Means-testing winter fuel payments is another Labour own goal

Ed-Balls-008Ed Balls didn’t have to say it. It will save a piffling amount of money relative to the size of the budget deficit which is still plateaued at £122bn. Inasmuch as it’s a Tory-style policy, it’s doing the Tories’ dirty work for them. And it’s another nail (admittedly not the first or the only one) in the coffin of universalism. So why did Balls do it?

The Blairites at the PLP commended it on the grounds that it showed that Labour was quite capable of taking ‘tough’ decisions! As though trying to out-tory the Tories will bring the voters flocking in, or as though pre-empting what the Tories were probably going to do anyway (since it’s already been talked about extensively in Tory circles) is really smart politics. The honest truth is it just confirms that the toxic New Labour brand is still there in the Labour Party and that the view already widely held, that there’s really not much difference between the two parties, is right. Continue reading