Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Friday 12 May 2017

Things can only get worse

On May 2, 1997, I was among the hordes at the South Bank who heard Tony Blair declare: "A new dawn has broken, has it not?" Of course it hadn't, though in the immediate aftermath of his landslide election victory, with the strains of D-reams Things Can Only Get Better pounding in our ears, it seemed like it. Over the course of the next decade there certainly were changes but the idea that there would be instantly a New Britain thanks to New Labour was a mirage. Yet it is a natural and consistent human trait to believe that things do change instantly, as if by the waving of a wand. Politicians and journalists play to this, pretending that something can happen immediately. Though even dawn doesn't break in a micro-second. One of the most fatuous parts of the Remain campaign during the referendum was George Osborne's claim that if the country voted to leave the EU, the economy would fall off a cliff, there would need to be an emergency Budget and every family would be £4,300 a year worse off. It was total nonsense designed to panic voters - as it had done in the Scottish referendum - but was so ridiculous it wasn't going to fool anyone. At least ten years earlier, when I spoke at various schools putting the case for Europe, I used to say that if we left the EU, there wasn't a plug somewhere in the middle of the UK, possibly around West Bromwich, which would be pulled up and Britain would slowly sink under the waves. There would certainly be a serious decline but it would take place over years, not days. And so it is proving. Yet there are still Leavers - not only among the masses - who believe that we should just get out of the EU NOW and that the lack of an impact on our economy since the referendum shows that nothing is going to happen. Even the drastic fall in the value of sterling hasn't immediately hit living standards. But it is coming, as the Governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday. Theresa May is worried that it will hit in the next two years, which is why she has called this snap election. It may not even occur in that time scale. It may be closer to the following election in 2022. It could be even after that, with decline gradual as investment falls, firms move out, jobs are lost and tax revenues slip away leading to even worse public services. And who will the voters blame then?

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