Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brown Spins Over Iraq To Duck The Flak

When the going gets tough, the tough get going - in Brown's case to Iraq for more photo-ops for the Downing Street Christmas album, a chance to grab a few headlines and escape some hard questions in the final commons punch-up before the hols.

In a parting shot and final insult to parliament, the saviour of the world chose to announce troop withdrawals on another whistle-stop tour of Baghdad and Basra. 

The announcement has been widely expected and predicted in the run up to the general election. For months the Orange Party has been pointing out that the UN mandate for foreign occupation ends in a few weeks time and the actual announcement left for political advantage. 

But it is a major announcement of the final pull-out nonetheless and that should have been made to parliament. 

So what else is happening today that made that quick trip to Iraq so important? 

Oh yes, harsh questions in the commons at PMQs. Unemployment close to 2 million and rising - the nightmare for this government hanging over its head, now at their highest since New Labour took over in 1997.

Many face a bleak Christmas as the recession (or BBC downturn) starts to bite. The TUC, is warning today that half a million people are likely to spend their second Christmas in a row on the dole because of a rise in long-term unemployment.

The sharp rise is much more than expected and that's using the government's own preferred method of fiddling the figures.

Unemployment is set to rise to over 3 million next year and into 2010 and there's no light at the end of the tunnel, according to a member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, reported today by the Guardian.

So just what is the government doing about it? Planning to sell-off Royal Mail and put thousands more jobs at risk. 

Mandleson's plans for a sell-off dressed up as 'part-privatisation' will not go away especially among backbench Labour MPs, furious at the betrayal of a central plank of Labour Party policy and manifesto commitment. 

No matter how Mandy the Mailman tried to spin it, this is a backdoor sell-off with disastrous consequences for jobs. 

At the moment the outrage is coming from backbench Labour MPs. Soon it will filter up to some pay-roll MPs in lowly government positions and then to the cabinet, where former postie, Alan Johnson, won't get away with just a bemused smile. 

Questions would be asked in the House - if only Brown could be bothered to turn up. 

11am UPDATE: Labour MP Jim McGovern has resigned from the government in protest at Mandelson's Royal Mail part-privatisation plans. McGovern, PPS to business minister Pat McFadden, whose department would overseeing the changes said: "In his statement Pat McFadden said he welcomed an expression of interest from the Dutch postal company TNT, for me it simply beggars belief that we would employ the services of a company from abroad to tell the Royal Mail in this country where they are going wrong."

1 comment:

Rob Atkins said...

Brown is a coward and an opportunist who will say anything to distract from his own incompetence and deceits.

Difficult questions in Britain - where's Brown ? - missing again ...