Monday, 3 June 2013

Labour Party plan to ape Tory "austerity-lite"



By the standards of June, when nothing much can tends to happen as people start to enjoy the weather in the UK and stop thinking of ways to upset everyone else, there is a small political bomb being planted today.

Led by the combustible Ed, a speech is being made now at Reuters that suggests an incoming Labour administration in 2015 will be an austerity government. With a pitch that seems to clash badly with previous positions, Labour are to note that there won't be any money left and most departmental spending will have to continue to come down.

Furthermore there are gimmicky ideas on tax raising such as reducing winter fuel payments for elderly relatives and also increasing the whole bankers bonus tax. These two idea raise in the grand scheme of things next to nothing in real revenues, but help to position Labour firmly on one side of the class war they are so intent on continuing.

It is far from certain that Mr Balls will ever get any economic credibility. It is a strange world in that both Osborne and Balls are in dire need of replacement by their party leaders, yet neither one has the courage or political capital to act.

In the longer term, this is quite a shrewd move by Labour. For on most other policy fronts they lead the Tories by a healthy margin. If they can get some ground back by promising Tory economic policy only from them, just as they did in 1997, then this could prove to be a turning point in their fortunes.

The Tories though will be able to point to their flip-flopping (whilst carefully ignoring their own implementation of plan B rather than A). Interestingly the truth is that both leading parties have almost the same ideas on the economy now, both seeking an austerity-lite package. The opportunity for the Liberals and UKIP to offer a different package is their for them to seize.

14 comments:

June is bustin' out all over said...

If Cameron got his bloody finger out and sorted out postal voting (by banning it completely; no show up at polling station = no vote) this twerp would not even be in Parliament again.

Life in the UK gets daily more depressing. (Thank goodness I no longer live there!)

Blue Eyes said...

George has done what any Chancellor could do. Not sure why you think he needs to be sacked. You think he's responsible for holding back all the structural reforms we need???

Also unsure as to what on Earth the LDs could offer as a distinctive policy at the next election. If there is one policy where the two coalition parties go out of their way to agree on it's public spending levels. St Vince differs with George on many issues but whenever there is a suggestion that the spending plans could be altered he comes out gunning for the coalition plan.

Any sea change from the LDs would be about as credible as Labour going into the 2015 election blaming the Tories for the deficit and debt...

As for UKIP their economic policy is to break off from the single market and then what? Cut spending and taxes? Raise spending and cut taxes? Negotiate a trade deal with China while all the Nissans pile up at Harwich?

Jer said...

Yet another post castigating George Osborne.

Yes he is a posh boy who doesn't know the price of milk, and he's never done a day's useful work in his life.

But he isn't notably bad by the standards of the cabinet or politicians generally, he hasn't done anything grotesquely stupid and he isn't Ed Balls.

Surely he rates 5/10? As such he's above average for modern politicos.

Bill Quango MP said...

5/10 seems a tad generous.
4/10. What he did do was to squander very, very hard won credibility by taxing pasties and caravans and having his budget unravel in a terrible own goal of Paul Robinson proportions..

And it fell apart in days. At least old Gordon's took years to fall to bits.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - I did not say they can do it, just that the two main parties are now offring very similar terms. Such that there is room for an alternative...as you say LD's will likley pull left of Labour and UKIP not quite get a sotry straight - but they both have a goal to aim for.

Jer - Umm..GO, let's see, how's that cutting the top rate of tax working out? How about that pasty tax? How about that strategy of opposing AV which has LOST the next election for certain. How about the big retreat to plan B whilst denying it in reality.

GO was not a sub optimal choice for Chancellor, a political appointment. Now he is not even Lamont - at least Lamont was proved right in the end. the same won't be said of GO. All the best Tory policies have come from Gove, IDS, May and Hammond. One of them should be Chancellor.

Blue Eyes said...

CU you are of course right that there is plenty of opportunity for any of the main parties to change their policy, but can they do it and retain any credibility or support? LDs have sensibly realised that there is no alternative to year-on-year deficit reduction and reform of the public sector - they know that Labour's model was never sustainable even if they have come late to that conclusion. They can't now say hey y'know what we think that more spending is the answer after three-five years of lining up behind the Tories on this.

BQ+CU yes of course GO has been gaffe-prone but the meat of the policies would be identical had it been presented by Gove or May or even Cable. Darling would have done much the same. Osborne can't do any of the things which Hammond or Gove might do for the same reason that Gove or Hammond can't do any of the things they might want to do as Chancellor! Different departments, different situation!

As for AV, well let's see what happens when Tory ministers try to go along with a small l or Big L policy. Say, gay marriage, to pick an example totally at random. You get all the nasty bits of the Tory party lining up with the "but why NOW" bits of the party and you get a backbench rebellion. You really think that Osborne could have got AV through if he'd wanted to?

I think one of the things that might actually be understood in retrospect is how much the coalition IS doing in the face of it being a fractious coalition.

No, it's not pursuing a radical deregulatory, neo-Thatcherite agenda. Shock. No, it's not slashing spending and taxes. Shock. No it's not able to push through electoral reform that would benefit the Tories and the general fairness of the system. Shock.

Anonymous said...

"Class war" got me going as these two words clearly highlight what's wrong with the UK politics.

If you've watched a boardroom at work you'll have seen the great difference between a chairman and a CEO. The CEO will articulate "take no prisoners, we're the best etc." Dick waving at its best when things are on the up. When matters turn sour, the chairman is there smoothing, counselling and navigating the difficult path between scylla and charybdis of the options available. Achieving the consensus required to get them out of the difficulties they find themselves in.

Politics require more chairmen than CEO's as there are always issues and they are not solved by penalising or berating one side over another. Consensus is always better than war.

And talking about war, the Germans are by far the best I have seen at getting consensus and it should be no surprise that they gave us Realpolitik.

Q: Which chairman should be PM?

dearieme said...

Balls and his doxy, Frou Frou Trixibell, behaved so badly over housing expenses that, in a better ordered country, they'd be in jail.

CityUnslicker said...

Anon - Easy - John Bond, he has a good record of selling to the higest bidder and getting the best price...

James Higham said...

Balls as Chancellor - I'll turn off the light as I go.

Anonymous said...

During this parliament, it was the 2012 Budget and its aftermath, that saw the largest sustained change in voting intention, something from which the Tory party has yet to recover fro

Blue Eyes said...

CU I see your blog is sponsored by Budgie today:

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Kynon said...

Yet another confirmation (if any were needed) that it's nigh-on impossible to fit a fag-paper between the mainstream UK political parties...

Agence communication said...

"" Furthermore there are gimmicky ideas on tax raising such as reducing winter fuel payments for elderly relatives and also increasing the whole bankers bonus tax. These two idea raise in the grand scheme of things next to nothing in real revenues, but help to position Labour firmly on one side of the class war they are so intent on continuing.

It is far from certain that Mr Balls will ever get any economic credibility. It is a strange world in that both Osborne and Balls are in dire need of replacement by their party leaders, yet neither one has the courage or political capital to act.
"""