Last July Gordon visited the Motor Show, the showcase for British engineering which has run for over 100 years. The next show has been cancelled. Only the Kaiser, the Führer and now the Jonah have ever stopped the show from going ahead. The Treasury has a 2p hike in petrol taxes scheduled for next month, this curse on the British Motor Industry is not the result of Jonah Brown’s jinx – it is government policy.
Angela Merkel told the Bundestag yesterday “It is not time to look at more growth measures. I disagree with this idea completely. The existing measures must work, they must be allowed to develop”, by which she means the monetary stimuli already implemented.
Referring to the G20 the German Chancellor said: “We need to send good psychological signals from London and not engage in a competition for unrealisable growth packages. We have already done our part.”
Already Treasury officials are back-pedalling on Gordon’s calls for yet more co-ordinated global fiscal stimulus and ceding to Franco-German demands for pan-European financial markets regulation – something that Britain has hitherto resisted. Gordon is caving in to European demands in the hope of getting a G20 boost from having got an international deal of some kind which he can spin.
Isaby has scooped another story for ConservativeHome, the news that Lynton Crosby is advising Declan Ganley on running a slate of candidates in Britain for June’s European elections. Guido suggested early on that the Tories should have associated themselves with the Libertas pan-European ticket. Maybe they felt there was little to be gained in doing so in the UK. In the wider post-EPP environment after the election it might have been useful, assuming Libertas win any seats.
Lynton is a business-like strategist, he knows he has three major problems; firstly the policy position taken by Libertas is nearly the same as the Conservative stance towards the EU, secondly British voters who are particularly interested in the EU tend to UKIP. His third problem is name recognition, few have heard of Libertas. Will be fascinating to see what strategy he comes up with since Crosby has a reputation as a realist when it comes to campaigning. If he wins a single UK seat he will have done well.
UPDATE : The Fink asks Is Libertas Pointless?
At the request of readers Guido has been trying to avoid blogging about Draper, so this plug is a bit of a, hopefully forgivable, relapse. This anecdote is to illustrate the difference in the approach taken by Draper (spin) and the rest of the blogosphere (authenticity). Do you recall when Guido wrote about the suspension of Dolly’s Twitter account for abuse of the service? A co-conspirator has just pointed out that at the time Derek’s rapid rebuttal claim was:
“Guido and Iain Dale are upset that I am the most followed political twitterer.”
In the reality-based part of the blogosphere we know that Draper has a little over 3,000 followers and Boris Johnson a little short of 20,000 followers – none of whom Boris spammed for attention.
Yet another example of the same old Derek, same old spin.
Some of you will be looking forward to the Daily Politics Draper v Guido show next week. It might not be as exciting as you think, the producer is determined that it will not be a personal slagging match and we are to be restricted to the subject of Labour’s approach to blogging. Guido will be contrasting Prescott’s authenticity with Draper’s artificiality. Draper’s CV has unfortunately been ruled off the agenda.
Alas, when the PM settled down to begin watching them the other night, he found there was a problem. The films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words “wrong region” came up on his screen.
Downing Street is very touchy about DVDs, when Martin Bright reported that they had compiled a DVD of Obama apologies for the Prime Mentalist to learn from, Damian McBride went into overdrive, denying it and even texting Bright to demand a correction.
McBride really should stick to dictating copy to Derek Draper – at least he reprints it.
Cameron explicitly said at PMQs what Guido thinks, in the “bunker” they are bonkers, barking out orders for schemes that never happen. Gordon actually claimed at one point during PMQs that Germany had “left the mainstream” of economic thinking. That would be Germany, with the biggest economy in Europe and a centrist coalition government.
Delusional and in denial are inadequate terms to describe Gordon’s state of mind. He is completely disconnected from the reality of the situation, that makes it impossible for him to get us out of this mess.
Don’t just take Guido’s word for it, Brian Wilson, a former government minister with across the board experience in a number of departments has just written this; “Brown was clearly deluding himself this week with his overblown invocations of Churchillian resolve to counter the turbulent economic times in which we live.” In private more and more Labour people are completely despondent.
Gordon keeps on mumbling about the need for an “international early warning” system, some might say that the IMF already does that job. After all it gave at least half-a-dozen warnings about Britain’s over-indebtedness in the years proceeding Brown’s bubble bursting.
This morning the IMF is warning that the UK will be the last major economy out of recession. Gordon thinks he can use the G20 Summit to show his leadership, Guido suspects many world leaders will be grateful that they are not in his situation. Americans commentators talk about the UK’s currency collapse and debt crisis. The Europeans are dismissive of his VAT cut, Asians bored by his talk of global regulation – which seems laughable in the wake of the collapse of the British banking sector. The White House wants to sort Wall Street out themselves and the American voters won’t be interested in Gordon’s grandiose schemes.
The truth is that Gordon has presided over the biggest bust of any major economy. The IMF says Britain will probably be last out of recession. Gordon has no credibility as a prudent finance minister. The G20 leaders will politely listen to his ramblings in the way that you listen to the views of a slightly demented uncle who invites you over for lunch. They know he is finished and they probably won’t have to listen to him again.
UPDATE : Former Blairite Downing Street spinner turned lobbyist Darren Murphy is dismissive of the relevance of the G20. Reading between the lines, he is dismissive of Brown altogether. Expect more of this kind of thing from Labour figures.
There is no coming back from numbers like this whatever pundits say. Gordon is going to take the Labour Party down with him. The reality is that his personal negative rating is a deadweight on the party’s electoral prospects.