Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Balls: "we no longer championed a fair society"

In the second of the Fabian Society's Labour Leadership essays – following publication of Diane Abbott’s on Friday - Ed Balls argues that during the recent election campaign the party was lacking in courage and that voters sensed it:
"By 2010 the clear message from the electorate was that, while people still supported our values, they thought we were unclear about them, that we were sometimes out of touch and that we no longer championed a fair society... It was also a failure of communication and courage. In the desire to be credible - in the eyes of some in the press - the Government lost its radical edge."

You can read the full piece here.

It is, as you would expect, a forthright piece, that focuses on challenging the Coalition’s claim that ‘there is no alternative’ to cuts, and setting out a different course on the economy. He draws parallels with 1931 where “two years after the biggest financial crisis of the last century, Ramsay MacDonald and his chancellor Philip Snowdon said spending cuts were unavoidable to slash the deficit and satisfy the markets”. He says these methods failed to achieve growth then and will do so again.

He singles out the Lib Dems and, less predictably, Mervyn King for particular criticism:
“The Lib Dems are on the wrong side of history. ‘Who needs Keynes?’, asks the new coalition. They enthuse about a private-sector led economic recovery; they say the governor of the Bank of England and the financial markets demand deficit reduction. This is nonsense…

While I respect Mervyn King, 1931’s bank governor Montagu Norman also strongly advocated the “Treasury view” that cuts were necessary. Sometimes even bank governors get it wrong especially when the political and media wind is blowing so strongly in one direction.”

This analysis - and the suggestion that King may be too easily led by the Government and media - ably demonstrates Balls’s USP in this race: a clear view of the economy and a crunchy combativeness in taking on his opponents.

The other 3 candidates will be published over the coming days, with a full collection to follow.


Johnny said...

The slight speech impediment, forced grin, & inability to use clear crisp uncondenscending sentences are beginning to become a matter of regret for many Labour members now. For the first time we've been able to see Ed Balls as something other than Gordon Brown's attack dog & many of us (myself included) are actually quite impressed. Like the articles he wrote in the mid-90s about the Tories slashing interest rates before elections during the 1980s, he is once again showing the kind of analytic foresight and forthright judgement that has made him something of a hidden asset to the party and country. If Ed Balls can somehow overcome his communication problems, give a handful of stonking breakthrough speeches & break free of his policy-advisor persona, becoming an authentic embodiment of the cultural change (to list an incline of decreasing probability), then he could well make a late surge in this race... or maybe not.

Either way, newfound respect & kudos for Ed Balls!

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Harry Barnes said...

Ed Balls refers to his election address. Is this the same thing as the leaflet he issued. If not, where can it be found?