Darling has to be given some credit for stating what should be axiomatic “Many departments will have less money in the next few years.. [The cuts] are utterly totally non-negotiable.’ £57 billion in cuts is going to mean that “the next spending review will be the toughest we have had for 20 years”. For months now the kamikaze economics advocated by Balls and Brown has been terrifying, they seemed set on destroying the economy to advance their factional interest over the national interest. Will Balls and Brown stick to the Mandelson-Darling line?
Peter Mandelson’s speech on Wednesday was overshadowed by events, parts of it sounded more right-wing than anything Cameron has said in years:
The 1980s saw the timely privatization of industries that were long overdue for return to the commercial sector. Industrial relations underwent a sea change. The quality of management in our best firms improved, and with it, corporate profitability.
First and foremost we need to foster a new climate for enterprise in Britain. There is no substitute for this – no substitute for the drive and ambition that it brings … it is the single most important engine of economic progress. The recovery cannot be driven by consumer debt or public spending. It will be driven by private sector investment and private enterprise.
Enterprise and reward go hand in hand. Much as it shocked many of my friends when I said I was comfortable with people making themselves “filthy rich”, in the context I was speaking I was simply stating a simple truth: that enterprise and effort should be rewarded. It sets goals to spur people and brings gains to us all … there is never a case for punitive taxation. There is never a case for rates of tax that remove the incentive to self-improvement or to build a business.
Mandelson sounded positively Thatcherite. Can you imagine Cameron delivering a speech written by Steve Hilton which sounded like that? Cameron’s opening speech of the year promised a new high-speed rail network and the creation of 100,000 apprenticeships. Dave sounded more like Gordon Brown than Maggie.