Published on 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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7 reader comments

  1. Brian Day says:

    I believe there will be a shift in politics to the left or right or left or both and Labour is at risk of missing an opportunity to be ahead of this curve with their softly sofltly approach. They need to be more bold and vocify the popular discontent. These damned up concerns from voters if unrepresented will bring about change too rapid for any of the two main parties.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    You look at the present cowardly crew leading the Labour Party and you realise just how outstanding were individuals like Clem Atlee and Aneurin Bevan.

    So much for Milliband’s (either of them) “socialism.”

    So much for a “reforming” Labour Party in the current era.

  3. Philip says:

    I haven’t the faintest idea what Milliband, etc really stand for. They seem to believe that playing a tactical, short term game will enable them to capitalise on the Coalition’s failed economic policies & that they’ll benefit from the old adage, “it’s governments that lose elections rather than oppositions winning them’. Unfortunately, these are many of the people who are seen to have thoroughly messed up the economy because of their short termism & failure to address the root causes of an unfair and highly risky economic system with its massive implications for the sort of society we have become. So if they’re ever going to get my vote again, they’ll need not just to be a lot clearer on what sort of society they want to encourage in the UK and some sort of road map on the policies thy’ll use to get us there. What I’m getting at the moment is an Ed Milliband government will be mostly more of the same with a few tweaks here and there. If he thinks that’s getting my vote, he’s another think coming.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      So you’ll vote for the Tories then?

  4. Andrew Dundas says:

    Nobody knows how much our country will have suffered by the summer of 2015. What we know is that the Tories and their poodle deliberately misled us about the reality of our situation.
    Lord Snooty claimed it was all about wicked working families borrowing too much, and the Labour Government not regulating the US Banks. It turns out that neither was true at all. Their deceits provided an excuse for a radical cut in Corporation Tax and other tax breaks for the wealthy. All of which are widening inequality and career losses for millions. Just as right-wingers are doing all over Europe.
    Does anyone know NOW how desperate the UK economy will be by then? Of course you don’t.
    What we know now is that the Tories (& poodle) are setting out to create wider inequality and that Labour always reverses that inequality. By whatever means are available.

  5. anon says:

    In a world where financial acumen is a totally essential component of policy making and government I would have little faith in politicians who totally failed to prevent the current mess or who with todays news were so widely influenced by an idealistic marxist politician.

    We live in a world where capitalism is the major force even in a so called communist state such as China Here .emerging and widespread middle classes and minimum wage etc despite the current difficulties make this all seem out of touch.

    Our financial troubles cannot be viewed by possible mobile phone millions but must be considered in the context of globalisation. One benefit of which has been to flood the market with cheap goods.Ensuring less hardship in many spheres but competitive problems for British manufacturing in a global world.

  6. anon says:

    It is distressing that so many bloggers resort to insult and name calling. Rational argumen tand discussion are the the best ways to solve any problem.

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