Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Brown's Future in Government Beyond 2009 on a Knife Edge

'There May be Trouble Ahead' sang the guy in the bank advert a short time ago and I just wonder if a new version ought to be put out featuring Alistair Darling or Gordon Brown. Gordon started off with a leap in the polls which promised either immediate or longer term reflection in an election victory. Then he lost the lead, lost his bottle and has been kicked the length of the Commons chamber by Cameron ever since. That was bad enough but 'events' have conspired to make it even worse and to suggest, at least to me that after the next election, Gordon won't be presiding in the room pictured above.

The further 'trouble' has come crowding in , first in the form of Northern Rock- where the £23 bn baling out seemed good politics at the time but much less so now that persistent questions are being asked about what guarantees there might be that this taxpayers' money is going to be repaid and when. The Chancellor has seemed so far unable to offer a satisfactory answer. Then came the loss of bank details relating to 25 million people and very soon the damning NAO report on the selling off of QuinitiQ, the former defence research division, sold off, apparently at Brown's behest, to a private equity firm for a song and which has made fortunes for its former civil servant directors.

You may say that none of these disasters is of Darling's doing, especially the loss of data, but, as Nick Robinson, pointed out on last night's news, the public tend to blame the government for such blunders. Vince Cable, the Lib Dem's acting leader showed once again why he should perhaps have been in the bag for his party's leadership, age notwithstanding, when he suggested that it was now the Treasury and not the Home Office which was 'not fit for purpose'.

Brown was holed beneath the waterline by his election miscalculation but had time to recover and prevent his mistake leading to a "Dog Days' of John Major" type decline when everything begins to go pear shaped. But if he loses his Chancellor- and his position already looks insecure- I'd say his goose was cooked regarding chances of re-election.

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