Monday, November 01, 2010

Gordon Brown's Non-Speech

There seems to be some confusion about Gordon Brown's big comeback speech today. If you believe the papers you'd think this was some kind of setpiece speech where he will speak about defence, aircraft carriers and constituency jobs. It is, of course, nothing of the sort.

He's speaking in a 10 o'clock adjournment debate on a motion tabled by Thomas Docherty MP on the Options for maintenance of Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Now the thing is, in an Adjournment Debate MPs can only speak with the permission of the tabler of the motion and the minister replying - in this case, Peter Luff from the MoD. And even if they are happy, it's not normally a full speech, merely an intervention of one or possibly two minutes at the most. And as you're intervening yourself, you cannot be intervened upon. So how convenient for Gordon Brown that he won't actually have to involve himself in any form of real debate.

Of course, it is always open to Gordon Brown to intervene in the Prime Minister's statement on the Brussels summit this afternoon. What's the betting he won't even turn up?


Not a sheep said...

Gordon 'courage' Brown avoiding debate; I am shocked!

Grand_Inquisitor said...

'Statement on the EU' ??

"Sellout" more like it. We have Osbourne going on about 'scroungers' in the Welfare system and how we should beat up on them - yet the scroungers in the EU are to be provided with even more largesse. It's a vote winner for UKIP if there ever was one.

And, yes, Thatcher did force through pro-EU legislation. I think it was only at the end that she realise just what the consequences (unintended: for her, that is) were.

trevorsden said...

Brown is just sucking up to his own constituents. No doubt his words will be plastered all over the local papers.

Off topic but - to those who moan about the ring fencing of the NHS

'The scandal of patients being denied drugs just because the NHS rationing body decides they are too expensive will end, ministers have declared.'

NICE under labour were always just a front for rationing.

Tom @ Tired of London said...

Well, obviously. But a good play, in my opinion.

He gets to make a very short speech on an issue which will get only a small ripple of press coverage, and there will be very few jeering fingers pointing at him from the Government benches as it is so late.

In all the coverage it will look like no one really turns up to debates anyway, so he is no different, and hence-forth no one will be able to say that he hasn't spoken in the House since the election.

I couldn't have set it up better if I'd sat down with my boss five months after an election he lost when I had finally plucked up the courage to try to convince him it was time to make a speech.

Jimmy said...

You do know he's not party leader any more?

Neil said...

'Brown is just sucking up to his own constituents. No doubt his words will be plastered all over the local papers.'

Erm, isnt this what all MPs do?

I have to say - first the bloggers criticise him for not being around enough, then he comes down to speak and he's not speaking for long enough, or he's not speaking in the right debate...

Whatever you thought about him as PM, he's a constituency MP now, let him get on with it.

Michael Heaver said...

Would be sad and hilarious at the same time to see Gordon Brown attacking David Cameron's concessions to the EU.

HampsteadOwl said...


Thanks for bringing up NICE which, though perhaps not the most scintillating topic on the planet, is a heap more interesting than yet more mindless baiting of Gordon Brown. Really that subject has achieved the political equivalent of heat death - it has reached its final state of equilibrium and no more work or light or energy can be extracted from it.

As for NICE, it was classic Blairite chicanery to set up a body that sounded so enlightened in name and nature, but was really doing the Government's dirty work for it all along. And in fact the pretence that NICE is not a rationing body has slowly been dropped in the last year or so.

All I would caution is don't expect to see rationing disappear with NICE. Given the financial position, this Government has more incentive than ever to limit the extent of what the NHS will pay for; it will just find other ways of doing it.

Blue Eyes said...

Gordon Brown? His name rings a bell, but...

Moriarty said...


He never was.

Cynic said...

As he leaves the chamber can we have him arrested on a charge of misconduct in public office for buying Scottish votes with Aircraft Carriers we don't need and cannot afford?