The new Official Opposition: Gordon Brown MP

#1
From today's Independent. This is of course no more than a write-up of tomorrow's publication of Peston's biography of the Chancellor, but perhaps we havent heard the last of this story:
Brown seeks to win back public's trust with war guidelines
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
19 January 2005

Gordon Brown wants to prevent a repeat of the mistakes made in the Iraq conflict by giving Parliament and the Cabinet more power and the public more information before the country goes to war.

The Chancellor is worried about the public's loss of trust in politicians and is drawing up proposals to restore it. His ideas include the creation of an elected House of Lords.

Friends of Mr Brown deny that his plans are an attack on Tony Blair. But the Chancellor's proposals on military action are bound to be seen as a criticism of the Prime Minister's actions on Iraq.

It is understood that Mr Brown would like the legal advice on going to war to be published so that MPs and the public know the basis on which military action was being taken. The Government has repeatedly refused to disclose the full advice from Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, in the approach to the Iraq conflict.

In Brown's Britain, a book about Mr Brown by Robert Peston, which will be published tomorrow, the collapse of trust in politicians is outlined as one of the Chancellor's main preoccupations.

The book says: "His agonising stems in part from the implicit criticism of Blair in his private analysis - which is that the recent collapse in the public's trust in the Prime Minister is directly linked to a widespread view that this government, and perhaps any government, will ride roughshod over the UK's sprawling constitution as and when it suits.

"This widespread cynicism, in Brown's view, was reinforced by the perception that inadequate information was provided by the Government to public and parliament, in the build up to war with Iraq, and that neither parliament nor Cabinet were consulted properly on the decision to go to war."

Although the cabinet ministers Jack Straw and Robin Cook insisted on a Commons vote before the Iraq war, there is no obligation for a prime minister to have one.

According to Peston's book, Mr Brown may call for the UK to codify the "many and disparate elements of its constitution" in a comprehensible statement similar to a written constitution. Friends say Mr Brown believes his decision in 1997 to transfer decisions on interest rates to the Bank of England, which won Labour trust on the economy, now needs to be matched by action to restore trust in politics generally.

After criticism of Mr Blair's "sofa government," with crucial decisions taken by small groups in the Prime Minister's study, the Chancellor wants to strengthen the formal role of cabinet committees. While Mr Blair has retained an appointed House of Lords, Mr Brown wants to make it more democratic. "He wants an elected second chamber," one Brown adviser told The Independent.

Peston writes: "Brown has now set himself up as the official opposition to Blair within the very heart of the Cabinet."
source http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=602294
 
#2
While no lover of this government by any means, he has raised some very valid points.

A great pity the opposition parties in the house are so inept, reminds me of a rudderless ship. :(

Not good for the country or the Nation, Brown is the better of the two.

What a state to get into, when thats the only choice we are likely to get :evil:
 
#4
Hold on a minute!!!!! Loss of trust in the Government over Irac!!!! Isn't this the same git!!! who brought in HOW MANY STEALTH TAXES!!!!!!!!!!

For Gods sake lets not let this one in the door!!!!!!!!! :evil: :evil:

He will have every working man in the UK bankrupt by the end of his term in office!!!!!!!! :evil:
 
#5
doctordeath said:
Hold on a minute!!!!! Loss of trust in the Government over Irac!!!! Isn't this the same git!!! who brought in HOW MANY STEALTH TAXES!!!!!!!!!!
About £5k a year's worth.....

And he wants to give MORE power to the cabinet? The ones that can now practically rule by diktat??? Jeebus...
 
#6
Hold on a minute!!!!! Loss of trust in the Government over Irac!!!! Isn't this the same git!!! who brought in HOW MANY STEALTH TAXES!!!!!!!!!!
Last time i read about it it was 67 stealth taxes! (and that was over a year ago!) :evil:

It is understood that Mr Brown would like the legal advice on going to war to be published so that MPs and the public know the basis on which military action was being taken.
It's all very well wanting to get the public on your side by proving that a war is legal, but what happens when we have to go in and sort something out, regardless if it is legal or not. If he publishes the proof that it was illegal, he will leave himself, the MOD, and soldiers on the ground open to action from the International criminal court. Can see it now. Mr Brown and company up at the hague explaing why they suddenly felt the need to kick bobby mugabe's cnut in :twisted:
 
#7
Mr Brown's suggestions sound most admirable.

No doubt he will be able to fully justify his proposed contribution to reducing African debt with British taxpayers' money in the face of the pensions crisis facing those same taxpayers.

As he seems to favour a formal constitution I assume we can look forward to the imminent repeal of the Civil Contingencies Act which overrides all such rights?

I can't understand why my Bullsh*t Detector is going off the scale.
 
#8
Agent_Smith said:
...

It is understood that Mr Brown would like the legal advice on going to war to be published so that MPs and the public know the basis on which military action was being taken.
It's all very well wanting to get the public on your side by proving that a war is legal, but what happens when we have to go in and sort something out, regardless if it is legal or not. If he publishes the proof that it was illegal, he will leave himself, the MOD, and soldiers on the ground open to action from the International criminal court. Can see it now. Mr Brown and company up at the hague explaing why they suddenly felt the need to kick bobby mugabe's cnut in :twisted:
Actually I dont personally share that worry, Agent_Smith. The Defence Chiefs quite rightly insisted at the time on getting a written opinion from the Attorney General before going to war.

The AG certainly took his time about it and you can draw your own conclusions from that, and his delay may have been one of the factors in the late logistic preparations, late call-ups of reservists leading to inadequate weapons tests in some cases, etc etc.

However, having got the opinion from the Government's top legal adviser, whilst it turns out there were doubts amongst more 'junior' Government lawyers the Defence Chiefs had no obligation to 'second-guess' the AG's formal opinion.

Even if the ICC or other forum were eventually to find that the AG's opinion was wrong and that the strategic decision to attack Iraq was in some way 'illegal', I do not see any way in which commanders and soldiers at any level could be prosecuted simply for taking part in the action in accordance with HMG's orders. Not a legal opinion obviously but soldiers are entitled, indeed IMHO obliged, to take their Government's apparently legal orders on trust even if that trust later turns out to be unjustified.
 
#9
widespread cynicism from the electorate has a lot to do with that tight fisted fifer raising taxes through the backdoor, then blathering on about, prudence, fiscal responsibility, blah blah, whilst the City panics about taxes on pension funds, double taxation on profits, lack of internal investment support from the government and the ever expanding welfare state.

the man is a cn*t and anyone who thinks that Gordon would adhere to any of these policies when he gets in charge needs to get off the medication.
 

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