Let's pretend

Leave the big questions till later

Your future and oursYour future and ours
Gordon Brown has decided to pretend he's Tony Blair. Remember "Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime"? When Blair trotted that one out he did it with eyes like dinner plates and a spooky manner that was supposed to indicate passion and concern. Actually what most people remember is Rory Bremner taking him off, the whole thing was ridiculous; but that won't put Brown off! Brown is in a hole and digging furiously. Whatever the result this election can only be a crushing defeat when we remember their majority of over 200, following the 1997 election. So he has come up with a diversion, talking about crime, telling half truths about CCTV and DNA retention.

The unelected Deputy Prime Minister is, as we know, always keen to help. He has started talking about Lord Ashcroft. Mandy is keen to suggest that Ashcroft represents some 'foreign' influence on UK politics. It is said that Mandy cannot criticise the euro or any aspect of the attempts to bail out the Greek economy as his EU pension might be affected. So foreign influence, it all depends what you want it to mean! Also Mandy will be happy to keep quiet about the UK economy too.

The reason for the diversion from Brown and Mandelson is to deflect attention away from the falling pound and the possible outcomes. It is ironic that Ashcroft's and Mandelson's wealth combined is but a drop in the ocean compared to the fall in the value of the pound since the markets spotted that a hung parliament was possible. The housing market has more lows than highs now and a double dip recession is still a possibility. The last time the pound was so low was 9 months ago. This would have been after the EU and Local Elections for 2009 (Nulabour did badly in both). This would have also been the time the real effects of Quantitative Easing trickled through the system and worried world markets.

The whole point of QE was to get results, "make a difference" as the PM might have said had he been looking for a soundbite. Yet we hear that QE might have to resume soon. The programme was started after incremental falls in borrowing costs had gone from 5% to 0.5%. This was the lowest rate since the creation of the Bank of England in 1694. This fall also ruined the savings of many people for whom the wealth of Ashcroft and Mandelson is impossible to imagine. A bit like the sum of money, £150 billion, that Alistair Darling has planned to spend on this venture.

As QE has not worked so far the idea it suddenly 'comes right' is hard to take seriously. But what must be taken seriously are the long term risks. The financial situation created by this spending is poorly founded, the 'bubble', for that is what it is, may burst at some later date. If it does then the effects could be as bad as the repercussions from the US sub-prime fiasco. But the difference will be that with the US sub-prime Brown liked to remind us "it started in America", with the QE problem it did not. Although the task of putting the mess right might well fall into the lap of the Tories. Would he like that?

Just days ago Brown asked the nation to take a second look at Nulabour, I agree with the long hard look. But at the UK economy, the future looks bleak! There was also the Piers Morgan interview. Morgan, deliberately, asked all the wrong questions allowing Brown to chuckle look startled and say "I've never hit anyone in my life". Obviously the questions should have been of a different nature."I've never trashed an economy in my life", now that is what I call a soundbite!