How Brown Must Change - by His Old Enemy Clarke; Charles Clarke: Demand for a Mini-Budget

Daily Mail (London), May 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

How Brown Must Change - by His Old Enemy Clarke; Charles Clarke: Demand for a Mini-Budget


Byline: Benedict Brogan

CHARLES Clarke launched a scathing attack on Gordon Brown's leadershiplast night.

As the embattled Premier tried to recover from last week's electionhumiliation, the former Home Secretary stepped up the pressure.

Mr Clarke, a staunch Tony Blair loyalist throughout his Cabinet career, said MrBrown had placed too much reliance on inflammatory rhetoric since he took overat Number Ten.

He referred contemptuously to 'dog-whistle politics' - that is, using remarksdesigned to produce an unthinking response from a particular group.

Pioneered by Right-wing parties in the U.S. and Australia, it has typicallyinvolved campaigning against immigration using moderate language that will notalienate liberals but will still resonate with more conservative voters - inmuch the same way as only dogs hear highpitched whistles.

Mr Clarke said: 'We should finish with dog whistle language such as "Britishjobs for British workers", which flatter some of the most chauvinistic andbackward-looking parts of British society.

'We should suspend the black arts of divisive inner-party briefing and bullyingwhich penalise and inhibit debate and discussion,' he added in an article forLeft-wing Progress magazine. Mr Clarke also called on Chancellor AlistairDarling to publish a mini-Budget to explain how he plans to compensate themillions hit by the scrapping of the 10p tax rate.

The call for a mini-Budget - last used by the Tories under John Major to dealwith a cash crisis - came at a terrible moment for Mr Brown.

He is desperate to avoid the 10p fiasco becoming the dominant issue of thevital Crewe and Nantwich byelection in a fortnight.

But the Prime Minister found himself under fire from one of Labour's 'bigbeasts' as Mr Clarke issued his scathing assessment.

There were signs yesterday that the Government was winning its battle to calmLabour nerves over how best to compensate the estimated 5.3million people leftworse off by the decision to abolish the 10p starting rate of tax.

Former minister Frank Field and former Whip Greg Pope emerged from a meetingwith Mr Darling saying they believed the Treasury would address their concerns. …

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