Ed Balls by name, Balls by mouth and nil by brain has just been on Radio 4, and I think I should give you all a chance to get in there before the herd with this scoop: Ed says that “George Osborne is playing fast and free with Britain’s finances”.
Stop the presses, roll back the stone and hold the front page: bugger me, Ed’s nailed it. Throughout today, the sound of scales falling from the eyes will reverberate throughout Britain: by ‘eck, they’ll be dancing in the streets of Morley tonight.
Such is the nature of Britain’s soi-disant ‘Opposition’ at the moment. They haven’t got a clue, so allow me please to offer some objective advice in defence of our liberties if nothing else: the electorate has had four years to watch the bleedin’ obvious about Osborne’s Chancellorship. If, after four years, it either doesn’t see it, get it, believe it or care, Ed Balls saying it again isn’t going to make a ha-porth of difference.
Because virtually nobody on the Shadow Front Bench has any understanding (and thus no perspective) about the need to be consistent and distinctive in one’s persuasion, they stick with Old Labour’s tried and found wanting Just One More Heave strategy. That’s why – despite the treacherous nature of the ground upon which the Tory standard flutters – Labour will lose this election unless somebody inside the Party gets a grip.
Ed Miliband gave us “The Prime Minister doesn’t get it” for three years, followed by other stunning soundbites such as “We must set aside the rhetoric”, “It’s time to have a grown-up debate”, ““My party’s mission in is to show politics can make a difference. To demonstrate that optimism can defeat despair” and of course the never-ending “My heart goes out to the families”. Miliband has three PR minders who almost never leave his side…and that, of course, is the problem.
Examine his response to the 2011-12-13 budgets in a row, and you will be amazed (and then bored) by the content-free similarity between all three; but with Balls, one is forced to ask whether anyone remembers what he has said in response to any of the Camerlot budgets?
Like naive pre-pubescents with no ideas of their own, the Labour leadership is conducting a guerrilla war using pea-shooters. This site alone has shown on four separate occasions how, with on the ball researchers (instead of process-driven spinners) around him, Miliband could’ve had Cameron on toast. Every last open goal has been not so much missed as gone unnoticed. It is a pathetic record.
No Opposition has ever been effective without new ideas and a fresh approach to make the sitting Government look tired and tedious. Wilson in 1964 (technological change) Thatcher in 1979 (Reduce Union power & set the economy free) and even New Labour in 1997 (third way): all of them presented a fresh manifesto. None of them came to anything – because they were all ill-conceived, superficial cobblers – but not many at the time knew that. If you don’t oppose and you don’t have an alternative, why change? It’s Page One stuff.
There is, in the Labour campaign, a painful dearth of anything original, brave or bold. Not once has the Party said any of the following:
1. The entire economic model is wrong because 90% of the Citizens are getting poorer while a clique gets richer.
2. We’re getting nothing but death, destruction and denial from the Special Relationship. We should dump it and become independent in every way.
3. This country is in very deep economic and fiscal doo-doo. Only we have the vision and guts to reverse the process without unfair hardship.
4. The way to protect the NHS from bureaucrats and politicians is to mutualise it and devolve power down to local level.
I will admit that, thirty years ago, that sort of stuff would’ve been branded a far-Left position. But today we face a government of corporacratic whores: things have moved on. It’s time for the Eds to do what the rest of troubled Europe is doing: acknowledging that the new Greek government is making a difference and playing hardball with the privileged. The hope offered by Tsipras and Varoufakis has swept across Italy and Spain: it is also galvanising the French Left. But it isn’t spin: Syriza has come storming into power and changed the EU game. The Eunatics are mad if they think this genie can now be put back in the bottle.
We’re not in anything like the state Greece is: but if we don’t reject monetarist neoliberal codswallop, we soon will be.
Be clear: Balls and Miliband are pro-Europe (a flatlining corpse), pro-Globalism, pro our education model, pro an unreformed NHS – and have run away from every chance of criticising Murdoch, arguing with US foreign policy, or indeed tackling the whole issue of media ownership.
Oligarchic media ownership is a much more worthwhile thing to tackle than media training. Media trainers do nothing more than make the bland electable.They’re like all trainers: after a few miles of going round and round in circles, they start to smell.
People have been telling me for nearly twenty years now that the pols had to have media spinners, because the media have become so nasty. I offer two counters to that belief. First, examine again who owns the media if you want to know why; and second, watch Yanis Varoufakis making a complete tit out of Emily Maitlis on Newsnight: Yanis has never had media training, and it shows.
Honesty comes from good ideas, integrity, and balls. But not Ed Balls – and not Ed Milibland – because they lack all three qualities.
And a happy Monday to you all.