Wednesday, 11 February 2009

‘Comical Ali’ Darling

Letter sent to the Evening News on 30/01/09

This weeks report from the International Monetary Fund that Britain’s economy will shrink by 2.8% this year, the worst in the industrialised world, reduces yet another of Alastair Darling’s forecasts to rubble. The Edinburgh South West MP is fast becoming the UK’s economic equivalent of Iraq’s ‘comical Ali’ remember him? He was the guy who resorted to increasingly outlandish claims to obscure a cause that was obviously lost.

Mr Darling was heard repeatedly in this city and elsewhere over the past 12 years to boast that New Labour had eradicated the ‘boom and bust’ nature of economic capitalism. Did he learn nothing from his time in the International Marxist Group?

But like ‘comical Ali’ when this was exposed as nonsense he went on to make more questionable assertions, first predicting that Britain would avoid a recession altogether, then claiming it would not be deep or prolonged, before setting out the view that we would weather the storm better than the rest of the industrialised world. Well the IMF report puts paid to that claim too.

Now Mr Darling, the economic King Kanute of modern times, reverts to the rather juvenile excuse ‘It wasnae us’. According to him and Gordon Brown the country’s dismal economic prospects are not down to any decisions they have taken these past ten years but rather the unavoidable impact of international circumstances beyond their control. Those terrible ‘sub prime mortgage lenders in the US’ are to blame they say. Unfortunately this excuse will not wash either as both men were well aware of the exposure RBS, HBOS and all the other British financial institutions had to this unregulated, but hardly unique greed-fest and they gloried in this recklessness for long enough.

But before we laugh too much be warned as they will ensure the real victims of this economic collapse will not be the wealthy bankers and politicians responsible for it but working people in Edinburgh and beyond.

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