What does this do to Gord’s core argument?
A story that features big across many of the papers today is the IMF assessment that the slump’s impact will be worse worse in the coming year in Britain than in the US, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Canada and Germany.
As the Sun’s George Pascoe Watkins writes the warning is a “big blow” to Gordon Brown who has consistently claimed Britain is in a stronger position to handle a recession than other nations.
The Times puts it like this – “the stark figures are a severe blow to Gordon Brown, who has continually insisted that Britain is better placed than most countries to weather the downturn.”
Over the years Brown has developed a rhetoric which is built around international comparisons which have proved hard to challenge. Now the IMF has come up with figures that can substantiate the simple slogan – “IMF says its worse here”. What a gift to the opposition parties who, no doubt, will use it repeatedly to attack and attack.
This isn’t about complex economics but the massive political battle ahead. For as we move into the final five quarters before the election everything can become potent and the Tories and the Lib Dems desperately need simple sound-bites to undermine what used to be Brown’s proud boast – his successful management of the economy over the past twelve years.
I’m still not convinced that Brown will lead Labour into the election. Add on the IMF report to Labour’s polling collapse and you have even more worried MPs from marginal constituencies trying to bolster each other the cups in the House of Commons tea-rooms.
If Labour does lose power, as is looking increasingly likely, then a lot of the blame will be put on Brown’s obsession with always wanting to boast. It is far better, surely, to be given credit for something than to try to take it.
In the betting punters have continued to pile onto the Tories.