To Archive List PageAs the country heads into the worst recession of all time, Gordon Brown is trying to blame everyone but himself for the mess we're in.
This is what our correspondents think.

The Brown Recession

Britain is in recession thanks to Gordon Brown's reckless borrowing and New Labour's talent for wasting taxpayers' cash. But not according to Mr. Brown, who has no problem with lying about the debts he's run up and the further reckless borrowing, which he plans to inflict on the British taxpayer.
   His chancellor, Mr. 'Eyebrows' Darling, is another stranger to the truth. He was forced to admit (in his Emergency Budget) that the growth forecasts in his previous Budget were sheer fantasy. But to make up, he has conjured up another set of equally fantastic forecasts for 2009.

Gordon Brown would have us believe the amount of
official public debt which he has run up is:

But what is he hoping we won't notice?

Public sector pension liabilities


Bailing out the banks to make lend cash


Public Finance Initiative liabilities


Northern Rock bail-out (loans outstanding)


Nationalizing the Bradford & Bingley bank


Buying a 60% stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland


Network Rail liabilities guaranteed by the taxpayer


This year's extra public sector borrowing


Interest replayments on state debts due in 2008


Your Comments:

I see from today's papers that the delightfully named Mr. Sentenance, who was put on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee by the Prime Minister himself, reckons that Gordon Brown's claim that he put an end to boom and bust is nonsense. And we didn't even get a boom before the present bust!

New Labour's 'boom' was full of big projects designed to waste huge amounts of taxpayers' cash – the Millennium Dome and the 2012 Olympics to name but two. Do we really need more of the same?

Shouldn't the anti-terrorist police be arresting Moslem extremists, active & trainee terrorists and their supporters instead of MPs who embarrass Gordon Brown's government with leaks about its incompetence?

Labour is talking only about cutting "the rate of increase" of government spending. They have no plans to do anything about cutting the amount of waste in government spending.

Labour's cosy relationship with the police (***) has to be all that's keeping the Fraud Squad from arresting Chancellor Alastair Darling over his pre-budget statement.
*** See reports on the arrest of Damian Green, MP on 2008/11/27

Gordon Brown's recipe for cleaning up his mess amounts to paying off his overdraft with his credit card. If that doesn't work at an individual level in the real world, it sure as hell won't work at a global level.

The government tried to keep it a secret, but it leaked. If Gordon Brown wins the next election, the VAT rate will go up to 18.5% because there's a Black Hole in the emergency budget.
UPDATE There's also a £100 billion Brown Hole in the Treasury's forecasts for tax revenues.

A £2.3 billion giveaway? Don't make me laugh
The VAT cut is pretty much of an illusion. It took six months to put prices up when it was raised to 17.5% so it's likely to take at least 12 months to lower prices to take account of a 15% VAT rate. Which leaves just about one month for consumers to get any benefit from it.

Brown's borrowing will cost the taxpayer £50 billion in interest in 2010, but you don't hear him saying anything much about that.

Back in 1997, Gordon Brown took over at the Treasury and promised us a completely new way of managing the economy, and an end to boom & bust. Looks like all he managed to do was come up with a new way to screw thinks up to what looks exactly like the same old mess.

The recession isn't a problem imported from abroad. That's just one of Brown's cheap tricks. The recession is realy down to his failure to regulate the banks. He let them lend to people who couldn't afford to replay the cash – crazy deals like 125% mortgages – and 'invest' in debt packages without bothering to find out they were buying toxic debts. He was also happy to let the banks rip their customers off with dishonest charges for small overdrafts, etc. In fact, he let them get away with so much, you'd think they'd all made donations to Labour party funds.

Brown wasted Kenneth Clarke's 'Golden Legacy' of an inflation-free economy on reckless spending and he created a bloated Public Sector which depends on Labour's patronage – all those Non-Smoking Co-ordinators and Diversity Advisors and other non-jobs.

Brown went after headlines without working out the cost. The classic example is his 2p tax cut, which involved abolishing the 10p tax band and leaving 6 million of the nation's poorest people even poorer. Brown, the alleged financial wizard, didn't spot that one coming, which says rather a lot about his qualifications as a wizard.

"Thanks to Gordon's good management, the British economy is uniquely placed to placed to ride out the global recession." That's got to go down in history right next to Tony Blair's claim to be a pretty straight kind of guy after he was caught in the act of letting Formula One buy its way out of a ban on tobacco advertising with a donation to the Labour party.

The bloke who got rid of our gold, our pensions, our savings and our post offices has now dumped us deep in debt. So it comes as no surprise to learn that his latest demand is for our dead bodies. Brown wants to abolish voluntary Donor Cards in favour of a universal assumption that when someone dies, the state can have what they like from the body.

When Gordon Brown came up with his Golden Rules, he told us they had to apply in times of recession as well as the good times. Looks like that was just another lie.

The problem is that it took an actual recession to prove that the Brown Golden Rules don't work in a recession.

Another of Brown's lies : When he said he'd bring an end to boom & bust, he only meant Tory boom & bust.

Having abandoned Prudence, Brown has turned his economic policy on its head. Instead of borrowing only what the country can afford (something he never managed to get the hang off), he's going to borrow money and keep on spending recklessly until the country goes bust or he's chucked out of office.

Even worse, he's claiming to be doing what the economist Milton Keynes suggested, but what he's not saying is that Keynes was talking about the Great Depression of the 1930s, which is nothing at all like our present mess. And the amount of government borrowing was tiny compared to what Brown is proposing – 1% of GDP compared to Brown's 10%.

Let's not forget the Keynes plan only works if the Treasury controls the amount of money moving in an out of the country. That can't happen today so the Keynes 'alibi' just doesn't work.

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