1931 1951 1970 1979
With Labour it's always the economy, stupid .
Above are the four Labour prime ministers who have so far lost office in the party's history. In each case it was a collapse in the economy that was a major factor or the sole reason they were ejected from power.
In 1931 the Labour Government collapsed when Ramsay Macdonald attempted to cut unemployment benefits and introduce a raft of stricter public spending cuts in the face of uncontrollable rises in the public debt; which his cabinet rejected forcing a general election and the formation of the coalition National Government.
In 1951, again seriously unstable public finances were tested to destruction by a run on sterling which brought about a foreign exchange crisis, drastic import controls and limited re-introduction of rationing.
In 1970 the famous 'pound in your pocket' devaluation of sterling in 1967 and an unexpectedly bad set of balance of payments figures released in polling week was widely seen as the main cause of Wilsons unexpected ejection from No 10.
In 1979 it was the 'Winter of discontent' that was brought about by the need to drastically cut public spending after yet another sterling crisis had forced Callaghans Government, now bankrupt, to go cap in hand to the IMF.
And here we are afte another Labour Government facing economic meltdown. Two of our biggest building societies have already gone bust and another three of our high street banks have had to be bailed out, Government borrowing is out of control and the pound has fallen to an all-time low against the Euro. Unemployment and inflation are already at their highest level for 16 years, and the recession has only just begun.
Sadly on this occasion we have the added complication of sixteen years of Labour 'spin' to factor in as well; so the true extent of our woes are even now being hidden from view. Labour have told us that our total national debt is 'no worse' than other countries. Unfortunately this is just not true, as Labour exclude debts from our statistics that other countries include in theirs (Private Finance initiative and civil service pension liabilities, for example); if you include those figures our national debt and the rate of growth of our national debt are the worst in the developed world.
Once again economic largesse has left the nation's overdraft out of control. If we were a business or a private household our bank would be bouncing our cheques. The danger is that Labour are about to discover the lessons that they clearly haven't learned from their own party history; that money doesn't grow on trees.