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back to article Johnson handed Home Office brief

Alan Johnson, the man tipped to take over if Gordon Brown is forced to quit, has today been handed the famously troublesome Home Office brief. Following the resignation of Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell last night, the Prime Minister brought his Cabinet reshuffle forward from Monday in a bid to regain control of his …

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Ash
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Want to be the new leader?

- Drop Biometric ID cards and the National ID Database

- Drop ContactPoint

- Drop IMP

- Boot out Gordo.

That should pretty much seal the deal :)

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Flame

Re: Want to be the new leader?

Or, better yet, the whole lot of 'em can just drop dead.

I wouldn't shed any tears.

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Unhappy

Read Prescott's comments

Well worth a read:

It seems like Gordo and Harriet have just run away.

Bit crap if you're a Labour supporter though.

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Unhappy

Change? Hell no

>- Drop Biometric ID cards and the National ID Database

Not likely mate

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/alan_johnson/kingston_upon_hull_west_and_hessle#votingrecord

Mr Johnson is probably gonna be worse than Waqui.

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Joke

John Hutton.

Family reasons?

What? As in: "My wife told me that I was a complete arse for standing by Gordon when my mate Mr. Purnell quit last week and that I should get my knife in while there were still plum spaces on Gordon's back available that don't have a handle sticking out of them."

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Paris Hilton

Home and away

This must be like back in the day, when unpopular minister were forced to be Northern Ireland Secretary as a form of torture.

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Anonymous Coward

Democracy is a 'indulgence'

I watched some Labour spin man on TV last night and he kept saying it would be "indulgent" for Labour to have a vote on their leadership.... Apparently democracy is indulgent now and Brown can't face a vote of no confidence and expect to win.

If Labour wouldn't vote for Brown, why should Britain vote for Brown?

Do you think the Labour party is more or less likely to vote for Brown than the general public? Oh course they are Labour, so they are MORE likely to vote for him... yet he can't win a vote in his own party! So how can he ever win the election?

I was expecting an election to be called about now, we have the mini recovery from the government spending and printed money, the inflation effect won't arrive till later in the year, the troops are coming home, spring sunshine, walking disaster Jacqui Smith gone....

But I reckon he can't do it, he must know he can't win, so I think it will go to a fallback scenario now, he'll hold on to the last minute and eak out the last of this time he'll have in a position of power.

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Happy

@ Ash

Well said

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Unhappy

Well..

...on the positive side he is an ex-union chief so a bit more old labour, something labour sorely need at the moment given they seem to have almost swapped roles with the tories!

Every second that passes whilst Brown is still refusing to step down, face a leadership challenge or hold a general election is destroying whatever chance labour might've had - sadly he and few of his arse-wipe cronies are the only ones who can't see that!!

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Black Helicopters

Re:Want to be the new leader?

Add to that list:-

Drop Onset.

Stop storing details of non-offending cars captured by ANPR.

Remove innocent people from DNA database (and stop police nicking people just to get them onto it http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Teenagers_arrested_for_future_crimes&in_article_id=679458 )

Prosecute BT and Phorm for illegal interception.

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Oh dear...

Another ID card lover.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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n

...and Sir alan sugar in cabinet !

"Take a chair Sir Alan, there's plenty to choose from."

...looks like there was a sub-clause in that big jucy viglen win the other week then! lol

Honestly, they are so desperate they don't even bother hiding the corruption any more.

For my next tip:

Graham Norton as Chief Whip.

Susan Boyle as to replace Harriet Harperson as Minister for Women.

Gordon Ramsay as Minister for School Meals as Jamie Oliver is promoted to Chancellor.

Any other suggestions?

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Paris Hilton

@Simon Ward

You obviously don't remember when the last lot were in?

They were full of crackpot ideas and a much greater level of incompetence!

PH? Well, at least she would be competent at something!

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Re: AC @ 11:31

Swapped roles with the Tories? Are you kidding? Most of the criticisms of Labour have been about OVER-spending and OVER-centralisation. The Conservatives are threatening to cut cut cut. It's the usual cycle. Tories ruin all the public services by under-investing. Labour build them back up, do a good job, let power get to their heads, screw up royally and let the conservatives back in.

If you genuinely reckon a Tory government is going to invest in Britain you are living in a dream world.

Britain's main problem is that it is dominated by two parties and neither are fit for government. It really NEEDS a hung parliament and a coalition but will never get one without PR - and it is against either Labour or Tory interests to bring it in. Still, you've only had, what, seven, eight hundred years to bring in a system that actually gives each vote an equal weight.

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Anonymous Coward

Labour

Labour would be silly to get rid of Brown as unpopular as he may be who else is gonna want the job?

If someone did take it they'd get booted soon after the next general election.

However Labour now looks alot like the tories did at the end of the Major years - and I quite liked Major - boring maybe but I'd trust him with my wallet and beer, I wouldn't trust any of the current frontbenchers on either side of the commons with them at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

Remarks

@ Bassey

Totally agree. I'm getting quite sick of all the teenaged remarks about "NuLabour" on El Reg from people who clearly didn't reach intellectual maturity anytime before 1997.

@ AC 12:14

"I quite liked Major - boring maybe but I'd trust him with my wallet and beer"

Same here (and I'm no Tory). He seemed, somehow, to not be a crazed megalomaniac.

@ Article

As for there being yet another reshuffle ... PoliticsIsACon 2009 issues a request for papers on why endlessly shuffling management achieves nothing beyond confused managers who know less than Henry's Cat.

It also requests an "up against the wall" icon for El Reg.

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Joke

Rules?

1 - the PLP cannot elect a new leader as it is usual (constitutionally?) the Party leader who becomes PM (PLP = Parliamentary Labour Party). A new PM means a new Labour Party leader in which the whole membership can cast a vote, nominate candidates.

2 - whether one likes it or not the state of the realm, the ongoing atrocities regarding MP's creative expenses (and I bet accountancy is equally atrocious), local & European elections, ... demand Party loyalty unless of course one's loyalty is more to oneself and misguided colleagues in which case it is perfectly fine to leave the realm, fellow party members, the cabinet, the PM (like him or loathe him he is PM of the realm)

DMP = disaffected member of parliament

LLP = local labour party

LLP: so by what authority and power do you challenge the PM?

DMP: my own

LLP: what is you aim?

DMP: to bring the PM, the realm, the Court of Commons, government, the cabinet, the nation's finances, UK economic recovery and worldwide economic recovery into disrepute because of information leaks that should have been protected by law about my expenses claim.

LLP: why?

DMP: I want those to feel the heat as I have done. I mean, imagine that about "adult videos" on expenses. It should not have been made public.

LLP: yes, of course. we are in full agreement. Have you seen her? He, the husband I mean, should have been awarded a prescribed dose of at least two adult movies per week at the nation's expense. Poor fellow.

dah-de-dah?

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Stop

@AC 11:57 and @Bassey

I'm amazed that anyone can think Labour are remotely better than the Conservatives. In 1979, after an IMF bailout for Britain, a bankrupted country was handed over to Thatcher. Over the next 18 years, the country moved from being an economic lightweight to being one of the most successful countries in the world. Both median and mean standard of living shot up (median shows that it wasn't just the uber rich who benefited). Thatcher was forced out because of a highly unpopular tax (the Poll Tax), although interestingly, most households pay more now on the council tax than they did under the poll tax - especially in Labour run councils. Then during the Major years we saw a number of problems with MPs getting caught playing the field or doing other personal indiscretions (at a time when Major had been pushing the Back to Basics campaign). This infuriated the electorate, and when a charismatic opposition leader came along in Tony Blair, promising a government that would be whiter than white the population bought it. In 1997, the government handed over the most successful economy that has ever been handed over during a change of government. Labour made hay whilst the sun shone, but primarily by creating administrative jobs that wasted money without improving services. At the same time they started building debts during boom years, claiming that they had done away with boom and bust (borrowing during a boom tends to sustain the boom but make the bust far harsher). Unfortunately, the whiter than white government kept screwing up. Not in personal ways, but in corrupt ways (think Blunkett and his passports for girlfriend's nannies saga). And each time a minister was sacked they would be recalled to government (Mandelson and Blunkett - 2 resignations each). Then when the economic disaster hit, we were the worst placed of any major power to handle it since we already had huge borrowing, and government spending was already astronomical.

The country is in desperate need of a fiscally mature government to recover from the mess that Labour have put the country in (just like 1979). It is interesting that if we look at recent areas where the Tories are governing, we already see that they are far more fiscally mature than elsewhere. In councils they have a higher average standard of service, for a lower overall council tax; despite the fact that central governments throw more money at Labour councils to try and help them. Take Wandsworth as a particular example. They consistently have the lowest or second lowest council tax in the country; yet consistently mark very highly on all independent measures of quality of service in the council. What you get from a conservative government is experience in running things in the real world, where more for less is necessary to be competitive. What you get from Labour is experience of refusing to change things and become more efficient from the unions. It is no surprise that Labour consistently bankrupt the country and leave it to the Conservatives to sort out.

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Re: Anonymous Coward : 12:45

Could you please define "one of the most successful countries in the world"? Without such a definition, your argument is entirely baseless. In the mid-nineties Britain had 18 month waiting lists in hospitals, high crime rates, average 30+ class sizes, few teachers, few doctors, fewer nurses and police, a transport system that was the laughing stock of the world and MASSIVE unemployment.

Oh, hang on. You mean the financial sector was doing well so our GDP was on the Up? Of course. Yes. That turned out VERY nicely, didn't it!

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@AC 12:45

"I'm amazed that anyone can think Labour are remotely better than the Conservatives."

I'm amazed that anyone could like the Tories.

"when a charismatic opposition leader came along in Tony Blair, promising a government that would be whiter than white the population bought it"

Much as they seem to be buying it again from Blair's heir Cameron.

As for reasons to dislike the Tories I could start with their opportunistic and politically driven decision to move nuclear submarine maintenance from (safe Labour) Rosyth to (marginal Tory) Devonport at the cost of many jobs and leaving a half finished facility to rot along with the workforce. An act that still makes my father spit whenever he hears the name Malcolm Rifkind. I tend towards the rather more personal dislike foisted on me by the continual braying of Young Tory Yah tossers in my face while trying to work my way through University who's spoilt smug faces spring to mind whenever I see Cameron or Osborne to the extent of wishing to rearrange their immaculate hairstyles with a baseball bat.</rant>

There are always exceptions of course, David Davis seems an honourable and principled sort even if I don't always agree with him. Pretty rare type in modern politics driven by spin and media presentation style.

The main problem just now is that if an election is forced now we're likely to see another walloping majority which is the root cause of much of the ills of the Blair/Brown years. Whenever any party thinks they can do just about anything and get away with it they usually do. I have no doubt that in the event of a landslide Tory win we will be in much the same place in the years to come, probably much worse as each generation of politicians seem to outdo the last.

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Flame

PR

The last thing the country needs is Proportional Representation. Under the current system, each major party puts forwards it's ideas for government in a manifesto. The electorate vote on that, and the party with the most votes gets to run things for up to 5 years (usually - I know there are edge cases where the party with second most votes gets power). When a voter gets fed up with something, they can send a letter to their own representative, and if the response isn't adequate they can decide not to vote for that person at the next election.

Under PR, each person votes for a party based on manifesto, then after the election you get horse trading between each party to try and form a coalition. This horse trading has no democratic basis since the voters did not express which parts of the manifesto were most important to them. The connection between manifesto, votes, and government is massively reduced. Furthermore, individuals no longer have someone who represents them. Finally, protest votes against individuals (think Martin Bell) are no longer possible. If a politician is highly unpopular, but high up on the party lists, they will still get elected. No protest votes to remove Michael Portillo.

The only reason the Lib-Dems want PR is because they are the 3rd biggest parties. Experience from other countries that have PR is that the 3rd and 4th biggest parties wield disproportionately large amounts of power. Think about the power a handful of unionists had in the latter days of Major's government when he consistently needed them to win votes.

Think about what would happen if we had PR at the last few elections. Labour and Conservative finish in second or third place. Then the Lib Dems get to decide who forms a government by picking one of them. Presumably the party who gives most concessions to Lib Dem policies. You have a high likelihood of the most popular party not running things.

The Lib Dems should stop moaning about PR, because after the next general election they have a good chance of becoming the official opposition anyway (a change which last occurred about 100 years ago). In which case Labour may never again be elected, and the next government to follow a Tory one could well be Lib Dem - without PR. Whereas with PR, the Lib Dems will always be part of a coalition running the country at best.

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Stop

@PR

"Furthermore, individuals no longer have someone who represents them. Finally, protest votes against individuals (think Martin Bell) are no longer possible. If a politician is highly unpopular, but high up on the party lists, they will still get elected."

If you use a list system then yes, but you can go to Single Transferable Vote in the existing constituencies keep the link between voter and representative but still allow the majority of people to have a representative they approve of instead of the largest minority as is now. People can still protest vote as they are under no obligation to rank all of the candidates on the ballot.

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@ AC 12:45 GMT

Your comments represent the greatest piece of historical revisionism since the Holocaust deniers were peddling their lies around the world a few years ago, implying that places like Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen were nothing more than comfortable rest homes for retired Jews. (See David Irvine et al.)

What we are now witnessing here in the UK is thirty years of Thatcherism finally crashing into the buffers of economic reality, with the painful prospect of another thirty years of payback for the citizens of this country.

When Blair, Brown and Mandelson devised their 'cunning plan' to steal the Tories thunder by adopting their economic strategy of privatisation, deregulation, and free markets they did so for reasons of short term political advantage with no regard to the long term consequences. So when they were elected in 1997 they followed through, selling off taxpayer funded public assets to their new-found corporate friends who promptly instituted the culture of Rip Off Britain with all the enthusiasm of someone who had been given a license to print money.

Unsurprisingly, even the people we elected to have oversight of the executive, our MPs, decided that they wanted a piece of the action in the shape of a hidden pay rise disguised as unaudited expenses.

So there you have it, forget all about party labels and tribalism and just acknowledge that they are human beings who are as susceptible to temptation as the rest of us. That is why we have evolved legal systems and laws to constrain the baser instincts of the greediest in society. When Thatcher kicked off her 'big bang' deregulation in the City of London financial markets she set in motion the runaway train that has ended in global financial chaos we see around us today. At the next general election if you can't find a Raving Loony Party candidate to vote for just turn over and go back to sleep.

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@PR

STV.

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I have checked his record

Pity. He seemed quite reasonable. His record is definitely loyal to the party and he is very strongly in favour of ID cards. He does not even have her Wackinesse's loony feminist defense. Looks to be on the authoritarian side of politics.

Mind you wasn't Shahead Malik pushing ID cards forward?

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