Posts Tagged ‘bloomberg speech’

Labour will only win the economic argument when we make it about the future, not the past

12/11/2012, 07:00:02 AM

by Jonathan Todd

The return of the British economy to growth and president Obama to the White House both suggest that Labour will only decisively win the economic argument when it is primarily about the future, not the past.

While welcoming the economy’s recovery, Labour claims output has been foregone due to the government cutting too far, too fast. This frames the economic debate as being about faulty decisions of autumn 2010 by George Osborne and their consequences over the next two years. As much as the celebrated speech of Ed Balls at Bloomberg in August 2010 is vindicated by events over this period, framing the debate in this way invites the question: Why was the government’s fiscal consolidation programme deemed necessary?

Of course, Osborne then cites the reckless profligacy of Labour. Equally obviously, we contend that this programme was unnecessary and the cause of the recession “made in Downing Street”. What may be less apparent is that, no matter how intellectually justified the Bloomberg speech, arguing about past decisions asks the public to reconsider events over which they have a settled mind.

They would have voted differently at the last election were they convinced that Labour had credible and effective plans for public spending. Especially given the pain that government spending decisions have since brought, it is understandable that we find it difficult to concede this. But a strategy for winning the next election predicated upon the electorate reversing a verdict given at the last election rarely works.


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Two Eds are better than one

21/04/2011, 01:30:53 PM

by David Talbot

As Gordon Brown succumbed to the inevitable late on that May evening – with an emotional and dignified statement to end his tumultuous premiership – the final chapter of New Labour was being written. A project that had started in earnest in the mid 1990s had met a sorry end. Achieving a meagre 29% of the vote would make Michael Foot blush, but as the former prime minster left number 10 for the last time, two young loyal lieutenants that had served the party since the early 1990s slipped into opposition determined to bring Labour back to the cusp of power.

The howl of indignation across vast swathes of the press and the Blairite bastions at the election of Ed Miliband as Labour leader was an object lesson in frustrated establishment entitlement. His election was not ordained, the media had thrown its weight behind his brother, David, as the continuity candidate – and so had the New Labour hierarchy.

It didn’t take long for the repercussions to start, the Murdoch press predicted imminent disaster, the ever buffoonish Sun labeled him ‘Red Ed’ and disgruntled former ministers began spitting poison around the Manchester conference bars.

The very fact that Ed Miliband won was due in part because he caught a wave of opinion and optimism within the labour movement that was determined to see the party move on from New Labour and its discredited agenda of triangulation, authoritarianism and penchant for privatisation. Miliband offered a new vision and, even in these early stages, there can be no serious doubt that he represents a real and significant shift beyond New Labour politics. The danger is not this breach of the old order, but that the diehard Blairites, who apparently have no clue why Labour lost 5 million votes, continue to snipe and undermine the new leadership. (more…)

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