Monday, December 22, 2008
Maybe we are Enjoying(sort of) this Mega-sized Flutter?
The conventional rules of politics say that such a massive reversal of economic policy should destroy the credibility of a prime minister just as Harold Wilson's reputation never recovered from the "pound in your pocket" devaluation of the mid-Sixties and John Major was wrecked by Black Wednesday in 1992.
Yet in Brown's case his stock has risen as the crisis has deepened, so that the once unassailable lead enjoyed by the Conservatives has been reduced to one which is certainly surmountable by Labour. Rawnsley suggests Gordon's dour character, which has not changed one bit from the one excoriated widely in the run up to the Manchester conference, somehow suits these straightened times. It could be though, he concludes:
...the public will turn against the government in the New Year as the recession grows more savage, business bankruptcies multiply and dole queues lengthen.
Bagehot, in the The Economist, also ponders the irony of Brown's ascent from the depths and contrasts it with the rarely smiling countenance of David Cameron. This columnist argues the Tory leader's inability to find the right message is behind Brown's better showing. His attacks on Brown's Keynesian stimulus policies combined with his harping on the 'broken society' theme have not struck the right notes:
Combined with his glumly parsimonious economic message, this social pessimism now makes him seem unappealingly bitter and recriminatory. He has begun to resemble those much-derided, Tebbitean predecessors, only with better hair.
Personally, I think a deepening recession will indeed erode Labour's current standing and all now depends on whether the Keynesian medicine works. Certainly Gordon has been perceived as being pro-active and concerned while Dave has seemed casually detached from the dire state of the world's and UK's finances. While we wait for signs of recovery- or further decline, voters are prepared to give Brown the benefit of the doubt rather than trust his sleek and well-fed crtitics, Cameron and Osborne. To return to the theme of my last post, it's a gamble, but maybe, in some part of our psyche, we enjoy the mega- sized flutter?