Jackie Ashley rides to Gordon Brown’s defence in today’s Guardian.
Yet Ashley, rather than riding a white horse through fields of clover to the defence of the Prime Minister, comes across more as riding a tired, old donkey wading through the effluent of despair.
She starts by suggesting Alan Johnson’s “well-made” point that when it came to the big issues Gordon Brown’s government hadn’t done so badly.
Her argument is:
1) The budget has gone down relatively well. Hitting the rich may or may not “work” in raising revenue, but it’s popular
2) The response to swine flu has been prompt and sensible
3) The banking system hasn’t collapsed
4) The G20 was a success
Let’s take these one at a time.
1) The budget:
The budget went down relatively well? With whom?
Who cares if it’s popular?
I’d like to hope the Government, elected to represent everyone, is looking for solutions to the current problems not pandering to populist gesturing.
The budget was politically motivated and failed to address any key issues and only served to wrong-foot the Tories over the 50% tax rate.
Yet the Tories only needed to sit back and wait for the next self-inflicted crisis from the Government
With the public finances at the most perilous it seems hardly the time for petty politics that, as Ashley herself admits, may or may not work.
2) Swine Flu:
Fair enough. The Government didn’t panic. They didn’t do a Biden. They managed to keep their mouths shut. Well done.
3) The banking system hasn’t collapsed:
That’s a success?
It may not have collapsed, yet the government has had to prop up what used to be some of the biggest banking institutions in the world, denting its credit rating irreconcilably, presiding over the first run on a bank in over 150 years which, in turn, shattered sterling on the world’s market meaning anyone wanting to get away from the misery to the continent is forced to pay 30% more than previously.
Oh, and don’t be too sure that Brown won’t be calling up the IMF anytime soon for some money.
Yes, Gordon Brown managed to stage a photocall of the world leaders, finally hold a press conference with Barack Obama, and created some positive headlines, and not much else.
Come Jackie, pull your head of the sand. This Government dead.
They are being attacked from all sides – not just their complete lack of coherent policy (superbly summed up by Martin Ivens), but their political skull-duggery following McBride is seeping out as more and more hacks spill the beans of Whelan, Balls, McBride at co. (Read this excellent article from Nick Cohen).
Don’t be dragged down by the inner circle. They’re not worth it. You will end up contaminated with the same brush and their complete lack of credibility will soon rub off.