Categorised | Conservatives, General, Labour, Lib Dems |

A UK recession and economic competence

For the past eleven years we have heard nothing else but, how Gordon Brown was going to put an end to “boom and bust”, how he was an iron chancellor, and how New Labour were beyond reproach in terms of economic competence. How does this correlate with a UK recession that, by all accounts, only those outside government could see coming?

How could so many British people be so naive as to believe that a government that increased taxes and borrowing during a period of significant growth and wealth creation could sustain this? Why did we allow a government to dupe us in terms of its true financial position, with the off-balance sheet PFI initiatives that leave us owing some £170bn, which must be paid off between now and 2032? Government pension deficits of £790bn and so on? All of this on top of the “official” debt figure of a tad under £500bn.

Gordon Brown and his government have been caught out in the lie that has become the legacy of their time in office. They have left this country vulnerable, with high taxes, high debt, long term financial commitment and, above all, lacking leadership. New Labour has become synonymous with spin and its ability to consistently dupe the public and manipulate the press. Inevitably, we will all have to pay for their incompetence. Tony Blair was a prime architect and whilst he may be basking in the fruits of his former position of PM, giving lectures and writing books, he shares responsibility with Gordon Brown. Alistair Darling is just cannot fodder, he knows it, we know it, he is just the fall guy for Gordon Brown.

True leaders show their ability it times of crisis, not the good times and as this government moves from crisis to crisis, relying on a sticking plaster to fix things, it is just going to get worse. True leaders know when their time is up and those with integrity and pride, will step aside and let someone else in. However, there are two large problems here, firstly, a new leader of the Labour Party will not make any difference, given they are clearly a spent force, who have substituted the so called Tory sleaze, with a programme of lies and inept ministers. The second problem is where do we go from here?

David Cameron’s conservative party has still not told us what it is they stand for, what their policies are and what they are about. Yes, Cameron has come up with some quaint new soundbites, such as a ‘broken society’, but so far, it is just rhetoric. This is not backed up by new ideas, proposals, policies or answers. So we still have no idea what they would do if they were in government, so why would the electorate entertain such a party? We could simply be going from the frying pan, into the fire. As for the LibDems, well do we know who they are? Clegg says some sensible things, but this is a party that a year or so ago proposed higher taxes, how many governments have been voted in with a promise of higher taxes? Vince Cable is very knowledgeable, but the party sidelined him, because they felt he was too old, so what does that say about them?

The future does not look so bright! There is no obvious choice, unless Cameron can start to convince us that his party has original ideas and, above all, people that are capable of delivering on them. The main parties have 550 or so MP’s between them, but how many of us could name more than 10 or 20? What does that say about the way the political party’s are run. Even if we can name them, how many would we trust, if any, to lead us through this mess and do we know what they stand for?

As we enter this uncertain time, perhaps it is also a period for reflection, we need to consider whether our political system is truly representative. For example, how many ordinary people have a realistic opportunity to get elected as an MP, if they are not already aligned with one of the principal parties? The Labour and the Conservative party select their candidates based on many things, which often includes, but is not limited to, race, gender and loyalty. Why shouldn’t they advertise to get the best candidate? Yes this is simplistic, but the best ideas often are, surely the electorate is entitled to the best man or woman for the job, not those that are already part of the ‘club’ that is party politics right now?

Over the past 11 years, we have witnessed an obsession with government control, from the 4.2m CCTV cameras, through to the right to detain for up to 42 days without charge. We have been told that we must have ID cards to help protect us from the threat of terrorism, yet the government are trying to include so much biometric data that it is difficult to comprehend the true justification. It is claimed that the UK government and its agencies have more access to our private details than virtually any other country including Russia and China. This obsession with state control is worrying in isolation, but when this is coupled with a dishonest government, self-obsessed ministers, weak members of parliament and a virtually non-existent alternative party, we must start to worry.

There is no sense in kidding ourselves that we have choice or that we live in a democracy, if our choice of ‘elected’ representative is limited to the whim of party leaders. This country was quick to criticise China for primarily limiting their choice to existing members of National Peoples Congress. What is the difference, surely it is only scale?

We need change in this country, we need to review our whole political system and above all, we need to look at the way much of the news media sets the agenda. British Politics expands on this argument.


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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Shrewdy Says:

    The myth of Brown’s “Prudence” will I trust haunt them for the next 20 years. All the glitter of ’97 has faded, with the deflated balloons of the ’97 election lying deflated and trampled on the floor of the last 10 years, along with the hopes and dreams of almost a whole generation.

    We DO need to modify our political system and importantly HOLD THOSE ELECTED MORE RESPONSIBLE. The Media as you say set the agenda not simply report the news. We need a new party or organisation that is created out of a desire to establish a new political landscape, that will always be for the good of the people. Tax is the greatest lead weight we have in this country now and to undertake a root and branch review of how our taxes are raised and spent is long overdue.

    The answer is a Tax Payers Union (I loathe unions but this has merit for once!). Maybe we need to establish a mechanism whereby the population can wrestle back control of the politics by flexing the muscle that we have. If there was a concerted effort at sticking pins where it hurts the government most then we would soon be listened to. Imagine 5 million TPU members boycotting public transport for 5 days, or staying off the roads for 2 days. Yes it would be like striking but it is the only way we can beat them at their own game.

    Lets raise the flag of legal resistance…and start the march towards a truly representative democracy, not this sham we have in place now.

    Shrewdy.

  2. Frustrated Voter Says:

    I completely agree. We need to send a message to the government and all of or MP’s outlining just how unhappy we are with the way that they, once elected to office, treat the rest of us with utter, barely disguised contempt. A movement such as a tax payers union or alliance would certainly deliver the message. Boycott’s work and they know it!

  3. Shrewdy Says:

    Well, we need a defined banner to coalesce behind….perhaps this one as it is kinda catchy and scary for the state -“Power to the people”…that is of course if the owner of this esteemed blog does not mind?

    Maybe we need to get a register of interest first and define the core battles to fight.

    Personally I think for a start that Election Manifestos constitute an agreement between the party and the electorate and should be treated as such. If a manifesto pledge is not going to be honoured those who pledged it should at least be willing to elucidate their reasons to a forum of representative members not simply sound-bite their way out of it via the spineless and largely corrupt media.

    To be worth something we need a committed core of between 1-2 million people who will take action that will at worst inconvenience them and cost them a couple of days wages, at best it will make the state sit up and take notice.

    IMHO of course.

  4. Frustrated Voter Says:

    I would, of course, have no objection to anyone using the term Power to the People, after all, I have no exclusive right to it, since I ‘borrowed’ it in the first place.

    I agree a manifesto is a promise, or a contract between a political party and the people that eventually elect them based on their commitments. In my view, any manifesto commitments should have a timescale attached to each promise and the party must all agree to the terms. If they don’t deliver on their commitments, then there should be some form of penalty, both personally and professionally, the same as there would for any other contract.

    To try and start up some movement from scratch will be challenging and may take some time and clearly this is an option with a ‘register of interest’. An alternative would be to find an existing campaign group, perhaps one with a ‘single issue’ agenda with a large membership and persuade them to become a wider force. Not sure which would be the most difficult? Sometimes the Brits have to be stung into action.

  5. Shrewdy Says:

    I would imagine that to adopt and adapt an existing single issue campaign would provide for more fracture than fixture. Of course setting something up from scratch would be a big job but, if we shy away from a challenge because of it’s size how can we expect to change things? I think that perhaps a register of interest in relation to setting this up would be appropriate and a good idea 🙂

    Could we use a page on this blog to register interest?

    A simple register of who would be willing to do the cyber work, the analysis and preparation of responses? I think it would help us once we have enough people and have had a few “wins” to engage with a sympathetic media outlet to push the responses.

    This sort of thing is what the internet is best at however, we need to bridge the gap between interest and action…somehow we need to kill the virus of apathy and take back the truth from those who hold it captive.

    Oooh, sound a bit Churchillian – sorry 🙂

  6. Frustrated Voter Says:

    Shrewdy, I would be more than happy to donate a page or two on this blog for the register of interest. Have you something in mind that could be uploaded? I agree, we should not be discouraged because of the size of the task, from every acorn etc…

  7. Something to Say Says:

    I fear that nothing we do or say, at least with this government and set of MP’s will make any difference. Of course they will all pretend to listen at the next election.

  8. Marty Says:

    I support Power to the People we have sat back too long, it is time now the we made ourselves heard. This goverment will ruin this country for good, god knows what our children and granchildren will have to look forward to, no jobs high taxes, just to pay for Gordon Brown’s mess he has never been interested in this country only power for himself everything he has done is to make himself look good, nothing for the people, even now he looks after the fat cats not us.

  9. michael dean Says:

    Brown has been speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

    He said the UK was making the decisions it needed to on issues such as planning, science, the environment and investing in skills.
    He said: “I believe we are making the right decisions for the future.”

    Look at the words he is using! He is ‘making the decisions’ and he ‘believes’ that they are right for the future.
    When a person ‘believes’ something then they don’t actually ‘know’.
    And the future that Brown sees. Does it include huge debts for the UK for the next twenty years and high taxation for that period of time?
    If so why isn’t he saying that this is what will happen? Does he know that this will not be what happens? Or is he choosing not to make public the consequences of his policy decisions?

  10. Frustrated Voter Says:

    @ michael dean: Agreed, everything now comes with caveats in order that he can claim later on that they were indeed his beliefs as opposed to cast iron guarantees. However, his lack of any confidence does nothing to reassure the markets, or the people of this country.

  11. Angela Says:

    The last quarter of 2009 seems promising as we have seen lots of signs of economic recovery against the massive economic recession. I hope that in 2010 all our economies would be back on track. recession really sucks.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Gordon Brown, you have Chaired the G20, now it is time to go | Power to the People! UK Politic's Blog, Commentary and Opinions Says:

    […] It was Gordon Brown that coined the phrase light touch regulation and he even had the temerity to lecture other European leaders on the same subject. Now, this same man is telling everyone that there must be much tighter regulation of the banks and financial markets. Talk about turning on a sixpence! Under Gordon Brown’s light touch regulation, it was possible for the financial markets to introduce new financial products with such complexity, that few people understood them, or the associated risks. Everyone knew of these instruments, but no-one, not even the regulator, asked any (or enough) questions. This, together with an overheating housing market and increased personal indebtedness is what caused the crisis. Our ability to manage this crisis in the UK has been exacerbated by the fact that UK Plc is massively in debt, not necessarily based on the Government figures, but when taking account of all the off-balance sheet debts that ought to have been included such as PFI, pension liabilities etc.  […]

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