Saturday, December 12, 2009

Economist take on Gordon's class war

The Economist has a very good analysis of Gordon Brown's attempts to split the nation by class in the hope of hoovering up a few votes. The full article is here, and this gives a flavour of it:
But—even leaving aside the inconveniently privileged upbringing of some members of the Labour cabinet, and the open question whether Eton and Oxford is a weirder background than a Scottish manse and a lifetime in Labour politics—Mr Brown’s salvo risks backfiring. It is negative and retrograde; it makes him look distracted by antiquated obsessions. Eton gibes might just work as knockabout humour; but Mr Brown doesn’t seem to be joking.
It also makes another important point, that class division can run in many directions. One you decide that Britain as One Nation is no longer government policy then what's to stop the upper and middle classes taking against the poor?
Britain has seen that kind of downward hostility before, in the 1980s, for example. Those at the top end of the scale become cross about their tax burden, and doubtful of the value of state services (which they often don’t use much anyway). They start to think of the poor as scroungers and cheats; good works are abandoned; the social contract frays.
Gordon Brown doesn't care about this of course. There is nothing about the man that suggests he thinks in the long term. Everything is tactical and for his short-term advantage. If he trashes our economy and our society, well, that is secondary to keeping G. Brown and his cronies in the rather good situation they currently find themselves. I firmly believe that one of historical questions generated by the first decade of the 21st century is how a man of with such a demonstrable lack of character or ability managed to become our Prime Minister.

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