Labour’s path back to economic ‘credibility’….
Labour, we are told are fiscally ‘incompetent’, in government we spent and borrowed too much and are solely responsible for the national debt. It doesn’t matter a jot to the government that this claim doesn’t stand-up to a moment of serious analysis. Not even the IMF, that bastion of neo-liberal economics, is prepared to support this governments politically motivated claims. However, you wouldn’t hear about this from the mainstream media either because they are all hooked into promoting the same agenda – the cannibalisation of the state sector to feed a private sector whose profitability is taking a nosedive and which is totally dependant on the sickly finance sector.
You wouldn’t even hear it from the leadership of the Labour Party because they have thus far mounted a totally ineffective counterblast to the governments attacks. Indeed, they seem to prefer to flagellate themselves in public and hope this and maybe a few Hail Mary’s will woo the voters back our way. Policy wise this usually results in a desperate race to the bottom with the government in the mistaken belief that proscribing a larger dose of the same medicine that is killing the country will rather weirdly makes us look somehow better than them. The leadership is rendered impotent by their own timidity and their own desire to inch timidly away rather than make a bold headlong break away from the tainted legacy of New Labour. Needless to say this isn’t doing them (look at the approval ratings of Two Ed’s axis on the economy) nor the Party any particularly great favours. A bolder, clearer attack on the real causes of our misery, the finance sector, would send a clear signal that we have learnt from past mistakes and won’t be repeating them anytime soon and would engender greater trust in the Party on the economy.
It would also give us an opportunity to move the attack onto the governments turf and start to seriously undermine its own severely compromised economic credibility. This government is spending money like there is no tomorrow and its doing so in an utterly wasteful way, on pet projects like ‘Free Schools’, which the Association of School and College Leaders today slammed as a ‘shameful waste of money’. Hours before the Budget took place it was announced that government borrowing jumped in February to £15.2 billion. Government largess on its favoured projects and continued pump-priming of the banks were the major cause.
It is simply not credible in the slightest, for example, for the government to insist it has the money to lash on a major top-down reorganisation of the National Health Service which nobody wants but yet the cupboard is still somehow magically ‘bare’ and there is still ‘no money left’ – despite the fact that the government is spending it like its going out of fashion. We need to move away from the ‘no money left’ motif and challenge it directly using the governments own actions and figures. We need to furthermore show that this government is profligate and that proves the money is there, it’s just that this government spends it in the wrong way; tossing it into the bottomless black pit of the finance and private sectors mostly.
This will create chaos in the ranks of the governments own supporters. Indeed, even the bug-eyed Rally against the Debt movement seems to have had enough of the Osborne and Cameron show, and open up people’s minds to a narrative which proposes an alternative route out of the crisis. Labour can then begin to frame and lead the ideological debate again with a war on the finance sector, a war on state subsidies for the wasteful private sector, and for policies that promote social justice and sustainable economic growth which sees wealth evenly and democratically spread between all the wealth creators, ie, all those classes below the super-rich. In short, it would wipe out the governments ill-deserved economic ‘credibility’ in one fell swoop and show that we are the Party with the credible answers to this crisis.