Gordon goes to Neverland

Now that Michael Jackson has checked out of Neverland for the last and final time, it seems that Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken up residence there.  Or maybe it’s Never-Never-land.  Facing the worst peace-time fiscal crisis this country has ever seen, Gordon’s only solution is to borrow and spend.  He’s in the deepest hole in living memory, and his plan is to keep right on digging.
With a straight face he has announced his umpty-umpth relaunch, with a hubristically titled programme “Building Britain’s Future” — as though he imagined that he and his government might be there to carry it through.  Everyone from the OECD to Mervyn King at the Bank of England, right through to the man in the street, understands the obvious — that Britain’s borrowing needs to be brought under control.  Labour Ministers and back-benchers know it.  The public knows it.  Only Gordon (and perhaps Ed Balls) are in a state of denial.
Asked a series of questions in the Commons, to which his Eminence Grise Peter Mandelson had already given answers on the Today programme, Brown’s answer was “Errr, don’t know”.   Gordon has announced a major programme of public housing.  How will he pay for it?  Easy.  He will do it at no cost by “transferring money from other programmes”.  Which other programmes?  Errr, don’t know.  He will hire 100,000 tutors at £25 an hour to provide one-to-one tuition to children struggling with English or arithmetic.  How will he pay for them?  You know the answer, but Gordon doesn’t.  But I wonder if he should declare an interest?  He’s already speculated in public about his ambitions to become a teacher after his political career.  Is this man who by his own admission is rather poor at communicating information, planning to ensure his employment after Number Ten?  Will he be one of the 100,000?  Will he play his part in creating thousands of new little Chancellors of the Exchequer?  Classes in how to sell the nation’s gold reserves at the bottom of the market, perhaps?
We all know that whichever government is elected next time, it will have to take urgent and painful action to close the fiscal gap.  Of course in his heart Gordon knows it too, which is why it is particularly tragic and pathetic to see him desperately trying to pretend otherwise.  But what I fear he genuinely doesn’t understand is how that gap is to be closed.  He will think of a judicious mix of spending cuts and tax rises, and given his need to pander to his own constituency of trade unions and public servants, his instinct will be to lean more towards tax rises than towards spending cuts.  Gordon may have been Chancellor, but I fear he is woefully ignorant of economics.  He will have heard of the Laffer curve, but he doesn’t understand it, and in his heart he doesn’t believe it.  The idea that raising tax rates could actually reduce government revenues must surely be (Gordon will think) the voodoo economics of the neo-con right.  Surely it’s obvious that higher tax rates must raise revenues?  Yes Gordon.  It’s obvious.  But it’s wrong.

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3 Responses to Gordon goes to Neverland

  1. Michael Clayton says:

    Agreed that Gordon Brown is a busted flush and he has no future as a leader or steward of our finances.
    Conservatives must be very clear however that they will prioritise education and health. One of Tony Blair’s allies in gaining power ws the parlous condition of many state schools at the end of the Thatcher era, however beneficial it was in other ways.

  2. Peter Thurgood says:


    Who is in charge of the clattering train?

    Both Gordon and Mandy are showing signs of strain,

    The pace is warming up, the end is surely near,

    But complacency has deadened the driver’s ear,

    The signals flash through the Commons in vain,

    For death is in charge of the clattering train.

    With apologies to A. Nonymous

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