Friday, 23 November 2007


There is no more sure sign that a once-dominant government is on the skids than that it seeks constant refuge in past successes. To be sure, the turnaround in the fortunes of the Bottler's government has been so rapid and so severe it is hardly a surprise if those close to the Bottler are having difficulty coming to terms with it. After all it was only two months ago that the vile Balls et al were smugly contemplating the extermination of the Tories and the serene prospect an apparently limitless period in office.

Nonetheless, it is extremely telling that at PMQs on Wednesday that Bottler, clearly provoked, was thrown back on ranting about 10 years of economic, prosperity, stability, growth, etc (none of which, needless to say, was remotely relevant to the matter at hand, to wit the fuck-up at HMCR).

Similarly, there is a very potent analysis by Martin Bright in the New Statesman – read it here – that makes the point:

But people around Brown remain convinced that the broader economic record over the past decade, of sustained economic growth and tackling child poverty, will override the negatives in the public's mind ... Their analysis shows an alarming complacency.

There is an intriguing precedent for this. In the spring of 1989, Nigel Lawson went on the telly on the evening of what turned out to be his last Budget. By this point, it was abundantly clear that the economy was rocking, with inflation creeping into double figures (it would eventually peak that autumn at over 14%). None of which Lawson mentioned. Instead, he concentrated almost exclusively on the economic successes of the previous ten years. These were real enough of course. In 1979 Britain was an economic basket case. But it was perfectly obvious that Lawson could not bring himself to admit just how wobbly things had since become.

Ditto Bottler, Balls and the other very unlovely members of the inner circle.

So I think we can all brace ourselves for endless reminders of past glories as they desperately struggle to restore their reputation for competence.

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