In his headlong rush to differentiate himself from the Brown government Miliband gave Cameron an open goal on the economy. Miliband accepted the argument on cuts. Echoing in deed the Conservative propaganda that Labour had made a mess of the economy.
Not surprising the polls tell us that Labour’s economic credibility is now considerably less than at the last general election and way behind that of the government.
The Conservatives have understandably set up the legend that Labour was profligate. It has worked. Miliband mildly went along with the ruse.
The facts tell a different story. Brown and Darling didn’t crash the economy with their public spending. They saved a run on the banks and stopped the melt down of the financial sector. In fact borrowing levels were less under Labour than what was inherited from the Thatcher/Major governments.
When the coalition gained office they snuffed out with their austerity programme an economy that was growing. Ideology took over from sensible economics and a period of austerity was embarked on
But alas often myth is more important than fact in politics. The government blamed it all on their inheritance rather than their own mistaken economic policies. The sad fact is that Ball and Miliband went along with the cuts agenda, albeit at a slower pace.
Now that there are some signs of economic recovery the coalition government are now seen as effective economic managers and the Opposition are mistrusted. That’s why this week Miliband and Ball are trying desperately hard to change the minds of a skeptical public that they can manage the economy.
Osborne has put the artificial target of abolishing the £25bn structural deficit by 2017. These targets will mean more austerity more cuts and or tax hikes. During the campaign for our votes the current Chancellor will have to declare what’ he’s cutting or what he’s taxing.
But so will Labour. Having accepted the Tories game plan they too will have to come clean. It’s all fine and dandy to announce a raft of fine policies. A rise in minimum wage, business rate cuts for small businesses more houses and even breaking up the enegy companies and freezing energy prices. All very necessary but not creditable if the opposition continue with Osborne’s economic targets.
Unless Labour come up with alternative economic policy and sell it to the electorate the voter will not give them the thumbs up. They have signally failed to address the issue thus far.