I was just listening to Any Questions in the car on my way home and was very impressed with Nick Herbert's answer to the question about whether Gordon Brown can now regain the trust of the electorate. I have transcribed his answer below:
No, I don't believe that Gordon Brown will regain trust. I mean firstly, because of what he has done to the economy in the seriousness of the mismanagement, bringing this country to the edge of bankruptcy. The highest budget deficit since the war, which will take now concerted action to fix and as a consequence increasing taxes for the working people of this country. Claiming to have ended "boom and bust" when he transparently did no such thing.
Secondly, because of the loss of political authority he's suffered a number of reversals this week, he no longer appears to be in control of his own party and he has been humiliated internationally as well. I think importantly becaue of erm, he seems to have lost his political compass. The scrapping of the 10p tax rate hitting the poorest hardest. The Damian McBride e-mails emanating from Downing Street smearing people. The decision on the Gurkahs and having to be overruled by parliament. He just didn't seem to understand the injustice in what he was proposing.
But above all it is, I think the reason that he will not regain trust is because, Gordon Brown, everything that he does is always a political decision. And if you are Prime Minister, you should govern in the national interest, but when he span the troop withdrawal numbers on the eve of David Cameron's conference speech. When he introduced that 10p tax cut simply because he was trying to suggest it was a tax cut - we all know it was a tax con. When he tried this trick this week of suddenly announcing the change in MPs allowances, actually it was on the eve of the Budget simply in order to try and wrong foot his opponents, then it blows up in his face.
It's because of that, because he is always trying to take decisions in narrow political interests rather than the interests of the country. That is why at the end of the day I do not believe he will regain trust.
I think Nick Herbert has this spot on. He has nailed precisely why people don't trust him. Even people who don't closely follow politics can sense that there is something not right about the way he operates and his party will eventually pay a terrible price for his political scheming.