Sunday, March 25, 2007

John Rentoul Needs to Get Out More

John Rentoul is a talented man. His biography of Tony Blair was masterful, although as Private Eye might say, it did reak a bit of arslikhan. But his column in today's Independent on Sunday is beyond parody. He seriously believes that the Brown budget was a triumph. The article is headline THE BUDGET...ADVANTAGE BROWN.
Give Brown the credit, then, for grasping the historical significance of this moment. His was not a pre-election Budget, but for him it was as important: it was a pre-succession Budget. He had to redefine himself before the personal Tory attacks did it for him. And so here he is: a reforming, pro-business, moderately green social democrat.

It is not enough to turn round a bad run of opinion polls, but it lays the foundations. Who knows what the effect of Blair's departure will be on public opinion? Not the opinion polls: people are notoriously bad at predicting to pollsters how their attitudes will change. The importance of the Budget is that it shows that Brown learns from history, and escapes George Santayana's warning: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

No, John. The importance of this budget is that the country has seen through it. They have seen through the con, the manipulation, the fact that poor people will now be paying more tax. Time after the time over the last few days I have have overheard people (real people, outside the Westminster bubble) talking about the budget in less than complimentary terms. Last night when I was out to dinner with my parents in a small village pub I heard someone say...

"But why has he taken money off poor people?"

Why indeed. John Rentoul might be New Labour's foremost cheerleader in the national newspapers, but if he believes the country likes this budget he needs to get out more.

28 comments:

verity said...

I agree. The importance of this budget is that, in one of those strange moments, the scales fell from everyone's eyes simultaneously and Brown was universally recognised for the coward and inept anal retentive that he is.

Personally, I cannot take any journalist seriously who lazily reaches for a desperately tired old quote and presents it as new and perceptive. If I read Georges Santayana's epigram once more, I will scream. It was new 35 years ago. It has been overquoted for years. It tells me John Rentoul, whoever he is, reaches for the facile and appreciates the trite.

Mark said...

So the Tories are the party of the poor these days, eh? Must have missed that meeting. What triumph have you dreamed up after your the success of your wonderful 'Poll Tax' or your opposition to a minimum wage?

Any comment on the fact that the Tories have been agitating for a similar cut in income tax to the one Brown provided?

Or that Osborne has pledged to match Labour;s spendingon schools and the NHS?

And not a peep about Brown's demolition of Dave's air travel taxes - lest we forget, the only concrete tory proposal to thus far waft from the bunker - in which he destroyed the entire concept in about four sentences?

I'm frustrated with Brown, even more so with Labour,but the very fact that he has left the Tories little option than to attack his budget from the left is the reason I - against all other sins to the contrary - have a sneaking suspiscion he will win a fourth term for his party.

fr said...

On Sky's review of the papers this morning Adam Boulton seemed genuinely surprised by Julie Kirkbride's suggestion that the budget had had a bad press, and dived into the pile to find a cartoon critical of Cameron. He suggested that the Tories were like rabbits caught in Brown's headlights. Undoubtedly intelligent people but cocooned in their own liberal, metropolitan world.

Bel said...

Mark @ 7.16pm, Brown's so-called 'demolition' of the Tory air travel tax was nothing of the sort.

Brown stated (rightly) that VAT on air travel will not work, and he gave very sound reasons for that.

Only trouble was, VAT was only one of the options in Tories' proposals. They also said the tax could take the form of fuel duty or air passenger duty.

So yes, Brown destroyed the VAT argument, but remained silent on the other two. He had no choice but to remain silent on air passenger duty. After all, seeing as he had just himself put up air passenger duty a few months ago, it would have been hypocritical to try to argue against that.

Having said that, Mark, I believe that the air tax is a crap idea, and the sooner the Tories abandon that particular proposal, the better.

Ken from glos said...

I have read this mans views on many occasions.He is not a journalist.He is a propagandist!

I only ever read his paper because it was given away free at my health club.

David Anthony said...

Just like most of his budgets, I think Brown has tried to be too clever for his own good. This tax cut must surely be a panic measure, I just can't believe that he would willingly take money away from the poorer off. He tried to outmanoeuvre the Tories and it has backfired on him.

On a seperate note, with new details of the new tax system still being fully digested, is there any real point in the leader of the Opposition having to make a reply after only a minute. Either the reply should be scrapped or the main details of the budget should be pre-released the day before.

outed by Tatchell said...

John Rent-tool, the name sez it all

Bel said...

david anthony, you say you can't believe that Gordon Brown would willingly take money from the poorer off. I think you are being very charitable. This is the same Gordon Brown who has been taking over £5bn from pension funds every year for the past few years. If he can take money from OAPs, he can take from anyone.

Newmania said...

Mark you prat the fact that Brown had to pretend to be a Tory shows that he is most unlikely to win anything .His personal unpopularity is one of the reasons that Labout are languishing so badly in the polls despite great economic good fortune.

The truth is it was a boring bidget

David Anthony said...

Good point bel. What I should have said was...

I can't believe that Gordon Brown would so openly take money from the poorer off.

Anonymous said...

At least one in the Brown camp is perceptive enough to realise that the budget is going to have little or no effect on the polls.If anything there is evidence i'ts had a negative effect.The fundamental mistake he then makes is the suggestion that things,'can only get better.'

grimupnorth said...

I stopped reading Rentoul ages ago as it was doing my blood pressure no good.He's not talented. He just trots out the same crap every week. First he adored Blair. Now it's Brown. And he gets PAID to write this rubbish. I speak as a fellow (I hope) member of the NUJ and someone on the left of the Labour Party. Yes, people have seen through it.
New Statesman website has an article by the Blairite media's Invisible Man John McDonnell, from a socialist perspective. Just in case any lefties are reading this...........

Howard said...

Iain, do not waste your Sundays reading Rentoul's rubbish. I gave up ages ago as the guy is just so biased. The columns to read on a Sunday are Watkins, Portillo, D'Ancona and Rawnsley. It would be interesting to see who others think should be read.

Anonymous said...

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verity said...
I agree. The importance of this budget is that, in one of those strange moments, the scales fell from everyone's eyes simultaneously and Brown was universally recognised for the coward and inept anal retentive that he is.

Exactly. Brilliant, Verity. I wish I'd said that :)

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

What puzzles me is why Mr Broon calls himself Gordon when that is not the Christian name he was given and registered with.

His real name is Jimmy.

wasn't Jimmy good enough for you then, Mr Broon? Not upmarket enough I suppose.

You know what this means, don't you?

"All the Chapel bells were ringing
In that little Scottish town
And the songs that they were singing
were for baby Jimmy Brown"

Apologies to Three Bells by Classic Country

Auntie Flo'

Rush-is-Right said...

This is the New Labour equivalent of 'Ground Nuts'. After the failure of the original Ground Nuts scheme in the late 1940s in any public meeting, in any political assemblyof any kind somebody had only to shout out 'Ground Nuts!' from the back, and everybody burst out laughing.

It's going to be the same with Mr Snot. Did nobody ask Jack Straw what made Brown his 'first pick' for leader? They will!

What worries me is that the NL scum will select another leader. For we on the right to be denied our Michael Foot moment would be too much to bear.

Anonymous said...

All the Chapel bells were ringing
In that little Scottish town
And the songs that they were singing
were for baby Jimmy Brown

And the little congregation
Prayed for guidance from above
Lead him not into temptation,
Bless his hour of meditation,
Guide him with eternal love

But Jimmy grew up rich and greedy
Far from that scottish town
Stole from all the poor and needy
Lined his pockets with halfcrowns

So in a thousand little valleys
one rainy morning dark and wan
Voters all over UK,
said Jimmy Brown, you're dead and gone

Just one lonely bell was ringing
in that little Scottish town
And the song that it was singing
said 'GOOD RIDDANCE Jimmy Brown'

And the little congregation
prayed for another leader true
Lead him not into temptation
Bless his hour of meditation
May his soul be green and blue

Davey Miliblob blushed foward
Whined, oh, alright, I'm your leader true
But 20,000 British valleys,
Sang, 'shut up Twit! It's CAMERON, not you!

With apologies to Three Bells

Auntie Flo'

tom_r said...

I think the fact that even the London Metro, the most superficial newspaper on the planet, managed to see through Brown's budget the next morning says a lot. I have never seen the Metro take a stance before on any political issue.

Ralph said...

Is this the result of a bunker mentality from a Brown supporter or does he really think lazy illogical propaganda fools anyone? If I was a Labour voter I'd feel insulted that Rentoul would think I would fall for spin like that.It does suggest that they think some people will vote Labour whatever happens.

Rush-is-Right said...

It does suggest that they think some people will vote Labour whatever happens.

Well of course they will. Personally I think that nobody whol voted Labour in 1979 or 1983 or 1987, (or Conservative in 1997) should ever be allowed to vote again!

achilles said...

I hope that you don't think that I'm going off on a tangent here but bear with me....I help to run my resident's association where I live which involves setting the monthly service charge. If I stood up at a meeting to tell my fellow residents that I am going to reduce the service charge by #20 and then sat down, my fellow residents might be momentarily impressed. If however, they then found out in the small print that I was putting up another service charge by #19 (or whatever figure you want to pick), I would be accused of lying and I would probably lose my office.

On the other hand, if I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, sounds like I might be in for a promotion. I hope that the Government realises that they have fucked up on this one. Whoever is the next leader of Labour does not deserve to be the next PM.

Let's hope that Brown becomes PM and then is thoroughly trashed in the polls.

Early bath Gordon, you Scottish C***!

polly glott said...

Auntie Flo' at 9.25pm

Excellent :-)

That brought back many memories from way back when..

May I have the honour of contributing the all important

B O N G !!! ???

Thank you.

Chestcracker said...

Having read this morning's papers with a piece by Dennis McShane in the Telegraph and one by 2 junior ministers in the Times, I think that Matthew Ancona's diagnosis published in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph was on the button. This budget had only aim and that is to undermine the Cameroons.

Richard Dale said...

Brown is making politics with the budget, and has been caught doing so.

The last purpose of this budget is to provide for th budgetary requirements of the country. The first requirement is to help Brown snatch power. The second is a bit of the usual Brown tweaking, trying to control people through their money.

Richard Dale said...

Brown is making politics with the budget, and has been caught doing so.

The last purpose of this budget is to provide for th budgetary requirements of the country. The first requirement is to help Brown snatch power. The second is a bit of the usual Brown tweaking, trying to control people through their money.

jafo said...

Gordon and the rest of the NuLab toadies just can't get it through their heads that people hate being lied to and hate being taken for fools.

How long did he think that announcing the 20% rate, then "commending his budget to the House" and sitting down WITHOUT mentioning he was abolishing the 10% rate was going to work?

It was out on Ceefax whilst the Labour cannon fodder were still cheering!

If Rentoul really thinks this Budget was a triumph, he must be wondering why the polls the day after the Budget were worse than the ones before. Is this person employed for his political acumen? If so, they should sack him and get in someone who can read and add up. Despite NuLab education there's lots of low-paid workers out there who can do both, and already have.

Jeremy said...

Jafo, whilst agreeing with your general comment, he did say "I can now return income tax to just two rates by removing the 10p band on non savings income".

Misleading, certainly, but the announcement was there in the speech.

Anonymous said...

polly glott said...

May I have the honour of contributing the all important

B O N G !!! ???

Just seen this, polly glott. I'd completely forgotten about the BONG! Thank so much for noticing that the BONG! is missing. Yes, please, I would be delighted if you would contribute the all important BONG!

Auntie Flo'