Saturday, 19 July 2008

A scorched earth policy?

Last November I first used the phrase "scorched earth policy" to describe the way that I thought that:
"This government and its advisers are rapidly losing the plot, maybe they realise that their time in power is coming to an end and they are now pursuing a scorched earth policy."
This policy has continued and Fraser Nelson has gone big on this story in The Spectator in a piece entitled "Brown is not playing by the rules any more". Here's a few extracts (my emphasis), but do go and read the whole article and my comments at the end of this piece: "The Scorched Earth policy has begun... In the vernacular, Brown has realised that if the Tories win the next election the he is now spending with Cameron’s Gold Card – every by-election bribe, every union sellout will be funded by borrowing with the bill sent to D. Cameron Esq. Cameron will have to tax us to pay for what Brown is today spending.


My take is that Brown doesn’t care, not any more. Like a retreating army, he doesn’t want the advancing Cameroons to have any advantage at all.


Brown, however, is on a mission to raise state spending - and, right now, it looks likely to be a Tory government that pays tomorrow for the money he borrows today. It is impossible to understand Gordon Brown without understanding his approach to debt. It is his weapon of choice, and if he loses the next election he can right now start turning that weapon on the Tories. So he will have to feast on humble pie, and his own words, as he tears up his rules and lets debt soar above 40%. Yes, he may lose the election. But he has realised one upside to this inevitability: he can start spending David Cameron's budget now."

Fraser Nelson is correct as when times are tough, any sensible person looks at their income and spending and adjusts them until there is a small surplus or at least balance. The alternative is to run up short term debt which is not a sensible long term solution. The trouble is that Gordon Brown now realises that one way or another he isn't going to be around in the political long term. So why not spend, spend, spend and let those two "toffs" David Cameron and George Osborne take the flak for having to cut public spending and increase taxation. It's a cynical strategy but then Gordon Brown is a deeply cynical politician. Gordon Brown's whole political career since the death of John Smith has been about what is best for Gordon Brown, he doesn't really care about the United Kingdom except as that links up to his future. Gordon was prudent only for a short time, but long enough to persuade the easily suggestible in Fleet Street and the rest of the media that he was "prudence" incarnate. Gordon Brown then went on a spending spree that has probably screwed the economy for the foreseeable future; however thanks to his friends at the BBC, blame for the necessary rises in taxation and cuts in public spending will be laid at the feet of the 2010-2014 Conservative government. If the policy wasn't quite so cynically deceitful you might even grudgingly admire it.

In a fair world Gordon Brown would be made to pay for his deception and destruction, but this is not a fair world. Gordon Brown will retire on his fat publicly funded pension to live a life of some luxury whilst we, the poor shmucks who funded his wastefulness, will suffer the economic consequences of his cynical decisions.

There has been much press about the opposition to a state funeral being given to Lady Margaret Thatcher. However I think it fair to say that there will no support for a state funeral for Gordon Brown when he dies. I for one hope that when he does die; it is painful, humiliating and public.

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