Sunday, January 20, 2008

Now what?

TMP takes no great delight in being proved right. We would have preferred our leaders to pay attention somewhat sooner to the warnings from this page (and countless others) and start to do something to prove TMP wrong, but that is clearly not going to happen. Arguably there is nothing they could have done about Billy-Bob's mis-sold mortgage in Tennessee, but they could have handled the Northern Rock situation with more commercial aplomb, and less costly sanctimony.

And they certainly could have ensured there was just a little slack in the UK system when it was so obvious for so long that the country was living way beyond its means. Saving the half of the NHS budget that most health care professionals now agree is being wasted, would be a good start. A responsible government that was aware that both the US and UK economies were built on sand, should have begun to throttle back on a lot of the other state-funded irrelevance that is currently producing a fresh round of tax hikes and employment impositions. UK businesses need extra costs piled on top of the energy price hikes imposed from utility owners in France and Germany like a hole in the head. Meantime the US administration is planning on handing back £400 to each taxpayer in an effort to stave off recession.

It seems possible that a large part of the immediate problem the UK now faces is attributable to Gordon Brown having reached the point where he was ready and willing to do ANYTHING in his battle to oust Tony Blair. He took the eye off the economic ball immediately after the last election was in the bag in order to concentrate on railroading Tony out of No. 10. The news that his long term deputy and "doer of his bidding" Alistair Darling - Gordon's "mini me" - is in charge at treasury is additionally disquieting. At least in the Blair/Brown days there was a frisson that kept them both on their toes, but now Gordon has all the levers of government, his micro-management style and circle of hand-picked yes-people is unlikely to tell him too many home truths. So TMP will do its public duty instead:

The credit-fuelled party is over, and like everything else these days, the ensuing troubles are now on a global scale. Once upon a time, previous spendthrift Labour administrations were able to resolve the local difficulty with the UK economy and balance of trade by going cap in hand to the famous Gnomes from Zurich and blaming them for the unpopular measures that followed. Gordon thinks bigger, and goes cap in hand to make nice with the Chinese to see if they want to own the UK economy as a lever that is handily located between the USA and Europe.

So we may yet be grateful for Brown's past as a communist student agitator if that helps him reassure the Chinese he is one of them at heart, and they take pity. Maybe they'll sell us a "slightly used, one careful owner, never raced or rallied Olympic Games" at a fat discount..?

The sight of Brown sucking up to China and conveniently not asking too many awkward questions about human rights contrasts with his increasingly uneasy diplomatic spats with Vladimir Putin. The inexorable rise of the Russia with its enviable energy wealth under the control of the unreconstructed KGB Tsar is a constant worry, given that the present UK administration is so desperately short of anything approaching experience of earlier cold war moments.

The prospect of our schoolboy foreign secretary up against Vlad the Impaler is more alarming than a gunfight between The Milky Bar Kid and Desperate Dan (the original, non-PC version before the fluffies got to the Dandy).

Even left wing stalwarts at the BBC may eventually give up trying to spin this nightmare government out of the shambolic mess of its own creation, into which it has sunk.

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