Friday, August 1, 2014

Reality Check for McPangloss

brilliant-balls

John McTernan must surely be nearing peak McPangloss in The Scotsman this morning…

“…today, no-one has ever doubted Ed Balls’s brilliance. What no-one could anticipate was quite how brilliantly he would grow into his role.”

Guido likes McTernan, he has a dry wit, with a certain concentrated menace that lurks in his soul, eager to be released. His new self-appointed role as a panglossian Labour media cheerleader just doesn’t suit him. He just goes over the top and humiliates himself.

For example, just before the European elections he told nervous Labour loyalists to relax, they were going to win the Euros. UKIP convincingly won the Euros…

Claiming no one doubts Ed Balls’s brilliance and events have proved Balls right is just silly. Half the shadow cabinet have their doubts, Ed Miliband did not even want to give the job to Balls – giving it at first to Alan Johnson. Most importantly and in direct contradiction to McTernan’s central thesis, as the economy recovers sceptical voters doubt even more the supposed wisdom of Ed Balls and have increasing confidence in George Osborne:

balls-osborne

Go back to attack, McPangloss, it is what you do, cheerleading just doesn’t suit you…

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

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

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.


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
Labour Beats UKIP in South Yorkshire | LabourList
Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


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