Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

The PM Who (Doesn’t) Like To Say Yes

To be more precise, I expect he will say yes to Sky’s Leaders’ Debate, but he won’t like doing it. Then again, since I doubt either Cameron or the other one will be asking him, Andrew Marr style, about the contents of his bathroom cabinet, he might feel now that it won’t be all that bad.

Brown will say yes because he has no other choice. The trouble is, like a guilty person who has taken too long to answer a straight question, the real issue is why he didn’t just accept the invitation when the other two leaders did. One reason might be that it took this long for Labour strategists to come up with the strategy that was being rumoured last night: that Labour will suggest that there should also be debates between the top front-benchers as well.

So, in the Treasury debate, we will have Darling, Osborne and Cable.

Without fawning interviewers on the other side of the microphone, Vince Cable will probably see his media sainthood finally revoked.

Darling’s strategy will surely be to perform competently enough to keep himself in the running for the subsequent Labour bloodbath leadership race. His greatest difficulty will probably be to refrain from pointing out that it was all Gordon’s fault and that, like a Crimean battlefield nurse, there was little else he could have done. That line will, presumably, come after May (or March, depending on where you’ve put your money).

In fact, Osborne should be the only one who can really benefit – he already has to face jibes about his suitability for chancellor, based on his youth (and as he is only two days older than me, I am bound to defend him!). So with his stock already thus discounted, it would be the ideal arena for him to prove the sceptics wrong, and with Labour also now helpfully floating the unpalatable probability of tax rises and spending cuts, doing much of George’s expectations management for him, there will be little that he can really do wrong come the night.

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4 responses to “The PM Who (Doesn’t) Like To Say Yes

  1. Peter Arronsen September 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Would you agree that it all started to go wrong as regards taxation when the Tories fought the 1979 election on a (false)ticket of low taxation? This led to the Thatcher years of something for nothing at every turn.

    • Vir Cantium September 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm

      I think the roots for the “something for nothing” culture go much further back … to a time when everyone was led to believe they could have everything paid for by the state (the phrase “from cradle to grave” was in there somewhere) without having to think about where the money was coming from … until things started to grind to a halt in the Seventies.

  2. Peter Arronsen September 30, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Neil,

    Surely you wouldn’t wish to return to the days when people couldn’t afford healthcare?

    My late father and mother (still with us) can remember the days whe ordinary people such as I could not afford to call the doctor.

    • Vir Cantium September 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

      Of course not – questioning the current system is not the same as wanting to do away with the ultimate objective. However, we need to recognise that, long term, a more sustainable method of delivering healthcare free at the point of delivery is needed.

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