Monday, June 30, 2014

Balls Speech Positions Himself

balls-campaign-diary

In the 2010 Labour leadership campaign Ed Balls positioned himself on the tough-love Brownite left and Ed Miliband outflanked via the in-the-comfort zone soft-left. Today Ed Balls in his speech to the London Business School distanced himself from the Labour leader’s anti-business positions and sounded almost Blairite at times. All these things are nuanced, this sounded like a positioning speech for the post-election, post-Miliband Labour Party. We shall see…

Speech highlights:

  • Balls, despite saying “the third way did not deliver”, explicitly identifies himself with the Clinton-Blair agenda

    “I do not believe that the progressives were wrong in their central belief that a path could be taken between free-market economics and protectionism and isolationism.”

  • Attending Bilderberg Conferences has paid off, Balls explicitly accepts the success of neo-liberal globalisation

    “… this is my starting point: over the last twenty years, the global economy has fundamentally changed – and changed for the better. As communism collapsed and countries have liberalised their economies, there have been significant reductions in poverty and increases in living standards across Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and now Africa.”

  • Straining credibility the former deficit denier now promises spending cuts and a balanced budget

    “I have made a binding fiscal commitment that a Labour government will balance the books and deliver a surplus on the current budget and falling national debt as soon as possible in the next Parliament. It will require tough decisions to cut public spending and social security spending, as well as a fairer tax system.”

The rest of the speech dwells on traditional Labour solutions, more training and education, a mea culpa over (the lack of) EU immigration transitional controls in government, plus some sleight of hand over corporation tax.  To back up the new endlessly repeated Balls “pro-business, just not business as usual” soundbite he also advanced the idea of an industrial policy incentivising long term investment, this time with tax breaks for long term equity investors. Can’t wait to see how the Owen Jones left welcomes the idea of more expensive corporate welfare for stock market investors…

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ed Balls Calls Colleague “Anus”

Ed Balls covering himself in Twitter glory once again…

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WATCH: Celebrities Have No Idea Who Ed Balls Is

Yahoo went down to Capital’s Summertime Ball to ask the star-studded line up, including chart-toppers Little Mix and X Factor’s Union J, what they thought of Ed Balls. They spoke for a nation…

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Only MP Who Actually Wore a Nazi Uniform

Zee var may be over for him, but Aidan Burley’s lawyers might have something to say about Sky News, who accused him of wearing a Nazi uniform last night.

Which reminds Guido, can anyone think of any MP that was actually got caught doing that?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

John Denham Day

It’s the best news Ed Balls has had in ages.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Data Shows Cost-of-Living Crisis About to End

The consensus of broadsheet pundits is that Ed has, with his cost-of-living crisis line that prices are rising faster than wages, nimbly and cleverly switched from a losing argument on the economy to a winning “retail offer”. Guido thinks this successfully plays into the British national psyche; grumbling about both the weather and the cost of things rising. However as the economy rises unemployment falls and earnings will caeteris paribus begin to outstrip inflation as sure as the sun rises. The ONS data shows this is about to happen…

cpi-v-median-earnings

Guido is beginning to worry that Miliband, like his former mentor Gordon Brown, hasn’t really got a strategy. The whole “too far, too fast” thing was bound to end in tears unless there was a permanent recession. As it happened the predictions by Ed Balls of a triple-dip turned out to be über-pessimistic, statisticians say there wasn’t even a double-dip. The only recession the UK suffered originated under Gordon Brown.

The energy cost argument still generates headlines, however international comparisons show that UK energy costs are middle of the league table for Europe – though US fracking and shale gas means their energy costs are way below ours. Fracking however is opposed by Ed Miliband.

What then? Having lost the argument on debt and the economy, followed – food banks notwithstanding – by the cost-of-living crisis evaporating, Labour will have to change tack again. Labour can’t fight on economic competence, because so contaminated is Ed Balls that he even loses to George Osborne. Labour are blamed for the economic mess and are suspected by the voters of still being untrustworthy on dealing with the deficit and debts. They would be unwise to fight on leadership; “weak and weird” Ed versus “posh and out of touch” Dave is not a great prospect for Labour.

Guido’s guess is they will try to have it both ways, partially accept the coalition’s spending envelope and pretend they can tax their way to prosperity. A policy Miliband’s socialist frère Hollande has now abandoned. All the chatter (spun by his adviser Stewart Wood) about Ed’s plans for “big changes in our economy” - a strategy based on East Coast academic theories from Harvard professors on new “Varieties of Capitalism” - will have Lynton Crosby crying with laughter into his (Australian) Chardonnay. Doesn’t mean Miliband isn’t going to try it…

UPDATE: The FT has surveyed economists and they mostly think households will start to feel better off – this is after consumer confidence surged 20% in 2013. Well spotted economists…

ft-survey-economists

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SKETCH: The End of an Error. New Balls, Please.

Don’t let’s forget the way Ed Miliband was looking up at his bellowing shadow chancellor.

The look started out supportive and attentive, then went objective and cool, and then passed into dreaminess. Procedural analysts agree he was choosing the exact spot, between which two hairs, the ice pick would sink most easily into.

Balls is a phenomenon. Everything he has predicted has turned out to be wrong. He is like the 364 economists who wrote to the Times in 1981 warning that austerity would cripple the economy. They were wrong. He followed their lead. And now he’s wrong.

He stood up into the famous wall of noise that 200 Tories can produce, and he roared that the chancellor was “in denial”.

That was the beginning. But in another sense it was also the end.
(more…)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rich’s Monday Morning View
Balls Owes Office to Coke Sniffin’ Rev

You had to wonder what they were smoking over at the Co-op, and now you know. It was crystal meth…

Ed Balls did not have a very good weekend either. Not only was he publicly described as a “nightmare” by Team Miliband (albeit accidentally), the Shadow Chancellor would have been sweating about the Co-op story. Doing all that gear after his Select Committee appearance was not the only bad life choice that Rev Flowers has made recently. As the Telegraph reported at the beginning of the month:

“Rev Flowers confirmed he had been involved in authorising the payment of £100,000 to Mr Balls and his Parliamentary office, though he said the money had come from the Co-op Group and not the Co-op Bank as the lender was “politically neutral”.”

What was it that first attracted this coke snorting, meth buying, fiscally incompetent cluster of a banking boss to Ed Balls? And lets not forget that Labour owe the Co-op millions. You have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Flaws in the Ed Balls “Cost of Living Crisis” Attack Line

Labour’s developing retail offer to the voters centres on the cost of living, in essence they will ask the voters on election day “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” Which is why this week – with good economic news abounding - Labour’s twitterati were ignoring jobs and growth and instead chorusing in North Korean style synchronised tweeting this infographic:

lab-cost-of-living

The infographic shows that real wages have fallen behind inflation. A factually correct statistic.

Guido fails to understand why the government parties are not  aggressively countering the Ed Balls cost-of-living crisis attack line with the truth that the average mortgage is £1,000 cheaper because of lower interest rates. Mortgage affordability is clearly illustrated by the fact that, according to data released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, mortgage arrears are dramatically lower now compared to where they were when Ed Balls was last in government:

cml-arears

Throw in the income tax threshold hike (£493), the savings from holding down council taxes (£210) and you have already countered the Balls attack in cash terms – and some – at £1,703. Meaning that in terms of disposable income the “average working person” is better off. So why is this point not being made by Tory and LibDem attack dogs more forcefully?

If in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor rolls back some green taxes, brings back the 10p income tax rate or raises the tax threshold again, in terms of disposable income the voters will be even more better off in 2015 than they were in 2010. To the question “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” the answer has to be “yes”. If it isn’t, the Coalition parties will deserve to lose in 2015.


Seen Elsewhere

Harriet Harman Offers Less Than the Living Wage | Owen Bennett
Fallon’s Red Arrow Spin Unravels | Wings Over Scotland
What is the LibDems’ Problem With “The Jews” | Speccie
Image is the Least of Ed’s Worries | Speccie
The Most Politically Cynical Speech I Have Ever Seen | Dan Hodges
Full Sunday Sport Style Guide Email | MediaGuido
What if a Hamas Rocket Hit a BA Plane? | Richard Littlejohn
Sunday Sport Swearing Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace
Feminist Lobby Killing Meritocracy | Kathy Gyngell


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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