This, from Ed Balls’ Bloomberg speech, referring to the Coalition government’s assessment of our current economic predicament:
And today I want to respond to what I believe was a fundamentally flawed speech ten days ago:
- wrong in its analysis of the past;
- reckless in its diagnosis of the current situation; and
- dangerous in its prescription for the future.
You really can’t get any worse than that.
Balls talks about the Perfect Storm the Americans are afraid of:
The prevailing attitude I saw in America was not optimism but fear.
Every newspaper I read highlighted people’s worries about their business, their jobs or their home and the growing concerns of US policymakers and business leaders and financial analysts at the emerging signs of a double-dip recession – and not just any recession.
They fear what Americans – especially on the Eastern seaboard – like to call a ‘Perfect Storm’.
A perfect storm where continued de-leveraging by banks and the private sector meets premature fiscal retrenchment from governments and a drastic tightening of consumer spending… as tax rises, benefit cuts and rising unemployment hit home.
The Perfect Storm we should really be afraid of is, of course, that bone-headed two-dimensional (lack of) perspicacity that will be the Coalition’s future legacy, as it proceeds to line the pockets of its sponsors and concentrate wealth evermore utterly in those who were initially to blame for everything that has gone wrong.
If Labour sometimes gives the impression of still living in the 1950s, it now looks like the long stretch of opposition wilderness the Tories have had to suffer is leading them to care more about re-engineering their future electoral opportunities than saving our nation from the generational despair of economic depression. From gerrymandering constituencies to rigging confidence motion procedures, from allowing the wolf at the door that is the fear of illness to return to the houses of our peoples to the absolute and total massacre of school improvement plans, a destabilising strand of horror at what the future might bring is being slyly slipped into our living- and meeting-rooms.
And as a paradoxical consequence, we have this 19th century caveman approach to capitalism which – sooner or later – will reduce the income of those at the top just as much as it is hurting those poor souls at the bottom.
Don’t get me wrong. The rich people in our societies will still have their homes and cars. I’m not talking about their pecuniary income. Rather more, I mean something slightly different. It’s more their egos that will suffer the awful bruising of having to announce ever-decreasing end-of-year financial results to evermore churlish shareholders, as wealth begins to stultify and stagnate its capacity to generate more wealth and circulate wisely.
This Coalition government will go down in history as perhaps the most selfish cabal of individuals there has ever been.
This is what a proper and continued engagement of the opposition throughout the electoral cycle would surely avoid, what an improper and unhappy disengagement leads to: the tribalism of the intellectually challenged, the poverty of spirit of the rejected and absent.
We need consensual government like never before.
What we don’t need is a coalition of those who know the true value of their political sell-by date far better than we ever could.
I have deliberately avoided all videos, all TV pronouncements, all multimedia appearances from any of the leaders in the leadership campaign.
I refuse to vote this time round in the terms my national media would prefer the campaign to be cast.
I am looking for a leader who – like any good dentist interested in preventative medicine – is looking to make him- or herself unnecessary.
By virtue of his or her capacity to motivate and structure, my kind of leader will be able to devise an organisational and campaigning set of relationships that will allow a team at the top to enable the grassroots to lead and at the same time prioritise the needs of real voters across the country.
That is to say, a political party where voters equal activists and activists equal voters.
That is my hope and dream.
Whilst I live in a real world, I will still hold dear to this hope and dream. And then, where necessary, vote for my least disappointing candidate.