Coffee House

Sketch: Gordon Brown resurfaces

15 January 2013

Gordon Brown lumbered back into parliament this evening to speak in an adjournment debate at 7.10 pm. Even before dinner he managed to look both over-fed and a bit exhausted. His thick dark hair has grown greyer and longer than when we last saw him barrelling out of Downing Street, in May 2010, having just blown the economy and the election.

He entered the chamber unaccompanied. When the speaker called him, he stood up in a little pool of empty space. Perhaps fellow MPs feared being sucked into the red dwarf of his extinct career. As he spoke, his mood seemed chastened. His rhetoric was noticeably muted and unshowy. But his pomposity remains undimmed.

‘I rise on behalf of myself,’ was his opening phrase. His cause was the loss-making Remploy factory in Fife whose disabled workers face redundancy if the government pursues its plan to close the unit.


Brown is fronting a trio of local interests which wants to rescue the business. For some reason he was cagey about the ‘marine product’ that Remploy manufactures. ‘Thirty thousand garments’, he said bashfully are being made every year and sold, ‘both in this continent and worldwide.’ Translation: the factory makes life-jackets and flogs them in Norway, Denmark and America.

As a number-cruncher Brown is peerless. He gnashed his way through the statistics and spat them out in a chewy cascade of hundreds, thousands and millions. Fixed costs, overheads, raw materials, insurance, payroll. He had it all pre-programmed into the mighty electro-chemical abacus that lurks beneath his greying scalp. He even did his favourite trick of announcing the same figures twice! Early on, he said that the factory’s losses of £1.6 million had recently shrunk to a more manageable £800,000. Later, when he repeated this fiscal trend, he hinted that it was a major economic breakthrough. The old knack of making bankruptcy sound like a new dawn for all mankind is still with him.

At one point he personalised the issue and betrayed a bat-squeak of emotion. For over thirty years, he said, he has been acquainted with the factory. ‘I know the workers personally’ he added and he commended them for accepting lower wages in the hope of saving their careers. But if they lose their jobs, he went on, with a sonorous quaver in his voice, ‘they will not work again.’ A deathly hush seemed to settle over him from somewhere. And his nearest colleagues shuffled a little further away.

To give him his due, he presented a compelling case with fluency and compassion. And the government will have to act on his advice or risk looking heartless, short-sighted or even vindictive.

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  • J Wright

    If JGBrown bel[eves this Scottish Remploy factory , as opposed to English ones which he closed , should remain open despite its £800K loss, then the remedy is in his own hands.14 of his £60,000 speeches would be all it takes.But like all socialists He is only interested in looting money from Hard Working Families.Perhaps his so called friend Tone the Magnificent would like to cough up the money from the £20m a year he makes. An interesting comparision of the value of the two men.Brown would be reduced to a laughing stock. Telemachus initial post was totally irrelevant to this matter.It would be a much better site, if Pollard still ran it.!!

  • llanystumdwy

    “I rise on behalf of myself” he supposedly said. Has this man ever done anything other than “on behalf of himself”? I don’t think so.

  • David Ossitt

    Have you all noticed that the boring reptilian troll telemachus has had the temerity to reply to a post of one of his betters, Whilelm 18 hours ago who was commenting on the sad mad bad Gordon Brown’s lack of attendance in the House of Commons.

    The troll starts his reply with the asinine comment:-

    “You cannot say he does not care and did not do our country good”

    The sad fact is that this mad man ruined almost everything that he touched, that he
    poisoned the well of British finance and he and his sidekick Blair destroyed and
    corrupted the civil service, demolishing what little trust the population had
    for politicians.

  • Gary Gimson

    The problem with this government is that it is not heartless enough. These loss-making factories need to be closed (and should have been years ago) or sold to the private sector. The fact that their workers may be disabled is totally immaterial.

  • salieri

    Here’s one man who can honestly say he has not lost his looks.

  • Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    It’s too soon. Let’s hope he disappears back into his sulk for another two years.

  • Jebediah

    Ah the destroyer surfaces. He should be in jail.

  • HJ777

    How I haven’t missed the idiot.

    He doesn’t ‘crunch’ numbers, he just spews them out trying to believe that they mean what he wants them to mean, and hoping that everyone else is as stupid.

  • AdemAljo

    Let us consider that ol’ Gordy Broon;
    Who made us all ‘rich’, the Scottish buffoon.
    He came to the house,
    Stood up and stood out,
    And continued to whistle the same tune.

  • Swiss Bob

    Mad and bitter.

    Exactly what he deserves.


      Exactly what he always was!

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    I don’t know how many time the Economy Wrecker has turned up in Parliament since the thinking element of the electorate kicked him out in 2010, but it seems to be less than 10.
    That’s £6,500 we’ve paid him per appearance…. + expenses of course. And for what…. so he can plead to keep open a factory which his own policies has condemned.
    He should have been charged with Malfeasance in Public Office – for taking a healthy economy and systematically running it off a cliff.

    • Wessex Man

      Unfortunately Boudicca, you are wrong this is his first appearance in the Commons since the 30th November 2011 and his expenses claim in this year is £127,197. No doubt telemachus will now post a comment about the great leader known Gordy on his wanted poster being the soul of prudence!

      In a strange way I suppose he is, given that the other wasters at Westminster make an average claim of £138,462, so there is something to be said for him to stay at home brooding saving us over £11,000!


        I’d like to know what he has been doing? Has he been holding surgeries every day? Or just going for long walks?

  • wrinkledweasel

    If I was disabled I would feel a bit humiliated by doing a subsidized job that is only one up from basket making. It all seems a bit 1950’s to me. But Gordon Brown does not live in the present, or this planet. Still, it would be nice if he really represented his consituency, rather than going off on vanity projects. After all, he is still a paid MP, isn’t he?


      I don’t see why these jobs should be subsidised? There is nothing wrong with making life-jackets. Other companies do it. The question is why Remploy cannot do it anywhere near profitably?

  • David Ossitt

    “To give him his due,”

    And what would that ‘due’ be?

    Nothing less than being tried in a court of law for his
    overwhelming ineptitude with the nations finances and when found guilty be
    given the same punishment that was handed down to Nicolae Ceaușescu.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Did you know that the Broon was the inspiration for the Groke in Tove Janssen’s Moomin books?

  • 2trueblue

    How much is Brown being paid for turning up on this occasion? Nice work if you can get it.

    • David Ossitt

      His £60,500 salary plus £137,000 expenses last year.

      • 2trueblue

        Thank you. I know really, but irritates me.

        • Andy

          As I say put the bugger on ‘piece rate’. I hardly think one appearance and a question warrants £60,500 and £137,000 expenses. Trains are not that expensive from Edinburgh.

  • HooksLaw

    Poor Gordon Brown, a total delusional. He might at least have expected some empathy on here.

    • Noa

      You can do humor Hooky, or at least drollery.

  • dalai guevara

    With a supposed display of pizzazz when dealing with ‘what was required at the time’, this cardboard cutout replica of Thatcher has also not been offered any further employment in a sector that was supposedly his strong point.

    Why perpetuate those myths then, who is still fooled?

  • Austin Barry

    “Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed. People talk sometimes of secret vices. There are no such things. If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids, the moulding of his hands even. ”

    The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde.

    • Noa

      I think of him as Dr Jekyll to Blair’s Mr Hyde.

      “With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and
      the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose
      partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that
      man is not truly one, but truly two.”

  • Wilhelm

    ”As a number-cruncher Brown is peerless.”

    Well, so is Rain man.

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      … and whose numbers are they?

  • Wilhelm
    • Austin Barry

      Gordon is very much alive.

      Can a face ever show so much corruption, such evil pleasures, such recondite pursuits?

  • Wilhelm

    Strange how Cyclops has surfaced all of a sudden after 3 years of not attending parliament, to speak on the poor disabled, to give us the impression he” cares.” The reality is, he’s trying to get a job at the World Bank, to rake in the money and line his own pockets, just like Blair.

    • telemachus

      You cannot say he does not care and did not do our country good

      This from his magnificent 2009 speech

      Because if anyone says that to fight doesn’t get you anywhere, that politics can’t make a difference, that all parties are the same, then look what we’ve achieved together since 1997: the winter fuel allowance, the shortest waiting times in history, crime down by a third, the creation of Surestart, the Cancer Guarantee, record results in schools, more students than ever, the Disability Discrimination Act, devolution, civil partnerships, peace in Northern Ireland, the social chapter, half a million children out of poverty, maternity pay, paternity leave, child benefit at record levels, the minimum wage, the ban on cluster bombs, the cancelling of debt, the trebling of aid, the first ever Climate Change Act; that’s the Britain we’ve been building together, that’s the change we choose.

      • AdemAljo

        With every atrocious reply you post on this blog, you convince me a little more each time that you are some sort of right-wing, trolling genius, Telemachus.

        Either that, or you are in fact Tony Blair.


          No, he is just a creepy disturbed person you would avoid in the real world. Which is why he spends so much time disrupting online communities.

          • Wessex Man

            Gordon Brown is a fine one to speak it was him who started the closures of the remploy factories in the first place, what an hypocrite!

        • Span Ows

          LOL! That’s what I was just thinking!

        • Colonel Mustard

          And they are all “replies”, carefully tagged to the top comment so as to get maximum visibility for the Labour party propaganda because he knows any comment made alone would gravitate to the bottom.

          Trolling, that’s all it is. Trolling for the Labour party at the Spectator. They should give him a weekly slot in the magazine. He would only have to write it once and they could just publish it every week.

          • Noa

            As a soft, perforated insert.

      • HJ777

        He does not care and he did our country no good.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Remind me again how devolution and ‘one nation’ work? How it is that English students pay fees in this ‘one nation’ whilst others don’t. Brown didn’t manage devolution for England though, did he, your genius who saved the world, who you eulogise in almost every post although you are not, supposedly, a member of the Labour party, despite your red rose avatar and your head up Ball’s backside, slurping, your other end on here breaking wind by comment.

      • Jebediah

        Morning you leech, hanging on to the most popular post to spout your lick spital dribble as usual.


          You have spotted the trolls technique!

      • Framer

        The Disability Discrimination Act was the work of the Conservatives and legislated by William Hague. Remember Nicholas Scott MP being shafted by his daughter over its supposed failings?

      • 2trueblue

        Child poverty actually grew during the 13yrs, the gap between rich and poor grew, youth employment grew. Millipede signed us up to unrealistic carbon emissions levels, set all the turbines in motion….. though they produce very little of use.

      • Andy

        ‘You cannot say he does not care and did not do our country good’

        You are a complete idiot, or possibly Tony Blair, but it amounts to much the same. Brown doesn’t care about the people he is supposed to represent or your moron of a friend would attend the House, which I might remind you he is bloody well paid to do. He should be put on piece rate !

        As to ‘do our country good’ all that vain glorious fool did was bankrupt it. As I keep saying he and Ed bollocks Balls should be hanged. And you along with ’em.

    • Airey Belvoir

      If you add up his salary and expenses for the past fourteen months, that was a hellishly expensive question.

  • alabenn

    The vileness of his mind is reflected in his face, one of the better photos of this man.

  • Span Ows

    resurfaced? Push him back under, with concrete boots.

    • telemachus

      Gladly we will see his economic genius reincarnated to our benefit in 2015 when the charismatic one enters No 11

      • Span Ows

        Even Labour members and voters don’t think this so what does that make you?


          It makes him a troll, paid to cause trouble.

  • Sally Chatterjee

    It’s touching to see him in parliament. But the factory staff must now be terrified given he’s more Jimmy Savile than Midas when it comes to touching things. Whether it’s the economy or just this factory, I fear Brown’s support could prove ruinous.


    I note this…

    Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, was shown around the Frontline Performance Textiles factory by manager Gordon Reid. The factory manufactures protective suits for the Ministry of Defence and has recently won a contract worth £14.75 million to produce ‘Quick Don’ personal protective equipment for the police.

    How is the factory operating at such a loss if it is gaining access to such large contracts? Surely it is not quoting the appropriate price? Or is failing to manage costs?

    Gordon Brown also stated that the factory was operating at a deficit of £20,000 per employee. That is surely unsustainable in any context. If a company were offered a £14.75 million contract could it fulfill it profitably in Cowdenbeath? Is the problem with Remploy or with something else? If this factory gets money to support an unsupportable business then what of all the other manufacturing plants employing older people who are unlikely to work again? I am sure that some of them would like a £14.75 million contract.

    • Justathought

      Off course it’s a profitable contract…until the misery professionals have taken their slice, and no doubt what’s left is just enough for minimum wages for the disabled workers.

      • Chris lancashire

        What an utterly crass, uninformed comment. You are, of course, privy to the contract price, the slice taken by these “misery professionals(??)” and the factory’s fixed and variable costs?

        • Justathought

          Yes the records are public and available.

          • Chris lancashire

            In that case you’ll be able to give us the odd figure or so won’t you?


              He’s already given you the summary. The bare facts are – very large contracts and very large losses. Something is not being managed well.

  • Justathought

    Most disabled people prefer not to be patronised as being “special needs” and they say good riddance to a world of separation and hello to an integrated world of equality and access.

    Sadly Remploy harks back to an era of factories for disabled workers, separate from the general workforce, reenforcing the stereotype of the ‘needy’. Brown’s intervention is just an example how as a politician he has enjoyed individual freedom as a disabled person but doesn’t quite understand how other disabled people are done a disservice by well meaning organisations (who genuinely believe the are promoting the needs of disabled workers) and politicians who are all too happy to jump on the disability bandwagon hoping for a halo and saintly radiance when they speak.

  • jsfl

    Ah poor Lloyd you’ve missed him haven’t you? I still think we should have dumped him on a rock that is part of the South Sandwich Islands when we kicked him out of Downing Street

    • HooksLaw

      Far too generous.

  • Wyrdtimes

    29 Remply factories were closed in 2008 – where was Brown then? So very typical of Brown that he’s only bothered because this factory is in his own constituency.

    • telemachus

      come on
      In 2008 Brown saved the world banking system from the economic collapse triggered in the US
      Draconian fiscal measures were necessary here too
      He then engineered a return to growth that Osborne switched off

      • Chris lancashire

        Time for your medication son.

      • 2trueblue

        How does the last bit work? When did he engineer the return to growth? He mortgaged the grandchildrens pocket money and we are living his vision……broke.

        • Wessex Man

          telemachus you and Brown should be restrained together in a dark room.

          • 2trueblue


            • Wessex Man

              so they can bore each other rather than me.

              • 2trueblue

                Oh dear, I am so cut up.


                  we all are.

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there. Defence Chiefs complained that Brown only ever showed interest in military matters, or even turned up for meetings, when his constituency was involved. Even then he spent his time talking loudly with Balls and cold-shouldering everyone else in the room.

  • Noa


    I could have lent you mine, but your hatchet was more than adequate for the task.

    Hang the scalp on your belt. Job done.

  • Teacher

    You know you’re desperate when you’re being defended by….

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