Saturday, January 09, 2010

Darling - 12 Weeks and Counting

Today the BBC reports Alistair Darling as saying...

"The next spending review will be the toughest we have had for 20 me, cutting the borrowing was never negotiable. Gordon accepts that, he knows that."

This is clearly a result of the concessions that were forced on Gordon Brown as a result of the attempted removal of him from his position. It can only lead to one (or more) of three conclusions...

  • Gordon Brown always knew this was the case, but refused to tell the British people, or allow them to be told, intending instead to present a false scenario until after the election. In other words - to mislead the electorate.
  • Gordon Brown, whilst telling us he is the man to steer us out of the recession, does not believe that the massive cuts are necessary, but will accept them anyway, if it means he keeps his job. In other words - he is putting himself before the good of the country.
  • Gordon Brown, whilst allowing his Chancellor to make the statements, does not intend, if he won the election, to allow him to follow them through.
I suspect the first one is the correct interpretation, but I also think if he won the next election he'd dispose of Darling as his first act. Alistair Darling is in a great position of power at the moment. But he knows he's only got four months left in the job, no matter what the outcome of the election.


Tapestry said...

It also tells us how serious the situation is, that Darling wants to tell us some of the truth. Not even he would dare reveal by how much revenues have fallen though, still quoting the figure he forecast in the budget, the same sum as the year before, £498 billion. We know that that is not possible.

There is no smoke without fire. The political carryings-on are nothing more than a reflection of badly sunk Labour's financial game is. Darling is covering up for Brown, but even he has his limits, and will only lie so far - say to the tune of £100 billion or so.

Brown on the other hand knows no such limits and would lie to a £1 trillion if he could get away with it. That's why he is so dangerous. He knows no limits.

Sunder Katwala said...

You rather overspin your point, if you want to argue this is a new development post-Wednesday.

The substantive argument was won by Darling in the run-up to his Callaghan lecture last September. That was reflected in his and Mandelson's speeches, Brown's use of the word "cuts" and his advocacy at party conference of a commitment to halve the budget deficit over four years.

That is what Darling regards as "non-negotiable". Given that the election is (as was always clearly going to be the case) going to follow a Budget, the policy debate is in large part about how far to detail the departmental totals which follow from that agreed commitment; and how far they should be implicit by what is not 'protected'.

Both frontbenches have, for the most part (and you can say to different degrees, but not by all that much), taken the latter course. There are arguments on both sides. One reason some - including me - think it is in Labour's interests to be more explicit is it would require a Tory argument for faster/deeper to be more explicit too.

Bill Quango MP said...

Darling is doing a 'Speer'
He doesn't want to destroy the country as ordered.
He might just escape the hangman after the war, and be a free man.
After his 15 years in Spandau.

Not the Messiah said...

Will the media force the Labour Party to make a pledged that if they do win, Brown will remain Primeminister for the whole term?

Vole Strangler said...

This post reminds me of Kremlinology, that obscure art of divining major differences out of raised eyebrows and the like.

In reality you couldn't put a cigarette paper between Darling & Brown.

Anonymous said...

It could also be that actually Brown believed what he was saying

The huge bounce back to growth, because of the QE

The massive influx of profits/taxes again from the finance sector

Massive profits from selling off the nationalised banks quickley

and all the other distractions

Anonymous said...

George Osborne pointed out in the Times today that Alastair Darling has never visited Afghanistan. He and William Hague are just back from a fact finding mission to Kabul.

The Tories will never betray our armies like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have done.

Anonymous said...

Still think a site that i called LIAR WATCH is a good idea. McMental cannot help himself, he is a congenital liar.

Tapestry said...

If Brown tried selling the nationalised banks he would realise some tidy losses.

RBS he bought his portion at 65p a share. Last week it traded at 32p. If he had to find a buyer quickly, call it 20p if he's lucky, wiping out £15 billion.

If it wasn't for the QE, share prices would be even lower, as the banks are using the money not to lend but to keep asset prices nice and high, on which many of their debts depend.

RBS would be 5p without subsidised buying. The bear market will no doubt resume once the QE is parked.

Just to cheer you all up. But Brown's financial edifice is far more vulnerable to further collapse than is realised.

He can hurl £100's of billions at the problem, but the more he does the harder he will find it to sell gilts, and we will catch it with raised borrowing costs.

It's always amusing to hear Brown spouting all about lack of regulation of banks when for the period when banks got invested into endless risks multiplied on one another, he was the man in charge. He talks as if he wasn't even there!

We thought Blair was a fantasist, with a truth flexibility problem. Brown leaves him for dust.

Jess The Dog said...

It's all made up rubbish. The question is academic, as you point out.

1. If Brown is PM, then Balls will be Chancellor and Darling will be sacked. Brown can't afford such lack of loyalty in a key figure if he has a minority government which is probably the best scenario he can hope for.

2. If Brown is not PM, then it will either be:

a. Cameron as PM of a Tory government.

b. Miliband, Balls, or Johnston: having replaced Brown in a pre-election coup. I doubt any would retain Darling as Chancellor or carry through his agenda.

It is not worth considering the scenarios of a continued Brown/Darling partnership (which would require a secure Labour majority) or a post-electon Labour government changing leader (which might see fit to retain Darling as Chancellor to allow some stability or continuity), which would plunge the country into constitutional turmoil.

Unknown said...

This means that the election will be on 4th March - five weeks after the GDP figures show we are out of recession - and well before Brown gets his entire life story of supporting and funding the public services destroyed by reality.

Elby the Beserk said...

They are both traitors

Elby the Beserk said...

@Jess The Dog said...

// It's all made up rubbish. The question is academic, as you point out.

1. If Brown is PM,

If Brown is PM, we might as well shut the place down. We'll be done for. Certainly, we'll be off