Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Lindy McDowell: Why Gordon should put a cork in it

Lindy McDowell, Belfast Telegraph

Not since the days of Oliver Cromwell have we had a dourer bunch at the helm of the ship of state. Not since the days of Nostradamus have we had to listen to more dire predictions. Gordon Brown’s government has become the political equivalent of a hen house that’s just got a whiff of a prowling fox.

The feathers are flying amid hysterical squawking and flapping as the inmates career off the walls like, well, headless chickens.

In fact the only big difference between New Labour and the panicked poultry is that the former get a sizeable salary with expenses.

Is all this faffing about any way to run the country?

Not a week now passes but we don’t have a leaking of another doom and gloom report warning of credit crunch-related catastrophe.

This week it’s been the prediction that as the crunch bites harder the population will turn to crime.

The Home Office appears to be of the opinion that we are only a couple of steps away from becoming one of those post-apocalyptic movies where men and women wear Fair Trade animal skin mini-skirts, have fashioned knives from redundant iPods and are fighting each other for the last remaining cache of organic bok choi. It’s that bad.

The thing is — we know it’s bleak out there, Gordon, what with rising prices, rising unemployment, rising crime figures and rising damp.

We don’t need these constant updates (and pessimistic projections) on the Downing Street doom-o-meter.

What we need is some information on what you’re going to do about it.

Yesterday’s moves aimed at getting the property market going would have been a start. But for the ‘leak’ some weeks back that stamp duty was to be waived — a ‘leak’ which brought house sales to a grinding halt in the interim.

Back then it was big mouth Alistair Darling who put his foot in it.

He was at it again at the weekend, forecasting economic meltdown on an industrial scale.

This is not what we pay a Chancellor of the Exchequer to do — to predict how bad it could get.

We pay him (and pay him handsomely) to stop it ever getting that bad.

But as Gordon and Alistair and all the rest of them cling to the plummeting carcass of New Labour, it seems the best they can do is yell out the occasional progress reports on how far we have all yet to plunge.

It says something that the only proactive section of the government appears to be nerdy Mr Miliband whose wheeze for getting himself in the headlines is to rattle the cage of Mad Vlad Putin.

Apart from the fact that this could drag us into a real war there’s now concern that stroppy Putin will cut off Russki fuel supplies to the West to teach us all a lesson.

And given the current weather, those solar powered panels the Government was offering discount on a few months back are just not going to be enough to take up the slack.

Surely there must be some light at the end of the tunnel? Some reasons to be cheerful?

No chance of that in these Brown Years.

No remote chance of the Government even attempting to cheer us up.

The prediction from Downing Street is that not only are we going to hell in a handcart, but, given credit crunch cutbacks, we’re going to have to push it ourselves.

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