In the golden glow of the Brown honeymoon, it’s too easy to forget the long series of disasters with Brown’s fingerprints all over them. Try out these lines on the doorstep.
Stealth taxes: Blame Brown! Over 100 stealth taxes, from the New Labour government that promised not to raise taxes. In Ronald Reagan’s phrase: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidise it.
Northern Rock: Blame Brown! Brown’s new tripartite financial regulation system has failed at the first serious test. He’s caused the first run on a British bank for well over 100 years; he’s damaged the reputation of London as a financial centre; and all mortgagees will suffer.
The Bloated State Sector: Blame Brown! State spending up from around 34% of GDP to over 40% — on a level with Germany. A government that’s borrowing even at the peak of the cycle. Building a debt mountain. Leaving Britain less competitive in a globalised world.
Pensions fiasco: Blame Brown! We had the finest pension system in Europe in 1997, when Brown took over. Brown’s tax raid cost the pensions system a cool £100 billion. Now it’s bust, with elderly workers facing penury. If the government were a private company, they’d be jailed by now.
Public services: Blame Brown! More money thrown at health and education, with very little to show for it. Productivity slumping in the NHS.
Targets Culture: Blame Brown! Nurses, teachers, police all say the same. They can’t get on with their work for all the box-ticking imposed by Gordon Brown’s Treasury. What a way to run a country!
Welfare: Blame Brown! He’s created a complex system that’s expensive to run, makes huge errors, undermines initiative and incentive, and turns millions into clients of the Labour government. And as Simon Heffer said “We have an underclass because we have decided to pay for one”.
Armed forces: Blame Brown! Soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan who would have lived if the Treasury had funded the right equipment. We can’t send our soldiers to fight unless we’re prepared to pay for their kit.
Gold sales: Blame Brown! In 1999 Brown decided to sell half our gold reserves to prop up the euro currency. He sold at the bottom of the market, losing tax-payers around £1.5 billion.
Referendum commitment: Blame Brown! The greatest betrayal of all. He breaks a clear manifesto commitment and puts our independence and self-government at risk. Enough is enough. He has to go.