots git if he hadn’t!

    pps. Re. your remark about DC and the number of married couples….. I hadn’t thought of it like that!

    ppps. We all hope Boris and his family have a lovely, refreshing, well deserved break.

  58. I agree with Helena K on DC and the married family – it’s vote chasing. With Gove and the rest of the crew they’re like a pack of dogs chasing cars. David and Samantha Cameron lived in sin before they were wed. There’s none so earnest as a convert, especially when there’s something in it for them. The changes they are proposing (see Conservative Home a while back) make no significant changes, it’s all just posturing. In fact, what they are proposing would make matters worse and NuLab the better option to vote for.

  59. Jaq, have you had your fingers burnt at some time? If so, I can understand your position. But should that affect what is generally considered to be, all things taken into account, on balance, everything else being equal … the right thing to do?

  60. PaulD – with the greatest respect (and affection) my comments are not prompted by any reference to personal circumstances but to the issue at hand and DC in particular. I am a great believer in marriage but don’t live in the fairy castle of fluffy pink idealism about it. I am realistic about the decisions people make and I am also realistic about the posturing of politicians. Read the proposals and comments of Gove and the gaggle of Conservative hopefuls made on Conservative Home and you will see my point in the comment above ( http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2008/07/maria-miller-mp.html )

  61. But what about the people who just want to be single? Why shouldn’t they have financial incentives to stay single because the world is over populated and there are millions of kids with no-one to care for them?

  62. Put them all into the big brother house to fight out the next leadership (and the next election – why not if you want people to turn out to vote) and let’s see close up what they are made of!! It could only be a better method – afterall it got ‘top cat’ MP George Galloway some extra following didn’t it?

  63. To be honest, Jaq, I’m not clear how the tax system works with singles / partners / married couples / children. Perhaps you could explain.

    Going from first principles, I think the state should not be subsidising children as if there was some kind of population shortage. It needs to champion the family as an institution without throwing money at large families sired by parents who cannot support them.

    Maria Miller (your link) says the right things but I detect some cheap shots already. She says she will “introduce the right to request flexible working for parents with children up to the age of 18.” Note the word request.

    “May I have flexible hours to look after my children?”


    “OK, only asking.”

    More often I’m asking myself if the Tory party under Dave is little more than New Labour Lite.

  64. Pauld said: More often I’m asking myself if the Tory party under Dave is little more than New Labour Lite.

    That’s it, Paul, that’s it. No more to explain. If you tracked L/R and looked at others, including Gove, you’d see that it’s just posturing with vague feel-good sentiments that are meaningless or can easily be amended/withdrawn later, including tax breaks for married families. Maria Miller says she wants to make Britain the most family friendly country and her way of achieving that is to provide more State Spies that offer no material help to families whatsoever. There IS NO practical help for families. Only judgement.

    That’s not New Labour Lite, that just more of the same – a blue rinsed Blair.

  65. PS: I think I might host a competition for the best political policy. Somthing along the lines of:

    We are totally commited to families. A strong, stable family life is critical for every child. That is why we have put the family at the heart of our vision and why are committed to making Britain the most family friendly country in the world.

    Families shapes our children’s outlook and provide that all important emotional and practical support. As David Cameron said earlier this week, it is the family that can do the most to build a culture of personal responsibility that will remain for the rest of our lives. We believe it has nothing to do with the removal of parents rights and authority by the present government so we won’t be changing a thing.

    70% of young people aspire to have a stable long term relationship; many still want to demonstrate that commitment by getting married. Yet, despite this clear preference for stability, Britain has one of the highest levels of family breakdown in Europe. Therefore anyone not part of a family one week after winning the election will be shot.

    Our package of policies will help support families to stay together, right from the start, and not find new family structures that might suit everyone concerned. We believe a pound or two every week in your pay packet will let you completely ignore your cheating spouse, druggie partner or abusive other half. And also make you want to get back in touch with that one-night-stand that you got pregnant when she was so drunk she couldn’t stand up.

    Children flourish in a stable family environment. However, the current benefits system gives couples with children more money if they live apart. Our first reform will be to support families to stay together by ending this ‘couple penalty’ so rather than give marrieds more money we’ll just take it from unmarrieds and make them lie on their forms, claiming their lover is in fact a lodger. (when found out they will be shot – we are maintaining the present governments adoption targets) The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has clearly shown that children brought up in two-parent families have a better start in life. David Cameron has reiterated that marriage will be recognised in the tax and benefit system bringing Britain into line with the rest of the western world. So that’s alright then.

    But families face pressure points which can undermine stability. In particular, parents are more likely to split up in the first year after the birth of a child than at any other time. So much of the support and advice parents relied on in the past is no longer there; little wonder three out of four mums say they feel lonely and isolated after their babies are born. We want to introduce measures at particular pressure points in family life to help families survive and flourish in the long-term. So we will provide, free of charge, manacles to chain the ******* to the floor so he doesn’t walk out on you and leave you holding the baby.

    That is why we have announced that we will put in place an additional 4,200 health visitors by 2010 to support all families during those critical first months and years when family life is at its most fragile. They will come into your homes and report back to the government if you are not living as prescribed by the State. They will also help you teach your child a nice little rhyme that starts ‘four legs good, two legs bad’. We are here to help by explaining to you how things are and what you should do.

    Be well.

  66. Very interesting article in the Times today by William Hague, the gist of which is that people want “normal” politicians now. Tony Blair might have seemed normal, but the word which always came to my mind was “hyper”.

    Hague says David Miliband comes across as geeky, like him, (not now, Mr. Hague, you are great), and Miliband is just too green and untested to appeal on a mass level. (There is a sort of robotic, flakey, quality to him). Hague adds pointedly

    “Miliband has forgotten the basic truth about succession to the leadership, which is that it always goes to people who have tried to be loyal to the existing leader”. He goes on to say David Cameron is the sanest person he has ever worked with.

    There is a lot of truth to this article, because David Cameron does seem normal with his trips to Tesco, love of gardening, numerous hobbies, and his happy family life. You get the impression that if he chucked in politics tomorrow, he would have loads of other avenues to pursue and lots of interests to occupy his time. He would lead an extremely happy, fulfilled life, whatever happened.

    The same goes for Boris Johnson. Physically so relaxed and grounded that he is practically comatose, it is lucky he believes in the benefits of exercise or he would resemble a meditating buddha. Fortunately he has a super-active brain. Should he break our hearts by giving up politics, at least three other dazzling careers beckon and he would zoom unerringly to the top of all of them. He also has a happy and stable family life.

    What would Gordon Brown do if he gave up politics, it is not so easy to imagine an fulfilled happy existence. How is it working out for Ken?

    Hague has some sage advice for David Miliband, “don’t try to be normal when you aren’t”. Hague thinks it is not a good thing for the PM and Foreign Secretary to be plotting against each other, and this should change for the health of the nation.

  67. I think I would like to let you know of the following.
    It was said by the Labour Party and the Conservatives raised NO OBJECTIONS whatsoever. So, are Labour saying the truth? If they are saying the truth, then I must say I could NEVER remain in the Conservative Party!!! Never ever, if Labour are saying the truth I make a decision!

    6th July 2008

    LGBT Labour was out in force at London Pride on 5 July. Our new red LGBT Labour whistles were a huge hit and our arrival was warmly welcomed by people annoyed by the presence of Boris Johnson shambling along at the front of the march.

    London Pride 2008 was a huge success for us. Having decided to do a promotional item, the red Labour whistles were more successful than we could have imagined, with crowds begging for them from the side. Our cheeky banners saying “Never Kissed a Tory” had to keep stopping to be photographed by enthusiastic supporters. And our placards remindng people that the Tories have never voted for equality measures in parliment and so will never deserve the votes of LGBT people was an important context on a march only spoiled by the presence of Tory homophobe Boris Johnson.

    While Johnson is the Mayor of London, it is a safe bet that hardly any of the thousands of Londoners out yesterday voted for him. We know his record as a supporter of Section 28 and someone who criticised Labour’s introduction of civil partnerships means he is not an amusing bumbler for us. Voters may have short memories but LGBT people will never forgive the Tories opposing every equality measure that Labour has introduced since we returned to government. He did not dar speak from the platform atTrafalgar Square so it was left to Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Minister for equalities to remind people that Tories most recently voted against fair access to IVF for lesbian couples and against Labour’s introduction of legal protection in using goods and services.

  68. Bris – if Labour are saying the truth I leave your Party. If nobody proves otherwise, I accept Labour are saying the truth. And subsequently leave the Conservative Party!

  69. Doreen, are you a man or a woman? And what are these LGBT Labour whistles that have “crowds begging for them”? Please may I have one? Sounds like they’d go down really well in Steeple Bumpstead.

  70. I just do not believe the polls that say more people would vote for the Labour Party if Gordon Brown left. These are probably the same people who were declaring that more people would vote for the Labour Party if Tony Blair left and everything would then be hunky dory.

    The Labour Government are collectively responsible for the dreadful state of crime, the stance we took on the war with Iraq, the National Health, the economy, our schools, the way immigration has not been monitored, they were all there all of the time. If they strongly disapproved of the decisions taken by the government, they should have resigned on principle. They all went along with it all, so it is no good trying to dump on Gordon Brown just because he has zero media appeal and a huge personality problem. The people of this country are not fools, and they just want the Labour Party to go.

  71. Yeah but quite a sizeable chunk of the voting population of this country aren’t that keen on the Conservative party either.

  72. Party 1 wants civil partnership legalized because it thinks people deserve the right to be committed to each other officially regardless what sex… Party 2 opposes, but the law is established. Party 1 says fox hunting is cruel and should be banned – Party 2 leader opposes strongly. Party 1 says, lil’ Darina should be able to go to the café with her mum and not have to smoke other people’s smoke there, so smoking indoors in public places should not be allowed so as to protect all lil’ Darina’s and their mates, but Party 2 leader, not even thinking of the lil’ kids, says “No, it shouldn’t really, maybe not so strongly…” Party 1 has the idea og NMW – fairer deal, 5.40 for an hours hard work, however, Party2 leader says “Noooooo! That can’t be done! People’s labour can’t be appreciated so much!” Party 1 has the idea of paternity leave – Party 2 says “Not a good idea…” (Not a good idea for fathers and their children to bond????) Party 1 says Lesbian couples should’ve IVF treatment and be able to adopt a child if they so wish, and if they will always put the child’s needs first and love and care for the child, Party 2 says 2 parents of the same sex that can harm a child’s development. Bollards, it’s hardly about gender for kids, all they care about is being loved, being important to their carers, have all their needs met… Party 1 cares about all, Party 2 just families, not marriages, civil partnership, not those who cannot live with others, it only cares about very few. That is the brutal truth. If you can’t see that then what can you all see… I would not leave a party for nothing. I have MOUNTAINS of evidence against the Conservative Party, my friend has been referred to as “your friend with the rubber lips” by the current mayor of London in may when we came from the Ribena festival… I felt like throwing my pie at him if it wasn’t for the sake of eating that lovely pie I would’ve thrown it right at him. 2 other girls also heard him saying what he did. They are Mary and someone else.
    I am a member of the Labour Party and so are most of my friends, those who aren’t are not members of any party but would vote Labour. And 2 of my friends are actively campaigning against the Conservatives using the evidence there is what the Conservatives don’t want everybody to know, they’re telling the public one thing and their trusted members another. Now, my friend has previously been in the Conservative Party and knows the secrets and has evidence, and she will be telling all the people she meets about them, should they show any interest in elections, politics, Labour or Conservatives. And I support her campaign, and so do many other people, even her shop.

  73. Jaq the Conservatives are 20% ahead in the polls, they would get a sizeable majority. It is only fair to call an election now. Let the people decide.

  74. Angela – let the people decide? If only they would – more people voted for Big Brother than in the last election for the government.

  75. Now I REALLY want one of those whistles. I can spend the day being lesbian / gay / bisexual / transgendered, bonding with children, having IVF, cuddling foxes and shouting at smokers – all for a minimum of £5.40 an hour. Sounds good to me.

    Incapacity benefit as well?

  76. Paul, do you want to go back to 1.20 an hour (todays prices: 1.38 an hour) and do you really think my 3 year old daughter should inhale other people’s smoke, and do you think LGBT people should not have the same rights as hetero sexual people, and do you think that fox hunting should be re-legalized – if so you need to be on the look out for a heart. No Conservatives ever have a heart. And I’m enjoying myself ripping their agenda apart. May they be in front by 20% for now, let’s see how it looks in a year, when I’m finished campaigning, when I release some great information, now, that’s when people realize that the Tories are hiding something, and they won’t like that, that’s because nobody wants to be conned. Do you want to pay for borrowing books and using PC’s in libraries – oh God, I forgot, you must be a toff who simply couldn’t care less. I’m a law student and I DO care! I bet you would never wanna bond with your children, Conservatives don’t bond with their offspring… I’ve seen it all, I know what’s going on, I’ve visited some Conservatives’ houses and seen it all for myself. I know how loveless the all are. I think your comment sounds totally ridiculous, sorry, but it just does.

  77. I’m already succeeding ripping your arguement apart, I’m looking forward to putting voters off Conservatives. I can be quite successful when it comes to that. You Tories are making such fools of yourselves and that without even realizing how obvious it is!

  78. Jaq, you say more people vote for BB than voted in the last election – I didn’t know that, but you must be right. It is the evils of spin that have caused the lack of faith in politicians. Alastair Campbell thought he was justified in blackening the names of people who opposed him, he believed the public could be fooled into accepting any version of events he chose to deliver and Tony Blair cravenly went along with this.

    However, in the last London Mayor’s election, the turnout was more than twice what it was in the previous election. Public interest was at a very high level, and that was due to the charisma and calibre of the two main candidates, but mostly Boris Johnson. That election was the greatest fun,because you had two candidates, both determined to win, giving it their absolute all, two candidates who could not have been more different in style and character, but each with a devoted band of supporters, who backed them to the hilt and fought to protect their reputations.

    David Cameron is also very popular. He campaigned non-stop in recent by-elections and Boris Johnson campaigned 7 days a week to be London Mayor.

    Boris Johnson is known to people who couldn’t give a damn about politics who hold him in affection and also admire and respect him. He has huge warmth and brilliant communications skills, he is sincere and has no desire to mislead. If he makes a mistake, as we all do, he apologises and puts it right at top speed, he knows how to bounce back and go on. He is generous to his opponents and never descends to sniping or nastiness.

    David Cameron is a totally new breed, brilliant intellect, but also feet on the ground, down to earth, sensible, does the cooking at home and takes an equal share of child rearing. On his holiday, he speeds reads huge piles of books, and asks his shadow ministers to read them too. Both these men make a point of talking straight and they are undoing the poinsonous effects of the spin of the Blair government.

    I believe that Boris Johnson and David Cameron are restoring the country’s faith in politicians, they do not talk down to us, or feel we must be spun a false facade. Cameron does not pretend the ills of our economy can be solved overnight, he refuses to promise tax breaks if he feels the country cannot afford them. Boris does not pretend the evils of knife crime can be sorted in a trice. Because of this, the evils of the lies of the last administration will eventually be forgotten. A larger portion of the electorate will become engaged in the national debate and there will be a much bigger turnout.

  79. Poor Franziska. Were you bullied at school? Or perhaps you had a nasty older brother who locked you in the broom cupboard.

    Your puerile twaddle reminds me that socialism is not so much a political system as a mental illness. It’s not too late to seek help, dear.

  80. This is for Boris toward happiness-oriented policies:

    White Collar: The American Middle Classes (1951) contends that bureaucracies have overwhelmed the individual city worker, robbing him or her of all independent thought and turning him into a sort of a robot that is oppressed but cheerful. He or she gets a salary, but becomes alienated from the world because of his or her inability to affect or change it. (Mills 1959)

  81. Sorry if this is in the wrong place, but Yaroo! Hooray! We won the third Test! The first win under KP’s reign! Angel face Stuart Broad took two wickets in S.A’s second innings and Flintoff won the match with a six! Don’t worry Michael Vaughn, you will be back, but I do like K.P’s panache, his brio, his brimming self confidence, he got brash man!

    OK back to more suitable subjects……

  82. Paul if you were bullied at school, it’s over now. I have no brothers, so you probably are the one with an older brother, my twin sister and I get along well, and I got her to join Labour! And as you don’t know me you couldn’t tell whether or not I’m ill, so I assume that again you go by your own circumstances and try and put them onto me like some kind of coat. That’s what useless Tories do, all the time, I’m used to it already. Whenever a Tory is losing an arguement, they get personally offensive and try and insult Labourites. That’s what all Tories do, I haven’t even got a problem with that because it shows that I’m the one who’s got the arguement. Conservatives = a very weak defense.

    Cameron and Johnson are assholes, both of them, they’re vermin. I read that both of them oppose the hunting ban, both of them don’t agree with the smoking ban (Darina, man… Darina!) and they only care about themselves and their (rich) British friends. My sister was in the Conservative Party, she left because they looked down on her for being half Danish, half Swedish. Having observed it for myself on one occasion, I can say with 100% certainty that she is not lying or exaggerating. If you’re British or Commonwealth, then the Conservatives care about you, but if you’re not, you’re absolutely snookered, and do they tell you – do they heck. Get in the party and find out, no problem. Get out the party, and the problems are all solved!
    Conservatism is the biggest problem of them all, whether we can get rid of that however is a different story.

  83. Franziska, I totally don’t agree with any point you make, but I am sorry that your sister felt badly treated.

    It is patently untrue that Cameron and Johnson only care about themselves, I can’t begin to put that one right.

    I am only half English myself, but have received great treatment from my local Conservative party, who thank me warmly when I help. I am sorry if you don’t feel cared about, that is not a good way to feel, but if you read these posts, I have only good things to say about Cameron and Boris Johnson.

  84. My sister isn’t any English, not even half.
    If you have good things to say about these evil two people, then it’s because you’ve got some British in you, and neither me nor my sister do, and that is why the Conservatives treated her like… *blimey* I mean they’d even ask for my sister not to attend the conference – my sister was a member, but not the kind they’d wanted her to be – no British in her. She’s gone – do you really blame her?
    These horrible Conservatives wanna try and remember the amount of viking blood in their own venes!!! *Jesus*, their argument is falling apart at the slightest push!

  85. You are totally wrong about the attitude of the Conservative party to peoples’ nationalities, but I am just sorry that you and your sister have had awful experiences.

  86. I am not wrong about how horrible, horrible the Conservatives were to my sister. I love her, she means the world to me, and the Conservatives do not deserve to treat someone like MY sister the way they did. I have seen their attitude, how can I be mistaken and my sister about what we saw?? Conservatives do not deserve someone like my sister so she left the party and joined us the ones that do deserve her, we treat everybody with respect.
    Regards, the Labour Party

  87. Franziska, I have some difficulty understanding you or your sister Alida. I must apologise for appearing to dismiss your posts but they do not make much sense to me.
    Discussions like this are normally conducted with reasoned argument and clear logic. Sadly I cannot even begin to unravel your thoughts, which seem to be driven by an emotional upset you have suffered.

    Who, for instance, is Darina? Your daughter? And who is insisting that she goes into a smokey cafe? For the record, Boris has only expressed the view that any smoking restrictions in pubs should be determined at local level by the landlord and/or local council. A great many people – smokers and non-smokers alike – who want to stop the drift towards a totalitatian state would agree with that. David Cameron has said that he supports the ban in public buildings. So which one of these is trying to hurt your three-year-old? (and I won’t even start on the point that every fit and healthy adult alive today was exposed to smokey rooms as a child with no ill effect).

    Where I become totally stuck is your claim that “all Tories (that’s nearly half the population by current reckoning) get personally offensive and try and insult Labourites”, followed by “Cameron and Johnson are assholes, both of them, they’re vermin”. See the irony, Franziska?

  88. Indeed. So you can taste some of your own. They are horrible. They just are. They can’t expect landlords to recognize children’s needs (how many children isn’t it who go and have a family meal and juice in my local pub on a sunny weekend in the garden or inside if the garden is full up) they are not responsible, there are politicians whose job it is to sort that out, that’s what they’re being paid for, and they’re not getting paid too bad so they can’t even moan. You tried to insult me as far as I remember. I have got no older brother nor any mental health issues, neither does my sis or anyone else in our family. You were very rude to make such assumptions and jump to conclusions. I would rather not have any discussions with you as you can’t articulate properly. No Tories can actually, so I just wanted to say what I knew and leave it at that it lead to you going personal showing what sort of lowlife Tories are so here we go, I’ve also passed it all onto the Labour Party for a long time ago they’ll even campaign using how Tories articulate, I don’t think you did your party any favours there. I dislike the Conservatives very intensely indeed. And there’s not even any law against that (yet).

  89. Comment by PaulD on August 11, 2008 @ 8:57 am
    Poor Franziska. Were you bullied at school? Or perhaps you had a nasty older brother who locked you in the broom cupboard.

    Your puerile twaddle reminds me that socialism is not so much a political system as a mental illness. It’s not too late to seek help, dear.

    That’s the best laugh I’ve had all day, thanks Paul, excellent.

    Franziska – you said “My sister isn’t any English, not even half. If you have good things to say about these evil two people, then it’s because you’ve got some British in you, and neither me nor my sister do, and that is why the Conservatives treated her like…” To call someone evil is very strong indeed, but to tar a political party with the same brush, a political party made up of individuals with a general but not specific commonality of political opinion is just stupid and if it were not so would be highly offensive without justification for each and every Conservative MP. As it is you simply offend all British people with your implied accusation of intolerance. I have had unfortunate boyfriends, teachers and bosses but I do not say that ALL men, teachers and bosses are therefore bad. I would, with respect, suggest you grew up a bit but your writing and grammar suggests someone very young indeed. However, if you are at university (you said you were a law student) then if this expansion of thought and mode of expression is the best you can do then the education system is indeed failing miserably.

  90. “…how many children isn’t it who go and have a family meal and juice in my local pub” (Franziska)

    Children? What are children doing in a pub? If you’re going to force them onto adult turf, you might as well give ’em something decent to drink like Greene King IPA.

  91. Jaq I did not say anything about all british! Would you please not make any false accusations? And the educational system is not failing, it’s your racism that strikes me as it’s probably obvious to you that my first (primary) language is Danish, and you’re having trouble putting up with us Vikings in your country. It’s hardly gonna make me feel bad though. If you think I’m stupid, you’re very much mistaken. Also how would you suggest people grow up twice? Just because I grew up in Denmark, and you didn’t doesn’t mean I should grow up once more in order to be having the same bad quality as you had. Good thing that people only grow up once. And I would like to ask you to leave me alone, please.

  92. Children like Fínn are taken to the pub by their mums, not mine, but some people’s I take my one to the café.

  93. Hope you don’t mind me logging in as my cousin – she’s Conservative!! because my email address doesn’t seem to work. I hope you can understand why when my email isn’t working – it’s me, Franziska, an I’m a Labourite.

  94. Franziska – I suggest you re-read your comments and if you want to be left alone then don’t make such remarks on a public weblog. Sit in a wardrobe, maybe..

  95. You could sit there – the best place for you really! Racist lowlife, that’s all you are. Worthless, racist, unexciting and useless like all of your Tory mates.

  96. Franziska – time to stop, huh?

    I want to say this as kindly as I can, but nobody is being racist except for you. And playing the race-card every time you run out of answers is not in itself the answer. It just trivializes the meaning of the word “racism”.

    I do actually have sympathy for some of the feelings you’ve expressed. I think it is hard to be in a country that is not your own and Europeans generally are not very well represented over here at all.

    Even among the anti-racism groups (mostly left-wing), there is a pecking order. And Europeans, including those from Eastern Europe, are way down on their list.

    But I don’t think that insulting people is acceptable, nor is it going to resolve any problems.

  97. No, I mean it, racism can be when you’re envious because someone grew up in a nicer country than you did and therefore you wish they’d start over again and grow up in a sh..hole instead. Also I’m not willing to go in a wardrobe. And don’t you ever make any false allegations against me again. If you died, that would solve 50 problems, and another 50 would be solved if jaq died. I just asked that worthless germ to leave me alone, not even that can it handle! I hate to say that I’ve actually even seen how much you Tiry shites hate us vikings, and even forget the amount of viking blood in your own venes! So, never make any more false allegations. You are also barred from all BHF shops, so you know that if you eneter one legal action will be taken.

  98. What if someone grew up in a nicer part of the country than me and I was jealous? Would that be racism? Or a nicer town, or a nicer village, or a nicer house…

    A lazy expression, Franziska. And I have to say it’s the first time I have heard of “racism” between Brits, Swedes and Danes – unless you wind back 1,100 years to Eric Bloodaxe.

  99. Eric Bloodaxe was homosexual, Paul. He was also a socialist and totally against clan leadership. He wasn’t averse to a little horn blowing so the stories go but that might be just legend. Perhaps you were thinking of his sister (or was that cousin? Hard to tell in a small community) Erica Bloodaxe was a ferocious little soul but being small that was understandable – small people often grow up to be resentful and spiteful.

    As for me I’ve often longed for tulips (we have canals and such like). I’ve romped over the wilds of Wales and Scotland longing for tulips (ok they’re mostly in Holland I guess but I can’t long for anything else as what you’ve never seen you’ve never missed unless you’ve heard the stories surounding Christopher Hitchens) Yes I’ve climbed the peaks and completely agreed with Austen, but there’s a little part of me, real tiny, that…. OK I’m lying – it’s living in a tent and eating dried reindeer meat I’m all misty-eyed over.

  100. Jaq, how dare you spread these rumours about Eric? Some of my best friends are axe murderers.

  101. Well, whatever Franziska’s comments, I’m sure she hasn’t been censored altogether, and I would like to pick up on some topics touched on above.

    And no, I have no intention of making generalised comments, but I have to admit that I find it difficult to stomach some of the stuff that’s been written in a couple of right-wing newspapers (apart from the gutter press).

    I’m giving 2 examples – the second is that of obvious racism, the first seems to be a question of kicking those already in a weak position.

    1) Evening Standard – on smoking
    The ES has written on the smoking issue, particularly in the time leading up to the ban. In one instance, it was the tone used that really bothered me – belittling smokers, portraying them as quite useless human beings (particularly in the work-place) and generally trying to demean them.

    I wrote to the ES at the time, complaining about the language that was being used, but needless to say, this wasn’t published. OK, maybe it wasn’t written well enough. However, no criticism at all was published, so my suspicion is that only one viewpoint was allowed at the time, while anything opposing that view was, in effect, censored.

    Both the language used and the censorship bothered me. It is NuLabour that is getting the blame for the smoking ban, but I don’t really think the fault lies totally in that corner.

    2) The Times – on the Poles
    A couple of weeks ago (26/7), there was a pretty nasty article written by Giles Coren in The Times about the Poles (“Two waves of immigration, Poles apart”), offensive in both content and tone.

    Thankfully, there also follows a whole list of comments in response, criticising the article – not just from Poles, but also many from English and Jewish people. But what I can’t understand is how The Times, which rates itself as a reputable paper, can descend to the level of The Sun and allow one of its columnists to write such idiocies – racist, inaccurate and just plain nasty. My conclusion is that The Times agrees with him and that really worries me.

    Now, there may be a lot of hostility towards the Poles at the moment because of the numbers coming over – and this should be discussed, as all immigration issues should be discussed – but it is no reason to condone blatant and inflammatory racism. Although The Times has been asked to apologise, I’m not aware that it has done so and, meanwhile, a lot of harm has been done.

    So, yes, I am finding certain aspects of the right wing disturbing. And there’s my moan…

  102. Lively debate folks! What saddens me reading some of the remarks made by ‘frank’ is that so many people think like this. That it’s okay to attack something you don’t agree with, or understand. By and large BJ has made some very good points. What I adore about him is he really does not evade a question, he answers it. Sadly not many like the answer when they’re in opposition parties to BJ’s Conservatives.
    David C is interesting as a leader, certainly he eclipses Brown without effort – the man he truly needs to eclipse is William Hague, for me, WH is a formidable man. If DC could capture just some of WH’s ability to debate he would blow away the opposition without trying.
    Ultimately Labour are the tax and spend nightmare – equally though, isn’t it time the rich got taxed more than the working class? Gordo Brown only seems to tax those his party claims to represent.

  103. Well, spot the elephant in the room. Even Michael Heseltine almost exploded with exasperation on some TV show when trying to make the point to a Labour representative about “ordinary people” being far worse off now (or something to that effect).

    Do you know, I sometimes think that the Tories would be better at helping the less well-off than Labour at the moment… But then I say to myself – “Control yourself. Don’t give way to these flights of fancy. They haven’t done you any good before, and they certainly won’t do now…”

    But yes, a fairer taxing system would be a step forward, I imagine.

  104. Helena, they WOULD be better than Labour in helping the less well off, because Gordon Brown has shown what an utter sham any Labour aspirations are in that direction. He may care to a point, but it all takes second to his personal aspirations.

    A male friend of mine was talking about why most of the country are so resentful and have so little sympathy for the drubbing Gordon Brown is getting at the moment. He thinks that people sense that democracy has been abused – Gordon was foisted on us without an election, and if we had known the full facts of what he was really like, as we do now, nobody would have wanted him in in a month of Sundays.

    If the Labour Party dare to do that again, and foist someone else on us without an immediate election, there will be even more resentment and, he thinks, Labour will be finished as a political party for decades. David Miliband take note.

  105. Boris, what is your weight in kilograms? Did you know that the original ideas for metric came from an English bishop? Stones come from ancient Babylon.

    It also sounds so old-fashioned to use stones for weight, and as I have never used stones, nor been taught about stones (I am 41 and lived in the UK all my life), I cannot comprehend what 15 stones means, other than a collection of small pebbles on the ground.

  106. Have some pity for Gordon. This is not all of his making, just a lot of it.
    The old adage says You can fool some of the people all of the time. You can fool most of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all the people all of the time.
    ADD to that You need to fool enough of the people enough of the time. When the time is up, exit stage left in a lively manner and if possible leave a luckless lad there to distract the audience.
    Sorry, Gordon, you have been had by a master.

  107. Boris you are a brilliant writer and i must say possess a very classical knowledge and style. It is a great pleasure to read your works.

  108. I really have to say thanks very much, because they were talking about this very subject in my politics class today and I was the only one who understood it due to reading Boris’s brilliant wee article prior. I never knew he could be so educational and informative. I’ll ring you up next time I have homework trouble lmao.

  109. Gordon bROWN: a man having been deserted by a coward when the going was gonna get tough. A man who couldn’t have been more unlucky. If my manager deserted me in a situation like that I would make sure they’d regret doing that. And why are we still paying for Mr Blair being guarded by police? Why can’t he afford his own bodyguard, like, someone private?

  110. What is needed is a modern Shakespeare to write about the Brown Tragedy. Overweening pride in his ability combined with genuine incompetence. I do think there might be a good line in selling distressed Gordon Brown Teddies to gullible tourists in Oxford street. Sarah Palin as Wonderwoman? I have penned a line if anyone would care to embellish it.
    “Methinks ’tis more a tragedy than fair governance”.

  111. As a confirmed conservative I was very upset to hear of the mayor’s involvement in the resignation of Sir Ian Blair.
    Our chief police officer is politically independent or he is not.
    Then I think of the desalinization plant that got the go ahead the day after Boris was elected (do we really need more water?), the South London Tram that seem’s to have been put on the back burner the bendy buses that will stay for 10 years or more and the congestion charge that seems to be and be and be, Oh no, we are going to have discussions on wether we should enlarge it or not.Methinks Boris is not really in charge of anything.

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