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PMQs: Ed Miliband argues Labour would borrow for success

30 January 2013

1:46 PM

30 January 2013

1:46 PM

‘We’d borrow more, but we’d use it better.’ That was the message Ed Miliband found himself trying to get across when attacking David Cameron at PMQs today. He accused the Prime Minister of ‘borrowing for failure’, saying:

‘He is borrowing for failure: that is the reality, and he is borrowing more for failure. That is the reality of his record. And here is the truth: they said they’d balance the books, they said they’d get growth, they haven’t.’

So Labour would borrow for success. What would that mean? Miliband decided to tease us by not mentioning how he’d do better borrowing. The two leaders traded quotes from various IMF staff members, as it’s easy to find something in anything the IMF issues to suit your own theories about the economy. Miliband did, overall, have the better lines, but Cameron supplied two good attacks, accusing Miliband of telling voters to ‘give the car keys back to the people who crashed the car in the first place’, and describing the party as ‘doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past because they haven’t learned the lessons’.

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These exchanges were not the most gripping of all the PMQs scraps since 2010: today’s star question came from Alex Cunningham, turning the horsemeat scandal into a question about Adam Afriyie’s leadership bid. You can listen to that below:

But PMQs did underline the challenges facing Cameron and Miliband. For Miliband, he needs to define why his plan for borrowing even more than the government would be a good thing and lead to success.

As for Cameron, he has clearly made his case that voters shouldn’t trust Labour with the economy in 2015. But where he continues to struggle is on whether he does see this government’s borrowing predicament as a successful way of dealing with the deficit. He did address this in his answers, telling Gavin Shuker that ‘we have got the deficit down by a quarter and in order to get on top of our debts you have to get on top of our deficit, that is stage one of getting on top of our debts’. In 2015, he won’t just have to prove that you can’t trust Ed Balls: he needs to convince voters that his ‘borrowing for success’ is the way to lead the country back to the good times.


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Show comments
  • SmithersJones2013

    “Borrowing for success”? How very Soviet of Commissar Miliband.

    It’s all utter excrement anyway the only thing the Government is borrowing for is bankruptcy…..

  • HJ777

    As if anyone would give their money (indeed, borrow more) to give Ed Miliband their money to invest.

    What sort of a return have we had on the huge deficit spending the government he was part of left us with?

  • Colonel Mustard

    14 comments by the revanchist clique of telemachus (aka telemaque) in this thread trying to regain lost socialist territory and 13 of them tagged to other peoples comments. What was that about trying to “rule this blog”?

  • George_Arseborne

    Ed is absolutely right. Cameron binge borrowing produces recessions while his will promote growth leading to more coming into Treasury which will subsequently reduces our deficit and paying back debt. Cameron and Osborne do have very shallow econonic brain.

  • telemachus

    It is crystal clear
    Borrow and invest
    Build for growth Osborne choked off capital investment

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      I have five words:

      “There is no money left.”

      • telemachus

        A nice sound bite but utterly not true
        Osborne’s first act was to stupidly turn off capital investment
        Read “A very British Coup” to see how Harry Perkins managed to do what the Coalition could not

        • HJ777

          Osborne merely implemented the capital investment plans that he inherited from Labour.

          Surely everybody knows that by now?

  • DWWolds

    Surely Cameron is absolutely right to point out that we cannot cut the debt until we cut the deficit. Labour left behind a deficit of £160bn. Had that not been cut In two years £320bn would have been added to the debt, in three years £480bn and creeping ever upwards.

    • telemachus

      We should not concentrate on debt or deficit
      Invest in growth and when growing the tax receipts will take care of the debt-deficit problem

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Try explaining that to a Greek some time.

        • telemachus

          The Greeks were also I’ll advised

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

            How did Greece ever go bust in the first place? Spending money like water, as they were — Olymipics, subway systems and Formula 1 circuits — surely, if Ed Balls’ simplistic assessment were valid, the Greek economy should just have continued growing and growing and growing.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Invest in growth! Now why didn’t I think of that?

      • DWWolds

        But if, like the last Labour administration, you are creating £5.40 in debt for every £1 in growth you are going to meet yourself coming back sooner rather than later.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    So why didn’t you do that last time, Eddie?

  • R2-D2

    Well, they’ve tried that before. It went well for the first ten years.

    • telemachus

      Yes it did
      The Lehman blew in
      But we were growing again until Osborne choked it off

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        So was the national debt. How long do you think that was sustainable? Till the never-never?

        • telemachus

          Brown engineered us back to growth after the 2008 recession
          If this had continued we would be beginning to boom again and using the booming tax receipts to start the payback

      • R2-D2

        Those Lehmans! Without them we would be still enjoying Gordon Brown’s never-ending boom.

        • telemachus

          Many a true word

  • sir_graphus

    Labour’s recent record of borrowing and spending wisely is a sorry tale indeed.

    • telemachus

      See below
      Borrow to invest
      Balls conference message could not be more clear

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Absolutely. Balls is full of crap.

        • telemachus

          He is one of the few bullish politicians who knows how to get us out of Osborne’s triple dip

          • ButcombeMan

            He is bullish alright but is economically illiterate. Labour needs to move him out any contact with their economic non-policy, before he does any more damage.

            • telemachus

              As a Superstar of course he engenders jealousy

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

                Oh do grow up.

  • Chris lancashire

    With regard to your photograph, is Miliband using his other hand to grasp his Shadow Chancellor’s nether regions?

  • In2minds

    “‘We’d borrow more” – But who would lend more to a nation already crotch deep in debt?

    • telemachus

      China

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Are you sure about that? Where everybody else in the world seeks safe investments and a reasonable chance of getting their money back, the Chinese love to throw it into countries teetering on the verge of bankruptcy? How very inscrutable of them.

        Do you actually know what you’re talking about? It seems to me you’re actually just seizing any old fantasy that justifies thumping Labour’s tub. You know, Greek politics — if the facts don’t justify anything, just invent them.

        • telemachus

          There is the model of the US don’t forget

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            The US has 11 aircraft carrier groups and spends its entire Incometax revenue on Defence – maybe Britain should do the same ? Arms Spending keeps economies afloat but Labour did not switch money from Welfare to War simply raised Borrowing

            • telemachus

              Afghanistan
              Iraq
              Do you read?

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

                Yes they borrowed to fund War and still kept spending on Welfare…..then again the USA has 47 million on Food Stamps up from 31 million when Obama took office

    • Mike Barnes

      http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/rates-bonds/government-bonds/uk/

      The bond market vigilantes don’t exist, they aren’t coming to get us. Honestly people have been predicting a massive rise in the cost of borrowing for 4 years and it’s not happening. People are still queuing up to buy government debt because the economy is so dead and there’s no other reliable source of returns.

  • NAVESTOCK

    People should get things in proportion about 2015. DC has shot UKIP’S fox – up 5 points in polls. (I am UKIP voter) MrsT was about 25 points behind in early 80s. She did have some very good luck from POLITICAL point of view – Falklands, 1983 LAB manifesto ‘longest suicide note in history (D. Healey) Mr Foot wearing donkey jacket/similar at Remembrance Sunday but she pulled it back and got landslide.
    http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com said ‘WHAT a difference a SPEECH makes’.’
    Miliband is becoming ridiculous because he can’t/wont be realistic (he has to speak to his contituency – TUs, teachers.etc) but he could at least do it well like Nick Clegg. There’s a world of difference between PLAUSIBLE dishonest arguments and DRIVEL.
    Now he is reduced to MY BORROWING WOULD BE BETTER THAN YOUR BORROWING. ‘I MEAN….’

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      Almost all Labour’s rise in the polls can be attributed to disillusioned LibDems, just as much of the Tories’ drop in support consists of defectors to UKIP (I’m one too).

      But everybody knows that mid-term, people flirt with other parties. Invariably, their old allegiances reassert themselves come the general election. As Dan Hodges pointed out a few weeks ago (before Cameron had benefited from his speech), add back tot eh Tories and the LibDems the support they’ve lost to Labour and UKIP, and Cameron is on course for a slim majority.

      Of course, he’s given Labour Eurosceptics reason to consider voting for some party other than Labour, and if they can’t stomach voting Tory, Nigel Farage has (very sensibly, in my opinion) decided to target them.

      Then there’s Labour’s utter absence of policy. When public opinion aligns itself with what Labour party activists want, Miliband is assured and confident. But if it isn’t, he just doesn’t know what to do, and dithers until the storm hits — as a result of which, he’s so unprepared that he ends up making a fool of himself. It’s what happened on welfare, and on Europe, and it’s going to keep on happening unless Labour can pull itself together — which, if it were going to, it probably already would have done.

      But the biggest reason that people are not going to vote for Labour is simply Miliband himself. Can you really see him as a prime minister. This dweeb, who looks like a slightly intimidated schoolboy? Who talks out of the corner of his mouth? Who has all the gravitas of student-union president?

      I don’t like Cameron, and I trust him warily if at all, but he has the dignity of a statesman. Can you really imagine Ed Miliband striding the corridors of the UN, imposing the force of his personality on the president of China?

      • George_Arseborne

        Face the modern world mate. This is 2013 not the 80s. Anyway console yourself with that before the shock of you being govern by PM Ed and Great Chancellor Ed

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

          I’m not seeing what grounds you have for rejecting the whole of my post above, beyond blind faith, perhaps. Or maybe you’re relying on the boundary imbalance to ensure the Talking Eds sleepwalk into power? Who needs a policy when you’ve got a natural advantage in the Commons?

          Well, you may be right, but there’s a word for that: “Intransigence.” Intransigent politicians generally lose elections.

        • Colonel Mustard

          And a frightful shock it will be too. Terminal for the UK.

        • 2trueblue

          Well, they did such a good job last time round wrecking the economy, what will they do for the finale?

      • NAVESTOCK

        ex-LD Labour voters will not go back -Labour website CRASHED after Clegg agreed to COALTION – so many LDs wanted to join. Liberalism in UK had become STATIST – Laws, Clegg ?Huhne are FREE MARKET liberals – to an extent like FDP in Germany ‘ORANGE BOOK’.Lots LDs were refugees from Mr Blair – public sector workers. They were shocked when coalition happened. Nick did not have any choice – propping up Brown was never an option but he repelled STATIST voters FOR GOOD.
        Conservatives in good position after speech – Cameron genuinely believes in LOCALISM and the enormities of the Brussels bureacracy and then the ‘slow-motion car-crash'(S.Flanders) of Euro was enough to get anyone with common sense to RETHINK. Clare Foges may have had an impact too -when beliefs stem from seeing children parents fostered you not going to bow to latest breeze. DC went to great lengths to get 7 EUR parties to have enough to form EU grouping anfd get EU funding; eventually he had to send spin doctors to work for them to prevent any more skeletons tumbling from cupboard.
        UK elections are a choice LAB leader / Tory leadrer to run country – this is why Kinnock lost. Polls and early returns seemred so favourable he invited one network’s cameras in on election night. We are PRAGMATIC and

    • telemachus

      Oh dear
      Yes it is as simple as your last capitals
      See Ed Balls Conference speech
      Prioritise investment in houses and infrastructure and the economy will boom

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Paul-Shakespeare/715581221 Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        I’m not remotely interested in Ed Balls’ speech, especially as he was a part of the government that got us into this mess in the first place. It’s your job to explain why he’s so marvellous — I don’t owe you so much as to go hunting out conference speeches for a party that I don’t support anyway.

        • telemachus

          You are plain wrong
          Gordon and Ed with a little imput from Darling rescued ourselves and the world banks from the US engineered debacle.
          They took us back to growth that Osborne choked off

          • Colonel Mustard

            You don’t seem to know the party you promote here as well as you should. When Brown the Bungler was “saving the world” Ed was up the garden path looking for the climate change fairies and was the muppet responsible for trying to increase the financial burdens of that scam for everyone. Not only was he personally responsible for the commitment to cut emissions of greenhouse gas (rather than Labour generated gas – far more deadly) by 80% rather than 60% but in 2009 he shovelled an additional $10billion a year of taxpayers money into the bogus GW cause with a promise to make it $100 billion by 2020. The only thing that stopped this from becoming legally binding was China.

            So at a time when the economic crisis had already kicked off, Ed was busy increasing our financial commitments to Tales of the Imagination and doing b-all to help Gordon the Monster cook the books.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            The world’s banks are I N S O L V E N T kept in a ZOMBIE-like State by huge infusions of cheap money condemning the real economy to decades of stagnation. LABOUR the Party of the Banking Elite

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …they’ve got LibCon company on that score, though.

          • 2trueblue

            Come on chum, that was a joke put out by Balls and you are one of the few who fell for it.

      • ButcombeMan

        Which is exactly what brought Spain to its knees. Borrowed money “invested” in houses and infrastructure is, long term, unsustainable.

        Brown never understood what genuine sustainable investment was either, so you are not alone.

      • 2trueblue

        Shame they did not do this when they were in for 13yrs.

        • telemachus

          Look
          Gordon did his best
          He saved the world banks after the US debacle
          Unfortunately the growth he engineered was choked off by Osborne who gave us the triple dip

          • 2trueblue

            Well, his best was just not good enough. The so called engineered growth sure as heck did not last, like everything Gordon/Balls/Millipede engineered it had no foundations, it was built on nothing and we are paying the price.

  • HooksLaw

    The government’s job is to cut its managed expenditure to a level that the economy can afford over the economic cycle. even within the NHS where spending is frozen there is a 20 billion cost saving programme going on.

    The notion that you can somehow borrow to create wealth, borrow to create a basis for growth is an absurd notion that Gordon Brown rested to destruction.
    Cyclical deficits will rise in a recession, that is normal. This has nothing to do with the government’s cost cutting programme.

    The government can within its normal budget and within its normal tax regime and education policies support the people, environment and companies that create the wealth on which we all rely. History shows Conservative principle are better than the failed mantra of socialism for this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      but much of the GDP is a result of Public Spending because the UK PRIVATE Sector is so weak. It has a smaller proportion of SMEs in GDP than any other major OECD country – far lower than the USA or Germany – that is why growth in regressing to the mean because it is full of sclerotic monopolists and they soak up public contracts to keep their show on the road. Thus if you cut Public Spending you cut growth anaemic as it is

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …then why are your Cameroonian heroes so enamored of socialism?

      • DWWolds

        I do no have any heroes.

    • DWWolds

      There is a new report out by the excellent Dr Tim Morgan. I’ve not had time to read it yet – it is 80 pages long – but gather he reveals that for every £1 of growth that was added between 2001-2010 the public and private debt grew by £5.4. Nobody could rectify a situation like that overnight – and not even in two and a half years.

  • James S

    It is not that I don’t trust Miliband (and I don’t), it is I do not trust ANY of them. How about just not trying to reflate the economy through government spending? We do not have the money, we need to cut the deficit, it would be nice to be able to affords to really cut taxes at some point, both mean spending a lot less, for a long time. Gordon Brown believed the a government invests, except that his investments have not provided any return. this is a tried and tired path to failure.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      Pointless to reflate an economy with a chronic trade deficit it would undo the devaluation and probably accelerate it into a serious inflation. That is exactly what Heath did in 1973-74 to deal with the oil deficit and produced 25% inflation by 1975

    • DWWolds

      See my post above re Dr Tim Morgan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    Who would you borrow from Eddie ? Who would lend to you ? Thus far the Bank of England is EXPROPRIATING British household wealth by transferring Savings to the Banks and having the Banks and Pension Funds buy Gilts impoverishing Savers and future Pensioners. Just how do you think you can increase the Bank of England share of Gilt issuance from 66% ? What is your next trick – expropriate Jews or the Church ? I mean all these regimes run out of money and end up going for Life Insurance policies and gold teeth. What exactly is your party trick ?

    • telemachus

      Look the far Eastern Tiger economies are aching for dynamic economies in which to sink their money
      Provided we are not stupid enough to vote back in the Tories and hence put membership of Europe in doubt there will be no problem

      • Colonel Mustard

        Britain was trading successfully across the Far East long before the EU was even thought of. Don’t confuse a crutch for an advantage, especially one with the ball and chain of bureaucratic regulation overdrive attached to it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        No. The rich elites in China are looking for bolt-holes and buying Western assets before China implodes with its huge credit bubble. NOONE is interested in investing in Britain’s Welfarism even though Gordon Brown thought Welfarism was “investing” as does his Humunculus eddie Balls

        • telemachus

          Believe not rumours of Chinese implosion
          The Chinese have the wit drive and intelligence to outperform all in the West

      • HJ777

        You mean those Far Eastern Tiger economies where the state consumes less than 30% of GDP?

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