Gordon Brown 822

I have a guilty political secret.  I do not detest Gordon Brown.  That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it.  And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast.  And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.

And yet I cannot dislike him.  Probably because I just know too many people who have  known him through decades, who are themselves good people, and who like him.  Around Edinburgh and Fife you will find it hard to find people who actually know him who share the hatred and contempt he seems to arouse among the political and media classes of London.

As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them.  I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.

There are one nation Tories who seem to me perfectly decent people, genuinely trying to do good.  I don’t hate them because their political conclusions on the best way to do good are different to mine.  Gordon Brown I put rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.

Blair is in a whole different category again – insincere, absolutely focused on attaining personal power, and with a Messianic belief that what is good for him must be good for the World.  The Guardian is publishing some emails around the Blair Brown rivalry this week.  I don’t care and won’t read them.  But while I see Blair as quite properly damned for eternity to the seventh pit of hell, I don’t think Brown deserves anything worse than North Queensferry.

I have been in Ghana the last 20 days living in a house with no internet connection and working (extremely hard) in an office with virtually no internet connection – not enough to load WordPress.  I hope to get more chance to blog shortly.



822 thoughts on “Gordon Brown

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  • anon

    “Former poet laureate Ted Hughes used to live up the top I think at Heptonstall with Sylvia Plath. ”

    No he didn’t Lumb Bank where he lived with Sylvia Plath is the other side of the Calder from Cragg Vale http://www.arvonfoundation.org/lumbbank

    Cragg Vale, the longest continuous incline in Britain, is famous for its coiners, Mytholmroyd at the bottom is the birthplace of Ted Hughes.

  • anon

    The road closures in Surrey were nearly all for less than 30 minutes – and they hardly amount to kettling especially if you are prepared to walk. Personally, I would love to have world class cycling on a regular basis where I live. I also suspect there were many businesses in Surrey that welcomed the extra business that the cyclists bring. Perhaps one should show a little more tolerance for those enjoying themselves in what is a healthy pastime – better our kids are encouraged to cycle rather than become keyboard warriors.

  • Passerby

    The arbitrary exercise of power in UK has reached a new level;

    Now a zoo dictates to visitors what they should not ware, and has hired bouncers (application of force) to enforce the dress code, and get those offending “customers” to wear a boil suit!

    Wildlife park bans animal print clothing

    Cash strapped councils (busy bodies with no remit, other than grandiose local aspirations) are moving on to find new revenue streams, and they have found “spitters to qualify for the ticket” (application of legal shenanigans) .

    Council prosecutes men for spitting

    Not satisfied with the gross erosion of the human rights, in UK, that is our rights, ie you and I. The overbearing servitude is no being promoted as a “sexy” concept. We all know that sex sells; cars, calculators, contact lenses, ……. why not sell servitude? (promotion of slavery)

    A village hall is to hold bondage classes – complete with tea and biscuits

    Enjoy being bound and gagged

    Of course it all started with those Muslims, and how best to keep them under control! Then it was the “new normal” for everybody. Not wishing to spoil a good recipe, the story is told, and retold;

    Many young Britons do not trust Muslims, poll finds

    27% of the thousand 18 to 24-year-olds questioned said they did not trust them,

    Clearly despite the rigorous sessions of the “two minutes hate” there are no more than 27 percent who have taken these hate sessions to heart.

    However lament not, because the figures can be spun and here goes the spin;

    fewer than three in 10 (29%) thought Muslims were doing enough to tackle extremism in their communities.

    Note the format of the data, that is presented in a differing percentile, to cover up for the fact that the same bunch of troglodytes who did not trust the Muslims will of course blame the said Muslims for the hatred that is pouring on them.

    Nope the spin is putting a different lot of respondents that really means “sixty” percent of youth either do not trust the Muslims, and believe the Muslims are not doing enough. However there is more, “sixty” percent is not enough majority, so here goes the next stab at it;

    A similar proportion of the young people polled (28%) said the country would be better off with fewer Muslims and almost half (44%) felt Muslims did not share the same values as everyone else.

    So the same lot, that did not trust the Muslims, and did not believe that Muslims were genuflecting hard enough, thus not doing enough to tackle “extremism”, thought to deport the lot of the Muslims, back to whence they came from. that makes it “ninety” percent then!

    But no, hang on this “ninety” percent halved will be 45 percent, and presto these did not “feel” Muslims shared the same values, as everyone else!

    Here endeth the lesson, now stand to attention, and do as you are told, after all that is the value we evidently all ought to be sharing!

  • anon


    Love the comments here – a clear victory to the cycling classes over the clay pigeon shooting ones I would say. Given the shortage of off road cycle tracks in this country compared with the Continent – I for one would argue for rather more country roads being given over to bicycles, with motor vehicle access at weekends being restricted to residents with a 10mph speed limit. As for those selfish idiots who think that taking their 4x4s off road on bridleways nothing short of confiscation of their vehicles and being made to walk home would be good enough imho.

  • Dreoilin

    The arbitrary exercise of power in UK has reached a new level;

    Now a zoo dictates to visitors what they should not ware, and has hired bouncers (application of force) to enforce the dress code, and get those offending “customers” to wear a boil suit!

    Wildlife park bans animal print clothing

    From the link given

    “The park warned that animals may try to communicate with people wearing animal print, or be frightened by the patterns.

    “Banned prints include zebra, giraffe, leopard and cheetah.”

    Makes perfect sense to me. It’s bad enough that wild animals are locked up in limited spaces, purely for our entertainment. There’s no need to frighten or confuse them as well.
    I see no good reason for zoos, other than for those that have breeding programmes for endangered species.

    When I was a child, the only way to see wild animals was at the zoo, and I loved it. But today children can see just about all they need to see on TV.

    And on Twitter, there’s https://twitter.com/WildEarth where you can watch a live cam at a waterhole


  • Jemand

    “Many young Britons do not trust Muslims, poll finds”

    I wonder why. Mistrust seems to be everywhere. 

    Even here – 

    Quranic verse no.3 – Surah 3:118

     O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) if you understand.

  • anon

    “When I was a child, the only way to see wild animals was at the zoo”

    You were a child before David Attenborough?

  • nevermind, get your lead brolly here, and use it...

    Yes its a tricky world were you can’t spit out what wants to come out. But you’re fine going to bed with Pollution outfits building incinerators on PFI’s, incinerator companies that have been found in the US to get rid of their contaminated filters containing heavy metals and other nasties, by BURNING THEM in their incinerator, one hell of a massive plume that must be.


    That outfit wants to build an incinerator south of Kings Lynn at Saddlebow, Downwind are three large schools and East Lynn, Norfolk’s largest blueberry farm, some 40 hectares of highly susceptible, soft fruit, I believe, directly in the main wind direction about 3 miles away.


    the wind at the border of the Fenlands blows SSw on 72% of the year, on 280 plus days, enveloping the 65.000 objectors to this monster madness in 180.000tons of pollutants/year. But hey spitting is bad, bad for the stomach especially someone once explained, because what your body rejects you do not want to keep inside you.

    Shall opt to take my recyclable resources into the village fund recycle bins in future, its my waste and i do with it what I want to.

  • John Goss

    Anon. you seem to know the area. I’ve been to two poetry courses at Lumb Bank, one run by Ian McMillan and Carol Rumens and the other by current poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and (forgotten) a few years back. Having moved from Yorkshire to Lancashire when I was twelve we used to pass through Hebden Bridge which was almost on the border. There are some good hills there both sides. Of all teh short and steep hills one I remember well was up to the fortress in Budapest. A long tough one was over the Caucasus in Georgia.

  • glenn

    Hello Daniel (10:31) – I’m pretty sure some of the nuttier, most easily disproven conspiracy theories are indeed invented by those who want to shoot down all doubts about official stories.

    It goes further with the ‘poisoning the well’ fallacy, as deployed by the raving lunatic NR referenced. It goes along the lines that some people think that Stalin was a fairly good guy, so let’s pretend that all lefties are dupes (at best), and drag all that baggage into whatever position they hold that he’s trying to discredit.

    In your scenario, I see nothing but an untidy scene, and nothing to suggest – to date – that foul play has taken place. In order to become a real murder scene, you need to have at least some evidence to suggest a person is dead or has gone missing, and something that suggests harm had come to them in the given location. Basically, we need a bit more to go on!

    (No worries about the delay – it’s always nice to have a reasonable reply at all!)

  • glenn

    NR (2:30): OK, so you won’t put up evidence for your claim. Fine, but it’s not reasonable to expect someone else to go on a fishing exercise to look for evidence to back up a claim you made. (Where did you learn that this is a worthy tactic for debate, out of interest?)

    Particularly when you refer to the mass material of that raving far-right lunatic, who himself has nothing to offer but further assertions and sub-sub-references.

    It does become tedious asking for that which should have been eagerly supplied in the first place (i.e. your evidence for your claims), I certainly agree. And with that, I sadly have to conclude that your value as a correspondent is downgraded. You make unsupported claims, and lack the decency to confront it.

  • Dreoilin

    “You were a child before David Attenborough?”

    We didn’t have a TV before I was 16.

    (We didn’t have a car until about the same time.)

  • sea fool was foolish finking was frank fool

    There is something attractive about GB, namely that if someone is that unpopular is it because they have refused to grease the wheels of state; or of course it could just be control freekery, which is a less attractive trait.

  • Fred

    “Cragg Vale, the longest continuous incline in Britain, is famous for its coiners, Mytholmroyd at the bottom is the birthplace of Ted Hughes.”

    One of those coiners was my great great great grandfather give or take a generation or so. He contributed £10 to a fund to pay someone to kill an excise man by the name of William Deighton.

  • Someone

    “This video introduces the activities of the Zaitokukai, especially their marches through predominantly Korean neighborhoods such as Shin-Okubo in Tokyo, and interviews the head of a small political party that lends them support. It also listens to the voices of two critics of the Zaitokukai, one a grassroots anti-racism activist of Korean heritage and the other a liberal politician worried about the rise of hate speech in Japanese society.”


    “The letter further condemned the United States in these harsh words:”


  • NR

    @ glenn 25 Sep, 2013 – 6:56 pm

    What? Am I defending my Phd. dissertation on Michael Moore? I provided three casual links, one of which was Christopher Hitchens, hardly a right-wing loon, with the suggestion there are thousands of other links that support my position. (In fairness, there may be thousands that support your side of the argument.)

    I suspect any further links or quotes would not meet your academic standards. I’m happy to be an unworthy opponent, or this could continue hour after hour like Sen. Cruz’s speech.

    The dispute is no skin off my skinny ass and I certainly hope no skin off Mr. Moore’s ample ass either. Warning — graphic content — suppress mental image. 🙂

    Let’s continue with more profitable controversies. Here’s one, which to me, says the story of the Navy Yard shootings is not a cover-up or false-flag. They’ve quickly released surveillance video of the shooter in action:

  • Dreoilin

    “New York City (AFP) – The world’s major powers on Wednesday agreed the “main points” of a UN Security Council resolution on destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, UN diplomats said.

    “The draft resolution would allow for sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN charter to be considered if President Bashar al-Assad fails to keep to a Russia-US disarmament plan, the envoys told AFP.”


  • glenn

    Anon wrote:

    The road closures in Surrey were nearly all for less than 30 minutes – and they hardly amount to kettling especially if you are prepared to walk. Personally, I would love to have world class cycling on a regular basis where I live. […] Perhaps one should show a little more tolerance for those enjoying themselves in what is a healthy pastime – better our kids are encouraged to cycle rather than become keyboard warriors.

    I’m inclined to agree. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, my wife and I did a 1/2 marathon event down in Greenwich. The roads were closed off for a few hours on a Sunday morning, but to hear a few of the locals complained, one would swear they’d all been bricked up in their own houses for months.

    These are events for which many thousands of us have trained hard for many months, it provided entertainment for crowds along the entire route, and hopefully inspired some people to get more active. Putting up with a bit of inconvenience for a few hours from the locals is surely not asking too much, even if they have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the spectacle. Plenty of locals did actually seem to enjoy it.

    As for the race itself, I did manage to beat the average male runner, but lost the race to my wife (again!) by several minutes.

  • Mary

    Unbelievably, Sky News have B.Liar on live from NY at the moment. He is being asked for his opinions on Syria, Iran and Israel/Palestine. The questions moved on to Nairobi and then Al Qaeda. Finally on McBride, Miliband and the energy price furore. The answers were all predictable.

    Why is this discredited war criminal being asked for his views? I hope they are not paying him.

    If a video is produced, I will link to it.

  • Mary

    The roads for the Tour of Britain were closed on a rolling basis. For the Boris/Prudential event (male/female elite and general public) nearly all day and for the London Olympics the roads were closed again as they were for the torch nonsense.

    ‘The road races took place over a course starting and ending in The Mall in central London and heading out into Surrey, while the time trials started and finished at Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames. Eighteen events were contested and around 500 athletes participated.’ Wikipedia

    No objection to recreational cyclists and those cycling to work of course but these commercial events are just bread and circuses which enrich the organisers and the professional riders and the manufacturers of the machines and the gear. ITV4 did well out of the Tour of Britain too. I have never seen so much advertising.

    We have also had the inconvenience of a triathlon this summer which involved road closures.

    Try living here and see if you like it.

  • oddie

    american alt websites posting this today:

    Was an American security team inside Kenya massacre mall? Harvard graduate claims she was rescued by ‘Americans’ after she saw man sat next to her shot dead
    While there has been no official confirmation of any direct American involvement in the stand-off between the heavily-armed militants from the Somalia-based al Shabaab and Kenyan Defence Forces, the statement from World Bank employee, Malakia, seems to suggest there was…

    Standard: Mystery of 71 missing persons as Nairobi’s Westgate Mall siege ends
    Other than being involved in forensics, according to the Times of Israel, the role of Israelis in the Westgate Mall situation has not been clear…
    “We left behind a team of Israeli experts who came with small dogs with big ears to start carrying out forensic (investigation),” said a soldier involved in the final operation…

  • glenn

    Mary: I can understand some frustration if you’ve been putting up with the entire Olympics too. When it’s an event which is well over-hyped (and hyper-securitised) such as the passing of the Sacred Torch, I bet that annoys a fair bit too.

    As far as our running event was concerned, it was publicised well in advance. Anyone annoyed at not able to cross a road for a brief period should have been compensated in some way, because the local council had been well paid by the organisers for hosting it.

    Didn’t Tony Martin (mentioned earlier as a cyclist) serve a year or so for shooting an unarmed teenager in the back with a sawn-off shotgun, killing him? I suppose it’s good to hear that these old cons are rehabilitated occasionally :/

  • oddie

    25 Sept: Guardian: Westgate mall attack: British man arrested in Nairobi
    UK Foreign Office confirms Briton has been held after reports of man trying to board plane from Kenya to Turkey
    The agency said in a statement on Wednesday that British officials were ready to provide assistance to the man.
    ***Officials would not provide details about the arrest or name the man, who is believed to be in his 30s…

    pic with face blocked – somali origin????????? no name given.

    24 Sept: Daily Mail: Briton held by mall massacre police: Suspected jihadist is arrested at Nairobi airport trying to board a Turkish plane out of the country

    Briton believed to be of Somali origin and was allegedly acting suspiciously
    Under questioning, he claimed the injuries happened during a recent visit to Somalia. But while his UK passport is said to be genuine, officials said he had no travel history in Kenya: he had a visa but there were no records of him arriving in the country.
    A Foreign Office spokesman said last night it was aware of the arrest and was providing consular assistance.

  • oddie

    is this how the story started? includes pic:

    25 Sept – I am not the ‘White Widow’ says Westgate victim
    “My act of kindness has turned to a living nightmare,” these are the sentiments of a distraught Heena Arani who was a victim of the Saturday Westgate siege.
    Arani has been a victim of not only the Westgate terrorists but also a reckless group of “terrorists” on social media.
    The accusations were triggered by a photo taken by media who were outside the building after she was brought to safety from the besieged mall.
    Her photo has been making the rounds on social media with people saying that she is Samantha Leithwaite “The White Widow” who was suspected to be among the 10 – 15 terrorists that took over the mall.
    In an interview with NTV on Tuesday, Arani narrates her ordeal while at the mall with great emotion saying, “I was shopping at Nakumatt with my children when the loud bangs began and we took cover with the help of the staff.”…

  • Daniel Rich

    @ Fred,

    Q: …who say that one of the site’s main objectives is to strengthen Jewish identity by countering negative stereotypes of Israel and combating intermarriages and the conversion of Jews to other religions.

    R: By acting like ff-ing stereotypes themselves? What’s so good about the continuation of this ‘us’ versus ‘they/them’ meme? Does this mean they won’t join the WAVE [World Against Violence and Extremism]?

    @ Glenn & NR,

    Let’s look at the situation [W in school] from a security detail’s POV. The subject’s [whatever codename s/he has] survival/protection is [needless to say] top priority. If the subject is at a fixed location [known to the public in advance] s/he should be transported out of that area immediately. The Secret Service is in full control at that moment and POTUS has no say in what happens next [I’m talking about he country being under attack here, not Clinton wanting to shake hands and step out of The Beast -still a SS nightmare, but alas]. So, why was W still sitting there?

    On this footage of the shooting of Reagan you can see how quickly the SS react/s.

    “You may shatter a mirror into a thousand pieces, that doesn’t mean a single shard stops reflecting the truth.”

  • Mary

    Thanks for your placatory reply Glenn. Professional cycling in Surrey gets my goat as you see!

    We are also told by a county councillor Helyn Clack that there is a large financial benefit to the Surrey council tax payers. She somehow clutched a figure of £44m from the air as the benefit from the Limp Ics. She has made similar claims for the Prudential and Tour of Britain races.

    She is on this audio

    Clack is a failed Conservative candidate for the Walsall constituency. She has also presided over the closure of libraries and the replacement of professional library staff by volunteers.

    I say Clack off.

    Final kick in the goolies for the Surrey firemen from SCC yesterday.
    Surrey fire crews lose day’s pay over four-hour strike

    They were also banned from protesting at County Hall in Kingston. SCC has fascist tendencies.

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