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Time for the 2 Eds to seize the agenda on growth in the economy

Posted on 26 September 2011 | 8:09am

At least the economy is centre stage as Labour’s conference begins. It has to be.

And finally, after a year of the main parties arguing over the size and scale of the deficit, and the speed with which it should be reduced, the argument appears to be moving to the much bigger issues that now confront us – crisis in the eurozone, stagnation elsewhere, a collapse of confidence in many parts of the world.

Ed Balls is right to point out that the current situation is if anything more dangerous than the global financial crisis of 2007/08. At least back then, when the politicians acted – not least among them Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling – there was an economic response. This time, the politicians keep pulling on the levers, (if not in Angela Merkel’s case as hard as she might), and precious little seems to be happening.

Handling these issues in opposition is very different to dealing with them in government. Both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have spent more of their careers in power than in opposition, and in adapting from one to the other after election defeat sometimes have given the impression that the statements they make carry the same weight as when they were in office. They don’t. Sad but true.

The good news is that it gives them greater scope to be much clearer about an overall strategy. Governments have to set out a strategy – in the coalition’s case all focused on deficit reducation – and then deal with day to day events as they arise. Oppositions can set out the strategy, and keep on setting it out as those events unfold. So getting the strategy right is the most important thing.

The objective over time has to be to persuade the public that Labour can be better trusted to manage the economy. That won’t be easy, because the Tories have successfully if dishonestly run the argument that Labour rather than a global financial crisis were to blame for all our current woes. It is never too late to push back on an argument, and Labour has to do so. Not by saying we got everything right, because we didn’t; but by setting out the facts – rising prosperity for the majority, improved investment in public services, alongside overexposure to poorly regulated financial services.

In other words, we must stop buying wholesale into the lines of attack run against us. I don’t doubt Tessa Jowell and Jim Murphy will have been taken out of context, or had words fed down their throats, but headlines proclaiming that ‘nobody is listening to us’, and ‘we were just a soap opera’ play into the negative assessment of Labour that has to be challenged.

The last government was successful on many many fronts and people need to be reminded of that. But of course where mistakes were made, admit them, and above all show that the Party has learned from them.

Balls is right to be making the issue of economic credibility a cornerstone of his speech today, but right too to be reminding people that the government lacks a real strategy for growth, and setting out an alternative.

The election is some way off, but the more the public hears that Labour understands the need to build its own economic credibility, and then hears the arguments and specific measures aimed at doing so, again and again and again, the better the chances of making the current government a one-term affair.

In Ed Balls’ speech today, and Ed Miliband’s tomorrow, comes the chance to begin that process with some real oomph. By tomorrow night, people need to be saying that the outlines of a new approach to growing the economy are clear. There won’t be a better opportunity than this. They need to seize it.

  • Mark Wright

    Outlining a strategy will not be enough. Any strategy will need to be seen to have been endorsed by the business community in order for it to gain credibility and traction. This is where a Lord Sugar would be of benefit. Somebody who can cut through to the public.

    Labour’s difficulty, however, is that although business endorsement is the key to economic credibility it could also lay Labour open to attack for ‘cosying’ up to big business and repeating the mistakes of the past.

    It’s a risk they should take.

    It’s the economy stupid. It always is. Always has been.

    Ed Balls needs to ensure that any strategy is endorsed beyond the four walls of the Labour Party convention.

  • Chris lancashire

    In paragraph 5 you forgot to mention running a defecit every year from 2001 – along with the bank crash that is why we are in the trouble we are in today.
    As for Balls – after telling us for 12 months that we need to spend and borrow our way out of a debt crisis – he has a sudden damascene conversion and decided that “Tory cuts” shouldn’t be reversed. Make up your mind Ed.
    That’s why the present Labour leadership will never again be trusted with the economy.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Instead of repeated lies of the Tory-led government, here are some official facts.
    The UK fiscal position in 2007-08 ahead of the global financial crisis triggered by collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US was sound.
    The cyclically-adjusted current budget deficit was only 0.6% of GDP, less than £10bn in 2007-08.
    The same deficit measure between 1997-98 and 2007-08 averaged at ZERO!
    So all the talk of Labour overspending is 24-carat rubbish.
    The recession caused by financial crisis caused by banks led to drop in revenues and increase in benefit spending.
    This caused the deficit.
    Debt soared during the recession, not before it.
    According the NAO it was right to bailout the banks.
    Britain´s debt ratio before the financial crisis was 36.5% in 2007-08, less than under John Major.
    Average debt ratio under Thatcher/Major was 38.7% of GDP. Average debt ratio for whole Blair/Brown era 36.7%, 34.5% under pre-crisis Labour.
    The average current budget deficit under T/M was -2.0%, under B/B -0.8%.
    Borrowing averaged 3.3% under T/M, under B/B it was 2.4%.
    Current spending averaged 39.2% under T/M, 37.2% under B/B.
    Total spending averaged 43.5% under T/M. Under B/B it was 40.0%.
    I rest my case.
    The entire global economic system is in crisis.
    Every path to recovery is blocked.
    Keynesian stimulus would only increase national debt and add to inflation.
    Interest rates are already low.
    There is mass austerity, but profits for big businesses are up.
    Current crisis is a crisis of capitalism.
    You cannot keep on shifting income from labour to capital without having an excess capacity and a lack of demand.
    This has now happened.
    We believed that markets worked. But they are not working.
    Labour costs are some else´s income and consumption.
    So Marx was right about capitalism!
    If you distribute all of wealth upwards, the free market capitalist system self-destructs.
    Competition should keep pace with productivity, but productivity gains have gone to employers instead of employees.
    The divergent trend between profits and income means that demand eventually collapses because workers can no longer buy the goods that capitalists produce.
    Previously consumers borrowed this money to maintain spending, but now this is not an option.
    Only solution is that workers must get a better deal. Profits must also take a hit.
    Otherwise capitalism collapses because there is not enough demand.
    Marxism has an answer to this: nationalise banks and industry.
    So we have a crisis of overproduction due to private ownership of means of production.
    But John Gray in his False Dawn wrote that free-market globalisation is as deluded as Bolshevik Marxism.
    Crisis and conflict are in the foundation.
    Free markets are not a natural state of human affairs.
    Markets must be restrained by social institutions.
    Like Bolshevik Marxism free-market globalisation will collapse.
    The current crisis is a crisis of growth. But not a crisis caused by too little growth, but too much of it!
    Banks are too big. The European Union is too big. Corporations are too big.
    Society´s problems are not caused by particular forms of social or economic organisation, but by their SIZE.
    There is only one possible endpoint: collapse.
    The political classes are still locked in old models. They want more growth of everything.
    No single country has political or economic power to solve the crisis.
    Berlin is against fiscal union, Eurobonds and the EU treasury.
    EU´s EUR440bn bailout fund might be increased to EUR2tr. There will be a 50% default by Greece.
    France´s banks are exposed.
    But EUR2tr only buys time.
    The root of the euro crisis is a 30% intra-EMU currency misalignment between North and South.
    This cannot be solved with debt guarantees or bank rescues.
    Nor the gap in competitiveness can be bridged by austerity.
    There needs to be a treaty change so that the ECB´s mandate must include also growth and jobs.
    Greece´s debt is EUR370bn. Euro´s fatal flaw is monetary union without fiscal union.
    Ed Balls is suggesting some changes in deck-chairs while Titanic sinks. He has good ideas, but as I have shown the problems run deeper.
    If things go well, Britain will make a full recovery in 2031. Banks have caused a loss of at least £5tr in lost output. They should pay some back.
    Britain´s banks have £180bn exposure to Club Med countries. But no worries, Mr Osborne claims that everything is OK.
    The only way to prevent a total collapse is moral economy with emphasis on fairness. Banks and the entire financial system must be reformed. Neoliberalism must be abandoned.
    Will this happen? I do not believe so.
    We have in this world a superclass. It owns and controls oil, money, technology and the media.
    It includes bankers, partners in hedge funds, politicians and and CEOs of major companies.
    Some of them are deliberately destroying the world economy in order to create one-world government and a single world currency.
    The tone and character of the European Union will soon change.
    Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy will collapse. Italy wlll cause a huge crash in Europe. The US and the dollar will also crash.
    At this stage the people who created this crisis will come “rescue” with their New World Order.
    There has not been a gap between the rich and poor on the current scale ever in the history.

  • Ehtch

    What is it with these political jollies these parties have constantly it seems to be, to british seaside towns? But I suppose it is good business for landladies, so there we go.

    Anyway, I like Miliband, and the commmittee is still out with me on the Balls version – he has still got to impress me, but he does say sensible things on the whole. He has got to convince me he is not a career politician, one that doesn’t go through life ticking the boxes and not be random and imaginative enough, if you get what I mean. Call the media names, naughty names, Balls, for a start.

  • “There has not been a gap between the rich and poor on the current scale ever in the history”.

    Cake, anyone?

    Des Currie

  • Labour needs brilliant people who think like Warren Buffet and like this (thanks to Robert on the last comments section)                                                                                             to develop ideas which will generate real, efficient, economic growth with a social agenda which isn’t based on dissing anything else but sits easily
    alongside current economic activity.

    Labour also needs to talk coherently along an intelligent balanced agenda – investment in infrastructure where not to invest with cause severe economic damage but not mass spending.  A careful eye on taxes to ensure groups with are being crippled gain access to support (perhaps through hardship funds rather than mass intervention) and so on.

    They need to be communicating actively and effectively with their electorate to understand the economic issues on the ground which are developing in such rapid and unpredictable ways due to the current global economic dynamics.

    The have to sound intelligent, aware, balanced, creative and credible on each issue.  Then they need to understand how to market that message through the cybermedia because at the minute the Tories are cleaning up so totally on that front that they can efficiently sell messages with no foundation whatsoever as Gove has proved.  But for heavens sake please don’t not follow that lead.  Let’s focus hard on the intelligent content.

  • George

    Unfortunately, whatever message the 2 Eds give out why would anyone trust them? The Labour government has mismanaged so many things during its period in office why stop just with the economy.
    Ed Balls will probably never be believed again over the economy, he might have some good ideas but why would anybody accept them from him? In spite of what Olli is arguing, the reality is that over just one 5 year period Blair and Brown managed to spend on average 32bn per annum more than they received into the Treasury coffers. After the debacle over immigration, who will believe any of them?It’s all very easy to issue half hearted apologies now but the damage is done. Unless the coalition makes a complete cock-up of the economy, it is very difficult to see how the Labour Party can form a government with the existing executive.

    I say, be patient and let’s work it through to the next generation.

  • A paradigm shift.
    Offer a government of national unity.
    Immense humility required from all to radically change political practice.
    For a fixed period.
    Consensus government – the German post-war model shows the way.
    Consensus and not a colluding coalition – not aquiescing.
    Radical – as in the root.
    Labour fighting for its heart, the Whigs and compassionate Tories.
    (Well the sun is shining here in the Pennines – dire predictions abound for us yet after this present slough of despond…. maybe we should be more than boldly imaginative).

  • Janiete

    In terms of trust, I think you’re getting the parties mixed up here George. In addition to doing a great deal of good, Labour did make some mistakes but then I’d challenge you to find any government that doesn’t. The electorate will forgive politicians who, with the best intentions make mistakes from time to time, but making mistakes is not the same as telling blatant lies.
    Up to May 5th 2010, the LibDems supported Labour’s more cautious deficit reduction plans and signed high profile pledges to abolish tuition fees. Having used these stated policies to secure a higher than usual vote share, they abandoned principle for office overnight, happy it seems to collude with the Tories in implementing policies, too toxic to even mention during the election campaign.
    Believe me; the electorate know very well who the liars are and who can be trusted. They also know that it was a Labour leader who influenced an effective worldwide response to the banking crisis three years ago.

    Now the media is shifting attention to the global financial problem, Tory and LibDem spin about ‘Labour’s mess’ sounds all too hollow.

  • Janiete

    In Olli’s opinion: ‘The cyclically-adjusted current budget deficit was only 0.6% of GDP, less than £10bn in 2007-08. The same deficit measure between 1997-98 and 2007-08 averaged at ZERO! So all the talk of Labour overspending is 24-carat rubbish.’

    I know which of you I believe!

  • Gilliebc

    I have to admit I’m not too keen on politicians of any colour apologising, for the following reasons:  I don’t believe they are sincere and genuine and it is only done for their own self-interest and for that of their chosen party. It doesn’t work!

    Labour could win the next general election with a landslide victory, even with Ed M in charge, if only they would offer the electorate the promise of a referendum on the subject of the EU. 

  • Gilliebc

    In theory Duncan I like the idea of a consensus government. For a fixed period. But as you rightly say immense humility would be required from the participants!  So given the sort of people who go into politics these days and become MP’s, I don’t think there is much chance of a consensus gov. happening. 

    I’m not saying all MP’s are self-serving egotistical b……. er, people, but I do think that sort unfortunately far outnumber the few others who are genuinely interested in putting this country and it’s inhabitants, first and foremost.  They would do well to remember they are supposed to be working in the best interests of this country and it’s people.  Not the other way around.

    Several recent opinion polls show that peoples’ respect and  opinion for and about politicians and our so-called democratic system has never been lower.  That probably won’t come as a surprise to most of us.

  • Ehtch

    To get on my daffodil and leek welsh soapbox, it pises me off that the south-east english establishment tell everyone internationally that we are dysfunctional. I have had a gutsful of it all my life. English highbrow stoopid caants. Some welsh for you, se english knobs,

    Yma o hyd – I will always be here,

  • Hmm, yes, what’s missing from the five point plan is the insight that personalised interventions are now possible.  The plan focuses entirely on mass intervention levers.

    We need to empower people to make decisions to finance individuals who have the potential to generate economic activity.  This can be achieved with great openness due to mass online questionning, interrogation and discussion but credible leadership and understanding of cyberspace is needed.

  • George

    I agree over the LibDems, they have been opportunists and it will come back to haunt them but their leaders will probably be looking at some EU sinecure!
    I think we will find it more difficult to change the perceptions of the deficit/economy; there is no doubt that the last government spent money that we simply couldn’t afford.
    Plus there has been a large element of being ‘economic with the truth’ over the immigration policies; the current government seems to be continuing some of the silly policies too with disagreements between the tories and the LibDems.

  • George

    Totally agree with the referendum point but beware it could be true of the tories too. I think it’s hypothetical as none of the parties wants a referendum for whatever reason. I wish they would explain to us their reasons for us being in the EU rather than just making bland statements that they believe ‘it’s a benefit’.
    One other thing is, could we believe their promises seeing as what happened over the Lisbon Treaty?

  • Quinney

    The tories said that the private sector would take the strain and create jobs that would be lost in the public sector. Today BAE Systems announced 3,000 highly skilled jobs would be cut, in July Bombardier announced over 1400 jobs to be cut at its train manufacturers. Both private companies.
    So what ever happened to rebalancing the economy Dave?

  • ronnie

    The point is we could afford it at the time, as you probably know. What caused the problem was the economic crisis.
    Maybe Labour should have foreseen the crisis, but nobody else did either. It’s just cynical politics to keep banging on about ‘Labour’s mismanagement’ – it’s just not true.

  • Whatifwhatif

    I am soooo angry about the subservient apologies today and yesterday.

    I don’t rate Tessa Jowell as an economist (I do rate her – and very highly – re her commitment to and vision for 2012) so when I read of her crisitcisms of Labour’s economic decisions I want her to prove whatever formed her opinion  …. rather than sound as if she’s just saying what she’s been told to (as every subsequent speaker has).

    I want to know what should have been done in 2008 if not what was (plus of course the convincing stuff about how it would have been better).

    As was said by Ed Balls (but far too discreetly) and as is obvious to anyone that looks after just a personal/domestic budget ….. sometimes using credit is better and wiser than not to do so….. if it’s to allow investment in people.

    Without our borrowing, at the best interest rates for yonks, we wouldn’t have the hospitals, we wouldn’t have the schools (just as we won’t be having those that got cancelled by Cam in butch mode last summer).

    There’s only one reason so far to bother remembering this Conference; Rory Weal xxx

  • Janiete

    ‘there is no doubt that the last government spent money that we simply couldn’t afford’

    This is the sort of broad statement we have heard, ad nauseum, since the election, but then I suppose that’s the purpose of PR slogans. We’ve all heard the one about ‘Persil washing whiter’ as well, that isn’t true either!

    If you truly believe this can you tell me when this happened? Before the banking crisis or after?

  • Gilliebc

    Yes I am mindful of the fact that a promise on an EU referendum could be used by any party to pretty much guarantee victory at the next general election.  That is a concern. 

    At the risk of being painted as a little Englander, which I’m not.  In fact I used to completely buy the idea of this country being part of the EU!  But not any longer.  I used to think that the so called little Englanders were simply old buffers stuck in the past, still fighting WW2 even.  I’ve changed my mind on that attitude now.  I now believe that they are and were correct.  We’ve virtually lost our sovereignty and the power to govern our own country.  This of course was the plan all along.  People have woken up to this now and the vast majority of them want out.  We should be listened to.

    The reason the main parties won’t tell us the benefits of being in the EU is because there isn’t any benefit*  They are selling this country down the river big-time.  They have their own agenda.  But I don’t think I should go on too much about that on AC’s estimable site. 

    I believe it’s true to say though that the majority of people in this country no longer trust any of the main parties or politicians in general.  The evidence of low voter turn outs in elections and the opinions expressed in opinion polls and also on other websites would seem to bear this out.

    *There is even talk now about inflicting yet another tax on us.  An EU tax!
      I’d like to see them try.  We are not all the gullible fools they seem to be
      taking us for.

  • Dave Simons

    If I can remember it correctly, we are in the EU because we were taken in by Ted Heath’s Conservative government of 1970-74, specifically with Geoffrey Rippon being a key player in negotiations. Then we had a referendum in 1975 and the UK electorate voted ‘yes’ for staying. One major driver behind entry was that a lot of British companies had, and continue to have, business links with Europe. Opposition came from companies that had, and continue to have, business links with the US and what was left of the British Empire. The division within the Conservative Party over the EU largely reflects this, although things have moved on a bit since the 1970s. Let’s not forget that from the point of view of organised labour, through the 1980s and into the 1990s the EU was sometimes kind when the national government was not.

  • Chris lancashire

    Sorry Janiete, I never read the impenetrable Finn’s ramblings – tend to drop off after line 2. Great to confuse the issue with GDP ratios and “cyclically adjusted” numbers – too much for me so I’ll just give you two numbers : in 1997 Public Sector Net Debt was £350bn, 10 years later, at the end of 2007, it was £500bn. Brown and Balls’ spending left a defecit of £150bn of which around £87bn is inflation related to be fair – the overspend was therefore a true £63bn – at a time of boom (although I thought we’d abolished that) with record tax receipts. Truly stupendous irresponsibility.

  • MicheleB

    Where would we be now without the investment in society that had happened for 13yrs till last May?
    Should things have continued as they had been run (down) from ’79 to ’97? 

    No borrowing would have meant no spending, impossible to contemplate  when the country was in ’97’s totally dire state.  Was there any infrastructure left to be proud of at the end of that legislature? 

    Is there any for the past year’s or will Cam be writing about himself in this way when he gets to his memoirs?

    Isn’t ‘conservatism’ meant to be about keeping / looking after what is good and doesn’t that mean people as well as things? 
    Within a year of the link above our unemployment roll topped 3m, Cam will achieve that even more quickly.

    We know any story can be spun and we know any facts can be misrepresented; we only need to look at Skulking Lansley to see the tip of that habit with the disgusting distorted furore last week about PFI.  Would it REALLY have been better to let hospitals continue falling down? 

    He should marry Peter Oborne, what a gumslapping pair they make.  One twists everything and the other opines about what he can’t find proof of (is bloody well paid to too).   Ye goods.

    If I come up IDed as whatif yet again I suppose I’d better re-reg on my new email address and let this glitchy one disappear 🙂

  • MicheleB

    Smashing track Ehtch 🙂

    I don’t think the SE establishment really comprises only English knobs though, there are plenty among the other nationalities and I don’t remember ever hearing the Welsh in general described as dysfunctional, a knob of any origin would be. 

    Perhaps you misunderstood the differing types of banter when you stayed in England, just as we all do even as we just move around domestically … norf to sarf etc? 

  • The culture of openly free sourcing ideas and information is another recent improvement in society.  We could have community discussion forums where people share ideas for free about innovation, enterprise and generally gettign economically active.

  • George

    I think the reason it’s been jammed down everyone’s throat is that there is an element of fact contained within it. Nobody foresaw the banking crisis but we had nothing in ‘reserve’ hence the constant reminding of fixing the roof whilst the sun’s shining. Whenever I receive a bonus in work, I give some away, spend some and save some (I don’t receive a bonus very often by the way!). Labour sadly spent it all.

  • MicheleB

    Do you log out feeling a little bit nauseous about yourself when you talk about someone’s input but do so to someone else?

  • Janiete

    Well Chris,  there lies your problem. I suggest you take the trouble to read the opinions of knowledgeable people. You might then become more economically and politically aware and it would no longer be, as you put it all ‘too much for me’.

  • George

    You’re right, the last tory government left the infrastructure in a terrible state. It is, however, possible to invest whilst being prudent. In other words, don’t max out the credit card as Labour seems to have done prior to the banking crisis.

    But rather than simply looking back we should be creating the conditions for the creation of sustainable jobs. Maybe tax cuts is the thing?

    I actually Oborne’s recent pop at the pro-euro group and his analysis.

  • Olli Issakainen

    From 2001 till the financial crisis Labour ran small deficits on an average of 2.5%. As Lord Skidelsky has stated, this is not overspending.
    The Maastricht Treaty deficit reference level is 3% of GDP.
    Had there not been a global financial crisis, the borrowing could have been balanced later.
    Britain could easily afford this borrowing within reason because the debt level was so low.
    New Labour spent the £22.5bn from the sale of 3G mobile licences on debt reduction.
    The whole point is that New Labour spent the borrowed money on CAPITAL INVESTMENT, not on current costs.
    This is clever thing to do, as it is a recipe for future growth and success.
    New Labour was elected to repair the public services after years of Tory neglect. The voters were happy with the results.
    Labour´s borrowing has nothing to do with the “mess”.
    Financial crisis was caused by the 1995 decision by the US Congress which forced the US banks to lend to poor people. Subprime crisis followed.
    Global imbalancies and too low interest rates by the Fed were also reasons.
    Plus the reckless behaviour of banks.
    The decision to let Lehman Brothers collapse was made by the US authorities.
    British government did not cause the financial crisis by public spending.
    I have analysed financial statements as a job for 30 years. I have all the relevant figures behind an icon on my computer.
    Messrs Cameron and Osborne are wrong to blame Labour for overspending.
    I hope that people now understand all this, but am prepared to write on the subject also in the future.
    I am also prepared to write on the wrong macroeconomic policy of Mr Osborne.
    George Osborne claims that Britain is a “safe haven” because he does not understand that low rates on bonds are sign of economic weakness.
    He also claims that everything is OK with British banks. This is not true.
    After the eurozone collapse British banks will take one of the largest hits.But Britain cannot afford another bailout.

    Ps. People should not buy gold. Its price will come down. Investors are already switching to the US dollar. Unfortunately the US and the dollar will also collapse, but that is another story.

  • Janiete

    I think the problem with the EU debate is that it is always presented as an all or nothing argument but I suspect millions of people, like me, fall somewhere between the two.

    At the start, the EU was essentially sold as a guaranteed, good for business, trading area. In this regard it has been a tremendous success and most people, I think, still support it.

    The problem comes with creeping equalisation of social and economic policy, which undermines the ability of national governments to respond to their own electorates’ needs and preferences. This is moving power further from the people and is undermining our sense of control within a meaningful democracy.

    We have, for example, seen the effects of free movement of Labour on British employment statistics. Opening up our jobs market early to new accession countries from Eastern europe, helped to hold down wages and made it more difficult for less skilled and experienced UK born workers to get jobs. Hence the large numbers of the low skilled trapped on benefits and the growing number of unemployed young people.

    The Labour Party has always used state action, rightly, to promote a benign environment for its people. Assessing need for schools, hospitals and housing is a vital part of this, but in the event of unregulated large flows of people, planning becomes impossible. As a result, access to these vital services and as a consequence, quality of life will be determined by market forces alone.

    A major challenge for the Labour Party is to correct the balance between what suits business and what is good for the people. It’s likely we will hear this from Ed M today, but it is important that this approach should also extend to redefining agreements within the EU where necessary.

  • Gilliebc

    “Maybe Labour should have foreseen the crisis, but nobody else did either”

    I’m sorry ronnie, but that’s simply not true!  Many of us that were working or had worked in the financial sector, and many other observers also could see this coming a mile off. 

    Lending money on such a large scale to people who could never afford to repay their loans and I’m thinking here of grossly irresponsible mortgage lending now, both here in the UK and the US was simlply unsustainable and a huge gamble on the part of the lenders.  It all comes down to basic maths and common sense really.  Neither of which was much in evidence at that time.

    When Labour (my party of choice) came to power in 1997, they had a huge job to do in putting right the damage done by the previous Tory Government to schools and hospitals in particular.  This was largely achieved by Labour, thankfully.  But then is was as if they didn’t know when to stop or at least cut down on spending.  Tony Blair admitted that they were still spending too much!

  • How can they think that they are credible when they take people like me who are standing up and saying that the government are lying about the situation with teachers’ pensions.  It is not the case that funding is in crisis and that the scheme is about to collapse, it is instead the case that many teachers and other public sector workers CANNOT afford to suddenly pay vastly increased contributions (because of price rises and pay freezes).  Huge sudden increases in contributions will force them out of the scheme AND THEN IT WILL COLLAPSE because it funds in real time.

    Ed and Ed may decided that it’s fine that the government proactively runs a media spin campaign to whip up hatred against the public sector and then simply refuses to discuss the reality of issues at all. 

    But as George says – if they do that why the heck should anyone trust them?  Where’s truth in all this?  Where’s reality?  Do they care?

    Is it really too difficult for them to distill the salient points from the issues being raised here and to interact constructively with them?

    I’ll be here on Sunday
    I suppose they’ll be at home with their feet up discussing how irresponsible people like me are.

  • MicheleB

    Labour’s famed early prudence allowed investments that left quite an inheritance for the Tories (something that many of them are well-used to counting on IRL too).

    Labour invested in people/society, eventually the lambasting started but by that time they’d created an infrastructure that the Tories (LibDem lackeys hanging on) could exploit while they cut future plans to the quick. 
    They’re quite dependent on this cycle methinks.

  • MicheleB

    Sorry if this is a duplicate!

    Labour’s famed early prudence (which people forget about or ignore now) allowed investments that left quite an
    inheritance for the Tories (something that so many of them are so well-used to
    counting on IRL too).

    Labour invested in people/society,
    eventually the lambasting started but by that time they’d created an
    infrastructure that the Tories (LibDem lackeys hanging on) can now exploit
    while they cut future plans to the quick. 
    They’re quite dependent on this cycle methinks.

  • MicheleB

    I’m going off EM, I’m finding him more and more a disloyal and loveless sh*t.

  • MicheleB

    I’m sure that till the international collapse happened there wasn’t realisitically anything that a single national Govt could do effectively by itself.

    Buy to Let mortgages were a disgusting introduction but if UK banks hadn’t been eventually allowed to cave in and offer them too, they’d still have been available from US banks trading here.

    We were all up and all came down together but thank heavens GB set the example he did and thank heavens the US were about to have the election they were!

    Re the IT glitch Gbc I daresay it’s something to do with my clearing of cookies as often as I do.  I never actively log out btw (except by just leaving the page or re-using the tab).  Hey ho!

  • ronnie

    As you’re a person who likes to make your opinion known, I’m assuming you have the letters you must have sent to newspapers, emails, memos etc dating from around 2006 which will back up your claim to have seen the crisis coming. Why not print them here to prove how prescient you were? I for one will then be happy to acknowledge your economic superiority.

  • Gilliebc

    “As a person who likes to make your opinion known”  !!!!!!!

    Isn’t that what you and everyone else on this and other sites are also doing?

    I don’t care for your attitude. 

    I could easily prove my point.  However, I don’t take orders from people who say they will then be happy to acknowledge my economic superiority.

    You have already pre-judged me and my opinion/s.  So what would be the point.

    Go to hell, big-head 🙂

  • Gilliebc

    So what was Ed Balls apologizing for then Janiete?

    That was another reason I didn’t like or agree with his apologizing, because it was tantamount to an admission of guilt! 

    I’m not being confrontational J, more often than not I am usually in agreement with your comments.  I’m “just saying” that’s all 🙂

  • Janiete

    Ed Balls apologised specifically for not regulating banks enough. He said “For the part that I and the last Labour government played in the global regulatory failure, I am deeply sorry.”

    Of course the clip shown on TV cut out the additional comments he made, reminding Osborne that in opposition he and Cameron repeatedly complained of Labour regulating too much.

    I’m not convinced that these apologies have been helpful to Labour, or maybe they were a good idea but haven’t been handled well. Time will tell.

    He does not accept the Labour Government’s spending prior to the crash was excessive or that they had any choice but to spend to avoid a depression.