The deep and far-reaching effects of Tory economic policies are having a direct impact on the lives of voters and while it could be good for Labour, it is bad for the country, writes Keir Mudie
Among the many slogans that come out of politics, the most effective must be: “The economy, fool”.
It framed the 1992 US presidential election and greatly helped Clinton get elected. Since then it has been repeated in various forms.
A colleague of mine was driven insane by the Tory’s repeated use of variants of it.
“It used to be,” he said, “that’s how the message always ended the same way whenever the Tories made any announcement – whatever department, transport, defence, housing: you can’t trust Labor on the economy.
“And it worked, you know? It could have been completely accidental, but eventually it caught on. They got away with a decade of economic misconduct.”
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(He said no wrongdoing. His word was much harsher – but you get my meaning.)
However, it is true. Successfully portraying Labor as economically incompetent despite a decade of Tory economic incompetence is an incredible job.
Until now, it seems, when the government started stealing Labor’s ideas – most recently the Windfall Tax.
As my pal put it: “The result might be okay, but the way they went about things was far from ideal. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that they really wanted us to vote against the windfall tax.
“The thought is that once people have the money, they don’t care where it comes from.”
which is true. The details of U-turns are interesting to observers, but many of us have bigger fish to fry.
Politically, it’s quite embarrassing for the government. Captain Hindsight Starmer was apparently Captain Foresight the entire time.
And Theresa May’s fabled magic money tree appearing in the garden of a certain Mr. R. Sunak, esq is a sore point.
This will hurt for the next few months – maybe longer. Despite assurances that the Treasury has the tools to tackle inflation and the problems it poses, many Tories I’ve spoken to concede that a painful period is ahead.
And many of them are unhappy with their Chancellor’s decision to adopt Labor policy – no matter how well received in the world.
“Socialism,” one said to me and hung up when I started laughing.
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Normally, people think of GDP, FTSE, inflation and stagflation as abstract, distant concepts. Does anyone really pay more attention to budget than how much gas will be or how much they’re putting on a pint?
Maybe I’m doing people a disservice and there’s a widespread interest in economic headwinds. I always feel that economics, like many subjects, is background until it reaches your everyday life.
Soon it will be inevitable. At the pump, at the register… inevitable, like the fog at the beginning of Bleak House. And it looks like the economy will take center stage in the next election, no matter when it’s held.
Good news for Labour, I suppose, when the time comes. Not so good for the country for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is hopping around London happily over his words – ‘Robin Hood’ tax. Enjoy it while you can, you and the rest of the Merry Men.
But spare yourself a thought for the rest of us, who are – as the Cockneys would say – Friar Tucked.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/robbing-hood-boriss-stolen-windfall-27092607 "Robbing Hood Boris' stolen windfall tax won't ease the pain for poor households" - Keir Mudie