Coffee House

The attack that Labour fears

28 January 2009

This article in today’s FT is an intriguing addendum to my post yesterday about Labour accepting the "headless chicken" charge.  It points out that Gordon Brown has now been "warned by Labour ministers and MPs to stop churning out initiatives to tackle the recession".  And then goes on to describe an "anxious" parliamentary meeting of Labour MPs on Monday night, where one backbencher lamented Brown’s "blizzard" of initiatives.

Increasingly, it seems like Labour fear the "headless chicken" attack more than the Tories fear the "do nothing" counter.  The political tides certainly favour the Tories here – the "do nothing" tag was always disingenuous, and would become less effective as Team Cameron developed its response to the economic crisis.  Whilst the Governemnt’s always going to struggle to combat a recession this deep, effective policies or no’.  Indeed, the war of words epitomises Labour’s overall position: Mandelson’s very best efforts may win them some short-term gain, but the long-term fundamentals are set stubbornly, implacably, against them.

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  • Hysteria

    but culpability Brown may only resonate with those who recognise the play on words – I would wager a lot of the target voter will not get the something a bit simpler perhaps – God knows this forum has suggested a number of ideas!!

  • Ray

    Willy Trout – ‘Culpability Brown’: now there’s a wicked slogan for the Conservative Party to run with.

  • Polly and Alice’s mum

    Wily ttrout: Yes, culpability Brown has my vote (the name, not the man). It just abbout sums him up.
    (sorry about the typos, the laptop is about to expire – like old culpability himself, I do so hope!)

  • Wily Trout

    Derek Green:
    ..or, ‘culpability Brown’?

  • Austin Barry

    What drives Brown is hidden beneath his carapace and is, I believe, primeval and tortured. Its roots are not in the dreary manse of his childhood or Edinburgh’s academia but stem from the sun-bleached clapboard houses and long curving beaches of Cape Cod. And this dichotomy between what he is and the public face he presents will, inevitably, result in madness with dire consequences for us all. Time for him to go. For his good and ours.

  • Verity

    Brown learned from the master of carny barkers, Tony Blair, with his “eye-catching initiatives”. This has long been discredited – in fact, it was always a source of public merriment – and that Gordon Brown is using it as a template for his own survival gives us yet another demonstration of how stupid and tone deaf this individual is.

    Hawkeye – Ha ha ha ha!

    Drake’s Drum – it would be champagne-worthy to see him lose his seat, but I understand that his family basically owns the town. There would probably be repercussions for tenants, etc. Brown is nothing if not spiteful.

  • Nicholas

    This campaign may be of interest to Coffee Housers. It does not imply support for Cameron, but is just against the threat of a Labour fourth term:-

  • chris gilmour

    So Labour ministers would prefer it if Gordon had the ‘Do nothing’ tag?

  • Derek Green

    The sheer incompetence of Brown is now quite clear. He should be called “incapability Brown”.

  • Ivy Eileen

    Givrnup’s recital of the man’s C.V. is frightening ………. but the real tragedy (for us, that is) is beautifully expressed by Bryan Forbes in last week’s Spectator (Diary, first section).

  • givrnup

    Quetion : if Gordon had a safe job as teacher at tech college, while he completed his Phd…what triggered them to part company with him before his Phd was finished?

  • Paul B

    Brown is just wrong, period.He is wrong on everything. Even on something as trivial as his choice of ties is wrong. He has no style. If he says the sun is going to shine tomorrow, buy an umbrella. If he says Denman will win, place your money on Kauto Star. The man is risible and incompetent. His own side are beginning to realise this. He is not even well meaning. Hes a bore and a bully. We need the ghost of Shakespeare to put to poetry the tragedy that is Brown. DC (wrongly imo) led his side in applauding Blair on his final PMQs. When Brown goes, I hope he leads his troops in hysterical whoops of joy,glee and pleasure that the clunking fist is no more.

  • Oor Willie

    Austin Barry at 9.24 am

    Who is this Darling person you are referring to? So far as I can see the “Government” consists of Brown and Mandelson.
    I have not heard of anyone called Darling for ages. Was he important?

  • drakes drum

    I just hope he loses his seat. I cannot think that there are enough fools in his constituency to actually vote for him!

  • Sally Chatterjee

    Yes, policy has Mandelson and Campbell all over it: you announce something every day to give the illusion of activity. You even re-announce things, as Mandelson did yesterday, reheating news of existing EU aid plans to pad out his package.

    Sadly there is little focus on results because ministers are too busy drafting tomorrow’s press release to actually check whether something has worked. This explains the flood of legislation (“we’ve taken action”) in recent years, when simple enforcement of existing laws would have been enough.

  • stephendc

    Labour continues to track personal financial expectations in the polls.

    The real question is what happens when the latter starts to recover? Has Labour had its ERM moment or has the good 6 months gordon has enjoyed ensured he will do a Major92 like recovery with the economy

  • givrnup

    CV:degree 1972,stayed on 10years @ Ed. Uni. (till 75 as `convener uni. court…honest)then tech college teacher (76-80)worked in editing deparment for Scot.TV while completing PHD (81-82)83 elected as seat.. (having lost in election79)IN SUMARY.FROM SCHOOL TO POLITICS!(briefly few safe jobs which allowed him time off to get Phd)

  • RW

    Do headless chickens normally churn out initiatives, or just wander blindly round in circles making vague gurgling noises until they fall over and shuffle off this mortal coil? I reckon Brown’s now reaching the latter stage.

    He would be nothing without the blizzard of initiatives. It’s his only way of assuaging his deep insecurity and proving to himself that he is still a Man of Action, a strong Prime Minister taking the vital long-term decisions, etc, etc. It’s also part of his personal War on the hated Tories who dare to criticise him, something he finds intolerable. So he gets up every morning, believes six impossible things before breakfast and then announces them as Difficult but Right Choices for the Long-term. And then forgets about them (when was the last time a Brown initiative was ever properly implemented?) and scurries onwards to the next flurry of ill-judged, self-serving rhetoric.

    Man’s a charlatan with severe psychological deficiencies.

  • Hawkeye

    @Austin Barry said: “Gordon should do what he did for years”

    I agree – he should sit on the opposition benches for a couple more decades. He was good at that and did not screw it up.

    Better for him, better for us.

  • kinglear

    The problem goes much deeper – there never has been a coherent policy or principle, so now there is a problem they don’t have any “moral compass” ( HA!) to show them where to go. Liebore is exactly that, despite saying Cameron was all style and no substance, it is now plain that it is entirely the other way around, with Labour lacking anything beyond a spin machine, which is fast approaching critical speed to self destruct.

  • David Bouvier

    Cluck, cluck, chop.

  • Austin Barry

    Gordon’s hyperkinesia is bad for him and bad for us. His prancing with Darling around the cemetery of the UK economy like Burke and Hare is pointless. Gordon should do what he did for years: remain inert, enigmatic and exude gravitas like ectoplasm.

  • Ray

    Brown reminds one of the clueless passenger who – as in all the best ‘Airport’ movies – is suddenly thrust in front of the controls of a Boeing 747 and told to land it safely, bodging and yanking all the switches and levers on the dashboard in the hope that something – anything – will drop the uncarriage and plonk the plane back on the runway.

  • TrevorsDen

    Your final sentence is the real point.

    Mandelson has been brought back to spin the govts position – it has nothing to do with being a competent minister working for the benefit of the economy.

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