Sunday 28 March 2010

Hello Again

After a long absence two press reports (and a long train journey) have galvanised me into commenting - one national, that a majority of people think Labour is more to be trusted on the economy than the Conservatives and one local, that Wooler is not to be allowed a speed warning sign.
I have been busy while I was away - a couple of skiing trips, some canvassing and quite a lot of paid and pro bono work. But I'll try not to be absent for as long again.
Labour more trusted on the economy???
- A deeper and longer recession than other G20 economies;
- A turnround from stable public sector finances to a massive deficit;
- The creation of an inadequate financial regulatory system which did nothing to minimise the problems so our banks' needed a bigger bail out than than other G20 countries;
- Making an independent Bank of England sideline asset price inflation and the general economic situation in monetary policy management;
- Turning the UK from being one of the top countries for funding pensions to being one of the worst;
- A massive increase in public sector investment with a small increase in results and productivity;
- Never mind selling most of our gold reserves at the lowest price for years.
All this and more brought to you by this Labour Government. And yet it is more trusted.
This is worth a lot of thought; the inability of the Conservatives to highlight the gross incompetence of Gordon Brown's economic management is one of the reasons they are not doing as well in the polls. Briefly - and I'll try to return to this in later posts - I think this is for four reasons:
- People have not seen the consequences of the mismanagement yet. They've read about it, but not felt it. The fact that the UK spends £5 for every £4 is still seen as good because we haven't had to pay the difference back. The most frequent accents I heard in Lech and Meribel were English.
- People are nervous of the consequences of sorting out the mess, and prefer the devil they know.
- Many people have accepted the "it was a global crisis and we did more to help than anyone else" story; I won't repeat my earlier posts on this topic but I don;t think that's right: we seem to have come out of it worse than others.
And it is hard for the Conservatives to say how bad it all is without sounding negative. But I think they have to, not least because at some stage they will have to put it right.
I noted three not four things above. The fourth is that George Osborne is not convincing as a chancellor. He has been right on many things - certainly more than Vince Cable who has changed his mind on many issues over the last year or so - but the truth is he does not convince.
Locally, an article in the local papers about Wooler's inability to install a practical speed reducer has many indicators of what's wrong with both local and national Government.
- It was ruled out by Northumberland County Council's "economic prosperity and strategic services overview and scrutiny committee". A committee with such a name cannot be taken seriously.
- This was a local attempt, with money allocated locally, to improve things. Why should the County have the right to interfere?
- From the article: " Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative had also indicated that because SIDs are unauthorised and in some models there is the potential for it to display the incorrect speed of the vehicle, they would not carry out any speed enforcement, with a mobile or fixed speed camera, on any section of road which contained a SID. " First - Who pays for and has responsibility over the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative? We will pay - but I bet no-one has any responsibility for what it does or says. And second, it refuses to do its job simply because legal technicalities may mean it can't fine people. It does highlight that it sees its role as fund raising not prevention.
One day power may be devolved. But certainly not under a Labour Government.

1 comment:

Troy said...

Glad to see you back blogging again. "Many Happy Returns!".

I agree with your George Osbourne observation. I was just thinking today, ahead of the "Chancellors Debate" on TV, that Ken Clarke v Darling and Cable would feel a more comfortable match. We'll just have to see how "Little George" performs tonight (no pressure then!).

I would be concerned whether the SIDs don't throw down a challenge to the local youth to see who can get the highest score. Of course at our age (I appreciate that is now a range of numbers), we'd be much more mature, but we weren't always this old, were we?