Posts Tagged ‘Anatole Kaletsky’

As George rises, so do economic questions for Labour

03/10/2011, 12:59:56 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Ed Miliband’s speech leaves him better defined. George Osborne will be hoping the same doesn’t happen to him today. Definition is the last thing he needs at the moment. His strategy is clear: cut long and hard. It is his plan b that is anything but clear. Many of Miliband’s economic themes also remain to be fully unpacked. Perhaps his most consequential line on the state’s size was:

“If this government fails to deal with the deficit in this parliament, we are determined to do so”.

“Deal with” in the next parliament might mean the elimination of the deficit, as this is the government’s objective for this parliament. I’ve mused on the present status of Labour’s commitment to halve the deficit in this parliament, as has Ed Balls. This interpretation potentially enforces more aggressive deficit closure in the next parliament under a Labour government than we are prepared to support in this.
This is one of various potential strategies for addressing Labour’s enduring perception of profligacy:

First, the past: apologise for “over spending” in government. More contrition for particularly egregious spending, such NHS IT procurement, might help. But, if adopted wholesale, this seems likely to play into the hands of George Osborne’s narrative that Labour “over spending” caused the problem that he is now “fixing”.


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