Sometimes I wonder if Sunny Hundal, a dear and sweet chap, is a deep reader of the articles he links to.
For example, in a post today Sunny quotes a Lord Ashcroft mega-poll on Labour’s support and says:
“I have a question. The 17% chunk of Labour Joiners (identified by Lord Ashcroft HS) are the party’s easiest and most plausible route to victory in 2015. It cannot win without them.
But these people hate the Coalition’s austerity programme. So why do many on the Labour right (Dan Hodges, Hopi Sen et al) keep insisting that for Labour to strengthen its support, it must follow the Tory lead on cuts and austerity?”
Obvious straw man is obvious!
Dealing with the deficit over the medium term is not ‘following a tory lead‘. It’s following the rhetorical lead of the last Labour government with actual policy commitments, if anything.
“Growth now, Strong deficit reduction later” is not being a Tory, it’s being a good Keynesian, and it is a little tiresome to keep having to point this out. I’m a fiscal conservative, not a Tory ideologue or a Mellonite. The two things are very different.
But Sunny’s last line is just banter, I know, not to be taken too seriously.1
So on a slightly more serious point, I think Sunny is asking why a reputation for limiting deficits would be advantageous for Labour, given the coalition we already have supporting us.
“A quarter of those who have switched to Labour say they have not finally decided and may well change their minds. Of these “soft Joiners”, four in ten say one of the concerns they have about voting Labour is that they might spend and borrow more than the country could afford”
“For Labour, creating a more stable voting coalition means restoring credibility on the economy, especially the deficit. Some in the Labour movement argue that by talking about the deficit the party can only lose, since it is a Tory issue: they should “frame” the debate in terms more favourable to themselves. But the deficit is not something the Conservatives have invented in some sinister “framing” exercise of their own. It is all too real, a fact recognised by many of the voters Labour needs. The party has no chance with people who think it wants to shy away from the central economic question of the day.”
“All of this means that Ed Miliband has a choice. He can either make clear to his supporters that there will be no return to the days of lavish spending, or he can fight an election knowing that most voters do not believe Labour have learned their lessons, and that many of his potential voters fear Labour would once again borrow and spend more than the country can afford.
If he makes the wrong choice, Miliband will be gambling on a precarious coalition of the disaffected and the dependent… “
Since Sunny is using Lord Ashcroft’s polling and analysis to support his case that Labour need not deal with the deficit while in opposition, I’m sure he fully accepts this conclusion!
As Lord Ashcroft says:
“I think this research clearly shows the strategic path Labour should choose.
But why would they take advice from me?”
I know the feeling, My Lord. I know the feeling.
- Equally ragging Sunny about his support for the LibDems is good clean fun, so can I add I find it very hard to tell the difference between my Fiscal position now, and the manifesto of the party he voted for in 2010! mwah, mwah, love you too [↩]