Monday, August 27, 2012

Two Eds Aren't Better Than One

Miliband slow hand claps Balls
I had a strong feeling of déjà vu this morning as I read an article in The Times based on the Labour leader's and his Chancellor's briefings against each other. Miliband's lot say Balls is domineering, secretive and untrustworthy while Balls' lot say Miliband is weak and lacks vision or any strategic direction. It's a shame they can't be as insightful about the state they left the economy in, but you can't expect too much.

This all comes after John Rentoul's article in The Independent that pointed out that George Osborne's position is secure and the real issue is with tensions between the two Eds and their lack of any credible alternative to the government's economic plans. The New Statesman publishes an article by Dan Hodges that confirms Labour's plans to avoid making any difficult policy decisions until after the next general election. They hope the Tories will render themselves unelectable allowing Labour to continue their vacuous opportunistic opposition which runs less risk of them losing union or party support.

Meanwhile, the Tory Chancellor gets some rare supportive commentary via Matthew Parris in The Times. While admitting George Osborne is getting increased criticism from all sides, each side undermines the other. From the Right, comes intellectually potent but politically suicidal pressure to cut harder and faster; from the Left comes intellectually bankrupt and mealy-mouthed pressure to cut a little less and a little slower.

It's good to see some focus on the alternatives (or in the Left's case lack of) to Osborne's plans. I don't suppose it will last. But the light being shed on the decaying relationship between Miliband and Balls shows that nothing has changed since the Blair/Brown years.


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