Dead Men Left

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gordon Wilson/Harold Brown/fresh Tory eccentricities

A minor masterpiece of the type, this Telegraph opinion piece from Thomas Utley. Not one word, at any point, is directed towards explaining why - and on what particular planet - Gordon PFI Brown can be compared to Harold Wilson. Instead, we are offered a brisk rehash of Thatcher's founding myth: the tragic decline from Britain's glorious past at the hands of greedy unions, until the "biggest crisis of all" (Utley's words), the so-called "Winter of Discontent". After this abasement, the glorious redemption and happy march into the promised land of decency and free-markets. Complete tosh, on several levels, and made even more ludicrous by attempting to drag Brown into it.

The blunt truth, and one until very recently generally recognised by British business, is that Gordon Brown is the best Chancellor of the Exchequer they are likely to get. There just has not been any available political alternative; no-one else could have so assidiously promoted continual privatisation, deregulation - yes, deregulation - and so delicately courted business opinion with provoking significant opposition. Even where Brown has found it necessary to increase public spending, he has been careful to involve private business in the management of public expenditure.

The Tories were simply in no position, post-ERM, to maintain this balance. The question now is whether they, in cahoots with the Lib Dems, could now do so. It will take more than bowdlerised history lessons to answer it.