Coffee House

Labour prepares for the worst (good news on the economy)

24 October 2012

4:49 PM

24 October 2012

4:49 PM

Whether or not he did accidentally suggest that he knew what tomorrow’s GDP figures will be at Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron did have a jolly good point about the way Labour responds to good news on the economy. He told Ed Miliband:

‘It’s only a bad week if you think it’s bad that unemployment’s coming down, it’s only a bad week if you regret inflation coming down… every piece of good news sends that team into a complete decline, well, I can tell him, the good news will keep on coming.’

As Fraser blogged at the weekend, Ed Miliband’s strategy is predicated on the government continually cocking up. It’s not a bad way to work when the Number 10 machine definitely needs an MOT at the very least, but this approach will only have longevity if the next few months bring bad news on the really big issues, as well as those continual hiccups on policy announcements and rows about the behaviour of senior Tory figures. Yesterday’s polling underlined this: the public is worried about George Osborne’s handling of the economy, but not about Andrew Mitchell. Cameron and co could have made enormous bales of political hay out of the good news on employment, inflation and crime last week, but it has only been in the past few days that the Prime Minister managed to get a word in edgeways about these positive signs.

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But the news that Britain has come out of recession won’t be quite so low down the news agenda, particularly now Andrew Mitchell has gone and the Prime Minister has dealt with nerves in his own party about prisoner votes. And that’s why Rachel Reeves has been trying to limit the power that tomorrow’s announcement from the ONS will have. In a press release issued this afternoon, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury said:

‘Growth of one per cent would simply mean the economy is the same size as a year ago. A one-off boost from the Olympics is no substitute for a long-term strategy and should not breed yet more complacency from David Cameron and George Osborne.’

Now, Reeves does have a point that the Olympic games aren’t exactly a long-term economic strategy, even though the Treasury does hope that the games will have had a positive effect on the Q3 figures. But Labour will look foolish and sour if shadow ministers spend tomorrow carping about this being the wrong sort of growth.


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Show comments
  • Reptonensis
  • Ortac

    The Labour crew are trying to be as noisily negative as possible to rattle the PM’s teeth. The Pm should simply flip past their comments with a “Yeah, whatever!”.

  • james

    Be interesting to see how the Beeb spins the economic good news. No doubt Stephenie Flanders, former girldfriend of Balls and Miliband, will concoct some story about it being the wrong sort of growth bla, bla, bla….

  • mcclane

    I say a few stupid things on here. But I click to move up a lot of comments that I agree with. And I always click down on telemachus (stupid lost troll). But I don’t understamd why Coffeehouse isn’t covering the Savile story.

    • mcclane

      Yeah, right, typo. understand. Ok?

  • El_Sid

    ‘Growth of one per cent would simply mean the economy is the same size as a year ago.
    The EU as a whole is down 0.2% year-on-year, so we’re pretty much par for the course. I do get rather fed up with politicians pretending that the movements of the economy can be directly traced to their actions within a few weeks/months. If anything, the fact that we’re struggling today is the fault of the party in government 10 years ago, that’s the kind of timescale you should be looking at.
    A one-off boost from the Olympics is no substitute for a long-term strategy
    As opposed to an attempted one-off boost by cutting VAT for 12 months just before an election. £12bn down the drain for a move that had a negligible effect on consumer spending (it made a difference to 8% of consumers according to a PwC survey, although it obviously filled the coffers of retail billionaires like Philip Green. We know whose side Labour are on.)

    • HJ777

      You’re perfectly correct.

      What’s more, labour’s temporary VAT cut, if it did stimulate consumer spending, probably just sucked in more imported consumer goods, so much of the money it cost ended up overseas.

  • Bob

    @telemachuss:disqus You’re obviously very proud of your boy, Mrs. Balls, but aren’t you worried people are likely to laugh at any public figure who has to get his mum to proclaim how ‘magnificent’ he is in public comment forums? You are obviously his mum, aren’t you? The alternatives are too disturbing to think about.

  • Daniel Maris

    Who cares what Labour thinks. What do the British people think? Do they feel 1% better off? Pause for gales of laughter.

    If it’s one per cent , you have to knock off about 0.4% immediately for the net increase in population resulting mass immigration (around 250,000 people).

    But where are those 250,000 people going to live? They need to live somewhere. Even if it’s 2 people per dwelling that’s still 125,000 people who need housing in one year at an annualised cost of probably around £150 BILLION – that easily wipes out the other 0.6% growth.

    And of course this isn’t taking account the cost effects of previous mass immigration coming through now e.g. the extra 75,000 school places required in one year for London.

    My guesstimate would be that you would need growth of 5-7% in current circumstances to beat standstill and actually have real per capita growth for the average citizen.

  • anyfool

    I see the creature with a voice box made from a strangulated hernia has reappeared, i wonder what she talks like when not in gutteral nasel mode.she is as phony as the concern about the poor that telemachus professes.

  • HooksLaw

    Reeve’s point hardly holds water. Large sums were withdrawn from spending a few quarters ago in advance payments for Olympic tickets. That it shows up now means that an earlier depression is being ironed out.
    A significant part of Olympic infrastructure spending took place under labour – again artificially propping up GDP figures compared to now.
    We had fewer tourists in fact (empty hotels widely reported) because of the Olympics and no doubt the Olympics encouraged people to stop in and watch TV rather than go out and spend.

    It does seem strange that the labour party howl at the PM for allegedly pre-empting an announcement (looking at his words, clearly he did not), yet they themselves are clearly predicting a rise in GDP.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Of course the other really good news, though it may be bad taste to say so, is the Beeb in deep shit re Jimmy Savile. Let’s hope there are plenty of Beebites guilty of all sorts of things or just LOOKING guilty will do very well

    • Russell

      A good case for reviewing their ‘fit to hold a broadcasting licence? I hope not and it gets sold off to Murdoch, that would be justice.

      • Mirtha Tidville

        OOoh…bring it on…..

  • Jim Johns

    That’s a neckless like they wear in those movies. You know, the ones you get if you search google.

  • Westhamunited

    She is a complete fraud. That voice, which sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown, is so false. Not the sort of accent that you get from going to one of best all girl schools in Bromley, a child chess champion and a job at the BoE.

  • Paul

    “Labour will look foolish and sour”
    Give them their dues, they are excellent at that if nothing else.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      Silly comment. Intelligent debate pleae.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Ha! That’s what we get from Labour and its supporters is it? Intelligent debate?

        Hypocrites always – every single one of you.

      • Paul

        Did I really say Labour are sour? I stand corrected.

  • Archimedes

    One could almost imagine a well oiled Downing Street press machine coming to terms with the realisation that the best way to get the press to send your message out, is to deliver it via a cock-up.

    You might, for example, let loose a bit of good economic news that you’re not supposed to: the media talk about it all day – you even get the opposition drawing attention to it, in an attempt to silence it.

    Of course, it’s unlikely they’re actually that proficient at manipulation, but it’s certainly working wonders anyway.

  • L’Arse

    I’m sure they’ll try and keep their carping in check. It won’t be long, however, before the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement – all bets will then be off. (Oh, and isn’t there a by-election coming up soon? I wonder how this marvellous news about ‘growth’ in the economy will affect the result?)

  • toco10

    Red Ed and Balls will be devastated by the good news as they continue to talk down the UK.Both living in £1 million properties their sole interest in Politics is purely personal and selfish.When Margaret Hodge urges David Cameron to condemn tax avoiders she should also ask Red Ed whether there is any substance in the rumour that he derived benefit through reduced Inheritance Tax thanks to the services of tax advisers.All perfectly legal of course but if correct not quite playing the ‘One Nation’ message-if without foundation I advise him to deny it in the strongest possible terms.

    • james102

      As Margaret Hodge would have inherited millions from the Oppenheim family ,of which she is a member, I would expect her to have minimised the tax she paid on her inheritance. She has probably also made provision for her children to minimise what her estate will pay.

    • HooksLaw

      Well, no. I would not say their interest in politics is personal and selfish. I am after all a reasonable man…
      No what I would say that your statistic reveals is that they are hypocrites.

    • dalai guevara

      Yes, let’s just print 175 billion quid since 2011:

      1- 75bn in October 2011
      2- 50bn in February 2012
      3- 50bn in July 2012

      …and then report a magical rise of 0.7% in annual GDP. On a £2,43tn UK GDP figure, that’s a convenient 170 billion quid rise in GDP! Coincidence?

      Hahahaha, fools are those who take this in as good news. I for one call it ‘levelling the books’.

      Broken and economically illiterate Britain.

      • toco10

        Tee hee!I must have hit the soft underbelly of Labour-judging from your last line you are not British and your name suggests a Cuban connection!Any decent cigars going?Please send them via The Spectator.

        • dalai guevara

          Cuban? What makes you think that? If you drew a line on the globe connecting character one’s point of origin with character two’s point of origin, and looked at the centre point on this line, you might just about hit the UK.

        • The Wiganer

          Guevara was Argentinian and died in Bolivia.
          Although he was delusional, like Dalai. Who appears to think we can balance the books without cutting or borrowing.

          • dalai guevara

            Who is cutting borrowing? Enlighten me.

      • Archimedes

        I think you might have hit on the dollar GDP figure there old boy…it’s more like £1.5 trillion.

        • dalai guevara

          Ah yes, quoted $ there – so, 0.7% is just about £105bn. The rest must have gone on expenses 😉

          • pilsden

            If 0.7% growth yield £105 Bn all our problems have been solved by you just move the decimal place.

            • dalai guevara

              Dammit, I give up.

              So to summarise: 0.7% growth based on a perceived annual UK GDP will just about give you 10 billion quid.

              But but but we reportedly printed £175bn since October 2012? Waaa’happen?

              • pilsden

                Not sure I have the space to go through it .So the short(and very simplified) answer is the Banks have kept it to shore up their balance sheets.

                • dalai guevara

                  Why? When did we sign Basel III?

    • telemachus

      And you folk talk about the politics of envy

      • Dicky14

        And what were Red Ed’s A Level results again? Strange that he got into Oxford with 2 C’s and a D.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      The tories stopped using the Red Ed name calling a long time go. Sounds a bit like playground name calling. Grow up!

  • ToryOAP

    Ah Cannon and Ball, that unfunny comedy duo with the grating voices. Can’t stand ’em.

  • telemachus

    Rachel is a good girl and I am pleased you captured her with a superstar
    Look at the joy in their faces and then look ate every media depiction of George

    • The Sage

      She may be good, but whenever I’ve heard her speak she’s as dim as NAAFI candle regarding all matters economic.

    • Scott

      Oh Telemachus, you do make me giggle. Glad to see you haven’t misplaced those red tinted specs. You couldn’t see your world without them.

      • ToryOAP

        Difficult to see anything while his head us up Ed Balls’s ample arse.

        • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

          Silly comment. Intelligent comment and debate please.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mattallicamatt.bell Mattallica Matt Bell

        I’m telling you scott he is mr balls talking donkey is telemachus lol

      • telemachus

        Remember his magnificent Manchester speech.
        Balls explained why his policies would be so much better for the country, not just as a short-term antidote to recession but also as a long-term vision for reforming the banks and building up the nation’s infrastructure.
        Remember the segment aimed at the financial markets and the audience outside the hall: Balls insisted that Labour could not promise to reverse all the coalition’s spending cuts and that life was not exactly going to be a bed of roses once his friend Ed Miliband had the keys to No 10.

        Nonetheless the message we all took was Build for Growth

        Remember the magnificent finale
        “It is our task to recapture the spirit and values and national purpose of that time.” (the glory days of Atlee)

        • Scott

          I was washing my hair that day. I remember it well though, I could clearly smell ovine waste product emanating from the tv.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Remember you once tried to tell us you are a Tory.

          Bogus. Fake. Deceptive. Like all your comments here.

          • telemachus

            I remain what I regard as a one nation Tory
            The party moved right and lost the economic plot
            If they take advice from hereabouts they will become indistinguishable with UKIP.

            • anyfool

              telemachus,Thatchers spurned love child,

        • HJ777

          Weren’t the large cuts in infrastructure (as opposed to current) spending just the plans inherited from Labour?

          So Balls is saying that the policies he supported before the election are wrong now they have actually been implemented by the current government.

          So what matters is not the policy, but who delivers it?

          • telemachus

            You clearly do not remember such media events as the approbium heaped on Clegg when he triggered the almost shudown of a factory in Sheffield or the hooha when they stopped rebuilding crumbling schools

            • HJ777

              No, I don’t recall Clegg “triggering an almost shutdown” (whatever an “almost shutdown” is) of a factory in Sheffield. Figment of your imagination, as usual, I suspect. Mind you, there were record factory shutdown under Labour as manufacturing output slumped (down by over 10% since 1997)

              As for when they “stopped rebuilding crumbling schools”, perhaps you could tell me why there were so many crumbling schools after 13 years of record spending by a Labour government? My local comp took to posting pictures of the state of its buildings under Labour, yet got no funding. Meanwhile, Labour spent billions on expensive new projects, many of which never got built.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Were you about during those glory days? Thought not. It was miserable let me tell you. Not really Attlee’s fault though Shinwell killed a cool million in 1947 by cocking up the supply of coal..

        • Baron

          telemachus, sir, if it were possible to harvest the imbecility of that favorite politician of yours we would indeed be the richest nation on the planet. The guy was a senior in the team that nearly got us bankrupt. You want to give him another chance to finish us off for good then?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Telemachus, at least, is one who has certainly harvested the imbecility. The “one nation Tory” who admires Stalin and is an apologist for his worst crimes. Within every single wretched lefty is a totalitarian communist waiting to leap out and impose on you. Never believe any of them, ever.

    • The Crunge

      Do you ever miss any opportunity to appear stupid? This is the man who continually conflates debt with deficit and then is publicly forced to apologise. He claimed that the CBI supported Brown’s pension reforms which denied pension funds the right to reclaim FII and then was roundly disabused by the CBI via the Financial Times. He also denied working with Damian McBride – laughable. He espouses no coherent policy on debt reduction or growth and expects public support. He is a liar this country can do without.

      • telemachus

        Sorry Crunge I recognise a superstar when I see one

        • Scott

          You should go to Specsavers, buy one pair and get one free. The first pair can be for your severe peripheral vison, and the second can be ferivocal, so you can see the real world.

          • telemachus

            Thanks Scott
            In the real world we are all getting poorer because there is no plan B

            • Scott

              We were getting poorer anyway, but of course you would deny that. Plan B for bankrupt, that one you mean. Your lot nearly got us there. Remember “no more money”. How convenient that you forget. I am a realist. I cn see what mess we re in, and in truth all politicians have conspired to get us in the state we are in. So to blame just one party is false. The real truth is that all politicians (and that includes their mouthpieces) are lying scumbags who are in it only for he solves. They all pretend to love us voters but in actual fact we are just pawns in your silly little games for power. You lot do not understand how the country feels, because when real people have concerns they are simply referred too as bigots. None of you deserve anything because you have all screwed the country.

              • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

                ‘Your lot’ might refer to the Labour party which every good brainwashed Tory knows was responsible for the collapse of Lehmann Bros, followed by the collapse of Fanniemae and Freddiemac, followed by the collapse of the Icelandic banking system. The same nasty Labour party that stepped in and partially nationalised the big British banks and protecting everyone’s savings and salaries. All- in- all they have much to answer for including the crumbling Euro-zone which crazy Brown kept us free from; the global recession; wrong snow on the line,; the foot and mouth outbreak; the bad weather this summer O and everything wicked and dismal you can think of. All left to Cameron and the boy Osborne to sort out with their joint economic competence.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I’m glad that you finally admit it is the Labour party that is nasty. The rest of your twaddle is the usual Labourite propaganda and has no place here. Go and sell it elsewhere where it might be believed by your comrades you tedious shill.

                • Scott

                  Labour were running a structural deficit of 75 billion pounds during the good times, so when the crap hit the fan everything fell apart. A house of cads built on debt and silly house prices. Labour encouraged it. It is a circular argument with you lot, and you never understand it. That is why you will keep making the same mistake over and over again. If we had no structural deficit then we am have stood a chance. But hey, the money tree is always there to help…duh!

        • The Crunge

          No doubt Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice will one day see the wisdom of your choice and compose a follow up to that one about Jesus. I suspect there will be fewer takers for Ed Balls Superstar the co-architect of our current economic calamity.

          • telemachus

            Ed Balls Superstar
            That has a nice ring

    • Mirtha Tidville

      I thought she was bit horse faced, dont you?

    • http://twitter.com/ianwalkeruk Ian Walker

      So just to summarize your viewpoint, you a) think we should choose politicians base on their appearance, and b) hold Ed Balls visage to be the pinnacle of attractiveness?

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