Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
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The whole Rover crisis (latest here) will doubtless play a major role in the upcoming election for the marginal seats surrounding Longbridge, and so the ‘B’ team (Brown and Blair) will doubtless be doing their best to help people to keep their jobs.
From what I’ve seen thus far of their handling of this crisis, though, they’ve bungled it. Badly. From the moment Patricia Hewitt announced that the company had called in the administrators when, in fact, they hadn’t, it was obvious that the government wouldn’t handle this whole crisis well. As far as I can see, this government has never been terribly good in a crisis – it’s suffered a battering through fuel protests, handled foot-and-mouth frankly terribly, invaded countries under false pretences, and the PM has stayed on his hols whilst tens of thousands are dying in the biggest tsunami in living history. And yet people still rate him as good in a tough spot. I would suggest that this is more because he is in power than because of anything he’s actually done.
Anyway, back to matters at hand. I’m not entirely sure on what I see as the ‘right’ course of action in this situation: Should Rover be supported with tax-payers money? Probably not. But should thousands be left jobless because of a government’s wish not to get involved? Probably not. And would Tony and Co. suffer from not being seen to be helping? You bet. So what’s the right course of action? Beats me.
I’d like to think I’d stick to my principles, and let the people be made jobless, rather than electioneering. That might seem a little under-compassionate for the families who would suffer, but governments can’t be bowing to companies to avoid job losses, or we’re no longer living in a democracy. Why should Rover get handouts just because the company is threatened with closure? Would other companies then get handouts if they announce they’re to up and leave to China? It’s a bad precedent to set.
That’s the position I’d like to take, but I think it would be very difficult. The government will be criticised for whatever it does in this situation, so I think it’s probably best to just leave them to find a way through this, and live with the outcome. I’ve said what I felt needed to be said, and unless they do something spectacularly stupid, I won’t be posting any criticism of their actions on this in future.
Well, actually, knowing me, I almost certainly will, but hey-ho, I can do that, because I’m not in government… and therefore I’m in a much easier position than them!