Alistair Darling: ‘People are pissed off with us’
And if Mr Darling has not gone by Christmas, the Prime Minister will have.
The essence of Mr Darling’s bleak assessment is that the UK is facing its ‘worst economic crisis in 60 years’. He therefore admits that Labour’s recession is about to be worse than anything seen under Margaret Thatcher or John Major. He told The Guardian that the economic downturn would be more ‘profound and long-lasting’ than most people had feared. And he acknowledged that voters were angry with Labour's handling of the economy, with house prices falling at their fastest rate in 18 years, and, according to one Bank of England economist, unemployment set to hit 2 million by Christmas.
This is indeed a New Labour ‘bust’ which Gordon Brown claimed to have eradicated from the Treasury’s lectionary. The economy is at zero growth, and building firms and retailers are making people redundant. And the Chancellor says he has ‘no idea’ how serious the credit crunch would become.
But ‘credit’ and ‘crunch’ are two easy words for any politician to spout. Yet they amount to people’s homes about to be repossessed. They are people’s jobs, children’s welfare, and families’ harmony. While this government is obsessed with figures and statistics, the real human cost lies in the redundancies, hardship, divorces, alcohol and drug dependency, alienated children, increased crime, and the interminable and inescapable cycle of social breakdown that this government has singularly failed to solve.
And Cranmer finds it interesting that this same credit crunch which had its origin in the United States leaves them with 3.3 per cent growth in the last quarter while the UK is at 0 per cent. It is one thing to blame others for one’s woes, but when the others are faring somewhat better, the blame must lie nearer home.
As the nation’s most vulnerable decide whether to heat their homes or eat this winter, the Chancellor might just consider that these are moral issues. God cares for the poor, the oppressed, and the underdogs in society. He pours his wrath upon those who corrupt justice or create economic machines designed to provide more wealth for the wealthy and deprive the poor. The story of Naboth’s vineyard in 1 Kings 21 establishes that authorities are not free to pursue any policy they please or to ride roughshod over the rights of the poor.
Northern Rock? 10p tax band? Increasing business taxes? The loss of Inland Revenue data discs? Soaring fuel costs?
There was a time when chancellors were man enough and possessed sufficient moral fibre to take responsibility and resign over such fiascos.