After the roasting John Humphreys gave Andy Burnham on the same subject on Today this morning, it seems that the wool Brown is still so desperately trying to pull over our eyes about the economy he has ruined has become so moth-eaten and worn-out, it's disintegrating in his clammy hands. But first, the humiliation:
Imagine the scene. It's late and the lights are out in Downing Street – except for a lamp burning on the Prime Minister's desk. Alone, brooding, he stares at a political map of the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the European elections. The colour red appears to have been rubbed out.It seems that no one in Labour even now has the guts to face-up to the real reason for their total, epic failure in these elections. But try as they might to prop-up their hopeless leader, they simply can't come-up with a plausible alternative reason. As Randall lists, some of the excuses for Labour's poll implosion are priceless.
Of the 15.6 million people who voted, 84.3 per cent did not put a cross in Labour's box. How dare they! Who are these 13,244,063 ingrates? Right across southern England, from Penzance in Cornwall to Margate in Kent, more than 90 per cent of the electorate rejected the party of Gordon Brown. Even in Labour's redoubts of Scotland and Wales, close to 80 per cent turned away.
For a ruling party at Westminster, this was close to humiliation. Having told us that he had saved the world, Mr Brown was unable to save face on home turf. As the horror show developed through Sunday night and into Monday, there began a desperate search for excuses. The Prime Minister and his coterie of sycophants plunged into their lunchbox of red herrings, porkie pies and cheesy one-liners, hoping to distract us from the real reasons for Labour's drubbing.What I like about Randall, apart from the fact that he is usually right, is the way he expresses himself. You just know in your bones that when he calls Alistair Darling 'the Big Borrower', what he's actually thinking, but can't write in a 'serious' newspaper, is 'that Brainless Bankrupt' - or, perhaps, worse. Where he says 'we, the coping classes, were appalled' what he really means is 'we, the people who have to pay for your incompetence, are f**king pissed off and want to see you ritually disembowelled at our earliest convenience'. It's all in the tone, and Randall usually finds the right one.
First to be blamed were MPs who had fiddled while their homes earned. "It was the expenses scandal," shrieked Agent Harman, the Opposition's secret weapon inside Labour's high command. Of course it was, dear, except that The Daily Telegraph's exposé of moat clearances, duck islands and the double-claiming of husband-and-wife MPs had shown many Tories to be equally shameless.
Alistair Darling, the Big Borrower, fingered his party's poor communications. "We need to explain ourselves better," he said. "We need to set out clearly what we are for." Wrong again. His problem was that Labour had explained itself too well – and we, the coping classes, were appalled.
His real point in this piece is not about Labour's unpopularity, however, deserved as it may be for a whole forest of reasons. It's about Labour's - and particularly Brown's - abject dishonesty. Over immigration and Europe, their perfidy has been so complete it beggar's belief and, in Randall's view (and mine) it has caused their own, traditional core-vote to feel betrayed and to desert to the lunatic fringe in the form of crypto-fascist throwbacks, the BNP. The middle class vote that Blair had wooed have deserted to UKIP, at least on these issues. Randall makes no play on the subject, but I think these voters (the 'coping classes' as he calls them) on the economy are drifting back to the Tories. When times are tougher, middle Britain's natural conservativism tends to emerge. Simples!
It's on the economy, though, that Randall saves his best shots for Brown Labour:
Labour's leadership is resorting to what George Orwell called "political language". This, he said, was "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind".The truth revealed by Fraser Nelson's scoop a few months ago about Darling's hidden cuts appears finally to have taken root in the MSM and it is only a matter of time before it spreads to the popular consciousness. Once Brown is checkmated on this, it will become a mantra: "Brown's stealth cuts." And there will be nothing he can do about it - mainly because it is true. But Gordon doesn't do truth. Convinced as I am that the man lost his two remaining marbles just after Smeargate ("I take full responsibility so I've had those responsible shot," or whatever it was), he will simply become more and more detached from reality and keep on repeating his stuck-record, garbage 'message' of 'do-nothing Tories/Tory cuts' until he sounds so ridiculous, even the press will be hard-pushed to suppress a fit of giggles whenever he opens his goldfish gob.
Mr Brown exuded another blast of hot air this week when inviting voters to distinguish between Labour's future "investment" in public spending and Tory "cuts", after shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley admitted the need for targeted budget reductions to restore financial sanity. In effect, the Prime Minister was trying to repeat the scare tactic that had worked so well for Labour at the last election in 2005, ie the Tories will obliterate our public services.
Aside from the fact that after 2011, when inflation and debt interest payments are factored in, Labour's own plans will necessitate a seven per cent cut, about £26 billion at today's prices, it was Mr Brown's use of the word "investment" that was so telling. In truth, much of Labour's spending is naked consumption, money burned in the pursuit of votes, with no return for the taxpayer.
Randall sums it up thus:
When Margaret Thatcher was at Number 10, an MP who had studied several prime ministers told The Observer: "You see, they all go mad, they all start hearing voices… they are cut off from the real world." After almost exactly two years in the job, Mr Brown has joined that club. While the sound of an unhappy electorate is ignored, the voices in his head are coming over loud and clear.