Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A no brainer

George Osborne is a pampered lightweight with a smug, punchable face, tasked with implementing policies guaranteed to infilict misery on millions. An easy target. His Labour shadow should be making mincemeat of him, but dear, oh dear:

Alan Johnson's inability to tell a Sky News interviewer over the weekend the rate of national insurance paid by employers was merely the latest in a string of unconvincing performances. Before taking up the job of shadow Chancellor, Mr Johnson seemed unsure whether VAT was levied on food. And since being appointed to his post in October, he has sent out confusing messages over how quickly Labour would cut the deficit and the party's attitude towards a graduate tax. It is unsurprising therefore that, even within his party, some are beginning to mutter about his suitability for the post.

The sad thing is Johnson's general cluelessness was on display for all to see long before Ed Milliband made him shadow Chancellor. After all, this is the same Alan Johnson who believed that biometric ID Cards and their associated database were such a good use of public money that their introduction was a 'no brainer'. He went on to add:

Given the growing problem of ID fraud and the inconvenience of having to carry passports coupled with gas bills or six months worth of bank statements to prove identity, I believe the ID card will be welcomed as an important addition to the many plastic cards that most people already carry.

Why is anybody surprised that he's now sending out unclear, unconvincing and confused messages?
It's almost as if Ed Milliband doesn't want to defeat the coalition any time soon. Maybe his strategy is to give them a free hand to pile misery on misery until people are so demoralised that they'll vote for the opposition in desperation, no questions asked.

Maybe his masterly inaction will cause the coalition to collapse under the weight of its own stupidity, but I'm not holding my breath.

There must be quite a few things worrying Cameron and Clegg at the moment. The threat of leaks and scandals, headline-grabbing own goals, mass protests, riots and Lib Dem back benchers jumping ship when they realise that nobody will ever trust (or vote for) them again, to name but a few. But a Labour leader who resembles one of Nick Park's Plasticine characters isn't one of them.

Worse than that, Plasticine man doesn't even have a decent sidekick. Wallace had the smart, loyal, resourceful Gromit, whose unflappability and common sense got his master out of many a sticky situation. Hapless Ed Milliband has ended up with Alan Johnson. I'd trust Gromit’s judgment any day over Alan Johnson’s.

And Gromit's stern glare and exasperated eyes-to-the-sky expression would be far more effective responses to the nonsense coming out of George Osborne's self-satisfied mouth than anything Alan Johnson has yet come up with.