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Time running out for Tories’ ‘all Labour’s fault’ mantra

Posted on 17 February 2011 | 7:02am

The Tories have had a very good run with their ‘it’s all Labour’s fault’, but it is slowly coming to an end.
With the public, or at least the centre of gravity of public opinion, I think it came to an end some time ago. The media are following on behind.
It was a great help to the Tories that Labour had such a long leadership election. As that trundled on, and as the media enjoyed giving the Tories a honeymoon even though they had failed to win a majority, various lines were hammered into the public debate.
The books are worse than we feared. (Not true, but convenient for the next bit)… The deficit was caused by excessive Labour spending. (Not true, the deficit was manageable until the global crash which hit tax revenues and required massive sums to bail out the banks. But convenient for the next bit)… The deficit risks making us the next Greece. (Not true but convenient for the next bit)… There is no alternative to tax rises and massive spending cuts. (Not true – though some tax rises and some spending cuts were inevitable, the bulk of the cuts being made are the result of political and ideological choices).

When the cuts were theoretical, and the tax rises just echoes of a largely forgotten election campaign, the Tories could get away with  it. But as the tax rises are implemented and the cuts start to bite, a set of glib lines suddenly looks exactly that.
Just as David Cameron is bravely carrying on with his Big Society, so he and George Osborne continue to tell ministers and MPs that the above economic lines must be parroted in all interviews at all times.
It is normally a rule of communication that a line that has early acceptance, and is then repeated endlessly, is likely to become a permanent part of the political backdrop. But the Tory line on the economy, whilst it may have met with the early acceptance, is now facing more resistance.
That will be increased by the fact that Osborne continues to blame Labour decisions for the current economic problems, notably inflation. In seeking to exempt the VAT rise from any impact on inflation, for example, I’m afraid he is moving into the ‘treat people like idiots’ category. People aren’t idiots. It is why as ‘it’s all Labour’s fault’ and ‘there is no alternative to the cuts’ continues to come over the airwaves, acceptance has turned to jeers which will turn to anger as the cuts bite and the tax rises  squeeze.

  • Bev Clack

    This connects to a bigger problem for the government – and that is the sense that they are not actually governing. Witness the Big Society. The way it’s expressed is: it’s up to you; we’re not here to tell you what it is; you decide what it means. And the attempt to blame local councils for the cuts is the same: it’s down to them, nothing to do with us guv. People like the idea of a government that is in charge, and this lot clearly aren’t as they are not up to the job.

  • Jose

    As yet, there haven´t been any cuts, it´s all been hot air! The coalition is spending even more money than Labour was….is this really possible?
    People really aren´t idiots Alastair and know full well that Labour ran expenditure at unsustainable levels. It was all very good for the fat-cat quangos and councils and bureaucrats but what about the rest of us picking up the tab.

  • McDuff

    Spot on analysis, even if it is a bit late yourself! Kevin Maguire has been saying to the Tories for a while to start taking responsibility for their decisions and he is right. The sad thing, as you pointed out, was that Labour were too busy trying to pick a leader and adjusting to opposition that they missed some open goals by the coalitition. Even on defence, aircraft carriers with no aircraft, Harriers and Nimrods scrapped and sacking front-line troops by email. Can you imagine if that happened on GB’s watch? Where was the Save our Harriers? Still at least Labour are starting to learn, but I think they need to turn the srews further.. IMO.

  • Murray Johnc

    Interesting piece and I must confess that I find myself “tutting” at the telly when the “Labour is to blame for everything” line is repeated in its various forms. The only problem is though I also find myself getting impatient with the attitude that “none of it was Labour’s fault” that is also trotted out on a regular basis. Admittedly David Milliband has, when pushed, agreed that Labour made mistakes, but when he does I’m always left with the impression that he’s talking about some errant relation that somehow went astray and that, now he’s in charge, can be brought back into the fold. The problem is that he was party to those mistakes so maybe he needs to tell us what he feels the mistakes were and in what way has he learned from them.
    This of course from a wishy washy Liberal that’s struggling to come to terms with what on earth we’re doing propping up a Tory administration.

  • Colin

    I niticed it on question time last week. Lots if jeers as they tried to reel out the same old line. People are not prepared to listen to it any more.

  • Murray Johnc

    Ed Milliband – Doh!!

  • Mabozza Ritchie

    The mantra makes me cringe when I hear it and the Lib Dems are the worst culprits. I think your analysis is spot on and it will be interesting to see how the arguments develop. The problem the Tory-led government has is the same as any government with modernising ambitions. It is not to win the general case for reform; it is to win the argument for specific reforms / cuts on their own merits.

    However the problem is exacerbated with the u-turns they have already made. It is an early display of weakness and interested groups will be encouraged to fight every case in the hope the govt will cave in. I believe strategically they are in a real mess and I cannot see an ending for them that doesn’t end in disaster at the next election. Perhaps, this is just wishful thinking….

  • Robert_g_smith

    Jose, I wish there hadn’t been cuts, but there have been. My job lecturing at Sandhurst went in spring. Not technically a cut but a result of a recruitment freeze so tight that my employers couldn’t get around it. The result of this is the teaching staff are cut.

    I am now on an hourly contract teaching in a Russell Group university. This teaching would usually be filled by a full-time member of staff but again there is a recruitment freeze in place. Again not technically a cut but four members of the teaching staff in my department have left in the last twelve months and they haven’t been replaced.

    Both of these are the result of strategies coping with the cuts introduced by the last government but Universities now are shaping up for the next round of cuts which are working through the system from last year’s spending review and the figures announced last week. They are also positioning themselves the changes in student financing which promise more upheaval.

    I have the privilege of teaching great students in a good university. The University plays a vital role in the local economy, bringing in good jobs, money from students both UK and overseas, and over the last ten years it has also been the location of large construction projects.

    It sometimes feels like all of that is being trashed at the moment. A responsible government would find a better way of dealing with the deficit than this.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Labour has taken the lead in the polls. Labour is winning the argument on many policies – with the exception of the economy.
    But 64% of Britons believe that the country is heading across recession again. And the majority also think that cuts go too far and are too fast.
    But still 38% of Britons say that Conservatives would run the economy well (28% for Labour).
    In order to win again, Labour must regain its economic credibilty. This can be simply done by telling the truth using official ONS and Treasury figures.
    Since the general election The Tory-led government has blamed Labour for the “mess” caused by global financial crisis which started in the US. Now despite of all this 55% of Britons regard recession as global phenomenon, not Labour´s fault.
    David Cameron supported Labour´s spending plans till October 2008. George Osborne wanted less regulation than Labour.
    Labour ran only small deficits on an average of 2.5%. This is not overspending. Labour´s spending was on CAPITAL INVESTMENT, not current costs.
    The structural defict was only 2.7% before the crisis (1% without investment). Under John Major it was 2.9% of GDP in 1996-97!
    The deficit went up because of bank bailouts and recession, as IFS and C4 have confirmed. Not because of budget decisions! The structural deficit also increased because of the economic crisis.
    Deficits under Labour were: 02/3 -£11bn, 03/4 -17bn, 04/5 -19bn, 05/6 -13bn, 06/7 -5bn and 07/8 -4bn (source ONS).
    Debt before the financial crisis was only 36.3% of GDP (2007-08). The debt New Labour inherited in 1997 was 42.5%! So Britain´s public finances were, in fact, in better shape before the crisis caused by banks than under the Major administration.
    Before the crisis public sector current spending was 38% of GDP – below eight of 11 years of Mrs Thatcher. The biggest public sector current spending under New Labour was 40% of GDP in the last financial year after two years of recession. Even this was below six of Mrs T´s years! Any budget deficit was thus due to failure to tax, not excessive spending.
    Total managed expenditure of GDP was: 38.2 in 1997-8, 37.3, 36.4, 36.8, 38, 38.7, 39.4, 40.6, 41.3, 40.9, 41.1 and 43.9 in 2008-09 (sources: ONS and Treasury).
    The financial crisis was global and caused recession.
    Bank bailouts and recession (tax receipts down, benefits costs up) caused the deficit in Britain.
    The debt was taken to save banks, jobs and homes. Alternative would have been depression.
    Gordon Brown´s Keynesian response to the crisis was right. Fiscal stimulus, quantitative easing and bank nationalisations prevented depression.
    Unemployment in the recession was lower than expected, and there was no inflation.
    Britain has been able to borrow at low costs, and much of the debt is asset as it is owned by Britons.
    Labour left a growing economy with deficit £10bn lower than expected – not a mess! And all this after the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s.
    Alistair Darling had a credible plan to halve the deficit in four years without risking the growth.
    So instead of creating a “mess”, Labour has shown that it can handle the economy very well – even in the most difficult of times.
    And Labour CAN be trusted to handle the economy also in the future!

    Ps. George Osborne´s prefered deficit measure in the cyclically-adjusted current deficit. This averaged precisely ZERO between 1997-8 and 2007-08!

  • Jacquie R

    The people aren’t idiots, it’s the government who are idiots. They’re having to make so many U turns, they look more and more like the Keystone Cops.

  • simon

    So…NONE of it was Labour’s fault ? Is this the point you’re trying to make, Alastair ?

  • SG

    ‘With the public, or at least the centre of gravity of public opinion, I think it came to an end some time ago’

    Dream on !
    Labour had 13 years to screw things up. Most people appreciate it will take longer than 9 months to clear up the mess left behind

  • lee

    it always amuses me when the cuts are dismissed as ideological – as if there was no ideology at all behind the decisions to spend money in the first place.

    we know that the tories ideology is tilted towards lower tax and smaller state, just as the labour ideology is tilted the opposite way.. though there remains barely a cigarette paper between the two because, lest we forget, the only difference is that labour think we should go back to the perfectly adequate spending levels of a few years ago at a slightly more moderate pace. you’d think from the rhetoric that the tory plans are to take spending back to pre-war levels, rather than those we saw in the middle of an economic boom, and after about ten years of labour government.

    Still.. the leftist p.r. drive has done a great job of reigniting the anti-tory feeling that’s been so subdued since, really, 1997. labour managed to lay the blame for most ills on ‘the previous government’ for many years after being elected because that feeling was so strong – but any animosity towards the blair/brown governments seems far milder and focussed on the individuals rather than the parties. blair alone seems to be carrying the can for iraq, whereas the whole conservative party is tainted by milk-snatching and angry miners.

    there is a latent dislike of the tory party, which was never going to be banished by a leadership so easily (and, accurately) portrayed as a pack of pontificating millionaires… but the labour party takes no credit here.. they are just beneficiaries by virtue of being the only other show in town. the mud-slinging and bullshit-peddling going on right now (on both sides) is both obvious and pathetic, and i do fear that the mainstream parties are hell-bent destroying what little belief the british public have left in the integrity of our politics.

  • When the Tories came to power in 1979, I last heard the “we inherited this situation” excuse a full 11 years later.

    They’re not going to stop any time soon…

  • Mayski

    Just been listening to Mr Cxameron’s welfare speech —- methinks he has a ‘little list’!

  • ambrosian

    If, as the Tories claim, Labour were spending money recklessly before the banking crisis, then why did the Tories at that time pledge to stick to Labour’s spending plans?
    The other mantra that Osborne endlessly repeats is “the nation’s credit card”. But a Government deficit has nothing in common with a personal credit card. The reason that Governments can borrow eye-watering sums of money is because they have the ability to levy taxes and the absolute certainty of tax income. No credit card holder can match that as a form of collateral.
    Which leads on to the false comparison with Greece: one of the key reasons for Greece’s problems was that so many of its citizens were able to avoid paying taxes. In Britain, that is only the case for the very wealthy, including some members of this Government.

  • Annie

    Good to see you raising this and I wish the Labour Shadow Cabinet would fight back rather than letting the Tories and, more particularly, the LibDems keep trotting out this line without redress. Sadly, I don’t share your faith that the majority of the public to see through this; I think they have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, by and large. I even heard one Tory Junior Minister last week describe Gordon Brown as being responsible for the UK’s economic crisis. Unbelievable. The only way to stop these lines is to fight back at every opportunity. And, Jose, have you got any figures to support your claim that the Coalition is spending more than Labour? I’d be very interested.

  • While i agree with much of the debunking of Tory rhetoric, Labour could’ve done much to mitigate the damage caused by the crash and didn’t. That’s never going to stop being their fault.

  • Nicky

    Simon, was it Labour’s fault there was a global crisis? Sorry, but you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for the big con trick that AC describes. They think the public are gullible fools. Please read what Olli says instead of believing the tripe the ConDems come out with.

  • Bill

    You really don’t have a ********* clue, do you?

    • SG

      Obviously, unlike yourself, I’m not gullible enough to believe some of the rubbish written on here. As an ex-member of the Labour party I despair at the mess they have left behind, not just financially but in some many areas. You obviously choose to ignore it and would rather blame a coalition that has been in power for 9 months, It’s clear one of us doesn’t have a ******** clue !

  • Jose

    Robert, I am very sorry that you have suffered personally as a result of Labour policies but the reality is we have all suffered. The Bank of England is fully complicit in rising inflation in the UK and seem happy for everyone´s standard of living to deteriorate. We all need to ask why; the sad truth is that it is a direct result of the previous government´s policies. It is not just higher education that must help pay for our deficit but every taxpayer and it is apparent that the government currently ´employs´ either directly or indirectly far too many people.

    • Robert_g_smith

      Jose, Thank you for your reply and your concern. However, your initial statement was there hasn’t been any cuts. I was simply pointing out through my own experience the paucity of this statement.

      The “we’re all in this together” manta is fine but it’s limited. In a time of recession the quickest way to get out of it is by growing the economy. However, since the election we haven’t had a sensible targetting of policy that might support growth throughout the country but a slash and burn approach that is using the need to reduce the deficit to reshape and shrink the British state. This will have an economic impact and I fear a negative one.

      As I watched the election debates last year, an a newly unemployed higher education lecturer, I thought all of the parties ducked the questions on cuts and failed to engage with it seriously. Instead, they all, talked about their policy promises. So nobody comes out of this clean.

      But the economy will not be rebalanced by simply lopping bits off it – you need to be a bit more sophisticated than that. We’ve moved past the “who is to blame phase.” That won’t get us out of this recession. We need to move on to the “what do we need to do phase.” And we need better than name calling.

  • Once upon a time there was a non elected Tory led government trying to look credible…The end.

  • Aoife

    I would have thought the time would have run about around July-ish. If there were a ‘swear jar’ of sorts for every time a Tory/Lib Dem used this line – particularly as the start of every answer for QT – the deficit would be almost filled.
    It has annoyed me ever since Dave’s face popped up pre-election, but it’s worth noting that my 11-yr old brother, who has no concept of, or time for, politics, has started to complain about this manta.

  • Mark Wright

    “Clearing up this mess that the last Labour government left us.” is now the coalition soundbite equivalent of Gordon Brown’s “Gettng on with the job.” Repeated so often as to actually end up being grating on the ear.

  • Allygally

    I don’t know if you saw QT last week: Francis Maude tried the line “all previous governments’ fault…” and got the bird from the audience…

    It was quite remarkable…

  • Gailbrackett

    You don’t need a PhD in Economics to realise that already this government’s economic policies are failing drastically. They haven’t even been in power for a year. The figures are appalling, unemployment is soaring and I wonder how long the Conservative led Coalition seriously thinks it can get away with it. People are waking up to what is happening and questioning where hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will go once their jobs are axed and why all the services we have worked so hard to build are being systematically destroyed. The Cameron/Osborne mantra that “We’re all in this together” is now a national joke. But cheer up, for the first time since the election, Labour is ahead in the polls.

  • Another piece of valuable insight from you Alastair…my worry is: will the people who need to read this, get to see it? Do the Tory faithful and the Liberal hangers-on, follow blogs? Do they care what we all think? Are they so arrogant that they believe their own mantras and fear not the general mood of the populace?

    Are their own bank balances sufficiently damaged by the OBVIOUS rise in inflation in supermarket and all general/necessary family shopping budgets. To whit: bra in M&S a few months ago £18. Same one this week: £20! I gathered up my gasted flabber and decided to save a bit longer – what use is one bra when you like to look coordinated…

    I am so sorry to drag lingerie into this conversation but are the LibCons worth anything more than my knicker drawer?

    • Jonno

      The people who need to see this are the Labour Party leadership who’s rebuttal of something so easy to rebut has been lamentable.

  • Nick

    Seeing as Labour supporters still bang on about Black Wednesday, which was almost 20 years ago, I suspect the Tories will be allowing the “it was all Labour’s fault” line to run a little longer than 9 months.

  • ronnie

    A lot of people are now wise to the ‘all Labour’s fault’ mantra. But unfortunately a lot of people are still buying It and I think it will continue to be immensely damaging until Labour find some effective way of striking back when the accusation is made.i

    It seems to me that a huge part of the problem is the fact that the situation is so complicated and multifaceted. In a Newsnight or Question Time situation, for example, (cf Francis Maude’s rant last Thursday) a Labour spokesman, when challenged with “Labour’s deficit”, will want to answer in several different ways at once. “The crisis came from the USA.” “The Tories would not have regulated either.” “Anyway, we acted promptly and saved the economy”. No one answer tells the whole story – and in the context of a modern media confrontation, any lengthy response starts to sound like wordy bluster.

    Here is a possible solution. The Labour Party holds a big press conference, with as much publicity as it can scrape together. The purpose is once and for all to draw attention to how childish, how intellectually empty and how maliciously misleading it is for the Tories and Liberals to carry on with their false description of economic events.

    And they do it by making a big noise. By launching, with fanfares, impressive graphics and dancing girls if necessary, a specific document with a specific title which lays out the situation in a clear and undeniable way.

    This could be the document. It could be called:

    “5 Points of Clarification on the Economic Crisis”

    1. There was no political fuss about Britain’s deficit up to the time of the toxic debt crisis. This can only mean that it was universally considered that the deficit was at an acceptable and sustainable level relative to the performance of the economy at the time.

    2. The toxic debt crisis originated in the USA and the ensuing economic disaster was worldwide. No-one could possibly say the crisis was caused by the Labour government.

    3. Labour’s bank regulation policies were all supported by the Tories – in fact they would have regulated less, not more. The deficit would therefore still have happened if the Tories had been in power.

    4. Labour’s handling of the crisis is universally acknowledged to have been inspired. They did the right things and saved the country and possibly the world from even worse disaster. These measures were opposed by the Tories.

    5. Labour’s policies in their last quarter in office meant the deficit was not as bad as expected, unemployment not as bad as expected and economic growth better than expected. It is only since the Coalition came to power that the economy has slowed again.

    If such a document could be launched in a big enough way, and be worded well enough to be pretty much clear and undeniable, things would be a lot easier in future. Any time any Tory or Liberal came up with the glib putdown of “Labour’s deficit”, for example, all the Labour spokesman would have to do would be to say “Well, that’s nonsense – haven’t you read the Five Points?” or “Which of the Five Points do you disagree with?”

    What I’m saying is that the phrase “The Five Points” could become shorthand for the whole argument, just as “Labour’s deficit” has become shorthand for the whole attack.

    It may not end the damage once and for all, but it would certainly help

    • Nicky

      I think you’re really on to something there, Ronnie.

      Tom & Bob (Ed’s team) should take note!

  • Barry

    How right you are Alistair ! The Tories churn out the same phrases ‘the mess we were left in ….”etc no mention of banking malpractice whatsoever. People will rue the day the ConDems got in. As for the Big Society , well that is an epic sham on the grandest of scales. Whilst Cameron is exhorting people to do more, he is like a modern day Nero, busy lighting the fires in the shape of cuts. Judging from PMQ’s yesterday Cameron’s performance was weak and his ‘jokes’ fell flat. He will learn that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  • My own comment will have shown that I am unable to write about economics in anything as lucid as you, Ronnie.

    I salute your idea and would welcome such an initiative from the Labour Party. Not so much to ‘fight back’ as to re-educate the nation as to what is the truth, what is important, NOW and how the Big Society really is not as daft as they think.

  • I agree they won’t – except when the pressure builds and then they hit “the Heseltine button” – and Cameron my be a lot easier to shift than Maggie was…

  • Ayubkhan2011

    Excellent idea and one that should be implemented. A strong slick approach to making clear the position. People do believe the Tory mantra and it is time that Ed and the rest of the party made a strong defence as you describe. Ed also needs to demonstrate New Labour approaches. By this I mean being clear about our policies and demonstrating how they would make a difference. New Labour was elected 3 times using this approach. Why throw away such a successful approach?

  • Seagull

    Where is the actual evidence of ‘fat cat quangos and councils and bureaucrats’? Sounds like Pickles – I often wonder whether people making these observations have ever worked for such organisations and actually know what they are talking about – other than it sounding like a good soundbite. As a matter of academic interest, what is the definition of a bureaucrat – someone who collects council tax, a teacher, an HR manager or accountant (public sector of course – not private),a strategist (although of couse not from the Adam Smith Institute) etc.. Also what does ‘the rest of us mean’ – are the ‘fat cats etc etc’ suddenly non taxpayers from planet Zog not picking up the tab & leaving it to everyone else, including the non-doms and publicly owned banks? Sorry for rant & frustration, fed up with it all & the seeming lack of argument from Labour

  • ngsobob

    You might add that Gordon Brown tried to persuade the G7 in 1998 to introduce more financial regulation after Japan’s problems, but no-one would support. A speech at Harvard on the subject is in his book, Beyond the Crash.

  • Jose

    You didn´t really expect them to answer any questions about where cuts would be made when they were attempting to win an election Robert? As my mum used to say, ´they´re all as bad as one another´. Labour has managed to create many non-productive jobs during its too-long time in power; these now need shedding. This is not the fault of the individual workers but rather the ingenuous manipulation of the ´system´by an ever greedy political class to hold onto power.
    I´m afraid bits (large bits) do need lopping off, many quangos should have been scrapped rather than simply merging. Many councils now bleating should merge their back-office operations; this is just the way it must be or do you think it makes economic sense to keep people in unproductive work always paid for by the taxpayer?

  • Ian Makgill


    The big problem with your plan is this:

    Labour’s hand was on the tiller when the boat crashed.

    It doesn’t matter how many times you say it wasn’t the fault of the previous government (it started in America etc) the Tories will still be able to link an economic failure to a very unpopular PM – Gordon Brown.

    Surely it would be better to have elected a Leader who wasn’t working in the Treasury with Brown, but I digress. Reconciliation can only happen through demonstrating prudence and exposing Tory failures.

  • Bill

    OK, feel free to congratulate yourself on not recognising the truth if it bit you on the @rse.

  • Anonymous

    Do people like the idea of a government that is in charge? I sometimes wonder if the incompetence of the incumbents isn’t almost a selling point. Don’t electorates like a narrative? Well, incompetence is the story of the current lot. I will be interested to see how many u-turns are acceptable to the public. Maybe they like their politics to be a bit of a joke. I guess whether you have a job will determine just how funny you think it is.

  • Steve Cooke

    OK – so let me have a go at this:

    “5 Counter Points of Clarification on the Economic Crisis”

    1. No political fuss about Britain’s deficit – Tony Blair said, on camera (maybe it’s in his book) that he thought Labour’s spending was too high in 2005, 2 years before he left office. So, the concern was already there. Why did he think that EVEN before the economic crisis?

    2. Toxic debt crisis originated in USA. Yes it did. But it did not cause economic disaster WORLDWIDE. Yes, quite a few countries & banks were affected. But, almost the entire South American continent, Australia, Far East, Middle East, Indian subcontinent & many countries in Europe (East & West) were completely unaffected by it. So, please, be a little careful, with the word, WORLDWIDE.

    3. Tories supported Labour’s bank regulation policies & would have regulated less. This is open to conjecture. Even if they would have regulated less, they would not have spent as much as Labour did. Yes, at the same time, we can say that they might not have gone to Iraq or Afghanistan & maybe not spend money on war. Had they won in 1997, the Tories might NOT have brought in University tuition fees. Tell me again, who brought it in & TOPPED-UP? Yes, thought so.

    4) Labour’s handling of the crisis. Yes, you only have to handle a crisis IF/WHEN it happens or affects you.. See point 2 above. The few countries who needed to handle it were USA & Iceland (WHAT? yes, Iceland). The rest of the world was functioning with a bit of a slowdown and didn’t need to be saved by anyone. It reminds me of the cat that thought the whole world would be plunged into darkness if it closed its eyes.

    5. Labour’s policies in their last quarter. Yet Liam Byrne thought it was OK to leave a note to say there is no money (what a tasteless joke !). People should know that policies don’t ruin or fix the economy in a quarter. e.g. The fuel tax on petrol that came into effect in Jan 2011 was a Labour move. And don’t forget that the tax threshold is going up in April, thanks to the Lib-Dems. So more people on lower income won’t be paying income tax.
    So, it will take time, at least 2 years, to see the effect of the Tory-led coalition.

    When Labour does hold this “big press conference”, please do explain, once and for all, would the plan still have been halving the deficit in 4 years. Frankly, I’m a bit dizzy from all this to-ing & fro-ing between Ed,Ed & Alan about what the plan is. It is not beyond the Labour party to set up an econometric model & run it for 2 years & input their policies & show us how the UK would have been better off with their policies.
    Yes, by all means, launch it with as much “fanfares, impressive graphics & dancing girls…” Yes, be as graphic as possible and do not leave out any detail…for it is always said, “The devil is in the detail”.

    If I had a job & was a betting man, I would wager that the Labour party would wet itself at the thought of creating this document.

  • Dave Simons

    When Labour’s hand was on the tiller up to 2007/8, Team Cameron were promising the electorate that they would match Labour’s public spending plans. When the financial crisis began to unroll across the Atlantic, Team Cameron spotted their main chance and immediately changed tack. They’ve lied and lied to the electorate ever since. They know what it’s like to be caught up in an economic crisis not entirely of their own making – 1987 and 1992, when their hand was on the tiller – and they know how governments have to respond.But they are dyed-in-the-wool opportunists and they think the electorate is, on the whole, pretty stupid. That’s you and me, Ian.

  • Bottomleyp

    Most people, whatever their political preference, know extra interest on extra borrowing brings long-term continuing extra costs as well as the risk of loss of confidence leading to unplanned slash and burn.
    There is an alternative to the Labour approach of borrow more and spend more.
    People understand it. Labour should try to understand people.

  • Claire33

    Absolutely agree. We are all waiting for the truth about the economic crisis to be told. Too many people are prepared to believe a cinvenenient truth – it was Labour’s fault, Tories can fix it. Simple.

    Come on Ed. People are waiting for you to fill the vacuum. A sexy launch is what the press want.

  • Alf

    Tony Blair said on camera (maybe it’s in his book) that he thought Labour’s spending was too high in 2005, That was two years before he left office. Why did he express concern before the economic crisis? He was clearly aware of problems in the economy.

  • Jose

    Sorry for getting back to you late but…..anyway, Labour started this rot and are struggling to counter the coalition’s argument about blame. As Alistair has said, it’s maybe time to move on but that’s easier said than done whilst the coalition mentions it at every opportunity. Remember politicians are even still quoting the likes of Thatcher and Foot for goodness sake!
    I think to address the original point about non-jobs, you just need to look at the list of quangos as an example and wonder what they all achieve.

  • Fred

    But Olli is Alastair!


  • AMc

    Clear up the mess? the coalition has done a pretty good job in 9 months of destroying any green shoots of growth…with yet more misery to come…where are the plans fro growth?

  • Dave Simons

    Is the Heseltine button the one that dropped off in the House of Commons when he was swinging the mace, or is it from the flak-jacket he wore when, in Tony Benn’s words, ‘He led the army against the Quakers at Molesworth’?

  • Dave Simons

    Is the Heseltine button the one that dropped off in the House of Commons when he was swinging the mace, or is it from the flak-jacket he wore when, in Tony Benn’s words, ‘He led the army against the Quakers at Molesworth’?

  • Thejurist

    With regards to your article “Time running out for Tories’ ‘all Labour’s fault’ mantra”,I would recommend as an example of how our American cousins approach the issue is to view excellent US video interview with Naomi Klein who is the author of the excellent book “The Shock Doctrine” The interview touches upon the cuts which the UK Coalition is presently pushing through and how they are exploiting the Deficit as the reason for so doing. The Labour Leadership and the Party generally are failing to adequately explain that the principle reason for the massive increase in the Deficit was the so-called necessity to bail out the Banksters. The same Banksters who are now still being paid multi million pound bonuses and their companies getting away with paying miniscule amounts in corporation tax. The public are paying the price and suffering job losses etc for the actions of the Banksters who are not being held properly to account for their corrupt practices etc.
    The interview”Naomi Klein “This Is A Classic Example Of The Shock Doctrine”can now be found on YouTube at:
    The interview should be viewed by ALL Members (including the entire Shadow Cabinet – as an excellent teaching tool).

  • Thejurist

    With regards to your article “Time running out for Tories’ ‘all Labour’s fault’ mantra”,I would recommend as an example of how our American cousins approach the issue is to view excellent US video interview with Naomi Klein who is the author of the excellent book “The Shock Doctrine” The interview touches upon the cuts which the UK Coalition is presently pushing through and how they are exploiting the Deficit as the reason for so doing. The Labour Leadership and the Party generally are failing to adequately explain that the principle reason for the massive increase in the Deficit was the so-called necessity to bail out the Banksters. The same Banksters who are now still being paid multi million pound bonuses and their companies getting away with paying miniscule amounts in corporation tax. The public are paying the price and suffering job losses etc for the actions of the Banksters who are not being held properly to account for their corrupt practices etc.
    The interview”Naomi Klein “This Is A Classic Example Of The Shock Doctrine”can now be found on YouTube at:
    The interview should be viewed by ALL Members (including the entire Shadow Cabinet – as an excellent teaching tool).

  • Alf

    Thejurist…..good try. Now tell us how much extra interest would have to be paid on our debt if the Government cut more slowly ? While you’re about it, perhaps an insight into Labour’s plan for cutting the deficit in 4 years would also be something of a revelation ?

  • Gez Raymaker

    The whole point is that the Tory Party fought tooth and nail to get the job – now they are complaining what they (allegedly) discovered about the country’s finances.
    I am confused… Michael Hestletine stated on a recent television programme where aid to India was being discussed, that we are a ‘very wealthy country’ . So which is it? What are we – bankrupt or rich?
    I know, I know – don’t expect a politician to tell you – they lie!

  • Tex

    Both these Governments are a disgrace, Both would have ended up at this
    point, and while we working men work our arses off to fill firstly their
    pockets before the economy is even addressed, They resort to childish
    point scoring bullshit live on TV. Start by abolishing tax fuded job
    perks and expenses then your pensions you greedy fat ponses.