Sunday, November 30, 2008


PBR Poll Reception Kills off Chance of Spring Election

Public reaction to Darling's PBR has been something of a disaster. Yesterday an ICM poll in The Guardian revealed how hugely unimpressed we are. The whole point of the exercise was to encourage us to spend, spend spend. But barely a quarter intended to spend more as a result of the VAT changes and Labour trailed the Tories by 15 points. The Observer's Ipsos Mori poll offered a slightly less depressing lead of 11 points but only 6 percent planning to spend 'much' or even 'a little' more. Open goals for the Tories one might think, but only up to a point Lord Copper.

The Conservatives: despite the good performances of Cameron and Osborne in debate-the latter having compensated within his own party thereby for Corfugate- the party has not really emerged unscathed. There is something in Brown’s accusation that the Tories are the ‘do-nothing uncaring party’. To merely attack the extraordinary measures taken in a crisis as too risky is hardly constructive opposition. In power Conservatives would probably have done virtually what Labour have done- after all, it’s what most other big economies have decided to do.

But the central claim that Labour are creating a ‘tax bombshell’ which will go off for future tax payers to cope with is fundamentally the truth and Cameron is determined Brown should be seen to ‘own’ this coming disaster now. It is probably the case that it will be a Cameron government which will have to deal with the fall-out from the crisis after 2010, when incidentally, they might well choose to abort Labour measures like the 45p increase in taxation on the rich.

The Tory position could be mistaken for uncaring, but they should be ready for this argument. Labour has been the Govt for 11 years and built a reputation on economic competence. The Tories really just have to avoid saying anything, and reap the windfall.

The Tories can argue that Labour overspent in a boom, and left no scope for a downturn. Spending SHOULD rise now. But the country is not in the position to do it without mortgaging our future. Make no mistake, future generations will pay for this incompetence in a range of ways(higher rates, weak sterling, govt interest repayments, international prestige, pressure on military budget etc).

I do hope Dave cancels the increase in tax for more successful people. It is unfair, counter-productive and insignificant.

If Labour win the next election, it will be unlike any other election anywhere at any time. After 11 years, to win in such a downturn(and remember the recession has barely started yet) is just unthinkable. Dave would struggle to lose this if he tried.
As you know I think Dave will win but the Tories did win in the teeth of recession in 1992. Rather as trhen I think the next election is one Labour might not want to win as the subsequentr bloodbath might put them in opposition for a generation.
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