This is in response to Paul Burgin's one year blogging anniversary post where he talks about Thatcher's mythical Falklands competency and Gordon Brown's mythical strong economy.
Thatcher was incompetent over the Falklands. The war needn't have happened. A cynic might even contend it was 'arranged' to distract from domestic economic meltdown (and widespread inner city riots). Thatcher was heading for electoral anihilation. I will explain further.
Thatcher ignored intelligence of the imminent Argentine invasion in 1982. Under the prevous Labour government in 1978, David Owen had acted on similar intelligence and threatened a taskforce that averted an Argentine invasion.
Thatcher's response was to show disdain for the 'cost' of the island and sanction the scrapping of the only warship down there. Also Argentine overtures to Thatcher's defence minister Nicholas Ridley about the importance of the Islands had drawn disinterested responses leaving them with the impression that the Tories wouldn't care less about an invasion. So the invasion happened and conveniently the Tories and Thatcher rode a wave of jingoism to a landslide victory from a previously impossible position.
As for Gordon Brown and the economy, sadly I suspect the economy is built on sand.
GB cleverly managed to avoid a 2000ish world recession by opening the taps on public spending just at the right time thus insulating us perfectly. But alas, boom and bust is inevitable. GB has made the same mistakes as the Lawson credit boom in the late Eighties. There are massive levels of personal debt and housing is overpriced and we can't ignore year after year of balance of payment's deficits. We are clearly living beyond our means. It can't go on for ever (although every year I amazed a recession hasn't occurred).
I have been predicting a recession every year now since 2001 and every year I have been wrong. But I know why I was wrong, the missing trigger is the US dollar. The bubble has finally burst, the dollar is in freefall, stock markets will inevitably follow, interests rates will be cranked up and unemployment will force an overvalued housing market to 're-adjust'(collapse). The longer the delay in recession the harder the fall that is coming, that is what I fear.
GB should have joined the Euro (although the political risks were massive and the housing market reliance on variable interest rates made us too interest rate sensitive so I understand their cowardice). However we can't ignore the fact that foreign direct investment has flooded away to Euroland because we didn't join. The Euro was weak and it would have been a good time for us to join in 1999 (although like in Ireland we might have experienced inflationary pressures due to lower interest rates). Now with the Euro strong, the Euro countries will power past us economically. Just you wait and see. Plus GB is boring and he will lose the next election heavily because of his dour image (I know these things shouldn't matter but we all know they do).
Labour can only save itself fromn defeat by radical change (and GB ain't up to the job in my humble opinion). I also think most Labour party members are with me on this.
Everybody thinks it's going to be a shoe-in for GB, but polls show LP members woudl prefer something more radical. I don't think GB can win the leadership election. Alan Johnson (whatever his merits) looks like the obvious candidate to defeat him.