Tag Archives: ed balls

Danny turns the tables on Balls on TV economy debates

On Sunday’s Andrew Marr show, Ed Balls caught the chancellor off guard when he all but forced him (in one of recent television history’s most awkward moments) to shake on an agreement to hold a television debate.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Did Charlie Whelan really put his cigarette into Ed Balls’ coke can?

The Telegraph has unearthed an STV documentary on the early days of Labour in the Treasury in 1997. It makes fascinating watching for all sorts of reasons. It feels not unlike an episode of The Thick of It, with Ed Balls a bit like Ollie Reeder to Whelan’s Malcolm Tucker. Everyone looks so young, Gordon Brown particularly.  Ed Miliband has become significantly less geeky over time, too.

The Telegraph article is full of derision for Labour’s removal of regulatory powers from the Bank of England.  That principle seems fine to me, and fairly logical. If you give the bank the power to set interest rates independently, then you need to get someone else to do the regulation. Labour’s failure to build an effectively regulatory framework for the banks can’t be pinned on that.

There is an arrogance about the way they went about it. The Permanent Secretary of the time was clearly worried about all this change. If you are going to reform, you need to just get on and do it, but they did seem to be enjoying smashing the established order a little bit too much.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Could this be the classiest political fundraising auction prize ever?

Maybe not.

Labour Students are having a dinner tonight. Their brochure is not quite as glossy as the Tories’ one from the other day. Nor is it filled with such jet set items as a bronze statuette of Margaret Thatcher that went for £210,000.

They do, however, stand to make over 1% of the price of the statuette with this auspicious item:

It’s good that the New Statesman is looking out to protect Balls’ interests:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Could it really not be any clearer than this?

Ed Balls MP, Denton - (Labour Leadership Campaign) - 2010Defending the clarity of his party’s position on the deficit after forgetting to mention it in his speech, Ed Miliband said

Ed Balls talked this week about our approach on the deficit. I have talked about our approach on the deficit. No one should be in any doubt about my approach on the deficit.

My approach is clear – we are going to get the deficit down, we are going to get the debt falling and we could not be clearer about that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments

To OBR or not to OBR? That’s the manifesto audit question

libdemmanifesto 2010 wordleEd Balls wants it. Danny Alexander seems pretty keen on it, too. What is ‘it’? Asking the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to audit the manifestos of political parties.

On the face of it, that’s a good idea. Transparency’s a good thing and surely the public deserve to know as much as possible before we cast our once-in-five-years ballot which decides the next government? The case in favour is persuasively put by Giles Wilkes, until recently a special adviser to Vince Cable who has seen the …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 11 Comments

Photo of the Day: Merkel addresses Parliament in German

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, today delivered an historic address to both Houses of Parliament, hailing Germany’s “close partnership” with the UK, and making it clear she wants Britain to remain a strong voice in Europe.

Here’s the official photo of Clegg meeting Merkel:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Who’s afraid of Scottish independence?

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2The last month has seen the ‘Yes Scotland’ independence campaign take a battering.

First, Mark Carney raised doubts about Alex Salmond’s plans for a post-independence currency union between Scotland and the remainder of the UK.

This warning was echoed when, with more naked partisanship, George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls teamed up to state they would each refuse to form such a currency union.

And then last Sunday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hammered in

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , and | 33 Comments

Danny Alexander: Labour will deliver less for working people than Liberal Democrats

So, Ed Balls has been laying out his vision for the economy. A surplus by 2020? Really? From Labour? They seem to be trying to make out that they can be trusted with our purse strings after all, despite all the evidence to the contrary that we’ve seen any time they’ve been in government in my lifetime.

The measure getting all the headlines is the fact that they are going to restore the 50p tax rate that was in place for all of a month of their 13 year term in office. It’s worth remembering that their top rate of …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 44 Comments

What’s with the Nick Clegg/Ed Balls love-in?

This is an article I didn’t expect to be writing.

Ed Balls is not a man known for his particular liking of Liberal Democrats in general and most especially not Nick Clegg. You could generally have assumed that there was not a lot of love lost. In fact “Ed Balls’ prawn cocktail charm offensive” is a fairly standard Clegg bingo drinking game item. Both had insinuated that the other would not be welcome in any future coalition cabinet.

But strange things have been happening over the past wee while.

During the Call Clegg Christmas Special, Nick was asked how he persuaded people. …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

So, we might have Ed Balls in a Lab/Lib Dem coalition cabinet after all…

Interesting article in today’s Independent on Sunday quoting sources close to Nick Clegg that there will be no push for changes of personnel in Coalition negotiations after the 2015 election. This seems to me to be perfectly sensible. I always thought it was daft to demand that Gordon Brown go during the negotiations in 2010. You have to make these things about actual issues. Of course, this appears to be a pre-emptive strike to ensure that Nick Clegg’s head on a plate is not demanded by Labour.

There’s some interesting speculation on the policies up for grabs, too. Electoral reform …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 89 Comments

The Autumn Statement and the unreal economic debate in which everyone pretends the Coalition stuck to ‘Plan A’

It’s autumn statement day. George Osborne will stand at the despatch box of the House of Commons this afternoon and present his pre-budget report. The Guardian’s Martin Kettle sums up what it’s all about:

For the Conservatives, today is about redefining themselves – in the face of a run of seriously disappointing polls – as the party that feels the voters’ pain over energy prices, house price inflation, wind farms or payday loans – while still, boosted by yesterday’s strong economic surveys and the possible return of the UK’s AAA rating, managing a recovering economy more soundly than Labour. For

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 13 Comments

Well done, Ed Balls. He’s opened up space for a proper welfare debate. Lib Dems now need to claim that space.

Ed Balls has done us all a favour. His announcement last week that if he were Chancellor he would put a stop to winter fuel allowances for well-off pensioners means Labour has joined the Lib Dems in saying we need to focus the welfare budget where it’s needed most, not keep on re-distributing from the worse off to the better off in the name of universalism. It’s why I chose him as my 38th Liberal Hero.

And yesterday he was at it again, highlighting quite how much of the welfare budget the state pension represents — some £74 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 13 Comments

Ed Balls shifts Labour’s position closer to the Lib Dems: is this the start of a Lib-Lab realignment?

Ed Balls and Vince CableEd Balls’ speech to Thomson Reuters yesterday grabbed headlines for its concession that paying a winter fuel allowance to the wealthiest 5% of pensioners could no longer be justified. The likely saving — at c.£100m a year, no more than a rounding error in the national accounts – may be modest, but the symbolism is significant.

This is Labour accepting (at long last) the new normal of austerity: current departmental spending will continue to be reduced in the next few years even as the long-hoped-for economic …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 27 Comments

Labour’s VAT cut: bad economics and disingenuous politics

In the run-up to today’s county council elections, Ed Miliband has been taking to a wooden pallet in towns and villages around the UK, telling anybody who would listen about Labour’s plan to rescue the British economy by temporarily reversing the 2.5 percentage point increase in the rate of VAT.

Desperate, though, to avoid admitting this would involve a significant increase in borrowing, he’s been telling us that this would actually be a free tax cut because the economic growth that resulted from it would increase revenues by more than the upfront cost.

That unlikely-sounding claim was given short shrift by …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 32 Comments

The 2013 spending review: the Lib Dem problem is at least as big as Labour’s

Piles of money. Photo credit: czbalazs - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1236662Last Friday’s Independent splashed on the story, Exclusive: Labour bets the house with pledge to outspend Tories.

The story itself is disputed: Ed Balls rushed on the radio to rebut it: “Is it the policy of Ed Miliband and me Ed Balls that we will decide now to bet the house with a pledge to outspend the Tories? No, that is not our policy, that is not our position.” (Note to Ed Balls’ handlers: speaking of yourself in the third person is …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Ed Balls denies that he denied there was a structural deficit

 

(Actually, it’s worse than that, for in addition Ed Balls’s claim that it’s only with hindsight that it’s clear there was a structural deficit doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny either.)

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

PMQs: Wouldn’t you also crack under this sort of pressure?

Here are some quotes from Ed Balls MP from past Prime Minister’s Questions:

No No No No No No No No No No

and

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

and

Down Down Down Down Down Down Down Down Down

and

Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up

All this mono-syllabic heckling has gone on amidst a variety of facial squirms and gurns and even the exhibition of a wide portfolio of hand signals which have had puzzled observers searching umpiring manuals. This …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged | 22 Comments

Labour’s hypocrisy on the ‘Granny Tax’

The response from Labour and the tabloids to yesterday’s Budget have majored on the patronisingly termed ‘Granny Tax’.

However Ed Balls and colleagues must be delighted that so far everyone seems to have missed that the last Government froze the Age Allowance between 2009-11 – or as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves would term it Labour imposed ‘an enormous stealth tax for older people’.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 31 Comments

LibLink: David Laws MP writes about the Lib Dem ambition for fairer tax

David Laws has argued at the Guardian’s Comment is Free site that the Coalition should accelerate Liberal Democrat tax cutting plans.

The government’s previous plan was for the allowance to rise in steps of £630 over the next few years, to reach £10,000 by April 2015. Clegg and chief treasury secretary Danny Alexander are rightly insisting that we look to bring forward those tax cuts. This week they seemed to attract the unlikely support of Labour’s Ed Balls. But his plan for a totally unfunded tax cut is as unlikely to convince the deputy prime minister as it is the chancellor.

The

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 28 Comments

Opinion: Labour’s embracing of economic liberalism is to be welcomed

The first sign that man is moving from the reckless abandon of late youth to the windswept comfort of early maturity can be found in his reaction to the sight of falling snow. Where once it would have been an excuse to declare the days schedule defunct, this year it signalled only the onset of boredom.

Consequently I dusted down my new year’s resolution to ‘laugh a lot more’ and began thinking about Labour’s attitude to economics. I propose to look at the Labour leadership’s deeper economic instincts to provide a guide as to how they might actually run the economy.

Ed Balls

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

The IFS’s verdict on Labour’s deficit argument is in – and it ain’t pretty

Yesterday saw the publication by the Institute for Fiscal Studies of its annual ‘Green Budget‘, which looks generally at the global and UK economic picture as well providing a detailed analysis of the UK fiscal position. The document is fascinating in many respects, but one of the parts that particularly caught my eye was its devastating take on Labour’s position on the deficit.

Since the Autumn Statement, when figures for the estimated size of the budget deficit in future years were revised upwards, one of Labour’s main arguments has been that by cutting “too far, too fast” the government has …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

LDV Caption Competition: Eds Balls and Miliband “The Early Years” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…


(Image from The Guardian.)

Here’s Labour top two Eds — the party leader and shadow chancellor — pictured in their salad days, Spadding for the Blair/Brown government. What do you think might be being said or thought by or about them?

And the winner of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, Michael Gove “May the Lego be with you” Edition.

Posted in Caption Comp | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Dealing with Labour’s mess, Part 93: Lib Dems secure future of post offices

Remember the last Labour government’s record on post offices? Their numbers fell by more than 7,100, or 38%. But not any more, as a result of Lib Dem action within the Coalition — as Lib Dem Voice first reported here almost 18 months ago.

This is how the Press Association reports it:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: The Coalition are winning the economic argument

It’s a dark winter night in Westminster but the building from which a group of men emerge is still wreathed in light. The men clamber into a sleek car, which streaks away through the emptying streets. Their journey is short in physical distance, but it’s long on significance for all of them. They are serious of face and purpose as the vehicle stops by one of the quieter spots on the riverbank.

The heaviest of the men is the first to get out, he flashes a look along the river bank, and seeing it deserted, nods quickly to his companions, all of whom

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 30 Comments

PMQs: Miliband hoist by his Balls’ petard

Let’s start with what Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said in the Guardian on January 14th:

My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is £15bn by 2015. We are going to have to start from that being the baseline. At this stage, we can make no commitments to reverse any of that, on spending or on tax. So I am being absolutely clear about that.

So, it was something of a surprise when Ed …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , and | 15 Comments

Tim Farron MP writes… Are two Eds better than one?

Are 2 Eds better than one? I’m not sure – but the two Eds said something very interesting over the weekend: apparently they don’t have a ‘Plan B’ for the economy after all!

As I drove into the village of Haverthwaite on Saturday morning to do some residents’ surveying, I was preparing to turn the radio off and then Ed Balls popped up. I listened with amazement. In his interview he admitted not only that the programme of cuts being carried out by the Coalition government were right, but that Labour would not over turn them if they were in Government. Unfortunately however he didn’t go as far as to admit that the cause behind all the cuts – the dire economic situation – was in fact largely his fault.

You’ll have heard Simon Hughes and me over the weekend rightly calling on the two Eds to apologise. We want them to apologise to the British public for deceiving them for 18 months before finally admitting that what the Liberal Democrats have been doing in Government is broadly the right approach. However, there is one apology we didn’t call for publicly, but which they still should make – that’s an apology to you!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

‘There but for the grace of…’ A couple of things Lib Dems should consider before joining the attacks on Ed Balls

Tempting though the schadenfreude is, I think Lib Dems would be wise not to enjoy too much Labour’s discomfort at Ed Balls’ decision to declare Labour cannot promise to reverse any of the Coalition’s cuts.

I can of course entirely understand the urge to shout ‘Ha! Told you so’ at the shadow chancellor. In an interview for The Guardian published on Saturday, Mr Balls stated categorically:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 30 Comments

Ed Balls: My starting point is we are going to have keep all the cuts

Saturday’s Guardian has an interview with Ed Balls:

Ed BalsEd Balls, the shadow chancellor, has moved to challenge accusations that Labour is not credible on the economy by telling the public sector unions that he endorses George Osborne’s public sector pay freeze until the end of the parliament, and that he accepts every spending cut…

“My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is

Posted in News | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems Must oppose Labour’s ideological cuts in 2012

If I were a cleverer person than I am, I would try to create a joke with a punch line to fit the following set-up: What’s the difference between a cut in government spending and an ideological cut in government spending?

That I’m not clever enough to create a pithy punch line is of no consequence, as it is no laughing matter.

Labour have sometimes tried to trail the line that the coalition’s cuts are avoidable, that there are the product of ideology rather than necessity.

This line lacked some credence because even as they

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 22 Comments

PMQs: Penguin in the menage à trois

The first big subject at Prime Minister’s Questions this week was Europe. Tory MP Andrew Rosindell asked if David Cameron would show “bulldog spirit” at the forthcoming summit. Later, similar points came from various Tory Eurosceptic MPs, including the Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell. He is always heard with great respect, despite his long-winded, rather pompous and, in this case, halting mini-speeches which have barely inquisitive constructions stuck on the end of them.

Ed Miliband started on Europe as well, asking if Cameron would fulfil his promise that treaty change might give the opportunity to “repatriate powers”. The Prime …

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 14th Dec - 8:14pm
    Public reaction from Parliamentarians is essential but immediate action on the ground will have to come at local level. Councils will be able to raise...
  • User AvatarTonyH 14th Dec - 8:14pm
    This would be extraordinary. From another journalist I might take it with a pinch of salt, but Chris is an excellent reporter. One of the...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 14th Dec - 8:06pm
    Those who argue that voters have not changed their minds since mid 2016 are ignoring the reality that the electorate has changed because people who...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 14th Dec - 7:46pm
    Sorry Katharine. Predictive text produced an e instead of an a... which is how my daughter spells it.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 14th Dec - 7:43pm
    to add to Katherine's excellent post, it should be noted the Joseph Rowntree Foundation produced a detailed report on inequality and in work poverty in...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 14th Dec - 7:12pm
    Really interesting read Emma. I was pleased to discover that in my new constituency they PPC just has just been selected is a woman. The...