Coffee House Specdata

New Labour’s greatest failure

16 April 2014

6:58 PM

16 April 2014

6:58 PM

My friend and critic Jonathan Portes obviously took exception to my remarks about Keynesianism having been disproven. His entertaining rebuttal claims to have exposed my misreading of data. That’s not quite how I see it.

I agree with him that the appalling build-up of out-of-work benefits happened before 1997. The Tories badly miscalculated incapacity benefit; thinking it would be a one-off way to help those affected by deindustrialization. But, in fact, it created a welfare dependency trap, and the 1992 recession caught too many people in it.

John Major had an excuse: a recession. Tony Blair had no such excuse. I wasn’t joking about a quarter of Liverpool and Glasgow being on the dole at the height of the Labour boom. In May 2007, precisely 25 per cent of Glaswegians were on out-of-work benefits, and 26.2 per cent of Liverpudlians. In Birmingham, it was 21 per cent. In Manchester: 22 per cent. In Blackpool: 23 per cent. (Full data here.) I cannot agree with Jonathan that this represents an economic success. Instead, I’d categorise it as a scandalous failure – one made even worse by the fact that so few in the Labour Party pointed to this failure.

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Jonathan also says that I’m wrong to claim that the link between British jobs and British workers is being repaired. CoffeeHousers may remember that Gordon Brown boasted about having overseen the creation of 2.6 million jobs. And, while it’s true that employment did rise by that amount, 1.9 million – 72 per cent – was accounted for by foreign-born workers. Now, to me, that prompts a question: what’s the good of a growing economy if it doesn’t shorten British dole queues?

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Under Cameron, the breakdown of new jobs has been different, which is why I say that the coalition’s welfare reforms and tax cuts are coming together to make growth work in a way that reduces the number of workless households. Just 17.1 per cent now, at this time of austerity; lower than it ever was at any point in the Labour years.

I agree with Jonathan that the best bits of the coalition’s welfare plan build on the excellent reforms of James Purnell, Jim Murphy and John Hutton. In many ways, they can be seen as the real pioneers. But these Labour reformers were set to work too late, after it was clear that Gordon Brown’s “let then eat tax credits” approach had failed. Blair was very close to doing proper reform (as his hero Clinton has) from the offset, but gave up when the protests started. Welfare reform is the toughest thing you can do in government – lots of pain for very little Politcal reward.

If I were to attack Cameron and Osborne, I’d point to the low real wages which make such jobs growth attainable, a function of Britain’s appalling productivity levels. I would not say how much better things were under Labour. The jobs boom was fuelled by migrants, while pockets of the most appalling poverty were simply ignored – when there was the money to help the people trapped in such areas. And that, to me, is New Labour’s single greatest failure.

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Show comments
  • LeoLeo

    Keynesianism involves running a budget surplus when the economy is growing so that you can run a deficit in a recession.

    New Labour ran a budget deficit when the economy was growing and a larger deficit in the recession. Then they blamed the Tories for trying to cut spending so we can start to pay back the mountain of debt Labour left behind.

  • Oliver_C

    People like Telemachus — putting aside the general arrogance of anyone bestowing themselves a Classical online name — are the reason I gave up on PoliticalBetting.com

  • zoid

    so those areas with such high levels of benefits dependency…wonder which party is the dominant one in those areas?

    ‘the labour party’…or is ‘the welfare party’ more accurate?

  • Raw England

    Why do you think its a good thing that 10’s of millions of suffering native English people are being FORCED, viciously, into a lifetime of low-paid, undignified work as immigrants inexorably takeover/destroy their nation?

    And isn’t Jonathan Portes the Leftist who still, like a rabid animal, says that immigration is benefiting us, despite the fact that immigration is costing us at least £22 million a day, and has overwhelmingly destroyed our housing, NHS and welfare system?

  • HookesLaw

    ‘Under Cameron, the breakdown of new jobs has been different,’ – which gives the lie to the’ liblabcon’ garbage from the nutjobs.
    As i pointed out to portes in my comment to his article incapacity benefit claimant went up 1.3 million under Labour. Some boom.

  • Jamie Thunder

    “In May 2007, precisely 25 per cent of Glaswegians were on out-of-work benefits, and 26.2 per cent of Liverpudlians. In Birmingham, it was 21 per cent. In Manchester: 22 per cent. In Blackpool: 23 per cent.”

    Just taking Liverpool as an example – between May 2000 (the earliest I can find figures) and May 2007, the percentage of working-age people claiming out-of-work benefits fell from 32.2% to 26.2%. Would you call that a failure? That’s still appallingly high, but taking a single data point can be, well, misleading.

    Would be interesting for someone with more time to take the data across the years for the LAs Fraser mentions and see the trend.

    May 2000 figures: http://83.244.183.180/100pc/wapop/ccla/ccstatgp/a_cnpop_r_ccla_c_ccstatgp_may00.html (replace May with Feb/Aug/Nov, and the 2-digit year of your choice)

    • HookesLaw

      Taking your figures at face value its hardly a success given we had supposedly all the growth that Labour claimed. Indeed they are making great play of the recovery not really helping ‘ordinary people’ – their boom does not look much better.

  • Patrick

    Fraser you forgot to point out that the jobs growth under New Labour was predominantly in the public sector but under the coalition is predominantly in the private sector. This matters hugely for the national finances. What we are witnessing is not so much a ‘jobs miracle’ as a rebalancing from the consumptive to the productive sectors of the economy – the good jobs and GDP numbers are just symptoms of this underlying truth.
    Labour is the party of the consumptive sector, Conservatives the party for the productive sector. The economy remains massively unbalanced, the state is far too large, deficits are still monstrous – and turning the dial back to ‘borrow n spend’ under the direction of Ed n Ed will be calamity.

    • Andy

      Exactly. Labour expanded the public sector to expand their own vote. T’was ever thus.

      • HookesLaw

        Which is all the more reason to vote tory to stop them getting back in and reversing the trend.

  • Sean Grainger

    It is of course impossible to argue with people like Telemachus (so why do I bother?) but it’s early and modernising the NHS is such an outrageous claim one must. Brown (mad as he obviously was/is) doubled taxpayers’ expenditure on our very poor health service (see alternatives Germany France Switzerland and Canada) and possibly embedded its smug f***-the-customer attitude such that it will never be modernised. A sine qua non of the left’s argument for immigration is the NHS depends on it. Whatever: what does NOT happen is French German American and Swiss medical staff flooding to do what they undoubtedly could for it.

    • Andy

      Fascists like Telemachus need to be opposed and exposed as the danger they are to the liberty of the people.

    • HookesLaw

      Brown increased spending (as had the tories) but he spent it on an unreformed NHS and resisted reforms that people like Blair and Milburn wanted to put in. Such that by his 2010 manifesto he was promising 20 billion in NHS efficiency savings. if 20 billion was there to be saved – why did he spend it in the first place?

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/dec/12/labour-nhs-competition-alan-milburn

      Milburn complains but also says …. ‘the coalition, and the prime minister in particular, had failed to sell
      the coalition’s health bill as “evolution of the Milburn-Blair reforms”.
      He said: “Basically we had competition and it was then blocked by
      Gordon Brown. Lansley could have said he was following us. But instead
      they sold it as revolution’

      Ironically Brown also pledged more private involvement in the NHS in the 2010 manifesto. Too late.

  • Tom Tom

    So Fraser if C+I+G+(X-M) Y where does that leave us?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Guys, do yourselves a favour; read through your submission before pressing the “Post” button.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “New Labour’s greatest failure”
    Wow, that really is a tight field.

  • wattys123

    the reality is the Coalition isn’t creating real jobs, people are moving off the dole onto self-employed tax credits and not actually working. a self-employed cab driver in London not getting single fare can claim benefits up to 36K.

    • HookesLaw

      Head in the sand garbage.

  • ohforheavensake

    Point is, Fraser, he’s the economist: and he’s a labour economist at that. I’m going to believe him over you. He’s the qualified one.

    • Colonel Mustard

      labour economist – oxymoron alert.

      • telemachus

        You forget the Giants of world renown like Brown and Darling
        Just as Obama who stiffened his backbone when he came green into office

        • Colonel Mustard

          The Giants of Ordure more like.

          • telemachus

            Ask yourself what would have happened to Freddia May andvFreddie Mac without Gordon

            • the viceroy’s gin

              The Broun didn’t know the difference between Freddie Mac and Freddie Mercury.

      • realfish

        Not just an economist but as one blog described, ‘His career is a case study in how unelected unrepresentative individuals controlled migration policy in the Labour government 1997 to 2010.’

        Portes (a favourite of the BBC) has been defending his position and Labour’s displacement of young Britons from the labour market, ever since.

    • tastemylogos

      the point is, OFHS, people like you… the thoughtless, witless, partisan sycophants who are incapable of looking at data objectively, drawing from the world around them and coming to their own conclusion without the signal of approval off an ‘academic’ to whom you happen to share a world view with.

      You really are ‘thick’. Agree with whatever sits well with you. Idiot.

  • Colonel Mustard

    New Labour’s greatest failure?

    Oh dear, choices, choices. So many to choose from.

    • telemachus

      As with all organisations there will be the occasional failure
      But we have to set that against the great net benefit of our movement to the health and well being of the nation

      • Colonel Mustard

        Occasional failure? One long epic 13-year fuck up is closer to the truth.

        • telemachus

          You are also allowed to thank Gordon for the modernisation os schools and the health service

          • Colonel Mustard

            You keep repeating that tired old lie. Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true. “Gordon” was an unmitigated disaster. Another megalomaniac like you.

            • telemachus

              Before Godon you waited 5 years for a new hip
              In 2010 5 weeks
              Now 17 weeks
              Projection for next year 24 weeks
              *
              And deaths on cardiac waiting lists are again rising

              • wattys123

                and when he started we had some saving and some gold when the cretin left we had a 1.5 trillion debt and no gold.

                • telemachus

                  Remind me of the relative values to a child of a hoard of gold versus a live and healthy grandfather who can take you off swimming

                • wattys123

                  remind me what was Moron Brown’s overspend 1 trillion – does the little girl know she wont have a pension or healthcare because a cretinous coward called Brown spent her money before she was even born. Gold is a hedge against inflation, why do you think the Chinese central bank bought all of Brown’s.

              • Tom Tom

                75% hip replacements are done in private sector

              • Colonel Mustard
                • telemachus

                  Sorry
                  In my haste to debunk this ridiculous post I posted to myself 5 up
                  I urge you all to check with your GP

              • telemachus

                So for those without the patience to browse statistics I will summarise Col ‘ s point that as an overall percent most LAST year were still within the 18week target
                Wonderful
                As you would expect they do not go into the median wait which is getting closer to that now or the projections for breaching the target next year
                I urge you all to go down to your GP and ask how long a wait it will be for a routine anything

              • http://www.readmypoems.co.uk/ Ali

                Before Gordon and Tony when you visited your GP in your small town you were one of a few patients, now when you visit, if you can get an appointment, you are one of dozens, but the only one with a British surname. OK most of the immigrants from Eastern Europe aren’t queuing up for new hips, but the health service is groaning under pressure generally.

          • MirthaTidville

            He didnt modernise anything. He didnt know how to..He used PFI, which is the most useless and expensive way to do anything in the public service.Remember Brown wanted to impress useful fools like you and in that he suceeded

            • telemachus

              And all the thousands of my fellow citizens who would not be alive without his magnificent investment in our health service

              • Colonel Mustard

                Quoting Sean Grainger who is “lost” below:-

                “It is of course impossible to argue with people like Telemachus (so why do I bother?) but it’s early and modernising the NHS is such an outrageous claim one must. Brown (mad as he obviously was/is) doubled taxpayers’ expenditure on our very poor health service (see alternatives Germany France Switzerland and Canada) and possibly embedded its smug f***-the-customer attitude such that it will never be modernised. A sine qua non of the left’s argument for immigration is the NHS depends on it. Whatever: what does NOT happen is French German American and Swiss medical staff flooding to do what they undoubtedly could for it.”

              • Inverted Meniscus

                Such as the 1,200 people who died unecessarily at Mid-Staffs under the watchful eye of Andy Burnham. I am sure their relatives are all very grateful. Also, Brown was planning to cut £20 Billion from the health budget following the 2010 election and so perhaps a lot of what was spent beforehand was actually wasted.

              • HJ777

                Any fool can spend money.

                In 2009 the OECD reported that the NHS was of about average cost but the quality and quantity of what it provided was well below average, whilst it paid its staff far more than the average.

                • Andy

                  That’s because it is run entirely for the benefit of its staff and not its consumers.

              • Tom M

                Pity it was offset somewhat by others who died unnecessarily though. Never mind onwards and upwards eh?

              • Holly

                Don’t forget the ones who died through neglect.
                The jackass raised salaries, expected nothing from the workforce in return,(which is precisely what he got) and spent the money on buildings.

              • http://Thegrouse.tumblr.com The Grouse

                Maybe could have afforded a few more hospitals if he hadn’t flogged our gold at the worst possible time

          • Kitty MLB

            Telemachus.Schools, the NHS, the Economy.
            Failure, Failure, Failure.

            • telemachus

              Kitty
              You just cannot sustain the first two

              • Andy

                Oh yes she can. The Fascist Party f*cked up everything.

          • Tom M

            Oh yes the health service, it’s coming back to me know.

          • Holly

            I do!
            I thank the moron every day, because of the fantastic job Bozo & Co did, to just about everything, should ensure beetroot & idiot boy never get anywhere near governing again.

            After years of Labour ‘modernising’ we are now on track to getting back to being a successful country again.
            Even some in the Labour party are wakening up to how disasterous/useless Ball is/would be.

      • monty61

        You and Hooky are made for each other. Both blindly partisan true believers. And both equally deluded.

        • telemachus

          One is right
          One is wrong
          Ask youself if your kids had no shoes which you would prefer

        • HookesLaw

          And you of course are not deluded in your thinking that the sun shines out of Saint Nigel’s backside.
          You like Farage are happy to ignore a leading MEP making loadsamoney out of wind farms in contravention of kipper policy.
          You are happy that Farage’s ugly brother makes a million, allegedly just for him, out of a joint family tax dodging trust fund. You are happy to ignore the misuse of public funds, the mass resignations of MEPs and their accusations… and the total lack of UKIP standing up for Britain’s interests in the EU. Not to mention the private scandals exposed by his transgender exMEP.

          No you would never be blindly partisan.

    • Shazza

      Very true Colonel. We are spoiled for choice when it comes to the failures delivered by the Party of Mass Destruction.

      • telemachus

        Every party will have some failures ask the 2 parties of the coalition
        Concentrate on our success
        The modernisation of all our great state agencies from 20th century fossils to modern state of the art enterprises
        Sadly Gove and Hunt are busy destroying 2 of the best of them

    • HookesLaw

      There is no choice. Their greatest failure was believing in Gordon Brown. Their greatest success of course was putting up with Blair. This is not the same as saying Blair was a success for us, but he was a success for them every bit as much as Brown was a failure for the nation.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Agreed but there is something missing from that picture. Oh yes, I remember now, prison bars.

  • telemachus

    As you very well know the benefit of the foreign workers is to plug the age demographic time bomb and fund our unfounded pensions as more and more of us become centenarians

    • P_S_W

      That clearly explains the number of NEETS throughout that period as they would never have been in employment for, say, 40 years to fund pension pots.

      • telemachus

        There must be 2 aims
        First to get most indiginous into gainful employment
        Second to expand the economy to fund the pension time bomb
        We need to work on both employment opportunities and also the importbofbvigorous youthntomexpand GDP

        • Colonel Mustard

          You better pray hard you don’t get the sort of “vigorous youth” now busy in the Ukraine in camo and balaclavas. If that happens on-one will be bothered about pensions.

          • telemachus

            Putin’s lapdogs have no interest in England
            I wish them good luck against the descendants of the Camp Guards

            • Colonel Mustard

              Do you understand what “sort of” means? Or is that tiny, compulsive obsessive pea brain of yours literal?

              • telemachus

                OK
                The sort of vigorous youth from Romania so feared by Faragians are preferred for their industry by London employers

                • ButcombeMan

                  I think you need to ask MetPol & the NCA about Romanian criminality.

                • MirthaTidville

                  Yes they are constantly thieving from them

          • Tom Tom

            We had them in Northern Ireland where we called them Unionists until they were sold out to the IRA

        • P_S_W

          So please tell me how many NEETS there were during the last Government and how many foreign workers were brought in.

  • Kitty MLB

    New Labours biggest failure is more then one issue such as
    jobs.Its biggest failure is its very creation.
    A party Blair said was the future, good for the economy
    and not a dead old party like what he could the Conservative Party.
    That deceitful, treasonous, and dishonest party wrecked the
    foundations of the United Kingdom and changed the face
    of politics in this country for the worse.
    That picture of the smiling villain and the lunatic should
    send shudders down the spine.

    • telemachus

      Kitty Kitty Kitty
      You know well that the revisionist New Labour experiment was necessary to wrest power after the 18 years of personal self aggrandisement philosophy
      Having obtained power Blair allowed Gordon to engineer the longest period of prosperity in the history of our great country
      And further to harness that wealth to modernise schools and our health service
      *
      A simple thank you would do

      • Dogzzz

        The prosperity started in 1992 Under John Major and continued through to 1999, as labour kept to tory spending plans for 2 years from 1997. Then they ran out of ideas. created a massively insane debt bubble to keep the economy afloat and overtaxed and wasted the proceeds. They knighted the unqualified bankers and created a toothless financial quango, so to enable insane levels of lending, and created the longest tax code in the world to create a labyrinthine web of tax loopholes to help their corporatist cronies. Then, as it was all imploding, they spent hundreds of billions to bail out the bankers, whilst doubling the income tax of the poorest workers. Brown sold our gold at the bottom of the market, he destroyed pension wealth and wrecked the economy. Labour’s record in power is one of unrivalled unmitigated failure.

        Since losing power, all their predictions of double and triple dip recessions, unemployment shooting up to 5 million etc… have been so utterly and completely wrong that the only conclusion one can draw is that labour’s economists simply have no clue about real world economics. They do not understand how or why the economy works as it does. They are not fit to get their hands on the levers of power ever again.

        • telemachus

          You forgot the bit about saving the World’s banks after the Lehman recession
          And the turnaround of the NHS from 5 year to 5 week waiting lists

          • Holly

            Those waiting five years under the ‘nasty’ Tories, probably lived longer than those who only waited five weeks, then were starved/neglected to death once their op was done under the pure evil Labour lot….
            Mmm…Hard choice to make which I’d personally prefer.
            Nice shiny new building, and great salaries for the nurses/
            doctors though.

        • Andy

          Totally agree with you. The Fascist Labour Party should be made a criminal organisation and liquidated.

      • Kitty MLB

        ‘Simple thank you will do’
        Telemachus, you could cause a riot in a convent.
        And you have been eating those ‘exotic’ mushrooms
        again clearly….

      • Fergus Pickering

        Tank you, Telemachus. Thank you again. Just for being you, don’t you know.

      • Holly

        We know, but the moron did what all Labour bods end up doing…
        Spending every last penny and having nothing but debts to show for it.
        If the truth be said out loud, Labour would have won in 1997 regardless who was leader. It just so happened it was Blair, and all the nasty baggage that came along with him, like Cambell & Mandleson. Bozo, Balls, and all the nasty smearing, lies and spin.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      I have to say Kitty, your heart`s in the right place. The other organs I`m less certain about.

      • Kitty MLB

        My entire orchestra of organs are fine, thank thee
        very much.

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