Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wanted: Shining knight or knightess on white charger

Lord Falconer has called on Gordon Brown to outline his "vision for the future of the UK".

I am sure Gordie is poised with his notebook, at this moment, and dialling up George Osbourne to ask him what his (Gordon's) vision for the country should be.

I don't agree with William Hague. Well, then again, I would never take a blind bit of notice what that bleater says anyway. But when Hague says that the "tectonic plates" in politics have"shifted" in favour of the Conservatives, he really is talking the most unutterable balderdash.

The polls are going up and down with such volatility that British politics is currently more like a melting pot than a geological scenario. Currently, the melting pot is tinged blue but next week it could quite easily turn another colour.

Cameron's speech wasn't the Gettysburg address. I was impressed at how he memorised it and delivered it very smoothly. But that's the point. Smooth. Too smooth by half. I can't remember anything he said. There was nothing earth shattering in it. As a piece of rhetoric it was like bathing in warm blancmange.

And the Osbourne tax package was a fiscal back-scratching exercise. It "covered" less than 0.5% of government spending. It really was full of holes and was nothing fundamental. The fact that it has put the Tories ahead in the polls is more a reflection of the brittle state of the public mind at the moment, rather than any reflection of the greatness of little Georgie's brilliance.

The Brown honeymoon has ended with breathtaking suddenness. Even more breathtaking, he has ended it himself. It's like a classic tragedy. The fatal flaw of the hero has caused his downfall (perhaps - to be continued).

But a government isn't founded on a smooth speech, a fiscal 1/2 pound of pick n' mix and a pilgrimage to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But what is absolutely striking in the current political scene is the "cosy consensus". After apparently swallowing the inheritance tax and non-doms initiatives, it is astonishing that Brown is looking as though he will accept that there is a "moral case" (as outlined yesterday by Andy Burnham) for giving an advantage to married couples in the tax system. This really would be the white flag hoisted by Brown.

I am reminded of a short piece by Iain Dale recently when he quoted a priest who went to University with Gordon Brown. The quote included these words:

I think the media wildly overestimates his intellectual ability. Unlike genuinely brilliant political economists such as Peter Jay, Brown has always had difficulty in seeing the big picture. This has resulted in him constantly falling foul of the ‘law of unintended consequences’. He is also a classic bully and has tormented the underlings around him but is nowhere to be seen when courage is required. Will Brown take the big, tough decisions as Prime Minister? Don’t make me laugh!

Fascinating. I think we have all been taken in by Brown to a certain degree. I certainly have been. But it seems obvious that he is not as clever as I thought ( be continued).

But this raises the question: Who is going to challenge the "cosy consensus"?

Who indeed. See earlier post.

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