Coffee House

Where Ed Balls went wrong

30 June 2013

8:27 PM

30 June 2013

8:27 PM

In today’s Observer, Andrew Rawnsley says that Ed Balls has become a victim of his own success. The Shadow Chancellor predicted the George Osborne ‘would smother growth by cutting too far, too fast…The coalition jeered that Mr Balls was a deficit-denier and an unreconstructed old Keynesian,’ says Rawnsley — as if this has been subsequently disproven. But rather than take a bow, poor Mr Balls has to adjust to the consequences of  Osborne’s failure by admitting even he’d have to administer austerity. So it looks like a concession! Unkind souls like Dan Hodges conclude that ‘Ed Balls is now sleeping with the fishes.’

In fact, Balls is in trouble because his first analysis was fake. The cuts were not too deep and too harsh, but he pretended otherwise because he thought it would hurt Osborne more. Even before the election, this was his plan: ramp up spending, jeer the Tories as they cleaned up the mess, promise to spend more then actually do so if the budget was balanced by 2015. He’d portray his opposite number as a crazed Tory, cutting from the blackness of his heart. The BBC, whose budget was being cut, would need no persuading that the sky was falling in. Even Osborne was exaggerating the nature of the total cuts, as it gave the coalition a sense of mission: get rid of the deficit. Yet below, we see the limit of Osborne’s cuts: a total 2.6 per cent spread over eight years. And for comparison, on the left, what Labour did last time it had to cut.

Screen-Shot-2013-06-26-at-14.49.53-558x4131

[Alt-Text]


The Balls narrative – that growth was choked by the cuts – dissolves on contact with the facts. But he chose this line of attack, because he reckoned (correctly) that no one would ever catch him out. As Peter Oborne says in this week’s Telegraph podcast Balls became Osborne’s useful idiot: distracting attention from his failure to trim the size of the state.

But Balls miscalculated. Where Osborne did cut, there was no great damage (just as, in the Labour years, the money did not help things greatly). Police spending is down, as is crime. Arts spending has crashed, and Britain’s cultural life is stronger than ever. Scores of new free schools open every year.

Osborne did, however, fail to tackle a Cuts what Cuts covergovernment machine that has grown out of all proportion to its usefulness. Instead of abolishing the deficit by 2015, we’ll have the worst deficit in the Western world by 2015. It gets worse. Over the next five years Osborne plans to trim back total state spending by a total – a total – of 0.3 per cent. (That’s in real terms: in cash terms it will rise). But it’s hard for Balls to nail Osborne for his squeamishness on cuts, as it’s the very opposite vice to the one he’s spent the last three years accusing him of.

Balls went for the fake ‘cut’ attack line because, I suspect, his bloodlust got the better of him. Now, he will manage to persuade only a handful of his dupes that the recovery was killed by vicious cuts. Anyone capable of consulting the OBR data tables will see that this is untrue. Even Paul Krugman has stopped using Britain as an example of austerity.

So Balls now has to pivot. He is having to switch from saying ‘Osborne cut too deep and fast!’ to saying ‘Osborne has failed to cut enough and balance the budget!’. He looks ridiculous in so doing. As Rawnsley concludes, Balls has lost credibility. Like a guard dog deterred by being thrown a piece of steak, Balls got stuck into what he thought was easy meat while his real target slipped away. Lucky old Osborne.

I’ll leave CoffeeHousers with the opening line from this week’s leading article:

‘The Labour party used to joke that the Tories would act as their cleaners: win, take the political pain, abolish the deficit by 2015 and then hand over a balanced budget when they lost the election. George Osborne has, at the very least, put paid to that. Whoever wins the next election could close every school, open every prison, cede Northern Ireland, close every embassy and sack every soldier, sailor and airman — and it would still not be enough to put the government back in the black.’

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Show comments
  • Fat Bloke on Tour

    Trevor

    It really has to stop.
    Your DH story / factoid really is tripe.

    Either you know that and you are a shyster.
    Or you don’t and you are the thick, poorly educated – but MOD subsidy junky – useful idiot that your articles keep telling us you are on a regular basis.

    Consequently you can’t look at 77/78 in isolation. Look at the cash totals and look what happened in 78/79. It was a one year IMF / BoE inspired financial coup to scare the plebs before the North Sea Oil money arrived.

  • baz

    Democracy has degenerated to bribing voters with borrowed money.

  • Nick

    You’ve all got Ed Balls wrong……..He’s garbage at everything but he ain’t half a good dancer……

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvowfpyjkOA

  • Ian Walker

    He’s a socialist. If that’s your foundation, everything you build on it will eventually collapse.

  • DavidL

    Labour’s crippling error was in not holding up their hands, admitting to the fiscal irresponsibility of Gordon Brown, and telling us how they would manage things better in the future.

    But then how could they? With the demise of the Trade Union movement in most sectors of the economy, Labour’s only remaining raison d’etre is spending money, and expanding the proportion of recipients of benefits in the hope that they will become Labour voters.
    Encouragingly, polling evidence suggests that young voters aren’t buying this nonsense.

    • Makroon

      Labour’s “crippling error” was in not ditching the whole gang of discredited Brownites. They needed a general clean-up and rethink, and should have filled their front bench with MPs known for their integrity (assuming that they could have found sufficient numbers).

  • Lady Magdalene

    Fraser spells out just how badly the Coalition (specifically Osborne and Alexander) has performed, yet still thinks we should elect them for another term.
    Under current electoral circumstances, it’s going to be impossible for Cameron to win a majority. Without the boundary review; the best the Conservative Party can hope for is another coalition with the LibDems – and continuing failure to cut spending and deal with the deficit.
    If you restrict your choice to one of LibLabCON, you are choosing deficiet, debt and denial of reality.
    We need a fundamental change in the way this country is run. Starting by leaving the EU so that we can spend our money in our own country and make the changes necessary to free-up our economy.

  • Chris Woods

    Ed Balls has never being credible on the economy.

    • Abhay

      Thanks for telling us. None of us were aware of that.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Or on anything else.

      • Slim Jim

        Oh, come on Fergus – he can play chopsticks on the pianoforte…

    • Makroon

      Balls has no hinterland at all.
      He was the bagman of the inept Brown, who “arranged” him a nice parliamentary seat.
      He has no qualification to be an MP (let alone shadow Chancellor), other than being a crony of Brown and having a willingness to deal in gutter stunts. Without Brown, Balls would still be vainly trying to be selected to stand for parliament.
      His “speeches” are incoherant, yahboo! rants. His “analysis” is lifted wholesale from the wilder reaches of US ultra-Keynesianism.
      But Fraser sees him as a serious figure …. and a good excuse to roll out the power-points for the 452nd time. Oh joy !

  • ohforheavensake

    … Actually, no. Tell you what, we’ll just leave it. I notice you’re getting beaten up on Twitter by people who actually know what they’re talking about- so I’ll leave you to them.

    • Cuse

      It has to be said.

      Danny Blanchflower gave Fraser a right royal pasting last night.

      • DWWolds

        If you mean David Blanchflower when did he have any credibility?

        • HookesLaw

          I did not see the alleged confrontation (SKY News?) but whether Blanchflower has any credibility or not this does not assume Mr Nelson has either on this subject.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I should imagine being “beaten up” on Twitter by a lynch mob of lefty morons would be quite a badge of honour for any conservative. The online lefty mob always have all the answers about the economy and always want the last word. It is just so curious that they always f*** it up beyond all recognition whenever they are in power and then their last words are “There is no money”.

  • ohforheavensake

    Oh, and something else- you say that arts funding has been cut, and yet the arts are flourishing.

    Evidence for this?

  • ohforheavensake

    Further to the previous post- here’s a graph. It shows the relative performance of the US and UK economies since their pre-crash peaks. The US, as you know, put in a stimulus package; we cut- and things went pear shaped-

    https://twitter.com/rightwayisleft/status/351444858713563136/photo/1

    • anyfool

      Oh ffs you cannot seriously expect anyone to take any notice of that pillock Blanchflower on that link you provide.
      He has twisted more facts than his hero Brown.
      Obama`s Peace Prize has more credibility than this Professorial fool.

      • ohforheavensake

        He did call the crash- unlike Mervyn King.

        & I notice your reply is fact-free; so it’s pretty hard to take seriously.

        • anyfool

          Can you provide proof of that assertion, after all claiming my views as fact free while peddling your own views, should at least come with a link, not one from Blanchflower.

          • Cuse

            Can you prove your assertions?

            Come on, play the ball not the man.

            • anyfool

              Did you miss the line including the words my views.
              Blanchflower was an advisor to Brown, Brown screwed the economy up big time taking advice from this man, my views on this hold more water than the supposed facts from that link to Blanchflower.

              Blanchflower is very good in one respect and that is as a self publicist.

          • Colonel Mustard

            The latest lefty scripted phrase to deploy when dealing with any dissent – “fact-free” – meaning containing no lefty propaganda, code words or buzz lines I can believe in.

        • Fergus Pickering

          No he didn’t. He just said he did.

    • Andy

      The difference is that the US sorted out its banking system far quicker than we did. Here we are saddled with RBS and Lloyds. And we are far too heavily influenced by the Euro Zone which goes from one crisis to another in a never ending tapestry of incompetence and stupidity.

      • ohforheavensake

        Sorting out the banking system explains part of the difference. However, the Obama administration did put a stimulus in place, and it worked.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No it didn’t, job creation is horrid. Simply horrid.

          You can cause a dead cat GDP bounce in any economy, if you borrow enough cash and give it to government employees, which is what Obama did. That isn’t real growth, which is the only thing that can touch the mass unemployment levels.

          • allymax bruce

            You’re American.

        • Andy

          You really should look more at what happened in the USA. Obama’s so called stimulus has done nothing much at all, as is perfectly clear. As a whole Obama is worse than useless.

          And we also have too big a State. It needs a damn good prune. We also need major tax reform, but that idiot Brown managed to double the tax code. Everything he touched he messed up. No wonder Guido calls him ‘Jonah’.

      • allymax bruce

        “Euro Zone. .. goes from one crisis to another in a never ending tapestry of incompetence”. Quite; I call it Inverse-Convergent Policymaking; where Counterproductive policies, designed to fail, direct all power back to their distributer.
        (all rights reserved to allymax).

        I’ve been telling you all for ages now, the EU, (like Bliarism), policies are purposely made to, first, disenfranchise us from our power, then beget us to their power. But all I get is superficial pleasantries, and second-rate snearing from the viceroy’s grin !

        Is it because I’m Scots’ ; hmm, Rome burns, but not Scotland.
        Great Scots !

        • Wessex Man

          no it’s because you are an unpleasant half-wit.

        • alabenn

          Delete “Euro Zone” from your first paragraph, substitute “Scottish cabal” and that will be somewhere near to what happened in the UK.

          As to your pathetic self pity regarding criticism from the Viceroy, does this prove the case about Celtic lack of self regard and weakness expressed in a common refrain in your country that everything is, the fault of the English.

          • allymax bruce

            Ahh, more snearing; but this time from the lower level reprobates. Farage has instituted a semantic infrastructure, but the plebs cannot ‘desist’ their inbred Pavlovian response to the slightest bit of criticism. Of which, proves reprobate plebs in UKIP will solidify the Party as a ‘one-trick-pony’.
            Farage will be disappointed; QED.

        • Andy

          I also used the word ‘stupidity’. And that is what the Euro is: a monumental act of stupidity. One notes that the fat tub of fascist lard in Edinburgh has gone off the idea of joining the Euro. Funny, one wonders why. He hates anything English so why would he want to retain Sterling ?

          • allymax bruce

            Andy, you are critical of using the euro, but still smear Scots, and our leaders when we reject the euro; but continue with our jointly owned Sterling currency. Do you also have that ignorant Anglo archetypal instinct to dismiss Scots.
            Pity. Seems some people just can’t help being nasty.

            • HookesLaw

              You (Scotland) don’t jointly own Sterling. You are either a fantasist, or a very bad propagandist.

              • allymax bruce

                We, (Scotland), own 10% of everything UK has. Ten percent of Sterling, 10% of nuclear capability, 10% of tax havens, & 10% of all UK telecommunications, (satellites, royal mail, BBC); you seem to want to forget this. Sorry mate, but thems the facts.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Don’t forget having your cake and eating it. That’s important to you too and we won’t forget it.

                • Andy

                  Of course the National Debt has to be divided up using the Barnett Formula. The money was spent that way, so the debt must be also.

                • allymax bruce

                  Its not put fault you bunch of ‘hoorey henrys’ haven’t got a clue how to run a government.
                  There’s no point in blaming us Scots; or the poor people, or The English masses that are contemplating insurrection!
                  In-deed, you screwed over the normal ‘British’ peoples, for far too llng now. And its not looking good for you elitist types!
                  Aye, guid luck when the English revolution kicks off.

            • Andy

              When the Scots (like you) show some respect for we English they might gain it in return.

              And actually Sterling was the currency of England. The Scots Pound was worthless.

              • allymax bruce

                I’d quite happily show you the respect you deserve; no arguments there.
                As for Sterling; because we share the same Monarch, then we share the same currency.
                As Scots pound being worthless; then our green energy will also be worthless to you when Westminster shut off the lights in England!
                I must say, quite a lot of snearing going on from the snobs here. You’d think you had something to smear about!
                Maybe a few English ‘far-right’ political party’s can help you prove your worth to your own English masses, those poor people you so readily impoverish, and also smearingly call them ‘the great unwashed’; all the while snearing your pretentious elitist quips at the Scots people that didn’t cause your Westminster mess.
                Instead of getting on your pretendy high horse, maybe you should be asking the English masses of they will continue voting for your stupid .failures !

                • Andy

                  We do indeed share the same Sovereign, God bless her. However because of that fact it would not follow we would have the same currency. Her Majesty is Queen of 16 realms. How many have the same currency ?

                  You need to learn to read. I said ‘the Scots Pound was worthless’. Note the use of the past tense as in ‘was’. You should examine the history of the currency union. The thrones were united in 1603 on the death of Queen Elizabeth, of glorious memory. You did not adopt the English currency at that point. When you did the Scots pound converted at 12:1 (a correct value would have been more like 20:1). Sterling, which was the currency of England, is the oldest currency still in use in the world today.

                  If there is any sneering going on it is from you with your nasty brand of ‘Scottish Nationalism’ which can clearly be seen to be anti-English. And one would remind you that the British economy was buggered up by Gordon the Moron Brown. He is a Scot. Please arrange for him to be hanged immediately.

                • allymax bruce

                  Actually, you need to do some Scots history reading; in Scotland it is the people that are Sovereign. Not the Monarch. And, in England, it is Parliament that is Sovereign. So, you got your first two points wrong !
                  So, how’s that snearing going now?
                  We will share our currency, just like we’ll share everything else! And stop complaining. Lord huv mercy, what a bunch o ‘ greetin-faced snobs. We’re happy tae share all our ‘British’ isles problems, in our independent Scotland, but hoorey henrys like this bunch here don’t exactly fill us with grace & gratitude.
                  Brown, Bliar, Labour, got their landslide majorities from England. There’s absolutely nothing Scotland could have done to prevent England voting in Brown etc. Again, trying to blame us Scots, for your stupidity!

    • HookesLaw

      Latest ONS figures show there was no double dip. If the UK economy is in recession why have the numbers in work increased?

      26 June…
      Quote
      ‘U.S. economy is a lot weaker than anyone thought’
      http://business.financialpost.com/2013/06/26/u-s-economy-is-a-lot-weaker-than-anyone-thought
      ‘Details of the report, which showed downward revisions to almost all growth categories, with the exception of home construction and government, could cast a shadow over the Federal Reserve’s fairly upbeat assessment of the economy last week.’

      Your graph is out dated on all counts.

  • ohforheavensake

    Fraser- go off and read up about the operation of automatic stabilisers; and while you’re there, read up on the paradox of austerity (in these conditions, if you cut, you hit growth, which causes revenues to dry up, which means the government has to borrow more than it anticipated).

    These are very basic economic errors- and yet you keep on making them.

    • Abhay

      High taxes is one such error..
      high income tax rates (except low cap gains which helps the very rich who are trading various asset classes) and high rates of indirect taxes
      Is that wise?

      • ohforheavensake

        If the taxes are progressive, it’s far wiser than cuts which bear down disproportionately on the poor. That’s both unfair- and uneconomical (as the poor are more likely to spend what they have).

        • Abhay

          ”If the taxes are progressive…”
          Who cares for ”progressive”? What is so wise about high taxes where you hand over money to bureaucrats to decide how it should be spend….it should be kept low

        • Colonel Mustard

          What does “progressive” actually mean and who decides? Pol Pot and Mao both thought they were very progressive. What makes the current lefty definition of “progressive” (which they seem to believe they exclusively own) correct?

    • HookesLaw

      The economy struggled to get out of Brown’s recession. That was because of the sheer severity of the depression, made worse by the pre election boom of brought forward spending and even bigger deficit and then the outside circumstances of a eurozone and wider recession.

      Neither a personality called ‘Osborne’ or the coalition or its policies were responsible for that.
      Interest rates were low we had printed money we had companies sitting on cash. Clearly the back loaded cuts had nothing to do with it. On the contrary Osborne was being sensible… as the IMF said at the time.

      • Andy

        That Moron Brown deliberately poisoned the British Economy in the run up to the election. The mess that man made will take at the very least a generation to sort out, and I doubt very much that either you or I will live to see the debt level of 1997 again. The Labour PArty should be surcharged and put into liquidation.

        • Makroon

          You will be surprised to see how quickly the debt will reduce once growth picks up and the deficit is eliminated.
          Chin up old chap.

          • Alexsandr

            cant see any flying pigs. sorry.

  • telemachus

    I thought I might have a rest but then this provocative nonsense from Fraser

    Ed is bigger than any of this

    Just take 3 short paragraphs from his speech before Osborne’s ridiculous Wednesday diatribe

    “Following the global financial crisis, any Government would have been cutting spending and raising taxes in this Parliament. Family budgets would be under pressure, and protecting jobs would have had to come before pay rises in the public sector.

    The challenge was to strike the right balance between economic growth and deficit reduction, and to do so in a fair way so that middle and lower income families did not bear the whole burden and those on higher incomes pulled their weight.

    But instead the Conservative-led coalition gambled on getting the pain over quickly – early tax rises, including the VAT rise they ruled out pre-election, alongside faster and deeper spending cuts – on a political timetable to create room for pre-election giveaways.”

    Forget cartwheels Ed has paved the way for an excellent election attack:
    Failure to rid us of the deficit
    Failure to induce growth
    And givaways(these to be announced next year)
    Do not discount Ed Balls
    He is a genius

    • Hexhamgeezer

      ‘He will now persuade only a handful of his dupes that the recovery was killed by vicious cuts’

      Not to mention the duplicitous.

    • Wessex Man

      I believe in Angels in everything they say.

    • David B

      Tele this is written using the same method you use. Facts not really touching the sides

    • Colonel Mustard

      He certainly looks bigger than any of the others in that photo.

    • HookesLaw

      In fact the truth is the opposite. The Conservatives back loaded the cuts. the government did exactly what Balls suggested.H e chose to ignore this for political reasons. Balls has consistantly twisted and invented the truth to suit an agenda built around politically campaigning rather than dealing with and debating the real issue.

      You analysis, if I may flatter it with that word, is totally bogus (and you are indeed totally flattered by that word).

  • HookesLaw

    Government Spending in 76 £58.5 billion
    Government Spending in 77 £61.9 billion
    Government Spending in 78 £71.9 billion
    During that time the debt went from 56 to 79 billion.

    In 79 the year of the election, govt spending was 85 billion compared with 39 billion in the election year of 74. In that time the debt doubled.

    Cost Cutter Healey hey??

    The notion that this government is not cutting and cutting significantly its non discretionary spending is risible. The Health Service is ring fenced but given the nature of health inflation that is a massive cut and on top of that it is going through 20 billion efficiency savings.
    And on top of that we read about an A&E crisis.

    But none of this is good enough for Mr Nelson – he wants to cut more. Does he have nice private health insurance ? He needs to read the small print. He and his family may need the NHS and then he will be glad of the wise spending decisions of the Chancellor.

    • Alexsandr

      A+E crisis is because of labours disastrous GP contracts. No decent out of hours GP’s, so people go to A+E

  • OldLb

    Spending has been raised, each and every year. It’s not spending, its tax that has hit the hardest.

    No cuts, massive tax increases.

    That’s the mess.

    • Abhay

      Yes.

  • Abhay

    1. Osborne could not cut enough over the years aside from some marginal trimming.
    2. Osborne, Cameron & Co. went to town screaming how they were cutting to bring about fiscal rectitude.

    So its a failure of Osborne & Cameron. They were running with it.

    Why is this article so focused on Balls?

    • Andy

      Because Balls is a moron, like his master was. They – the two of them – created this mess and it will take at least a generation to even begin to sort out. Balls should indeed ‘sleep with the fishes’.

      • Abhay

        I agree about New Labour’s fiscal mess and all that followed. I know that stuff quite well actually. It will take time, yes. But I am sorry there are no kudos for Osborne either. They made a big deal of fiscal rectitude and country rating and they have failed on both counts.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          The Cameroons’ budgets matched Darlings’, to the jot and tittle.

          That was a known-known, even as the Speccie teenager was squealing with glee over “the cuts” a couple years ago.

          If any Cameroon wants to clamor about the Left’s failures, they’ll then have to explain why it is the Cameroons are mirroring them.

          • Abhay

            Correct, and I remember all the glee here at Spec.

            For the last 2 days they have been focused on Osborne and his burger-cola nonsense. Talk of quality journalism!

          • allymax bruce

            “jot and tittle”, “mirroring”;
            You have an ‘elders’ knowledge of Scripture. But you’re not Spiritual.
            Hmmm. …
            Funny handshake viceroy!
            raised hem, and a bif on the head.
            I’m not even going to think what you do with your goat!

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …what in the wide wide world of sports are you raving about now, lad?

              • allymax bruce

                You use the Scripture terminology “jot and tittle”, which means ‘by hand & voice’, or, in context to Scripture, ‘Witnessing in Works’, and, exactly how you used it in Scripture context; that both fiscal policies of Labour, and Conservatives, are exactly the same. Hence your next, and alluding, and ‘witnessing’ term of Scripture, “mirroring”.
                ‘Witnessing Works’, (jot & tittle), is rarely known, by any other than those that ‘know, and understand’; and, if you’re not Spiritual, (in the know), then your learning could only have been achieved through a ‘degree of fellowship’ !
                That’s all.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, I got all that.

                  I was talking about the rest of your rant, ya’ muppet.

                • allymax bruce

                  Nah; you never got any of it, because the ‘rest’ is self explanatory if you understood the premise. Or, you’re hiding the fact you do abuse your goat !
                  So, tell me; what does the RSPCA think of what you’re doing to your goat ?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …again, what in the wide wide world of sports are you raving about now, ya’ muppet?

                • allymax bruce

                  Aye, you wouldn’t know, now would you ??? Eh-eh! !
                  But, ofcourse, you’re not allowed to tell; are you.
                  You’re not a secret society, you’re a society of secrets.
                  Aye, I bet !

                • allymax bruce

                  Shhh !
                  You know who.
                  So does your goat!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …nurse! Come quick, and bring the medication and restraints!

    • Cuse

      Why is it focused on Balls?

      Because that’s Fraser’s MO. Always has been.

      The debt and deficit started bad and is going to be truly frightening by the time the 2015 GE is here. This is due to decisions taken by a Conservative Chancellor who rather than model himself on Howe and Clarke has modelled himself on Brown and Balls; forever playing short-term political games rather than taking long-term decisions for the good of party and Country.

      Yet due to some unknown force, Fraser is still deeply, deeply sycophantic towards Cameron and Osborne.

      The awful truth becoming abundantly clear is that Darling is the Chancellor the Country needed between 2010 and 2015.

      • allymax bruce

        The IMF & ECB decide the ‘policies’ the ‘British’ chancellor of the Exchequer uses; why don’t yoos people see this?

      • HookesLaw

        A 160 billion deficit is not going to go away overnight. The debt will not come down at all without a generation of austerity, and severe restrictions on spending.

  • David Lindsay

    Rawnsley is a vicious professional liar who regarded a state-educated, non-Oxbridge Prime Minister as a personal affront and who reacted accordingly.

    There are no words to describe Hodges.

    Blairites. Nuff said.

    • anyfool

      I see you are starting to fight among yourselves, could it be that someone is going to send you to the naughty step instead of that nice house in London with a number ten on the door.

      • David Lindsay

        Rawnsley is not a Labour Party member, to the best of my knowledge.

        Hodges was ipso facto expelled when he told his readers to vote for Boris Johnson, but the London party is an administrative shambles that needs any Northern municipal Whips’ Office to come in for a week and sort it out.

        Certainly, no one in the Labour Party has even the vaguest interest in Hodges’s views, and his beyond self-parody pieces for the Telegraph have made him a figure of fun.

        Who else is going to win the next Election? UKIP? Well, there you are, then.

        • anyfool

          The Labour party will not win the General Election, it might be another hung parliament but your idiots will not win.

          • David Lindsay

            Well, you are your own there.

            And I especially love your implication that there might be a Tory overall majority. Bless.

            • HookesLaw

              YouGov polling suggest a hung parliament.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Good Heavens, Lindsay, are you actually a fully paid up member of the Labour Party who is not in a union. I don’ count the Lecturers thing as a union. I thought people like you didn’t exist any more. Ah well, the past is another country.

          • David Lindsay

            My work situation is about to change a bit, so my union affiliation is up in the air.

            Half of Labour Party members are teachers, and none of their unions is affiliated to the party. Neither of those facts is a new one. Both were ever thus.

            • Colonel Mustard

              If half the Labour Party members are teachers then what proportion of teachers are Labour Party members and what are the implications of that for the “education” of our young?

              Rhetorical question. We know.

              • Andy

                Yet another reason to privatise education. Seems that to improve education we need to break the teaching unions and the Fascist Labour Party.

          • David Lindsay

            Oh, and on my precise (or imprecise) status within the Labour Party, see http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/admit-one.html

            • Wessex Man

              what on earth makes you think that any sane person wants to visit your site?

              • David Lindsay

                But you might.

        • Colonel Mustard

          No one in the Labour Party has even the vaguest interest in anyone’s views but their own – as you evidence here almost daily.

          The saving grace (for your parteh) is the groupthink and centralised slogan scripting, otherwise you would all be permanently at war with each other.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean like John Major.

      • David Lindsay

        Say what you like about him, but he was no Blairite.

        Major never went to a university at all, and that is considered quaint, a view which itself gives an insight into the world inhabited by the media.

        Plus he was a Tory, which lets you off everything in this country, even outright criminality.

        But state-schooled, non-Oxbridge and Labour? Prepare to be crucified. Not least by Andrew Rawnsley.

    • Makroon

      Yeah, that’s right – Blairites, making Labour electable (Damn them !)

      • David Lindsay

        A very dated and discredited view.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    “…Balls became Osborne’s useful idiot: concealing the extent of his failure to actually cut back the size of the state.”

    .

    Well, that makes 2 of you useful idiots, laddie, as a couple years ago, you were in here squealing with glee over the massive cuts the Cameroons were making, despite conservatives informing you that no such “cuts” were planned or in place.

    Which begs the question, since you were so willing to lie for the Cameroons then, over what are you lying for them now? Can you help us here?

    • Fergus Pickering

      It doesn’t beg any question at all. Brush up on your English for God’s sake.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …no, that is an acceptable usage, but you’d have to brush up on the language in order to know that.

        • Fergus Pickering

          You mean acceptable to you. Quote me someone in whose judgment I might place some trust?

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Currently, ‘begging the question’ almost always means, O.K., ‘prompting a different’ question–but prompting with an urgency derived less from cogency than from the word ‘beg.’ . . . The traditional usage of ‘beg the question’ was analytic, probative. The current one lends itself to special pleading.”
            (Roy Blount, Jr., “Fair Usage.” The New York Times, May 20, 2009).

            In actual fact I think the current transatlantic usage is better – and more useful – than the original and more obscure meaning derived from imperfect Latin translation.

            In terms of usage it has come to mean the facts which prompt an obvious question that has been ignored/evaded and is used so often that way now that it would be impossible to re-establish the originally intended meaning, itself a corruption (in English) of the original Latin ‘petitio principii’ (assuming the starting point).

            • Fergus Pickering

              But there is a perfectly good way of saying that, indeed more than one. So why destroy the meaning of a different phrase. It’s like the current usage that sees no different between ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’. Lets simplify our vocabulary down to a system of whoops and grunts, as the young currently do. And all Americans, so it would seem.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                As I say, that is an acceptable usage, but you’d have to brush up on the language to understand that.

            • ButcombeMan

              Wonderful stuff Colonel.

              Reminds me why I still come here occasionally.

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