Sunday, November 16, 2008


The first task of an Opposition Party is to oppose the Government when it is acting in a way that is not in the best interests of the country. This involves holding the Government to account for its mistakes, through scrutiny and questioning. So its beyond me why there should be any criticism of George Osborne for warning that Gordon Brown's management of the economy could lead to a run on sterling. Disagree with the content if you want but surely not the fact of the criticism itself. Personally, I hope the Shadow Chancellor steps up the criticism. This will do for starters.

What really surprises me is how journalists can report with a straight face, comments by the Prime Minister that the official Opposition should not be challenging the Government over important issues. It seems to be the latest Gordon Brown ruse to isolate himself from any kind of scrutiny. The way media outlets tend to feed off each other is a bit depressing, especially when it involves criticising one of my favourite politicians, rather than congratulating him for doing his job. Last week, at PMGs, the Prime Minister accused David Cameron of playing party politics with a tragic death. At least, many people saw for themselves the unpleasant ridiculousness of Gordon Brown's behaviour. But this rubbish about George Osborne 'talking down Sterling' really is beyond reason.

And while I'm about it, why on earth is the media allowing the Prime Minister to get away with the incredible nonsense he's spouting about leading the world out of its financial crisis. This article from the New York Times demonstrates all too clearly that Gordon Brown is nothing like as significant a player as he pretends. Its worth reading. We want our journalists to tell us this. It seems to me that the G20 conference has been next thing to pointless. Did they really need to meet up in order to decide that they were 'going to work together'. Iain Dale reports Ken Clarke as commenting thus

"The G20 is a bit of a circus. They decided they wanted more growth. Yes, and we all love mothers too. The summit was held because all 20 of them wanted to use the word 'global' to emphasise that it wasn't their problem. I'm afraid they all went there for a photo opportunity and I fear that the photo that they missed was that with President-Elect Obama".

The proper response of the media should be to give the whole shebang about three column inches on the bottom of page 15.


Chris Wood (PhD not MD) said...

Imho, Osborne is quite right in pointing out the danger inherent in Gordon Brown's plan of massive borrowing to spend the UK out of recession and the inevitable risk to Sterling if Brown goes on a massive borrowing spree. When a government prints money without improvements in productivity or absolute or perceived increases in wealth there is fallout somewhere in the economy to compensate for such reckless actions. Brown can fool the public, but the markets see through his silly policies and react accordingly.

alanindyfed said...

We must not forget that New Labour do not appear to be in favour of one of the fundamental tenets of Democracy - FREE SPEECH!

Glyn Davies said...

Chris - The point about tax cuts is that they will increase Government borrowing in the short term, though it may be that the impact of the cuts may boost economic activity and tax take in the longer term. And it probably means at least some increased borrowing or cuts in spending to bring borrowing back under control. I reckon that people are not going to be easily fooled by promises of short term benefits in the current climate, even if Sterling doesn't collapse.

Alan - agreed

Anonymous said...

Good post Glyn.

Brown hardly got a mention in the U.S newspapers, and as for leading the world, he's currently following.

Australia, Germany, Japan, USA, Spain, and others have already introduced their own "fiscal stimulus" measures. We are still waiting for ours.

This government does not like free speech, hence the biased reporting of many newspapers and the once great BBC.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

The problem is though, the UK already has a massive debt load. I'm no economist, but if I look at another business that wants my services and if I see a lot of debt attached to that business it will likely make me less likely to extend credit to that business. I will want payment up front.

Currency speculators probably make similar calculations. They will look at a country's debt, look at its currency value and make a decision as to the vulnerability of that currency and if the numbers come out a certain way they might decide to short that currency.

It's happened before to the UK currency - and the chances of it happening again will increase if Brown borrows massively on top of a currently huge national debt.

Osborne is quite right to sound the alarm. Brown has been flippant with the way he has handled the UK economy and now Brits are supposed to believe him again?

How does that saying go? "Fooled once shame on you (Gordon), fooled twice shame on me (Brits).”

tojoevans said...

Tax refunds will probably help the situation but not if they have to be borrowed. Surely the way is to get savings fron the vastly bloated public sector. Why should our children and grandchildren have to be lumbered for many years with debt caused mainly by irresponsible borrowers and lenders (that includes both Government and public)- and of course to keep 'Mr Prudent' in power.

Glyn Davies said...

dalesman - agreed.

christopher - agreed, but it is odd to see Gordon Brown going for unfunded tax cuts, and the Conservatives opposing them

tojoevens - I read a lot of commentators calling for unfunded tax cuts - to be followed in a few years time by spending cuts to restore the balance. As if spending cuts on this sort of scale can be delivered 'just like that'. It all sounds too much like Tommy Cooper to me. Like you I'd like to see the shape of the budget balancing before I spend, even if its a bit down the road.