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Britain's broke, Labour's finished: mission complete, Agent Harman
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Jeff Randall believes the Leader of the House of Commons must be part of a Tory plot to destroy the Government

How does one explain the monument to absurdity that is Harriet Harman? For those who enjoy conspiracy theories, try this: she is a plant inside the Left-wing establishment, put there by far-thinking Conservative controllers in the Ted Heath years.

Her mission: to spend a lifetime infiltrating Labour's upper echelons, creeping and crawling her way to positions of great power, with the aim of destroying from within the credibility of Keir Hardie's creation. On current form, she is doing a first-class job.

Stretch the imagination, and it is possible to view Miss Harman as the symmetrical opposite of the Cambridge Spies – Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt – who wove themselves into the fabric of British intelligence, while really working for Moscow.

For years, the KGB was amazed that authorities in London could be so blinkered as to allow operators with barely disguised communist sympathies into positions of trust. Miss Harman has achieved something similar – only for the other side.

One day, surely, Labour loyalists will wake up and ask: "What stopped us from spotting her treachery? It was so obvious." By which time Miss Harman will have been spirited away by Mission Control to the security of an old rectory in the Tory shires and retirement with English Springers.

As the daughter of a Harley Street physician and niece of Lord Longford, she was born into privilege. Educated at St Paul's, an elite public school, young Harriet seemed destined to become one of the poppets who feature as pin-ups in Country Life and marry Army captains from Gloucester.

Mysteriously, however, after a politics degree at York University, Miss Harman emerged as a fully paid-up member of Labour's moon gazers – Mad Hattie Harperson. Could it have been on York's pretty lakeside campus that a plot was hatched to insert an unprincipled student as a grinding cog in Labour's machinery? I like to
think so.

By hitching up with Jack Dromey, an activist on Brent Trades Council, her "progressive" credentials were firmly secured. She was, literally, sleeping with the enemy. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to attract ridicule and opprobrium to the Labour movement, while pretending to fight for its advancement. Few double dealers have done so well.

Now 58, a strikingly youthful Miss Harman is Leader of the House of Commons and perfectly placed to cause maximum damage to Gordon Brown's crumbling regime. In recent weeks, she has excelled. Her Conservative minder – let's call him Big Blue – must be delighted.

In particular, her clodhopping intervention in the row over Sir Fred Goodwin's pension was brilliant. By insisting that the Court of Public Opinion should supersede contract law, she invited the mob to conclude that the destruction of property rights
was perfectly acceptable under Labour.

One feature of a civilised society is that it protects unpopular citizens, even venal bankers. By contrast, Miss Harman made clear that she was not interested in issues of legality, only the power of expropriation.

This is the road to despotism – and we are well down it. While the Bank of England prints money to mask a ruined economy, thugs smash up Sir Fred's Edinburgh home, and the Government shrugs its shoulders. Next stop, Bulawayo.

Invited by Sky News's Colin Brazier to admit that her ad hominem attacks had helped incite vandalism, Miss Harman dished out a lecture (as only human rights lawyers can) on Sir Fred's misdeeds. The sub-text of her response was: "It couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke."

The Government's demonising of Sir Fred, as if he were the sole cause of the country's woes, has been an inelegant display of low-rent politics. Royal Bank of Scotland's former boss has provided ministers with a seemingly irresistible opportunity to deflect attention from their catastrophic blunders.

It has worked on a superficial level, gaining lurid headlines. But exporting blame is a palliative, not a panacea. Britain's descent into fiscal and monetary chaos will not be avoided by hanging up Sir Fred on thumb screws. Once unleashed, mob vengeance is like anthrax: hard to control and indiscriminate in selecting victims.

This week's intervention by Mervyn King, the Bank of England's Governor, was a humiliation for Downing Street.
Mr King is a seasoned performer, who knows perfectly well that every word he utters is picked over by investors and the media. His disavowal of Mr Brown's futile attempts to borrow this Government's way out of debt was no slip of the tongue.

Questioned in the Commons about Threadneedle Street's truculence, Miss Harman made a preposterous attempt to spin Mr King's comments as support for Labour's budgetary incontinence. The guffaws echoed well beyond opposition benches. Across the country, it is dawning on ordinary folk that this administration has lost its only real strength: an ability to cook the books while massaging the message. A shocking truth is seeping out.

Not since the early 1960s, when Lord Cromer made disobliging comments about Harold Wilson's profligate spending plans, has an incumbent governor been so publicly at odds with a prime minister. Cromer, of course, was vindicated by events – after a decade of Labour's mismanagement, Britain collapsed into the arms of the International Monetary Fund. And who can be sure that it will not happen again?

According to the Ernst & Young Item Club, a forecasting group, Britain will need to raise £350 billion between 2009 and 2011. As a share of national income, public borrowing is expected to rise from 2.6 per cent in 2007-08 to 12.6 per cent in 2009-10 (as a rule of thumb, anything over 10 per cent is considered to be in the territory of a banana republic). No nation in the G20 is going downhill more rapidly than Britain, says the IMF.

The Treasury's failure this week to sell Government gilts was one way for the financial markets to tell us that Britain is going broke. Currency traders are losing confidence in our ability to pay the bills, which explains sterling's sharp devaluation. As Jim Callaghan and Denis Healey discovered, there is no pain-free escape route. When unemployment soars, taxes rise and public sector excesses are reined back, a disgusted electorate will punish those whose recklessness drove the country into penury.

At this point, Mr Brown's trite wittering about "doing nothing not being an option" will be exposed for what it is: a vacuous soundbite from a leader of a party that began with a golden legacy and turned it into a dunghill.

It took Labour 18 years in the wilderness to recover from its last debacle. Unless David Cameron does something really stupid, it could be heading that way again. With an election due next June, I envisage a faceless Conservative in a secret location preparing a final coded message for Harriet: "Agent Harman. Mission accomplished. Return to base."

By Jeff Randall

Source >  Telegraph | Mar 27

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