Responsible to whom?

From the BBC's live blog of Gordon Brown's press conference yesterday:

1705 The prime minister says he "will not waiver and will not walk away". He adds: "I admit there have been full mistakes made and I accept responsibility."

JamboTheJourno tweets: I think Brown's acceptance of responsibility potentially gives him the opportunity to start afresh.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean what it used to, does it?

The whole country has shown that it doesn't want this unelected Brown government.

  • Labour don't control a single council in England, and are down to under 180 councillors in the contested constituencies, compared to nearly 1500 for the Tories.
  • The LibDems have far more (473) councillors than Labour (and have a higher share of the vote).
  • Almost as many independent as Labour councillors were returned (164 and 176 respectively).
  • Who could ever have imagined seeing the Tories controlling Lancashire and Nottinghamshire?
  • Eleven ministers, including six cabinet ministers have quit (Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, John Hutton, James Purnell, Geoff Hoon, Paul Murphy, Caroline Flint, Tony McNulty, Margaret Beckett, Beverley Hughes, Tom Watson).
  • Brown has so much confidence in his parliamentary party and they in him, that he can't find suitable candidates for the vacancies from the 350 or so Labour MPs, and has to give two departments to the unelected Peter Mandelson and draft in other unelected individuals like Lord Adonis, Glenys Kinnock and Alan Sugar.
  • Brown is so enfeebled and dishonest that he can't move the ministers that he had planned to, then lies to the press by claiming that he had never planned to move Darling, and then preaches about the virtues of honesty and integrity that he learnt at his father's knee.
  • Less than half the Labour activists or supporters surveyed in polls on the Labourlist website, for Channel 4 News, in the Mail on Sunday and The Times want him to lead the Labour party into the next election.
  • In recent polls, the majority wanted a general election now (Telegraph, ITV News).

But what do the public know? Who are we to judge the Prime Minister? What matters is the Prime Minister's judgment of himself (and, to a lesser extent, the judgment of those who depend on him for their government positions):

"If I didn't think I was the right person, leading the right team, I would not be standing here... I have faith in doing my duty, in being fair to others, and in honest politics, and this is who I am... Our party cannot lead or succeed by heeding the empty and expedient reactions of the hour... I will not waiver, I will not walk away, I will get on with the job and I will finish the work."

So that's alright then, Gordon. You carry on "taking responsibility" by ignoring everyone else and reducing the country to penury to pay for your mistakes, while we figure out, if you won't listen to opinions expressed peacefully and democratically, how else we get rid of you. Your delusional faith in your own abilities and refusal to heed public sentiment may be the death of democracy in this country, but what do you care? You are in good company with other leaders who knew that their leadership was in the best interests of their ignorant, ungrateful populace. Charles I, Louis XIV, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Gordon Brown...



"The whole country has shown that it doesn't want this unelected Brown government."

Unless i'm mistaken, the country voted, in majority, in the previous general election for the Labour Party - by voting, locally, for Labour Party candidates. Thus the Labour Party has the right - and constitution - to appoint it's own leader: Blair, then Brown.
We do not vote for a president (or personality: delete as appropriate) as does the USofA.
Thus, Brown was part of an ELECTED party that was in government !!!!!!!!!!!

Still, he's done a shite job of it (and being Chancellor as well) !

Indeed, he has the constitutional right to remain. But if that were all there were to it, no prime minister would ever resign, other than for personal reasons or through his MPs wielding the axe. In reality, he has a responsibility to consider his duty to his country and party. He is destroying both by remaining. My point was not that the listed items meant that he had to go, but that he should go, and that, if he doesn't get the message, we should consider how else to put it across.

The point you make about his chancellorship is key. He is as guilty as Sir Fred Goodwin and Alan Greenspan for the bubble that led to the inevitable burst. The measures (massive deficit spending and quantitative easing) he is forcing his Chancellor and the Bank of England to take, to try to prevent the necessary correction, will do even more harm in the long run. His incompetence, hubris, and electoral desperation is threatening to destroy our economy and wealth for a generation. That isn't something one can just stand by and idly criticize. It is sufficient justification to do whatever it takes to remove him.  

Incidentally, the Labour Party has now broken three promises from the last election:

  • A referendum on the European constitution
  • Not to increase the upper-rate of tax
  • That Tony Blair would serve a full third-term

Again, not constitutional grounds for Brown to go, but reasons never again to trust any Labour MP with power, unless enough of them grow enough balls between them to remove the person primarily responsible for those broken promises.

As someone who has shown both a taste for radical reform and enough decency and courage to do the right thing in the current circumstances, I'd say James Purnell is looking very strong at the moment (although I don't remotely share his politics).