James Forsyth

The next election is lost so Brown might as well take some risks

The next election is lost so Brown might as well take some risks
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On the current political trajectory, Labour will go down to a heavy defeat at the next election. For this reason, it would be foolish in the extreme for Brown to carry on with his current approach: the polls show that it clearly isn’t working.

Brown should be prepared to try something completely different; it can hardly lead to a worse result. Matthew Taylor, the former Blair aide, has suggested that Brown should declare a ‘unilateral political ceasefire’ and concentrate solely on the economy. The theory being that the country would be impressed by the statesman-like action and give Brown until May 2010 to turn things around. But any effort to win back public trust on the economy is, as Bagehot argues, going to have to start with some recognition from Brown that he has made mistakes. As Bagehot writes:

“Mr Brown’s current, resolutely unapologetic approach isn’t working. The endless enumeration of recession-busting policies—the “Kirkcaldy telephone directory” method, as one wry observer describes it—just isn’t washing, as some in his own party seem to accept. Inflexibly maintaining that no mistakes have been made is undermining public faith in the government’s ability to correct them”

If Brown were to frankly admit that he made mistakes and explain why he did so he might just have a chance to persuade the public that he now understands what needs to be put right. But, in a way, this whole debate is academic. Brown seems temperamentally unable to admit that he has made mistakes.

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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