Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alistair Darling Knifes Brown in the Back

Bloomberg is carrying an astonishing interview given by Alistair Darling while on a trip to China. He's effectiovely attacked Gordon Brown and told him to "sharpen up" his act. We all know what happens when Prime Ministers and Chancellors fall out. The Bloomberg report states...

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government must "sharpen'' its political program and way of communicating to revive its popularity with British voters, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said. We have got to make sure that in other areas we sharpen ourselves up, that we have a clear message of what we are about," Darling said in an interview today in Chongqing, China. Darling is the most senior member of the Brown's ruling Labour Party to call for a change in tactics since opinion polls showed the administration's support slipping behind the Conservative opposition. Labour lawmakers including former Home Secretary David Blunkett and Greg Pope have questioned Brown's decision to raise taxes on the poorest wage earners. With house prices falling and mortgage lenders choking off loans to consumers, Conservatives are making inroads in undermining Brown's record on the economy.

"All governments and parties go through difficult patches," Darling said. "This is a time when we should remember why we stand for government, the purpose of being in government."

Quite an incredible thing to say, for the government's second most senior minister. Without realising it he has given the game away. They only want to be in power for power's sake, wiuthout the faintest idea of what to do with it.

Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne has been quick to stick the knife in...

“This is an unprecedented attack on the Prime Minister by his most senior cabinet colleague, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Even Gordon Brown never criticised Tony Blair in public. What started as anonymous briefings from backbenchers has now burst into the open with a public attack on Gordon Brown from the second most important person in the government. If the government is fighting itself, how can it fight for Britain?”

39 comments:

The Lughing Cavalier said...

These people should pause to consider that maybe the problem is that their message is getting across?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

He'll be talking about broken cricket bats next.

Unsworth said...

Well, Brown is going to give Darling a jolly good spanking when he gets back from kissing the Pope's ring and grovelling at the feet of the Wall Street Bankers.

I think they both might enjoy that...

Newmania said...

I gather Darling has started his memoirs with the intention of claiming he had nothing to do with it.
This is the problem for Brown.Now he is a fragmented Humpty Dumpty /Dead Man Walking ...why would anyone care what he thinks .

JP said...

"In office but not in power" springs to mind ...

Colleen said...

Perhaps being banned by almost all of the pubs in England is getting the public's angry message through to Darling in a way that nothing else could?

Darling, the Dirty Man Of Europe - as you are known by the Stansted protestors here in Harlow since, as transport Minister, you botched and fiddled the SERAS report on massive aviation expansion, refused us a meaningful consultation, effectively gave BAA the go ahead to make Stansted larger and more polluting than horrific Heathrow and to overfly our houses, making our lives hell:

Serve you right. You deserve all you get. Here in Harlow, we'll be cheering your demise from the roof tops.

Anonymous said...

Iain...On a completely different issue I felt that I must share the following with you...David Cairns the Nu Lab Scotland Office Minister (God knows why we need one following devolution)said ''Alex Salmond should get on with fulfilling manifesto promises''Unreal eh? ( Source-Aberdeen Press and Journal 16/4/08).
Martin

Anonymous said...

I think the badger faced one senses a coming cull....
Zorro
-

Chris Paul said...

What an extraordinary piece of pig-ignorant spin from GOO. Why have you repeated it?

The Chancellor did not say "Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government" now did he? He probably said simply "We".

And as for the non sequitor argument that the quote related later means it's power for power's sake. Now we know GOO is a perverse man who will twist words and figures well beyond reason as soon as blink.

But we expect better of Britain's leading political blogger Iain. As Ann Widdy might say: "Pull Your Socks Up"

Anonymous said...

"we should remember why we stand for government, the purpose of being in government"

Why the faux horror? What's the point in standing for government if you don't mean to achieve it.

If, indeed, he meant that power is an end in itself, he's only echoing what most of this think.

Chrome Diplomat said...

Hold on-
Darling is not saying they want to be in power for powers sake! Rather that they need to stick to their real beliefs and renew their political focus instead of what Brown is doing, which is trying to play politics (a game hes not very good at).
There is a difference between stating that the PM is screwing up but that the motives of the party are still the best ones with which to govern the country and simply saying 'we must cling to power at all costs'.
To suggest he is 'giving the game away' is intellectual dishonesty- and not very intellectual at that.

verity said...

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government must "sharpen'' its political program and way of communicating to revive its popularity with British voters, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said."

I'm surprised Bloomberg let this slide by. This government, for whom - what? - 20% of the electorate voted for has never been even notionall popular with the voters.

Not a sheep said...

Darling is not the second most important person in Gordon Brown's cabinet. Do you seriously think Gordon Brown has relinquished control of the Treasury? He is First Lord of the Treasury and Darling is his number two in that department. As to who is the second most important person in the cabinet; Gordon Brown has stuffed it full of such nonentities that it might actually be Jack Straw!

Adrian Yalland said...

Iain, to be fair, isn't Darling simply doing a 'mea culpa' act on behalf of the Government, saying in effect "look, we are not getting things right all the time, and and we need to try harder".

That seems a fair enough thing to say.

It isn't as if he is doing a Geoffery Howe or a Michael Hestletine.

I suspect this is a deliberate ploy and has been done with the full knowledge of Brown and his spinmeisters!

Semaj Mahgih said...

So far past their use by date it is not even funny.

Julian H said...

I don't find this "astonishing"; the quotations hardly match the hype of the so-called story. Minister of party doing badly in polls says they need to sharpen their political message. Big deal.

The 'government for the sake of it' part is more revealing. Labour have attempted to become (and partially succeeded in becoming) the new natural party of government. The Tories want their title back, hence we have two centrist, statist parties fighting over nothing. Butskellism Part Deux.

Anonymous said...

Was he hoping that as they were both on different continents to their home patch the message wouldn't be heard by Gordon ??

bofl said...

not my fault!
i wasn,t even there.
you can,t blame me!!

Our champagne commies are so interested in making the uk such a great country that they will verily knife each other in the back....
nice to see such commitment!

shame all the other parties are the same though..

dougal said...

Oh bless, Labour must not be criticised or possibly, vaguely, misinterpreted for political purposes, must it. Of course, when Labour do it to the Conservatives, well that's just honest, decent, doing what an Opposition is supposed to do, etc.

F'crying out loud, if Darling's got more than 3 brain cells, he must be rueing the day he agreed to take on the Chancellorship.

Colin said...

Can someone please explain what this bombastic fool with the comedy eyebrows is doing in China anyway, and how much his trip is costing (and how many taxpayers it takes to pay for it) ? Is he getting Prescott-like delusions of grandeur jetting round the world - like he actually has anything to say or do other than oiling his way up McBroon's a***

Darling Darling really is the worst 'Chancellor' we have had for some time (and when you include the lamentable Lamont, that is saying something). Put beside the worst, most ineffective Prime Minister in living memory, the Tories really couldn't wish for more. It's a perfect illustration of why the Tartan brigade should be kept permanently out of government - back to the Gorbals with the lot of them

Anonymous said...

Actually this is very serious,

For the second in command to openly criticise his captain in the presence of a foreign power (perhaps the greatest foreign power in the world today) is unprecedented.


Is it something to do with Gordon talking banking and financing in the USA when that is clearly Darling's job now?

Does Gordon not trust his chancellor, is he incapable of moving on and being a Prime Minister and not a bean counter?

bofl said...

it seems capt.darling is trying to get the chinese to invest in the uk.
A pity that all the rich labour supporters seem to be moving their own money offshore and our own companies do not wish to invest here and are also re-locating...

i do hope he doesnt give them another £50million bribe.

javelin said...

Political Pathologies goes like this

Bad story every month
Bad story every Week
Bad Story every Day
Bad story more than one a day
Bad stories constant and accepted

Self harm every month
Self harm every week
Self harm every day
Self harm more than one a day
Self harm constant and accepted

In fighting every month
In fighting every week

... so now we only have to wait for in fighting to become a constant and accepted

... then death

grex said...

trumpeter lanfried: certainly a few more broken mobile phones, if the stories are correct about Bosola hurling them round in a friteful bate are true.

Anonymous said...

o/t - but Labour's party political tonight was even worse than the last one. Complete with sinister soundtrack for the dark blue days of the Tory administration, followed by bright pink/red 11 years of Labour - up pops the cross of St George and the Union Jack. And lots and lots of lying statistics. All topped by a grinning Gordon. Truly vile.

lola said...

"We have got to make sure that in other areas we sharpen ourselves up, that we have a clear message of what we are about," Trouble is evryone knows what your lot are about - taxing the bejeesus out of us and spending the money badly. Why oh why do they say this? The game is up. There is no 'third way'. There's only tax and spend or not tax and spend. What a plonker

Anonymous said...

Verity the Illiterate - 'notionall'.

I don't know how you have got the nerve to criticise the grammar and spelling of other commentators.

Anonymous said...

I am oh oh so guilty. I voted for these people.Only once though. I thought they were the Labour Party. Now I realise I was only dreaming. I also realise that it no longer exists. Blooming strange world when the Conservative Party is the nearest thing to what I want a Labour Party to be.

Anonymous said...

Verity said...
"This government, for whom - what? - 20% of the electorate voted for ...."

Get your facts right. It was 22%. (35.3% of the votes - the Conservatives got only 33%).

tapestry said...

Bloomberg had it right - 'the sub-prime minister of the sub-prime economy'.

Labour voted for Lisbon and abandoned their referendum promise. Why do they think they are entitled to take any further part either in democracy or in Britain? They've voted to bring both to an end, and now have nowhere to go...

It's not only Gordon Brown. Apart from Gisela Stuart and Kate Hoey, who affected mild rebellion, the rest are fit only for the firing squad.

Why should the country be made to endure this hopelessness a second longer. Call for an election now.

Mark said...

woah, you are stretching it here Iain.

The chancellor just said Labour needs to get its act together - I think just about every cabinet minister has said the same thing in recent weeks and Brown has alluded to it too.

To launched an attack on Brown or 'stabbed him in the back' is disingenuous in the extreme.

Hope you sent your invoice off to CCHQ ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you decided yet whether Brown is shamelessly bailing out the banks in a shameful throwback to the 1970's, or shamelessly adopting the idea from Osborne in a shameful attempt to steal policies?

Roger Thornhill said...

"They only want to be in power for power's sake, wiuthout the faintest idea of what to do with it."

That is how I view Dave & Co. Power is their aim. The rest is just the means.

Anonymous said...

Gordon gave a video interview to TIME before leaving for America.

The interview was filmed in his house and away from all the Downing street PR Gurus. I am no fan of Gordon Brown but I have to say it is the most convincing and sincere interview he has done in a long time. You can even hear his children in the background and see a person passing by the window every now and then, and most importantly no FAKE smiles.

Moral of the story, sack your PR gurus Gordon and be your normal self, even this lifelong Tory was impressed.


Link to Gordon on Time.

The interview follows the advert.

Paddy Briggs said...

"All governments and parties go through difficult patches," Darling said. "This is a time when we should remember why we stand for government, the purpose of being in government."

Apart from the fact that he is stating the bleeding obvious what's not to like about this remark and why would the PM have a problem with it? He might have said the same thing himself - and probably has.

Anonymous said...

We're doomed!

dirty european socialist said...

The PM has never had a recession and has seen uneployment fall to ti;s lowest levels for 30 years. So what on earth do people see him as wrose than PM than Thatcher for Who had 2 recessions and record unemployment.

beachhutman in Beijing said...

The eyebrow git tells the scottish bastard to sharpen up? Pots, kettles?

Colin said...

Well, well. Twenty four hours later no-one could answer my innocent little question (posted yesterday, 7.16)about what 'Darling Darling' is doing in China anyway and at what expense. No surprise there then: no-one has any idea, there is no real purpose and the cost is so horrendous even little labour trolls are scared to say.

The fact is that this cack-handed chancellor is quite the worst in living memory (and considering some of the candidates, that's quite an achievement): he stands for nothing, believes in nothing and has nothing to say beyond what his neighbour tells him to say. (I'm quite convionced that Broon wrote most of the budget - it has echoes of his dull speech patterns in it.) I said in a previous post when the blessed Blair was still PM that whoever became Broon's chancellor would have to be a complete nonentity; and so it has come to pass.

Isn't it about time someone 'fessed up about this 'trip'? Go on trolls - tell us the truth for once in your miserable, lying, ridiculaous little lives.

And, incidentally, the idea that Darling is telling Broon to 'sharpen up' is so funny in itself that it defies parody.