John McDonnell and the deficit 

The Guardian has reported today that John McDonnell will announce to the Labour Party conference that he will back George Osborne’s fiscal charter and support the concept of a balanced budget over the course of a Parliament. Some people – including those like Caroline Lucas whose claim to be the radical conscience of the nation […]

Labour did not overspend in office. So why do Labour’s leadership candidates keep saying so?

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the Labour leadership contest is hearing the candidates acquiescing in the myth that Labour in office overspent – and, by implication, accepting the Tory framing that Labour crashed the economy.  Of course it is more nuanced than that, but the outcome of the recent election shows that this is […]

Ed Balls and that budget surplus target

There have in the last few weeks been a number of key announcements from senior Labour figures about policy, and they are beginning to conform to a well-established pattern.  Controversial policy lines begin to appear in the media a few days before the speech, leading to furious cries of “sell-out” on the left, and then […]

Austerity: is Ed Balls being outflanked on the left by the IMF?

Austerity has become the default mode of European – more especially British economic policy; in his speech to the Conservative Party conference last week David Cameron reiterated that there is no “Plan B” and mocked the Labour Party for its alleged tax and spend profligacy – even though the statements of shadow Chancellor Ed Balls […]

So … why isn’t Caroline speaking?

Saturday’s big London demonstration against the cuts matters.  It matters more in the face of a Budget that, predictably enough, has favoured big business and non-doms at the expense of ordinary people – and following economic indicators showing that Osborne’s slash-and-burn economic policies are failing.  Yes, marches don’t change the world. The biggest demonstration in […]

Selling Wootton Bassett short

It has been announced that Wootton Bassett will henceforth be known as “Royal”, like Tunbridge Wells and Leamington Spa.  The decision was apparently taken in response to a personal initiative by David Cameron, and, we are told, recognises the vigils undertaken by people in the town as the bodies of British soldiers were repatriated after […]

So it wasn’t the snow …

Updated GDP figures for the last quarter of 2010 give a clear picture of the British economy’s continued decline. The headline figure shows a fall of  0.6%, with the ONS still arguing that the impact of December’s cold weather was about 0.5%.  The ONS has stated that output both from manufacturing and service industries was […]