Let me share a secret with you. I have heard a number of politicians in private say disobliging things about constituents and even about members of their own political party. These same MPs or candidates have been civil to the very same person when meeting them in public. Yesterday I heard the authentic voice of the Gordon Brown I know. He is often tough on dissent and unsympathetic to the causes of dissent. It should have been less of a surprise than the media claim it to be.
Far worse than Mr Brown’s refusal to understand the concerns of even his own supporters has been his disastrous conduct of economic policy. On the eve of the big debate, the one he vaingloriously boasts is there to allow his further coronation, let us remind ourselves of the outcomes of the 13 long Brown years in charge of the UK economy.
1. Almost 6 million people of working age not in employment but on benefit.
2. 13 years of manufacturing output and employment falling – we were promised a manufacturing revivial. Manufacturing output rose under Margaret Thatcher when Mr Brown said the Tories were “cutting it”. Manufacturing has fallen to a new low as a proportion of our economy under him.
3. The biggest recession since the 1930s after being told there would be “No more boom and bust”.
4. Falling living standards, as Labour furiously devalues our currency to try to stave off a worse crisis. Living standards may fall by a large 3% in a year.
5. Inflation high by world standards despite the economy being flat on its back.The failure of Mr Brown’s so called indepenent Bank to keep inflation to 2%, owing to the bad fiscal and monetary policy he is following.
6. A banking crisis which included the first run on a British deposit taking bank for more than 100 years. This was an entirely British bank regulated by British regulators and lending money to British people, so the government blamed the Americans.
7. The UK economy was the last of the major economies to stagger out of recession. Growth in the last quarter has remained pitifully slow.
8. He has built up record levels of debt which we will all have to pay for years ahead, and now wants to double it again over the next Parliament.
9. He sold much of our gold holdings at rock bottom prices.
10. He has presided over a massive expansion of the surveillance state and the bureaucratic society, with an unaffordable increase in spin, form filling, regulation and box ticking.
11. He taxed and regulated many pension funds to death, so most people now cannot join a final salary pension fund.
There’s eleven good reasons why we need a change of government. The economy is not the reason to re-elect Mr Brown. The economy is not Mr Brown’s strong suit or success story. It is a far bigger reason than Mr Brown’s recent conversations why we need to a change of PM and a change of course.
Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU