Pressure mounts on both party leaders as economy dives

Update “Families’ annual food bills rocket by £1,000,” says the Bel Tel’s lead story in its better, brighter website. P.S. I wonder why it’s so much like the Independent’s?

As recession looms, here is the real news: Inflation hits 10 year high. Read closely and that means well over 10% up for food and fuel. Can political leaders make any difference at all or must we simply sit it out and put up with nothing more than wrangling and platitudes? The comment rollercoaster is flat lining for Cameron with a chance of an upward swing ; through the floor for Brown – ” a dead man walking” according to Rachel Sylvester in the Times, with not a new idea in his head.

For the moment, switchback attention centres on Cameron, but it’s nervous rather than cool. Can he do any better than beleaguered Brown? It’s not enough for Cameron to keep savaging the man. As an instance of how much Cameron has to do to shape up as a convincing leader after a major interview this morning, you couldn’t do better than refer to blogs by two of Westminster’s leading political editors. The BBC’s Nick Robinson concludes the Tory debate is about a need for tax cuts, while the pro-Tory Daily Mail’s political editor Ben Brogan, a man much wooed by the Cameron camp, believes he could be preparing opinion for tax rises by a future Tory government. If these two guys can’t read Cameron right, who can?

Adds Brown’s candidly critical friend Steve Richards in the Independent, writes one the most insightful columns I’ve read for ages:
“Brown believes genuinely that as someone with more experience on economic matters than anyone else in politics he is well placed to play whatever limited part a leader can in these circumstances.”

  • wild turkey

    “Bel Tel’s lead story in its better, brighter website. P.S. I wonder why it’s so much like the Independent’s? ”

    Funny I asked myself that…hmm must be coincidence. Imagine my dismay though when I could not readily access the dynamic “Belfast Telegraph TV News” on the new website(the way the presenters talk, is that a natural gift or an acquired skill?)… anyway for a moment I thought my free online elocution lessons were tube city.

    On the point of the economy, when the good times are rolling and everyone is strollin down easy street, my, my,my don’t the pols take credit. Afterall hasn’t Brown repeatedly claimed that his fiscal prudence, combined with the (cough) independence of the Bank of England led to the end of boom bust in the British economy?

    Even in a global economy, national govt still has some limited power over macro variables via fiscal and monetary policy. This can be enhanced, or impeded, by the rigour or laxity of regulatory regimes over the increasingly complex financial sector. It is here that Brown et al have fallen down. Big time. It is a sad comment on the rigour, and vigour, of a “labour” govt that the USA appears, superficially at least, to be taking a more interventionist approach in response to problems in the financial sector and associated credit crunch. Perhaps Brown will propose that those who have a heart attack due to a personal financial calamity (lose of house, job etc.) will have a sensitive hospital bedside “consultation” with a govt funded financial advisor. Of course only if the patient finishes their hospital meal and does not waste any food.

    Oh yeah, I still want to know how the increased reliance/promotion of biofuels has impacted on world prices of basic grain commodities and wider food prices.

  • DC

    Ah sure, we can all do without a family holiday.

  • wild turkey

    “Ah sure, we can all do without a family holiday. ”

    DC

    Huh? Isn’t there the new improved OrangeFest? A day out or a day in?

  • DC

    Yes and I’m awaiting with great anticipation Hibernian marches too. Aren’t we spoilt, it is well we can rejuvenate ourselves culturally in a new shared Northern beginning starting of course at home.

    Failing that we can do a Peter Robinson and march ourselves to Clontibret and join up wholeheartedly this time in an appropriate North-South ministerial act.

    Slow surrender!

  • Dave

    Wild Turkey, politicians use the myth of the global economy to explain to the public why things that they do have control over are seemingly out of control. In realms where globalisation isn’t a myth, such as the EU, and where they genuinely no longer have sovereignty, it is only a reality because they have engineered that single market and have surrendered that sovereignty to those who administer it. Is it necessary to pool sovereignty in order to promote free trade between states? No, it is only necessary for those states not to impose tariffs on goods and services from those states that they wish to trade freely with. The free-market, of course, is another myth. Laissez faire economics are regularly abandoned in favour of intervention in the economy whenever a government deems it expedient (as in the example you cited). Indeed, no such thing as the free-market could exist other than as an ideology that competes with socialism. So, we have a political class that has engineered EU ‘globalisation’ and then throws up its hands and says globalisation that it has engineered means it no longer has sovereignty to act (gee, they catch on fast). Food prices in the EU are rising because the EU cannot produce enough food on a cost-efficient basis, and that is because EU subsidies are paid via CAP to farmers not to produce food which the taxpayers within the EU are forced to pay for by the EU’s price-fixing. The UK’s farmers have fields with nothing but grass in them when they could be produced grain and exporting it for huge profits, for example. In regard to the UK’s overvalued property market, that is another area where government had the sovereignty to act but did nothing to prevent it. The only area where there is truly ‘globalisation’ is in the supply of oil. The other areas where economies are in recession at the same time are coincidence rather than global.