Osborne and Darling Jointly Attacking "Deficit Deniers"

Alistair Darling is launching an attack on the Brown-Balls “spend, spend, spend” dividing line election strategy and the continued deficit denial of Ed Balls. Remember that at one point before the election Gordon Brown tried to replace Alistair Darling with Ed Balls because of his resistance to total fiscal insanity.

Darling is giving the Donald Dewar Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Book Festival today and will say that

“Labour lost because we failed to persuade the country that we had a plan for the future. What is important now for our party is we take stock and be honest about what went wrong.

“We rather lost our way. Rather than recognising that the public were rightly concerned about the level of borrowing, we got sidetracked into a debate about investment over cuts.

“By failing to talk openly about the deficit, and our tough plans to halve it within four years, we vacated the crucial space to make the case for the positive role government can play.

“You will only convince people you’ve got the answers if they believe you know what the question is in the first place. You can’t have political credibility without economic credibility.”

At almost the same time Darling’s successor George Osborne will be delivering a very similar message, he will attack Brown’s claim to have ended boom and bust, calling it “the greatest failure of economic policy-making for more than 30 years, since the IMF crisis of 1974. He will tell analysts at Bloomberg’s City HQ that the “deficit deniers” are “taking the British people for fools”. Balls may be the worst and most explicit deficit denier, but none of the Labour leadership candidates has much to say about the fiscal crisis they created.




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Quote of the Day

The FT’s Wolfgang Munchau on the “fake maths” of economic forecasts:

“The truth is that our ability to forecast the future beyond the current quarter is limited… The curse of our time is fake maths. Think of it as fake news for numerically literate intellectuals: it is the abuse of statistics and economic models to peddle one’s own political prejudice… The fakeness of the maths lies in an exaggerated inference. Economic models have their uses, as do opinion polls. They provide information to policymakers and markets. But nobody can see through the fog of the future.”

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