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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why are voters 'Pissed off'?

The Guardian contains a remarkable series of admissions by the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the economy and the Labour Government. His candour about the situation we find ourselves in and the failures of his government are refreshing but just a little bit too artful for my liking.

Alistair Darling tells the paper that Britain is facing "arguably the worst" economic downturn in 60 years, which will be "more profound and long-lasting" than people had expected. He admits that he had no idea how serious the credit crunch would become and he says that Labour faces its toughest challenge in a generation. He then goes on to acknowledge that Gordon Brown and the cabinet are partly to blame for Labour's woes because they have "patently" failed to explain the party's central mission to the country, leaving voters "pissed off".

In many ways the Chancellor is taking the only option available to him in the face of Labour's appalling opinion poll performance and the loss of previously safe seats. He is coming clean about the economic mess that we are in. His hope is that voters will believe that the Government do after all understand the hardships they face. He wants us to believe that we are being listened to and he wants to create the impression of a government that is changing direction. But is it?

There are no details yet of new policies to help people face rising food and fuel bills, to help them onto on the housing ladder, to help them keep their job or to avoid their home being repossessed though this interview is clearly designed to pave the way for such initiatives. More to the point this is not an apology for mistakes made by the Government, it is the same old refrain that Ministers have failed to explain themselves properly.

It is not the fact that the Government has miscommunicated its central mission that is 'pissing' people off, but that their mission has taken a wrong turn. When the Chancellor apologises for that then perhaps we may start to listen. Instead we are left with the idea that we are being manipulated by some clever spin. Mea culpa this isn't.
Who's going to want to run the country after the bloody mess this bunch of cowboys have left it in.

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
Britain is facing "arguably the worst" economic downturn in 60 years
Note the weasel word "arguably". In my opinion, Darling is exaggerating. I remember 1948, and it was dire. This is more like the negative equity crisis of the 1990s.

My sense is that the US is at or near the bottom of its credit drought, and that the UK will follow it out of recession after a lag of nine months to a year.

The plan no doubt is to make things seem worse now, in the hope that they will seem so much better come the general election. If so, it is a dangerous game. International investors could lose confidence in the UK in a big way.
I'm gratified to see that my assessment is backed up by a real expert. His analysis of the motivation differs from mine, though.
Frank> 'if it were so simple' this time. UK PLC (c/o Gordon Brown's inept policy of mega-public spending) spent the UK's piggy bank and can't rely on consumer spending to get the UK's sputtering economy out of the ditch.

The USA is like a pony car - huge amounts of muscle and has the capacity to change the economic dynamics. For example, the USA can boost trade between Mexico and Canada, can introduce a new currency, can if it wanted to bring Mexico into the US fold and with a new currency undermine the growing organized gang problem in Mexico. Mexico's economy could be huge by virtue of its many natural resources.

Then there's the rest of S. America that the US can tap into if it had the mind to do so, and its mind is turning that way.

In contrast the UK economy is going to sink further and further into mud which might become quick-sand. The UK is heading for deep trouble. There was a prediction published a while ago that predicted the City of London (CoL) will suffer massive layoffs, essentially that a mega economic storm was coming. In short, the CoL is in for a hell of a ride. The Bank of England does have much up its sleeve, the Treasury is in a mess, and to top it off, and Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, has said the UK is facing her worst economic crisis for 60 years. Yes, it’s as bad as the
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