Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Osborne becomes more and more like Brown

For years and years when Chancellor, Gordon Brown used the mantra of "no more boom and bust" often with a "Tory" thrown into the middle of that sentence for good measure but the message was clear. He thought he had abolished the natural economic cycle. This utter hubris came back to bite him hard in the posterior when in 2008 we saw the start of what has become the worst economic crisis in several generations. Brown had hitched himself to a huge hostage to fortune and had lost the bet. He didn't need to do it and in hindsight it seems ridiculous that he would have done so.

Fast forward to early 2013 and we have seen something remarkably similar happen with George Osborne. For years he was banging on about how he and his government would maintain the AAA status with the ratings agencies. It became an article of faith that he would do so. Like with Brown's boom/bust tactics this has now blown up in his face with Moody's ratings agency downgrading the UK a notch from AAA to Aa1. Frankly the economic consequences of this are likely to be minimal. The markets had already priced this in and most western economies including the US have suffered from a downgrade of one sort or another. But the political consequences are and should be big. All those who castigated Brown for being so politically naive as to think he could control the economic cycle should be equally critical of Osborne for thinking he could control the money markets.

Osborne deserves to pay a high price for this. In ordinary circumstances I would expect the Chancellor to have to resign over such a monumentally politically embarrassing cock-up. However I expect Cameron will back his oldest political friend to the hilt. I think he will be wrong and loyalty should only be stretched so far but the PM will ultimately have to jointly carry the can if he refuses to act.

And so we are left with a Chancellor who more and more resembles his predecessor minus one in the Treasury. A man whom he supposedly despised but whom he seems determined to emulate.


Lady VD de S said...

alsailuCome on Mark - comment on Lord Octopus and the coverup by Swinson and Clegg.

Cyril Smith, Jeremy Thorpe, Paddy Pantsdown, Kennedy, Opik, Oaten, Huhne, Hancock, Rennard, Laws - what a shower.

Mark Thompson said...

@LVSdS: I don't do requests. I'm an independent blogger. If I want to write something and have something to say about a topic and I have the time then I do.

But as it happens I did discuss this subject today on the regular podcast I do which will be out on Tuesday and I will be on LBC tonight after Clegg makes his statement responding to it.

Alles Wird Gut :) said...

Exactly - I hope the next Chancellor will improve the situation, although I highly doubt it. Who do you think is going to be in government next?