Oddly enough they might have got further with Tony Blair, who was rather less confrontational – ‘tribal’ – in his approach. The first thing to remember about Gordon Brown is that he is a product, not so much of the Manse that everybody talks about, but of the Scottish Labour Machine, which is/was as near totalitarian as makes no difference.
The Machine’s power rested on its ability to do favours for its friends and to punish its enemies – what an earlier age called ‘patronage’. The political risk in the massive dollops of cash being dreamt up (from where?) to salvage the banks, is that Brown and co. will thus get their hands on a whole new source of patronage beyond their own or their predecessors’ wildest dreams. A major feature of Brown’s massive mismanagement of the economy to date has been the creation of an enormous client state, very much aware of the power of government patronage and therefore anxious to please the government of the day before all else. We see it daily in local government and we see it in the civil service, whose impartiality has been seriously undermined in the last 11 years. We see it, too, in the other Blair’s arrangement for Tony to ride around London in 2005 in a police car decorated with a Labour rose and the logo ‘Vote Labour’.
Do we really want these people having a say over our bank accounts and mortgages? Do we really imagine that with such power in their hands they won’t use it?
So be careful David and George (and Nick and Vince) just what you’re putting our name to. And never let the public forget who has left us less well able to cope with the current crisis than most othe developed countries, according to the IMF.