Monday, September 22, 2008

Silence of the damned

Normally, when a government is in the sort of crisis this Labour administration finds itself in, the opposition would be making hay with wall to wall appearances on TV and articles in the press. Significantly, the Tories are almost entirely silent and virtually absent as the myth of Brown's "prudence" is laid bare for all to see.

Make no mistake, this "crisis" has been coming for years. Many of us predicted it and some of us took steps to mitigate the effects it will have by reducing our debt, building up our savings and cutting back our expenses long before it became apparent that that is exactly what we would have to do. However, there is - when recessions strike - only so much we can do as individuals. Those of us who are in jobs can not guarantee those jobs. Those of us with our own businesses will be finding it harder to get orders or, perhaps even more annoying, finding it hard to get those who owe us money to hand it over.

The "credit crunch", economic crisis, recession, depression - call it what you like - was eminently predictable. It was never a question of if it will happen - only when. The Lib Dems - a party who have spent their entire existence accusing everyone else of being "opportunist" have revealed themselves to be the real party of opportunism by positioning themselves as a tax cutting, public sector spending cutting party. Of course it is utter bilge. Even in the unlikely event that they were to ever get into power they wouldn't have the determination or will to carry out such measures, but with tough times looming it looks good on paper. Opportunism? You betcha!

The Tories, however, have abandoned that position which they once used to hold. The Tories were, once, the real party of economic prudence. Under Cameron they have since moved wholesale away from that and committed themselves to the ways of leftism. Cameron has made a big play about how he will not abandon Labour's spending plans, but will actually abide by them.

No doubt Cameron thought he was being clever - he is clearly a man who often thinks he is being clever and thinks he is a lot cleverer than the vast majority of us - but by committing his party to Labour's policies he now finds himself out on a limb. What can they say now? They can hardly claim that they were the ones who warned that this would happen as their self same policies would have resulted in exactly the same result - big big borrowing on a long term scale.

So all they can do is sit quietly and watch Labour implode. They dare not come out into the open as any interviewer who is worth his salt will make the obvious point - how can the Tories complain when they have advocated exactly the same policies?

The job of the opposition is to oppose. Under Cameron the Tories in opposition became the party of consensus. They stopped opposing and went along with every economic measure the government took. Not only did they go along with it, they frequently said they thought of it first! And now look where we are!

Cameron thought that be being more like Labour he would make his party more electable, but that was never the case. There was never anything wrong with the old Tory principles, but it is well known that the socialist spending principles of Labour will always result in economic crisis - it always does. The Conservatives have not become more electable - Labour has become less electable now that the folly of their policies is apparent - policies which Cameron has signed the Tory party up to.

The only thing he can do now is go back to the old Tory principles of genuine economic prudence - but if he does that he will be accused of opportunism. He can't keep quiet about it for ever or pretend it never happened. Eventually, he will have to explain why he spent the last couple of years telling us he was happy to go along with Labour's spending plans but now says they were foolish.

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