Monday, October 13, 2008

Voters Reward The Perps.

Every so often there is a story about a firefighter or wannabe fire fighter getting caught committing arson so that he can be the hero putting it out. This is much like giving Gordon Brown credit for trying to resolve the financial crisis that he caused, but that is seemingly what voters are doing.

The effect shouldn't be exageratted, Labour's standing in the polls has merely been upgraded from "catestrophic" to "dire", but even so this crisis does appear to be helping the left, both here and abroad as Daniel Hannan notes:

No one said politics was fair. Strikes always hurt Labour, however much Labour condemns them. City bonuses always hurt the Tories, even when the Tories are in Opposition. In the current climate, what people see are fat-cat bankers being bailed out by hard-pressed taxpayers. And, instead of objecting to the bail-out, they object to the bankers and, by extension, to the free market culture they are thought to embody. The world over, Left-of-Centre parties are benefiting: Obama in the US, Brown here.

The paradox is that what Britain most needs at the moment is to cut spending and cut taxes. In retrospect, we can see that the massive extension of the federal government during the Great Depression served to prolong the slump. (Why the court-packing, four-term Roosevelt is so kindly treated by history remains a mystery to me.) Sadly, we seem about to repeat FDR's errors, engorging the state and mortgaging its citizens in order to socialise the financial system.

Similar effects are occuring in Canada and New Zealand, where right of centre parties that were heading for big wins now look like having to settle for just getting across the line in first place.

The crisis has made Obama the big favourite in the US election and there is a danger that a combination of an left wing President Obama, a Democratic congress, a sycophantic media and a financial crisis could enact legislation that will harm the US and world economies for decades to come as any disasters that they inflict on the world economy will be blamed on the legacy of the current crisis.


Mark Wadsworth said...

This was a theory I expounded over at S&M over a year ago. The Labour government fouls up badly (be it education, crime, housing, house prices, immigration, whatever) and then the solution is to try more of the same - more intervention, more subsidies, more quangos, ID cards, etc etc.

Maybe I should dust that down again, if I can find the comment.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I've found it, half way down the comments here

Now ... to work that into a sensible post and tack a few more on at the end ...

Ross said...

I suppose from a political point of view the worst thing you can do is solve a problem that the electorate trusts you to fix, becase then it ceases to be an issue, like the Conservatives and Trade Unions, once they solved the problem it helped Labour enormously.