An article in The Times yesterday highlights the correlation between the business cycle model and the political cycle. As we slip further towards a recession Gordon Brown’s position seems even more precarious. As the article points out, his rise was as false as our credit boom – although it seems the fall of New Labour will not be quite as rapid as the economic downturn.
In anticipation of a Labour loss at the next election, senior members of the party are already sowing their seeds for a leadership contest. It has been rumoured that Harriet Harman planted a story that Brown is already considering a role as ‘Global Financial Regulator’ in an attempt to undermine confidence in him (although she has hastily denied this). Ed Balls made a high profile comment about the state of the economy that was well beyond his departmental remit, and the ever-present Ed Miliband (my personal bet to win the next leadership contest) has appealed to the green-arm of the party by opposing a third Heathrow runway.
It seems it is not just the Labour heavyweights that are finally coming to terms with the fact that the current government is on a downslide. In the past week we have seen the prominent welfare guru David Freud deflecting to the Tories – not for any policy reasons, but because working with the opposition can give him more opportunity to impact public policy. It also seems civil servants and mandarins are trying to distance themselves from the Labour party as they look to the future. We are surely seeing the beginning of the end of New Labour.