A rather kind piece on the BBC website from Stephanie Flanders about how Ed Balls will react to Osborne’s speech. She helpfully lists possible lines for the Shadow Chancellor:
“In reply, Mr Balls will say:
1. He never said that austerity was the only thing holding back the recovery
2. Nor did he say that recovery was impossible without Plan B, though observers would say he came pretty close”
3. There have been many factors holding back growth since 2010, including the eurozone crisis.”
Really? Balls may well say that, but that does not mean it is true.
Firstly Balls told the BBC in May of this year that the Osborne was sticking to a plan that “isn’t balanced, which is a drag on growth, which has choked off recovery in my view.” Which sounds a lot like austerity holding back the recovery.
Secondly, Balls told the Commons in January 2011 that he believed the Prime Minister ‘is going too far and too fast with deficit reduction and that that is what is inhibiting growth in this country’. Yet growth has come without Balls’ Plan B for slower defect reduction.
Thirdly, Balls wrote in the Mirror in January 2012 that “now it’s the Eurozone crisis – why do the Tories never take the blame? Cameron and Osborne have only themselves to blame for what has happened on their watch.” So when it’s going badly the Tories can’t blame the Eurozone, yet when it’s going well, he can?
Balls made these claims over and over again for three years, yet somehow Stephanie is giving him wriggle room. Guido didn’t realise that they were still friends withbenefits…