Friday, 19 November 2010

The fall of the house of Labour

The Times has been running a great series on New Labour this week and today's episode entitled 'As the share prices tumbled, so did Labour's reputation for competence' relates the rising Brown terror as New Labour died.

Lord Turnbull, Permanent Secretary at the Treasury through the Brown years, suggests his old boss could not admit his own mistakes, "On fiscal policy, he fell into the trap of buying into his own story too heavily, of rejecting other points of view, still less criticism... This was more delusion or wishful thinking than a deliberate attempt to mislead. The failure of new Labour was a failure of self-questioning."

And from the Times leader -

Three pillars supported Labour’s attempts to build economic credibility. Fiscal discipline, supporting the aspirational middle class and its committment to wealth creation - that the business and regulatory environment was designed to encourage economic growth not just to punish its winners.

Each of those three pillars crumbled under the direction of Gordon Brown. When growth stopped, he refused to admit that he had to reduce public spending. When the top rate of tax was raised to 50 per cent in 2009, Tony Blair remarked to friends that it was “the moment new Labour died”. Labour’s relations with business soured to the extent that David Miliband could lament that the party fought the last election without the support of a single business leader.