Saturday 2 May 2015


As Britain's second hapless election stumbles to its close it looks as though the Great British Public has once again decided not to decide because it doesn't trust any one enough to give them unqualified power. Instead it's going to leave it to the politicians to sort out their own mess and having spent five weeks abusing each other, the parties are going to have to learn the art of courting each other. 

The Tory campaign has been the strongest and the cleverest but obsessively negative. It's been fought on three levels none of which have really worked. It's been fought on the past by blaming the recession and the consequent overspending and borrowing on Labour.This was largely untrue because the Tory opposition had backed Labour's spending plans up to and including 2008 and the extra boost then was required to save the banks from their own follies something which  had to be done to keep the economy going.

The second level was the recovery which the government claimed was due to their "long term economic plan"when in fact it was due to seven years of ultra low interest rates and printing money by the Bank of England. This was supposed to conceal the damage done by four years of austerity and cuts which meant that living standards and household incomes for most people were no higher in 2015 than they had been in 2009

Third leg of the argument was the prosperity and tax cuts to come on the assumption that growth continued at the 2014 rate, that the debt was paid off by having more people in work Stick with the plan and the Tories and don't let Labour ruin it became the slogan

Most of this is pure political balls but Labour has found real difficulty in dealing with it because while people don't believe it they don't  believe Labour"s answers either and are excessively fearful of debt and borrowing  and over inclined to see austerity, particularly for other people ,as the answer to economic problems.

This is the essence of Labour's problem. No use bogging down in history ,demonstrating that we had to save the banks and showing that Gordon Brown was  doing the right thing in stimulating the economy No time to give an economics lecture,show the importance of Keynesian stimulus and the virtues of borrowing to stimulate and boost demand.;elections are a mobilisation of prejudices not an economics seminar.

Therefore the need is to demonstrate that this is not a real recovery, that it cant be prolonged into good times ahead and will be damaged by massive and unnecessary cuts to eliminate a borrowing level which is inevitable in recession. None of the basic problems have been solved.The manufacturing economy is still declining,we cant pay our way in the world  ,the productivity gap is widening .people are mired in debt and firms aren't investing  and wages are too low and employment too casual and uncertain for people to get mortgages on the houses that aren't being built in the first place and willbe far too dear for real people in the second. 

In other words we're in a mess, recovery is shallow and shabby and will neither boost the tax take nor lead to an age of prosperity by 2018. There's still a huge job to be done and a party whose only economic policy is to enrich the rich and hope that the benefits will trickle down to the people cant do it.

The only answers are Labour's traditional politics of hope and growth. But six days to get that across may be  a bit of a difficulty. Particularly if a Royal Baby hogs the headlines making speculation about its name more obsessive than the choice of a government 

David Cameron is the best salesman we've ever had in politics. Better than Blair because Tony only sold his own soft policies where David can sell any policy his party
pushes him into. The troubled is that to vote Cam is to get Osborne perhaps the worst and certainly the most prejudiced Chancellor we've had. 
Ed may be a bit of a geek because he's interested in policies and ideas which most politicians aren't but vote Ed and you do get Ed Balls the best economist in politics today

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