Gale's View October 8th 2008
"My Government will", Gordon Brown told that less than robust TV inquisitor Sir Trevor McDonald, "do what ever is necessary at the time that it is necessary"!
I beg your pardon? Which planet have you been living on for the last eleven years, Prime Minister? The recession, to give it its proper name, that we are now experiencing, was Made In Britain and it was made by you, as Chancellor of the Exchequer and by Mr "He will be seen to have been as great as Churchill" Blair.
You were bequeathed a strong economy and one of the best-funded pension provisions in Europe. You raided those pension funds and you squandered the money. Under the guise of "prudence", the watchword by which you liked to be known, you did not mend the roof while the sun is shining and you put nothing aside for a rainy day.
You handed control over interest rates to the Bank of England, certainly, but at the same time you took away their regulatory powers. Worse, you and your partner in this financial crime Mr. Blair, allowed public and private borrowing to run away to the point where Britain now has the highest level of personal debt in Europe and one of the highest in the world. "Keep house prices rising and keep people shopping on credit and they will feel good and keep voting for us" seems to have been your motto.
So let's cut the talk of a "global economy and a worldwide crisis" and remember that you were living in Number Eleven Downing Street four years before George Dubya moved in to the White House. The UK crisis is of your "prudent" making and every family in the land and every local authority in the Country is suffering as a result.
You have increased personal taxation, year-on-year, by stealth. Council Tax has been pushed to intolerable levels as your government has short-changed local authorities in the Shire Counties and at the same time placed more costly statutory responsibilities upon our County, City and District Councillors. You have increased public spending but you have not used taxpayers’ money wisely. There is still a search for NHS dentists, still a wait for a GP appointment, still postcode prescribing of life-saving drugs. More policemen and women are not on the streets preventing crime, they are sitting in front of computers filling in forms and striving to meet targets. Anti-social behaviour has risen, knife-crime is spreading and violence prevails. Good teachers are hidebound with red tape and bureaucracy. Our armed forces are over-stretched and frequently inadequately equipped. You have allowed the "military covenant" to be broken and our forces families are too often compelled to live under conditions that most in social housing would find unacceptable.
Out on the doorsteps of East Kent the message is stark: increasing food and fuel and housing costs coupled with the advance of negative equity is causing real pain. The collapse of the financial services, caused through poor management and greed, does not confine its effects to "City Fat Cats". It reaches out into every household through a loss in the value of savings and a further reduction of the value of pension funds. The ludicrous imposition of full business rates upon properties emptying as a result of your recession is damaging not only the present but a future if and when, under another government, recovery begins.
You have made a great deal of play of your "experience", Prime Minister but the "Brown Experience" is not one that people are, any longer, queuing to buy tickets to visit.
David Cameron said that "you have had your boom and now your reputation is bust". The question that I want an answer to is "how many more of my constituents will have to go bust before you walk through the Exit door and the back of Number 10"?