Well that told 'em. We need a bit more of this from the Shadow Cabinet. If they allow Brown to set the terms of the debate, the debate will be over before they know it. Passion. Anger. Attack. That's what we need more of.
Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown have peddled some pretty good bilge in their time, but I don’t think I have ever seen anything so bare-faced and intellectually putrid as their attempt to blame the Tories for the fall in the pound ... And what has intensified my rage is the government’s unbelievable suggestion that this is all something to do with George Osborne and his decision to point out what is happening. Ooh, say the Labour MPs, he’s being disloyal! He’s broken the “convention”, they hiss. The Shadow Chancellor has been “unpatriotic”, say the henchpersons of Gordon Brown – and how? He has simply had the guts to point out that past Labour governments have collapsed in sterling crises, and we must all do our best to stop it happening again. How can there possibly be a “convention” that stops Shadow Chancellors from pointing out the baleful effects upon sterling of an irresponsible fiscal policy? Surely that is the very definition of his job. This is insanity, and the Labour attempt to accuse Osborne of “talking down” the pound is the most ludicrous and desperate attempt to evade the blame since – well, since 1992, when the Tories tried to blame the Bundesbank’s Herren Schlesinger and Tietmeyer for the fall of the pound on Black Wednesday.
If Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are right, and our economic difficulties are identical to those of developed countries the world over, then why the hell is it our currency that is taking such a pasting? Why is the pound at a 12 year low against a basket of other OECD currencies? Who is to blame for the cost of my vin chaud? I tell you who: it’s you, Gordon. You did it, by running the largest budget deficit in the world, now hanging round all our necks at more than £100 billion. You wasted all that money in the good times, water-cannoning our dosh with so little thought or restraint that only Hungary, Pakistan and Egypt are suffering from comparable indebtedness, and Hungary and Pakistan are already in the hands of the IMF. You weakened the pound, Gordon, because you expanded the public sector without reforming it. You weakened the pound because you bloated the state pay-roll, and then you added the Private Finance Initiative and the nationalisation of the Bradford and Bingley and Northern Rock, and all the time you somehow believed your own lunatic propaganda that you had personally defied the laws of economic gravity. You really thought you had created a new paradigm in which you, and only you, had beaten the economic cycle and gone “beyond boom and bust”, and that you were therefore free to take whatever fiscal risks you wanted, and the markets looked at the whole thing, sucked their teeth and said, baloney. They saw a man simply adding to his country’s obligations, while doing little or nothing to make the countervailing savings in expenditure. Why are we still spending hundreds of millions on a new register of every child in the country? Why are we squandering billions on ID cards? Why does the government still spend £800 m on advertising public sector appointments – very often in the Guardian – when they could be conveniently displayed online? Of all the government’s pretences, perhaps the most sickening and self-serving is that none of this matters, that there is no use crying over spilt milk, and that the most patriotic thing we can do is keep silent while Gordon the great helmsman gets on with saving the country and the world. That, again, is phooey...
The risk now is that Gordon Brown seems to be proposing not just to devalue, but to launch a great unfunded borrowing splurge that could end up weakening the economy further. We all want tax cuts. Of course we do. We need to stimulate consumption and confidence as quickly as possible. The danger is that Gordon may be tempted to do this in such a way as to make matters worse. George Osborne is paid to warn of such risks, and he is absolutely right to do so.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Boris Exposes Brown's Currency Shambles
Boris has a stormer of a column in the Telegraph, laying into Gordon Brown's economic record and defending the Conservatives' duty to expose it. Here are some choice extracts...