But Brown. My God, this man is a piece of work. Let's just have a quick look at some of the latest, increasingly desperate claptrap coming out of his gawping piehole today. His claim, first of all, that this crisis was caused by the banks, suggests that he's retreated into the kind of cowardly, "bunker" mentality that caused people to realise how unsalvageably flawed he was, and totally unsuited to the office he took by default, in the first place. For the record, it was his policies and his light-touch, hopelessly inadequate system of regulation that allowed the banks to behave with such recklessness in the first place. It was his actual encouragement of the property bubble and the massive personal debt bubble that left people so exposed when the bust came. His behaviour, and blinkered, hateful arrogance in suggesting that he had 'abolished boom and bust', virtually guaranteed that when the bubble burst, Britain would be the most exposed major economy in the world and the British people would be the biggest losers. The point is, his ridiculous claim that this was 'all the banks' fault' is palpably ridiculous - and was proved as such long ago.
But that's just he start of it. Instead of stopping the digging while the hole wasn't too deep, he brings out the JCB. This is the Telegraph's report of his, quite frankly, lunatic remarks:
2010 must be the year of growth. It must not be the year when the economy dips back into recession.
''Instead of admitting the mistakes of private banks and institutions in causing the recession, the well-financed right-wing are not only trying to blame governments for the crisis but trying to use legitimate concerns about deficits to scare people into accepting a bleak and austere picture of the future for the majority, and then to use what's happening as a pretext for public services to be marginalised at precisely the moment they should become smarter and more personalised.
''They are using the talk of action on debt to conceal the hard fact that their real position is that they remain wedded, as they have always been, to an ideology that would always make government the problem and deny people the helping hand that government can be.''
While seeking to ''frighten'' voters about the scale of the debt, Conservatives failed to mention that growth would automatically cut into the UK's deficit and bolster investor confidence, said Mr Brown.
''Instead of helping the recovery in our country, Conservative dislike of government, bordering on hatred of government action, would risk recovery now,'' he said.
Never had I really understood how unhinged this guy actually is until I heard this stuff. Aside from the truly awe-inpiring level of economic illiteracy on display, there's the spiteful reference to the 'hatred' of the 'right'. With the former, someone needs to bellow this at the fraud relentlessly: it's not rocket science, Brown, it's basic economics: rising debt means rising inflation; rising inflation means interest rate hikes; interest rate hikes mean higher credit costs with the inevitable consequences of increased business failures, personal insolvencies, higher unemployment, worse public services and, you guessed it, a recession. Not growth, Brown, a r-e-c-e-s-s-i-o-n. Do you think it'd get through that four inch thick skull of his in the end? No, me neither.
Of course, though, we know the ulterior motive here. Brown does not give hoot-one about the catastrophe his "policies" would cause over the next few years, all he cares about, in his fevered political calculations, is the time when he finally, finally!, has to face the electorate. He thinks he can buy votes and sod the future. We are, quite simply, with Brown, back to square one. It's 2008-9 all over again. The guy is incapable of any other mode of thought or operation.
Only this time, with this horribly divisive speech, he's shown a little more of the true, tribal, irrational, Tory-hating core that we know is what fundamentally defines this appalling man. And this is where we see the incoherence:
...their real position is that they remain wedded, as they have always been, to an ideology that would always make government the problem and deny people the helping hand that government can beThis is a smear, obviously, but the scale of the misrepresentation is only topped by the scope of its implausibility. It hardly warrants scrutiny (it certainly doesn't bear any). However, I'll have a crack - again, just for the record. Clearly, as with most smears, it's what's omitted that's most revealing. For instance, it's not 'government' that the Conservatives have ever seen as 'the problem' (as far as I can discern, Tories aren't anarchists), it's big, inefficient government. Further, though, you notice how he confuses (and I don't believe this is deliberate - I think he actually might not understand the distinction, which, if true, is most revealing) the term 'government' with the term 'state'. Government makes policy and enacts law accordingly. The instruments of government (like the MoD), and taxpayer-funded institutions of public service (like the NHS), of which there are many, are what is generally understood, at least in the real world, to be 'the state'. When the instruments of government, public service institutions and government itself have been permitted to become so bloated, inefficient and unaffordable that they begin to cause, overall, more harm than good, then yes, they must be pruned, reformed and reset so that once more (or, in the case of some state institutions, 'for once') they can fulfil their putative functions. To deny any of this is to defy rational thought. But that's what Brown does, in choosing smear and mere narrow-minded tribalism over common sense and, simply, the truth. Plus ca change? Not really: this is Brown we're talking about.
The only difference this time is the incoherence. We're used to the Tory-hating smears - they go with the Brown territory. But combined - and total - confusion over the economy and the difference between government and state is something fairly new, at least to me. I can understand the economic incoherence. Given the state of the British economy after a decade of Chancellor Brown and three further years of him as First Lord of the Treasury, it's not hard to see where that comes from. But this government/state thing: I feel that he really, genuinely, doesn't see a difference; he thinks they are one and the same. Government is the State; people are merely units of that State whose sole purpose is to service it in order that it can provide for them.
Oh my God! Brown really is a socialist! So that's what's been bugging me all this time...
New Labour might have fooled some of the people some of the time, but Brown is fooling no one. His brand of state socialism, masquerading as some kind of government altruism, is not what Britain needs just now, thanks very much (did it ever?). Bring on the election so we can have done with it.