Peter Hoskin

Brown’s Black Wednesday?

Brown's Black Wednesday?
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Few have torn into Gordon Brown's Government with the ferocity of Anatole Kaletsky, and today the Times writer adds another landmark article to the pile.  In it, he highlights the parallels between the Northern Rock debacle and Black Wednesday:

"Black Wednesday revealed a Prime Minister unable to face reality or think more than a few days ahead, after watching the collapse of a totem with which he had foolishly identified his virility and self-esteem.

A similar state of confusion and denial is what we now see in Mr Brown. In reacting on Monday to his nationalisation announcement, I wrote that Mr Brown now seemed to be following Lewis Carroll's advice to believe in six impossible things before breakfast every day. He has been embracing impossible contradictions since the day he became Prime Minister - ranging from the inconsistencies in his foreign policies through his attitudes to climate change to his faith that wealthy foreigners would pay up, instead of leaving Britain, in response to his unprecedented tax assault...

...[And] just as Mr Major failed to gain from the shift in political consensus to the right in the late 1990s, because he was still in denial about his earlier blunders, Mr Brown now finds himself on the wrong side of the swing to the left in opinion.

Instead of arguing that the State can sometimes provide services efficiently or help to shape the future economy of the future, he finds himself defending the indefensible: a £100 billion support package to the least viable company in the one industry that everybody wants drastically shrunk. And while ministers scratch around for spurious self-justifications, serious thinking about the new settlement needed between the private sector and the State is left to the Tories.

In short, the Opposition is starting to fill the intellectual vacuum created by a Government in denial: the last, and most ominous, similarity between Major and Brown."

It's well-worth reading the whole piece.  And, if you haven't seen them already, now's the time to catch-up with one or two of Kaletsky's other recent articles.