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.
We haven’t had a bit of evidence-based blogging for a while so Guido has fired up the chart to to bring you this comparison of the Tory and Labour spending plans.
Alistair Darling said in the budget he was taking action to cut the deficit by £57 billion, the Tories say they will go £6 billion further, faster. This £6 billion is what they are boring on about when Gordon disingenuously claims Tories will cut core services and undermine the recovery. £6 billion is less than 1% of government spending and is equal to a mere two weeks of this government’s unfunded over-spending.
Spot the difference? £6 billion is a mere rounding error that still leaves both parties with plans for unfunded over-spending of more than £150 billion. Not much difference is there really?
Dull with no big thrills or spills. Maybe it won’t be the TV debates that decide. The consensus tomorrow will be that Cable benefitted the most…
Alistair Darling told the BBC that compared with Thatcher’s cuts…
“They will be deeper and tougher – where we make the precise comparison I think is secondary to an acknowledgement that these reductions will be tough.”
Well it is certain to be a lively PMQs today. Gordon told GMTV this morning “I would never engage in divisive or partisan politics.” The spinning is out of control. What would he describe his entire budgets designed to attack the opposition as? What would he describe his maneuvers over many years that finally saw Blair ousted? What would he call what McBride was up to?
Guido has long suspected Darling might be the one to emerge out of the mud and poison surrounding Brown’s government with any semblance of dignity and reputation intact. From his icy put down of McBride with the cutting “I’m still here“, to his description of the Brown/Balls/Wheelan/McBride combo as the “forces of hell”, the ill-treated Chancellor knew exactly what he was doing in keeping the story alive. The Brown’s a Bully story has taken a new turn and it’s not just Darling who has been on the receiving end of it. Most of Westminster’s finest correspondents know just how this mob have worked for the last decade. Brown can talk of working “in an open plan office; we are a big happy family at No 10,” but frankly it’s too late.
No one believes the lies anymore.