1 Oct 2012

Labour’s economic policy – here’s the tofu

Evan Davis on Radio 4’s Today programme dissected Ed Balls‘s position this morning. You don’t know what your’e going to cut until you do a year-long in-government review?

Then you must be (a) sticking to the Coalition’s (yet to be agreed) 2015-16 spending details and (b) forsaking any criticism of Coalition spending cuts because you say you can’t know your way round the subject from opposition.

Ed Balls acknowledged that part (a) was a good point but said “let me wait til our manifesto.”

There’s a direct boost to housing funded by the 4G phone cash due in the next few months but that will presumably have been spent by the Coalition before 2015. Like the “we would restore the 50p top tax rate” promise that Ed Miliband spoke of yesterday, Labour is feeding the media and party members with commitments for today not for 2015.


In answer to the “where’s the beef?” call from some parts of the Labour Party, the leadership is serving up some sort of tofu substitute – indicative policies that may come to nothing but give you an idea what Labour would do if it was in power now.

Some figures in the shadow cabinet say that Ed Balls is operating too much of an armlock on the party leader, restricting his room for manoueuvre and effectively gagging Ed M on big economic policy.

Union leaders think Ed Balls will suffocate differentiation out of the next general election campaign and we’ll hear more allusions to that in the economy debate today.

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