Posts Tagged 'Gordon Brown'

Speaker Froth

The media obsession with the appointment of the new Speaker is a diversion. Whilst the unseating of the previous Speaker was a microcosm of the public’s discontent, the interest in the appointment of a new Establishment figure is not. The general public do not differentiate between good MPs and bad MPs, they see the entire lower house as one cesspit of corruption and self interest. Only transparency can provide this, not a new face under wig and inside stockings, not another quango and certainly not the Prime Minister telling us that he’s the man to take us out of the ‘bust’, he presided over and claimed to have abolished.


Gordon Brown’s speech on Tues June 16th 2009

I shall avoid commenting on the rhetoric and go to the bare bones (trust me, it was mind numbing in a reality TV awkward manner – lots of letters from the public, Oprah Winfrey-esque rubbish).
GB basically said that under Labour, you get more money for the NHS, Tax Credit, Education whereas the Tories will cut these.
This is the propaganda that the public will be faced with for the next twelve months. The lasts gasps of a dying man. When will this man admit some culpability over this recession created under his Chancellorship instead of hiding behind “world recession” nonsense!
This ‘spending cuts’ argument against the Tories had its validity 24 months ago but the fact is that cuts must take place whichever party is in charge. The only point of discussion is where these will be applied. By ringfencing the NHS, George Osborne has forced Labour into the screeching of “10% cuts” knowing that cuts and tax increases must be applied. The public will be wary of this mantra by next June however and the msg of austerity will soak in. GB should only have begun this discussion if he intends to hold an autumn election. Or perhaps he does?
GB did omit that the last 12 years have been a historical time of calm hence the government’s ability to increase spending and increase taxes stealithy (think fiscal drag). Unless the govt comes out and is honest with its plans and not hide behind talk of “who knows what interest rates will be next year” and “we don’t know how much the economy will grow”, it will be swept out of power leaving a rump of a presence in Parliament. What is the point of the Treasury fiscal models, if not to plan for all scenarios?

Now Blears joins in!

It is one thing for disaffected Blairites with delusions of grandeur stabbing you in the back but when a member of your cabinet goes for the hammer and chisel approach, you must question if GB has any control of his charges? Now Ms Blears’ column is 90% sensible: ‘win on policy, not rhetoric or soundbite’, but she is not so naive to realise that this would be twisted by the media to suggest post Brown positioning? Either way GB needs to ditch her at the next opportunity.

Hazel Blears suffers foot in mouth disease

Hazel Blears suffers foot in mouth disease

Hazel tells it as she would like to be seen by a future Labour leader:

The ‘too late’ support for GB

Blunkett & Clarke put the boot in

Charles Clarke has popped up again twisting the knife into GB.

Is he preparing for a spring stalking horse campaign?

Ken Clarke on R4

Listening to Ken Clarke’s interview by John Humphrys on Radio 4, I was reminded how the centre left intend to undermine the one weak spot of the opposition – Europe. Humphrys launched into a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ type question re the wildcat strikes and the UK’s position in and on Europe.  KC saw that coming a mile away and deflected with aplomb.

Of course the bigger picture is that Gordon Brown’s pathetic soundbite has come back to bite him on the proverbial. ‘British jobs for British workers’ was always the most sanctimonious piece of rubbish issued by the PM recently (amongst many). Entirely futile in an open European market, efforts and words would have been best spent targeting our European ‘allies’ who seem intent on preventing a truly open market.

Is this a democracy?

The arrest of Damian Green has raised a number of questions about our government and abuse of its position.

  • The use of ‘Anti terrorism’ laws is clearly being abused. The lesson learned here is that if a power can be abused, it will be by government and/or the police service. Government claims of laws being put through Parliament on a ‘just in case’ basis are clearly lies.
  • Why do the police arrest individuals who are clearly not about to run away. I’d be grateful if a legal expert could help. As in the case of Harry Redknapp, the individual could have merely asked the person to attend a particular police station at a set time?
  • Why did the Speaker allow the police to ransack an MP’s office?
  • Why were the police reading twenty year old love letters. This seems like a case of individual tittilation.
  • Since when has Opposition leaks become an arrestable offence. Gordon Brown was a regular at this in his time.

It seems that this was a warning shot to civil servants. But it was also a warning shot to democracy.

Night Said Fred

As Sir Fred departs the scene one can only view his career with RBS as a microcosm of our financial times. Like Icarus he flew too close to the sun, replacing a well run, austere Scottish retail bank with a laissez fair institution with global ambitions.

I am loath to praise our government for their actions because it could and should have been done at least two weeks earlier, and like congratulating the drowning man for accepting the offer of assistance, what alternative was there? Independent economists had been calling for this action for some time, and sprinkled with some political actions: no dividends, the heads of those responsible, it remains the best action that could be taken. Since this crisis began, the UK banks have consistenly lied to anyone who would listen. Minimal exposure to the US housing crisis we were told, mark to market values were still good. Yet each quarter from 2007 brought us further downgrades. It is for this reason why heads must roll and bonuses for MDs and above must be curtailed for every institution who brings its Dickensian begging bowl out.

I am somewhat annoyed with the response by the Conservatives. They were consistently slow in their response, merely adopting a ‘united front’ approach, arguing that they would work with the Government. I realise that nationalisation (and that’s what it is) is a bitter pill to swallow, but these are not ordinary times. It is vital to ensure that this does not happen at the same scale again which means, punishing the executives, through resignations, and bonus cuts, and punishing the shareholders through dilution and no dividend. The shareholder via the institutions clearly need to take a closer look at their holdings. Did Enron and WorldCom not teach us that a story too good to be true is just that?

If the Scandinavian and Japanese crises of the last century tell us anything, it’s that we’re in for a painful recesssion. The best we can hope for is that 2010 will bring us new hope, and that this, if not the end, is at least the beginning of the end.

June 2018
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