After the furore of the Greek debt crisis, the week ended with Brown, Cameron and Clegg in a Mexican stand-off to be the next Prime Minister of the UK.
As I’ve written before, it was time for the Conservatives to win and do their thing. If I’m honest I thought they’d squeak a majority.
But the folk memories in Wales, Scotland, and the North run deep.
Southern English constituencies have turned decisively blue everywhere that was red, but tribal loyalties far from London brought out voters who hate the Tories even more than they hate Labour’s wars, liberties with civil liberties, and the 2.5 million long jobless queues.
The Conservatives are still paying for the 1980s. Perhaps understandably so.
I believe what Margaret Thatcher’s government did was vital for the country, but they didn’t have to do it with so little empathy. The juxtaposition of cocky Essex boys making ‘Loadsamoney’ while mining communities turned into jobless ghettos has now passed down the generations in Wales and Scotland.
Labour’s nurturing of a dependency culture in the aftermath – plus a spicy dash of greedy bankers raking in crazy bonuses – has made things even worse.
Brown’s poisoned the chalice
Knee-jerk Labour tribalism could be even worse in five years time.
Gordon Brown has utterly failed to admit to the debts the country has run up, and claims Tory cuts of a mere £6 billion will cripple us. (His own VAT reversal didn’t, so why should cutting waste? Especially given that early cuts could reassure investors and bring down the cost of Government borrowing.)
£6 billion is a trifle compared to what’s coming. I predict growth and even a revaluation in the Government’s stake in RBS and Lloyds will do more heavy lifting than most pundits expect, but it won’t stave off big cuts and more tax rises.
Yet in opposition, I expect the Labour party to continue telling its faithful supporters who are on the public purse (whether public sector employees or those on benefits) that every Conservative cut is an act of cruelty, and that Brown would instead have magicked money out of thin air (also known as PFI and the gilt market).
I don’t write this as a paid-up Tory: far from it. I’m a classic swing voter. I decide what needs doing most, and cast my one vote accordingly.
But I’ve had it up to here with Gordon Brown’s mendacity. From his pension raid in the late 1990s to his sudden enthusiasm for PR the day after the election, he bumbles and obfuscates when it suits him, and then acts decisively when he knows the spotlight is on him or he’s in the clear.
The thought of him sitting opposite the Conservatives, safely away from the difficult decisions he claims he wants to make, and condemning cuts he knows are vital – it’s almost too awful to contemplate.
With luck he’ll be gone by Monday.
Cameron and Clegg should share the burden
As for Nick Clegg, hopefully he will step up to the mark – even if his own voters don’t seem to understand they’ve elected politicians, and are now angry to see them doing politics.
Some of the Lib Dem policies are worth the Conservatives looking at anyway, particularly the £10,000 personal tax allowance.
Maybe it could be partly paid for by the ditching of the Conservative’s electorally toxic inheritance tax plan. Whatever you think of that idea, it hails from another time and place now.