So Chancellor Alistair Darling has given another interview – this time to The Guardian – which has proved damaging to the Labour Government. With the level of insight that only a Minister from an utterly disconnected and discredited Government can muster, Darling admits that the economy is at its lowest point for sixty years – as if we didn’t know. He further points out with disarming vision and incisiveness that “people are pi**ed off with us.”
My previous draft of this posting had implied that Darling was somehow daft. Yet apart from Jack Straw and Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling is the only other origjnal member of the front bench – promoted to front bench status after just twelve months in Parliament, and still on that bench twenty years later. So he can’t be that daft.
Yet in his time at Number 11, it seems crisis upon crisis has ‘happened around’ Mr Darling. As the Guardian article states clearly (click here to view) he discovered that the European Bank was pouring money into the economy by reading a paper in Majorca; he says “no one had any idea” about the financial crisis. He was in Edinburgh when his staff rang him about the run on Northern Rock; apparently “no one knew how serious it (the credit crunch) was yet”. When the Treasury lost the personal details of “just about every family in the country”; he says “we knew it was bad.”
Mr Darling admits that, “as a minister, by and large I had a charmed life”. With the current furore over Stamp Duty, a blistering lead for David Cameron’s Conservatives in the polls, and Gordon Brown’s “last chance saloon” of party conference season just around the corner, it will be interesting to see whether Chancellor Darling’s luck is about to run out.