In denial? By Simon Sweetman

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One might wonder whether as a nation we are in a state of denial (again), like we seem unable to take responsibility for the governments we elect. The voters who put Tony Blair back into power in 2002 now appear to have decided that he is a perfectly dreadful person who creeps to the Americans which we could have decided long before that, if that is what we thought mattered. This current dislike for New Labour extends to a refusal to give them any credit for what is the longest spell without a recession in recorded history (and more praise from the OECD recently for the management of the economy).

Even more strangely, people when polled believe that they were better off economically in the 1980s ' a belief which flies in the face of the facts. They always said that if you could remember the...

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19th Sep 2006 17:04

WW lives again!
Well done Simon - I often read your articles and think of the late Woodrow Wyatt - who amusingly thought of himself as "The Voice Of Reason".

Unlike dear old WW, I think the description fits your articles perfectly :)

Going off topic - what was the point of the speech by the new leader of the CBI? - It sounded to me like a vicar railing against sin (although I suspect thats hardly fashionable these days...) I thought that his speechwriters must have dusted down Digby Jones' maiden speech and just changed the dates, such was its barren predictability.

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18th Sep 2006 13:33

Trouble Ahead
Personal debt levels are at unprecedented levels and bankruptcies are skyrocketing (particularly amongst those who do not own their own homes). Pensioners are seeing their real disposable income shrinking annually in a terrifying fashion under the yoke of swingeing council tax and utility bill increases. The underfunding of public sector pension commitments that need to be paid by future tax increases is enough to make anyone run for the hills. I think it's a bit rich to say that Gordon's economic model is a success. I think it's more like a shipwreck waiting to happen.

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By Anonymous
18th Sep 2006 13:41

Lessons of history
I thought the received wisdom was that (New) Labour were able to capitalise (pardon me!) and exploit as their own the economic reforms from the admittedly rather unpleasant Thatcher years. Instead they appear to have spent billions of our money with not a great deal to show for it except bigger government involvment. When will we learn? Socialism doesn't work.

What Labour has done could be seen as a test which only a strong economy could stand rather than evidence of good management. Such a waste of an opportunity, though! The Blair goverment could have done anything when it came to power.

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18th Sep 2006 12:42

you may be right, Simon, but
I do not like much of what Gordon Brown does, but I will give him credit for handing over interest rate policy to the Bank of England - it has had a great stabilising effect.

Less credit though for Tax Credits - an appalling scheme designed to bring most of the working population into the benefits regime, discouraging many from improving their financial position, as they can be better of with the 'credits'.

I agree that it is, I think, impossible to compare now with the 1980's - mainly because our memories are flawed, but mostly because our personal circumtances are much different. Possibly young(ish) free and single in the 80's, married with kids in the 00's.

Tax remains markedly unfair for many working people.

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