….. I’m actually beginning to feel sorry for Gordon Brown. As I watched Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday (I’m sorry but it’s probably the most entertaining thing on telly right now apart from Andy Murray thrashing opponents), I felt a certain sympathy for the man. I know. I know. Me sympathetic to Brown – don’t spread it around.
Here was an academic who had socialism in his heart. Here was a man who was destined to lead his party after the death of John Smith, (the Labour Party leader who died in 1994), and who had ingrained principles of decency and fairness for all. Here was a ‘son of the manse’ who believed in eradicating poverty both at home and overseas. Here was a straightforward Scottish guy who was a brilliant scholar and whose father’s middle name of ‘Ebenezer’ probably meant that Brown junior was always destined to hold the country’s purse strings.
But we all know what went wrong. He went power mad. He was given unfettered access to control the nation’s finances by a scheming Tony Blair and the rest, they say, is history.
A control freak hurling abuse and staplers at his staff when they disappoint him. A surly, mood-prone boss, who befuzzled the rest of Parliament with his economic policies, which were so complex nobody else could understand them, which was probably just as well as it would have shown the man to be a serial manipulator of the facts, as well as the numbers.
Here was a man who had reached the pinnacle of power and who, apparently is very engaging company in private when you can get him off politics (he once dated a Princess to the British throne but she got fed up with his 24/7 politics). The problem is the public don’t see that side of him. All they see is an arch manipulator treating them with disdain (tax increases on the lowest paid, the world’s best pension system ruined) and incredibly as a ‘son of the manse’, a man who would lie as quickly as he would draw breath.
In all the twisted, confused spin he has spouted recently, nothing was quite so cringeworthy (and embarrassing) as his attempt to recover his position on the future outlook for Britain’s economy. Everybody knows Britain is broke. The country is essentially bankrupt. The UK will be struggling to pay off just the interest on its debt, equivalent to £20,000 for every man, woman and child in the country, for years to come. Even the most spendthrift person in the street knows the borrowing has to stop and the spending has to be curtailed. Taxes will rise and services will be cut although there is probably so much waste in Britain’s public services that you could probably make a 20% cut and nobody would notice – except the budget holders!
And so, Brown, lying to his back teeth (and not very nice teeth at that) has been spouting that the Labour Government would continue to spend, spend, spend and grow public services. Every economic think-tank and financial commentator could not believe what they were hearing. The country was broke – continuing to spend wasn’t the answer.
Eventually Brown got the message and so on Wednesday, in that pathetic, belligerent, lying way of his, he modified his position. Spending, or growth in public services, would increase at zero percent. Read that again. Spending and growth would increase at zero percent.
Look at Guido’s Blog where he has the relevant excerpt from PMQs and watch Brown’s front bench colleagues as they try to stifle sniggers at his latest gaffe. Alistair Darling successfully manages to keep his laughter in but his body, jumping about on the seat gives it away.