Snow or no snow, these GDP figures are a nightmare for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and throw up the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral of gloom.
When the shock 0.5 percent drop in economic output at the end of 2010 hits television screens on Tuesday night as families sit down to dinner, already-cautious consumers will feel more than a winter chill.
If a car slams into a bus stop just yards away as you launch a last-ditch election offensive, you might be forgiven for thinking that the gods are
not on your side.
But even after the nightmare week British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has had, such portents of doom have little visible effect on the self-proclaimed underdog in this, one of Britain’s most closely fought parliamentary elections for 25 years.
After “bigotgate” and another poor reception in the
televised leaders’ debates, Gordon Brown must have been hoping
that Friday morning would give him a chance to get his election
campaign back on track.
But luck and the Prime Minister do not seem to be on the
same page right now.
The Conservatives might be wishing they could have held their party conference before Labour.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s address to his party conference in Brighton on Tuesday has thrown down a flood of new ideas, policies and initiatives from faster cancer diagnosis to choosing how Britain votes in what read more like an mini-election manifesto than a speech.
Brown played to his strengths (policy) and avoided trying to overcome his well-known weaknesses (not much of a political entertainer) in public. Trying to be someone else could have been a disaster for a man way behind in the polls to the Conservatives.
Whether it will be enough to make any difference to the polls remains to be seen — Labour needs a miracle there after all.
But, for now, going for the policy jugular seems to have done the trick — giving his browbeaten party something to get excited about and hitting the Conservatives where it hurts.
David Cameron’s Conservatives have been accused of not giving enough detail on how they would govern the country if the polls are correct and they are to win power next year.
They will have to start showing their hand soon if they are going to convince voters that they have the ideas to run the country and aren’t just a vote for change for the sake of it.
After more than a decade of railing against a Labour government that they feel has betrayed their shared socialist roots, British trade unions are now starting to fear what a future with a Conservative government will be like.
“They’re going to come after us like rabid dogs,” said Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association said — dubbing the Conservatives “the enemy”.