Friday, August 29, 2008

Alistair Darling writes his resignation speech?

Having read Alistair Darling's article in today's Guardian I am now convinced that Gordon Brown's days as our "Chosen One" are numbered. It is inconceivable that he can hang on much past the Labour Party's annual conference in Manchester without some miracle occurring.

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks "that Labour faces its toughest challenge in a generation (and) admits that Brown and the cabinet are partly to blame for Labour's woes because they have 'patently' failed to explain the party's central mission to the country, leaving voters "pissed off"...then you know that Prescott's "tectonic plates" have shifted.

Economic forcasters are predicting 2 million unemployed before Christmas. If this is true then whatever Gordon Brown tries to do ressurect house prices falling at 10% per year so far will probably be pointless.

No change there, then. Gordon has always been pointless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tom Harris prepares for reshuffle

"Just taking a short break from blogging before ministerial duties, reshuffles and conferences start to take up more of my time...." is how Tom Harris MP and Minister for Transport explains his absence from blogging for the next few days.

Now, I wouldn't presume to have had any major influence over his decision but it's interesting that he has taken this action following some of my comments on one of HIS recent posts:

"I keep coming back (to your blog) only because you write such amusing tosh. This particular example clearly demonstrates that you watch Dave TV. How deliciously ironic."

" really should get out more and understand how low the Labour Party - and Gordon Brown in particular - is held in the public esteem. We are at laughing stock phase at the moment and will soon move into the anger and hatred stage. Mark my words..... "
"Just to cheer you up even more, Tom, I thought you'd be interested in just one of the comments on Iain Dale's thread on the SNP picking their candidate for Glenrothes ahead of Labour. ... I'm one of those card carrying active members of the Labour party in one of the safest seats in country (one of the 20 odd we would not lose even with a Glasgow East swing). Its completely true that there is a malaise that has gripped even the party membership. I always wondered what it would be like to be a Tory in the mid-90s with the electorate as a whole having nothing but apathy for you. Now I know. I thought you'd like to know too, Tom."

"Still, I'm sure the party conference will see you surge back (even lower) in the polls. Ed Balls will make the speech of his life urging the faithful to re-adopt Clause Four, Alan Johnson will surge in popularity as he moves a motion to increase the powers of the Unions' block vote while David Miliband amazes everyone by agreeing to be publicly hung, drawn and quartered for the sake of the Party. Gordon will be symbolically crucified on stage but rise again on the third day and all the delegates will return to their constituencies to prepare for an inevitable drubbing in the local and European elections next spring. Stranger things have happened......."

It would be nice to think that Diablo's incisiveness and wit had given the rather louche Mr Harris pause for thought while he considers his political non-future but, as he reveals himself, he has rather more lofty things on his mind - "I’ve got the third season of The Office, plus 30 Days of Night and goodness knows how many books to get through before then."

Nice one, Tom!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Diablo Downtime!

Gone Fishin'
Just out of interest what was I saying this time last year?
Depressing how little has changed and how much things have got worse. We're going to need those paddles even more now.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Darling On The Rocks

At the end of May I posted THIS on the Northern Rock fiasco coming back to haunt Alistair Darling and noted THIS post on the FT Westminster blog headed: "Alistair Darling - are you sure about Northern Rock’s assets?"
In today's Times it is reported "Repossessions rise 40% as mortgage arrears worsen" saying that "the statistics bear out warnings that the number losing their homes will reach 45,000 by the end of this year, compared with the 75,500 whose homes were repossessed at the peak of the 1991 housing downturn."

After today's news that Darling has been forced to pump a further £3.4 billion of taxpayers' money into the already nationalised bank, he must be very afraid to go asleep in case his eyebrows turn white over night!

Either he knew that NR's mortgage book was not all that it was cracked up to be, and lied to us, or he (and by extension, Gordon Brown) is even more incompetent than even I thought he was.

And as for that economic "sage", Vince Cable, I hope his much vaunted reputation is now so tarnished that people will realise that his advice is worthless - just like the LibDems's claims to be a credible party.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Woman's Eye-View Of Today's Political World

According to Vicki Woods in the Daily Telegraph: "David Miliband is weird, definitely not wonderful."
Her article is worth reading in its entirety simply because she puts her finger on why the two current possible leaders of the Labour Party at the next general election will not attract the votes of women.
Mrs Diablo certainly agrees about the shortcomings of Brown and she doesn't like Miliband either. On this basis I'm having another little punt on David Cameron to be the next Prime Minister.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Windfall Taxes - Will Sense Prevail?

Further to my POST last Monday on this topic, I was pleased to see this piece by Jim Pickard on the FT Westminster Blog which suggests that the Treasury are not actively examining this proposal.

But there is a caveat: "Of course that doesn’t mean that Gordon Brown may not bow to pressure in the autumn and put it in the pre-budget report. It could be a vote-winner. Plenty of siren voices are urging such a move (unions, backbenchers, junior ministers, maybe even some cabinet ministers). But the prime minister is sophisticated enough to know about the downsides. Energy companies can simply put up their prices to compensate for the charge - which would cause even more public anger."

Chris Hannant, head of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Imposing a windfall tax on energy company profits won’t bring down the price of energy bills, so consumers and business will lose out. The tax would be a knee-jerk reaction that risks the UK’s ability to attract essential investment needed to secure and upgrade our future power supplies. Failure to gain this investment will mean consumers are even less likely to see any reduction in their bills as the country would remain in a precarious position over supply."

Brown must be desperate to latch onto something that will improve his own (and the Labour Party's) popularity and going ahead with these windfall taxes must be a very big temptation. If he does it would be a very cynical move by a very cynical politician who is prepared to manipulate public opinion in an attempt to save his own neck.

We are always being told that Brown is not afraid to take difficult long-term decisions for the good of the country. I am not so sure he will - or can.