Friday, 16 May 2008

Nick Robinson hits Gordon Brown's nail on the head.

Nick RobinsonNick Robinson is often accused of being soft on Gordon Brown by the right and of showing contempt for the PM from the left. To be honest this is probably down to Nick writing his articles from the centre ground - you can't please them all. Anyhoo, Nick's latest post directs his readers to an essay he wrote for the Today programme at the end of Gordon Brown's extraordinary week (as he describes it). The essay gives us an insight into what is really happening behind the scenes in the Labour party. Nick hits Gordon Brown's nail right on the head:

"Imagine. Imagine just for a second. What if there had not been an emergency Budget this week. What if the government had not borrowed an extra £2.7 billion to pay for a tax cut to 22 million people? Ministers are in no doubt. Labour MPs would have defeated the Finance Bill - that's the legislation that implements the Budget. That would have been led to the resignation of the Chancellor, Alistair Darling. The prime minister's long-term ally would have been seen to have paid the price for Gordon Brown's errors. Thus, his future would have been in real doubt.

The 10p saga toxically combined Gordon Brown's political weaknesses with the economic consequences of what the governor of the Bank of England has called the "death of the nice" decade. It was the squeeze on family finances caused by rising food and fuel prices that made the losses from the scrapping of the 10p tax rate intolerable to many people. However, it was the prime minister's stubborn denial that there were any losers and his insistence that there was no political problem that made this row so dangerous. Gordon Brown did not just ignore the warnings of the experts or backbenchers like Frank Field but of many of his closest allies in the cabinet. Some in Whitehall talk of the PM living in a parallel universe. Even when he finally acknowledged that the problem had to be solved he insisted at first that it would only require a tweak of his beloved tax credits and a few hundred million pounds.
You can read the rest of Nick's essay by clicking HERE.

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