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Bring back Alastair Campbell

The Conservatives have done a great job:

(1) blaming Gordon Brown for the financial crisis (when in fact he's widely recognized internationally as a saviour)

(2) Introducing ideologically-driven slash and burn cuts, half as much again than Labour deemed necessary, under the pretext that this is merely good housekeeping.

(3) directing those cuts onto the poorest families, when those who actually caused the crisis - bankers (the large Cameron and Clegg fortunes are both tied to banking/finance industry) - are now doing very well indeed.

Bring back Alastair Campbell, I say. Labour should be doing much better on the media front.


Mike N said…
(1) Brown was and is a clown. Was it his fault we hit a recession? Not completely. Did he help the process along? Definitely!

Here's a good (fairly recent) example of Brown preaching government control of something that needs opening up to competition (I pick telecoms since it's my area, but google produced a number of other examples).

(2) Is, for better or worse mostly true. Im unconvinced the "ideological" route is sensible in this instance. The half as much again would seem to be a good thing, and I disagree with your use of the word "pretext", since cuts undoubtedly need to be made.

(3) Is, sadly, true. Why, for example, are they targetting DLA, with the lowest fraud rate, with the reasoning that it will reduce fraud?
wombat said…
An odd thing to say. Surely as a champion of critical thought you should consider the methods of Campbell and his ilk to be much despised, irrespective of whether one supports their outcome. Or do ends justify means after all?

In reality the Conservatives have demonstrably done a pretty poor job - they've had to share office with the LibDems, hardly evidence of mastery of the media!
Anonymous said…
'Edvard Munch captured for many the idea of a scream. Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, similarly, catches everything in a certain type of smug poise. So how would an artist catch, on canvas, the human scowl? Well, he or she could simply paint the face of Alastair Campbell.'
Quentin Letts. '50 People who Buggered up Britain.' (2008)

That said, I have an affinity with Alastair somehow. I remember where I was and what I was doing when his resignation (under Blair) became public.
Toby said…
Agree with much of what you have written here.

1. Brown & Co obviously did not cause the recession - even if that is the script the Conservatives are writing. His actions may have stopped it being worse for us. (Greece, Ireland, etc?) Labour's failure was not regulating the banks enough to help prevent it - but I can't imagine the Tories with their closeness to finance doing any better.

2. True. The Conservatives have always believed in a small welfare state and the crisis is a convenient excuse for them to pursue it with little opposition.

3. Here I disagree slightly. Labour have nudged a lead in the polls - giving the Government one of the shortest "honeymoons" in history. And this has been achieved without having a proper leader in place. But, like you, I hope thy will now take the fight to the Conservatives with vigour.
Paul R said…
Stephen, I assume you were off-duty when you posted these comments!

I can't argue with point 3 but point 2 just reflects your own strong bias towards Labour by making "what Labour deemed necessary" the benchmark for reasonable thought and action. Your use of the word pretext is also extremely dubious.

Point 1 is, of course, just rot. Even if it is true that Gordon Brown is recognised as the saviour of the World that does not mean or even imply that his actions ( and inaction) didn't promote the crisis in the UK. Additionally, I should point out that it was, for many years, widely recognised that the Sun went round the Earth!
Tina said…
You are clearly confused on 1, Stephen. No one denies that Brown did a good job on reflating once the recession hit. However he clearly overspent over the years, borrowing even in the boom years. As a result we have a very large budget deficit which necessitates cuts. Furthremore he stood by whilst bubbles developed, which exacerbated the crash. And he failed to adequately regulate the banks.

On some measures the tories have cut a similar amount to that planned by Darling.

The measures have been designed to ensure there is no increase in child poverty.

That they have not hit the banks harder does not mean that it is because they are their friends. Everyone knows that you have to be very careful not to drive businesses abroad with punitive taxation – for that simply results in lower tax revenues. We would all like to get our own back on the bankers, but it aint necessarily that easy.
Hugo said…
1. Gordon Brown is not recognised internationally as a saviour and even if he was recognised as one he isn't one. He reflated the bubble which he had helped to cause. Not that the Tories are any better. Both major parties believe that there should be a central bank, therefore both of them believe in inflation-fuelled bubbles.

2. Anyone who uses the phrase "ideologically-driven cuts" is clearly not thinking about what they are saying. "The Conservatives have always believed in a small welfare state and the crisis is a convenient excuse for them to pursue it with little opposition." Balls. No main parties want to cut the welfare state because it costs them votes. They wouldn't be doing it unless they had to.

3. The crisis was not caused by banks. It was caused by government. After all, recessions are caused by low interest rates and it is the government that controls the interest rate. There is only one regulation that banks need: banning maturity transformation. Then they can do what they want without the possibility of them causing a recession and we would never have to bail them out again.

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