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The Osborne-Crosby election beckons, and it’s going to be rough and nasty

The tilt towards blocking immigration as the main theme of an otherwise colourless Queen’s Speech, plus Cameron’s speech immediately afterwards rubbishing Labour as the scroungers’ party, clearly sets the tone for the next two years.

The Tories have clearly decided, now that Osborne’s stubbornness has clearly poisoned austerity even beyond what the IMF can bear, there is nothing left for it but to go for broke by a no-holds-barred populist blitz of the most mendacious prejudices conjured up from the extensive armoury of Lynton Crosby, Cameron’s imported Australian pit-bull. With Osborne determined to pursue his objective of shrinking the State and whittling down the public sector even at the price of sacrificing growth, the Tories have obviously concluded that the next election cannot be won on the economy and can only be pulled out of the fire by smothering Labour in a farrago of lies.

First they claim that austerity is all Labour’s fault becuase it’s been caused by their over-spending. The truth is that the budget deficit in 2007 just before the crash was 3% of GDP and rose to 11.6% in 2010 solely because of the bankers’ bailout. Why doesn’t Labour contest that vigorously? Then the Tories claim that the deficit means we can no longer afford the Welfare State and benefits must be cut wholesale, yet the hyper-rich who have increased their wealth by £190bn since the crash are left untouched. Why doesn’t Labour demand that the super-rich should bear the brunt of any cutbacks? Then the Tories challenge Labour on what cuts they would themselves make, yet Labour appears to have no answer to this political taunt. Why doesn’t Labour insist that endless cutting is counter-productive and wrong, and that the real way out of the recession is sustained public investment in industry, services and jobs financed by QE or taxing the ultra-rich or forcing RBS and Lloyds to lend for this purpose?

Then the Tories spin their web of falsehoods about welfare. They argue that housing benefit is an over-generous benefit to tenants mostly claimed by the unemployed. Why doesn’t Labour point out that it’s actually landlords that benefit, and anyway 93% of new claims for housing benefit last years were from people with jobs? Then the Tories spread the rumour that migrants can jump the housing queue. Why doesn’t Labour jump on this by telling the truth that migrants who don’t have leave to remain in Britain can’t even get short-term hostel accommodation even if they’re homeless, and that asylum seekers are not entitled to social housing and can’t get homelessness assistance or welfare benefits of any kind?

Labour must hit back much more strongly and persistently with the facts. As someone once said, we will stop telling the truth about you when you stop telling lies about us.


  1. Rod says:

    “Why doesn’t Labour contest that [austerity is Labour’s fault] vigorously?”

    Because the Tory solution fits the Blairites purpose. When Liam Byrne famously said there was no money left – he believed it. By exposing the limit of Blairite economic thinking Byrne also revealed their political purpose.

    As long as the Blairites are prominent in the PLP there’ll be no vigorous opposition to Tory policies.

  2. Trevor Warner says:

    Having been a Labour voter since I was able to vote, I must admit to being disillusioned with the current leadership. It seems they are almost accepting of the lies that the Tories utter.

    It is about time the Party went back to it’s founding principles and supported the REAL people of this country, the so-called ‘99%’. How anybody who is part of the ‘99%’ can believe the Tories have their interests at heart is a mystery.

    As for those Labour voters who in the recent local elections voted UKIP, a party whose policies are to the right of the current Tory government, it is mind-boggling in the extreme.

    The current Labour leadership need to toughen up and come out fighting because if they don’t the antipodean ‘Goebbels’ will deliver the 2015 election to the Tories on a plate.

  3. There is no doubt that Milliband has to get the gloves off, now we know that the Torie’s are about to fight from the sewer with their imported Antipodean sewer rat. I wont flatter them by saying they will descend into the gutter, because imho they have never left it plus they are absolutely desparate over UKIP’s success in the County Council elections.So look forward to a campaign that made Johnson’s re-election campaign for the London Mayor look like a vicars tea party. One thing you can be sure of, any timidity shown by Milliband and his New Labour Ramsay McDonaldites will be seen as a green light to Osbourne and Crosby. If Milliband needs any spur, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here, let him have a stroll through the high st near his constituency office like I do, and see the clusters of teenagers and 20+year olds walking about during the day, with no prospect of work for quite a while. Should he need a bit more assistance, then let Livingstone give a helping hand(but don’t mention tax) I’m sure Ken would like a chance to lock horns with Crosby plus I think some of the poison that afflicted the Evening Standards editorial office since the London Mayoral campaign

  4. Liza van Zyl says:

    We need people to help picket the PCS national conference in Brighton on 21 May. Let’s put pressure on PCS to work with us to fight the benefit barbarism destroying so many people’s lives, rather than set the police on those of us who campaign against the Welfare reforms. Please circulate this widely, and invite all your Facebook friends.!/events/258534454291849

  5. John p Reid says:

    Rod, there’s a difference between on leaving office admitting,that’s there is no money left, and the fact that we let the Tories get their propaganda across,that it was our fault, rather than the global situation, and not challenge them on it, all this the Blairites want theories to succeed, and that’s why labour haven’t argued enough that it wasn’t our fault, is twaddle,

  6. Dave Osler says:

    Well said, Michael. The sheer timidity of the Labour front bench on issue after issue is astounding.

  7. Chris Watts says:

    Is it the case that the public are not fooled by the Coalition lies? Could it be that, in the age of the internet, banal political sound-bites are easily scrutinised and discarded by the masses? How many times in this Parliament have we seen Tory polls rise on a populist policy only to melt away within a fortnight? Labour has enjoyed a constant healthy poll lead despite the continuous ringing of coalition untruths.

    Perhaps a better informed public are tired and distrustful of a coalition using the same rhetoric, outlandishly laying blame for the ramifications of a global financial meltdown on the doorstep of Gordon Brown. If this is the case, then surely the public would by now have been equally jaded by vehement counter arguments from Labour.

    It may be that that the Coalition has shot its bolt and is reduced to throwing red meat to its own diminishing troops whilst Labour sits in wait.

    Hold your nerve comrades until you see the whites of their eyes…

    Play the long game.

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