Thursday, October 25, 2012

Blinking Balls Battered & Bruised By Brillo Over Deficit Denial

Last week Guido flagged up the IMF pouring cold water over Balls telling Andrew Marr in January 2011 that there was no structural deficit pre-crash:

“The IMF declared today that Britain’s structural deficit was £38bn worse than originally thought and running at £73bn or 5.2% in 2007 – a year before that ‘global economic crisis’ Ed Balls hides behind. Here is what he told Marr in January 2011:“I don’t think we had a structural deficit at all in that period [before the recession]” Given the Shadow Chancellor’s fondness for throwing IMF statements around, will he now concede that he was wrong and say sorry?”

No, instead he chose to deny ever saying it. You be the judge…

Talking Balls

It was less than fifteen minutes after the GDP news was announced before Balls’ people started calling for more borrowing and spending on the back of the news:

Two hours later they have has managed to scramble together a line:

“A one-off boost from the Olympics is welcome. But it is no substitute for a plan to secure and sustain the strong recovery that Britain desperately needs if we are to create jobs, get the deficit down and make people better off.”

Balls chooses to simply ignore the ONS stating that it only 0.2 of the 1% change was down to the Olympics.

Funny how abnormalities are only considered when the growth is positive.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IMF Reality V Balls Deficit Denial

The Prime Minister is not going to have a very nice day in the Commons as he faces his first PMQs since siding with Andrew Mitchell over the word of the coppers. One bit of news he will inevitably fall back on is the IMF declaring today that Britain’s structural deficit was £38bn worse than originally thought and running at £73bn or 5.2% in 2007 – a year before that ‘global economic crisis’ Ed Balls hides behind.

Instead of apologising for this economic terrorism that saw the UK the least well prepared country in the G7 to face a crisis and running one of the largest peacetime deficits in the developed world, Balls simply pretends it never happened. Here is what he told Marr in January 2011:

“I don’t think we had a structural deficit at all in that period [before the recession]”

Given the Shadow Chancellor’s fondness for throwing IMF statements around, will he now concede that he was wrong and say sorry?

We can autotune it if it makes it easier…

UPDATE: More ammo for the PM on what should be a tricky day – Employment has reached a record high at almost 30m, with unemployment down by 50,000 in the last quarter from 8.1% to 7.9%. Youth unemployment has also dropped below one million for the first time in a year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Video: Butch Balls Blasts Dave

Promising to take a long, hard look at spending whilst not actually committing to cutting anything is classic Balls. Guido enjoyed his line that “If David Cameron is butch, where does that leave George Osborne?”, and the conference hall loved the “Flatline Kid” gag. It was a leader’s speech…

Video via @liarpoliticians

Treasury Sources Kick Back at Balls Before He’s Opened Mouth

Balls seems to have briefed the entirety of his upcoming conference speech already. One of the downsides of doing this before he’s even reached the podium is that it gives his opponents the chance to shoot it down before he’s opened his mouth. Treasury sources are pointing out the HMRC’s own report into the last time Stamp Duty was frozen for first time buyers:

“The tax relief has not had a significant impact on improving affordability for first time buyers. It is estimated that most of the people who benefited would have purchased property in the absence of the relief anyway.”

The only significant impact will be to give Balls at least one policy, however pointless.

It’s well known that Balls still has ‘people’ inside the Treasury and there is plenty of speculation doing the rounds that he had got wind of the 4G auction goodies fund and has pulled a fast one on the Chancellor. Just like George did in 2007 with the inheritance tax threshold hike…

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ed’s Zero Base

Labour have spent the last week fretting about economic credibility, the cause is the realisation that the economy has probably bottomed and growth is returning. In fact yesterday saw an upwards revision of previous GDP figures which effectively halved the supposed depth of recession. The unemployment figures are going in the right direction, private sector growth is still anaemic though getting healthier, the re-balancing of the public sector is proceeding. The much awaited expansionary fiscal contraction is, whisper it quietly, almost upon us. This will fatally undermine the Balls mantra of “too far, too fast”. When Shadow Minister Ian Murray endorsed the idea of reviewing every single piece of public spending, he sent Balls into a spasm. Nobody came out to defend the policy or Murray, especially not Chuka Umunna, who despite numerous opportunities, ran to the hills. Now Ed Balls has stolen the policy in an interview with the Guardian.

In what looks like a a pre-conference policy side-step, Ed Balls has jumped on the “Zero Base Policy” bandwagon this morning. This state-slashing policy was outlined by Labour’s Miss Goody-Two-Shoes Stella Creasy earlier this summer. First advanced by the Adam Smith Institute this sensible policy is one that every government should embrace. Incoming governments should assess every single line item and every penny of taxpayers’ money spent. That should not be controversial.

Guido is glad that Balls has come round to this idea, though he does find it odd that just 48 hours ago Labour were trying to distance themselves from the very same policy when we asked. The problem Guido has with this Damascene conversion from Labour is that they have had years to review their spending. Instead of tackling waste they borrowed to spend and spend and spend – like a drunken sailor in a knocking shop. Balls has consistently denied debt fuelled overspending was ever a problem, repeatedly claiming (as recently as last month) that it was all going tickety-boo until the 2008 bank crisis hit. The metamorphosis of Balls into a supposedly frugal fiscal hawk willing to cut spending is something to behold.

Guido will only believe Balls if he announces – before the election - plans for line item spending cuts, in detail, in every government department and agency to balance the budget. Ed Balls won’t because he is only shifting his position because he knows an expanding economy with healthy growth will leave him looking foolish come election day. The only thing that is “zero based” is Ed’s fiscal credibility.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Balls Tells Business: I’m Just Like Osborne

After his vote winning booing at the TUC, Ed Balls has donned his bow-tie to butter up the CBI. Though he won’t say it on the airwaves, behind closed doors with businessmen the Shadow Chancellor is desperate to play up the resemblance between himself and George Osborne:

“George Osborne and I have some real differences but we also have some areas where we really agree. There is no doubt that a credible deficit reduction plan is essential… There have to be tough decisions on spending and pay and measures to kick-start the economy. We need action now for growth, jobs and confidence.”

It rolls off the tongue of the former City Minister.

And it’s clear where he has got his inspiration - Osborne’s Mansion House speech in June:

“My conclusion from that the balance of risks in the UK argues strongly in favour of credible deficit reduction… A time for decisions has come. The common challenge is [how to] create the conditions for sustainable growth and new jobs… I will take action [to] inject new confidence into our financial system.”

What is the point of the Shadow Chancellor if he’s just an echo? 

UPDATE: A source close to Osborne tells Guido:

“Looking forward to Balls announcing this deficit reduction plan at Labour conference, but not holding our breath. So where is this Balls deficit plan? Or is he adopting ours?”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rich & Mark’s Monday View

Click for more Cartoons

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spectator Selling Subscriptions on Back of Balls Endorsement

That interview in the Spectator has caused lots of trouble for George Osborne and the Speccie is positively lapping it up. They are running cheeky advertising quoting Balls’s demand for an apology in parliament to sell subscriptions. What next? Balls endorsed lasagne sauces…

They are using a revised strapline: Impugning integrity since 1828.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sons of Brown Defend Time in Office

There is a right old bunfight going on in the Chamber between Osborne and Balls over the LIBOR scandal. Guido noticed that defending the Brown era of financial regulation on the Opposition front bench were; Brown’s former SpAd Ed Miliband, Brown’s closest aide and henchman Ed Balls, as well as Chris Leslie, Brown’s (uncontested) leadership campaign manager. The government always wants to remind everyone that the people who were in charge of banking regulation when the scandals and collapses happened are still around. Leading the Labour Party…

UPDATE: Osborne has just said the same thing:


Seen Elsewhere

Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers
Corrupt, Incompetent UN Has No Right to Lecture Us | Dan Hannan
Mirror’s Lazy Lie | Guardian
Hungary’s Heir to Thatcher | Conservative Woman
Farage and Salmond Both Want Outopia | David Aaronovitch
More Missing UKIP Money | Times
Church Should Fight Evil of Welfare Dependency | Stephen Glover
1 in 16 Pick Up Infections in Filthy NHS Hospitals | Mail
Let’s Get Evangelical | David Cameron


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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