The Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to drop bank base rate again last week to just 1% might suggest that the former chancellor turned Prime Minister has only one trick in his brief case – the great base rate trick and on the current evidence it’s not really working, why else try it again and again?
But it would be wrong to assume our PM is a one trick pony.
Tricks of the past include selling the nation’s gold at a low point in the market, taking billions of pounds out of private pension funds for a fast buck and bringing down the basic rate of tax to an all time low while simultaneously robbing the poorest paid so the Treasury wouldn’t have to foot the bill.
And his current bag of tricks includes the Special Liquidity Scheme, nationalising and part nationalising a big slice of the banking sector, a 2.5% temporary cut in value added tax, bailing out the gas guzzlers, plans to build thousands of council houses, and a multitude of job creation schemes.
But that’s not all. I have come up with this list without recourse to notes or cuttings, otherwise it would have been much longer, all of which goes to show that Brown may be a poor magician but he certainly is a brilliant illusionist.
His tricks may not be working – that’s why he’s having to pull more and more of them out of the bag but he’s kidded a fair percentage of people that he’s the right man to fix the fix he’s put us in and that he’s working tirelessly to save the UK and the global economy.
Perhaps the greatest illusion of all is that so many of us still regard the MPC as independent?
Equally ironical is the way that Gordon Brown struts the world as an inspirational figure and points to the massive economic stimulus package that the US President Barack Obama is putting together to save America if not UK limited and our friends in Europe.
It may work. Let’s hope it does but it seems to me that Brown may well find himself suffering a BO problem.
The modern day political mantra that the people who get us into a mess are the right people to get us out again might be right but watching the inauguration of Barack Obama I couldn’t help envying America’s opportunity to start again with a new leader who had no legacy of bad decisions to defend.
And was I the only one to notice the coded message within his inaugural address that was clearly targeted at our PM? This broadly stated that the debate over big or small government was irrelevant; it was government which worked that was important.