Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gordon Brown's troubles

Gordon Brown does not have the luck/fate/skill/charm of Tony Blair. It's hard to see signs of hope for Labour. As if the "expenses" problem were not enough, at least that one is shared with other party leaders.

UK's income gap widest since 60s
Britain under Gordon Brown is a more unequal country than at any time since modern records began in the early 1960s, after the incomes of the poor fell and those of the rich rose in the three years after the 2005 general election.

Deprivation and inequality in the UK rose for a third successive year in 2007-08, according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions that prompted strong criticism from campaign groups for the government's backsliding on its anti-poverty goals...

Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrats' work and pensions spokesman, said: "Labour is losing the fight against poverty. What chance has it got of abolishing child poverty if it can't even get halfway?

"This government's promise to make Britain a fairer place, where income does not affect a child's life chances, rings hollow. Gordon Brown's means-tested benefits have failed to lift children and pensioners out of poverty."

2,000 jobs at risk as Corus mothballs largest UK steel plant
Corus, the steel group owned by Indian firm Tata, warned today it will halt work at one of its largest steel plants in the UK, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.

The company said this morning that it had begun a 90-day consultation with employees about mothballing the Teesside Cast Products plant in Redcar. It admitted that the move would lead to a "very significant number of redundancies".

The losses are thought to be in addition to the 2,500 cuts Tata was already planning across its UK operations...

Britain’s Unpopular Leader Is Ripe Target in Parliament
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is spectacularly unpopular these days. He is presiding over one of the weakest economies in Western Europe. His government is widely seen as weary, porous and flailing. His own party members spend their time plotting, spreading nasty gossip and openly defying his policies.

But it was still shocking to see the mauling Mr. Brown suffered in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when he had to appear during this week’s installment of the half-hour grilling called Prime Minister’s Questions. So mercilessly and brazenly did his Conservative opponents mock, taunt and ridicule Mr. Brown that at times he seemed more piñata than politician...

Depending on which paper you read the next day, Mr. Brown was being bullied as badly as if he were a substitute teacher in a class of juvenile delinquents, the Elephant Man or a bear on a chain...

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