We don’t believe you, Mr Darling

The Chancellor today sounded like a old cracked record that no-one wants to hear any more. Listening to him on the Today programme, I was left wondering does he really believe what he is saying or does he think we are stupid?

He told us the UK had enjoyed economic stability for ten years, including a better record on inflation than many other countries. Has he checked the figures? If you look at the UKs record on the RPI it is worse than the EU or the USA, which is why his predecessor had to switch indices to make it look less bad. Does he think the credit boom followed by the credit bust and a run on Northern Rock is proof of stability?
Is he aware that UK interest rates have been higher than US and EU rates for most of the last decade?

Worse still was his incantation that all this stability had been created and guaranteed by an independent Bank of England. Is that the same Bank of England that Mr Brown reduced in stature so badly by amputating its control over government debt and clearing bank supervision? Is that the same Bank that has to work with the FSA under the chairmanship of the Chancellor when banking problems emerge in the markets? Is that the same Bank that gets briefed against when the Chancellors tripartite system makes a mistake? Is that the same Bank that had to keep interest rates lower than it would have liked and money looser, because the former Chancellor changed the target for inflation at a crucial time when rates would otherwise have gone up? Is that the Monetary Policy Committee whose members are appointed directly by the Chancellor, or by bank officials themselves appointed by the Chancellor? Is that the same Monetary Policy Committee where we are not allowed to know why some members were renewed by the government, and some were not?

The Chancellor should learn that he cannot spin himself out of the current economic difficulty. Some figures will pop up to reveal spin. Many clever and well informed people are watching his every action, and every movement of the economy. The Chancellor would do himself a favour if he dropped the tired old fashioned wrong headed highly spun rhetoric of the Brown years, and started to understand the true nature of the problems he faces. These include:

1. An overspending state which is not getting value for all the money it is tipping into the public sector. He should immediately impose a staff freeze on all public sector posts other than front line in essential services. He should take Conservative proposals to get people back to work seriously, and do something similar himself instead of just talking about them.
2. He should try to stop the flood of public money into Northern Rock, and impose some discipline to ensure repayments.
3. A broken regulatory regime where the Bank has been undermined. He should return government debt management and day to day banking supervision to the Bank.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

4 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted January 8, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Asking AD to reign in public spending would be asking him to make a de facto admission that his entire political philosophy was a misguided nonsense. Desirable as it may be, he won’t do it until he is forced to when he runs out of money. Hardly the prudent Chancellor!

    (PS any chance of the conservatives matching Mitt Romney’s pledge to abolish income tax?)

  2. Mike H
    Posted January 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    It's a shame that you can't take the place of some of the Labour puppets that are employed, at our expense, by the BBC to 'interview' government representatives on the subject of the economy.

    It is so frustrating to hear the same old rubbish that's trotted out go almost completely unchallenged.

    The economy is in a total mess. Unfortunately this is something that the bulk of the electorate is only just beginning to realise. Labour's stories about 'stability' and their distortion of the true picture of inflation will sound pretty hollow when we return to the days of unemployment figures and house repossessions featuring as the first items on the news every day.

  3. mikestallard
    Posted January 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I turned on in the middle and, as he droned on – well past the deadline imposed by the interviewer – I honestly thought it was Gordon Brown.
    Your three points are right bang on target, of course. But we all know that your remarks will not be listened to because – everything in the garden is Lovely when New Labour is in charge!

  4. Steven Baker
    Posted January 9, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    And we can't believe the PM either:

    No2ID: "Evasive Brown misleads about ID scheme"
    http://www.no2id.net/news/pressRelease/release.ph

    Thinking the electorate stupid must be endemic in the Labour Party. Now how do we get the press to catch on to this?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page