Opinion by Michael Fabricant MP.
‘SAVE THE WORLD’ BROWN BANKING ON ECONOMY
Budget Day: The day that New Labour finally died. ?1.4 trillion pounds of borrowing and decades of debt. With some polls showing an 18% Conservative lead, it could be melt down time for Labour MPs across the midlands. Or is it?
I do not subscribe to the school of thought that says it?s a shoe-in for the Conservatives. Gordon Brown hasn?t waited this long to be Prime Minister to throw in the towel. Having disposed of Tony Blair, he will do all he can to stay in power. In the last 7 days, some of his tactics have become obvious. In the budget he abandoned New Labour pledges and vindictively increased taxes on higher wage earners despite it raising relative low revenues and increasing the risk of a renewed brain drain. He hoped it would provoke Conservatives immediately to make an unpopular pledge to repeal the tax rise. That ploy failed. And on MP expenses ? despite having already arranged a meeting with Nick Clegg and David Cameron ? he performed on You-Tube with his own ideas to include curbs on outside business commitments no doubt attempting to goad Conservative back-benchers into a response. In fact, at least one Labour QC has complained about that ploy.
But none of those tactics will work. The electorate is a little too sophisticated nowadays. But ?events?, as Harold Macmillan once called them, could shape a Labour resurgence.
Being unpredictable by definition, I cannot list them here. Certainly the event Brown is hoping for is a resurgence in the economy before he has to call an election. His continued narrative is ?I saved the world while the Tories would do nothing?. Despite the inaccuracy of that remark on both counts, it may have some traction if there any signs of recovery early in the first quarter of 2010. Now economists tell me that is most unlikely and job loss totals are expected to rise way beyond the June 2010 deadline for an election. But not only are ?events? notoriously difficult to predict, the economy is too and that is what Brown is banking on.
But a further possible eventuality might also affect Labour fortunes through its sheer volatility.
Both British and Israeli intelligence services believe that Iran will have developed a nuclear warhead by around the end of this year. The CIA and the US Defense Intelligence Agency believe it will take a few months longer. Iran has been acquiring medium range ballistic missiles from Russia which could be used as delivery vehicles for such weaponry. And despite peaceful overtures from President Obama, Iran?s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected them all and continued his call for the destruction of the State of Israel. He is up for re-election on June 12th this year. If, as seems likely, he remains in power and as intransigent as ever despite negotiations that are quietly underway, military action may follow. If it does, with all the consequences that would entail, what effect might that have on an election in Britain?