Politics can be an unfair business. It can come back to bite you when you least expect it. Alistair Darling will know exactly how Norman Lamont felt in 1992 when a policy instigated by his predecessor proved to be his downfall.
The news that confidence in the housing market is at its lowest for thirty years will send shivers down the spine of many Cabinet Ministers and Labour MPs in marginal seats. The bookies reckon house prices will fall by twenty per cent by the end of the year. If so, the negative equity crisis of the early 1990s (of which I was a victim) will appear a minor blip compared to the political fallout from such a crisis today.
Despite their protestations to the contrary, Britain will be harder hit by the credit crunch than other European countries. The laws of economics dictate it. Our levels of personal debt are way ahead of other leading economies and as the Conservatives have been warning for some time, that particular chicken was always going to come home to roost sooner or later.
The big political question is this: who will the voters blame? It seemed Brown and Darling got away with Northern Rock, but they are now being seen by the electorate as repeat offenders. Voters are blaming them, rather than the global economic situation. When nearly seventy per cent of people say they have no confidence in the government to get us out of this crisis, the government knows it has a problem. A big one.
Several commentators are asking if Gordon Brown has now reached a so-called 'tipping point'. No. But that may come on May 1st. Then the political fun really starts.