The future’s bright, the future’s…Brown?

Posted by Ian
 
While delivering his pre-Budget report on Wednesday, Gordon Brown sounded like a man who had no need for New Year resolutions. He spoke as if he knew precisely what 2007 will bring – which is, along with unstoppable economic growth and prosperity, the keys to the house next door.
 
On Thursday’s homepage we considered Brown’s likely legacy as Chancellor; but what, peering into the virtual crystal ball here at MSN Towers, might be his legacy as Prime Minister?  
 
It all depends on how long he’s got. My feeling is that he’ll call a snap election within six months of taking over from Tony Blair. He’ll win, albeit with a small majority, perhaps even resorting to a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in order to secure enough seats to remain in power. He’ll then serve a full five-year term before being defeated at the next election in 2012.
 
My thinking here is that the British electoral system simply cannot take the same party winning more than four times in a row. As John Major put it in 1997, there’s only so much "elastic" in our democracy to permit one party to stretch its hold on government for a given period of time. Four election victories is the maximum, after which the pendulum will always, inevitably, swing back the other way. Britain is, after all, a multi-party nation and not a one-party state.
 
Who defeats Brown in 2012 is another matter; my gut instinct is it won’t be David Cameron. He clocked up one year in charge of the Tories this week, which we marked on MSN on Wednesday. Clinging on for another six years, all the while inching precariously towards victory, seems unlikely; political leaders aren’t given that much of a chance in this country nowadays. No, instead it will be someone else walking into No. 10 on that fateful Friday morning in 2012, someone as yet unnoticed, as relatively undistinguished as Tony Blair was six years before he took office.
 
In the meantime, Gordon Brown will have a brief honeymoon as Prime Minister fuelled by people’s excitement/relief/indifference (delete as appropriate) to Blair’s departure. After that…devolution for England? The end of council tax? Peace in our time? A new bank holiday between August and Christmas? He’ll have to be quick if he wants to both secure and distinguish his own achievements in contrast to those of his predecessor. 
 
One word in particular has resounded throughout Brown’s decade-long stint as Chancellor, and is likely to echo throughout his tenure in No. 10: choice.
 
I don’t drink coffee, so every time I find myself in a place like Starbucks (not very often, to be honest) I’m always at a loss at what to order. I say that, but what I really mean is I’m at a loss at how to order. I know what I want: a cup of tea. What I don’t know is how to get the cup of tea I want (black, quite weak).
 
There never seems to be the option to simply select A Cup Of Tea. It has to be of a particular blend, or particular leaf, or particular size. But how do I know which one I’ll like? How do I know which is the closest to A Cup Of Tea? Why should I feel like I need to know the names of the world’s tealeaves before offering one of these places my custom?
 
In the end I usually give in and order a hot chocolate. The belief, seemingly hardwired into the national political psyche, that all people want in this country is endless choice leaves me utterly bemused. It’s substituting the reassurance you feel in knowing what you want and how to get it with the uncertainty of having to commit to a process that’s based more on competition than convenience.
 
When cold ideology comes between you and a hot drink, something’s gone wrong. Gordon Brown can have this one for free: I’d like to see a Lyon’s Tea Shop back in every high street. And sometimes I’d just like to have the choice to have no choice.
 
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26 Responses to The future’s bright, the future’s…Brown?

  1. Windows Live says:

    SIX MORE YEARS OF LABOUR ??? NO THANK YOU.
    I am a pensioner and I certainly do NOT want Gordon (the Gopher) Brown (The Pension Fund Pilferer) anywhere near No. 10. He should never have been let into No.11 in the first place. He has ruined the pension funds of millions of workers who were looking forward to retiring and/or leaving something to their children. He took away MIRAS; he will NOT abolish the dreadful inheritance tax,  he continues to stealth tax us and he doesn\’t give a toss about us pensioners. WOW ! Next April I get an increase of £3 per week ! Big bloody deal ! How about gas and electricity prices which many people cannot afford to pay for ? Why should I pay road tax on my modest pension, when I have to use my car, being partially disabled mainly to visit the doctor or the hospital? Why do we have to go to Scotland to find inept MPs? Surely they should be running their own parliament. I am sure we would not get a look in up there. A change is as good, so goodbye labour and hello to honest men in Westminster.

  2. andrew says:

    Why anyone would want Gordon Brown as Prime Minister is beyond comprehension. As RobBoy mentioned previously, the stealth taxes, the inheritance tax and the shameful handling of pension funds after the government very swiftly secured their own final salary related pensions show exactly what this government thinks of it\’s electorate.
     
    Mr Brown is a career politician. He\’s doing a job and looking forward to an easy retirement without much thought for anyone else.
     
    I would like to see how he has protected his savings to pass on to his children and to see how he is going to settle into retirement, I\’m sure his plans will be somewhat different from the majority of people affected by his term as Chancellor. 
     
    People should think long and hard before voting for this government again because under LABOUR, they will, either till they are 65 or 70 years of age or till they die, whichever comes first!

  3. Mike says:

    When can this country have a Common Sense party govern it?

    I had already decided what to write but when I got here I noticed that RobBoy8341 has said most of it for me. Anyway, here goes.
    Gordon Brown started by almost giving the bulk of this country’s gold reserves away for a fraction of today\’s value. "Prudence" is not a word I would use regarding that. He then goes on to destroy this country\’s pension industry, which previously was the envy of the world. The country is so full of illegal immigrants and our prisons are overflowing. Only today I learn that a Somali illegal immigrant who was jailed for raping a child is to be given thousands of pounds in compensation because he was detained for longer than he should have been. So what, it was his choice to come here illegally and behave like an animal, I\’d like this government to find one taxpayer who would be in favour of paying tax for such a worthy cause. Our legal system favours the criminal, where is the deterrent? I\’m certainly not in favour of hugging a hoody either.   A few weeks ago I learned first hand that a child who had just undergone serious surgery at Cheltenham Hospital had to be driven to Gloucester Hospital within minutes of the operation as the appropriate overnight recovery ward had just been closed at Cheltenham.  What insanity and what a future to look forward to in my old age.
    Our hospitals are being reduced, our schools are full of children who don\’t understand English, Our roads are grinding to a halt, our houses are unaffordable, unless you are an immigrant and then you can be given one and loads of other perks too. The country is full yet still more come.
    England needs a revolution and a sensible government who will respect the wishes of the people, get our own country back in order and stop interfering and wasting money outside of the UK; at least until we have cleared the country\’s many billion pounds of debt.
    Yes, ever increasing Billions of pounds that you and I will have to make up some how thanks to the NON Prudence of Mr brown and his Cronies. God help us if we don\’t get some sense back into governing this country soon.  It certainly won\’t come from this present Labour government or from Mr Brown, so I hope he never gets the chance to make a bad situation even worse by being PM.

  4. Stewart says:

     I DO NOT TRUST bROWN,  TOO MUCH STEALTH ABOUT HIM TO BE LEADER OF THIS COUNTRY.

  5. John says:

    Can\’t think of anything worse than Brown as PM.  Its time to ditch the entire lot of them.  Blair has been a disaster, he is only interested in himself. Brown will be worse because he\’s only interested in taking more and more cash from us in every conceivable method in tax and simply throwing it at public services.  If public services, being local government, health, education and the rest were commercial organisations, they would be out of business by now for being inefficient, wasteful, expensive& self serving.  No-one would buy from them.  But since they are the monopoly, what other choices do we have? The idea of \’choice \’ on chosing  which  NHS hospital to go to is no choice at all – they are all as bad as each other.  And if anyone believes that the lastest increase in Air Passenger Tax is going to solve climate change issues – think again.  It applies only in the UK and there are far, far more people flying from every other country in the world that won\’t be paying this tax. So how will the Uk tax \’solve\’ the problem? It won\’t  and don\’t expect to see it spend on anything remotely involved with climate change.  No its just another excuse to tax the poor British public .  For me – I say ditch the lot of them soon – get Blair & Brown out asap and stop Brown being in a position to do even more financial damage than he has already

  6. John says:

    To put it quite bluntly…he is not to be trusted.His motto seems to be \’Tell them what they want to hear,and do whatever I want\’.
    His solution to everything is to tax us more and then throw money at problems without any thought.It will be a disaster to have him as PM!

  7. John says:

    To put it quite bluntly…he is not to be trusted.His motto seems to be \’Tell them what they want to hear,and do whatever I want\’.
    His solution to everything is to tax us more and then throw money at problems without any thought.It will be a disaster to have him as PM!

  8. Unknown says:

    Brown, like most politicians, always goes for the easy target — the motorist. His high tax policies target the working man, the one who has to travel to work. He never offers alternatives to reducing car usage, the public transport system remains abysmal.
    His one aim is to raise revenue not to imprpve the livesdof the people he is supposed to represent. Green policies are essential, but I dont think that this is his driving force, rather it is an excuse to raise taxes. His answer to anything he doesnt like? tax it , or change the law in his favour. Brown as prime minister? the worst thing that could happen to this country!

  9. David says:

    Gordan Brown, like all politicians today, seems to be good at talking the talk but totally inept at delivering. As usual his pre budget talk hits the motorist on the pretence that it will contribute to a "slow down" in "climate change". We all know that, whatever we do, it will have no impact while the USA and China continue to burn fossil fuels at their present rate. What it really means is that the government will have yet more of our money to waste and give them further opportunities to take political correctness to it\’s extremes. Labour promised to be tough on law and order. Apparently, some people are now coming out of life sentences, after approximately 7 years. Obviously this is a real deterrant and must surely make people think before they resort to violence that may end in the loss of life. One of our police chiefs wants to supply heroin addicts with heroin, on the basis that if they are regularly getting their fix, they won\’t need to commit any crimes. What next? Do we apply the principle to paedophiles?? God help us!!
    I would like to see someone in number ten, who is prepared to stick the finger up at the european human rights act and put Britain back in charge of dishing out it\’s own justice. If more prisons are needed, then build them. Let the punishment fit the crime and get realistic about parole. Persitent offenders need not apply!!!. They should serve their full sentences.
    However, none of this is likely to happen, because we will get some weak kneed politician in number 10 who will allow his government to be dictated to by all the do gooders and human rights activists that come along. Dangerous criminals will continue to flaut the law and innocent people will continue to be mugged, raped, burgled and murdered. Those running the country will be far more concerned about whether we are getting our supplys of oil etc and who next we need to go to war with in order to maintain that.
    It\’s just the same old story really. so lets see someone in power who actually wants to make Britain a safe place to live in again.

  10. Alex says:

    RobBoy8341"Why should I pay road tax on my
    modest pension, when I have to use my car, being partially disabled
    mainly to visit the doctor or the hospital?"You should apply for Disability Living Allowance, the mobility portion of which may well cover your VED. If your disability is such that you are eligible for the higher rate of DLA then you get exemption from VED as well as the DLA payment. http://www.direct.gov.uk/DisabledPeople/MotoringAndTransport/BuyingOrHiringAVehicle/BuyingAVehicleArticles/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=10028003&chk=%2Bsig3rIt might also be worth enquiring at the Citizens Advice Bureau as to what other assistance you may be eligible for.

  11. Unknown says:

    I can`t believe that so many people are taken in by the chancellor`s speech. Surely everyone can see that things have never been worse, there are more people in serious debt, more repossessions, you can`t get a hospital bed or a policeman when you want one. Everyones social and work life is suffering under the weight of the real increases in tax and services.Any excuse will do for them to slap tax on parking, driving, fuel, rates etc. while the air travel industry which are the real polluters get off nearly free. Then we have MPs clamouring for a 60% pay rise. Nah, this government screws all it can from the poor in order to pay the rich, and a vote for them is a vote for bankruptcy but I don`t suppose they care, they have all that tax money to make them seem grand.Finally, although I disagree with Mr Blair on most of his policies, he is a pleasant character. To have him replaced by the miserable, ugly, penny-pinching foreigner that Brown is will be suicide for the country.

  12. Julian says:

    We tend to forget that Brown inherited an economy in good shape. In spite of the Lamont mistakes, Kenneth Clark had taken over and turned round the failing economy.
    With Brown we have received the following:
    A very strong pound, which is great when we go on holiday but useless if we want to export. Hence the failing car and general manufacturing industries. I used to work 90% overseas but zero now because we can\’t compete with the Euro.
    One of the lowest rates of national pension in Europe with no sign of any improvement. Pensioners must get out and vote at the next election for whoever shows a credible pension policy.
    The failure of many company pensions because of Brown\’s removal of tax exemptions.
    A health system that continues to fail the public.
    An almost non-existant state dental system.
    We alreaady pay car tax with the annual license, we pay more tax on fuel than most in Europe and now he\’s taxing us more.
     
    One of the underlying problems is that our government continues to act as if we are a world super power when we are actually a little island off the coast of Europe.
    It\’s time to remember that charity begins at home and stop blowing billions interfering in foreign countries.
     
    PLEASE PLEASE NO BROWN.

  13. Julian says:

    We tend to forget that Brown inherited an economy in good shape. In spite of the Lamont mistakes, Kenneth Clark had taken over and turned round the failing economy.
    With Brown we have received the following:
    A very strong pound, which is great when we go on holiday but useless if we want to export. Hence the failing car and general manufacturing industries. I used to work 90% overseas but zero now because we can\’t compete with the Euro.
    One of the lowest rates of national pension in Europe with no sign of any improvement. Pensioners must get out and vote at the next election for whoever shows a credible pension policy.
    The failure of many company pensions because of Brown\’s removal of tax exemptions.
    A health system that continues to fail the public.
    An almost non-existant state dental system.
    We alreaady pay car tax with the annual license, we pay more tax on fuel than most in Europe and now he\’s taxing us more.
     
    One of the underlying problems is that our government continues to act as if we are a world super power when we are actually a little island off the coast of Europe.
    It\’s time to remember that charity begins at home and stop blowing billions interfering in foreign countries.
     
    PLEASE PLEASE NO BROWN.

  14. Ross says:

    Lets all be hopeful,
     
    In all honesty next years scotish by-elections going to be good viewing, if labour lose alot of there seats to the scotish national party i can see a referendum on the horizon to make scotland inderpendent again. if the scots say yes. within two years Gordon Brown would have to be kicked out of his job! Go on scotland do the decent thing and get rid of him for us!

  15. Royston says:

    When are people actually going to stand up and do something we have the right to get rid of this government, i have registered a new party "Get snouts out the trogh party" i am sick and tired of the lies and corruption of politicians Blair and Brown are two of the worst. It has just been shown borrowing figures are three times what Brown claims they are, his response the other people do not know what they are talking about.
     
    I sent to Brown at Number 11 copies of shipping documents and tapes of corrupt customs and police officers, these documents showed the tip of the ice berg in tax evasion by the use of false dual shipping invoices by large companies. This was born out on tape by a senior customs officer with the NISC who named the ICI as being one company i would find who used such documents. Browns reply "I have forwarded them to customs to investigate" They were sent to the West Midlands customs unit who were the very ones on tape. Both Brown and Blair are aware of this fraud and tax evasion what have they done, absolutely nothing.
     
    Deloitte and Touche\’ were commissioned in investigate the black economy this was reported on by the BBC, the investigator found over 100 billion pounds per annum being lost to the tax office. Again Brown and Blair ignore this. Is it because these companies fund the Labour party?.
     
    I have documents of proof to show the Chief Constables of Staffordshire, West Midlands and Warwickshire have ordered cover ups of the fraud, corruption and perjury that goes on within their forces they are afraid of losing their knighthoods and perks, the fact that innocent people lose their liberty doesn\’t even bother them. We have crimes committed galore every day, these are not recorded because it makes the Chief Constables records look bad. I am not anti police i believe we have lions led by donkeys and until these donkeys are made to look after the public or are kicked out nothing will ever change.
     
    In my parties constitution i am stating the Human Rights Act should be abolished today the only people to benifit from this law is the likes of Mrs. Blairs company Matrix that earns millions every year from legal aid helping illegal immigrants, another is we have one MP per Shire i.e. one for Staffordshire. As the leader of the parties make all of the decissions anyway this would save us billions per annum in wages for doing sod all, pensions and perks also wastage.
     
    Judges would be needed to be voted in by the public not by the funny hand shake brigade, on the 14th December 2005 Lord Justice?? Longmore stated in his judgment "The fact the Bradford and Bingley were in contempt of court is unimportant" This cretin should be made to stand in front of the 800,000 plus who have lost heir homes since 1997 with a further 3 million in the pipeline. Are the banks/building societies allowed to print money and commit serious criminal acts in court because Blair begged them not to prosecute Mandelson when he falsified his mortgage application form??
     
    In England breast cancer pills are not available, your kids have to pay tution fees to go to university etc, perhaps we should all relocate to Scotland because thats where Brown and Blair send your money to.
     
    This is only the tip of the ice berg of my campaign we have judges who aid and abet banks/building societies to be in contempt of court and allow them to commit criminal acts in court, we have Chief Constables who are nothing but a joke, we have councils who rip off home owners and tenants alike to keep their pension funds going. I have recently been shown the projected figures for Cannock in Staffs for 2010 they will be in the region of £3,000 per annum plus. better get your tent sites booked because you will not have a home to call your own.
     
    RIP: Here lies England killed by bent and corrupt politicians, God help your children and granchildrens future because he is the only one to get us out of the cess pit made.   Roy Jenkins

  16. Albert says:

    Has this Country not had enough of Labour and its TAX BURDEN, what we do not need
    is Mr brown as PM.
    This GREAT COUNTRY of ours needs a new course of direction, however cuddle a hoody is not the answer, also instead of ASBO\’S give them a touch of the old fashioned BIRCH you do not ask for second helpings.

  17. Chris says:

    Julian Gould entry mirrors my thoughts- I\’ll vote for him!!

  18. Unknown says:

    Yes, as ever increasing taxes by a further 5 Billions of pounds that you and I earn, this week. Brown and Scottish his Cronies should go back across the border, BUT leave the English tax payers money behind. WE have only ourselves too blame, no one but the English can help us, if we don\’t get some sense back into governing this country soon, we’ll see our cabinet flooded with non English immigrants. We have yet too see how clean even brown is over the “cash for titles”, how is it that the person who’s responsibility to look after the countries coffers was unaware where the funding for the labour party came from?  It certainly won\’t come from this Labour government or any other, certainly not from the like of brown or his cronies so I hope he never gets the chance to make a bad situation even worse by occupying No 10. How is it they can get away our money and not even be accountable for expenses, undocumented?
    He has sat around for more than nine years seeing tax payers money wasted, increased the overall size of the civil service – what percentage of GDP goes to pay this bunch? Do we get value? Why is it that they can’t even control the benefits system, how many fraudulent payments have been made, how much has this cost the tax payers? Therefore, is there one good reason why the English should perpetuate the utter waste that he has allowed, with the increase power that comes with being the occupier of No 10, things can only but get considerable worse?

  19. Adrian says:

    I wish that the above 15 represented the whole of society. There are still people out there who think this Gov is the best ever. I am an accountant, they are deluded. The Gold sales have been mentioned but dont forget the sale of the mobile phone rights,£23 bn if I remember correctly. Oh yes and dont forget the Railtrack debacle, I have never received a final dividend from a bankrupt company, until Railtrack. Technically, a bankrupt company cannot meet its liabilties, Railtrack had more than enough cash to meet all its liabilities and give money back to its shareholder even after paying £lots of cash to the receivers. and I know how they charge! Was it wrong for the Gov to put them into receivership, no say the courts…… but who appoints the Chef Justice….. a personal friend of Blair!
     
    Red tape… dont start me on it. Tax regulations have doubled in the last 9 years…. but according to Brown he has simplified the tax system.
     
    Working families tax credit….helping less well off to go back to work, that is until they are asked to repay it! I have severalclients who have asked me NOT to apply for it as it is so complicated to do.
     
    Personal debt..all time high, but Brown can blaim the Bank of England after all he gave them the right to set interest rates…. Cant blaim him then!
     
    Healt and safety and fire regs…. self administered by employers etc… fine if your ICI but how about all the small businesses employing 5 people. This used to administered by the Gov…. no longer and if you dont comply a hefty fine.
     
    I could go on but I must sort out the next abortion by the Gov, the change in how builders (sub-contractors) are taxed….AGHHHH
     
    Get this Gov out NOW PLEASE.
     
    PS I wish Blair a happy retirement with the wide mouthed frog and I hope that he spends his bungs (a fair bit from Bush for suport in Iraq so I believe) wisely as far away form England as possible

  20. Eva says:

    In the complex world of government and polictics I do not claim to know very much at all, but as an onlooker trying to make the best judgement that I can with the information available, I would say that sticking with Labour might be the best option.  What exactly are the other parties offering?? Well I imagine the same as always, lots of idealistic promises that eventually will be corrupted.  I believe that when Tony Blair won that famous election, he was full of good ideas and hopes for the country, and to a certain extent I saw around me a change for the better in the early years.  The tax-credit system I believe has helped hundreds of thousands of people who before under a conservative government would have been destined to spend their lives in poverty because there were very little ways of hauling yourself out.  However this has created a mindset where people think they have more money than they really do. It has raised the expectations of the masses.  Unfortunately the companies which would reap the biggest profits are the Banks, Credit card companies, Utility companies and the food retail businesses.  They all want their share of the populations raised bank balances.
    The fact is, we are moving in a direction which I cannot see turning around.  We now all expect our standard and quality of life to equal what we would like.  We demand and in the past have fought for our rights which now many take for granted.  The majority of the population has moved into a state of apathy when it comes to electing leadership, i think a little over 60% failed to turn out to vote last time, WHY?  is it because people have realised that no matter who you vote for they will all turn out the same in the end anyway? is it because people are looking out for No.1 now, because it seems like our leaders are doing the same thing?? 
    Where is the ideology? where is the optomism? 
    If we are truthful, we find that mainly we focus on the issues that affect us personally, how would it possible without being envolved directly in politics to consider all the issues?  and this is how the parties work.  They will tailor their manifestos to cover the topics which they feel are the most important for the constituents that they wish to capture.  Whether they hold to those plans will remain to be seen, but at the end of the day, voting in a new Government is a gamble, and unfortunatley it is the British public (questionable as it\’s motives now are) who give them the power.   The 40% who did vote are those who could see a benefit to themselves/society for voting in a certain party, and wanted to contribute to the result.  I think they are the only ones who have room to complain about the way the country is run, but even them, maybe do not have the capacity to see that are more issues and problems than can be dealt with and improved in few short years, even a decade or two. 

  21. Unknown says:

    What a let down our Labour MP\’s are, what on earth do they tell their constituents to stop them from setting fire to their offices. The Tories were eventually ruined by sleaze and weak leadership, we are now being ruined by control freaks who understand how to abuse power and like Janus the Mythical Greek god with two faces pretend to us they are "investing" all our taxes wisely, while behind the scenes cover with spin their mendacity and half truths. The whole point of Parliament is to allow truth and clarity coupled with common sense from all party committees to debate and agree all decisions in the house that will produce a more likely result to improve the condition of the Queens subjects.
    Regarding Brown, he will not enjoy his premiership because frankly he likes stealth and cunning and in truth appears to despise the English which he tries hard to conceal. We will undoubtedly not enjoy his premiership either and as a Labour supporter I feel totally let down by the mendacity and spin of "New and rotten Labour".

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