Coffee House

David Cameron is linking Ed Miliband to Labour’s past mistakes

30 April 2014

2:41 PM

30 April 2014

2:41 PM

What a very long PMQs today, presided over by a very bumptious John Bercow. The Speaker let the exchanges run into what he called ‘injury time’, made a rather poisonous jibe at Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart over her private schooling, and told the Prime Minister that as far as he was concerned, he had finished an answer when the PM didn’t believe he had.


As will increasingly be the case as we approach the general election, the two parties turned up wanting to talk about two different things. David Cameron wanted to talk about this week’s handy GDP figures, but Ed Miliband had decided to use this week’s select committee hearings on the Royal Mail as a way of not talking about growth at all. He was helped by Brian Binley’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ comments at the committee. So the Labour leader complained about the ‘rip off of the taxpayer’ of the privatisation, and David Cameron tried to link this to Labour’s past economic mistakes, complaining that he was having to take lectures from the party who had lost money selling the country’s gold. He then widened this Back to the Future attack to other ghosts of Labour past returning, such as the sons of former Cabinet ministers seeking election in 2015. Cameron wants to suggest to the public that Labour hasn’t changed a jot from the party it deserted in 2010. Ed Miliband wants to suggest that Cameron isn’t really listening to the public and is just keen on his cronies in the city.

But though the polling on Royal Mail backs up Miliband’s attack (the public didn’t like the idea of privatisation), his problem is not that Cameron does have plenty of good news to shout at him, but that the polling also suggests that the public remain suspicious of the ghosts of Labour’s past on the economy. He may find other government cock-ups over the next few months to talk about, but it will be difficult to avoid talking about the improving economy entirely.

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Show comments
  • George_Arseborne

    Cameron Tories so infatuated with Economy Growth Figure (GDP Figures for the Rich) and Job Creation (1.4 million on Zero hour contracts) does not resonate with the wider electorates. Tories are just like Robbots happy with Graphs accompanied by figures. Who cares? All we need to feel the change in our pockets after paying our bills.
    Real politicians talk of High rents, Energy bills, Rail fares, Food items , Living Wage etc that are affecting ordinary people. I commend Ed Milliband for being realistic in his approach of Politics rather than Robbot Cameron.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron and Miliband in Westminster, talking to themselves and the Bubble.
    Meanwhile, Farage is out in the country, talking to the voters.

  • colliemum

    Given all the tedious PMQs, a.k.a. the Cameron-Miliband circus, it ought to be abundantly clear by now that there won’t be any ‘official’ TV debates next year.
    After all, who’d really want to watch a re-run of that circus we can see every week?

  • dalai guevara

    Yes, we all noted that it was in fact Osborne who came out with the waffle yesterday.

    Is it now not entirely resonable for Farage to visit the regions and declare himself a Thatcherite?

    • HookesLaw

      Mrs Thatcher who signed the single market agreement and said she wanted to see the EU expand?

      • dalai guevara

        Which it has – the largest trading and socio-political platform on the planet. No one was ever forced to join, it continues to be highly attractive to all, even those not in Europe.
        One day it will really become the EUSSR as anticipated by many – the day when Russia joins the club.

        • DWWolds

          Well, a Finnish friend of mine did liken it to the Soviet Union – and added that, like the Soviet Union, it would collapse.

          • colliemum

            So did the former President of the SU, Mikhail Gorbachev.

          • you_kid

            For it to collapse one needs to create it first.
            Unions always collapse eventually.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …we’re waiting for you to reply to your Discus co-identity, lad. That’s always a hoot, when the various sockpuppets congregate.

  • Jingleballix

    ……….eerrr, that’s because Miliband was involved in making Labour policy – economic and climate change being the most disastrous.

    Others to blame for the economic meltdown – not including Brown and Balls – Cooper, the Eagle sisters, Byrne, Ussher, Vadera and of course Darling.

    9 spendaholics………not an honest one amongst ’em.

    • jack mustard

      And don’t forget Cameron and Osborne who pledged to match Labour spending right up to 2008!

      • First L

        Yea – Despite Labour being in power and making all the decisions for 13 years, as far as you’re concerned everything is all the fault of those nasty Tories. Everything ever.

        • jack mustard

          Not really. But if you are going to accuse Labour of being “spendaholics” then at least have the decency to admit that the Tories were committed to doing exactly the same. In September 2007 George Osborne said this:
          “Under a Conservative government there will be real increases in spending on public services, year after year. The charge from our opponents that we will cut services becomes transparently false.” So if Gordon Brown had called an election that Autumn, how would we be any better off now? It may be convenient for the Tories to forget their public pronouncements, but I see no harm in reminding you that, as Jingleballix might put it, “there isn’t an honest one amongst ’em”.

          • First L

            Um – if you recall, Labour spent their way to power. They spent everything. People felt good. Exactly how could the Tories have won an election in 2007 saying we’re going to come to power and cut everything? They’d have been annihilated.

            Labour set the terms of the debate unfortunately. They were bankrupting the country but unfortunately people are gullible, they like having money spent on them, even when it’s by con artists. The Tories had to play on their terms.

            Having to play on their terms however does not make them culpable for one iota of that spending. It’s all Labour.

            • jack mustard

              Labour did not “spend everything”. At the time Osborne pledged to match Labour’s spending plans the annual deficit was broadly in line with that Labour inherited from the Tories in 1997.

              • First L

                Brown had sold the gold, raided pensions and spent trillions off the books in PFI schemes that are now bankrupting hospitals that cannot pay the rent.

                Labour carries the blame. No one else.

                • jack mustard

                  You need to maintain a consistent line. You earlier argued that the Tories had no choice but to support Labour’s spending, now you argue that Labour stands alone in being responsible for what was a world-wide banking crisis. I ask again – if Cameron and Osborne had come to power in 2007 – or even 2005 – what would they have done differently that would have protected us from the 2008 crash?
                  The fact is that in the run up to the crash, Cameron and Osborne did not offer an alternative; and the UK structural deficit was in line with that that Labour had inherited when it came to power.
                  As for “bankrupting hospitals” – there was not a single hospital in deficit when the Coalition came to power in 2010 – the fact that many now are is entirely the responsibility of your lot.

                • First L

                  Your last point is demonstrably untrue.

                  “South London Healthcare amalgamated the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich in 2009.

                  When the three hospitals became one organisation they inherited a large debt – mainly from the private finance initiative (PFI) that had been used for the buildings at Orpington and Woolwich.”

                  If you’re going to accuse someone of not maintaining a consistant line, at least be sure that you have your facts straight. Otherwise you run the risk of looking very very silly.

                  It really doesn’t matter what Cameron and Osborne might have done if they’d come into power. They didn’t. That’s the entire point. You cannot palm off the responsibility onto the opposition in order to let Gordon Brown off the hook. Brown was in power. He made the decisions. His decisions were entirely wrong. You can argue till the cows come home that other people agreed with those decisions. They may have done, but the buck stops with Brown. That’s what being Chancellor/Prime Minister entails. You cannot blame others for your mistakes, no matter how hard Brown and Blair tried. If you are taken in by such arguments then that’s your problem and you’ll face another disaster in the making with Ed Miliband’s make it up as we go along Premiership.

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      Ed Balls already destroyed our economy.