Monday, 9 March 2015

Are Labour and the Tories really very different?

A nice, refreshing attack on the Tories by Ed Balls will be made today. Lacking in an detail, he instead claims that the future Tory Government cuts will be the worst in the history of the  world, the worst ever made anywhere, ever, and much worse than anything that has ever been done before.

Underneath the Election hyperbole, the difference in spending by each party is set to be around £75bn a year by the end of the parliament. This may sound like a lot, but in cash terms, this is around 5% difference in Government spending.

Currently, we are in the budget process at my workplace. Increases or cuts of around 5% mean in the round, no overall change. Nothing is considered difficult until you get to around 10% and then actually difficult cuts start there  and above - certainly no redundancies hit until at least 10% is suggested for a cut in spending.

So perhaps the most insightful thing that Ed Balls is telling us today, is that there is very, very little difference between the Party's and as such, the vehemence of the rhetoric has to be turned up very high, to address the paucity of the product on offer. 


Sebastian Weetabix said...

It's all complete bollocks. In the public sector they plan for an annual increase in spending; if you reduce that increase, so spending 'only' goes up by, say, 1% instead of 2%, cue screams and complaints of a cut. This useless coalition has not cut government spending at all; every year, in simple cash terms, they spend more than last year, every month they spend more than last month.

In my lifetime there has only ever been one chancellor who has cut actual cash spending, and that was Denis Healey - and he only did so because the IMF forced him to. Amazingly the roof didn't fall in.

We may draw some lessons from this.
a) it doesn't really matter if it's the Tories/Labour or even, heaven forfend, the fucking SNP who gets in. They're all going to spend roughly the same amount
b) unless and until the bond markets collapse and the looters who are pleased to call themselves our leaders cannot borrow anymore, and the IMF holds a gun to their heads, there will be no real cuts
c) since all the regulations come from UNECE, CODEX, various other UN-sponsored bodies and finally the EU, why do we need this expensive pantomime of national and devolved "governments" full of scumbag oxygen thieves stealing our pensions?

E-K said...

CU - Well put.

SB - point 'c' seconded.

It could still be the Red team or the Blue team in this contest of sporting inconsequence. (Mix the two and what colour do you get ?)

Anonymous said...

So, would UKIP be any different?

The Greens would. They would run out of magic money faster than the others.

hovis said...

Indeed a rounding error and a pantomine to distract us.

SW & E-K agreed whole heartedly. With point c - it then leads to other questions with answers that are not palatable. If you have pantomine politics, the laws are imposed on you by bodies without your say or consent, are you little more than a slave? Add to this the money you work for everyday requires your time and effort, whilst the finacial system you will be paying into creates money literally out of thin air is sobering thought.

Anon: the magic money tree does exist (see oblique refernce above), so the Greens shouldn't evr run out of money, they may though run out of support from the current monetary infrastructure.

Jan said...

Labour attempting to get in by making us all live in fear doesn't work any more.....we've heard it all before ad nauseam....people are immune.

They will have to do much better than this to have a hope in hell.

Sandalista said...

If you are all starting from the same point - in the shit financially from bailing out the banks - then your room for maneuver is similarly limited.

The solutions are clear. Jail a few dozen bankers and it won't happen again.

DJK said...

CU/SB --- hear hear.

Living in Scotland, I'll probably vote Labour for the first time ever, as the most likely anti-SNP party. Either that, or UKIP. I certainly won't be voting for the so-called Conservative party.

Incidentally, my guess for the price of SNP support to a Labour government would be SNP control of the BBC in Scotland.

Sandalista: Greedy bankers are a symptom, not a cause. I'm not entirely sure what they're a symptom of, but probably a broken globalization/world trade model where Asian and Arab exporters build up huge currency surpluses without a balancing trade.

Nick Drew said...

@ Jan - Labour ... will have to do much better than this

yes indeed, have just watched 1 O'clock news (beeb), which suggests a rather important difference between Lab & Con

item 1 = 500 New Free Schools, treated reasonably positively;

item 2 = Balls & his Bastard-Tories-Bastard-Cuts meme, treated thus "- it raises the question, OK what cuts will you make? - and details on that have been hard to find"

there'll be some anguished beeb-bound calls from the Balls war-room before the 6 O'clock news goes out

andrew said...


Exactly the same line taken on Today this am

Chris Leslie at 7.10 explaining how nasty the cons are and completely refusing to say when they will balance the budget, or what cuts they will make or anything apart from how nasty the cons are.

This line only appeals to people who already believe it.

Bill Quango MP said...

As we have been repeatedly pointing out.
Labour are trying to squeeze every last vote out of their 35% core.

The complacency of the Miliband operation is staggering.
But, without the SNP rebellion, would have worked well enough.

As any soccer manager will tell you .. a win is a win.. 1-0 , 2-1, 0-0 penalty shoot-out win.

That counts for just as much as a 10-0 thrashing.

andrew said...


there is a limit in the appeal to the loyal core.
at some point the level of cognitive dissonance just gets too high, you see the light and then move to some other point of view.

this was the beauty of farage's approach. all he had to do was let the others talk and then tell the great british public that these people are talking nonsense.

trouble is he only has a narrow window before he is found to be talking the same nonsense.

in the mean time, the party that wants to win because the other side is nasty has spent another day not explaining what it is for.

which imo wont even motivate the core 35%

Suffragent said...

Completely agree with the General consensus SW, E-k and Hovis (wandered down that dark path a few times but now my tinfoil hat seems to be quite the fashion).

To take a more positive stance. Rather than gather here and declare the End is Nigh, what the feck we going to do about it.

Who will rid us of these fraudulent thieves?
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (and women obviously)

Where dealing with a bunch of ignorant, mathematically incompetent, HATED, idiots, out of touch with reality.
We are a bunch of social misfits, honest, hardworking, intelligent, funny, multi skilled, world experienced, CAPITALISTS. If we can’t do it then who?

How do we starve these #¤%&//s of our hard earned wealth?
How do we bring these (/&%¤&s out into the light. Using there phrase of “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” when snooping into every aspect of our personal lives. Let’s bring this election back down to a street fight (something they have removed themselves from). I want to see this as the dirtiest election ever.
Let’s bring to question every lie they utter (full marks for the sterling work you do here but we need to get it to a larger audience) EG.
But let’s be British and do it with humour.
Suggestions please
A Call to Arms, Suff
PS Same time tomorrow

Suffragent said...

"where" but they might be better at spelling than us :-)

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. The 'big two' have agreed a strategy between them which I refer to as 'Indian Bicycle Marketing'.

I explained this seven years ago here.

With the benefit of hindsight, I could tweak these predictions ever so slightly, but all in all it's not far off.

Bill Quango MP said...

Suffragent. A call to arms.
Well someone must defend the Isles after the defence. Cuts!

Mw. I remember that post. And some of the subsequent. Good one.
So where do the nats. Or kippers fit in?

Mark Wadsworth said...

BQ, obviously, the minor parties all have their own scripts (Natalie Bennett doesn't realise this and never bothered reading the Green one properly).

It was people in UKIP who kept pointing out (quite rightly) that in practise there is barely no difference between Tories, Lib Dems and Labour.

The problem was that UKIP themselves have only got one sentence' worth of manifesto left* and no idea how to implement it and pretty much no clue about anything else.

* The magic sentence is "Do you want the countryside to be concreted over to build housing for all the Romanian and Bulgarian welfare claimants who are stealing our jobs and putting pressure on the NHS?"

Alex Salmond is political genius. Narrowly losing the referendum was the best thing that could ever have happened to the SNP.

BE said...

This is a wonderful blog post.

We have a Chancellor promising to reduce state spending to about 35% of GDP, which is either the lowest since 2000 or the lowest since 1935, and a Shadow Chancellor who is promising that maybe at some stage he will cut the current deficit (but not the capital spending budget) a bit, with the aim of closing it maybe if the tax rises he is planning are enough for that to happen.

Clearly, identical policies.

Tell me, UKIPers, what level of public spending is the angry party promising?

5%? 10%? Oh, wait, they don't have a bloody clue.

Suffragent said...

You seem to be missing the point “Chancellor promising” read lie and will he be held to account when he doesn’t fulfil? Bonfire of the quangos? GDP read dodgy accounting figure whose only purpose is to allow the government to borrow what it can’t raise in taxes. “Deficit” is an INCREASE in spending and is therefore an exponential function. Reducing it, is still an increase in spending. It’s all Jam today lies with no accountability.
UKIP is a PROTEST vote. It’s the only option left in this so called democracy. When the other two identical parties completely ignore you. Ukip speeches may be populist but at least it shows they are listening to the public. We don’t have the option of none of the above and nobody could be worse than our current shower of ….
Government spending is like having two drug addicts living in your house. When the stealing from your wallet isn’t enough to feed the habit, they start taking out long term loans in your name. You only get one opportunity to throw them out every five years but here’s the kicker, you are only allowed to throw one of them out (and the one you throw out, still gets to live in the shed and shout abuse from the wings). You have to listen to their pleading for weeks up until decision day. How they will try to cut down and steal less from you but you know its all lies.