This article from The Sunday Telegraph continues the process whereby Matthew d’Ancona wakes up to the real world and finds it a real mess!
But even this article only tells half of it! He omits all the additional taxes proposed to be wasted on wind-farms, eco-towns, and other madcap schemes brought on by discredited science and EU rules. He forgets a Treasury which is itself ‘overdrawn’ with borrowing at ruinous levels, bloated parasitic buraucracy and ill-considered scheme after scheme , and tax after tax being re-worked as their fault lines are exposed.
This is a wrecked nation!
Christina [aka Cassandra)
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 29.6.08
The challenge facing David Cameron has changed
By Matthew d'Ancona
As bad as it gets, there is always a senior Labour figure to persuade you that it could get worse. "It looks terminal," in the words of one Cabinet minister, "unless Gordon can be persuaded to fake an illness and to go. And even then, it's probably too late." Phew.
One of Tony Blair's closest allies told me last week, as a matter of simple fact, that "it is the end of the Labour Party, you know."
Politicians are great drama queens, of course, but this is something different. Fatalism is a virulent infection and it has taken hold of Labour like the most lethal of airborne pathogens, spreading through the party herd with astonishing speed.
A cure? Well, some of them half-heartedly believe that the culling of the Prime Minister will save them, or that the passage of time alone will somehow make it all better.
But this is a party that - to an astonishing extent - believes in its bones that the game is up: Mr Brown's first anniversary in Number 10 on Friday, with its gloomy audits and assessments, and the humiliation of the Henley by-election, merely hardened this conviction.
This makes the position and strategy of David Cameron more interesting than at any time since he became leader in December 2005: in the current Spectator (posted as “Cameron's supposed plans outlined” 26/6/08), Fraser Nelson discloses the Tories' discreet preparations for Mr Cameron's first Queen's Speech.
Senior Conservatives are rightly worried about appearing complacent. On the other hand they argue - reasonably enough - that a greater arrogance when you seek power is not to prepare for it.
It is an article of Cameroon faith that Mr Blair's greatest crime was to squander the opportunity handed to him by the electorate in 1997. The Tory moderniser's mantra is more Baden-Powell than Blairite: Be Prepared.
As for Mr Cameron himself, it is dawning on members of his circle that if he becomes PM, he will do so in a political and economic context that they had not foreseen.
When he became leader, the strategy was pretty clear. Presenting himself as the "heir to Blair", he would claim that Gordon Brown had vacated the centre-ground, particularly on public service reform. He would scoop up Lib Dem votes, not least by presenting the Tories as a resolutely green party.
He and George Osborne would make "economic stability" their mantra, no matter how noisily their own side called for upfront tax cuts. And they would make it respectable again to be and to vote Conservative, by presenting a modern, appealing face that took account of the changes in British society over the past 30 years.
They would, as Oliver Letwin put it, exude an appealing "aroma".
All of this still holds true. What has changed is the context in which - if he triumphs electorally - Mr Cameron will become Prime Minister.
The Tories assumed that, come the glorious day, the electorate would simply be jaded, disappointed and heartily sick of Labour, after more than a decade of failed social democratic experiments. Cameron expected to inherit a country in which trust in politicians was in the gutter, disaffection rife and the gulf between political class and public growing unhealthily wide.
Those problems will indeed confront whoever wins the next general election. What has changed is that, if Mr Cameron wins, he will take the helm of a nation in economic trauma.
Inflation soars to its highest levels in a decade, house prices plummet as mortgages rise, Britain's savings rate plunges to its lowest level in 50 years. Fuel and food prices are once more frontline political issues.
Mr Brown and Alistair Darling protest that all these bad things come from abroad, like economic rabies. The voters are not impressed by this excuse. They take a more straightforward view of things: wasn't this economy stuff what Gordon was meant to be good at? Sums, and that?
It is like Andy Roddick coming on court, serving feebly under-arm, and then explaining to the outraged crowd that he cannot hit the ball at 155mph any more because of the collapse of the subprime market in America.
But the new and alarming economic context presents Mr Cameron with challenges, too.
An Opposition leader aspiring to replace a dour, sleep-deprived ditherer must simply look fresh, well-rested and decisive. An Opposition leader who hopes to take the reins in the midst of deep economic anxiety must be much more.
"The public has to see more than a pretty face," as one of his friends says. Or - to return to the word used by Mr Letwin - "aroma" is no longer enough.
Mr Cameron expected that his task would be to cheer us all up, improve our "General Well-Being" and do something about the frayed social fabric. It now appears that his mission, should he win, will be one of economic reconstruction, which may involve years of electoral frustration and impatience as the public finances are put to rights.
Small wonder that the Tory leadership calls upon Lord Howe from time to time to remind backbenchers of the tough measures that were essential to the early Thatcher years, including the tax increases in the (all-important) 1981 Budget.
Indeed, the period before the Tory victory of 1979 is very instructive in this regard. Mrs Thatcher adopted a rhetoric of mission, accepting that the task was hard but that it could not be shirked. "We can go on as we have been doing, we can continue down," she told the 1975 Tory conference. "Or we can stop and with a decisive act of will we can say 'Enough'."
Two years later, she declared: "The tide flows away from failure. But it will not automatically float us to our desired destination… It us up to us to give intellectual content and political direction… If we fail, the tide will be lost. But if it is taken, the last quarter of our century can initiate a new renaissance matching anything in our island's long and outstanding history."
She quoted Kipling's The Dawn Wind: "So when the world is asleep, and there seems no hope of her waking/ Out of some long, bad dream that makes her mutter and moan,/ Suddenly, all men arise to the noise of fetters breaking,/And every one smiles at his neighbour and tells him his soul is his own!"
Let me be clear: I am emphatically not talking about policy detail. YouGov's poll in Friday's Daily Telegraph gave the Conservatives a very healthy 15 point lead over Labour on economic competence. Difficult decisions await the Tories after the next comprehensive spending review, but, for now, the nuts and bolts of Conservative economic policy are not an electoral problem.
My point, rather, is that Mr Cameron will have to exude not only empathy, but urgency.
He expected to replace a regime that had run its course and missed its chance. Now it is more likely that he will inherit a landscape of economic wreckage, perhaps even a sense of imminent emergency. His mission will involve the heavy lifting of national reconstruction rather than simply the therapeutic task of helping the country get over the Gordon gloom.
It will be the Tory leader's task not only to reform, but to rebuild.
And this is a task requiring deep seriousness, a readiness to make great demands of the public, and a capacity for grave statesmanship. I think Mr Cameron grasps this.
Clue: how often do you see him these days without a tie?
Matthew d'Ancona is editor of The Spectator