Balls Speech Positions Himself

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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…




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