Thursday 19 August 2010
Scorched Earth Week: Badger's Last Stand against Brown and Balls
Still he has been defending himself and his record this week at the Donald Dewar memorial lecture (can anyone get a memorial lecture these days?). I note he has not defended the actions of the Labour Government. Instead his focus was on the decisions to save the banking system in 2008. Now as said earlier this week, this is true. Without bailing out RBS and HBOS we would have been finished. So well done for doing the bleeding obvious when there was no alternative. Less is said about the saving of the fraudsters at Northern Wreck or various other smaller institutions where illusory profits were generated to get payouts for top executives; all of which has cost the taxpayer billions.
On the key point of Scorched Earth though there are some very telling phrases. Commenters' so far this week have said that proof is needed of intent over incompetence, but what of this quote:
''By failing to talk openly about the deficit, and our tough plans to halve it within a four-year period, we vacated the crucial space to make the case for the positive role government can play.''
i.e. by lying about the situation they hoped to win the election. I like this piece from The Scotsman too:
"In the run-up to the final budget before the election, Mr Brown tried to sack Mr Darling and replace him with current leadership candidate Ed Balls after he refused to co-operate with him in setting out a "giveaway" package of measures designed to lure voters back to Labour.
The ex-chancellor later revealed that a frank assessment of the poor state of the UK's economy given in an interview had led to the "forces of hell" being unleashed by Downing Street.
Last month, Lord Mandelson revealed that during the campaign Mr Darling wanted to commit Labour to a VAT rise as part of a tougher set of measures to be put before the electorate in a bid to be more realistic about the deficit. According to the peer, it was vetoed by Mr Brown, who was said to be fearful of the electoral consequences."
I don't see how there is much wiggle room left from the above statements. The Chancellor was recommending VAT increases to deal with the deficit which was spiralling out of control, Brown and Balls were advocating more spending to win an election. By definition Darling knew this would make the situation worse for the UK - to some extent he helped to stop the worst excesses - but this proves that Brown and Balls wished to do anything to keep power. Of course at this point it was more realistic to think of a narrow defeat rather than victory; and of course, a terrible inheritance for the next Government.