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Mick Temple’s Blog

GORDON BROWN’S LONG GOODBYE

18-03-2008

Stock markets around the world have been plummeting following the fire sale of US bank Bear Stearns. As the global financial crisis worsens, Professor Mick Temple advises "Sell Brown".

Excuse the cliché, but the writing is on the wall. It’s the economy, stupid.

For the next year, David Cameron and his fellow Conservatives have to do very little but sit tight and try and appear competent. Even their lack of a distinctive policy agenda will barely matter now.

Bear Stearns is merely the latest victim of an economic downturn that could soon see the erstwhile Big Swinging Dicks jockeying for space on the window-ledges of Wall Street.

If he wants to win the next general election, Gordon Brown needs to start displaying chutzpah, charisma and charm, because his government’s reputation for economic competence – built on an unprecedented period of world-wide stability and prosperity – is being destroyed. And it’s pointless of him to point the finger at the American sub-prime market.

If you take the kudos (many would say undeservedly) when the going is good, you sure as Darling is dull have to take the flak when things go bad.

Harold Macmillan famously said it was ‘events, dear boy, events’ which decided political fortune.

And it is events which will destroy Brown. A politician with any public appeal might be able to sell the idea that he is best placed to take us through this difficult time.

But Brown – in his public persona – has no chutzpah, charisma or charm. Six months ago I predicted, here on TheStirrer site, that Cameron would win the next general election. I just felt that something had changed in the political climate. Nothing since has made me change my mind.

The world economy is unlikely to be significantly improved within the next year. The polls are asking the question – are you checking prices? – and for the first time in over ten years, we are.

The ‘Inflation Shopping Basket’ is being updated this week to include personal MP3 players, flat-panel televisions and digital camcorders. These items, of course, are coming down in price. And as luxury items, only occasionally bought, they tell us little about the day to day realities for those living on fixed incomes or without the luxury of (as MPs do) voting their own salary increases.

Most people won’t trust the official figures anyway. We can all see the rise in basic living costs for ourselves. Fuel of all types, council tax, groceries – all essentials, not luxuries – are going up in price.

And not even Tony Blair could spin that. Gordon Brown’s long goodbye starts here.

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