Saturday, August 28, 2010


'Phoney War' Will End Once Coalition's Gambles Go Down

A Telegraph columnist recently described the situation we are in as a 'phoney war'. In the sense that we're in the 'lull before the storm', this has to be a perceptive point but my feeling is that the real 'political'storm will start once the various gambles taken by the Coalition begin to go down the plug hole. In politics, it seems to me, you take risks all the time but it's a bit like cricket; a batsman reverse sweeping the ball might get away with such an unorthodox shot once, twice or even three times but we know that sooner or later he will be undone. So what are the gambles which might unravel? I can see four obvious ones.

1. US econmy might enter a 'double dip' recession. Various signs suggest this will happen in the near future.

2. UK encomony will follow suit. In a Guardian article Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman questions whether thre 'Austerians' have got it right. If they have not and we sink back into recession then the Darling strategy of cutting the deficit by half over the next four years rather than the whole of it, will come to be seen as prescient and the route we should have followed. Polls show the Coalition's strategy has high ratings right now but watch them tumble once the real cuts bite. With a new leader soon to be installed Labour will find this message becomes highly resonant.

3. The Liberal Democrats will cease to agree. We all know Lib-Dems furious at where Clegg has led them but so far it has not broken surface unity. Some think the 'glue' of power will hold them together but what if the economy has turned south and their ratings plunge even more the same way into singkle figures? The traditioonally anti-Tory wing of the party are bound to think again in such circumstances.

4. The AV referendum fails to come off. I note that Clegg has suggested the coalition will stay strong even if this fails. Has he already written it off? Seems to me it was to be the principal pay-off for the Lib-Dems joining the coalition so if, as seems likely, enabling legislation is defeated by a combination of rightwing Tories and opposed Labour MPs, then will Clegg's legion in the legislature remain loyal as thousdand more desert in the country?

It has also to be noted that the Coalition has lost one huge gamble already. They claimed their Emergency Budget of 22nd June was 'progressive'. In its wake Clegg said 'This time the richest are paying ther a proportion of their inome'. It would be fair and seen to be so. The Institute of Fiscal Studies issued a report on Wednesday which flatly contradicted this view, identifying earlier measures as progressive and Osborne's add-ons as 'generally regressive, hitting the less well-off hardest.

So far, Clegg and Cameron have governed with the roar of a novel success in their ears. Commentators across the spectrum have praised Cameron's confident hold on the tiller and Clegg's (rather less) credible attempts to appear prime ministerial but what happens once(sorry about this non cricket followers) that swish outside off stump delivers and edge to the slips?

Drearily predictable.

And, BTW

The claim of unfairness to the poor,
came from a report by the respected Institute of Fiscal Studies, which
unaccountably neglected to mention
said report had been commissioned by
a Left-wing pressure group.

Fair & balanced ? One thinks not.

Kind regards
You predictably (drearily or otherwise) fail to addres the main points made. The IFS is respected by botyh right and left. as you know and, ihn the case of the IFS, who sponsors such studies could not determine their outcome.
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