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20.12.14

George Osborne hasn’t set a trap for Labour. He’s launched a boomerang

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

George Osborne thinks he is being clever, setting a trap for Labour. But Labour should vote against his proposal, expected to be contained in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, for a new law requiring that Britain’s structural deficit be eliminated by 2017-18. As it is not a trap, it is a boomerang.

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18.11.14

Closing Labour’s deficit

I had this in the current Progress magazine.

The Conservatives may not have won the last general election but Labour lost it. Labour was thought too keen on spending other people’s money, particularly in areas where the public are least keen to see their money spent, such as working-age welfare. As the Labour leadership candidates were reaching for the party’s erogenous zones, which are rarely associated with fiscal discipline, George Osborne was trashing Labour’s record, which was supposedly so disastrous that an ‘emergency budget’ was deemed necessary. This budget anticipated a surplus by the next general election. Tough commitments on welfare and immigration also quickly emerged.

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27.09.14

Uncut Review: Ed Balls’ speech

I had this on Labour Uncut immediately after Ed Balls’ speech.

Soon after Ed Balls finished speaking to conference, Hopi Sen restated to a Policy Network fringe the core thesis of Into the Black Labour, which he co-authored: social justice and fiscal conservatism are complements. Sen praised the robustness of the fiscal rules that Balls proposes for a Labour government. But feels the party has not gone as far in explaining the practical steps that would be necessary to satisfy these rules. Balls’ speech did not take us greatly forward on this front.

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11.04.14

Embracing the contributory principle for public services is how Labour’s offer can be big, bold and affordable

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier this week.

In early January, Uncut reported on Andy Burnham’s “defining vision for health … pooling central government health budgets with local authority social care budgets to offer a joined-up approach to looking after our elderly. It makes eminent sense but carries with it a big uncosted price tag”.

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11.04.14

Class-based jibes are not an effective attack on Osborne’s feel-good budget pitch

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

“Tories neck and neck with Labour,” reported The Sunday Times. Revisiting the questions that Uncut posed for George Osborne prior to the Autumn Statement allows us to assess how the landscape is evolving.

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11.04.14

How does Labour get its economic message across?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

“The last Labour government,” The Times front page last Friday reported Ed Balls as saying, “didn’t regulate the financial services in a tough enough way.” They reported this as “the closest to an acknowledgement of personal responsibility” for the 2008 financial crisis. Yet, given that Balls has said similar things in the past and is silent on whether the last government spent too much, it seems a relatively mild contrition.

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15.03.14

Credibility deficit

I had this on the Progress website yesterday.

From the bully pulpit of the Treasury, George Osborne is convinced that he can have the deficit dominate the next parliament as it has dominated this – and, in so doing, keep himself resident in Downing Street and Labour stewing in opposition.

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17.02.14

Growth has returned, but Labour can still win on the economy if it can answer these five questions

I had this on Labour Uncut  few weeks ago.

The return to solid GDP growth (at least compared to recent years) was always going to present Labour with a challenge. However, notwithstanding the immediate favourable headlines that the government has garnered from today’s figures, the present economic debate still contains numerous positives for Labour.

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17.02.14

Osborne’s made his move. Now it’s Labour’s turn

I had this on Labour Uncut in January.

We are a nation seeking to rebuild from the economic calamity of the past half decade. You might think this task merits a chancellor focused upon it. But George Osborne doesn’t look to Keynes, Friedman or other economists. He prefers his own ‘baseline theory’ of politics.

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17.02.14

Autumn Statement review: It’s Reagan ’84 vs Reagan ’80

I had this on Labour Uncut last year after the Autumn Statement

Barack Obama’s second term was meant to pivot. From the Middle East which has sapped American military resources and moral authority, to the Pacific, the new crucible of economic and political power. Then the Arab Spring was followed by the disintegration of Syria, the reassertion of Egyptian military rule and such intense strife that the US could not pivot from the Middle East. Even as the rivalry between China and Japan gets hotter.

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03.09.13

Does Labour even have an opinion on monetary policy?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

This is a rare thing: some thoughts from a Labour perspective on the politics of monetary policy. Maybe it derives from reverence for the last government’s decision to make the Bank of England independent. Perhaps it comes from a slowness to appreciate how the George and Mervyn show has so smoothly transitioned to the George and Mark show. In any case, we do not hear enough from Labour on monetary policy.

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25.06.13

Balls is no Churchill

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

Politics, as Churchill said, is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. Much of the theatre of politics exists, however, in the unanticipated events to which Macmillan attributed the failure of political plans. While, to paraphrase Lennon, politics is what happens when you are making other plans, plans are politically necessary and should be attuned to the likely and inevitable.

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