Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Communication, Communication, Communication

Andrew Marr's other half, Jackie Ashley, writes in the Guardian today that Gordon Brown's real problem is his failure to understand the importance of good political communication. It's a quality Blair had in droves, and that is serving Cameron well, but, reports Ashley, Brown is utterly inept at it, for all the admirable values that apparently still motivate him politically. Her assessment of Brown rings true - the political need to communicate meaningfully with the 'ordinary voter' can hardly be underestimated - although she becomes overly apocalyptic in her prediction that the Labour Party faces destruction.

I still just about believe that Brown will hold on to the leadership until the general election, although most commentators look to the continuing state of the economy, and the imminent Glenrothes by-election as possible 'change' moments. The real blow, however, will be struck by the constant drip feed of stories decrying his leadership, and there is no obvious way for him to stop those.

Mike Smithson over at Political Betting, meanwhile, speculates that the possibility of continuing economic bad news, on the scale of the Lehmann disaster, might persuade people to stick with Brown as a familiar guide. Not sure about that, although I'm taking heart from his other prediction, that the focus on the economy should benefit Obama in the US election.

10 comments:

Recubo said...

i can see why if economic circumstances continue to worsen, the labour party is unlikely to change it's leader as they wish to provide the impression that they are working collectively to help solve the chrisis however to me it seems illogical to do.

Since the backbench revolt provoked by the unknown Siobhan Mcdonagh started on friday, many key figures in the party have seemingly expressed their distrst in the current PM. Geoff Hoon whose job as chief whip states he is a spin doctor; surely this would be to highlight the positives in his party and if he himself is refusing to condemn the revolt then something appears wrong.

Although members of the cabinet such as harriet harman, alan johnson and alistair darling have called for unity in the party, surely this can be reached by a reshuffle of positions and a fresh start with a leader could not only unite labour but also raise public morale, in a time where the credit crunch is causing much distress.

I feel parallels can be drawn between brown and Herbert hoover. Each was ellected in times of prosperity, both with complete support of their party and yet both fell victim to shere economic circumstances. The intorduction of roosevelt and his new deal provided hope for the criplled American public and so to me a new leader whether labour or conservative would act as a lever for steering Britain into a more positve situation.

consultant said...

I note with interest that the media today are reporting how the US government has "rescued" AIG, effectively by undertaking a confiscatory nationalisation. When Brown's government stepped in to rescue Northern Rock, the media didn't talk about it as a rescue, they talked about it as a nationalisation. Media bias against Brown? Definitely.

(That's not to say he shouldn't resign immediately, it's just an observation.)

Anonymous said...

Hoover turned a recession into a great depression. Brown on the other hand has caused a recession and we'll have to wait and see if he follows in hoover's footsteps. If we look at Brown's record then there is every chance he will. Will he let the market correct itself or will he try and bail out failing banks by giving them capital from sucessful businesses? Will he stop inflating or will he keep "creating liquidity"? Will he let wages fall or will he prop them up causing massive unemployment? Will he let the prices of assets fall or will he try and prop up the housing market for instance? Will he encourage saving or will he encourage consumers to spend more? Will he reduce the burden of the state on the economy or will he increase it? Everytime Gordon takes the latter course of action (follows in Hoovers footsteps) as oppose to the former we move closer to economic depression.

Pier said...

"Brown has caused a recession..."

That's right, I remember now, the time when he went over to Subprimesville USA and told the mortgage companies there to really sell those deals regardless of whether or not the client will pay up.

Oh, and do you remember that time when he personally went over to the OPEC conference and said "To be honest, we've got enough here, why don't you take a break and lower production, you guys have earnt it."

Do you remember that?!

What I do remember is, up until the last quarter, consequetive quarters of growth ever since 1993 - a record. I do remember CPI never topping 5%. I do remember interest rates not topping 6%. I do remember the highest rate of employment ever since the war.

Brown didn't cause the recession (which we have yet to enter in to, by the way), there are certain measures he could have employed to make us fair slightly better, but to imply that some other leader or party will have had Britain riding the waves of growth today is farcical at best.

Anonymous said...

I heard on newsnight last night from a Brownite sycophant that some Americans were polled and believed Gordon Brown to be the most competent leader to have in this financial crisis. That made me laugh

recubu said...

Well considering he spent 10 years as Chancellor of the Exchequer having many achievements such as establishing the bank of England’s independence, one would have thought his experience would certainly be useful for his position as PM especially in the current climate we as a nation are in. This therefore suggests he may well be the most competent leader.

That aside who would be a better alternative; No cabinet minister is yet to step forward and challenge him, now being a suitable time since, leadership contests have been called for by several Mps. Unless an alternative is shown to me i would have to say that Brown probably is the most suitable labour Mp for the job, and that public perception of him is somewhat unfair with many riding on the negativity so common in modern media.

This is not to say that a replacement would not be the right decision since a raise in public morale would certainly benefit, it is merely that there is no adequate labour mp who has expressed interest.

another anonymous said...

Since he's been chancellor for the last 10 years, and since he's meant to be so economically competent, how come he's so clueless at the moment?

Recubu said...

Brown was responsible for the longest ever period of economic growth in britain, surely that says something about his ablity to work and understand an economy. However he was fortunate to inherit a strong economny from the previous conservative government, with that in mind one could argue a true test of a man is not when everything is going smoothly rather the abilty to provide hope in times of economic chrisis.

You state that brown is "clueless" as to how deal with the current circumstances and yet it is extremely difficult when his own cabinet are not united, and are quarrelling over what to do. Backbenchers are calling for leadership contests and at a time of economic chrisis this is degrading of both the party and the cabinet. If they cannot trust in themselves then how can we as a nation trust them to solve the state of the current economy?

I am not saying he is the best man for the job but overall i feel he is not being given a fair oppurtunity to enforce his ideas in terms of sorting out the economy.

Chris Benjamin said...

Brown besided over the economy when m4 increased by over 11% annually. He was chancellor during the the inflationary boom which has caused massive malinvestment which will have to be liquidated in a bust. The rising price of food, oil and housing wasn't caused by a shortage. It was caused by the banks inflating the money supply and devaluing the pound. Firstly the only receason why Britain isn't technically in a recession is because the government lies about inflation. If the weights they use indicate inflation higher than they want, then the problem is with the way they calculate inflation, there is no inflation problem to speak of. A new means of calculating inflation is soon figured out. Secondly its impossible to measure economic growth using money. I mean look at Zimbabwe, if they measured their economic growth using the Zimbabwean dollar, then Mugabe would have besided over an unbelievable amount of economic growth. I'm sure Mugabe tells his people this. Once more I'm sure he says that the inflation in their country is caused by a shortage of oil and food on international markets. Oh and speculators, their a convenient scapegoat. Brown has had ample time to abolish the Bank of England and institute either 100% reserve banking or free banking. But instead he choose not to, therefore he is to blame. Not only that but he has besided over massive increases in public spending and put excessive and unjust regulations on businesses. I hope these economic problems we are experiencing at the moment will wake people up to what happens when the government intervenes in the economy. I fear that the media will start calling this government a laissez-faire one and say they didn't intervene enough, unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

We may have had 10 years of economic growth but was it sustainable growth?

As far as i am concerned it was built upon consumer debt - spending beyond our means - and our inflated housing market which is finally being readjusted.

I wouldn't say Brown was a great fiscal manager, especially as he is borrowing a lot of money to fill his budget gap.