Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’

IMAGE Inom Labour är Tony Blair numera näst intill hatad. Det är lite märkligt med tanke på att han är partiets mest framgångsrika premiärminister.

William Hague and Tony Blair

Han står idag i bjärt kontrast till sina efterföljare på partiledarposten. Vare sig Gordon Brown eller Ed Miliband lyckades leva upp till förväntningarna.

William Hague, tidigare partiledare (1997-2001) för Conservative Party, förklarar i The Telegraph hur det var att ha honom som huvudmotståndare och vad det var som gjorde Blair så framgångsrik.

Det är svårt att se den nyvalde partiledaren Jeremy Corbyn kommer att ta någon notis om Hagues lärdomar.

In late 1997, having rather rashly taken on the job of Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I discussed with the new prime minister, Tony Blair, which of us had the most difficult job. “You have,” he said, without a moment’s doubt.

Blair was right. And that job was doubly more difficult because it was one pitched every day against him, the most formidable electoral opponent the Conservative Party has faced in its entire history. Before him, Labour had only twice since its foundation won a decisive majority; with him it did so three times in a row.

Although he is despised in Labour’s current leadership election, Blair was a Tory leader’s worst nightmare: appealing to the swing voter and reassuring to the Right-leaning, it was hard to find a square on the political chessboard on which he did not already sit. When people told me I did well at Prime Minister’s Questions, I knew I had to, since I had very little else going for me at all – I had to raise the morale of Conservatives each Wednesday to get them through the frustration and impotence of every other day of the week.

Blair courted business leaders and Right-wing newspapers, often to great effect. He was a Labour leader who loved being thought to be a secret Tory, a pro-European who was fanatical in support for the United States, a big spender who kept income taxes down, an Anglican who let it be known he wanted to be a Catholic and regularly read the Koran. He could be tough or soft or determined or flexible as necessary and shed tears if needed, seemingly at will. To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.

This was the human election-winning machine against which some of us dashed ourselves, making the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a promising manoeuvre by comparison. Yet now, only eight years after he left the scene he dominated, his party’s election is conducted with scorn for the most successful leader they ever had.

Bild: Utrikesminister William Hague och Tony Blair 2010.  Foto från The Office of Tony Blair

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William Hague Manchester Evening News

I was one of the first people into Downing Street the night the government changed. It was striking how it was set up in there for communications, not for decision-making. That was, sadly, the story of the Gordon Brown administration; it ended up with neither good communications nor good decision-making.

– Utrikesminister William Hague, Total Politics, oktober 2013

Bild: Manchester Evening News

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POLITIK | Newsweek har publicerat ett bearbetat utdrag från David Folkenfliks bok Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.

Newsweek 28 okt - 4 nov 2013

Där blir det tydligt hur insyltad Rupert Murdochs medieimperium News International är med den politiska världen. En av dessa nyckelfigurer – och Murdochs skyddsling – är Rebekah Brooks.

Många politikerna har varit rädda för att stöta sig med tidningarna som lätt kan användas för att bedriva negativa kampanja mot både politiker och partier.

Uppgifter som dykt upp i efterdyningarna av avslöjanden om journalisternas avlyssning av personer i offentligheten, men även av privatpersoner, visar att oavsett vem som sitter i 10 Downing Street har alla strävat efter att ställa in sig hos Murdoch.

Det var först efter Murdoch och Brooks var skadeskjutna som politikerna vågade ge igen för gammal ost.

Several lawmakers with the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media, and Sport told reporters they decided against compelling her testimony in part because Murdoch had privately warned that her papers might retaliate by investigating their personal lives.


Brooks and [hennes första man Ross] Kemp favored Tony Blair’s New Labour, and she befriended Prime Minister Blair, his wife Cherie, and Blair’s close friend and fierce rival Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah. Brooks and Kemp split after Kemp’s confession of marital infidelity, and Brooks took up with Charlie Brooks, an Eton classmate of the leader of the opposition, the Conservative David Cameron.

The Brooks rented homes on the grounds of Blenheim, the Churchill family’s estate, and Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, where they dined with Cameron and other leading Tory and media figures, including James and Elisabeth Murdoch. Charlie Brooks raised horses, and soon Rebekah was riding too. In one text to Brooks, Cameron wrote, “The horse CB put me on – fast unpredictable and hard to control – but fun.”

In the wake of a key address by Cameron, Brooks cheered him on: “Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love working together.” Later, Brooks tutored the prime minister in the protocol of their modern communiqués. “Occasionally, he would sign them off, LOL—‘Lots of love,’ ” she said, “until I told him it meant ‘laugh out loud.’ ”

In August 2008 Cameron flew on the private plane of Elisabeth’s husband, Matthew Freud, a London public relations executive, to the Greek isle of Santorini and met on his yacht with Murdoch and his inner circle.

Cameron attended Brooks’s June 2009 wedding. So did the prime minister, Brown. A month later, the Murdochs elevated her to become CEO of News International.


On July 8, 2011 [Cameron] announced investigations into hacking by police and MPs, and a broad-ranging inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press.

“Because party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers, we turned a blind eye to the need to sort [out] this issue,” Cameron said. “The people in power knew things weren’t right. But they didn’t do enough quickly enough – until the full mess of the situation was revealed.” Cameron said if he were in Murdoch’s position, he would have accepted Brooks’s resignation.


[Gordon] Brown declared The Sunday Times had misrepresented itself to obtain his private financial records. There were suggestions the Sun paid hospital workers to secure documents confirming his infant son had cystic fibrosis. He said he had been punished for challenging the company’s plans for consolidation.

The scandal, Brown said, was “not the misconduct of a few rogues or a few freelancers but, I have to say, lawbreaking often on an industrial scale, at its worst dependent on links with the British criminal underworld.”


By February last year, News International’s containment strategy had crumbled. The effort to contain scrutiny to a single reporter and investigator had failed. So had attempts to limit attention to a single newspaper and to protect Rebekah Brooks. Anyone without the last name Murdoch was expendable.

In mid-February, police arrested nine Sun reporters and editors on suspicion of having bribed a breathtaking array of government and law enforcement officials. On February 27, the Leveson judicial inquiry released emails from 2006 suggesting Rebekah Brooks knew Glenn Mulcaire had been paid more than 1 million pounds to hack into cell phones for News of the World. Two days later, James Murdoch resigned from News International.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 28 oktober-4 november 2013.

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LONDON: David Camerons regering har antagit en sträng sparbudget samtidigt som man nu inleder ett omfattande arbete med att decentralisera makten och reformera landets hälso- och sjukvård och skolor.

Om han kommer att lyckas är ännu för tidigt att säga. The Economist har tittat premiärministerns reformförslag.

Of all the politicians elected to high office in the West in the past few years, David Cameron seemed the least revolutionary. […]

Yet within its first 100 days the Con-Lib coalition has emerged as a radical force. For the first time since Margaret Thatcher handbagged the world in 1979, Britain looks like the West’s test-tube (see article). It is daring again—not always in a good way but in one that is likely to be instructive to more timid souls, not least Mr Obama and his Republican foes. […]

Indeed, if there is a spiritual godfather of Britain’s punk politicians, it is that old Celtic headbanger, Gordon Brown. If he had not trashed the government’s finances before the recession, Mr Cameron, who back then was muttering about “sharing the proceeds of growth”, might have had a “muddling through” alternative.

Läs mer: En artikel om de ”sociala entreprenörer” som har inspirerat 10 Downing Street.

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LEDARSKAP: Kampen om vem som skall bli Labours nästa partiledare är i full gång.

Men Peter Mandelsons politiska memoarer The Third Man fortsätter att ställa till det för Labour.

Patrick Wintour som är ”political editor” i The Guardian skriver i The Spectator:

”Most vendettas, at least in Sicilian legend, are accompanied by omertà, a belief that it is shameful to betray your worst enemies even if it would benefit your cause. New Labour has long felt at ease with the vendetta, but has struggled with the concept of omertà. The Mandelson memoirs, the Blair memoirs, the [Alastair] Campbell diaries, the [Robin] Cook diaries, the [David] Blunkett diaries, the Deborah Mattinson assessment, the [Andrew] Rawnsley confessionals, the New Labour literature and score-settling would make even the most capacious Kindle fuse at their sheer volume. […]

The book is published at a critical time for Labour, when the party is in the middle of a leadership contest that appears to be going nowhere. For years, Labour figures have been calling for a healthy discussion about the party’s values, policy, organisation and direction. […]

Many inside Labour have been dismayed at the quality of the leadership debate. As one party adviser put it to me: ‘We have waited all these years, and it has turned into a contest to see who can get onto Twitter first to denounce the government. They don’t sit there thinking, they sit there texting.’ The rest of the time, the candidates haul themselves around the country in a hustings format designed to minimise clarity and maximise entertainment. Like some repertory theatre company locked in a bad production, they can recite each other’s indifferent lines in their sleep, acutely aware they are not heading for the West End.”

Och Trevor Kavanagh, kolumnist i The Sun fyller på i The Spectator.

So why didn’t the Labour party take the course pursued with devastating efficiency last month by the Australian Labor party and put their leader out of his misery? Why did it not save the country from Brown? Mandelson’s memoirs make clear that the country was the last thing on ministers’ minds. Their mission was all about self-preservation, keeping Labour in power, stopping the Tories at any cost — even the cost of economic stability. Mandelson even quotes Blair to this effect. ‘It’s not about loyalty to one man. It’s about loyalty to the party. It’s about saving the party.’ No mention of the national interest here.

David Miliband, described correctly by Blair as ‘not perfect’, denies it was lack of courage that stopped him challenging Brown two years ago. He tells Mandelson he held back because a change of leadership would have forced Labour into an early election. Consider the rationale. Having chucked out one Prime Minister, the last thing Labour’s high command wanted was for voters to have a say on his unelected successor. […]

Today, with a real leadership campaign to fight, Mr Miliband confesses: ‘We talked about “we” but it meant us, not them.” He was not alone. Time after time, Mandy makes clear he and the rest of the anti-Brown faction were interested solely in their political futures, not the fate of Britain. This government was cursed with the certainty of entitlement.

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VISIONER: Labour befinner sig mitt i en kamp om vem som skall bli ny partiledare efter Gordon Brown.

De fem kandidaterna har porträtterats i New Statesman.

[S]o far, the five candidates competing to become the next leader of the Labour Party have been accused of lacking what can be called the ”vision thing”. In a recent issue of this magazine, they were caricatured as five politicians in search of a big idea – in search of something, anything, to galvanise this slumberous, summer-long campaign. Commentators have written of the desultory nature of the contest, as the candidates travel around the country addressing one dreary hustings after another: a slow-moving convoy of repetition, the sound of a party speaking only to itself.


Midway through the contest, each has a settled persona. David Miliband is the prime-minister-in-waiting, the long-time favourite, prepared to defend the successes of the New Labour years while seeking to strike out in daring, new directions. His brother, Ed, is the insurgent, the figure most attractive to young activists in and around the party, as well as those who long to transcend the old factionalism of the Blair-Brown feud, the detritus of which is once more being excavated by the Mandelson memoir. Ed Balls is emerging as the fighter, a natural opposition politician, a ferocious antagonist and opponent of the coalition and, especially, of its doctrinaire deficit reduction programme. Andy Burnham is the outsider, the candidate keenest to position himself as the embodiment of working-class aspiration. [Diane] Abbott remains as she ever was: a voice from the often-neglected hard left of the party.

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MINNEN: Två viktiga böcker har hamnat på de engelska bokdiskarna i år.

Både Alastair Campbell och Peter Mandelson har nu gett ut sina minnen från det innersta av New Labour och 10 Downing Street.

Campbell och Mandelson tillhörde den absolut innersta kretsen kring Tony Blair. Båda var på gott och ont med och formade New Labour och bilden av partiet under den tiden.

Peter Mandelson var en av arkitekterna bakom New Labour och The Third Man är hans efterlängtade – och fruktade -memoarer. 

Peter Mandelson is one of the most influential politicians of modern times. The Third Man is his story – of a life played out in the backroom and then on the frontline of the Labour Party during its unprecedented three terms in government.

Much of the book is devoted to the defining political relationships of Peter Mandelson’s life – with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Charting what he terms the ‘soap-opera’ years of the Labour government […]

Alastair Campbell har tidigare get ut The Blair Years som är en 800 sidigt utdrag från hans dagböcker. Prelude to Power är den första av fyra volymer i det som kommer att bli den fullständiga utgåvan av hans dagboksanteckningar.

Från det att Tony Blair blev ledare för Labour Party arbetade Campbell för honom som bl.a. “press secretary”, “official spokesman” och “director of communications and strategy” mellan åren 1994 to 2003. Därefter fortsatt han att vara en mer informell rådgivare till både Blair och premiärminister Gordon Brown.

För alla som är intresserade av intriger, spin och politisk kommunikation är detta två ”måsten”. Böckerna kommer definitivt att bli bland de viktigaste när bilden av New Labour och relationen mellan Blair och Brown skall formas.

Om sedan allt är sant lär historiker och rivaler säkerligen träta om framöver. 

Läs även: Bagehot i The Economist. Utdrag från Mandelsons memoarer har publicerats av The Times. På grund av tidningens ”pay wall” är dessa bara tillgängliga för prenumeranter.

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MEDIA: Premiärminister Gordon Brown och Labour ser ut att gå mot en valförlust.

Det måste vara extra surt för Brown att även The Guardian – som läses av många av Labours väljare – nu ger Liberal Democrats och dess partiledare Nick Clegg sitt stöd på ledarplats.

Utgångspunkten för beslutet är att Liberaldemokraterna är det enda partiet som tydligt står bakom en reformering av valsystemet.

Medan Conservative är klart emot och Labour under lång tid har velat i frågan har liberalerna under många år drivit på i frågan. The Guardian har under många år förespråkat en reformering.

I en helsida på ledarplats i lördagens tidning förklarar man beslutet;

Citizens have votes. Newspapers do not. However, if the Guardian had a vote in the 2010 general election it would be cast enthusiastically for the Liberal Democrats. It would be cast in the knowledge that not all the consequences are predictable, and that some in particular should be avoided. The vote would be cast with some important reservations and frustrations. Yet it would be cast for one great reason of principle above all.

After the campaign that the Liberal Democrats have waged over this past month, for which considerable personal credit goes to Nick Clegg, the election presents the British people with a huge opportunity: the reform of the electoral system itself. Though Labour has enjoyed a deathbed conversion to aspects of the cause of reform, it is the Liberal Democrats who have most consistently argued that cause in the round and who, after the exhaustion of the old politics, reflect and lead an overwhelming national mood for real change.

Proportional representation – while not a panacea – would at last give this country what it has lacked for so long: a parliament that is a true mirror of this pluralist nation, not an increasingly unrepresentative two-party distortion of it. The Guardian has supported proportional representation for more than a century. In all that time there has never been a better opportunity than now to put this subject firmly among the nation’s priorities. Only the Liberal Democrats grasp this fully, and only they can be trusted to keep up the pressure to deliver, though others in all parties, large and small, do and should support the cause. That has been true in past elections too, of course. But this time is different. The conjuncture in 2010 of a Labour party that has lost so much public confidence and a Conservative party that has not yet won it has enabled Mr Clegg to take his party close to the threshold of real influence for the first time in nearly 90 years.

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POLITIK: Vad kommer att bli de bestående minnena av årets valkampanj i Storbritannien?

Sannolikt viktigast är de tre historiska tv sända partiledardebatterna. Men även det som har kommit att kallas ”bigotgate” kommer att stanna kvar på näthinnan långt efter mycket annat har fallit i glömska.

När premiärminister Gordon Brown glömde att ta av sig en mikrofon gick det ut i etern att han kallade en kvinna för bigott.

Händelsen med både bild och ljud har uppmärksammats runt om i världen. The Times rapporterade;

A groan went round Labour’s first-floor war room as footage of Gordon Brown’s volcanic episode began to loop on the rolling news channels. 

Lord Mandelson was in the Victoria Street offices as the story was breaking, standing in front of the television “looking like death”, one witness said. 

“Authentic, at least,” said one long-suffering Brown aide familiar with mood swings from the Prime Minister. “Oh, happy day!” said another, who has endured much worse in private.

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POLITIK: Premiärminister Gordon Brown hamnade på defensiven under en av de direktsända tv-debatterna när David Cameron anklagade Labour för att medvetet sprider lögner om de konservativas besparingsförslag.

Torypartiet lyckade plocka fram hela tio olika flygblad från Labour som man menar sprider lögner. Under debatten hamnade Brown på defensiven när han förklarade att han själv inte hade sagt OK till flygbladen.

During the debate Cameron scored one of his biggest hits, accusing Brown of ”lying” about Tory policy by claiming in official Labour campaign literature that they would cut winter fuel payments, bus passes and prescriptions. He said: ”Those leaflets you’ve been getting from Labour, those letters you’ve been getting from Labour, are pure and simple lies.” 

Put on the back foot, Brown was challenged to denounce them. ”I’ve not authorised any leaflets like that,” he said. ”But why isn’t it in your manifesto that you are keeping free eye tests and prescription charges?” (…) 

Within an hour of the debate ending, the Conservative spin machine had produced 10 separate leaflets and letters from Labour candidates across the country including variations on the claims about the Tories cutting benefits for the elderly and a poster depicting Brown as Vicky Pollard, saying: ”Did I lie about the dodgy leaflets? Yeah but no but yeah but …”

Detta kommer säkert inte att vara det enda exemplet på att ett parti använder sig av negativa kampanjtekniker i årets engelska val.

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