In The Times, Matthew Parris warns that the Conservatives must "block their ears" to calls for cross-party support over the financial crisis. Gordon Brown’s motivation, he argues, would be narrow party interest, concealed by a call for national unity:
"Mr Brown’s real intention will be less worthy: to silence critics and bind political rivals into policies that they will not subsequently be able to criticise; to pre-empt their blaming him if things go wrong; to allow himself to slur those who voice disagreement in Parliament and the media as “unpatriotic”; to imply that any challenge to his own leadership is irresponsible; to stifle discussion of his own past role in the “Age of Irresponsibility”; and to go into the next election having effectively nobbled the opposition parties.
"Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Dr Cable should view this with extreme wariness. The danger is huge. Say “yes” and they may be sucked in to complicity in failure to rescue economic growth. Say “no” and they may be blamed for aggravating the failure."
In today’s Telegraph, Simon Heffer makes the case that Brown is rightly to be blamed for the current crisis. It is now, he says, up to the Conservatives as the opposition party to take the lead in bringing down the government.
"Let there be no doubt about the extent of Gordon Brown’s culpability for the crisis. As Chancellor, he raised huge sums and borrowed yet more in order to build a client state of tame Labour voters on the public payroll – whether as employees or claimants. He pushed Britain to live way beyond its means not merely in this way, but by putting excessive amounts of money into circulation that banks could lend on with cavalier irresponsibility.
"… I have suspected, and this week’s non-events in the Tory party confirm my view, that they didn’t seek the recall of Parliament because they had nothing to say. They couldn’t bring themselves to attack the policies that exacerbated this mess because for the most part they supported them – certainly on incontinent public spending. Now, they are not taking on the Government’s handling of this crisis because they haven’t a clue what they would do differently."