Wednesday 5 December 2018

May V Brown - Faceoff

OK, I really can't believe that the UK could ever have a worse Prime Minister than Gordon Brown. However, has this moment now been reached?

For a quick comparison:

Image result for gordon brown smile

1) Led UK to worst financial crisis in 100 years - £200 billion cost to the economy
2) Sold UK Gold reserves at an all time low - baking in a 'loss' of around £20 billion, double the cost of the ERM debacle
3) Signed Lisbon treaty in a cupboard with no referendum or acknowledgement
4) Enabled Tony Blair to ratchet up a high spend low tax economy
5) Plotted for years to become PM, only to lose election very badly when finally fought
6) Raised taxes spitefully on the day he left office to 50%

Image result for May prime minister smiling

1) Plotted for years to become Prime Minster, only to very nearly lose and election she should have comfortably won against the worst ever opposition leader
2) Campaigned for Br, exit then led the most pathetic negotiation in history
3) Made political enemies even of her best friends like Damian Green
4) Did a deal with DUP to stay in Government that resulted in Government becoming impossible
5) Anti-Immigration stance throughout her career has impacted on culture of the Country
6) Completely lost control of Parliament resulting in no Governance at all

I wrote this out live, because I really thought she was awful, then recalled what Brown did and she has a long way to go yet. Not even on the same page as it happens. Still, hard to think of any other Prime Minister who has been less effective in the last 40 years other than Brown. Major looks competent by comparison.


Swiss Bob said...

Brown every time for me, the architect of his and other people's misfortunes. Labour lost every single election going when he was leader (councils, Europe and finally the GE).

May is responsible for a lot of mess too but has been dealt a weaker hand too. She might be inflexible and tone deaf but I don't think she dissembles and deflects as much as Brown did.

You wonder who the next PM will be and what their rating might be, they could fare even worse.

Anonymous said...

I must have missed her "anti-immigration stance".

Anonymous said...

Anon - perhaps CU was trying for irony?

DJK said...

Perhaps being the child of a clergyman warps you. But then again, Alderman Roberts was a Methodist lay preacher.

For me, Theresa May is far worse. Brown was a competent chancellor and a politician with some clear moral values. He can hardly be blamed for the global financial crisis. In fact, I think history will look rather kindly on him.

By contrast, Theresa May is the sole author of her own (and our) misfortunes, first by calling the election and not listening to any advice from her colleagues, then by negotiating behind her brexit secretaries' backs and not listening to advice from her colleagues. She seems totally deluded and divorced from life on Earth as the rest of us understand it.

Scan said...

The subtle difference being Brown wasn't totally hopeless - like all socialists he was mendaciously competent when required. May's just 100% incompetent.

Nick Drew said...

Brown worse by a mile in my book - he was a monstrous coward, and knew it, and wrote a book on 'Courage' to deflect attention from it etc etc. May won't, I suggest, be writing any books entitled "How to do Strategy", or "The Art of Negotiation"; nor are weaknesses in the strategy & negotiating departments moral failings

(all of which still makes May shockingly bad, but in a performative sense: her weaknesses are disqualifying factors for the job she holds, not a matter of shame)

If she has a deplorable moral trait it is her being a secretive and unsupportive boss. She treated Davis and Raab badly (and all her junior ministers at the Home Office: how Green put up with it I shall never know) - but a PM has a right to do whatever it takes, and to hell with other ministers' pride. It's the result that damns her - for an incompetent, not a blackguard

Lord T said...

I hate both of them for what they have done.

However I'm leaning towards May. For the simple reason her treachery will impact on the UK for decades. Long after she has been executed for treason.

CityUnslicker said...

Lord T - on any rational analysis Brown is way worse. Leaving or Remaining in the EU will help/hurt the UK by 2 or 3% of GDP. Brown literally decimated the economy and doubled the national debt, causing a need for painful austerity for 12-15 years and an economy not predicted to truly recover until the 2040's - you can't top that.

DJK - I don't abide that, Brown did cause the GFC in the UK by leaving us so exposed. He did an OK job (well, Darling did) of stabilising things but they were in horrific shape thanks to him. Abolishing boom and bust he said - I mean really, I like dark humour and everything but that is morbid. I find myself quietly fuming these days when the labour commies go on about 'thousands of deaths' caused by Tory cuts when the reality is Labour baked in the need for a terribly hard financial decade in the 2010's whoever won elections.

CityUnslicker said...

However, May is still digging, maybe time yet to catch-up.

andrew said...

I think you over-egg Brown

For me it is Tony B.

He made brown possible
He talked peace but did war.
He talked about honesty but lied.
He talked about low taxes but built up the deficit.

He claimed the credit for some ideas that others had been working towards for 20 years (min wage / NI peace)

You know I am right because no-one wants to talk about him.

Sniper said...

Brown only tried to destroy the country, May may well succeed.

Bill Quango MP said...

It was Major who led me to abstain from voting.
Could not vote for him.

Brown caused me to positively campaign against him. Volunteering to do anything possible to get rid of him.

With May, its back to Major.I won't vote for her.

So Brown wins!

dearieme said...

I disagree. It's May vs Blair, and Blair wins as the most vile by a country mile.

Brown was an abominable Chancellor of the Exchequer but a noticeably less awful PM.

david morris said...

Another binary vote ?

Oh dear

We don't do those very well, (or at least to the satisfaction of the political class) as we're all too racist/thick/working class to understand the complexities that surrounds choice.

E-K said...


100% right. Tony Blair the worst. He caused Brexit if truth be known.

David Morris - I had it at work today "They only voted for Brexit because they were racist and believed the fantasy on the side of a red bus"

I kept quiet but was thinking that we're not just going to have Leave stopped but all our concerns about the EU are going to be ignored too. Our feelings disqualified by lies about us.

andrew said...

Actually, i blame subway

'Have it your way'

Superb slogan
-when applied to tour choice of sandwich.

Not so great when applied to the zeitgeist of the country for the next 40 years and 50% +/- 2% are bitterly opposed.

Has anyone read the city and the city?

Bill Quango MP said...

EK - Surely you have an orange hi-Viz?
I know I do.
And i'm sure Mr Drew has a whole collection of different coloured safety vests from different countries. And CU has in an emergency, the kids cycling ones.

So more resolve, EK.

Because when the 'week of action' occurs we will be looking to you show us the fastest, safest, cheapest, least manpower way to shut down the rail network.

Scrobs. said...

I just feel as though the duplicitous bastards in the HoC have stitched us all up again.

This 'legal' info is yet another tuck-up to defer the original referendum decision to quit the EU. As long as there are the swindling civil servants, their flunkies and their shags, all plotting to out-do each other up there in the shitole known as 'London', the normal folk who calmly get on with trying to make a living just get the 'little people' treatment.

Brown was a catastophe. Just at a time when even some of the twists and turns the grand-liar Blair might have some economic good for his adopted country, the gurning leper sat there and fucked everything up, including all the hopes and promises my fledgeling company had fought for through bloody hard work, and which was dashed by his suicidal imperfections in skills and judgement. He was the worst PM ever in my lifetime.

Now Mrs Chamberlain has stuffed my retirement years by using the same tactics, the same civil servants, the same flunkies, the same shags, (although they might be more wrinkled, and disliked) and my hatred for the whole bloody lot of them will not wane from now on.

This HoC has been on of the worst in the history of UK Ltd, and whle I'm seventy-one years young, I'll make sure I live to see my Tunbridge Wells MP - Greg Clark, get clobbered at the next election. My voted-for MP -is an ineffective remainer and an utter disgrace.

CityUnslicker said...

Michael - very high marks for that rant indeed, grade A stuff.

Given where we are, I have currently to think that there are going to be civil disturbances the way the EU, Remaoaners and media are carrying on. So much is missed in the polls....90% of London might be pro rem

I may do a longer piece on it, but it is a lot to consider - look at Syria not very long ago a pretty prosperous and peaceful country - once insurrection starts who is to say where it leads. Do we want that for our kids?

E-K said...

"Because when the 'week of action' occurs we will be looking to you show us the fastest, safest, cheapest, least manpower way to shut down the rail network."

Quite easy. I book on duty and it always seems to go tits up. Funny that.

andrew said...


If capita provided the "book on duty" app i am not surprised.

Scrobs. said...

Thanks City Un Slicker for your note of appreciation!

"look at Syria not very long ago a pretty prosperous and peaceful country - once insurrection starts who is to say where it leads. Do we want that for our kids?"

When Callaghan and so many violent, unpleasant and uninvited commies started to ruin our country, it was pretty near insurrection back then.

Mrs. Thatcher stopped all that rot, the left backed down - as they do, except for sniping and running away from trouble when it hurt, but this time, with that old twonk Corbyn plonking away in his own wilderness, we have a new problem.

The desire to succeed has been squeezed from Parliament. The civil servants, flunkies and shags control every damn subject we as the electorate want to banish, and they are a huge cancer in the UK.

Politicians of all colours, who retain scum like Vaz and co, are to blame for letting them take control and as long as I can do a fiendish Sudoku with one arm tied behind my back, blindfolded, and in a darkened room, from now on, I'll try and stuff these charlatans at every turn.

Makes me feel good, this fight does!

May even start a family again...

hovis said...

May vs Brown: as per Dearieme, I think to miss out Blair is a mistake; He is a grade A c**t - whilst he was the best politician of his generation that does not make up for the damage he wrought.

Gordon Brown: the numpty left standing when the music stopped, but the worst PM? I am really not so sure. Brown merely destroyed the economy ( I agree signing Lisbon did line things up), but May has destroyed any semblance of democracy. The the notion voting has any meaning is gone. Two votes within two years, the referendum and Gen Election (in which 84% of the population voted for parties committed to Brexit), discarded. Much as I thought the Brown v May contest would be an improbable draw as with Wilder vs Fury - my scorecard has May ahead and winning hands down.

Anonymous said...


I suspect @Michael is a parody. Literally "disgusted" from Tunbridge Wells.

Anonymous said...

PS: @Andrew - a lot of deep thinking there. Excellent reference.

Scrobs. said...

Ha ha ha, Anon @ 4:10am.

I'm not actually the parody of 'Disgusted', but unfortunately still pay my poll tax to the place. Yup, not a parody, but defimitely disgusted!

Friends know me as Scrobs, but you probably don't know that!

(You were up early - so was I, the dog needed to go out)!

Have a nice day!

E-K said...

"May start a family again...."


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nick Drew said...

Andrew - @ The City & The City - such places exist, don't they? There are US cities where if you walk just one block, or even cross the road, you commit a breach. (And that's a dangerous thing to do ...)

you hear of 'postcode wars' in this country

and it's common these days to talk of people 'living in echo chambers' online: how many (virtual) cities occupy the same (cyber)space??

CityUnslicker said...

ND - I went to St Louis yesterday, literally crossing the street it is danger in large chunks of it...tasty..

Tony Harrison said...

Interesting comments, thanks for the read. My own position is that I would never have imagined myself voting anyone else as worst-ever PM in my lifetime beyond Eden (before my voting time, but I was around), Heath, Blair, Brown, Cameron; but disastrous and distasteful though the latter three (especially) were, none of them presided over catastrophically inept negotiations so fundamental to our nationhood. May has been so bad she stinks, and it redounds hugely to the discredit of the Tories that they put her in place - then failed to ditch her as she dug herself (and our country) into an ever deeper hole.

andrew said...

ND - Exactly that.

Imagine 1910-30. a few radio channels, no tv. You went out and talked to people. Looking through my grandads stuff, I see medals for shooting, cricket, amdram, baking (he was a baker). Most people (outside the mitfords) lived the same existence.
People who wanted something different from the norm emigrated.

Society progressed, but glacially. The character of your lived existance was roughly the same as it was in the 1830s.

Cast your mind back to the early 90s. 4 channels. Guardian or Telegraph. We all lived the same existance most of the time.
People who wanted something different from the norm - and expected everyone else to come along with that ran up against real life very quickly.

Society progressed, but at a relatively slow pace (the decay of mary whitehouse's power mid 70s-mid 80s).

And now. ? channels. Breitbart / the Canary .... . We choose existance we live. You can have your groceries delivered, work remotely, stare at your smart phone on the bus or have tinted glass on your car so outsiders cannot see you.
People who wanted something different from the norm - and expected everyone else to come along with that are now more likely to have it their way.

Society changes, and at a relatively fast pace

Whether change is good or bad depends on your views. I grew up in the east end in the late 70s and I remember my friends older brothers literally did go out paki bashing once. We stayed behind and watched a wildlife documentary - lots of elephants and hyenas. Along with dog fighting and polio very few people are nostalgic for that bit of the past.

and brexit (I will not go there)

and civil partnerships / gay marriage

... but as society and its range gets wider, people inevitably get further apart and seem to be less willing to understand and more willing to condemn.

We live in the city and the city right now.
How many homeless people did you walk past between the work and the sandwich shop
... and a breach can happen just by looking.
Worse - breach is policed by Breach - and that is us - ask a london postcode gang.

Jan said...

I agree Bliar is the worst PM ever. He is responsible for an untold number of deaths and turmoil in the Middle East. He is a liar and a cheat and guilty of hypocrisy at every level. He brainwashed the whole leftist Guardianista class which includes all the media, education providers and Civil Service. He made sure he lined his own pockets whilst professing to be socialist..........We've suffered the consequences ever since. May watched and learnt and didn't need Alastair Campbell; it was all absorbed by osmosis during Bliar's term in office. How he hoodwinked the UK I'll never fathom. His legacy in terms of the NI agreement is why we can't find a way out of the EU.

As for Brown, the only good thing he did as Chancellor was to keep us out of the euro.

dearieme said...

"The character of your lived existence was roughly the same as it was in the 1830s."

Not so; your water supply was free from shit. Your shit largely entered sewers and was got rid of safely. Your food was far cheaper compared to your wages, and far more varied. Your coal, and therefore your hot water, was also cheaper compared to your wages. You could travel by train, bus, and bicycle. Your city, if you lived in one, was a less violent place. The middle class had grown enormously.

You were having far fewer children per family, and a far higher proportion of them survived birth, infancy and childhood. Almost all of them took advantage of the opportunity to learn to read and write, funded by the taxpayer - which was just part of the first welfare state, with its factory acts, acts against pollution, public health departments, national insurance, GP "panel" system, and old age pensions. It was a quite different world, 1930 vs 1830.

Unless of course you lived in the USSR.

andrew said...


The modal age at death was pretty level from 1840 - 1970
And then it took off.

Basically if you made it through childhood, you tended to die at 67-75.

It is about 80 now.

rwendland said...

andrew, did you notice the note about that ONS data "deaths to babies and children aged under 10 have been excluded in the calculation of modal age at death. Starting at age 10 avoids the selection of a very young age as the mode".

So if all ages were used for mode, as they are for median and mean, then the modal age of death was likely zero until some year in the 20th century, when it would likely flip straight to 70-ish one year. Which is a hint over the weakness in using mode as an indicator of average.

Nick Drew said...

A comment I make along some of these lines is the lifestyle of Mrs Drew's parents who live happily in the countryside, with a TV (only watch a couple of channels, though it's open to them to watch more), a car, a landline, a fridge, a cooker (but no microwave), a vacuum cleaner, a chequebook. Oh, and a grandfather clock.

Same as 1960. Take away the TV, and it's same as 1930.

The main difference they notice is that they've reached an age that has only been possile with a lot of NHS intervention. Of course, no end of services they benefit from are fully digitised - but they are not, and the computer only intrudes to their home when we visit & show them some stuff on our laptops.

(Old Ma Drew, on the other hand, uses mobile phone / tablet / email / telephone banking, the lot - at the age of 91)

Nick Drew said...

Scrobs! - how the Devil are you?!

rwendland said...

The sale of the Gold reserves "baking in a 'loss' of around £20 billion" is an urban myth. Even if the Brown govt sold the 395 ton (11.5 million troyounces) for nothing, the gold price would have had to get to $2,780 per ounce at some time (£1735) in order for that amount of gold to be worth £20 billion. And it never got that high - it peaked around $1,850 for a short while.

Scrobs. said...

Nick, I'm fit and well thank you, and batting far beyond my pay grade (retired you see)!

The reason why my monica appears as'Michael', is that it is my Christian name, but I'm usually looking at Her Fragrancy the Senora O'Blene's PC, on another address, so that 'Scrobs' doesn't appear that often, which some may say is a damn good thing, and why doesn't he do it even less often...

Mind you, on Biased BBC, I get called 'Scrobbie' sometimes, which is all well and good, but confusing to say the least! I like the familiarity though!

I hope and trust all is well in the Drew Dynasty! 91 years and on a computer is no mean feat, so congratulations are in order!

dearieme said...

"deaths to babies and children aged under 10 have been excluded in the calculation ...": thank you for that. I had been going to reply:

Your figures lie,
I don't know why,
But your figures lie.

But now I do know why.

andrew said...

D and NW, like I said:

"Basically if you made it through childhood, you tended to die at 67-75"

adding a bit more detail, In there is a nice breakdown by sex on page 30.

It clearly shows that if you were a man who survived childhood, your life span was pretty range bound 68-76 from 1841 to 1981

It is a good idea to read a post before responding, but usually much less fun.

The paper also has a short note on why modal values are a good measure.

If you want to get upset for a good reason, spot that the author states that england and wales are low mortality countries. Scotland is not mentioned.

Looking elsewhere you can see that mortality was pretty level across the whole of the UK until 1912 and then the rates of improvement diverged between england and wales (similar) and scotland (slower improvement)
- and now the gap is about 5 years.