Well there are a few people like me who think he never had the plot to start with.
In all honesty since the moment he got into 11 Downing Street as Chancellor the man has been nothing but a total disaster zone. I really found it hard to credit how the media could promote him as being “prudent” with a straight face. From his raid on pension funds to his recent performance as Prime Minister in charge of the credit crisis he has shown himself to be totally inept.
Jeremy Clarkson has been getting criticism for calling Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish fool”. Well of these three descriptions two of them are matters of fact. He has only one eye and he is Scottish. There might be some people who still don’t think him a fool but there are fewer of them every day. Most of the political leaders of other major countries are astounded at the measures taken by Brown, Darling & Co., as are many of their citizens.
I was in Madeira last week for a holiday. It was very nice but with the Pound at virtual parity with the Euro it was damned expensive. When I was last in Madeira, just 3 months ago, a meal costing 45 Euros equated to a charge of about £30. Last week the same meal at 45 Euros cost be about £45. That’s a 50% increase.
The fact of the matter is that the Pound has collapsed because other countries have no confidence that the measures being taken by Gordon Brown and the Labour Government are going to work.
Let’s look at just a few of those measures.
Firstly Mr Brown cut VAT from 17.5% to 15% telling us that this would stimulate retail sales both before and after Christmas. Well it didn’t which is what I said at the time (see here). It is frankly crazy to think that at a time when retailers were cutting prices by 20%, 30%, 50% or more that the VAT cut would even be noticed.
Then of course he went mad and started buying shares in banks like there was no tomorrow, assuring us that this would get the banks lending again. Well it hasn’t done that yet. Banks are still hoarding cash because they are fearful that if the stock market keeps on dropping they will be back in trouble again very quickly. They also don’t trust other banks not to go bust so won’t lend to them either.
I also remember that Mr Brown was going to ensure that people who had problems paying their mortgage would get help so their homes would not be repossessed. The problem is that only a very few lenders signed up for the scheme and repossessions are in fact increasing.
It strikes me that Mr Brown might have been better advised to simply guarantee to underwrite the mortgage payments of people who fell into arrears because of no fault of their own. After all if they are evicted the taxpayer will end up supporting them anyway.
Another reason that the pound is so weak is that in order to pay the Billions and Billions of pounds that Mr Brown is splashing about he is going to have to borrow it. But who from? Never mind the question about how much it is going to cost the British public in extra taxes to pay for the borrowing; who is going to lend it?
Well perhaps it will be the International Monetary Fund (the IMF). They bailed out the last Labour Government in the 1960s and early 70s but apart from charging interest they also imposed political and economic conditions that not only were unpopular but also damaged the British economy for a decade or more. Might this happen again? Probably.
Then of course there is the ever-decreasing interest rate. What is the point of this? Until fairly recently I was quite pleased as my mortgage rate dropped from 5.99% six months ago to 1.99% today. But then I thought, not only are people who save now getting virtually nothing in return but also the banks make less profit, which means they have less to lend. Isn’t it time to stop?
Back in Madeira the locals are worried about Britain as well they might be. Their economy relies heavily on British tourists holidaying there and spending money. The tourists are not coming and when they do, they are not spending anything like as much as they used to. Restaurants and small business are already going out of business and building work is being scaled back. This scenario won’t be confined to Madeira but will hit most popular holiday destinations.
During my visit it was noticable that Portuguese TV was much more interested in what was happening in the UK than what was happening in the USA. Perhaps the British media’s fascination with President Obama is a ploy to deflect attention from the abject British government. So whilst BBC World News and Sky News prattled on about Obama RTP led on the snow in London, the Chinese Premier’s visit to London, and Obama was quite a few items down from the lead story.
Throughout my week in Madeira the locals all asked me “What is Mr Brown doing?” or Why does he think things are going to get better?” “Why is he making up to the Chinese? They need Europe more than we need them.” In fact last Sunday a taxi driver asked me, “Has Gordon Brown lost the plot”? I think the answer is a clear “yes”.
It isn’t just me who thinks that Brown was a dreadful Chancellor of the Exchequer and it isn’t just Jeremy Clarkson who thinks Brown is an idiot. Indeed for many people “idiot” is too mild a word.
Vernon Coleman has written a provoking – and thought provoking – book “Gordon is a Moron”. Lest you think he is being too unkind remember that the dictionary definition of a moron is “a stupid person”. Read his book and I think you will find that Clarkson’s third description of Brown is as factually correct as the other two.
Gordon Brown is Scottish, has one eye, and is an idiot!