Gordon Brown still in Downing Street

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London is the goose that lays the golden eggs

More latest news and this column in The Daily Telegraph here

The whole thing is unbelievable. As I write these words, Gordon Brown is still holed up in Downing Street. He is like some illegal settler in the Sinai desert, lashing himself to the radiator, or like David Brent haunting The Office in that excruciating episode when he refuses to acknowledge that he has been sacked. Isn’t there someone – the Queen’s Private Secretary, the nice policeman on the door of No 10 – whose job it is to tell him that the game is up?

Off in Brussels this zombie Labour government is in the process of obliging future generations of Britons to pay “whatever it takes” to bail out the euro, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. The Lib-Con negotiations are still going on, in a foretaste of the Belgian orgies of tedium and paralysis that proportional representation will inflict on the country. Everyone is trying politely to work out exactly how many Cabinet seats to give a party that came a resounding third and did worse than in 2005. Will Vince Cable be needing Dorneywood in addition to his Red Box and his seat at the Cabinet Table? And if Chris Huhne needs a ministerial car and a driver, will Mrs Huhne require someone to help with the shopping?

Will Gordon ever leave the bathroom?

Can I suggest that we avert our eyes from the soap opera and focus on the problem this election was meant to address – how to get the British economy moving again. We should be talking about how to create jobs for people, not jobs for politicians, and in all the jabber about changing the voting system there is a risk we will forget how the economy works. We are told that the SNP and Plaid Cymru and the DUP are likely to acquire a special importance over the next 12 months. We are warned that they are sending in ransom lists of demands – for Irish ferry-boat subsidies and Alex Salmond autobahns in the Highlands and Islands – as the price of their support in Parliament.

Whatever the merits of these schemes, they must be considered against the background of a colossal budget deficit.  It will be the incoming government’s first task (whenever it finally in-comes) to hack that deficit back and to reassure the markets.  In deciding what to cut we should remember what a budget deficit is. It is the difference between two vast numbers – total government spending and total government tax receipts – and it follows that you tackle a deficit not just by slashing spending but by doing everything in your power to boost receipts.

That is why David Cameron was so right to reject Labour’s hike in National Insurance, because boosting receipts is not just a matter of whacking up tax. It is about stimulating the wealth-creating sectors of the economy, and that means remembering which regions of the economy actually create wealth, create jobs and export huge sums of tax to the rest of the country.

Well, you know what is coming next, and I hope I won’t be accused of chauvinism if I remind you that there are only three tax-exporting regions of the country, and they are London, east England, and the South-East; and investment in London is not only justified on the basis of need, since the capital has a rapidly growing population and more child poverty than anywhere else in the country. It is also the best way to make money for the whole British economy. I agree with Jim O’Neill, the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, in that I am basically bullish about the prospects of this country. This is not Greece.

We have the language, we have the time zone, and we still have an astonishing ability – for all the damage done to manufacturing – to export the most unlikely things all over the world. I don’t just mean JCBs and Viagra. There are factories in London that are sending ever growing numbers of chocolate cakes to France and bicycles to Holland, and that is before we have even considered the city’s enormous earnings from finance, law, advertising and services of all kinds.

Again, I apologise for saying all this, but I fear that if I don’t say it, no one else will; because, unlike Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, London is not specifically represented in Parliament, and unlike the inhabitants of most comparable world cities, Londoners have very little say over how their taxes are spent. And yet London and the South-East produce 43 per cent of total UK tax revenues, and the capital alone exports up to £20 billion per year in tax to the rest of the country. That is because the shape of the London economy is completely different from the rest of Britain’s, with only 28 per cent of the economy accounted for by state spending – compared with 40 per cent in the country at large; while the figure in Wales is up to 60 per cent and 62 per cent in Northern Ireland.

In other words, London is the throbbing, pounding heart of this country’s private sector super-region. The only comparable areas in the world are New York- New Jersey, the Île-de-France and Tokyo-Yokohama. It is the motor of the British economy, and that is why I hope readers in Scotland and elsewhere will forgive me if I continue to beat this drum and insist that we would be mad, mad, mad to cut the infrastructure investment – housing and transport – that allows the London workforce to live there and allows commuters to get there. It is the efforts of that workforce that will help to lead Britain out of recession, and whatever cuts the Treasury may have in store, and whether dear Vince Cable is involved or not, they should remember that London is the goose that lays the golden eggs, and if the Scots and the Welsh want more golden eggs to pay for their projects, then we need to look after that goose.

34 thoughts on “Gordon Brown still in Downing Street”

  1. What about playing the same Status Quo number at full tilt again and again outside No. 10. It worked on General Noriega. Mind you, I think even he still had a sliver of a sense of shame.

    What d’ye mean ALL Status Quo songs ARE the same?

  2. Boris, I think you’re forgetting the squillion pounds we’ve all recently invested in the City, bailing it out lest the dog-walkers, estate agents and vendors of Cristal of Britain should lapse into poverty. Pay that back and we might think of chucking in a few more bob.

  3. I’m telling you, after a decade slavering after the address, you’re gonna need the Jaws of Life to pry Gordon Brown out of 10 Downing Street.

  4. When Boris formally declares London to be an independent city-state, what do you think he will choose for his official title? I know what they used to be called, but I somehow doubt that “Boris Johnson, Tyrant of London” is the kind of thing he’d want to use.

  5. Love the golden egg picture, imaginative. Gordon Brown is just unbelievable. He is hugely unpopular with the country, doesn’t he know that? Even the Guardian has deserted him in the media. His own party are so keen to get rid of him, he has been described as “cyanide on a doorstep” by a Labour politician. Another Labour councillor said he was the worst PM ever and should apologise to the country and the Queen. I bet when he was little he had an imaginary friend, whom his parents preferred to him.

    Who are the people advising Gordon that he is the best leader for the country, and he should stay put, or are these just the voices in his head that guide him?

  6. Gordon’s just waiting for Nick to stop tap dancing. I wish people would stop using AND WE ALL HATE THE JEWS to enlist laughing sympathy for the rest of their article. Try it with Irish/black/Arabs/red-headed people and see if you smile.

  7. Labour is bad news nowadays.

    Lib-Dem should shack up with Tory and learn a thing or two from Tory to boost up their own image.

    If Lib-Dem shack up with Labour, they both will last for 5 years and then the public will certainly bury them both at the next general election.

  8. Does anyone know if Jo Johnson (Boris Johnson’s brother and new MP) also went to Eton and Oxford? Did he join the Bullingdon Club to ensure having lots of public-school friends?

  9. http://cyberboris.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/double-dealer-clegg-flirts-with-labour/

    In his Daily Telegraph article of 26th April, Boris said that the support from Gordon for Nick Clegg in the first debate was a fiendish plot by Mandy all along.

    What if it went farther than that and the plan was to form a Lib/Lab alliance all along?

    Clegg could have strung along Cameron’s team, pretending he was serious about allying with them. Then at the last minute, he could have dumped demands on them he knew they couldn’t accept, so he could skip off and join Europhile Mandy, Milliband and co. That’s my instinctive feeling.

  10. And when Nick clegg, posing as a saint as usual, said he was sticking to his belief that he should go to the Tories to deal first, and Gordon made that speech, it didn’t sound a bit convincing. “Take all the time you need, the national interest must come first” that seemed ruddy fishy. Of course, it was all hogwash. Mandy is pulling the string.

  11. I wondered how long it would take Mandelson, Prince of Darkness, to grace the stage:
    “Please allow me, to introduce myself,
    I’m a man, of wealth and taste…”

  12. Thanks Bozza, at last a Tory with some firm proposals. An economy based on cake, banking and lawyers. Brave New World. Despite the efforts of Murdoch, Dacre et al, you have failed to get a majority in the commons, despite 13 years in opposition, the most uncharismatic PM since Heath (I don’t include Satan’s daughter, because she ain’t human), the worst recession most of us can remember and politicians being despised by all. Could anyone have done a worse job than Cameron? No wonder poor Nicky Clegg hesitates to play.

  13. Dear Boris,

    Have you repaid Sir Max his grand – and the grand you owe him in winnings?

    M Monnet

  14. Poor Nicky Clegg? He caused this situation. Anyone with any decency would not have tried to bounce the Tories into agreeing to his outrageous demands. He doesn’t have the moral right to demand anything. He prates about the “national interest”. If he cared about that, he would put getting the economy right as the primary concern, and made very few demands.

    He is using the dire distress of the nation to put the screws on Cameron for his own selfish reasons. Nick Clegg swings both ways if it suits him, and blow the national interest. He may be able to get away with this legally, but morally, he is way way out of line. He came last!!

  15. I’m trying desperately to find a ray of sunshine, anywhere across the most miserable horizon since 1978. Is it possible that Nick Clegg and his crew are being revealed as a selfish, squalid little band of hypocrites? That duck houses, moats, etc., are really pretty trivial in comparison to a grubby, self-serving gang whose sole interest is grabbing power purely for the sake of grabbing power? And that if they do force PR on a blackmailed democracy, that they’ll end up getting stamped upon at the next election? I hope so! Something good might come out of this embarrassing shambles.

  16. Don’t do proportional representation!!! Imagine some creep from UKIP at the centre of power. Even worse, holding the balance when there is a hung vote! If you can’t persuade the people of a constituency, (a statistically valid sample of the population) why should they float you in?

  17. It’s all about us, us, us with Boris.

    Us against the Euro. Us against the North. Us against the Left. Us against the Centre. Us against the Chinese. The French. The US. Us against Africa. Us against the Moslems. Us against the little green men from outerspace.

    When are you going to get it into your dim-witted reactionary skull that WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?

  18. There is no progressive “majority” – and this is not just a matter of semantics. A conglomoration of losing parties is not a “majority”. … The cartoon by Matt in the Telegraph this morning is entirely apt: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/matt/. Can’t believe all the – seemingly intelligent, reasonably educated – politicians we have seen utter these words – “progressive alliance”, “progressive majority” – over the past few days. They should accept that they have lost
    (of course, this scenario, and the horse-trading that accompanies it, would be the norm rather than the exception if PR is adopted. Is this the “new face” of British politics?).

    Even more unbelieve that Labour could actually remain in power having just lost the election AND we could end up with a PM who no-one voted for, yet again.

    As for Nick Clegg, I think he has really undermined his position and that of his party. I appreciate that there are, no doubt, internal pressures on him from his party but he is starting to appear dishonourable. His initial comments about going with the party with the most votes and putting the nation’s interest before self-interest and individual party agendas now sound hollow … A pity – he appeared to have more integrity. His party will reap the results of this conduct.

    κλεο

  19. I take it back – after Clegg’s political whoring Gordon Brown may pass the keys to #10 to….. the thought is so nauseating I can’t say it.

  20. unfortunately the golden eggs turned out to be made with stolen gold. and most were given to other geese for supper (aka “bonuses”)

    Boris you do not seem to have gotten your head around the essentially parasitic nature of the city This goose only lays what it has first consumed and leaves the rest of us to clear up afterwards “The night of the “guano”?

  21. Now that Labour has dropped out of the picture, I hope that David Cameron whipped off the negotiating table all the concessions he was offering Nick Clegg, free LVs is plenty.

  22. One eyed Scottish idiot *
    Remains squatting in Number Taime
    Ain’t he got no shame?

    He just wants to rot
    Squatting in Number Ten
    What a stubborn hen!

    One eyed Scottish idiot *
    Move your ass
    You ‘ve been had
    ‘n taught a lesson
    By the nation
    What a c…cun….. con! ( phew! hurray! )

    ” Son of Scotland ” ( ! )
    Land of heathers
    What a disastrous leader
    Of the Labour party!
    Hee hee !!!

    * It’s Jeremy Clarkson’s word
    not mine
    Mind!

  23. ONE EYED SCOTTISH IDIOT

    One eyed Scottish idiot
    Remains squatting in number Tame
    Ain’t he got no shame?

    He just wants to rot
    Typical Scots
    Squatting in number Ten
    Like a stubborn hen

    One eyed Scottish idiot
    Move your ass
    You ‘ave been had
    ‘n taught a lesson
    By the whole nation
    What a c… cu…. con! ( phew, hurray !!! )

    “Son of Scotland” ( my ass )
    Land of heathers
    What a disastrous leader
    Of the Labour party
    Hee hee!!!

    *go to youtube.com then type ONE EYED SCOTTISH IDIOT and watch that hilarious video clip of Jeremy Clarkson making that gaffe on Down Under’s TV!

  24. I guess the glass is half full:
    “You can’t always get what you want,
    but you just might find,
    you get what you need..”

  25. Democracy has won in the world while losing the attachment of the people. This is not the fault of citizens grown careless of exercising their rights. ‘The citizens are sophisticated, and their democracies are wanting.'(Stein Ringen, 2007)

    There is a case for renewing democracy. The main burden of the argument concerns the way in which freedom can be ensured for those who live under its conditions – with negative liberty. Freedom must have resources to be free: to be free to do or choose a thing, but lack the means to do or choose, is not to be free. The provider of the means must generally be the state: the state has a great deal to do to ensure freedom. The classic liberals’ difficulty with this – the more the state has to do, the larger it becomes and the greater its temptation to constrain liberty – is largely dismissed, usually tacitly.

    The need to insure people against destitute old age through pension reform that will be at least state backed; to combat poverty through, first, an understanding that it cannot be tolerated in a wealthy society; to provide for increasingly better education – all these are needed to ensure real freedom. Family being a social unit, and thus one in whose continued existence the state should take an active hand.

    Full freedom needs reason as well as resources. Where a political leadership removes from you your ability to act freely, a psychological dictatorship removes from you the ability to decide freely why to act.

    Stein Ringen (Prof. Oxford Univ.); What Democracy is For, On freedom and moral government; Princeton, 2007
    cited in Financial Times, John Lloyd, 22 Oct, p. 8

  26. We are so happy and excited! What a fitting ending! What a lovely couple – they look very caring and down to earth. Mrs Cameron looks lovely in her purple frock. Oh, good lucks to them and also good lucks to our country Great Britain. After 13 disastrous years under Labour, now we feel proud to be British again.

    Cheers, everybody!

    Check out the lovely photo of the couple: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/election2010/2969580/David-Cameron-is-our-new-Prime-Minister.html

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