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Gale's View

April 23rd 2008

In Maidstone, Swale, and Tonbridge Wells voters will, on May Day, have the opportunity to tell Mr. Gordon Brown precisely what they think of his attempts at government and the mis-management of our economy.

In East Kent we are, this year, denied that opportunity.  Apart from one council by-election in Little Stour and Ashstone (Ash, Preston, Wingham, Elmstone and Stourmouth) this Thursday we shall not be visiting the ballot boxes. Which, from the point of view of the people, is a pity.

Canvassing in Little Stour it has become apparent that there is real anger our there, not just expressed on behalf of the five and a half million taxpayers that will lose out as a result of this Government's determination to scrap the 10p tax rate but felt also by every single person who buys a loaf of bread, a box of eggs or a litre of fuel for the car.

My Labour parliamentary colleague to the South was rather more charitable than myself about the Darling/Brown budget.  Writing in the local press he seemed to think that it was a good thing. 

Now, I understand loyalty to a political party and I have always believed in nailing my own colours to the mast but when the ship is sinking it is not only the rats that take to the lifeboats! I do not know what cosmos most of Kent's Labour MPs occupy but they clearly do not inhabit Planet Thanet or any of its surrounding constellations.

Down here in the real world the people that I represent and who, like myself,  go shopping and pay gas and water and electricity bills and council taxes do not recognise Mr. Brown's measures of inflation as anything other than something as fictitious as the darker side of the realms of Harry Potter.

Even those who, having paid increases in mortgage interest  while watching the value of their main capital asset fall, can still summon up the courage and the cash to take a Costa holiday are about to find, as are we all, that in France and Spain and Greece the Euro in your pocket is worth a whole lot less. It won`t just be the sangria causing the hangovers this summer.

To be fair, some of this financial misery is indeed down to situations that have been developed and created beyond our shores.  For Prudence Brown and his local acolytes still hoping for Ministerial jobs to claim, though, that we are really doing rather well is to beggar not just belief but the people who put him into Number Eleven Downing Street. Our national prosperity has been squandered on wasteful projects and political gimmicks while nothing has been set aside for a rainy day. The water is now pouring through the roof and there is nothing left in the tool cupboard to mend it with.

Time was when a defeat on a Budget would have meant the resignation of a Government but while the mice are beginning to roar on the Labour backbenches in parliament I see no sign that any of my local Labour colleagues are clamouring for an early General Election.  It looks, therefore, as though we may have to wait until June or even July 2010 before the Country has the chance to indicate that while Mr. Brown was elected to Number Eleven he is not fit for purpose in Number Ten.

In the meantime, roll on May Day and let's hope that those Kentish voters that do have the opportunity to raise their voices shout loud and clear that they've had enough of dithering and financial deceit and that no amount of Balls is likely to persuade them otherwise

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