Brown won’t be bouncing up to the Palace just yet…

21 07 2007

Still no evidence of style-change despite Labour’s internal regime-change. I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much. After all, we were being asked to suck up such a load of old toot.

The watchword was change. So Brown’s new cabinet was a total surprise! All the old faces associated with past mistakes were ushered out the back door… then immediately invited back in through the front door of No 10 to accept opportunities to make new mistakes.

Boris Johnson is a kind of patron saint for the gaffe prone. The Daily Telegraph today offers up some of his wisdom. Describing his own defenestration, Boris could also be writing off that ‘new-look’ Brown cabinet:

“My friends, as I have discovered myself, there are no disasters, only opportunities. And, indeed, opportunities for fresh disasters.”

One of the oldest tricks in New Labour’s lexicon is the re-announcement wheeze. For example, recycling old money as new investment etc. The Chancellor’s package? Extraordinary!

But this time it’s housing. During his Queen’s speech preview, Gordon said that ‘putting affordable housing within the reach not just of the few but the many is vital’. [Note: this is a ‘challenge’, as opposed to a ‘priority’.]

As it was in his 2005 pre-budget speech, when Gordon talked about making more affordable housing available to meet the ‘housing needs not just of some but of all’.

The wheeze continues…

The Pre-budget speech of 2005: ‘I can announce that three of the biggest building societies and banks have joined the Government as partners in shared equity; that building companies, including four of the biggest builders, are also now able to offer shared equity purchases; that we are now in discussions with investment companies on their possible involvement; and that we see a future role for housing associations in extending shared equity.’

The Queen’s speech preview of 2007: ‘This will include new partnerships with local authorities, health authorities and the private and voluntary sectors to build more housing made affordable by shared equity schemes and more social housing responsive to individual needs.’

Partnership plans for shared equity schemes was an idea ahead of its time in 2005. So we’re merely catching up with it again in 2007.

Two years ago, Brown and Prescott set out a roadmap to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Had Brown and Prescott achieved their goals, would the new PM have talked about needing over a quarter of a million more homes?

Gordon’s re-announced a re-commitment to housing. He’s had to because he failed the last time. But on this occasion the situation is more desperate. Gordon’s throwing about silly numbers that could adorn any of the great tractor production plans, or even the Book of Genesis. It’s desperate stuff.

Steve Richards thinks Iraq and housing are two issues that need sorted before the new PM goes to the country. The signs might be there for an earlier election, but Iraq & Afghanistan are looking awful and Labour has stupidly got itself in a spin over whether we like America or not. And then there’s the government’s appalling record on housing which needs corrected.

That’s why, despite the poll bounce, I think Gordon needs to use his time wisely and resist the temptation to go to the Palace. Brenda needn’t put the kettle on just yet…

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