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When will Labour start whacking Tories over their economic policy failures?

British bulldogThe Tories’ first election poster depicts a road wending its way through the countryside till far in the distance, with the motif below: continue with the Tory-led recovery of the economy which the Labour party wrecked. It’s a theme which will be repeated endlessly up till the election which Labour, astonishingly, has made no attempt to refute – astonishing when it’s not only damaging but completely untrue. Labour has so far confined its presentation of economic policy to demonstrating at great length that whilst the Tories have been offering £7bn unfunded giveaways, Labour is scrupulously sticking to its pledge that it will only promise expenditure that is fully funded. That may well impress the right-wing Tory media (no that they’ll ever give us any credit for it!), but it’s a self-imposed ordinance that will not persuade many voters in the Labour heartlands who feel fed-up and abandoned to turn out against UKIP.

So why doesn’t Labour hit out against the Tories where it could so easily secure some significant breakthroughs? Take the Tories’ favourite motto of the road to recovery. What the Tories say is flat wrong, big time, on at least three counts. Labour didn’t cause the economic mess, the bankers did – the Tories’ closest friends. Labour wasn’t profligate with the nation’s accounts, the Tories were – the biggest deficit in Labour’s 11 pre-crash years (1997-2008) was 3.3% of GDP whereas the Thatcher-Major governments racked up deficits bigger than that in 10 out of their 18 years. And once the bankers had created the deficit, Labour chose the right way to reduce it, the Tories chose the wrong way. Alastair Darling, the last Labour Chancellor, brought in two stimulus budgets in 2009-10 which dramatically cut the deficit by £40bn in 2 years; Osborne’s austerity budgets then slowed the deficit reduction to a trickle which has now in this fiscal year come to a dead stop.

And what about this ‘recovery’ Osborne keeps talking about with such assurance when all the facts are pointing in the opposite direction? The 3% annual growth figure has been revised down sharply to 2.6%. The deficit on our trade in manufactured goods (£110bn) is now by far the worst in UK history. Average wages have dropped by 9% in real terms and are still falling. Consumer household debt is now a disastrous £2 trillion or more, and still heading north. UK productivity is still almost the worst in the G7, second only to Italy which is effectively bankrupt. UK business investment has improved slightly, but the FTSE-100 top companies are still sitting on cash stockpiles in excess of £500bn because they believe that share buy-backs are more profitable for them than investing in Mr. Osborne’s glorious road ahead – so much for their view of the Tories’ recovery. And to cap it all the deficit, which is supposed to justify the last 6 awful years of austerity and now the 5 next years when Osborne has declared he will make £30bn more spending cuts, is actually increasing!

One Comment

  1. enough is enough. THe Labour Party is intellectually and politically dead. Why keep complaining about it?

    The real issue is why there is no movement outside the party. Inside the party the unions voted within the policy forum against an anti-austerity motion.

    Its pointless MIchael keeping banging your head against a brick wall and asking why they don’t react. They don’t have the will to do so. The fight has to be taken into the public arena

    trevor fisher.

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