Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Man Who Wasn't There

It has become something of a sport these days to bash the Liberal Democrats.

Now that the pantomime of the last Labour government is over - Punch and Judy politics has turned its attention to Nick Clegg and his supporters.

Yet the fact is that it's been the Lib Dems - or more particularly Treasury spokesperson Vince Cable - who got it absolutely right about the mess the last government was making of the UK economy.

In the House of Commons in 2003, the Lib Dem's Vince Cable asked Gordon Brown (the then Chancellor):

"Is it not true...the growth of the British economy is sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt, which is secured, if at all, against house prices the Bank of England describes as well above equilibrium level?"

Gordon Brown - who was in sole charge of the government's economic policy replied:

"The Honourable Gentleman has been writing articles in the newspapers, as reflected in his contribution, that spread alarm, without substance, about the state of the economy..."

Game, set and match to Vince Cable - I would say.

Now the best thing you can say about Gordon Brown is that he did play a big role in preventing things from going into complete meltdown - once the rot had set in.

Nonetheless Vince cable was bang on the money - and skewered the government for encouraging debt to spiral out of control.

Gordon Brown and the last Labour government helped create the conditions that led to the banking collapse - and for that they deserve no credit whatsoever.

Gordon Brown had a political reputation as Macavity's Cat - as the Man Who Wasn't There - but on the economy his fingerprints are all over the scene of the crime.