Thursday, 11 March 2010
clear vision, anyone?
I know we've just been told the date for the budget as 24 March, but although there's election posters all over the place in central London now, there doesn't seem to have been a date declared.
Perhaps naively, I find this slightly insulting to the British electorate. Much of the normal business of Parliament has been turned into the theatre of pre-election sound bites and the two main parties seem mainly intent upon point scoring.
Brown eschewed the opportunity he originally had to be voted in as leader of his party, or to have an election about a year ago when there was a previous opportunity zone.
Now, instead of declaring his position on this publicly, he leaves us all guessing that it will be 6 May, aligned with the date that other local elections are due to take place. I believe there's theoretically a few weeks into the start of June which would still be available, but it would seem slightly odd to get everyone voting twice in a matter of weeks.
So now we are hearing of senior civil servant pay freezes and no doubt some candied words in the Budget, whilst Brown presides over a 12.8 percent of GDP borrowing level (just slightly higher than Greece and about double the rest of Europe).
We'll be hearing more 'weathering the storm' and 'bumps in the road' speeches over the next few days as well as the Conservatives promising to rescind whatever gets stated in the next Labour budget. On top of the sundry scandals, these points reinforce the purposelessness of the last days of the current Government.
This time, to add to the fun we appear to be getting the politician's partners being propelled into the limelight. Miriam, Samantha and Sarah are all being blended into the campaigning to support their husbands and no doubt to receive camera scrutiny of their own.
At least Brown's recent comments about the economy may be accurate: "There will be many months ahead of conflicting statistics, false hopes and mixed signals."
As long as all this doesn't start to affect Britain's credit ratings too.