The New Boss


So at last the interminable interregnum is over, bar the send-off for Tony Blair on Wednesday. Gordon Brown is now leader of the Labour party and will be Prime Minister in a couple of days. Harriet Harman has narrowly won the contest for Deputy Party Leader and will be Party Chairman but, interestingly, not Deputy Prime Minister. Plenty of people are now speculating what the new cabinet will look like. Hopefully we will be treated to a purge of remaining ultra-Blairites from any position where they can do further damage.

After preventing Britain from acquiring the human rights enjoyed by the rest of Europe in the EU summit, Blair has one final insult for us. He might be leaving Downing Street, but he's hanging on to Chequers. He's "homeless" apparently. While he's earning rent from his four million pound London home, we are expected to house him at the Prime Minister's country residence (I guess residences of Cliff Richard, Robin Gibb and Prince Girolamo Strozzi were otherwise engaged now that Blair's no longer the Prime Minister). This is either Gordon Brown demonstrating his magnanimity after revelations emerged of Blair's plans to sack Gordon after the last election, or he's just succumbing to pressure from the Blair's who can't let go.

It's still too early to say if Brown's premiership will be substantially different from Blair's but I think the honeymoon period Labour is currently enjoying will be brief unless Brown makes some impressive changes. I'm yet to be convinced there will be any significant change in direction. Just look at the similarities in Blair and Brown's rhetoric at the start of their tenures:

Tony Blair 1997

"We wish to change politics itself, to bridge the gap between governed and government and to try to address the deep seated and damaging disaffection with politics which has grown up in recent years." - 14 May, Speech to Charter 88

"It will be a government that seeks to restore trust in politics in this country." - 2 May, Blair's first speech in Downing Street


Gordon Brown 2007

"One of my first acts as Prime Minister would be to restore power to Parliament, in order to rebuild trust in the British people in our democracy. Government must be more open and accountable to Parliament."


"To build trust in our democracy, I'm sure we need a more open form of dialogue with citizens and politicians to genuinely talk about problems and solutions. "It is about a different type of politics, a more open and honest dialogue," he said.


However, there do seem to be some welcome signs of encouraging developments. Gordon Brown has announced an intention to reverse Tony Blair's ban on demonstrating without permission outside Parliament which has been so ridiculed by the Mass Lone Demonstrations. There is also mounting pressure to hold inquiries into the Iraq war and the July 7 London Bombings. And the long-overdue departure of Lord Goldsmith might mean a shake-up of the role for any future attorney general in the light of his advice on the legality of the Iraq war, the conflict of interest in the cash for honours scandal and the decision to halt the SFO investigation into BAE. Addressing those issues will go some way to restoring a little faith in British politics but they are very small steps. We are also hearing rumours of an early General Election. This new commitment to democracy glosses over the highly undemocratic way Brown won the leadership. I also wonder if Labour can afford to fight an early General Election with the party being so in debt, but Brown may well realise that an early election while he is still riding high on the unpopularity of Blair is his best shot.

On the other hand, New Labour 'reforms' in public services will continue, as will the British presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Brown still seems committed to the idea of imposing ID cards on us. There may be a slight cooling of the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Bush administration but I doubt it will be enough to make much of a difference to either Britain or America although how Gordon performs on the international stage will be interesting to watch. The good thing is that Blair is so unpopular and discredited that it can only help Brown to distance himself as much as possible from him, and the party will probably follow. Unfortunately he's probably unwilling and unable to be radically different, but I think it would be very difficult for him to be even worse than Blair if that's any consolation.

Blair will soon be gone. yet

Blair will soon be gone. yet the Labour Party still hasn't faced up to the key issues of the Iraq debacle: what is the Labour Party's position on international law and on the "special relationship" with the USA? It's hardly surprising that the Labour Party hasn't faced up to these issues. It bought into the idea that the "special relationship" is more important than international law fairly recently, and these are issues that the whole of the UK political class finds difficult. Blair represents a world view that is now out of date (that Britain should "punch above its weight" in international affairs by blindl;y following the USA) but a new world view is still struggling to be born.

Re his use of Chequers,

Re his use of Chequers, perhaps this is what Brown means by "affordable housing". We should have some sympathy for the man Blair: he's not used to having to pay for accommodation – or anything else - either at home or on holiday. And since we've just funded a jobseekers' world tour for him and his entourage, we might as well pay for his retirement home too.

One imagines his meeting with the Pope was to try to negotiate an opt-out from the Confession, should he convert. "Father, I have sinned. I lied to the British people, and to parliament..."

Blair 'homeless'? How many

Blair 'homeless'? How many does he need, then?  His pad in London isn't finished yet - why can't he camp out in the garden then?   Maybe he'd learn what it is to have to do so permanently.  Then again, I thought they had a couple of  flats in Bristol or something.  I could always rent my place out to him if he's really stuck.  These people -  the more they get the more they want.

It was nice of Tony to grant the Pope an audience.  I'll bet the Pope felt honoured.  Such a shame that he coudn't grant absolution for all the wrongdoing.  Guess Tony's going to have to go over the Pope's head on this one.  Mind you, he's often talked about his personal relationship with the Almighty (and no, that's not Ms Booth, either).   I rather get the impression that he's got the upper hand there...

ID cards?  Personally I

ID cards?  Personally I have no objection to carrying an ID card - but I do feel that if they are to be compulsory, they should be issued free of charge.  We should not be expected to pay for a document which is not optional.

From the Independent

From the Independent article;
"Allies of the Prime Minister accused the Chancellor of being paranoid and obsessive."
Best joke I have seen in weeks ;-)

Are you going to get fooled

Are you going to get fooled again?

I fear so.

Harriet's already lying: Day

Harriet's already lying:

Day 1 after her election and Harriet Harman is already lying shamelessly through her teeth. On the Today programme she blatantly denied saying that Labour should apologize for the Iraq catastrofuck, despite her saying it on taped record in front of Paxman.

I remember being patronised by her when I was a student nurse in London in the late 1980s. What a hard job we had, how much better the Health Service would be when Labour got in, we'll look after you etc, etc. She practically patted us on the head. She's continued lying for the subsequent 20 years.

An idiot could have seen that there were no WMD in Iraq; yet she expects us to respect her judgement. She'll revert to supporting Trident and there'll be lots of guff about "our brave troops" and "finishing the job" now she's conned the moronic Labour left who still believe they have any influence in New Labour.


However, there do seem to be

However, there do seem to be some welcome signs of encouraging developments.

Not from where I'm sitting. Those who remained in Labour waiting for Blair to go and a new outlook for the party with a new leader are going to be sorely disappointed.
The only reason he said demos could take place was because it is not his face on the banner, as the war is so clearly defined as Blair's.

Who signed the cheques for the carnage in Iraq? Any UK  involvement had to involve Brown closely in the decision making process as Baroness Morgan said last week on Today. He, as Chancellor decided to do it on the cheap, under-resourcing our troops. Every daisy-cutter used was paid for by brown.

Who recently said he wants to revisit 90 day detention?
Who sold off the NHS to the lowest bidder?
Who sold our schools (and school fields)?
Who stole the pension fund?
Who is a staunch pro-american?
He'll be no better.