(After a break for a few months, Meikle’s Blog is back. I hope to be posting on a regular basis over the next few months)
Shameless, that’s what politicians are, absolutely bloody shameless!
Imagine for 10 years you had let your son or daughter do absolutely anything they wanted to do with little or no control from you. Indeed you had postively encouraged them to do their own things and be themselves. And then after a decade of sheer hedonism you find that they’re skint, bankrupt, owe tens of thousands of pounds in debt. Not only that, their spendrift ways have left others high and dry, facing destitution and penury for themselves and their famlies. Your response?
To apologise profusely for your offspring’s shenanigins and say sorry for the financial misery and worry caused? Not a bit of it. Instead, you adopt a grim countenance and tell the world what feckless characters your children are, that you’re going to put a stop to their high living and make them take some responsiblity for their actions. Not a word passes your lips that you, yes you, indulged them in this and without your support and encouragement none of this chaos could have reached the depths it has. In other words you owe a great deal of responsibility for what has happened.
Now in any other profession or walk of life, and indeed if this was a real family, such refusal to accept some level of responsbility, or to use the current jargon, ‘take ownership’ of the situation, would be seen for the abject ducking out that it is; people would see through the sudden ‘conversion’ and you would still be held to account for your previous enthusiastic acquiesence of your children’s actions.
But not politicians ogh no!
Gordon Brown, Tony Blair (who got out just in time, maybe he has to thank Gordon for helping to get rid of him after all!) et al are not responsible for the credit crunch, any more than a father is for the day-to-day activities of his children. But like the father endorsing the wayward actions of his children, Brown and company spent ten years egging on the banks, credit companies and the entire panoply of financial institutions to participate in an orgy of lending directly fueling huge levels of spending by consumers way beyond many of their means, with only the lightest veneer of regulation, leading to such an unsustainable mountain of bad debt that the words ‘reckless’ and ‘excessive’, dont even begin to describe the horrendous legacy that has befallen us and will haunt us for decades.
Only four years ago in 2005 Brown stood before the massed ranks of the City of London’s finest at a banquet in the Guildhall and stroked their already massive egos by telling them how innovative they were and how much the country owed for their financial derring-do. Manufacturing, the actual making of things, was never mentioned and Brown’s administrations have let Britain’s industrial base wither as much as if not more than Thatcher’s infamous governments of the 80s.
But four years on may as well be four decades on. Now the talk is of serious regulation, a clampdown on excessive bonuses, never again letting banks having unfettered power over lending and borrowing, and reining in unsustainable debt. And who is saying this with nary a blush, almost as if “I told you so”, “this is something I’ve been warning about for years” and “I knew this was going to happen”?” Why, yes, Gordon Brown and his acolytes.
To look at the speeches made by our political masters since the recession began in 2007, you would never recognize that these are the same people who presided over our economy for 10 long years (with Brown as the Chancellor of the Exchequer throughout), who extolled the virtues of unfettered free markets and “light touch” regulation and created the environment for the financial chaos that has come to pass.
No other profession could get away with this (not least the bankers who, quite rightly, have had their reputations and credibility trashed, witness “Fred the Shred” Goodwin), only politicans. Because they and the political class they make up (see a previous blog of mine on this subject) are utterly shameless in not owing up to culpability in past misdeeds and apologising for the mess they’ve helped to create. And for that and that alone they should earn our unalloyed and unconditional contempt.
(Next week I’ll be taking us on a brief cook’s tour of how we got into the financial straits that we’re in).