Monday, April 07, 2008

A Naked Emperor

Who would have thought that the big political row of the week would be about changes to the taxation system introduced by the Labour Party, which involves 5.3 million of the poorest paid people of Britain being left worse off. Unsurprisingly, there are 73 seriously and publicly disgruntled Labour MPs, who are very displeased by what their leader and Prime Minister is doing. They're lining up to be disloyal. Tonight it was West Wales MP, Nick Ainger. Normally, when tax changes are upsetting MPs, its the Chancellor who gets in the neck, but this week's changes were announced by the previous Chancellor in last year's budget - so Gordon Brown can't do his usual Macavity disappearing trick when there's a whiff of cordite about. And anyway, Alistair Darling has become so discredited that he doesn't really count any longer. What makes it all so odd is that they cheered the very same Gordon Brown to the rafters of the House of Commons when he announced the changes that have just come into effect - 13 months ago. How times have changed.

And that's what's so interesting about all this. Its not the reams that have been written about the abolition of the 10p income tax band. The aspect that interests me is not the financial, but the status and standing of Gordon Brown. I watched him on some sort of party email conference tonight, answering questions about the tax changes being put by a 'soft' inhouse questioner. He sounded like the speaking clock, and looked about as convincing as Del Boy in a velvet suit on April Fool's Day. I'd read about Labour MPs barracking the Prime Minister over recent days, but hadn't quite believed it. I suppose I still had in my mind the dominant figure who towered over the Labour Party from his lofty post at the Treasury for 10 years. But I believe it now. I've also read that Gordon Brown is not a man to be underestimated, and that he could rise again. Well, yes I suppose he could. But what's new is that now it would be a real surprise. His 'aura of power' has simply drifted away on the breeze.


Normal Mouth said...

How times have changed.

Yes. Higher standards in school means more people can spell nowadays.

Mountjoy said...

Surely someone at the Treasury did the maths on the 10p band abolition and said nothing? Did someone lay a trap for Brown/Darling?

Glyn Davies said...

NM - Thanks, I've corected the spelling errer. Its OK for you. I had to leave school when I was 16.

Mountjoy - At the time, Gordon Brown felt so powerful that he didn't have to worry about what anyone thought. I don't think it was a trap, because it was much reported during the week after the 07 budget - even if it had not been picked up during his actual budget speech. The 10p tax band is a very good example of how it is difficult to reverse a decision. I was not in favour of the 10p band when it was introduced, believing that the money should have gone into lowering the Standard Rate threshold - but last year I was not in favour of taking it away. Expectations build up. Same thing with things like free prescriptions. Stupid decision, but not easy to reverse.

penlan said...

I'm afraid that luck changed sides for Brown the day that he "bottled" the election.Since then,nothing has gone right for him and his reputation for competence has been shredded.Without that reputation,he has little to offer the voters.Blair knew how to appeal to the public even if he prefered the studio sofa interview to the floor of the House.Brown,in contrast,appears clueless and inept-think Lisbon,the torch etc.Vince Cable's "Mr Bean" jibe was so devastating because everyone recognised its essential truth.Brown trashed all his party rivals rather than drew strength from them as colleagues.Now taxes are rising whilst the economy slows sharply.No wonder his backbenchers are in panic.

Anonymous said...

I too left school at 16 Glyn, I have a few problems with my spelling, and typing, but have made more than enough honestly earned money, out of my so far 45 years on Gods earth.
people like normal mouth show their complete lack of upbringing and education by making comments such as he has.
I too have had a few goes at your opinions, fair game if you have the comment facility, but to have a go at someones spelling or grammar is down right petty!
What is he, some civil servant?

Up yours Normal mouth!

Normal Mouth said...

I've posted enough to Glyn's blog for him to know when I'm pulling his leg.

Sadly, you evidently need it spelled out, if you excuse the pun.

Glyn Davies said...

penlan - I can do no other than agree with you. Its the loss of 'authority' thats the killer.

anon - 'Up yours NM.' I like it. Actually my spelling isn't that bad, but I've always had an inferiority complex about it because Mrs D is a spelling queen.