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I told you so

Nick Robinson | 12:00 UK time, Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I told you so says George/Ed.


Ed Miliband and George Osborne

I said there'd be no double dip/recovery.

I predicted/warned you, despite what the doubters said.

I've got the world's leading economic organisations/economists on my side.

Obama agrees with me/me.

I am right and you are wrong.

Today's growth figures do not and cannot prove whether George Osborne or Ed Balls was right.

What they will do is ensure that the political debate will not just be about how to tackle the deficit, but how to get the economy growing faster again.

For years politicians on all sides have told us that they want to see the British economy re-balanced - to become less dependent on financial services and the South East. A period of low growth, spending cuts and rising taxes may make those words sound rather less attractive than they once did.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    If I didnt know better Nicholas, I'd say you were getting a tad weary of the to-ing and fro-ing. Certainly sounds like the words of one exasperated with the current political scene.

  • Comment number 2.

    its not just the ecomony that needs rebalancing

    saving/debt ratios
    expectation of standard of living


    last thread post , in the 1950 we had near full employement. Today we are miles from full employement and prorata of population many more are coming into a Island that is far more over croweded than back in the 50's

  • Comment number 3.

    The full effects of the public sector cuts has yet to be seen. Most of us a becoming worse off rapidly while inflation greatly exceeds wage increases which in the public sector is zero. The .5% growth is inconclusive in terms of recovery but indicates a growth less than the official forecast and so will exacerbate the deficit position possibly needing a further round of austerity and like the Irish have found this can begin the negative spiral of poor/no growth bringing more deficit. So Ed and George can continue to have their scrap for a while.

  • Comment number 4.

    Just terrible growth figures, to say we are on a rocky ride ahead is an understatement http://bit.ly/hBfySD - Cameron is deluding himself!

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick, as a political correspondent, how would you react if GO and EB got together and issued a pragmatic, joint statement on the current situation? Something about how the current margins are so small that they are insufficient to justify either of their approaches, but crucially adding that this does not diminish the significance of the differences in their policies, nor limit the scale of the future impact of these differences.

  • Comment number 6.

    AS much as noone will care to admit it that supports the Tories, Ed is right here. We lose 0.5% growth during the last 3 months of 2010 and then all that happened was it came back. There has been absolutely no growth whatsoever since the Condems came into power. For them to say it shows we are on the right track totally disagrees with that their Budget of Fiscal Responsibility predicted would happen during the last 3 month period. I still say we are headed for a double dip recession at some point this year, if the coalition makes it past the AV referendum next week.

  • Comment number 7.

    'For years politicians on all sides have told us that they want to see the British economy re-balanced - to become less dependent on financial services and the South East. A period of low growth, spending cuts and rising taxes may make those words sound rather less attractive than they once did.'

    Yes, the easy way to get motoring is keep money cheap-as-chips and pump a ton of credit in there via the banks. Do so not by directing their lending, since we appear to have very little taste for - or in - that sort of thing, but by letting them rock and roll again. Another puff on the pipe in other words (cue way-too-obvious analogy to kicking drugs). Is this what you mean, Nick? Guess it is. Quite a tricky one really. Inflation? Mmm, good question. Moot for sure, maybe more than moot.
  • Comment number 8.

    Come on Nick. We have had less growth than last year. We are lucky to be at 0.5%, and when actual figures are published in future I suspect it will be worse.

    Cameron needs to get out and see how ordinary families are really struggling....and there seems no relief in sight!

    PS, why have you got Milibands picture rather than Balls?

  • Comment number 9.

    'For years politicians on all sides have told us that they want to see the British economy re-balanced -'

    Well Labour certainly rebalanced the economy when they were last in power. Away from production towards consumption, away from investment towards living on tick, away from sound finances towards having the largest deficit in peacetime history, and away from having an economy that was the envy of our major competitors towards being treated with scorn.

    Of course it's going to takes years to undo the damage caused by Labour but thankfully the much needed rebalancing of the economy (in the right direction) is taking place.

  • Comment number 10.

    What possible credibility can be given to the slanted opinions of Milliband and the aptly named Balls. Both part of the Labour attempt at economic planning that culminated in a gross national debt that will probably take about fifty years to rectify. If either of them had a policy to offer that was of any value, then they might earn the right to comment but unfortunately all they have to offer is negativity and political dogma. They sound like Cpl. Fraser in Dads Army " We're aaah doomed ! "

  • Comment number 11.

    Ed Balls is best qualified to talk about flat-lining real GDP as that is what his government presided over from 2005 to 2010.

    Real GDP went nowhere under the third new labour administration despite a 25% increase in government spending excluding the bank bailout.

    This is the deceit behind the carapace of the newlabour lie.

    The coalition is merely restoring the balance, it will take some time.

    Clearing up labour's mess... (sources provided for the statistics above)

  • Comment number 12.

    Id like to quote a post I saw on the guardian - it is a STRONG argument to say they are both wrong as there has been a shrinking of the economy in the past 6 months. Why is Balls not picking up on this???

    "0.5% growth doesn't put us back where we were 6 months ago - that's not how percentages work. Losing 0.5% then gaining 0.5% leaves the economy *smaller* than 6 months ago.
    Think about it. If you have £100 and take away 50%, you end up with £50. If you then add 50% you end up with £75, not £100.
    If the economy shrunk by 0.5% the previous quarter and grew 0.5% last quarter, it's 99.9975% the size it was 6 months ago."

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi,

    I have a naive question about the growth figures.

    The economy has grown by 0.5% in the first quarter.
    Inflation is between 4% and 5%, and the pound has fallen against the euro by more than 2% in the first quarter.

    Surely that means that despite the extra 0.5%, the economy is worth less than it was three months ago. This is the case in terms of either inflation or exchange rates so is worse with the two combined.

    Also, if the previous -0.5% was due to the snow, then this +0.5% is just returning to the previous level (i.e. we'd have two quarters of zero growth if it hadn't snowed)

    Could one of you clever commentators please explain this for me.

  • Comment number 14.

    IR35, I'm glad you typed that (151 prior) because it allows me to make an important correction: Labour's traditional 'core' is the working class not (as you state) the white working class. Whilst it's good that they're no longer such a narrow party, it's valid to critique them for failing to prioritise the interests of this erstwhile core over and above those of, for example, hedge fund managers. But bringing in the hue of people's skin is a (insert your favourite colour) herring. There is no racial element to looking after those at the bottom end. In pointing this out I am not 'playing the race card'. Quite the opposite. YOU (and the likes of Fubar and Susan et al) are playing the race card - when opining that Labour should be representing whites over and above non whites - and I'm just seeing it played and I'm duly trumping it. Which isn't hard.

  • Comment number 15.

    That's a picture of Ed Miliband by the way, not Ed Balls, although they're both architects of the economic vandalism inflicted by New Labour, and both economically illiterate chumps so I guess it's an easy mistake to make.

  • Comment number 16.

    O.5% 'growth' - basically just made up for the decline in the 2010 Q4 figures.

    Or another way of putting it - over the course of six months the economy has shown 0% growth.

    Don't forget they inheritted growth of 1.2% in 3 months when they first came into office.


    Tories: taking labours mess and making it worse.

  • Comment number 17.

    This coalition government does not have the "world's leading economic organisations/economists" on their side.

    Here is Larry Summers, fresh from the Obama administration, speaking at Bretton Woods conference two weeks ago, (from Brad DeLong blog on April 11, 2011, 'Against Cutting Government Spending Now'):

    "I am too soon out of government to use a word like "nuts" [of the Brito-European austerity policy.]
    I find the idea of expansionary fiscal contraction in the context of the world in which we now live today to be every bit as oxymoronic as it sounds. I think the consequences are likely to be very serious for the countries involved.
    I think it is important to distinguish between countries that are not borrowing [and spending] because they cannot borrow, where there is a question as to how large a subsidy they should be given from the outside when they have worked themselves into a situation in which they are no longer able to borrow. That involves one set of issues.
    A very different set of issues is raised by those with very little scope to expand monetary policy with the capacity to borrow who choose not to borrow based on the conclusion that improved fiscal hygiene will make everyone so much better that the economy will recover. This seems to me to be a very high-order gamble. It is not one I would be prepared to bet on.
    I have always been an empiricist, so I will be happy to say that if Britain enjoys a boom over the next two years coming from increased confidence, I will be required to quite radically rethink my view of how the macroeconomy operates, and to be quite contrite about the seriousness of the misjudgments that I am making.
    You can make a judgment, those of you who know me, how big a risk I would take of putting myself in such a position of contrition. And you might conclude that I am highly confident that the [Brito-European] experiment is not going to work out well."

  • Comment number 18.

    ToriesBrokeBritain 8

    Be patient. Past experience suggests it takes about 3-4 months for every year Labour are in power to undo the damage that they inflict on the economy. This means that it could take between 3 - 4 years to put the economy back on an even keel after the carnage Labour inflicted last time around. I'd say the coalition are currently on course to achieve this.

  • Comment number 19.

    jobs @ 9

    Jobs, you really would pick up some credibility - not an enormous amount maybe, but enough to get you started - if you acknowledged that the Thatcher reforms of the 1980s had a fair amount to do with the sort of services-and-spending led economy (skewed to finance/property and to the South East) that we have today. Having done this, laid the groundwork as it were, earned the points, you can then spend them (are fully entitled to spend them) by raging at Labour for not rectifying the imbalance, for making it worse in fact. Fair day's work for a fair day's pay, Jobs.

  • Comment number 20.

    A fine exposition! But we should at all times be 'growing' - in terms of shared perception even if not of crude GDP.

    Unlike 'the poor', truly 'with us always' must be 'transitional inefficiencies' - whether in recovery from a national or global shock, or in 'normal turnover' of business in worlds approximating to the ideal of economic theory.

    The wellbeing of a people is not necessarily derived from perhaps superficial, GDP-based 'attractiveness' to foreign investment. Social cohesion of a positive nature may attract and should surely be a prime aim.

    If the price of transition, eternally to be borne in any society, is made to fall on a bullied minority, random family catastrophe being possible for all, then beneath the apparent rule of even elected governments will be the rule of anger, fear and greed.
    Boring it might be to have to speak for democracy - rather than get on with life in all walks to the maximum of ability - we do need something of Gladstone's spirit.

    As under 'Paddy Ashdown with Whiskers' and IDB 121, good and urgent questions stand as relevant to the assessment of 'growth':

    Thinking of the 'bullied' in particular, having 'non-passively voted', would it be merely 'boring' to be on the losing side? Perhaps so, in the wider context. But the debate has its main interest in that wider vista, 'boring' at our peril.

    Tweaking the 'apolitical' scenarios, the vital point of AV is that though admittedly at times likely to prove 'flawed', it will more readily allow 'support for the better / the protest' to be expressed, even when 'the better' at the time appears to have no chance of winning. Wider thinking all round.

    By this logic of 'candidate elimination worry', becoming the sixth candidate would equally be to 'fundamentally' change 'the conditions of the election'. Surely not meant?

    The neglected heart of 'democracy': what rights / powers cannot / must not be taken from others by groups that, 'with the most votes' or 'with 51% of votes', find themselves 'in power'? If you re-read Paddy Ashdown AFA 53, you should soon tease-out the answer. "We will not have truly 'representative' government until 'our rulers are as ourselves' (in terms of share in economic outcome), all being free to be 'ruled' by conscience (securely equal 'risk-takers' and 'share-holders'), all of us 'belonging' in a vibrant democratic commonwealth."

    Again, as under 'Paddy Ashdown with Whiskers' and SC 131, 'political' concerns may both obscure and point to redefinition of growth:

    We all of course should see the short-term and medium-term 'political' roots and implications of such as pace in 'cuts v growth', the NHS pause, and the AV referendum. But we also have to recognise profound longer-term significances. Rehearsing the many well known faults of government and weaknesses of any electoral process, it is possible to dwell too much on 'today' and the LibDems.

    If it be admitted that 'the country' has too long suffered from alternation between either 'extremes' or 'mock-polarized managerialisms', and if we see that 'Liberalism' (whatever that is taken to be) has for a century 'suffered' in the 'third party' role, does it not properly fall to that party (to the shame of others) to try to lead on electoral reform? Should being 'next-in-the-firing-line', or 'having political ambition', have precluded either Britain's entry to war in 1939, or Churchill's acceptance of service as leader?

    Settling for 'the devil we know', and in fact projecting that devil's faults onto AV, is very understandable. We are a long way, all of us, from the security of genuine democracy. Each step or non-step may 'bring' danger. My advice is that sights be raised - seeing more clearly ahead should bring reassurance, and more hopeful participation. No electoral system, of itself, can exclude the possibility of indecisive or hostage government. 'Dealing with extremism' is a worthy but other subject: growing up in a genuine democracy might help!

    Such the stimulus of Gladstone and Paddy Ashdown, 132 IB again raised good questions relevant here:

    I am sure you did not mean to imply that AV is a 'fix' against first-placed candidates - winners 'first-time' if at 50%+, free to compete for second preferences if 'first-time' at less than 50%. Your concern for 'eliminated' candidates, for mathematics and for democracy, takes you also to the heart of 'democratic' definition - see response above to SP. In a genuine democracy, all would be for all 'representative', and leadership would emerge from a wider experience-base than afforded by today's inheritance: but still AV might at times be preferable to FPTP in raising new profiles.

    Perhaps we should think more about 'a referendum system' - an occasional resort in matters either heated beyond technical resolution, or so trivial as to be 'beneath' parliamentary relevance. Hard to draw up rules here: the level of much current 'debate' of itself suggests the need to try AV - if only as a change, a well-meant possibly enlivening change from 'Big Party dominance' and fixation on crude GDP.

  • Comment number 21.

    8#

    He might as well have put Len McCluskey's picture up.... after all, he owns Ed....

  • Comment number 22.

    Wait until the sustained high price of fuel kicks into the economic figures, then we will see the double dip.

    Plan B Mr Osborne?

  • Comment number 23.

    I still think we are going to bump along the bottom for a while, with growth being susceptible to seasonal variations. Important not to read too much into one set of figures - until our major markets start showing significant growth our scope for improvement is limited.

    Re-balancing the economy is a sound long term strategy but will take more than one parliamentary term to take effect. Difficult to wean ourselves off the financial sector in the mean time.

    Still that won't stop either side coming out with more meaningless drivel.

  • Comment number 24.

    14#

    I mentioned absolutely nothing about race Saga, fine well you know it as well.

    You're just reverting to party type by accusing anyone who dares to have anything to say about immigration of racism.

    I'm not in the least bit surprised though. You and your preferred party are completely incapable of debating the subject on any level.

    Or anything else for that matter.

    Unless someone agrees with you, you paint them as right wing loonies and pull the shutters down as if your ears were about to be contaminated with anything but the purest of pure left wing mutual admiration and sycophancy... aural phosgene.

    You're right that post was a trump. You do know what "trump" is a euphemism for, (outside of Hampstead that is, where they are far too genteel and elitist to refer to natural bodily functions in such a way) dont you???

  • Comment number 25.

    0.5% economic growth this quarter - 0.5% shrinkage last quarter = no change overall.

    You can view this as the economy being either "stable" or "stagnant", depending on your own personal politics.

    What it definitely does not mean is that our economy is hunky-dory and on the road to recovery. It just means there's been no real change - for good or bad - since the Coalition came to power. Meanwhile, we have a lot more people unemployed and in need of jobs; so I'd argue it's perhaps not great news overall... but then my politics are perhaps clearly nailed to the proverbial mast.

    In short: not much of a news story. But heh, with the Royal Wedding fast approaching, neither is much else! ;-)

  • Comment number 26.

    @16 jon112dk

    Actually, it is not 0% - a 0.5% drop on economy value x is slightly greater than the 0.5% increase on economy value 0.995x. If I have £100 and lose 20%, I have £80, then to get from £80 back to £100 I need a 25% increase.

    Sorry to be so picky, these are preliminary figures after all and the margins for error currently significant.

  • Comment number 27.

    "Yes, the easy way to get motoring is keep money cheap-as-chips and pump a ton of credit in there via the banks. Do so not by directing their lending, since we appear to have very little taste for - or in - that sort of thing, but by letting them rock and roll again. Another puff on the pipe in other words (cue way-too-obvious analogy to kicking drugs)."

    What, attempting to reflate the asset bubble?

    Someones definately on drugs.....

  • Comment number 28.

    Our problem is the manufacturing base is too narrow for us to enjoy the export led recovery of Germany.The German decline in GDP was similar to ours,over 6% as world trade shrunk.German industry has benefited from the Asian demand for high value manufactured products and has recovered strongly,our dependence on financial services Makes recovery more problematic. We are still down around 4% GDP from the previous peak.

    With a weak balance of trade,a devalued currency,low interest rates and a large deficit we are closer to the US economy than the German.They have reflated by additional borrowing and shown strong growth.There are however political barriers to increasing the deficit further as well as a falling dollar.

    How this capitalist crisis plays out across the world is uncertain.Banks remain in a parlous state,China with high inflation is beginning to suffer the strains of an overheated economy and may no longer the the engine of growth for the world.There is also the Euro crisis...

  • Comment number 29.

    All I'm seeing from you here, sagamix (14), is the outpourings of a nasty-minded amateur lefty agitator, hysterically shrieking "racist" at people who contradict his propagandist slant, but against whose arguments he can make no headway. My advice to you, my wizened little sandwich-board wearing friend, is to leave that kind of stuff to Ken Livingstone, who at least manages to do it with practice and panache.

  • Comment number 30.

    17#

    "Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty that resulted in large part from Summers' conflict with Cornel West, financial conflict of interest questions regarding his relationship with Andrei Shleifer, and a 2005 speech in which he suggested that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end," and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization."

    "Summers has also been criticized for the economic policies he advocated as Treasury Secretary and in later writings.[3] In 2009, he was tapped by President Obama to be the director of the White House National Economic Council.[2][4] Since returning to government in the Obama administration, he has come under fire for his numerous financial ties to Wall Street."

    "Summers hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which lifted more than six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services (by repealing key provisions in the 1933 Glass–Steagall Act): "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Summers said. "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy." Many critics, including President Barack Obama, have suggested the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis was caused by the partial repeal of the 1933 Glass–Steagall Act. Indeed, as a member of President Clinton's Working Group on Financial Markets, Summers, along with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Arthur Levitt, Fed Chairman Greenspan, and Secretary Rubin, torpedoed an effort to regulate the derivatives that many blame for bringing the financial market down in Fall 2008."

    Summers' role in the deregulation of derivatives contracts

    On May 7, 1998, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a Concept Release soliciting input from regulators, academics, and practitioners to determine "how best to maintain adequate regulatory safeguards without impairing the ability of the OTC (Over-the-counter) derivatives market to grow and the ability of U.S. entities to remain competitive in the global financial marketplace." On July 30, 1998, then-Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Summers testified before congress that "the parties to these kinds of contract are largely sophisticated financial institutions that would appear to be eminently capable of protecting themselves from fraud and counterparty insolvencies." Summers, like Greenspan and Rubin who also opposed the concept release, offered no proof that the contracts would not be misused by financial institutions. Instead, Summers stated that "to date there has been no clear evidence of a need for additional regulation of the institutional OTC derivatives market, and we would submit that proponents of such regulation must bear the burden of demonstrating that need." This argument suggests that the default position in the disagreement was that Summers, Greenspan, and Rubin were right, and that anyone (i.e., Brooksley Born) who disagreed with them bore the burden of proving their position. In fact, subsequent events have proven that Summers, Rubin, and Greenspan misjudged the dangers posed by derivatives contracts.

    The lack of regulation that allowed A.I.G. to sell hundreds of billions of dollars in credit default swaps on mortgage-backed securities was a direct result of efforts by the Treasury (first under Rubin and then under Summers), the Federal Reserve (under Greenspan), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (under Arthur Levitt) to deregulate the derivatives markets. The first response to the CFTC Concept Release was issued as a joint statement from Rubin, Greenspan, and Levitt who stated that they "have grave concerns about this action and its possible consequences." Levitt and Greenspan have admitted that their views on this issue were mistaken. Levitt told WGBH in Boston that "I could have done much better. I could have made a difference." Greenspan told a congressional hearing that "I found a flaw ... in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works." When George Stephanopoulos asked Summers about the financial crisis in an ABC interview on March 15, 2009, Summers replied that "there are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last eighteen months, but what’s happened at A.I.G. ... the way it was not regulated, the way no one was watching ... is outrageous."

    Pardon me if I dont take this particular voice seriously. He's already dropped one of the biggest financial clangers of the last 80 years.

  • Comment number 31.

    #17 ntp3

    You quoted in approval Larry Summers on an obscure blog (April 11), but since then we have had President Obama's speech (April 13) and S&P's threat to the US credit rating (April 20).

    Defict reduction is moving centre-stage in the US and as planned its actually at a faster pace than in the UK.

    "We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit, and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt." (Obama speech, April 13). I await with interest Balls or Miliband speak of the UK living within its means, but somehow I doubt it.

  • Comment number 32.

    jon112dk

    "they inherited 1.2% growth"...

    Don't make me laugh. Newlabour presided over the biggest decline in GDP in the OECD and in the five years 2005 to 2010 there was zero gorwth in real GDP despite a 25% increase in public spending.... and that's before we get to the cost of the bank bailout.

    (Satistics provided)

    Clearing up newlabour's mess... (including the wilful misrepresentation of facts)

  • Comment number 33.

    Seeing the light?

    "Ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads and bridges – all the things that will create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open up shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, it could drive up interest rates for everyone who borrows money – making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage"

    President Obama, April 13

  • Comment number 34.

    We're still in the Phony Economic War at the moment Nick - the spending cuts have yet to bite, the "Budget for Growth" is supposed to encourage the private sector to deliver 2M+ NET new jobs - and the legacy of Darling's stimulus package is now only just ending and so finally passing out of the figures. Will the private sector deliver later this year? - that is the REAL question.

    Ed Balls is jumping the gun before the full impact of the spending cuts fully arrives and tax increases really bite, whilst George Osborne is also jumping the gun in seeking to take credit for figures that are the product of the previous government - his policies are yet to have any real effect - so the chants of "I told you so" are premature on both sides.

    I think there is a massive questionmark over what is going to happen later this year.

    Firstly, the scale of the "Ask" is huge - for the private sector to deliver the level of new investment, additional production and new jobs would mean that the UK economy would need to outperform the MOST SUCCESSFUL ECONOMIES IN THE WORLD - and they did that against a backdrop of global growth, not stagnation or recession - do we think UK PLC really stands any chance of pulling this off?

    Secondly the potential scale of the "Fail" is deeply worrying. Eire went down precisely the same route as the UK is now doing - and they are now trapped in a vicious circle of spending cuts, recession and debt crisis; the actions of the previous disgraced government which George Osborne described as a "shining example" drove the Irish economy over the cliff.

    TINA - "there is no alternative" - is the current matra, but we should remember that the current plan to run the economy to rapidly cut our borrowing was made before the steep oil price rise, before inflation took off here and before the PIIGS credit crisis grew to its current large proportions. It is hard to believe with all these new recessionary factors now in play, that the hugely deflationary impact of the spending cuts won't result in a sharp fall in GDP, a rise in unemployment and welfare costs, with a big fall in government revenue - and our debt rising even higher, not falling.

    George Osborne is in uncharted waters and is testing the supply side economics of deregulation, tax cuts and rolling back the State to breaking point.

    Ed Balls questions the level of risk this poses.

    If Balls is right then the whole ideological basis for the Coalition's economic policy goes out of the window and all the pain of the spending cuts will have been%2

  • Comment number 35.

    It would be better to ask Balls and Osborne, what cuts, because spending is increasing. Public spending will be 5.1 per cent higher this year than last year. Tax has risen substantially, but this will not cure the deficit. As spending continues to rise so will taxation, and this in turn impedes growth.

    Deep cuts must be made to the public sector, but as yet this is not happening. The size of the state is still far too big. Taxation must be lowered, especially for high earners to encourage investors to come to Britain and those already here to stay and expand businesses. Britain should fight the increasing budget proposed by the EU and cut overseas aid. Heavy regulation is still a problem for businessl, despite what is claimed by Government.

    Obama does not agree with Balls, because he has had to agree to cuts in America, in order to avoid being downgraded. This has embarrassed Balls a great deal, as he regularly used America as his model for spend policies.

    All Osbornes policies are doing at the moment, is allowing Britain to crawl along as best it can. Some small growth will continue to be produced, but until Government spending is brought under control, the economy will continue as it is and taxation will still rise.

    Interest rates should have been increased some time ago, unless they do inflation will see living standards continue to fall. The reason they have not been increased is that Government fears that this will further expose the weakness of the British economy.

  • Comment number 36.

    I accept that the figures do not prove anybody right but I still find it shameful that Labour have barely mumbled that they might have got it wrong on regulation and that they did not understand the debt bubble was unsustainable or would crash so badly - leaving somebody else to clear up the debt via unpopular cuts would be quite in their cynical scope.

    But it is true that politically if the crash happened on their watch then they need to see the coalition fail economically and if they don't they will not reestablish trust anytime soon.

    It is also true that when you ask the big questions like why couldn't we get another crash in the future you are not left with a warm feeling so I think the coalition are very far from being able to be complacent.

    Lehmans was not a retail bank and I don't see that we could either identify the problems better today nor that we would simply allow private finance to fail where it had made near criminal policies that were relatively typical of the whole arena.

  • Comment number 37.

    ummm.... lets see if I have got this right... last Qtr figures -0.5%, this qtr +0.5% a positive swing of 1% in a qtr... a figures not to to sniff at surely?

  • Comment number 38.

    Sagamix 14

    That post by you, and not for the first time, is completely untrue, I mentioned nothing about race in my post. Mine was dealing with economic issues.

    Whenever you lose the argument, you resort to this sort of thing.





  • Comment number 39.

    Why has there not been greater attention to the implications of the police undercover officer who spent years living with and amongst legitimate environmental activists with regard to the collapsed power plant cases?

    Is it credible his superiors did not know where their officers were sleeping and if they saw risk then how did they manage to leave themselves so vulnerable to the possibility of death by nutroast?

    If they have spent years doing that with no credible return in criminal convictions then surely there must have been another objective.

    To what extent have the police been involved in other arenas and how has the political landscape been amended (the attempted convictions of the power plant activists created a neagtive image etc).

    Has the Home Secretary sought assurances and who actually did authorize the ACPO operation and how was it funded?

    Will police face charges for malicious prosecution and so on as they had to have been aware of the charges unfairly brought against the activists?

  • Comment number 40.

    Jobs @ 18
    Past experience suggests it takes about 3-4 months for every year Labour are in power to undo the damage that they inflict on the economy.


    >>

    Cold data don't support the assertion that the economy does better under Tory management. When I've pointed this out in the past, I've been told that growth under Labour has been thanks to the previous Tory government getting the economy in order - whereas any growth under the Tories is presumably thanks to … the Tories.

    I can see why Conservative supporters make the assertion about economic competence, because - until Cameron at least - they weren't claiming to offer much else. But can it really be substantiated? I can't help feeling that, if there were solid figures to support the claim, somebody would have posted them by now.

  • Comment number 41.

    Further to ntp3, ref this particular..... "economist"...

    Losses on financial derivatives

    "During Summers' presidency at Harvard, the University entered into a series totalling US$3.52 billion of interest rate swaps, financial derivatives that can be used for either hedging or speculation. Summers approved the decision to enter into the swap contracts as president of the university and as a member of Harvard Corp., "the university’s seven-member ruling body" which bears "the school’s ultimate fiduciary responsibility." By late 2008, those positions had lost approximately $1 billion in value, a setback which forced Harvard to borrow significant sums in distressed market conditions to meet margin calls on the swaps. In the end Harvard paid $497.6 million in termination fees to investment banks and has agreed to pay another $425 million over 30–40 years. The decision to enter into the swap positions has been attributed to Summers and has been termed a "massive interest-rate gamble" that ended badly."

    The man appears to have been from the same mould as Gordon Brown. I'd trust him as far as I could kick him. And, considering he doesnt exactly appear to be size zero, that might not be very far....

  • Comment number 42.

    "29. At 13:49pm 27th Apr 2011, jrperry wrote:
    All I'm seeing from you here, sagamix (14), is the outpourings of a nasty-minded amateur lefty agitator, hysterically shrieking "racist" at people who contradict his propagandist slant"

    Oh, come on jrp. I think Saga's at least a semi-professional. Or rather, think of him as one of those 'gentleman cricketers' of yesteryear. Someone who doesn't need the money and secretly scoffs at those who do, despite being on the same team as them.

    By the way, Saga, thanks for this on a previous blog:

    "What, you disagree with something just purely because it comes from Labour? Nice and simple, give you that, but rather limited (and limiting) as an approach to politics."

    The concept of you leaping on your high horse to criticise someone disagreeing with something just because it came from a particular political party his hilarious. Or ironic, can't decide. You, being someone who would step in front of a van if it was David Cameron who warned you it was coming, are living in the glassiest of glass houses on that particular point.

    As always, when you leap on your high horse, you fall off the other side. Norman Wisdom would be proud.

  • Comment number 43.

    I sincerely hope that the story about the EU knocking on the door for more money has not been forgotten. With the UK economy still fairly fragile, the last thing we should be doing is handing over more cash to Brusssels.

  • Comment number 44.

    Must have been a bad day for stuttering Ed and his merry band of followers as they seemed hell bent on banning all forms of humour in the house.... than talking politics at this afternoons PMQ's... so calm down everyone!... go grab yourselves a sense of humour pill befoe its too late folks

  • Comment number 45.

    "36. At 14:09pm 27th Apr 2011, thegangofone wrote:
    I accept that the figures do not prove anybody right but I still find it shameful that Labour have barely mumbled that they might have got it wrong on regulation and that they did not understand the debt bubble was unsustainable or would crash so badly"

    A very good point. For those that missed it, a summary of Mr Brown's explanation of what went wrong with the banks was; "We didn't understand...we didn't understand...we didn't understand".

  • Comment number 46.

    31 "I await with interest Balls or Miliband speak of the UK living within its means, but somehow I doubt it."


    As I understand it, Labour's policy is that some people in the UK get to live within other people's means.

  • Comment number 47.

    34#

    I agree with your first two paragraphs Richard, but given Balls's track record, I'd rather not give him that much credence. He's as much a reason as Brown as to why we are where we are in the first place. I'm not completely - well, truth be told, at all - convinced that he knows any more or any better than Osborne does.

  • Comment number 48.

    32. At 13:57pm 27th Apr 2011, rockRobin7 wrote:
    jon112dk

    "they inherited 1.2% growth"...

    Don't make me laugh. Newlabour presided over the biggest decline in GDP in the OECD and in the five years 2005 to 2010 there was zero gorwth in real GDP
    ======================================

    You fail to mention that their was the worst global recession since WWII during that period - caused by the greed of a small number of very rich bankers, who have now been let off any consequences for their actions.

    At the moment there is no global recession, there is a global recovery after recession, yet the tories are presiding over a decline in our economy.


    Tories: taking labours mess and making it worse.

  • Comment number 49.

    As I understand it there are two ways to tackle huge government debt, growth or inflation and the argument here is that according to some we should borrow more money (or pay off less debt) so as to get more growth.

    But borrowing more money means the debt you have to pay off becomes greater, so don't the proceeds of any growth just get sucked up in interest repayments?

    Is this another case of you can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time...

  • Comment number 50.

    Bad news it seems judging by the number and vehemence of right wing rants. Time to re-balance Coalition economic policy? Maybe we should pause for reflection in this area too.

  • Comment number 51.

    39. At 14:18pm 27th Apr 2011, thegangofone wrote:
    Why has there not been greater attention to the implications of the police undercover officer who spent years living with and amongst legitimate environmental activists with regard to the collapsed power plant cases?
    =========================

    I think there has been too much attention already.

    He did a good job providing information to legitimate authorities on the criminal actions of a bunch of prats.

  • Comment number 52.

    Halfway down a staircase, we supposed to get excited because one of the steps slopes slightly upwards?

  • Comment number 53.

    You'd think that the politicians (and ruling elite) never read financial digests.
    They have stimulated with taxpayer dollars. But now the road is coming to an end.
    "Obama agrees with me/me."
    Wow, I wouldn't broadcast this if I were Osborne or Milliband.
    This fiscal year the American government will spend @ 4 trillion, more than 40% borrowed. Earlier this year, the Office of Management & Budget estimated that under President Obama’s budget, spending in 2016 will rise to $5 trillion. The FY 2009 has hit a whopping $2 trillion. According to administration estimates, the deficit won’t fall below a trillion dollars until 2013; and then, it will begin rise again 2016.
    Deficit spending has had a deep structural effect on America’s political economy. In mid April the national debt was $14.3 trillion, about 98% of the American GDP. Last year the administration’s Mid-Session Budget Review stated the debt would hit 100% of GDP by 2012, and then DOUBLE BY 2020.
    The US Government paid more than $400 billion in interest, a little less than the entire Medicare budget. It's estimated that in 2019 the government will pay $700B in interest. The current situation is unsustainable. The ruling are finally concerned that if some control is not achieved over spending, by 2025 all revenues collected by the national government will be swallowed up by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the debt.
    So how will the Government police the globe & fight its dirty-little covert wars?
    Unless it does something meaningful, the American military complex will go belly-up (What a shame!). Also folks are catching on that the borrowing power hides the true cost of government, but imposes debt on future generations.
    Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s offers up his House-backed meager “Path to Prosperity” and Obama’s expression of support for modest budget cuts (plus tax increases on the wealthy). But both approaches aim to preserve the corporatist warfare state. Neither represents a sign of brilliance, or even mediocre economic intelligence. In the end, there will be little change; in the end, which you can see approaching on the horizon, the United States of America may become a third world "power".

  • Comment number 54.

    33. At 14:03pm 27th Apr 2011, johnharris66 wrote:
    Seeing the light?

    "Ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads and bridges – all the things that will create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open up shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, it could drive up interest rates for everyone who borrows money – making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage"

    President Obama, April 13

    No,more between a rock and a hard place.Like the UK in 2010 he has reached a plateau of debt where a combination of political resistance and currency constraints make further stimulation of the economy difficult.

    Meanwhile,and as a result of continuing spending,the US economy has shown a strong rebound and GDP has surpassed in 2007 peak.Here we are are still around 4% below.

    The strong correlation between increased government spending and growth in the USA is clear,whether this will weaken as spending declines, or growth becomes self sustaining?we don`t know,nor does Mr.Obama who has less freedom of movement than a British PM.

    Our difficulty is the manufacturing base is now too narrow for the kind of rebound we require.How this will be achieved without the government intervening to protect start ups which show promise,and keeping British brands in Britain is hard to see.The sociological difficulty is the interests of half the conservative government are more with multinational corporations than encouraging a nascent manufacturing renaissance here.






  • Comment number 55.

    You're too quick to level accusations of accusations of racism, Fubar (24). Hair-trigger sensitivity on the matter. Look, please instead think about what I say @ 14, which is that Labour's traditional core is not the white working class, it's the working class regardless of skin colour. The valid criticism is therefore that Labour didn't sufficiently prioritise the working class generally over and above other (more affluent) groups. The invalid one - the herring - is to say they should have been particularly looking after the interests of the WHITE working class; this is the view of many of those who kick up about immigration under Labour and it's the view you give succour to with your conspiracy theory drivel. You ought to be able to take this point, ride with it, without throwing around shrill (and patently false) allegations of allegations of racism. Herring, I repeat, and irrational and absurd and potentially feeding racism ... if you want to focus on the real accusations I level at you, these are they.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    jr @ 29

    Needlessly spicy, JR. Good job you've got completely the wrong end of the stick, otherwise I don't know what I'd do! As it is, I can simply refer you to the cleansing and clarifying 55 above. Not that I wasn't perfectly clean and clear before but, you know, sometimes one has to bang the nails in twice.

  • Comment number 58.

    jon112dk

    you are wrong...

    the equivalent number for the Eurozone is 0.3% of the 0.5% growth just announced in the UK.

    The US number is 3.1% ... but the Eurozone is our biggest trading partner.

    Clearing up labour's mess and growning faster than our Eurozone peers... (statistics provided)

  • Comment number 59.

    14. sagamix wrote:

    The shutters coming down on the previous and your #14 here saved me the trouble...
    I doubt whether Keir Hardie had an 'all whites' party in mind, although the unions haven't exactly been free of racism in the past. But that's about Britain's social and cultural history and development rather than the Labour party.
    Racism is alive and well in the UK and it's not just the preserve of the BNP or any one class or political party.

  • Comment number 60.

    43. At 14:28pm 27th Apr 2011, RedandYellowandGreennotBlue wrote:
    I sincerely hope that the story about the EU knocking on the door for more money has not been forgotten. With the UK economy still fairly fragile, the last thing we should be doing is handing over more cash to Brusssels.

    =================================================

    Quite. I do not trust any of our political elite to do the decent thing for taxpayers. Last autumn Cameron came back from Brussels declaring a "victory" for sealing only a 2.9 percent increase in the EU budget - risible.

    But where is our growth led exports going to come from? All political parties have shovelled spades of horses**t in our direction saying that the EU's single market is our biggest and most lucrative market. Yet apart from Germany the unemployment rates in the PIGS countries is at 25 PERCENT! If economic growth is to materialise it will not be from the EU markets. We need to make serious inroads in the Brazilian and Far East markets - we could hardly do worse if we revived Commonwealth links.

  • Comment number 61.

    37. At 14:10pm 27th Apr 2011, rammie1962 wrote:
    ummm.... lets see if I have got this right... last Qtr figures -0.5%, this qtr +0.5% a positive swing of 1% in a qtr... a figures not to to sniff at surely?

    Ummm ... no.
    It went down by 0.5% and then back up to where it was before. A swing of zero in two quarters, and definitely a figure to be sniffed at.

  • Comment number 62.

    50#

    Hardly mate, just trying to put these screeching lefties back in their box where they belong.

    Nothing unusual going on here!

  • Comment number 63.

    'Susan Croft' @ 38

    Well firstly - and I don't blame you for not knowing this - I maintain a list of things I want to do before I die and 'losing an argument' is on there at number 6 (of a total 12). Top, btw, is to watch a complete rerun of Land of the Giants - difficult since never repeated and not available on DVD.

    Secondly - immigration and race - it's fine to mention it, you shouldn't be so sensitive. Just like Fubar, you're trying to close down the debate by flinging around false accusations of being accused of racism. I stand by 14 and 55 - I welcome a debate in which people say that Labour have 'abandoned the white working class'; I welcome it because for me it's shooting fish in a barrel. Metaphorically speaking I hasten to add, can't think of too much less enjoyable than actually doing that.

  • Comment number 64.

    40 - "Cold data don't support the assertion that the economy does better under Tory management."

    In 1979, the FTSE 30 stood at c450 in 1997 it stood at c3,100, in 2010 it stood at c1,850.

    I've used the FTSE 30 as the FTSE 100 didn't exist until 1984 but let's take it from there: FTSE 1984 = 1,000, May 1997 4,621, May 2010 5,188 (closed yesterday 6069)

    So looking at the top 30 UK firms, growth under the Tories 588%, 'growth- under Labour -40%.

    Looking at the wider FTSE 100 growth 13 years of Tory rule was 362% and under 13 years of Labour it was 12.2%. Since the coalition got in, growth has been 16.98%.

    Is this data cold enough for you?

  • Comment number 65.

    #23 "Re-balancing the economy is a sound long term strategy but will take more than one parliamentary term to take effect. Difficult to wean ourselves off the financial sector in the mean time."

    I agree.

    The trouble is: we haven't got enough metal-bashers, tool-makers etc to produce as much as the UK could. An increase in exports of manufactured goods needs to happen and continue over the long term.

    The lower-valued pound is a golden opportunity for an improvement in the balance between manufacturing and services, but it will take a lot of time for new skilled engineers and technicians to be trained. The alternative is to bring in trained labour from overseas. My, that would be popular.

    Germany's growth in GDP is healthy despte a strong euro. Why? Well among other things, a strong manufacturing base. The Germane economy doesn't rely on over-paid financial vultures crouching over their computers. It relies to a large extent on well-paid, well-trained metal-bashers, machinists, technicians, headed by a highly technology-orientated management. Unglamorous but effective. Vorsprung durch technik.

  • Comment number 66.

    #54 Bryhers wrote:
    "The strong correlation between increased government spending and growth in the USA is clear,whether this will weaken as spending declines, or growth becomes self sustaining? we don`t know,nor does Mr.Obama"

    Of course the US has been running both an expansionary fiscal and monetary policy and we don't know the relative benefits, and costs, of both.

    Increased spending (or, as I would say, increased borrowing) can reduce economic growth in the medium/long run as an ever larger portion of national income is used to make debt interest payments.

    The combination of indebtedness and QE will undermine the role of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency. Interest rates of USD-denominated debt will rise and with it the cost of servicing US sovereign debt. The era of American economic leadership is drawing to a close.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    #55 Sagamix

    Re: Labour's core vote.

    What is the better correlation: being working class or working in the public sector?

  • Comment number 69.

    The North-South divide is the real story. Tories are happy to be in Government with voters south of the line from the Wash to Bristol. Just watch house prices to see the story developing ...

  • Comment number 70.

    andy @ 'level'

    Thanks a million for dealing (on my behalf) with JR Perry's absurd - and slightly offensive - 'amateur' slur. He probably thought better of it himself but had already pressed the button. Silly old JR.

    But no thanks for making out I have problems staying in the saddle of my horse. It is quite high yes - my horse - but more to the point it's fast. That's why I think people (including you?) sometimes don't always fully understand the points I make on the various weighty issues of the day. By the time they've got it, I'm off and away and over the horizon ... all that's left is a cloud of dust and a rather unusual smell.

  • Comment number 71.

    55#

    You were accusing ME of playing the race card, you twonk, not ME accusing YOU of racism!

    Either way, I made absolutely NO reference to skin colour, YOU did. I didnt refer to ethnicity, I didnt refer to race, all I referred to was EU and Non EU immigration.

    Give it up mate, you're not fit for purpose to debate anything unless it meets with your strict criteria of echoing your own sentiments. As Andy says, you're in the glassiest of glass houses on the big glassy hill.

  • Comment number 72.

    Neither of them is right.
    The economy has pretty much flat lined & that’s the way it’s likely to stay for the foreseeable future.
    Since I try to be an optimist, I’d say that this is good news because the worst is over & things can only get better over time, although obviously I have no idea how long it will take.

    There there dear, it’s only the Economy.

    2. IR35_SURVIVOR
    Yes I fear a lot of people are going to be “rebalanced” over the next few years.
    I’m being rebalanced by my employers who finally blessed me with a below inflation pay rise after 3 years of zilch – happy days.

  • Comment number 73.

    Blame @ 59

    Enoch and the dockers. I've always assigned great significance to that episode. If I were drawing up a top 10 list* of important political events (UK post war), I'd have this one in there.

    * But as I told 'Jobs' the other day, I've grown out of doing lists (apart from the list of things to do before I die ... the one I've just told Susan about @ 63).

  • Comment number 74.

    61. At 15:11pm 27th Apr 2011, winker2009 wrote:
    37. At 14:10pm 27th Apr 2011, rammie1962 wrote:
    ummm.... lets see if I have got this right... last Qtr figures -0.5%, this qtr +0.5% a positive swing of 1% in a qtr... a figures not to to sniff at surely?

    Ummm ... no.
    It went down by 0.5% and then back up to where it was before. A swing of zero in two quarters, and definitely a figure to be sniffed at.

    *********

    umm no. Rammie is correct, because the figures represent a rate of change, not the actual value of GDP. Back to primary school maths for you I suggest.

  • Comment number 75.

    "Who was right about GDP - George or Ed?"

    Well both, obviously, no double dip, George is right, economy flat Ed right, it all depends on what 1/2 of the glass you are looking at doesn't it?

    What can't be denied though is that the "independant" OBR were predicting more, that 0.5% is still not much and a lot less than the countries we want to be competing with.

  • Comment number 76.

    IDB @ 50

    Back to our new voting system (100 points to allocate in any way one sees fit across the candidates), I'm liking this more and more. Won't go too much into it (another day) but one point to make - it will get away from the whole nonsense of being either a 'Labour' person or a 'Green' or a Clown, won't it? I say 'nonsense' because it is, it's not all or nothing, we're most of us a mixture - mainly Labour with some Green and a sliver of Clown, say, or Clown with a chunk of Green and a bigger chunk of Ukip and a touch of Labour (or even the opposite) etc etc. I'd be more comfortable with that anyway (bet others would be too), since the labels accord more closely to what one actually is. 'Hey handsome, who are YOU then?' I'd be asked as I incessantly am, when I'm just sitting there minding my own business: 'I'm Labour and Green and also quite a Clown ... and that's how I intend to vote,' I could now reply. Quite happily.

  • Comment number 77.

    Somebody thought it was a bit close to the bone, so here it is reposted and censored... thank you moderators...

    "Our difficulty is the manufacturing base is now too narrow for the kind of rebound we require.How this will be achieved without the government intervening to protect start ups which show promise,and keeping British brands in Britain is hard to see."

    You know, you might just be onto something here.... oh, hang on though....

    "The sociological difficulty is the interests of half the conservative government are more with multinational corporations than encouraging a nascent manufacturing renaissance here."

    Gah... Then you had to go and ruin it.

    Not only do you never provide any evidence of this type of bone idle stereotypical prejudice, you also historically support a party that has indulged in exactly that type of behaviour AND has handed out assistance in order to do so, to the detriment of British Industry.

    For instance. MGRover... instead of the Alchemy solution which would have seen a reduced range, more immediate redundancies but a stronger more lean manufacturer, they plumped for the union favoured keep it as it is option being run by a bunch of {REDACTED}. And lost the entire plant and reduced the business to rubble less than four years later, flogging off what was left to the {REDACTED}.

    LDV.... just left to die. Despite being owned by {REDACTED} who was a {REDACTED} of a cabinet minister.

    Cadbury... Where your party allowed an 80% state owned bank to provide the loan facility to an aggressive overseas hostile bidder who then proceeded to asset strip the business, break every promise about job security and start shipping it abroad. Short of writing the cheque out themselves, its hard to see how much easier New Labour could have made the job of pandering to a multinational.

    Tata Steel, Middlesborough.... Yes. A particularly embarrassing episode that, wasnt it? Best not dwell on it, eh bryhers?

    And, if I recall rightly, didnt Labour flog off a majority shareholding in Westinghouse to the an overseas multinational competitor?

    To accuse anyone else of treating British Industry shabbily in order to satisfy the whims of multinationals when theres a significant amount of blood on your own party's hands is more than a tad hollow, bryhers.

    And to think you made a good point initially. And yes, the coalition - or whoever is in power - should do something about it. I'll not hold my breath for any of the main three parties to do it as theres barely a rizla paper between them.
    --------------------------------

    satisfied now mods????

  • Comment number 78.

    66 @ 68 (John Harris)

    Well I'd say that each Labour voter is special in their own special way (and always has been) but these days, yes, the correlation to public sector employment could maybe be a stronger one than to 'working class'. And is it? Do you have the figs?

    Age too - inversely correlated to age.

    And the biggest single factor in a tory vote - just guessing here, but to be fair and for completeness - would be a suspicious mind. And if I'm right, this needs to change. For the Conservative Party's sake, I mean. They can't go on for too much longer like that.

  • Comment number 79.

    pdavies65 40

    ' I've been told that growth under Labour has been thanks to the previous Tory government getting the economy in order - whereas any growth under the Tories is presumably thanks to … the Tories.'

    and that's a perfectly reasonable position to take if the Tories inherit an economic basket case and Labour inherit a fundamentally sound economy which of course is precisely the position in 1979 and 1997 respectively.

    Consider the example of a manager who takes over a football club that in massively in debt and heading towards relagation. After several years the clubs finances are in order and they are vying for a champion league slot. Now assume someone else takes over and several years later the club in massively in debt again and heading towards relegation. This manager could claim his record is the same and his predecessor because on average the club was mid table under both managers.

    An honest assessment of the UK's economic performance post 1979 tells you that the Tories transformed the UK economy for the better and Labour for the worse. Unfortunately for you PD you're probably smart enough to know this is true, but it's too bitter a pill for a Labour die hard to accept isn't it ?

  • Comment number 80.

    fubar @ 71

    I see you're running away again. lol. Just cannot defend your nonsense, can you? Forget about 'race cards' - the playing of - and just say what you mean. The burning question for you remains as it was:

    Did Blair/Brown (i) abandon the white working class, or (ii) fail to sufficiently prioritise the interests of the have-nots (of whatever skin colour) over those of the haves?

    (ii) We agree and we're both of us kool and the gang.

    (i) Work still to do - one of us (me) is kool and the gang, but the other one (you) is more Lionel Richie.

  • Comment number 81.

    Sagamix 63

    There is no debate to be had with me on this issue. I never said Labour abandoned white working class people, I don't categorize people like that. That must be the voices in your head again. Labour abandoned every person in the UK, as far as I am concerned, to keep their grasp on power. With their spend policies, they stole every young persons future. Yet we are supposed to take seriously again, what these same people, who caused Britains decline have to say. Not me, I would like to see Labour punished for what they have done to the UK economy.

    As to immigration, as I have said many times, it is an economic matter, nothing more. A wise Country will allow immigration, to fill the skills gap in its work force, this is a good thing. However, when immigration is uncontrolled, allowing unskilled workers to fill jobs British born people should do, it is economic suicide.

    I don't like the tricks you play Sagamix, trying to associate people with things they have never said is beneath contempt, especially on such a sensitive issue.

  • Comment number 82.

    The inevitable Osbourne/Balls slanging matches that are soon to follow will have a definite quality of ad nauseum about them. Look at the fundamentals of the past 50 years. In 1960 both the UK and Germany accounted for about 8-9% of world trade each, both countries were pretty much neck and neck...fast forward 50 years and Germany has retained its share of world trade (and indeed a high quality industrial base; we used to have one of those but nevermind, eh). The UK share by contrast has gone down to around 2%. Neither Labour or Conservative governments have done much about arresting this decline so neither Osbourne or Balls have much of a right to talk about growth. Both Labour and Conservative have had long periods of power during the period 1960-2010 and they've both failed to deliver.

  • Comment number 83.

    73. sagamix

    'Enoch and the dockers.'

    Yes, interesting time in politics. Labour didn't cover itself in glory back then, pandering to anti-immigrant Tory sentiments. Even later under Sunny Jim they were paranoid. Or maybe it was just me.
    And Brown's latter day version, British jobs, etc.' didn't help matters. Just goes to show, when votes are needed people say and do the daftest things.
    But your #14 is on the money.

  • Comment number 84.

    Sorry Jobs (79), but I did make it crystal clear at 19 that you first need to give Mrs Thatcher a kicking in order to earn the right to dish one out to Blair/Brown. You haven't done that, have you? No. You've skipped the hard work and gone straight for the sweeties. Does this - your approach right here and now on this thread - sum up the problem with Britain today? Some say it does.

  • Comment number 85.

    JH 66

    Of course the US has been running both an expansionary fiscal and monetary policy and we don't know the relative benefits, and costs, of both.

    Increased spending (or, as I would say, increased borrowing) can reduce economic growth in the medium/long run as an ever larger portion of national income is used to make debt interest payments."

    Debt would only increase if revenues fail to rise consequent on growth.Theoretically this would only be the case if resources were being used to their optimum and there was no spare capacity.

    There was an indication of this in Labour`s final budget statement of 2010 when borrowing was £20.Million lower than forecast.The relationship between stimulus measures and variables like tax revenue,government indebtedness,bond prices and currency value is a lagging indicator.The economy was certainly going in the dight direction until the last quarter of 2010.I`m aware this was before cuts in spending began,however Mr.Osborne was effective in reducing consumer expectations which has a major impact on consumption ands through that investment.The twin pillars of the Kenesian canon.

    The relative benefit of the US expansionary policy has been growth out of recession,something we have yet to accomplish.The cost has been an increase in indebtedness,the test will be if the stimulus was enough to make growth self sustaining.My instinct is that it is not and this relates to the depth of the crisis and the extraordinary measures needed to contain it.

    The initial stages were equivalent to 1929 which took a world war to resolve.Given the pervasiness of unliquidated problems in the USA,the Eurozone,Japan and Britain,western capitalism could easily be on the cusp of requiring a major transformation in the relationship between state and economy.The third world and the coming green economy give huge opportunities to make this a progressive change.Wars are a barrier to what needs to be done.



  • Comment number 86.

    sagamix 84

    and fortunately for you Saga, you aren't smart enough.

  • Comment number 87.

    59. At 15:07pm 27th Apr 2011, TheBlameGame wrote:

    ... the unions haven't exactly been free of racism in the past. But that's about Britain's social and cultural history and development rather than the Labour party.
    Racism is alive and well in the UK and it's not just the preserve of the BNP or any one class or political party.


    I've been a member of several trade unions since 1970, and in my experience unions have been a spearhead in the fight against racism.

    I will continue to argue that the issue is now far more about culture than about race and, in most parts of Britain, always has been.
  • Comment number 88.

    Millicent Harper 82

    Ok,but from where and how is the rebalancing to come.

  • Comment number 89.

    77. Fubar_Saunders


    Party politics tends to make hypocrites of most of those who indulge in it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Blame 83

    But your #14 is on the money.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    You are another one, being dishonest enough to try to associate people with something that has not been said. It wins you no points, in fact, it loses you the argument straight away.

  • Comment number 91.

    It is important that immigration can be discussed openly, without fear of being branded a racist - shilly shallying around the issue just fosters resentment.

    Immigration needs to be managed properly in respect of managing the infrastructure. It is also true that migrant workers filled many jobs that the British would not deign to do - the problem comes when those same people vent their resentment against those perceived to have taken their jobs.

    It is already being reported that there are skills shortages in manufacturing - employers who are not large enough to engage in apprenticeships are struggling to recruit new people, as their aging skilled/semi skilled workers depart. Immigration fulfills a vital role in keeping the machinery turning.

    My only gripe is in the health service, where we should be training people as Doctors and Nurses to meet the demand rather than depleting the resources of other countries.



  • Comment number 92.

    Oh do stop it Susan (81). Whenever you can't defend something it's always because the person challenging you is 'playing tricks'. So transparent and weak you are.

    But okay, let's be clear and let's see:

    You have plenty of times indicated support for the risible and distinctly dodgy belief that Labour (not via incompetence on the ground but as a matter of POLICY) rolled out a grand machiavellian scheme to use mass immigration to (i) hold down the indigenous working class, and (ii) 'ethnicise' the nation - the main objective in both cases being to increase/protect their vote.

    Or are you backing off from this now? If you are that's great and I'll take you out of my Bad Books.

  • Comment number 93.

    sagamix 84

    I'd happily give Mrs T a kicking for allowing the UK to join the ERM. Trouble is under your criteria I'm not allowed to because Labour and Lib Dems would have done the same thing so she's completely blameless.

    As to Blair and Brown, they went on the most reckless and extravagant government spending spree in this country's history, spent 13 years of piling extra costs onto business, and allowed immigration to run completely out of control. Clearly this wouldn't have happened had the Tories remained in power post 1997 so I guess I'm clear to kick them as much as I like.

  • Comment number 94.

    The thing that made me chuckle was when i heard Ed Balls say "Too Far, Too Fast". Can he not see that whenever he comes out with these trademark soundbites that are repeated like a mantra ("Global Economic Downturn") he sounds like the worst type of spin-obsessed, shallow New Labour child. People don't want to be lied to anymore, they don't want these crude marketing ploys and they don't accept Labour not being grown up enough to take the tough decisions, own up to their mistakes and be realistic about their policies.

  • Comment number 95.

    bryhers 88

    It's happening bryhers. Manufacturing is growing at record levels. Exports are substantially up. In contrast both consumer spending and government spending are subdued. In other words we're undergoing exactly the rebalancing required to get the economy back on an even keel.

    It doesn't happen overnight though. See my 18 for a useful rule of thumb on how long it's likely to take to clear up Labour's mess this time around.

  • Comment number 96.

    74. At 15:53pm 27th Apr 2011, Justforsighs wrote:
    umm no. Rammie is correct, because the figures represent a rate of change, not the actual value of GDP. Back to primary school maths for you I suggest.
    ######
    Ummmm, I'm not sure they represent a 'rate' of change since they have no units of time, but I'll grant you the implicit "per quarter". Even so, it seems unusual to talk about a "swing" (not a mathematically precise term) in the rate of change (i.e. a change over one quarter from -0.5% of GDP per quarter to +0.5% of GDP per quarter being a swing of +1% of GDP per quarter per quarter, phew what a mouthful!).

    Surely it's more pertinent to consider the swing in the value of GDP itself. When we do that we see a level of economic activity that was temporarily reduced by the snow but which was otherwise unchanged. I do applaud the way that you and Rammie credit the government with making it not snow (much) between January and March though.

  • Comment number 97.

    Sagamix 92

    This is what I said on the subject of immigration on the previous blog, and I stand by every word. There is nothing about this ethnicise, or race issues, which you are trying to claim is in it. So stop telling untruths.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't think you can completely ignore the accusation that Labour increased immigration as a deliberate act, rather than they were inept as a Government. It achieved two goals for them. One was that if they allowed unskilled workers into Britain they would take on the poorly paid jobs that British born people were too lazy to do. This would mean Labour could keep those on benefits still voting for them by not having to use policy to force them to work. Secondly, it is thought that immigrants vote for the party that allowed them into the Country, therefore, Labour would increase their voting base to keep the Conservatives out.

    The immigration debate should be around economic reasons for restricting the amount of people coming to Britain, nothing else. Sagamix tries to make it into something quite different, a typical Labour trick to close debate. Immigration is a positive thing if it provides the skills which are lacking in a particular Countries work force. However, when it is not controlled along these lines, it is economic suicide, as we can now see.

  • Comment number 98.

    Odd how these HYS debates always tail off around 5.30. I guess most Labour supporters leave their office around then (no overtime in the public sector) except for Saga, of course, but I'm guessing this is the time his mum makes him dinner.

    I'm usually still at work but this week am on leave. Tidying up the garden and opening up the pool (earliest in the season ever) to take advantage of the unusually good weather. Also pruned the Leylandii and re-done the potted plants. Big question is do I repalce the patio heater as the old one's busted? well, not whether I do but what with. I hear these electric ones are jolly good. Anyone any experience if they're better than gas?

  • Comment number 99.

    jobs @ 93

    Yes you can (give B&B a kicking without first giving Maggie one) but not with credibility. You'd be hankering after some cred, I'd imagine, hence why I'm trying to help. And no, you're correct to assume you can't have a go at her for the ERM. She was indeed blameless there. Areas such as laying waste to vast tracts of the industrial North would be more fertile ground. Just a tip though, up to you.

    (hey and I didn't at all get your cryptic 86 post about me being 'not smart' - nobody's ever said this to me before - does the very fact I don't get it show that you're right?).

  • Comment number 100.

    "92. At 17:14pm 27th Apr 2011, sagamix wrote:
    Oh do stop it Susan (81). ...

    You have plenty of times indicated support for the risible and distinctly dodgy belief that Labour (not via incompetence on the ground but as a matter of POLICY) rolled out a grand machiavellian scheme to use mass immigration to (i) hold down the indigenous working class, and (ii) 'ethnicise' the nation"

    A subtle point made, Saga, and a brave one. You're saying that it was Labour's incompetence that's led to mass immigration and a consequent holding down of the
    indiginous working class and ethnicisation of the nation.

    I shall have to analyse that to see if I can add it to things Labour's incompetence did to the nation.

 

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