Monday, 1 June 2009

Short break in the Scottish sun

Waking up to Day 25 of the expenses firestorm but viewing it all from Edinburgh which, of course, is close up to the scandal not far a way.

I've been here for a few days and out and about in this t-shirt and shorts town the levels of public anger with politicians is still palpable. Not contempt, not cynicism, just outright anger.

Everyone laughs at how outrageous the Tory grandees have been but they're pretty cut up the Labour MPs whose claims are more within the scope of the costs of their own daily lives.

Gordon Brown is on the wicket on Radio 4 right now, after keeping a typically low profile for some days. He wants an national council for democratic renewal to lead the way in opening up parliament and scouring the scent of scandal out of Westminster.

"I've got to get on with the job," says Mr Brown who says he's the best man to clean up the political system. "It's not tenable though, says Evan Davis, who asks him, several times, if he will be persuaded to stand down.

"I'm staying on to do the job I need to do. I not arrogant or not willing to listen to people but I think I have the experience to get us through this economic downturn," says Brown rehearsing the line we'll be hearing again and again in the wake of the European and English local elections.

He adds that people know he's determined, that he works hard and that he won't let temporary setbacks derail him from handling economic recovery and cleaning up parliament over the next few weeks. He's not about to announce that he is going anywhere is he?

He defends Alistair Darling, who has been zapped by the Daily Telegraph today over double claiming his second home allowance, as a friend: "I don't think there are substance in these allegations, he assures me there are no foundations in the allegations," says Mr Brown.

My short break is over today and I'll be back at Westminster soon. Meanwhile, this bizarre sunshine...

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