UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Sympathy and silence for Brown in Afghanistan


karzai.jpgGordon Brown’s brief visit to Afghanistan brought sympathy for his political plight from President Hamid Karzai but his attempts to evoke the Olympic spirit with British troops drew a decidedly cool response from the ranks.

For the travelling pack of reporters, he only had one stock answer bu that didn’t stop them from hounding him with the same question.

Thousands of miles from home, at a press conference in the Afghan capital, Brown was repeatedly probed by reporters about his leadership, or lack of it as his enemies might say.

“We are getting on with the job,” Brown said, when asked about rumoured plots against him.

Would a new leader brighten Labour’s chances?


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 A Daily Telegraph poll coming on the heels of all the speculation about David Miliband’s leadership intentions suggests that even if Labour did ditch Gordon Brown, they would still be thrashed in the next general election.

It predicted that with Miliband at the helm, Labour would still only win 24 percent of the vote, against 47 percent for the Conservatives.

Does Glasgow spell the end of Gordon Brown?


gordon.jpgGordon Brown has woken to some unhappy headlines during his year as prime minister but the verdicts on newspaper websites following Labour’s shock defeat in the Glasgow East by-election were probably the worst he has faced.

“Disaster” was the description of the Daily Mail and The Independent after one of Labour’s safest seats fell to the Scottish National Party. The Daily Telegraph called it “Humiliation for Brown” while “Catastrophe for Labour” was The Guardian’s verdict.

Brown outdone by Obama effect


brown.jpg Gordon Brown has not had the best of luck since replacing Tony Blair as British prime minister a year ago. Now it seems Brown’s bad luck has followed him overseas.

On a trip to Iraq and Israel this weekend, he had the misfortune to have U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama following hard on his heels — and grabbing the lion’s
share of media attention.

Glasgow dire for Labour – but not Crewe


glasgowcampaign.jpgGlasgow East has a very different feel to Crewe as it gears up for Thursday’s by-election.

In Crewe and Nantwich voters were palpably enthused by the prospect of giving Gordon Brown and Labour a good kicking. They were aware of the national significance of a Tory victory and relished the chance to send Brown a stern message. Turnout was a high 58 percent and the Conservatives achieved a massive 17.6 percent swing to win the seat in May.

Equitable Life: another nail in the coffin for retirement savings?

Nine years after the near collapse of Equitable Life, pensioners and savers are still unsure if they see any compensation despite the long-awaited report by the parliamentary ombudsman, described by commentators as a “damning indictment of UK financial regulation.”

The victims may still be in for a long wait to get their estimated 4 billion pounds in compensation. Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this week indicated that he would not allow billions to be paid out automatically and maintained that Equitable Life’s “culpability” in the case had been proved.

Was the Davis by-election a gimmick?


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daviddavis.jpgTo nobody’s great surprise, David Davis swept home at the “liberties” by-election in his Yorkshire seat that he himself had engineered by resigning.

Food for thought


food1.jpgGordon Brown is asking us to stop wasting so much food and suggests that if we threw less away, demand would fall and then so too would food prices.

He says we’re throwing away around eight pounds worth of food a week, adding something like 420 pounds to the average family’s shopping bill.

Iron Chancellor to leaden Prime Minister


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brownjune.jpgOne of Gordon Brown’s favourite speech writers is leaving Number 10 to return to the Treasury. That gives Brown the perfect opportunity to draft in someone who has the ability to coin the kind of phrases that chime with the electorate and stick in people’s minds.

To date, that is something Brown, whose dismal year in office was underlined on Friday with a humiliating fifth place by-election finish for Labour, has signally failed to do. Sure, Brown wanted to move away from the accusations of endless spin that soured the public mood towards his slick predecessor Tony Blair.

What’s your verdict on Gordon Brown?


brown1.jpgBy common consent, Gordon Brown’s first year is ending up as a shocker for Labour.

It may have started well last June with assured handling of a bomb threat and a swift response to the foot and mouth outbreak last August. Pledges to cut back on two largely unpopular measures: Tony Blair’s plans to open “super casinos “and the extension of drinking hours, also struck a chord with voters.