Labour is fighting a losing battle on the economy
This government is spending more money on making our lives worse. Our services are being cut, our health service is being choked, our wages are being frozen (in real terms cut) and prices are rising. Meanwhile, our economy is wilting under the blows of this ideologically-induced, crazed government.
Above is a simple and powerful message that Labour can deliver on the debt and deficit which is also credible. It could go further – it could point out that there can be no sustainable economic growth without social justice and that it was social injustice that caused the crash. This message would not only inspire the electorate but unite significant sections of the Party – it would, for example not give me everything I want but at least be a message I could be proud of; I cannot say that about our current message.
In all fairness, before the madness of the last few weeks we were trying tentatively to articulate this message. It is hurting and it isn’t working was a catchy slogan. However, what was already a ropey economic narrative has been shot to pieces by the total acceptance of the Conservative and media framing of the debt crisis as one being caused by excessive public spending. In actual fact it was caused by feckless financial markets and low wages and the consequent accumulation of personal debt.
Labour desperately needs to change the entire premise of the economic debate, Frankly, as things stand it is on a hiding to nothing. It can only win an austerity auction with the government which will disillusion and alienate not just its core supporters but swing voters too.
In the latest ICM poll the 5% gain for Miliband & Balls on the economy was offset by a 2% gain and a record high for Cameron & Osborne. Why? Because fighting on their turf is legitimising their solutions. It is simply silly to say we are going to accept and continue something that we say in the next breath isn’t working. I can only conclude our leadership assumes the electorate are stupid and won’t see the obvious contradiction therein.
We need an urgent debate on the economy at all levels of the Party, especially within the NEC and NPF. Above all we need the leadership to change course because right now because the one it has set is heading straight for the rocks of electoral ruin.