Fi Gordon Brown is such a hero why doesnt he give us our money back? Perhaps we should sue him? FT Article of today refers...

  • LifeSavingsGone
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
  • unspecified
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Posted: Sat, 08/11/2008 - 10:46

"The Brown bounce"
Published in Financial Times November 8 2008.

For a good year since last autumn's on and then off election, pretty much everything went wrong for Gordon Brown. In recent months, a string of by-election defeats showed there were no safe Labour seats so long as he was prime minister. And then it changed, up to a point.

First and foremost, Mr Brown's finely judged handling of the credit crisis and courageous scheme to recapitalise the banks have averted a financial meltdown and been eagerly copied in Europe and the US. That is not just policy wonkery but leadership of a high order.

This has re-energised an otherwise robotic politician, infused him with self-confidence, and given him a purpose. For a moment, it looked as though he was chancellor of the exchequer to the world. He started to close the yawning gap in the polls with the Tories.

Now, Thursday's decisive Labour victory in the Glenrothes by-election - a contest most pundits and many party insiders expected the government to lose - has put a real spring in his step. But how much has Britain's political landscape changed?

The Fife seat, alongside the prime minister's own constituency, was, after all, one of Labour's safest. True, the Scottish National party beat Labour in its Glasgow East stronghold in July. But much has changed since then, utterly.

The SNP's claim that an indepen- dent Scotland would do better tied to an "arc of prosperity", including an imploded Iceland and recession-hit Ireland, looks threadbare. This pipedream, moreover, was to have been financed by the diminishing and (for now) devalued resource of oil. And it was the government of the United Kingdom that had to rescue Scotland's two biggest banks, RBS and HBOS. The SNP looks to have overreached.

Labour campaigned hard, cannily exploiting worries about home care charges imposed by the local SNP-led council. It chose a good candidate and the prime minister himself campaigned (as did his wife, Sarah), a risk that paid off. Having lost the Scottish assembly to the SNP Labour no longer takes Scotland for granted. Yet Mr Brown would be rash to believe this revival means he could win an early election.

The UK is entering a recession that could be bloody, under a government that has been in power for 11 years. Voters may soon forget Mr Brown's role in staving off a financial crisis few people in any case understood, and remember Mr Brown the chancellor's part in championing a model of cheap money, easy credit, high public spending and feather-touch regulation that is now thoroughly broken.

Before this crisis, Labour had lost its hard-won reputation for economic competence while the Tories had yet to win it back. That is still very much to play for, while Mr Brown will eventually have to show he is more than just a manager in a crisis and articulate a compelling vision for the future of the country.

[END of FT article]

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Apologies for typo. "Fi"

  • LifeSavingsGone
  • 15/10/08 31/05/09
  • unspecified
  • Offline
  • Sat, 08/11/2008 - 10:48

Apologies for typo. "Fi" should be "If"