There’s a certain kind of smugness and self-satisfaction about Harris's post that makes me feel quite queasy about the way Labour regard their electoral prospects. They think that by continually harking back to events of the 1980s and early 1990s they can discredit and ridicule any new ideas that the Conservatives put forward to the electorate. This type of spinning and Mandelsonesque manipulation of the facts may have worked pre-1997 but it is well past its sell-by-date. But this is all they have left in their armoury after 11 years.
The Great Leader and his acolytes are the ones who have been responsible for the disastrous economic mess that we find ourselves in - note, I didn’t say Gordon Brown has caused it but certainly his policies over the last 11 years have put the UK in the worst possible position to deal with it.
The only defence Labour appears to have is to say that nearly 30 years ago when the Tories came into power faced with the economy wrecked by a Labour government in only five years of power is that unemployment touched nearly 3 million. Since they came back in 1997 they have squandered all those hard won improvements of the ’80s and ’90s by an irresponsible tax and spend policy.
Oh bliss! What irony! The man who told us he would only ever borrow to “invest” over an economic cycle to maintain economic stability. The man who told us we were best placed to weather this global crisis is now claiming to have the blueprint that the rest of the world should follow.
It is fairly likely that the number of unemployed in the UK will reach 2 million in the next few months and be possibly over 3 million withn the next year. I suppose, to be even more cynical, you could add in the 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit. “Labour’s not working”?
Labour MPs should also remember too that at the end of the 1980s the Labour Party (including Gordon Brown) fully supported Nigel Lawson’s strategy of shadowing the deutchmark (against Thatcher’s better judgement) which led to the Major/Lamont debacle in 1992 and the higher tax and borrowing levels than were planned.
What did for the Conservatives in 1997 was not the economy - they had sorted it out by then which allowed the Glorious Chancellor to build up his war chest for excessive spending in subsequent years. No, what did for the Conservatives was so-called “sleaze” and the electorate being ready for “change”. Sound familiar? Who says history never repeats itself - no matter how much the Labour spin machine tries to re-write it?
Despite Tom Harris's assertion that David Cameron does not really care about people being unemployed as a result of the deep recession we are being thrust into because of Brown's incompetence what he has actually said is: “…the Conservatives have a moral obligation to help people who are laid off, or are at risk of being so.”