I’m sat typing at the table in the window in my small flat in Walworth. A small vase of daffodils stands on the table and the April sun is shining on the cars parked in the road outside. It’s Easter Sunday, the middle of a long weekend, and I should be enjoying a day off. But I feel deflated.
But I’ve just been reading The Observer and it’s hard to think in a positive manner. Firstly, the cover story about the population’s attitudes to Blair makes dreadful reading. The perception is that everything is getting worse in the UK. After ploughing so much money into the NHS and education (especially junior schools), how has positive progress not been effectively communicated? Those surveyed also complain of too much ‘spin’ – well, it has not done much good.
There’s also this sort of perception that a decent economy does not really count any longer. If Labour has managed to make a balls-up of everything except the economy, well it cannot actually be that tough to run the economy can it? So why not let the Tories have a go? They can even claim to the greener than Labour.
All of this stands in stark juxtaposition to the feeling in France, where London is in some way an example for young people – as documented in Andrew Hussey’s article in The Observer. A view from the outside of what appeals about life in London could be a bit of a tonic. But looking at Britain in a European comparison has never really been Britain’s style.
Is there any way to stop this decline? Is Brown going to help rebuild trust? Or do we face a decade in opposition once more?