Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gordon Brown is a Stalinist Says Former Sir Humphrey

Tell us something we didn't know. Dizzy has an excellent analysis of the FT interview with former Treasury Permenent Secretary Andrew Turnbull HERE. He says all I would want to say, so I won't repeat it.

However, Lord Turnbull maintains that the interview was given on 'deep background' and therefore off the record. Following the Patrick Mercer incident last week, in which he was also only giving a background briefing but it was reported as if it were on the record, one has to ask about journalistic ethics at the moment. If political journalists aren't careful they will soon face a boycott by the political classes! Er, that was a joke, because journalists are the very oxgyen of political communication. But you get my drift.

24 comments:

Man in a shed said...

And this the day after David Miliband sends an email round to all the Labour supporters (ahem voters) network.... Just as Hazel Blears did before starting to run.

Howard said...

The frustration at the top of the civil service towards this government has boiled over in a big way. I was amused to hear Nick Robinson say on Today that he has been told Turnbull's comments were supposed to be off the record. Pull the other one. I wonder who pays his salary the BBC or No 10. Turnbull know exactly what he was doing. Brown now needs a serious rival for the Labour leadership, otherwise his credibility is sunk.

checkist said...

It is a sad reflection of the general wooliness the liberal establishment that Brown, because he has a modicum of ruthlessness and a tendency to bear grudges, could possibly be considered a British Stalin. The sad truth is he is not in any way worthy of the mantle - Would that he was.

Stalin's relentless destruction of his own party and of the nation's intelligentsia and cultural elite seems to me an entirely laudable model which we would do well to adopt here. I look forward to seeing show trials of former Labour Ministers at the Old Bailey, and Arts administrators labouring in the gulag (South Georgia strikes me as a suitable candidate). Admit it, you find the prospect appealing...

Chuck Unsworth said...

Do we really believe that this former very senior Civil Servant has actually gone ga-ga?

Turnbull was always pretty sharp, so it's absolutely obvious that his 'carefull' subsequent comments are merely a means of covering his ennobled backside.

Nick Robinson is rapidly becoming a parody of himself.

C4' said...

Tony Blair models himself off of Adolf Hitler.

Stalinism is the Soviet incarnation of fascism.

Is any wonder that the Lord Gord sees himself as the second coming of Iosef Koba Stalin!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - who would be in the Cabinet at the moment! Clearly being told what to do and think - so far removed from the collective decision making that they were thinking of as they climbed the greasy pole.

Somebody is going to have to break cover.

anon and on and on said...

Interesting reflection on liberal mores that the noble lord thinks that Brown is like Stalin, but feels no need to comment on Mugabe.

Alas, in the land of the blindly panicking the one-eyed man will still be King.

penlan said...

An abolutely devastating critique of Brown.He will be electoral poison for his party.His MPs in marginals must now be seriously worried , especially with today's poll.It proves how ineffectual this cabinet is , though.None of them have the bottle to challenge.I remember someone who knew Brown before he became an MP .He said that he was a bit of a tankie in his youth so a Stalinist in middle age should come as no surprise.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Anon etc

Oh please do keep up! Where did this article deal with anything to do with Mugabe? And what has that to do with Brown's deviousness and mendacity (the subject in question), anway?

In any event Civil Servants don't determine Foreign Policy - Governments are supposed to, but in this case it's only certain Ministers who determine policy - and possibly even only one of them...

Anyone remember Robin Cook and his passionate desire to implement an ethical Foreign Policy? It all seems so long ago, now.

no longer anonymous said...

Instead of liquidating the Kulaks he liquidates our pension funds.

hatfield girl said...

Politics is only a part of the United Kingdom establishment; in his determination to reach his goal Gordon Brown has damaged politic's relations with this wider world, and damaged the establishment's relations with the population at large.

Brown has interfered with the constitutional settlement in inflaming the people's awareness of skewed state resource allocations to the regions, and encouraged separatism.

Brown has failed to appropriately fund the UK's military forces in both short term provision and long-term investment and planning, even while the military are engaged on two fronts and facing likely demands that will be impossible to meet; it is well over half a century since military leaders have spoken in such plain terms of the grotesque lack of political and funding support.

Brown's welfare/tax policies have torn into family patterns, stability of upbringing, provision for retirement, social peace, and self-respect; and religious and moral organisations of all faiths and values, with understanding in these areas have been ignored, and grossly undervalued.

Universities have been driven to competing for students on terms of funding input carried by categories, rather than by proven or displayed ability to use and benefit from the true purpose of a university - a place of learning and research ; students so ill-prepared by their schooling that remedial school - work classes must be provided in these degraded intellectual worlds.


The permanent secretary to the Treasury and head of the civil service for many of these Brown years has bitingly shown us what Brown has done to British government and its uniquely efficient and flexible capacity to deliver governance acceptable, though often disapproved, to us all, whoever is in power; those mechanisms have been smashed.

Gordon Brown raises the money - raises it to the point where it is being taken at such a low income level that people are reduced to asking for it back in 'benefits' - raises it to the point where well over 40% of GDP is ending in his hands. And then he wreaks this destruction of our world.

Through all this, Brown has acted out the role of the moral man who delivers the Good.
Contemptible.

Not Stalin - we find ouselves in one of the Soviet miserable satellite states, run by a democratically unresponsive Honecker, Gomulka, Kadar.

neil craig said...

Well it takes quite a lot to piss off Sir Humphrey so much he goes public. Also I doubt if this is fully to Blair's liking because it makes it look like Brown is already the real boss while Blair is doing his prefered job of US roving ambassador. This fits quite well with Blair's partnership joke "he does the work & I take the credit". It is also a bad thing to be caught showing contenpt for your cabinet colleagues even, perhaps particularly, when it is justified.

On the other hand better than Jim Hacker being told "your civil servants say you are a pleasure to work for". In my opinion the Barker Report which is mentioned as an example of his overawing colleagues is a very good piece of work. It is not quite as free marketish about housing as I would like but does, unlike almost any political statement from any party, acknowledge that the laws of supply & demand do work on housing & that the solution must be to allow the building of more. This compares, for example, very favourably with the Tory policy in Scotland limited to subsidising some government building of "affordable housing" to provide tied houses for government employees.

If Gordon Brown is highly intelligent & if he really knows what he is doing (& I grant the latter is questionable) then, by these lights he might turn out to be a PM who does an exceptional amount of good for the country even if he doesn't have the easy charm of his predecessor.

Anonymous said...

Of course all other politicians are pussy cats!
Is it just possible that some of these "jobs for life" people need a bit of blunt guidance in order to understand what life is like in the real world.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Robert Watts of The Sunday Telegraph also included off record stuff in his recent interview with Farage.

It seems that if there is one thing that our politicos have to now learn, it's that the old conventions do not apply; unscrupulous journos will use whatever they can and stuff any courtesy conventions.

DK

antifrank said...

On the journalism training that I have received (all at a fairly basic level), the one thing I had drummed into me was that you should never assume that anything is "off the record". The best defence against unscrupulous journalists is not to give them anything to be unscrupulous with.

Patrick Mercer was clearly foolish last week, but I find it hard to credit that Lord Turnbull, who has nothing directly to lose by being indiscreet, did not understand exactly what he was doing. Gordon Brown must be seething at so gross a breach of civil service etiquette. On the face of it, it looks like a naked attempt to influence the Labour party leadership election. I find this a very worrying political development.

The use of the word "Stalinist" is abusive, and if it had been uttered by an opposition politician, it would have been (rightly) condemned. Dyed-in-the-wool Tories who are enjoying this should consider how they would have felt if Margaret Thatcher had been described by a former leading civil servant as Stalinist.

As for myself, I think it probable that Gordon Brown is a control freak, that he does indeed use information as a weapon and that he is contemptuous about many of his colleagues. I am far from sure that means that he would automatically be a bad Prime Minister as a consequence.

tory boys never grow up said...

One wonders how Turnbull managed to struggle with his conscience during the four years he worked for Gordon Brown!

I suspect that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.

Yak40 said...

Just depends who is the current annointed one, he/she will get glowing reports, everyone else will be trashed. Take Obama over here, he can do no wrong and to use an old joke, if he was to walk on water that would be further proof but if Bush walked on water the NY Times would headline "Bush Can't Swim".

Anonymous said...

"Contemptuous about some of his colleagues"
Given the people concerned it's just possible he's right!

ponziland said...

Pound at risk from cheap foreign cash
Daily Mail
20 March 2007

Britain's economy is dangerously hooked on cheap foreign credit, fuelling an 'unsustainable' spending spree by individuals and the Government, a leading economist said yesterday.

In a dramatic warning two days before Gordon Brown's final Budget, David Smith, visiting lecturer at Cardiff University Business School, said the pound could plunge by 20% if foreign cash begins to dry up.

He argued that tens of billions of dollars in excess savings are flowing to Britain from Asia and the Middle East, lowering borrowing costs, inflating asset values and contributing to an economic boom.

His analysis suggests the biggest danger for Britain is not individuals borrowing too much on credit cards but a national over-reliance on low-cost credit from abroad.

He said: 'Not just individuals, but the Government and the country as a whole have been able to live beyond our means because of artificially low interest rates across the globe.'

He added that left Britain 'dangerously dependent on the actions of people half a world away over whom it has no influence'.......cont

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Brown is a bully and Blair should have called his bluff years ago.

The Civil Service is just marking time until the Tories are returned to power.

Curly said...

I wonder if he referred to the Chancellor as Commissar Brown?

Anonymous said...

Here's a song for 18 Doughty St
http://tonysharp.blogspot.com/2007/03/dear-prudence.html

jailhouselawyer said...

Oh dear, I do believe that both Stalin and Brown have lost their heads and have ended up picking up each others. The art gallery is at my place...

David Lindsay said...

Is Gordon Brown a Stalinist? No, but his archenemy Charles Clarke was. However, Clarke's chum Alan Milburn wasn't. He was a Trotskyist.

Is the past tense appropriate in the last three sentences, or should it be the present tense? After all, they are both utterly unrepentant, like so many Blairites and other neocons with such backgrounds. They still don't accept that they were doing anything wrong at the time. Why not?