Golden Brown ? ...
Like many traditional Labour voters, for a long time I saw Gordon Brown as a light at the end of Blair's 'New' Labour tunnel. Latterly, I've had serious second thoughts. Each passing day, the Golden-Boy-Chancellor's image, tarnishes further. Now the election's over, the hurley-burley of the campaign smoke-screen, no longer obscures reality.
Last month saw UK high-street spending slump dramatically. Down 4.7% on the previous April's figure, it was the worst drop in 10 years -- likewise, the latest monthly drop in production. Now, with massive job losses at MG Rover and Marconi, and increasing lay offs by IBM and other manufacturers, things don't seem set to improve. ABN-Amro, the big City bank, predicts this is just the start of things yet to come. According to them, over half a million more jobs may go in the next three years.
The end of Britain's 'economic miracle' of sustained growth, seems close. Apparently, even the 'City' has been been caught napping. Philip Shaw, chief economist of Investec, is reported in today's Daily Mail as saying our economy's performance has become "appalling". Shaw says he's revising down his own economic growth forecast to "substantially below" Brown's prediction for 2005/6.
One influential man who says all this comes as no surprise to him, is the Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce, David Frost. [ No. Not TV's David Frost.] Unfortunately, Mr Frost didn't shout loud nor long enough, as far as millions of UK voters [ including 'This Old Brit'] are concerned.
Respected 'City' editor and financial commentator, Alex Brummer, today spoke of Brown's March budget. He said, " ... the rose-tinted prospect of rapid growth, low inflation and interest rates and stability in public finances," presented then, has already "given way to gloom and despair." Weight is added to this by Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Sean Poulter, who writes that the 'Land Registry' registered a massive 35% drop in house sales in the last 12 months.
Gordon Brown's halcyon days are over. For the first time in many years in the UK, the 'r' word is being whispered; recession.
No wonder Blair called a General Election before he had to -- he knew what was coming. No wonder Brown put aside his 'perma-spat' with his boss, to help him campaign. Brown knew what was coming too -- better than Blair did.
"Et tu, Gordon?"