The immaculate blue sky offered brilliant contrast to the lush greenery of leafy Egbaston. Chamberlain tower seemed to pierce the hazy sky. The willow trees were still, hanging lazily in the heat. But beyond this calm appearance, there has been a quiet revolution.
There is a pervasive sense of disillusionment. This has, in the most part, been caused by the government. Gordon Brown was supposed to be different, authentic, un-spun, principled, and trustworthy. Brown’s acolytes marketed him as such, but his subsequent record has shown otherwise. His cynical refusal to rule out a general election in the autumn, his expedient tax cut for swing-voters funded by pensioners and the low-paid, his disgraceful refusal to honor the police pay deal, and his shameful trading of English civil liberties for his own skin, have justly left him a diminished figure.
Gordon Brown could have been a great figure, instead his behaviour shows him to be just as spun, expedient and opportunist as the country has come to expect from New Labour. Plummeting in the opinion polls, the Labour party is turning in on itself, squabbling over the 42 week detention bill, which few people really give a toss about (including, it appears, MI5)
Utter disappointment and disillusionment meets with stagflation. Rising petrol prices are finally feeding into the economy. The cost of living and moving around is squeezing families. The government sat on its hands as property values soared and watched as families borrowed four, five and six times their incomes to afford their first home. The abolition of the 10p rate added insult to injury. Personal debt is mirrored by public debt, which is pushing against the government’s ‘golden rule’. For a time the Prime Minister simply bellowed previous growth and inflation figures from the despatch box. They were however, hollow of any present experience.
English conservative sensibilities are disturbed by these developments. There is a sense that for too long we have been living beyond our means. We’ve over-borrowed, over-spent, and under-saved. George Osborne’s jibe that the government failed to save for a rainy day rings true. The country now wants good, principled government, and firm Gladstonian finance.
Gordon Brown has gone a long way to deprive Labour of a fourth election victory, and David Cameron has gone a long way to convince people the Conservatives have changed and offer a credible alternative. Suddenly the writing is on the wall.