Saturday, November 24, 2007

Has Brown screwed it up?

Ken Clarke on Radio 4 says the Blairites "are briefing" against Brown because (a) they are enjoying his discomfort, and (b) they think he is backsliding on Blairite "reforms".

Clarke thinks it is possible for the Government to turn things around; but that it won't be easy, and it could be that this is the tipping point. The "swinging section of the population" (I don't think means "swingers" exactly but "swing voters"!!) are beginning to think that "the wheels are coming off".

Every day it is something new: Northern Rock (apparently Brown is unwilling to opt for nationalisation - as recommended by Vince Cable, Will Hutton, et al, because this would be an "Old Labour" solution!!); the missing discs; the mutinous ex-Generals; stalling house prices; the credit squeeze; wayward goats; the election-that-never-was; Brown's poor performance at PMQ's; the bizarre decision to go for - what? - 56 days; too many yes-(wo)men (Alistair Darling, Jacqui Smyth) in post; recently renewed sucking-up to Bush; government-by-cabal...It just goes on and on.

It is a long time until the next election, but it doesn't look good. Larry Elliott in Thursday's Guardian commented: "Brown's government has lost control of events since the fiasco of the on-off election...governments have a limited stock of political capital, and Brown has spent the past few weeks liberally blowing that capital just as the economy seems set for its toughest period in the last decade and a half".

As ever, Steve Bell captures the mood.


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