John McDonnell isn’t the only Shadow Chancellor who has u-turned over a fiscal charter. In January 2010 the then Shadow Chancellor George Osborne mocked Alistair Darling’s “vacuous and irrelevant” Fiscal Responsibility Bill. Labour could have stopped Osborne in his tracks if they had quoted his own words back to him yesterday.
Here’s what the man who has overseen a doubling of the national debt in 5 years said:
“Fiscal responsiblity acts are instruments of the fiscally irresponsible to con the public… We have to debate this vacuous and irrelevant legislation before us, but it begs the question: why did the Chancellor feel the compelling need to introduce it? Why is he the first Chancellor in our history that feels he needs an act of parliament on top of a budget statement? There are only two explanations. Either he doesn’t trust himself to secure sound public finances, or he knows the public doesn’t trust him to secure them.”
Maybe, based on his own record, Osborne just doesn’t trust himself? “Embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing,” to coin a phrase…
*Newsnight want us to acknowledge they got the video first.