Posts Tagged ‘Harman’

Harman’s Budget Challenge, by Jonathan Todd

22/06/2010, 08:30:43 AM

The budget response is the great set-piece political challenge. Your opponent has an age to prepare and all the resources of treasury. You stand up when they sit down. By the time you sit down, the political context is virtually set, not least because your opponent’s spinners have tried to fix this. Given the centrality of economics to present politics, it is a bigger challenge than ever. Harriet Harman must rise to this as our acting leader.  Which transience of tenure, of itself, reduces her potential agility compared with a permanent leader. You have to feel for her. Here are a few, hopefully helpful, suggestions.

The first task is to distinguish pragmatic economics from small-state ideology. As the need for deficit management is widely acknowledged, pragmatism is required, but only Thatcherites see this crisis as an opportunity for ideological resurgence.

The second task is to oppose the manifestations of this ideology, while the third is to provide a coherent alternative economic prospectus. This prospectus must contain tax increases and spending cuts, but the mix should reflect a very different ideology from that supported by Tory MPs agitating for a budget akin to the Thatcherite “cold shower” of the 1981 budget. Overarching all of this is the need to gain an audience in a media climate favourable to the coalition.


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Hopi Sen asks the leadership bright boys some hard questions

20/05/2010, 09:52:52 AM

In the leadership election campaign, there will be a lot of talk of telling ourselves “uncomfortable truths”. Quite often, these “uncomfortable truths” will be a rhetorical trick to tell the audience what it wants to hear. Like that it’s all someone else’s fault, or that the party lost its way and got out of touch.

So I thought we should perhaps make a habit of proposing some uncomfortable truths that the Labour party, and even the candidates themselves, really don’t want to hear.

Here are two to start us off.

Don’t throw the machine away. Mend it.

The current crop of leadership contenders are the products of the most ferociously successful political machine in Labour party history. It was a machine that won three general elections, reduced the old left of the Labour party to irrelevance and made the country we live in a fairer, more open and safer place to live.

These are not bad things. (more…)

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