back to article Prime Minister's email takes month off

British citizens wishing to write to Prime Minister Gordon Brown via email are currently being told that the service is down due to maintenance work. Number 10’s website is currently carrying this message about Brown’s inability to receive emails from pen-shy members of the public: This service has been temporarily suspended …


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  1. Tim
    Thumb Down

    Maintenance takes a month?

    Did they take the site down and then put the maintenance work out to tender, followed by three rounds of auctions and finally a security check on the winners of the contract to replace a single hard drive in a poxy server hidden under Gordo's stairs?

    Is this our tax-pound at its lazy work?

  2. Sceptical Bastard

    Twitter down too

    You've got to hand it the PM and his nerds - when they fuck up, they do it thoroughly. The number 10 site says: " can still let us know your opinions via an epetition or on our new Twitter service."

    So I clicked on the link to Twitter only to get this:

    "Twitter is currently down for maintenance. We expect to be back in about an hour. Thanks for your patience."

    Two hours later, still no Twitter.

    Not that I had anything to say to Gordy. Except, perhaps, "Fuck off and take your RIPA, 42 days, comms database and CCTV mania with you, you illiberal bastard."

    PS: is Gordon's email moderated? Does he need someone to weed out the dross and excoriate the rude and ignorant? Is there a trough there awaiting a nose? Is this a career opportunity for our very own Moderatrix...

  3. neb



    for a week?

    on a poxy email address?

    does he need help archiving his emails or is he just stoopid?

  4. John Sager

    Mmm, Adnam's

    Well, Gordo won't find much 80/- ale in Southwold. However, it being the home of Adnam's brewery, he could do worse than forget his troubles in several pints of Broadside instead.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The PM's account isn't working

    There can only be 2 reasons that I can see.

    1) He has used his months bandwidth quota and until his card validates the account is locked

    2) He has suffered under the 3 strikes rule for downloading

  6. Frank

    'Ollibobs' - Neologism?

    "..he will be taking his family ollibobs while the House of Commons is in recess."

    Ok, I figured out that 'ollibobs' means 'holiday' or 'on holiday', and confirmed that by noting other contextual clues in Google search results, but I've never seen the word before now. It's not in any of the standard references, or the 'urban dictionary', so can you please give any information as to the source/derivation of this word?

    I know that many will think that I ought to go out and get a life but I do believe that clarity of presentation (and likely comprehension) is vital in a publication as esteemed and influential as El Reg.

  7. Steven
    Thumb Down


    Down for over a month for maintenence???

    I could hand build a new exchange server, install all the software and set up a whole bunch of new email users over a weekend. What the hell can they be doing to take that long? Are they rebuilding the circuit boards by hand???

    More government incompetence by the sounds...

  8. Chris Mallinson
    Thumb Down

    Twitter At What?

    Amusingly enough - The Prime Ministers twitter had this to say:

    "Twitter is currently down for maintenance.

    We expect to be back in about an hour. Thanks for your patience" !! So much for that too then....

  9. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Surrender 42Love ITs UltiMate Core Ore Addiction ..... AINatural Passion.

    "A pint of reassuringly flat, warm ale goes to The Happy Space Invader who told El Reg that the PM's email service was down."

    Nothing a 50 of Viagra couldn't cure, I'm sure ... or should that be for sure or/and as well as?.

    TGIF again. BOFH Fix Day. I wonder if the Fare will be Cold Turkey again this week? :-)

    Yours Sincerely,

    AIdDedicated Fan/Flaming Blue Gene

  10. Luke

    What a twitter

    I were Gordon Brown right now I would turn my email off for a month too...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    unspun... spun... unspun

    Far be it from me to suggest that the disabled point of contact is in any way linked to the onset of holidays and the possibility that Nobend Broon has merely pissed off and left us all in the lurch because he hasn't got a clue what to do.

    <spin>After such an unequivically successful first year in office I am sure that Gordon Brown is quite literally heartbroken to learn that he has been inadvertantly cut off from his daily reward of sifting through the eloquent and congratulatory messages of support streaming into his inbox each day. So saddened by this loss, Mr Brown has looked quite dejected on the news broadcasts of late. Never mind Gordon, all will soon be up and running again and then you will see those familiar little texts flooding back into your world... </spin>

    ... you maloderous lying, offal guzzling, thieving f@ tw@.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Ok, I figured out that 'ollibobs' means 'holiday' or 'on holiday' etc"

    My guess is that this story is actually a ruse. It's a social experiment to see if The Register can insert a new word into the language, like "quiz" or "vril" or what-have-you. The stuff about Gordon Brown is just a front, it's a means for the viral payload to survive until it penetrates your brain. Which is has done.

  13. this

    Mail provider..

    probably BT.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Turing Bombes for Bonobos ..... Alpha Beta Particulars/Peculiars :-)

    The PMAssistant posting on El Reg would be AIMajor LLAN Twittering ...... In the PuRRview of XTCode .... 42 Virtualise Flight ProgramMIng.

    AIMOD Global Operating Device?

    Cyber Fleet AIR Arm Command and Control?

    Which are Questions of Statements for Politeness? In Virtual Flights of Fancy is the Possible Never Impossible.......... so Just Do IT, Make IT Possible.

    Now, what would Like 42 Do when Nothing is Impossible?

  15. W

    How cute?


    wt and indeed f?

  16. Jims

    @Chris Mallinson

    "Amusingly enough - The Prime Ministers twitter had this to say:

    "Twitter is currently down for maintenance.""

    I hope you are aware that it's not just the PM's tweeter feed that's offline, it is infact the whole twitter service.

    I'll get my coat because the twitter withdrawal symptons are giving me a the chills

  17. Steve

    One down...

    Now, if we can just shut off his phone, fax & mail and then gag him, we might just be able to limit the damage he can do enough that the country can survive to the next election.

    An electronic tag might not be a bad idea either - one connected to the mains.

  18. Tim Miller


    It's just a affectionate form of "holiday" - olli from holi. Bob's your uncle.

    I suspect it's a London thing.

  19. Simon Greenwood
    IT Angle

    How about the rest of the cabinet?

    Presumably their email is working and it's just the web front end to the Great Leader's account that isn't, or no doubt the mechanics of government, and definitely not any plotting at all, would grind to a halt.

  20. Suburban Inmate
    Black Helicopters

    Yeah I pity the minions.

    They'll be sitting there for a fortnight at least:

    [img: bored lackey, head in hand, elbow on desk, clicking the emails into the appropriate folders]

    Trash.... trash... trash... suspected terrorist... trash... trash... trash... trash.... complement/sarcasm... trash... trash... suspected terrorist.... trash... trash............

  21. gareth

    possible reason for a month maintanence

    i recon the server got rooted and has been routed for a long time so all of the backups are rooted and there is probabily some really important governement secrets which where sent to the pm by say MI5/6 in unencrypted emails which some one forgot to back up so they cann't just wipe the server and restart it from scratch

  22. FlatSpot
    IT Angle


    So if the PM enjoys Southwold as a holiday destination, does that mean he will put some money towards their sea defences to preserve it?

    Maybe he could start a number 10 petition LOL

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Gees, if my wife's email wasn't available for a couple of hours I'd be as good as dead. Shows what sort of authority Gordo has.

    Gordo: "Please, nice Mr. IT Guy, when is my email gong to be back?"

    IT Guy: "Well, the reverse boolean sprocket flange repeater matrix is on the blink and we're waiting for a replacement. They have to come from Zimbabwe and that takes a while."

    Gordo: "Er, OK then. Thanks."

    IT Guy: Goes back to smoking his fag.

  24. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    There can only be 2 reasons that I can see.



  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ISP - BT

    Then he read about Phorm and is currently switching providers... Oh wait it isn't illegal in the gov's eyes so they have nothing to fear with everything being read first.

    Or it is just the amount of red tape in getting a hard drive or a server or perhaps someone who knows the password for the MX records.

    Which they have to bribe the person that found them on the tube after being left by someone. All this bribing takes time.

    Perhaps it is simply the amount of emails because of the poor way he runs the country and the moe tech savvy population that is around wanting to let him know that.

    Or more likely the government is just understanding what the rest of us have to live with, spam, trojans, spyware and stupid end users clicking on things you know will download scum to your machine. And we all know MP's are not the sharpest tools in the box.

    Imagine, Downing street PC's in a botnet.

  26. Wokstation

    Southwold? Oh Crap.

    I'm moving for a week...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry for the delay...

    I am installing Vista on Mr Brown's PC, and the progress bar shows 29 more days of work to do. I told him Sir Bill uses a Mac, but he said he had already bought a million Vista licenses and they had to be used for something.

  28. Solomon Grundy

    Twitter, really? Really?

    I'm no expert on government, and my government isn't exactly a shining example of republic rule either, but if your government is seriously using Twitter then that's where I would start pushing for change. I thought that service had already gone and died.

    I just don't get why your government doesn't like to communicate with the peasants. It's not like there are very many people in the UK so it can't exactly be an overwhelming task. When I write my President or my representatives I always get a response back - granted it's probably been read and signed by some intern, but the "office" still responds and they are thoughtful enough to forge the Presidents signature. You guys ought to demand the same.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Shoulnd t that be twatter?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democracy means never having to tell the truth - and re: Solomon Grundy

    I understand your confusion Solomon, I too have wondered the same thing and have only one plausible answer although I hasten to add that it is not a personal dig, merely one pleb's musings...

    The generally accepted view, based on all evidence to date, is that the average Brit is so completely gobsmackingly, teethspitting furious with the continual abuse it suffers under the auspicious title of "a government for the people" that in reading just a fraction of the anger and disgust contained within the nicer entries voicing an opinion that the majority of sensitive politicians simply curl up, set fire to their genitalia and die slowly, writhing in perpetual semi-asphixiated agony as the self induced pain overrides their ability to inhale properly (okay - I made that bit up but it is a truly wonderful and mentally rewarding image - share it with your friends). The few remaining politicos (see any "parliament today"-type programme for an up-to-date list) have learned that [a] it is safer not to read what people say about them and [b] safer still not to give them a voice whatsoever. The more astute have also opted not to read anything published by their own advisors either just in case.

    Ultimately then, for democracy to work properly in Britain (and I suspect the rest of the world), one is obliged to wage war on a lesser country, completely ignore the outcry of the general public, tax them all near to death and invent regular press releases telling everyone what a wonderful sunny time we are all having. Three cheers for Democracy eh?

    I wrote to the Queen once regarding a concern I had a few years ago and got a wonderfully measured and polite reply from one of her ladies in waiting (thank you ma'am, I appreciate the trouble someone went to to confirm my letter was received). I have given up on the government's "petition" site after receiving five standard "thanks fool but phuk you and your opinion mate" emails out of the five petitions signed. <sarc.> How surprised I was to read that the government has switched off it's email account 4 weeks before the summer holidays begin. </sarc.>

  31. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Is Ignorance of Shared Dissent, a Government Default to be Used for Abuse?

    "I wrote to the Queen once regarding a concern I had a few years ago and got a wonderfully measured and polite reply from one of her ladies in waiting (thank you ma'am, I appreciate the trouble someone went to to confirm my letter was received)."

    .... By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 18th July 2008 13:34 GMT

    Crikey, AC, that was indeed a most unusual turn of events. It can be very frustrating being kept waiting for AIRight Royal confirmation, which is why IT has a necessary Facility at All Times to make up Minds Remotely.

    After all, One cannot have Idle Dithering Conflicting with Errant Twittering, can One? That would be just too Much of a Mess and far too complicated for the Hired Help to Sort Out.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    webwise, pound foolish

    Perhaps they are having problems with the Phorm webserver installation . . .

  33. Fuion


    Now, what would Like 42 Do when Nothing is Impossible?

    ---> Obtain happiness by working with a "Flaming Blue Gene".

  34. Fuion

    @Is Ignorance of Shared Dissent, a Government Default to be Used for Abuse?

    Maybe someone is just waiting to "go home and fsck the prom queen".

    ---> What is the ETA for ship arrival?

  35. Andy Livingstone

    Email down@

    Those listening to Prime Minister's Question Time recently will know the reasons.

    He has forgotten to "Pay Rental" and the service is run on his behalf by his drunken old Auntie..... Alky Ada.

  36. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Pure Passion is AIdDriver? Now that's an Interesting XSS uniting Two Intelligence Roots.

    "Maybe someone is just waiting to "go home and fsck the prom queen".

    ---> What is the ETA for ship arrival?" .... By Fuion Posted Friday 18th July 2008 19:50 GMT

    With that Sort of IntelAIgent Drive, whenever you're Ready 42 Travel, although ETA of Valued Goods would be for the Greater Grandstanding Ego of the prom queen, whose ID would be XXXXPerienced porn bitch and whose SuperEgo would be Angelic and QuITe Tantric XSSXXXXually, 42 Offer/Deliver/Maintain and Sustain.

    "He has forgotten to "Pay Rental" and the service is run on his behalf by his drunken old Auntie..... Alky Ada." .... By Andy Livingstone Posted Friday 18th July 2008 20:59 GMT


    You can consider the above a Lovelace Tonic for Alky Ada, .....who would now be Enabled to Rest and Relax and Recover under ITs Care and Share.

    [Alky Ada? Such Classic Irreverence deserves a Special Mention in Dispatches, Fuion. Beers and Cheers all Round. :-) ]

  37. Andy Livingstone


    Ever so sorry, but like most Brits I only understand English.

    Every word of your posting passed straight over my head.

    Even Babelfish refused it.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I hate this government and the way they repeatedly try to deceive the public and just won't tell the truth.

    The site's been down for a month..and that's maintanence? Either, they've screwed up on issuing the contact for maintenance or they're up to something quite different, please don't try to con us into thinking you're doing maintanence for a month 'cos you can't be, and not even if you're completely incompetent can it take that long. So something else is going on which they're trying to cover up.

  39. N

    Perhaps the message should have read:

    Dear objects still residing in the socialist union of not so great Britain,

    Over the last ten years weve done our utmost to ruin this once great country, weve invaded other countries without justification to try and reduce the price of oil & failed miserably, ruined your retirement opportunities by robbing your pension funds, squandered your inheritance by selling a third of our gold reserves at its lowest price, let criminals run free whilst harassing the innocent thrown away your privacy and worst of all painted the outside lane of the M4 pink so no one can drive along it because were watching you with millions of CCTV cameras.

    We'd like to lock up anyone who dosnt drive a pice of shit like a toyota prius or likes to drive at more than 30 miles an hour because that indicates individuality. Weve tried our best to take away this individuality & make everyone including this country come last.

    Were sorry that we cant tax you just for reading this response, weve done our very best to tax everything and waste as much as possible by the most inefficient means.

    We can of course fix all of this with statistics and a government tsar has been appointed to run a 300 million pound project who we will then reward with a knighthood (oops, we diddnt really mean to say that)

    In the meantime, wed like to thank the millions of fools who were taken in hook line and sinker enjoy a good hard kick in the fork having removed the 10p tax rate you so easily sucker to us for.

    Now fuck off & dont forget to vote for us again

    G Brown

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if it's related

  41. Dug Stokes

    PM's Blackberry Stolen?

    Maybe its to do with this?

    The Times is today reporting a January incident in which a top aide to Prime Minister Gordon Brown discovered his BlackBerry missing from his hotel room after spending the night with an attractive woman who approached him in a Shanghai disco. Seems this was a run-of-the-mill BlackBerry without any encryption, only a simple password lock. The greatest fear is that, even if the device did not contain any sensitive messages at the time, there was likely enough information on board for a hostile intelligence service to snake its way deep into Downing Street's email servers. The aide was 'informally reprimanded.'"

  42. John Grasett

    This couldn't be the reason - no sir eh, Bob.

    Aide loses Blackberry in China after inviting a woman up to his room.

    Must just be a coincidence. Right?

  43. Fuion


    "whenever you're Ready 42 Travel"

    ---> Have been ready since Friday 18th July 2008 19:50 GMT.

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