Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The Late Lunch Briefing

The Rock crisis continues...

It’s the issue that just won’t go away. Northern Rock. Once again they clashed over the Rock at PMQs today (more on that later with the PMQs Battle round up at 5pm). Remember, this all started way back before the Conference season when Brown was flying (or bouncing) high in the polls. Back then we all thought it would pass and it was a bit of a non-issue. People even started throwing money in to the Rock as they thought the share price would recover once the government had backed it. Oh how things have changed since those late summer days...

Does anyone have the answer?

The government’s latest idea is to issue bonds and let Richard Branson take it on. Last week we were all firmly set for nationalisation. Next week – who knows? The Tories haven’t been much better – I am as unsure as to what their position is on this as I am the governments. To watch the two leaders argue about in PMQs today was ridiculous – both accusing the other of “flip flopping”. The truth is they both are. This has been an almighty balls up and no-one, it seems, has the answer of what to do. Meanwhile the crisis goes on and the bills (covered by the tax payer) continue to rack up. Have we reached a point in UK politics where no-one is up to the job?

Where have all the Big Beasts gone?

Rather like a poor intake in one year at school or in the military, is the class of 2008 just not very good? Back in the 1980s it was Labour who were just not very good. In the 1990s it was the Tories who were not very good. In the Brown era it seems that mediocrity of our main party leaders and front benches is the best we are going to. Where are the giants of old? The big beast? The Wilsons, the Hurds? The Heseltines? Dare I say it, where are the Blairs and the Thatchers? You may not like them, but at least they were decisive and strong. We have now probably the most indecisive PM we have ever had. This man makes Chamberlain look strong. Opposite him we have a man who just appears to lack the conviction of a man who not only really believes what he is saying but really wants the top job.

Maybe this is some sort of distorted nostalgia, where the past always seems better than the present. But somehow I just cannot see anyone on either side of the house who is offering hope and a vision for the Britain. As I said, sometimes you just get a bad intake. Or perhaps Cameron or Miliband just aren’t quite ready to step up to the plate. Either way, whoever it is who can capture the imagination of the British public again will surely be destined to be the next Big Beast and our new PM.

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