Way back in August 2011 Guido wrote an article – “One Term Tories“ – predicting that if the economy didn’t get going the Tories would not win in 2015. This was before it was fashionable, before Ed Miliband’s “One Nation” speech when he was still considered a joke by the Tories and well before the bookies made Labour favourites to be the largest party. The article was re-tweeted furiously by the likes of Peter Hain and other Labourites who pretend not to read this blog.
Last night’s vote embedded Labour’s electoral advantage, psephologist Anthony Wells says the current constituency boundaries give the Tories a 7% to 11% electoral handicap depending on how the LibDems perform. Is Cameron doomed?
If the answer the electorate give to Ronald Reagan’s “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” question is “No”, they probably are not going to be the largest party in 2015. This fact should concentrate minds in Downing Street more than any other issue, not Europe, gay marriage, HS2, Heathrow runways or any of the other side issues. Getting the economy growing is all that matters.
The government is going down a Keynesian path accelerating capital infrastructure projects – most of which will be shovel-ready in time to hand an incoming Labour government a growth boost. Ed Balls, the IMF, the editor of City A.M. Allister Heath and Guido all agree that an immediate stimulus would come from tax cuts. The Treasury resists the idea because it will widen the deficit. Well they are going to miss the deficit target anyway, you might as well miss it for the right reasons.
We can argue about what kind of tax cuts are best, Ed Balls and the IMF say a temporary VAT cut. Guido favours income tax rate cuts and threshold hikes, Allister Heath wants job creating cuts in business taxes. The Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed this week that the Coalition has raised 299 taxes. A flat-lining economy needs the government to get off its back and stimulate the economy, now.