Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Ship Leaves The Sinking Rats

Amid cries of lost authority and dysfunctional leadership and Government, there has been an exodus of rats from the holed ship that is New Labour.

To be honest, it's hard to see whether it is the ship leaving the rats or the more traditional way round. But rats they are. Jacqui Smith was a shoe-out and her position has been pretty untenable - not just because of her expenses but the fact was she was a joke of a Home Secretary. Communities Secretary, whatever that entails, was the realm of leather-clad Hazel Blears who has resigned with dramatic and pointed effect deliberately staged to wound the PM further. After her attacks on his communications fiascoes, she took a face full herself for her greedy use of taxpayers' money to feather her nest and tried to redeem herself by paying back some of the money she made. Now she is going back to Salford to tend to the darlings who she hopes will vote for her - and she is already piling on the jam thickly for them. Salfordites are indeed the only people who matter, apart from herself and her sleazy little career, according to her cooing but there were plenty of barbs about the leadership in her spiteful resignation speech. I am sure the words of praise used in Question Time must have gagged in Brown's throat.

You Reap What You Sow

Back stabbing, sniping and blatant grandstanding as we have seen in various forms from the likes of Blears, Harman, Johnson, Milliband and others are the sorts of weapons that Brown used in his war of attrition with Blair in order to get his coveted PM job. So you reap what you sow really as it works both ways, which Brown has found to his cost. The duplicitous little smiles hid sneaky goings on and now Brown can see what life is like when people take sides in order to oust a PM.

New Labour made a huge case to get rid of the Tories in 1997 based around sleaze. But we have seen that New Labour has been founded on the very same with cronyism and puerile bullying to add in. Their laissez faire style of Government was all about self-seeking and it has been a sad voyage that took in a lot of people.

For the those with any ounce of common sense, it was plain to see a few short years into their time that Labour had put its faith in an economy built on sand. It was obvious to see that Britain was building wealth on unrealistic asset inflation which itself was attracting more money than was clearly healthy. It was a recipe to create a massive hole in the finances of the nation as many predicted it would do. Not even the staunchest critic could have predicted just how big a hole that would be.

The rats leaving is the death knell for Gordon Brown. He has been a particularly poor leader. It should never be about charisma but it should not be about delusion. Blair flirted with it and now we know that he had a religious agenda that seemed to authenticate his warmongering while for Brown it was an over-inflated self assurance about his abilities to manage the country's finances.

He had convinced himself that he had found the Philosopher's Stone that if touched by money it would create an endless supply of more. For all his self-professed abilities and intelligence he was wrong. Britain's economic boom was a mirage.

To The Bitter End

I would imagine that Brown is thick-skinned enough to blunder his way on to the bitter end. He has until next June to call an election and I think his tactic will be to try and distance himself from the recent fiascoes and hope against hope that the economy will have recovered somewhat and so diminish our memory of the recent past and soften our anger.

There is a problem in doing so. While there are many signs pointing toward the recession having reached its nadir, the problem is that that fallout hasn't. Unemployment is now the real evil and it has lagged the recession so far but, like a supertanker, it will be difficult to turn. There is a real possibility that it will rise again by some 50% on the current 2m and that will make a significant portion of voters very angry. In doing so, it is certain that the Chancellor will have to revise his budget deficit estimates yet again as they are wrong already from the last lot but he does not seem to factor in the increased burden on the Welfare State.

While I sympathise with many people who want an early election, I don't think it is wise as we have yet to fully flush out all the expense abuses as a) we have only really dealt with second home allowances so far, travel and office expenses are yet to come and b) not all the fiddling MPs have been outed yet. The danger is that we go the voting without full disclosure and risk voting in bad eggs again or worse still, that the Telegraph will deliberately hold back sensitive details until the hustings begin so killing off chances of certain individuals. Some say the Telegraph has played the information in a balanced way but I think they have deliberately targeted Labour so far and they have held off on Party leaders. That may be released at the wrong time.

Getting Perspective

Today, the headlines are all about Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith losing their jobs. Far away, another British soldier in Afghanistan lost his life. We should not give so much credence to the rats - let's get focused on the heroes who do our bidding whether right or wrong. It will help take our minds off the squalid politics all around us.

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