Monday, May 11, 2009

Brown's Apology is Welcome, But Flawed

The Prime Minister's words of apology this morning are welcome. But I am afraid that his timing is awry. For this apology to have worked it needed to come on Friday or Saturday. Instead, just as the attention has been drawn away from Labour politicians to the Tories, he has drawn the attention back onto Labour. To the public he will be seen as trailing in Cameron's wake. The BBC is reporting that he only decided to make the apology while on the train to the Nurses conferences. It seems to have been a spur of the moment decision. It's yet another indication that the Number Ten PR strategy is all at sea. If it exists at all.


Arnold Palmer said...

I thought it most odd that he apologized for all parties - steady on there sunshine - the Tories never made you their boss & neither did the Libs. Get your own ship in order or get elected - simple as. He's a weird man.

Oliver Drew said...

Yes. He also apologised "for events over the last few days".

On first hearing I heard it as an apology. Then my brain kicked in and I realised he was trying to be clever with words again, basically apologising for being caught rather than apologising for the scandal itself.

Mark M said...

Also note the wording. He says he is sorry for the events of that past few days i.e. he's sorry that everyone has been caught.

He should be apologising for the years of expenses abuses, not the newspaper stories of the past few days.

Guthrum said...

Brown and Cameron simply do not get it at all. Sorry is just not good enough.

For Decades they have known that this troughing was going on. For FOUR years the Speaker has been trying to stop the public from finding out, The High Court ordered this information released a year ago, and they have stalled and stalled.

The Clerk to the Fees office has also been troughing, so had no incentive to stop payments to MP's

An immediate election is the only way forward

Enlightened Despot said...

Both of their excuses/apologies were lame. It's not the system that was at fault but the people who exploited it. One after another they have waved away their greed on the basis that their expenses were LEGITIMATE. They may have been, but could any of the beneficiaries - now or even then - have declared that they were RIGHT with a clean conscience?

Nick Drew said...

“You are odd, Father Gordon,” the young man said,
”And your party is in disarray;
And now your delusions have gone to your head –
Do you think you should call it a day?”

“In my youth,” the Prime Minister said in reply,
“My integrity mattered a lot;
But, now that it’s obviously gone by-the-by,
Depart? I shall certainly not!”

“You are odd,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And widely considered a twat;
Yet you seem to be planning to stay a year more -
Pray, how do you justify that?”

“Notwithstanding” said Brown “my late father’s advice,
My ethics have always been *supple*.
And now all my scruples are yours for a price –
Allow me to sell you a couple.”

“You are odd,” said the man, “and too clever by half,
And you give yourself socialist airs;
Yet you smash telephones and you bully your staff -
What causes this state of affairs?”

“I have answered two questions, and that is enough”
Said the PM with angry display.
”You are merely a voter: do I give a stuff?
I’ll have Jacquie Smith lock you away!”
(apologies to Lewis Carroll etc etc)

Anonymous said...

I am shocked by this revelation that Brown apoligises!

Brown is not doing himself any favours with me you know! I was uptil 3AM created this image of a WWII Bomber on the MOON! Luckily I had the foresight to notice that if Broen can apoligise for expenses - WHY CAN HE NOT APOLIGISE FOR THE MESS HE HAS MADE OF THE ECONOMY?

Please go to the link to see the WWII Bomber on the Moon!

Anonymous said...

He only apologised for the past few days. I other words, I dislike the exposure we have got over the last few days, forget about the corruption of the last 10 years.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Gordon late off the mark once again! Would he have made any sort of apology if DC hadn't pre-empted today's bad news for the Tories by saying sorry. Probably not. Brown has form on apology issues of course - bully that he is it is incredibly difficult, nigh on impossible, for him to use the 'S' word. It took ages after 'Smeargate' broke for him to come out with the remotest form of apology and I suspect he was pressured by his own side to do that then. Contrast that with Dave who was very fast out of the traps to get his 'sorry' in.

Anonymous said...

There was one fundamental thing missing that we all want to hear. He should have said

"I want to apologise for the behaviour of MP. I recognise that Parliament and this Government has lost the confidence of the electorate and I have therefore asked Her Majesty the Queen to dissolve Parliament so that a General Election can be held."

Anonymous said...

Sorry just ain't good enough!!

Anonymous said...

Brown again looks weak as he now looks like Cameron is dictating the media directive, which he is. Brown again looks like he's flailing in the wind. Can't imagine why Brown would apologize otday of all days and take the heat right of the Tories expenses.

He's obviously annoyed Cameron apologized and tried to get his noe in and now has royally screwed it up again.

Unknown said...

Key Words:

"If it exists at all."

I think is made up on the hoof depending upon what they hink they can get away with

Old Holborn said...

But I am afraid that his timing is awry. For this apology to have worked it needed to come on Friday or Saturday.give me strength...

I realise that you make your living by grinning and feasting with the thieves and liars who rule us but you are stretching our patience to the very limits here Iain.

UB41 said...

Iain, there seems to be some stories kicking around the web that the MP's have just voted for a 17% rise in their allowances.

Interest rates & inflation at an all time low and they want 17 (yes seventeen) percent increase?


Anonymous said...

He is not apologising for himself - as always he is apologising for everybody else !

Cameron as I remember hearing him apologised for Conservatives. He and other leading conservatives have got precious little to apologise for - unlike Brown and most of his cabinet. So apologising for everyone is a pathetic con.

Glyn H said...

Absolutely right. Made up on the hoof and offensive as he tried to both speak on behalf of the Opposition and as for the last few days!!! In point of fact most of these Tory claims don’t seem that bad compared to the Socialist ones – as ever Labour had money scandals; but Maude has been taking the piss. SO he CAN now do everyone a favour by resigning. This might start a deluge and might bring the woeful Moran, that most important Asian in Britain, the Hoon and Blears to heel? The latter ought to go anyway before being shoved judging by the level of spite coming out of Number 10! (They have changed a lot since Campbell and McBride supposedly left!)

Hamish said...

Iain, if you don't have time to fisk that speech, I hope one of your fellow-bloggers will.
Listening to it, several times I thought he's about to be open and genuine, and every time he put in weasel words.
If you are coming clean, you say we have to be open and honest.
You don't say we have to SHOW THAT we are open and honest.

Anonymous said...

Iain your boys come out of this no better, dissolution of parliament is the inescapable consequence of these revelations.

That lady, Heather Brooke(?), should receive the highest honour the Queen can bestow.

The weasels are on the run.

Plenty said...

Do they really think sorry is going to solve it all and make everything go away? In this case, what the public want is a total House clean. They want politicians to have atleast some moral code for what is right and wrong, even if it is not illegal.

SORRY is an easy thing to say in this case, although, before, it's been their hardest word.

Sue said...

I think he was probably waiting for the papers to air the Tories expenses first. That way he could avoid just apologising for his own party and make it a blanket apology on behalf of "the political classes".

I was surprised that the Tories don´t seem to have taken the mickey quite as much as Labour have, although many of them have let the side down and should be sacked.

The little incidental sums don´t bother me. Dog Food and plugs don´t really irk me quite as much as 25k for dry rot and burst pipes under tennis courts.

As a measure of goodwill and to ensure fairness, I think each and everyone of them should be made to pay back what is "deemed" to be have been taken under less than ethical circumstances. They should most certainly be investigated by the police and Inland Revenue, after all, they´d soon be knocking on our doors with claims like that!

Then, as Guthrum says... an immediate election.

digger said...

credit where it's due

Mark Thompson said...

Completely agree Iain. The apologies are not good enough.

This whole thing has gone so far now that I have been moved to launch a campaign which aims to try and drain the poison from it. I have suggested that MPs should pay back any claims that clearly breach the spirit of the rules.

If they don't make some sort of major gesture like this, I dread to think what will happen.

Gareth said...

The person who should be apologising is Michael Martin.

This troughing comes from the very top. Not all MPs are at it. He was the one keen to spend our money covering it up.

Anonymous said...

"...last few days..."

Absolutely shameful.


It's just like his non-apology to the Tories who were smeared.

The man is incapable of recognizing his mistakes.

He's trashed our pensions and destroyed the economy.

Time to boot him into touch.

Anonymous said...

If he was truly sorry then he would have apologised on his Youtube video, before he was found out, not afterwards.

The same applies to the rest of the thieving MPs mind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Nick Drew! I am still laughing!

neil craig said...

"I want to apologise on behalf of politicians on behalf of all parties for what has happened in the events of the last few days."

Ummm O'm with Oliver. What has happened in the last few days is that the Telegraph, in the teeth of politicin's opposition has let us know the details.

Details of dodgy payments that hove been foing on for years, I suspect decades.

I would like to think he merely spoke off the cuff without thinking. What he has literally said is that he is sorry, on behalf of all parties, that the public were able to find them out.

Dot Neck said...

Reports about GB's make-up instructions mention that they were left by an aide in a taxi together with other documents that included e-mails about how to handle the expenses crisis.

I bet they make interesting reading.....

Martin S said...

Yes. Very flawed!
Brown is so very sorry, plus other updates

Anonymous said...

Brown's appology just shows what a great Leader he is for our Nation. I mean the Conservatives are far worse than Labour. Conservatives have it in their veins, I mean there is just no stopping them. In a time of a recession the Multi Millionaires of the Tory Party are claiming wild expenses? I mean theat lot can afford 3 even 4 homes each and yet they need 2nd home allowance? Its the Tories and there greed which are abusing their positions not this Labour Government.

jon dee said...

Labour wants the electorate to judge MP's as a whole not by party, and this is Brown's aim.

If he had felt the need to apologise, he had plenty of time over the weekend, but instead he spent that time plotting against people like Hazel Blears.

Also, Campbell will have advised him that Cameron's statement at the weekend looked sincere and therefore he needed to show contrition.

Of course, it looked as false as everything he does.

Anonymous said...

The PR people in no. 10 are so obsessed with bitching and plotting that there is no longer a PR strategy (though what there was was based on bullying and dishonesty in the first place). Now they are desperately trying to extricate themselves from the mess over smeargate, the disastrous youtube video etc, they are briefing against old enemies in the most disgraceful fashion, denying responsibility and desperately scrambling around for new berths when the balloon eventually goes up. It is hard to imagine that Gordon is wholly unaware of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of his closest advisers.

insert-coin-here said...


Douglas Carswell is going for Gorbals Mick.

He could probably use some support

Alfie said...

Too late,
too flawed,
too mealy-mouthed,
too porcine,
two faced....

coshbrew said...

The revealing bit about the apology is the choice of words "I apologise..... for what happened over the last 2 or 3 days"
ie he apologises for the revelations not the actions covering years that should be the true reason for any apology

Flemingcrag said...

Gordon Brown has more to apologise for than most, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and in charge of Her Majesty's Revenue department later to include Customs and becoming HMR&C.
Most folk are honest and pay their taxes no matter how reluctantly but, it is beholding on any competent tax collecting regime to be ahead of that breed of person who is given to tax avoidance. They are sometimes helped in these efforts by employers who give out "blind perks". The professional taxman hunts down these attempts to avoid paying taxes by searching out "benefits in kind" and when he finds them he assesses them and hits the individual with a tax bill. This bill can be backdated for as long as the scam can be proven to have been in place, up to a maximum of 7 years (I think).
Gordon's claim for the cost of a cleaner meant he received money that should have been declared for tax liability under the "benefits in kind" asssessment.
That he did not declare it can only be explained in the following ways;

He did not know he had to pay tax on it.
He did know he had to pay tax on it but, decided not to.
He was just doing what ever other MP was doing.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Old Holborn you and much of the press seem to be too ready to move on. I nad most I speak to want action taken against the cheats. Browns apology is not welcome because it is disingenuous. When he apologises for his own lack of leadership,for MPs avoiding the Legal decision to release this information years ago, pays back the costs of that defence - out of MPs pockets, sacks those in his party who have broken the Parliamentary code - forget 'the rules' and puts in place a mechanism to recoup all profit from the sale of MPs second homes and return it to the Treasury then I might welcome his actions. What we had today was totall worthless and frankly insulting.
If it is a "second" home required solely to fulfill their duties as an MP I do not see any defence against recouping the costs paid for that home by the Public to the extent that is possible when the House is disposed of. By definition an ex MP has no use for it or the furnishings neither has he the right to any profit attributable to monies paid by the exchequer. If he chooses not to sell that home then he should pay back all ACA received for the property.
Oh and by the way this goes for Cameron and Clegg too.

Prodicus said...

Bloody impertinence. Who does Brown think he is? He has no right to apologise for anyone other than himself and his own party. Only the Speaker can apologise for all MPs. Oh, wait...

He seemed to be apologising for getting found out, which one can understand, giving his unfailing support for his horrible lickspittle, Gorbals, who moved heaven and earth to prevent any disclosure whatsoever. So I suppose his weird apology for 'events of the past few days' must be to Gorbals and friends, rather than to the rest of us.

Still, Gorbals is proposing to put all MPs' future expenses into 'an independent' private company, nicely tucked away from FOI requests. Oh, yes, good luck with that, Mick. Hahahaha...

Dave H said...

I'm surprised your blog and the media generally haven’t made more of the Speaker's comment:

"I have been a trade unionist all my life. I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me."

If that's really his attitude he most go immediately. He's utterly the wrong man to maintain, sorry, introduce, any semblence of probity.

Alex said...

Brown apologised for all parties so he can deflect attention away from Labour. He has no shame. I don't care about squabbling over repayment of the money. The only decent thing to do would be to call an election and let the voters decide whether their MP deserves to keep their seat.

Constantly Furious said...

We don't want any more apologies. We want our money back.

All MP's should all see this: Campaign to Pay It Back. They should pay back their expenses or justify personally why they're not going to.

Vienna Woods said...

Apart from the none-apology from Brown, his next sentence-

"And we must show that, where mistakes have been made and errors have been discovered, where wrongs have to be righted, that that is done so immediately."

What a bloody cheek! He wouldn't say "I" - he has to say "we" for the simple reason that it would apportion blame on his shoulders and that would never do for the Son of the Manse. There again "mistakes" is another word hardly to be associated with this debacle when the actions were calculated and intentional by all parties. Then he bleats about "errors have been made" - Have they really?

So it's all OK then, just a few mistakes and errors along the way, nothing deliberate. What a waste of space!

Stephen Gash said...

Over 4000 people were hauled before the courts in Carlisle for non- or late payment of council tax in 2008. How is it people like Prescott, Brown, Straw and other Minsisters or MPs, are not treated similarly over council tax 'mistakes' or 'errors' made with rents concerning Labour organisations?

Sorry is an easy word to say. Politicians should be made to go before magistrates to state their cases and fined if it is appropriate, as ordinary people are.

Yak40 said...

You can simplify the title to "Brown is flawed", which is being polite to put it mildly.

Eddie 180 said...

So Brown has apologised for the events of the last few days - ie, the exposure.

I hope Cameron asks him at PMQ's whether he will also now apologise for planning to put a 3 line whip on his party, back in January, to make them vote against publication.

lest we forget!

Anonymous said...

Apologizing with one of the biggest crooks, Mrs Chelsea Flat, sat less than 5 metres behind him, how quaint.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

'The events of the past few days': the first thing I noticed, too.

It's not an apology at all, but an attack on the freedom of the press.

This man doesn't know how to say sorry.

The Grim Reaper said...

What I really want to hear the Prime Mentalist say is "It's clear that I am not up to the job of being Prime Minister. I am very sorry to everyone who has been disappointed. I resign."

Will he say that? Will he hell!

Anonymous said...

On first hearing I heard it as an apology. Then my brain kicked in and I realised he was trying to be clever with words again, basically apologising for being caught rather than apologising for the scandal itself.

May 11, 2009 11:52 AM

This is part of Brown's problem. He tries to be "clever" in a devious underhand way and the country can see through it and hates the guy. Which for a politician isn't that clever really.

Donal said...

All the grandstanding over bankers bonuses rings a bit hollow now.