“This will be a new government with new priorities’ They were the words that Gordon Brown, the best former chancellor in the world EVER, muttered when he accepted the invitation from Her Majesty the Queen to form a government on 27th June 2007. Brown got off to a flying start as Prime Minister last year having waited ten years for Tony Blair to make way. Finally he had his chance to show what he could do and admittedly for three months of his premiership he appeared unbeatable. That Brown bubble soon burst. The true implications and over stretching of the previous Labour government, of which he played a major part, became more and more apparent with each passing day.
Admittedly his invitation to tea extended to Lady Thatcher in September was a stroke of genius and rattled many a Tory feather. However instead of dividing us the fact he had reach out to a Tory icon made us more determined than ever to remove him from office. So after such a flying start when did it all go wrong for Brown? The date i’m sure will be one etched on his memory; 7th October 2007. That was the day Gordon ‘Iron Chancellor’ Brown announced there would be no early election. The great ditherer had dithered one too many times and he set the ball rolling for the slow decline of his government and his party. His dithering cost him the Labour leadership in 1994 and it will cost him his premiership in due time.
Throughout the next year Brown was to endure the collapse of Northern Rock, growing casualties in Iraq, creeping inflation, child poverty targets far out of reach, record low levels of social mobiltity, rock bottom opinion polls, a wipe out in the local elections and the loss of one of the safest Labour seats in the country. To add to Browns woes a new poll published on the eve of his anniversary by the Guardian (of all papers!) suggests Conservative support, at 45%, is at a 20-year high. That would give David Cameron a landslide victory as bigger than Labour’s win in 1997, with some 400+ seats. Labour might be reduced to well under 200 MPs, with many ministers losing their seats. The Tories would retain Crewe and Nantwich, won in a byelection last month, while Labour would lose previously safe seats such as Wakefield.
So is it all bad luck or is it all Gordon Browns fault? I believe it is a combination of both. Whilst luck has not been on his side lately, as Chancellor, Gordon Brown benefited hugely from the golden global economic scenario of the last decade. Further to this stroke of luck he benefited hugely from the golden economic legacy of the Conservatives. It is worth reminding ourselves just how churlish he has been about the Conservatives’ handling of the economy in the 1990s. True, the exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 was not the Tories’ finest hour as Thatcher had predicted, but the subsequent monetary and fiscal reforms of Norman Lamont and Ken Clarke, coupled with the “supply side” reforms of the 1980s, revolutionised the performance of the economy. Apparently, when Mr Brown became Chancellor in 1997, an official said to him: “These are fantastically good figures – the state of the economy is much better than predicted.” To which his reply was: “What am I supposed to do about this? Write a thank-you letter?”
This is the lesson of Gordon Brown: arrogance. He is perfectly content to live off the Conservative legacy when times are good, and blame it when times are bad. With the exception of granting the Bank of England independence on interest-rate setting, he chose, to his own detriment, not to build on the improvements of his predecessors. On the contrary, he himself as Chancellor has undermined the economy’s ability to withstand the economic squalls it is beginning to face. In short he vastly over spent with his eye ever on the front door of Number 10 rather than on the country’s finances. When he finally did get his chance to claw his way in to that famous front door, he was faced with an economy on the down turn thanks to his reckless spending and wandering eye.
Gordon Brown is reckless. He, like the left that dominated and destroyed his party, over spent and now he is facing the consequences. In times of economic growth, war chests should be built up or taxes should be cut, however under Gordon Brown and New Labour the countrys debt and tax burden has reached record levels. To add insult to injury Brown has presided over the undermining of the country’s international competitiveness. Britain’s skills deficiencies which he inherited in 1997 have not been addressed. Instead he has has relied on uncontrolled immigration to meet labour-market inadequacies irrespective of any potential social problems that may arise from it. Taxes have risen and the regulatory burden, part EU in origin, on businesses has undeniably increased. So there is really only one person Gordon Brown has to blame for his woeful inaqdequacies as Prime Minister: himself