Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Brown's double standards on jobs and public spending

It's day two of the general election campaign and the usual suspects are already trying to take voters for fools.

Business secretary Peter Mandelson was first on the stump this morning, making a speech to the Foreign Press Association.

Mandelson, a powerful yet unelected government minister, seems to enjoy inexplicable credibility from the media - even when talking about trust and honesty in politics. Can the media already have forgotten how Mandelson's own actions twice previously caused him to be sacked from the cabinet?

His latest argument about an opposition party being too 'inexperienced' for government is nothing more than an argument that government must never change - that only the experienced should govern. An argument against democracy itself.

Admittedly, not an entirely unexpected point of view, coming from someone known for his enthusiasm for the European Union. His favouritism for technocracy over democracy has long been clear.

But sadly the media seem to be letting the public down by reporting such anti-democratic sentiments from a senior government minister completely uncritically.

Brazen Clegg

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg also joined the fray early in the day, to claim that this election 'isn't a two horse race'. Despite presumably knowing what the rest of us do - that in reality, unlike Gordon Brown and David Cameron, he is not likely to become Prime Minister.

A much more remarkable claim, however, was his assertion that only the Lib Dems are untainted by corruption and can therefore restore trust in politics.

Firstly it's plainly clear that, like the other parties, Lib Dem MPs were also caught up in the expenses scandal and had to apologise and pay back misclaimed expenses.

But Clegg's claims about trust are especially brazen, given it assumes people have such short memories that we will already have forgotten how he led his party to break a clear 2005 election promise to support a referendum on the EU Constitution / Lisbon Treaty.

Worse, during that process, Clegg engaged in precisely the dodgy backroom deals he accuses the other parties of employing to ensure that his party quietly voted whichever way it took at each stage of the Lisbon Treaty's progress through Parliament - abstaining in the Commons and voting against a referendum in the Lords - to prevent people being given a say on something as important as who decides new laws.

Hardly very trustworthy, or democratic. So who does Clegg really think he's fooling with his 'holier than thou' rhetoric? In reality, such claims just serve to make himself look something of a joker and badly out of touch.

Commenting on the euro today, Clegg also reinforced his party's enthusiasm for handing power over to the EU.

The Lib Dem leader admitted that "we think there is a case for, a long-term case for, considering entry into the euro, which needs to be done with a referendum" but admitted that "eurozone interest rates over the last few years would have been wrong for Britain".

In revealing that he believes we should ultimately join the euro while admitting eurozone interest rates can be wrong for our economy, Clegg displays how his EU-statist ideology trumps the economic stability and prosperity on which many jobs depend. Hardly the best bid for a leadership position in our democracy!

Certainly, given his low grade behaviour over the Lisbon Treaty, it would be a brave person indeed who took seriously his purported commitment to holding a referendum before signing Britain up to the euro.

Brown's £6bn gaffe

At Prime Minister's Questions, a major theme was the government's proposed increase in National Insurance, versus the Conservatives' plans to ditch that increase.

Gordon Brown banged on repeatedly about the dangers of "taking £6bn out of the economy" that the NI increase will raise.

As the BBC reports, Brown said "Take six billion out of the economy now and there is more unemployment, more businesses go under and there is less growth."

"Thousands of jobs would then go", Brown lectured.

Yet this is the man who, last year, despite our growing deficit and massive borrowing, was quite happy to take £6.4bn out of the economy and hand it over to the European Union.

This is an institution about which there are regular reports of financial waste and fraud on a grand scale, and whose accounts have not been fully approved by auditors for an unjustifiable 14 years in a row.

According to the recent Budget documents, next year, if Brown remains Prime Minister, at the same time as he is slashing public services, his plan is to increase our cash payments to the EU to a scandalous £7.6bn net.

So, once again please for the record, Mr Brown. How many thousand jobs has taking such sums "out of the economy" and wasting them on the EU already cost?

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