Thursday, December 20, 2007


Next Six Months Crucial for Gordon

Roy Hattersley has had a curious relationship with New Labour. From the start he saw it as having sold its soul to Mammon/Thatcher/the market and he may have been right. But when Brown announced that huge splurge of public spending, he confessed himself pleased the government had come to its senses and (presumably) returned to Old Labour style tax and spend big government. He reckons it was all Tony's fault:

Tony Blair's view of society was, for Labour, a temporary aberration. Brown believes in something different and better. It is essential he says so.

Yet any close study of Brown's biography reveals he was just as complicit as Blair, in embracing the market and welcoming it into the public sector to improve productivity and save money. What Roy hopes for is not going to happen- the reverse is more likely to occur in my view. Meanwhile other columnists continue to attack Brown's character. Anatole Kaletsky argues that the mistakes that have been made since the autumn have been down to his inherent flaws of:

stubbornness and inflexibility, solipsism and tunnel vision — in other words, a refusal or inability to imagine what might happen if one's assumptions were mistaken or how the world might look from other people's points of view.

Given the withering attack by Simon Jenkins in yesterday's Guardian on government incompetence and Matthew Parris's comments in todsay's Times, there does not seem much left for a Labour supporter tom pick up off the floor. As always, it takes Peter Riddell in The Times to inject some common sense into the debate. he dismisses Brown's explanations-that these problems are purely ephemeral- as too trite and observes most of Gordon's problems since the autumn have been of his own making. But he concludes that all is not lost:

Talk of Mr Brown going or being forced out before the next election is baloney. No credible successor exists, certainly not yet among the younger Cabinet generation. They all have yet to prove themselves. Labour’s mood is still one of disappointment, sorrow rather than anger. Above all, Mr Brown has time to recover: an election could be delayed until May 2010.

I'm not so sure. I reckon Brown has no more than the next six months to prevent the perception of burnt out incompetence becoming the default perception of his government and the reason for its terminal decline to defeat.

Oh dear - you seem to be mired in unfestive gloom. Reading your previous post suggests that it doesn't really much matter what happens to laugh-a-minute Gordon; we're all doomed anyway...

Happy Xmas
I'm surprised you give him six months. I'd probably say six weeks was nearer the mark. If the New Year starts off in the same way as the current one is ending, then it is hard to see how the "default perception" you refer to can be averted.
You are right- I am a bit gloomy about politics right now. Maybe it's the season to be a bit like that but after today the nights start to fdraw out and I'll get more cheerful.
You could well be right- I was just enjoying being reassured by Riddell.
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