Friday, 1 May 2009

Is the Prime Minister losing it?

The Prime Minister in this case being Gordon Brown, just in case this changes in the future... This is a quote from a "minister close to Mr Brown":

“We can still turn this round, but Gordon is not listening. He is lashing out and reacting to headlines. It’s all so reminiscent of the last months of John Major."

A comparison between John Major and Gordon Brown is in fact very interesting, but mostly for the contrasts it brings out not the similarities. Assuming for the moment that the relationship between No 10 and its parliamentary colleagues is in fact reminiscent of the last days of the Major premiership, this is what a comparison reveals:

  1. John Major was elected in 1992 with a majority of around 20, which by the end had dwindled in one way or another to practically zero.
  2. Gordon Brown inherited a majority of 64 or so. Which has declined slightly but is still far greater than the best that Major ever had (in his 2nd term).
Despite his tiny majority John Major was able to pass crucial legislation, such as the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, in the teeth of determined opposition from within his own party. And before one forgets, one of the principle beneficiaries of this treaty has been Gordon Brown himself as without it we would have been obliged by treaty to enter the Euro, something even GB himself recognised as being a bad idea. Whatever you may think of his relations with his backbenchers, John Major's policies were sound.

By contrast Gordon Brown, with his far larger majority, is now finding that he cannot get his legislation past his own backbenchers. Of course this isn't helped by taking the wrong side of the argument as he did over the rights of Gurkhas to settle here, but that is just a simple demonstration of his lack of sound judgment and bad policy making.

(As an aside: is this a sudden loss of good judgement, or do you believe he never had particularly good judgement?)

The economy that John Major handed over to Gordon Brown was thriving, with steady growth and falling unemployment; the economy that GB is going to hand over to David Cameron is characterised by deep recession, rising unemployment, record bankruptcies and national debt and budget deficits that defy the imagination they are so large. This is what the comparison between John Major and Gordon Brown reveals.

(Afternote: for the view from the horse's mouth, so to speak, see: Link)

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