Monday, September 22, 2014

Austerity: Will Labour activists still stick their fingers in their ears?

For those prepared to listen it has always been clear that a Labour government would implement austerity policies too.

During the last general election campaign Alistair Darling conceded that if Labour were re-elected it would its  public spending cuts will be "tougher and deeper" than those implemented by Margaret Thatcher.

And in October 2013 Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and business secretary, vowed to be tougher on benefit claimants than the Tories.

Yet through all this Labour activists have clung to the belief that austerity was all down to the personal wickedness of Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers and would be reversed as soon as Labour came to power.

Will Ed Balls' speech today finally make them return to the same planet the rest of us live on?

I quote:
People know we are the party of jobs, living standards and fairness for working people. 
But they also need to know that we will balance the books and make the sums add up and that we won’t duck the difficult decisions we will face if they return us to government. 
Working people have had to balance their own books. 
And they are clear that the government needs to balance its books too. 
So Labour will balance the books in the next parliament. 
These will be our tough fiscal rules. We will get the current budget into surplus and the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next parliament. 
Tough fiscal rules that our National Policy Forum endorsed in July, demonstrating that, however difficult, our party can unite in tough times to agree a radical, credible and fully costed programme for government. 
And we will legislate for these tough fiscal rules in the first year after the election and they will be independently monitored by the Office for Budget Responsibility. 
So in our manifesto there will be no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing. 
No spending commitments without saying where the money is coming from. 
Because we will not make promises we cannot keep and cannot afford.
Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceIt ought to, but my money is on their continuing to stick their fingers in their ears and go "la la la".

1 comment:

Peter Wrigley said...

We Liberals haven't much room to crow: I believe Nick Clegg was the first to mention "savage cuts," sometime before the 2010 election.