Here we go again.
Apparently Lady Vadera the business minister has made a "gaffe" by indicating that she thought she was seeing some "green shoots" with respect to the economy. In fact here is exactly what she said:
"It's a very uncertain world right now globally... I wouldn't want to be the one predicting it. I am seeing a few green shoots but it's a little bit too early to say exactly how they'd grow."
It was in response to a question from seasoned pro Alistair Stewart who actually asked her is she could see any "green shoots".
Now political historians will remember Norman Lamont making a similar "gaffe" during the recession in the early 90's and he was crucified for it. Time and again, opposition Labour politicians threw this back in the faces of the Tory government as they announced job losses and all the other bad news that goes with recessions. Therefore we have to expect something similar to happen with this. Indeed I heard Alan Duncan on the news on the way home summoning up all the manufactured outrage he could muster to insist on an apology from Lady Vadera.
Right, to the average person on the street this is complete nonsense. A government minister who is not a politician by background but an economist fell into a semantic trap laid by an experienced political journalist. In retrospect I am sure she regrets falling into that trap but does it really warrant all the hoo-ha that is blowing up about it? At the time she probably thought she was doing the right thing in trying to talk up prospects. What she did not realise is that political discourse is conducted within such narrow parameters that anyone who strays even slightly outside of ends up thrown to the wolves.
This is exactly the sort of thing that puts "ordinary" people off getting involved with politics. There is the impression that it is a closed club for people who have spent their entire working lives as a wonk or apparachick of some description. They talk in an excluding language and there are all sorts of bizarre rules like this that outsiders do not understand.
The next time you see a politician of any hue lament that there are not enough people with outside experience in parliament just remember how Lady Vadera was treated by the media and political classes today.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Here we go again.