Ken Livingstone has risen once again from his political grave to criticise Labour’s ‘moral cowardice’ for borrowing through the boom rather than take difficult decisions with the public finances.
There’s something rather disorientating about hearing ‘Red Ken’ slam Gordon Brown for borrowing ‘£20bn a year’; but, nonetheless, these comments are a reminder that Brown’s ghost and the crash still stalk the Labour movement. The Tories are happy to be facing Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, commonly regarded as the chief stokers on Brown’s debt-fuelled ship, because the failures of the past live long in the memory. David Cameron’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet on Monday night suggests that the Tories are planning to fight a classic election strategy: Labour’s gruesome twosome will either borrow or tax their way through your wallet. Laugh at Wallace and Gromit now, but you’ll be paying later if they get in.
But, before the blue team get too excited about Livingstone’s remarks one must point out that he also said that all governments had ‘borrowed money because they haven’t had the courage either to make the cuts that you need to balance the budget or the tax increases you need’. This government is borrowing £3,200 a second. There’s competition where moral cowardice is concerned.