Coffee House

Labour conference: Miliband and Balls talk inheritances

2 October 2012

5:15 PM

2 October 2012

5:15 PM

One of the more sombre passages in Ed Miliband’s barnstorming speech this afternoon was when he tackled the thorny issue of what a Labour government would actually do about the cuts. While both the Labour leader and Ed Balls are keen to regain the trust of the British public on the economy, they are also trying to introduce a counter-narrative to the ‘are you ready to trust Labour with your money again?‘ line that Nick Clegg produced last week. Just as George Osborne and colleagues have spent the first two and a half years selling the line that they are ‘clearing up the mess’ of the last Labour government, Miliband and Balls are now increasingly talking about the economic inheritance that a Labour government might receive in 2015.

In his speech today, the Labour leader said:

‘To be one nation, we’ve got to live within our means and because borrowing is getting worse not better, it means the cuts that this government made that we just won’t be able to reverse, even though we’d like to. And that’s why we said in this parliament that we’d put jobs over pay in the public sector and in the next Parliament we have tough settlements for the public services and that will make life harder for those who work in them.’


Ed Balls took a similar line last night when answering questions at the New Statesman fringe. He said:

‘Our inheritance is getting worse by the minute because of what George Osborne is doing.’

They are both referring to the government’s failure to tackle its borrowing problem, which as we all know, is a pretty weak line given Labour would have borrowed even more had it stayed in power. But the point is that as the Labour leadership starts to suspect that a return to government in 2015 is not implausible, those at the top are starting to prepare a narrative for the tough decisions they would have to take if they were in Downing Street. And that narrative will apparently be that Labour is ‘clearing up the mess of the last Tory government’.

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Show comments
  • William Blakes Ghost

    which as we all know, is a pretty weak line given Labour would have borrowed even more had it stayed in power.

    Well if the the speech had such inconsistencies in it how the hell could it be ‘barnstorming’? What sort of drivel and nonsense is this? Its getting to the point where the journos in their desperation to make anything at all out of the dullest, least competent and most uninspiring political generation in my lifetime is making themselves look like morons. And the Spectator wonders why people won’t shell out for it?

    Shish, I do wonder if they put a “dumming down” drug in the Lobbies tea these days?

  • TomTom

    They cannot control borrowing. As Bill Gross of PIMCO says it is a “ring of fire” and the standard of living Britain earns without credit boom is nearer 1960 than 2010 and will be a real shock to many consumers and home owners as they get on the down escalator to 1960.

  • 2trueblue

    Remind me, did they not preside over the most dishonest parliament ever? Also child poverty grew whilst they burned money, teenage pregnancies grew, and youth employment grew? Are these the same people you thing have a working brain at all?
    Spotted the word ‘narrative’, got to have one of those. Get real they wrecked the economy in total and should not be allowed airtime or any credibility. Balls and Millipede were the architects of our present misery backing up Brown and Blair over 13yrs, That is the truth, forget the narrative rubbish.

  • Arnaud Sachsen

    Ed Milliband and Balls, sons of Brown, create dthis mess and propose borrowing more?
    Great. We will plunge over the cliff before Greece.

  • Dogsnob

    It says much about the Spectator when they set people on who are so easily impressed by such unctious confection as this speech. By ‘barnstorming’, do we mean that the gathered hopefuls were brought to the point of creaming their collective keks?

  • anyfool

    Is this the Morning Star or New Statesman version of the Spectator.

    • perdix

      Most journalists like to suck up to all politicians so that they are not excluded from possible bits of news.

      • anyfool

        A real journalist would not have to do that type of thing, these are Alastair Campbell lap dogs begging for morsels of info to pad out their puerile scribblings.

      • Nicholas

        Then politicians become a regime rather than a government. And journalists who peddle propaganda become part of that regime rather than representing a free society.

    • perdix

      Most journalists like to suck up to all politicians so that they are not excluded from possible bits of news.

  • John Steed

    The chap on the left of the photo gets my vote

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Perhaps he espies some particularly impressive tractor factory Stakhanovites?

      • Coffeehousewall

        Is the woman in the middle Miranda?

        • wiggiatlarge

          I think you could be right, and it’s always good to see politicians pointing, they have turned it into an art form of meaningless.

  • Paddy

    A “barnstorming speech”. Steady on.

    How long do you think Miliband has been working on this speech? I’d probably say since the last Labour conference.

    I bet Cameron wishes he had the luxury of being able to spend so much time on a speech……instead of clearing up the mess left by Labour.

  • LordBlagger

    Except you know they won’t publish the off the balance sheet debts, because they have lied in the past about those debts.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    The only barn that streak of pss could storm is an origami one.
    I see the agreed narrative through your, Tim Montgomery and the BBC is that he is a contender for PM – of course he is, look at the ‘opposition’, a team agreeing to argue the toss on the likes of ‘youth training’ and microsopic differences in economic policy.
    Very scared little boys and girls.

  • HooksLaw

    He says ‘we’ve got to live within our means and because borrowing is getting worse not better’
    Rather than say his speech was ‘barnstorming’, why not point out it was full of lies?
    Borrowing, the deficit, is 25% down on what the coalition inherited.

    You know a socialist is lying when he opens his mouth.
    We have to live within our means to prevent a return to the same mess we inherited from Labour. If living within our means is so important then why did labour not do that over 13 years of government.

    • LordBlagger

      So what better than to publish all the debts now, and send everyone a bill with their share.

      If you don’t you know Labour will blame the last lot.

      • TomTom

        Since they are 950% GDP it makes it hard to talk of having a share