Well, probably not.  But there may have been a useful side effect: Brown seems to have come under pressure from the Cabinet to change his style, listen to more than just Ed Balls, and accept that spending cuts will happen.   Both the BBC and Times report on Alistair Darling’s newly vocal toughness on spending cuts.  From the Times:

Although Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, has been urging Mr Brown to contrast Labour investment in public services with Tory spending cuts, the Chancellor and the Business Secretary have been urging a more candid line. “Many departments will have less money in the next few years,” he said. “[The cuts] are utterly totally non-negotiable … We had a very constructive meeting on Wednesday about what we needed to do and wanted to do in the Budget. I have always been clear you have to level with people. We are talking about something like a £57 billion reduction in the deficit through tax increases and spending cuts. It is a change of direction.”

At one point on Wednesday, the price on Brown being gone by April had climbed from 16% to 35%.   It was a good time to have a meeting with him.  I for one felt that continued self- and other-deception about the obvious implications of our deficits – cutting is coming, if not now, then soon – was doing Labour’s credibility no good.

On a lighter note, I am really pleased Nick Clegg has had a pop at Gina Ford. People buy Ford when at their most neurotic about kids. I suspect it does not get many customers from those with more than one.  To the newly-sprogged, the idea of a bible telling you every minute’s obligations is really tempting and comforting.  Unfortunately, our kids come out all different.  Sure, routine matters.  But if there was ever a definition of an anti-liberal approach to parenting, this was it.

Final one: it is hard not to support LeftFootForward and the campaign to prevent the Indy taking on Liddle.  A more obnoxious less funny version of Clarkson, from the albeit limited evidence I have subjected myself to.  But surely it is up to whoever owns the Indy?  I have not read the paper for years; in fact, it barely deserves the name.   The Beaver at the LSE seemed to have more substance at times.  If it did not exist, no-one would invent it.

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2 thoughts on “Could the plot-shambles be good for Labour?

  1. Giles

    I’m a leader writer at the Indy and a big admirer of your blog so naturally I’m aghast at your ambivalence to the fate of my paper.

    If you think the paper lacks substance, that’s fair enough, but isn’t the argument that “if it did not exist, no-one would invent it” rather unworthy of you?

    If the Freethinking Economist suddenly disappeared the market wouldn’t feel any great pressure to come up with a substitute. Sadly, there’s not much profit in liberal journalism/blogging. But that doesn’t mean your site wouldn’t be missed – or that it had made no contribution. Can’t the same be said for the Indy?

    p.s if you were to read the Indy you’d find that – at its best – it’s as doughty an opponent of illiberal nonsense as you are

    1. Hi Ben

      I ought to apologise, for that was written hastily. A great paradox of any personal preference, be it for scifi or journalism, is that you can’t be an expert in something you have decided you don’t like, because you then no longer experience it. So if it turns out better than expected or previously, you are in no position to comment. As I have not read the Indy much in recent years, apart from RSS-ing to some commentators like Hamish McRae, I am in no position to give a definitive verdict.

      So for what it’s worth, after being a devoted fan in the 1980-1990s as a schoolboy then student- loved the photojournalism, Marr’s writing, if I remember – I started being put off the Indy by it seeming to have ‘campaigning’ front pages rather than news. I have not read any newspaper apart from the FT more than once a week in years. The Indy seemed to have become more focussed on commentary, for no doubt understandable reasons – and your commentators are excellent. But as a huge fan of the blog-style, – and this observation applies over all newspapers, not just the Indy – it is difficult to see a pure-commentary model working, economically, in the next decade; this is what the ‘if not invented then wouldn’t be’ was groping for.

      So best of luck, whoever remains in charge.

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