Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gordon Brown thinks that things can only get better

Gordon Brown has a new strategy - optimism. He is going to portray Labour as the sunny, happy party against a Conservative Party of doom and gloom. According to the Telegraph:
Labour, as he explains it, will be the Sunshine Party in a general election battle against Tory miserabilists.
Apparently the basis for this uncharacteristic cheer will be the Prime Minister's prediction of higher than expected levels of growth next year. That is higher than expected by anyone else other than Gordon Brown, including the Her Majesty's Treasury, the CBI, and the OECD. His prediction is that the economy will grow by 1.5% next year, which he thinks will spike the Conservative 'we are all in this together' strategy. Well, what's wrong with this picture?
  • The consensus prediction is for much lower growth.
  • The election must be called by half-way through next year anyway, allowing little time for increased growth to kick in and before any numbers are calculated.
  • Most ordinary people do not base their votes on economic predictions, rather on their own circumstances and experience.
  • Unemployment is a lagging indicator, so even if there is higher growth the high unemployment that is the most pernicious effect of recession will be around for quite a while yet.
  • A very strong economic recovery after 1992 didn't do John Major's government much good, despite a much longer run up to the 1997 election.
Actually, none of this matters, because of the one thing a higher growth prediction does give Labour and Gordon Brown. By assuming that things are going to get much better much faster, Labour can promise all sorts of spending at the election that the Conservative Party cannot. By claiming that there will be more money Gordon Brown can then offer to spend it on behalf of the electorate if they vote for him. As an election strategy it is based on contemptible dishonesty.

Business as usual for Labour then.


Tapestry said...

excellent stuff.

why not write for the times or the telegraph ?

you convey more in a few words than the rows of columns in the mm etc.

the newspapers need a new generation to come in to understand Cameron. They tend to see him in the context of the past while you see him as he is.

Steve Horgan said...

Thanks, you are very kind.

I think that you make a very good point. David Cameron has moved the political debate on and many journalists are struggling to adapt. This is most pronounced on the left, but some right-wing pundits are also struggling. Simon Heffer is the most obvious example. He decided early on that David Cameron would be a failure and now grows increasingly desperate in his criticism of the Conservative leader.