Dear Ed Milliband (I’m sure you all guessed who it was!),
I have noted with interest that you today had one of your aspiring PMs in the basement of Labour HQ do some swift sums and concluded that the nefarious war criminals Cameron and Clegg have robbed every family of £182 of council services.
Your maths may or may not be accurate (in fact they are not) but your morals are certainly in need of rebasing. Now I know that you think that you are the heir to Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and the French resistance but they all did one thing that you seem singularly incapable of doing – they told the truth!
Let’s just remember three things:
- The banking crisis was an international one but it was one which your predecessors Blair and Brown were enthusiastic creators of. Much of the damage to finance was done in Wall Street and the City because you failed to regulate the banks properly. In fact the situation is more grave in the UK because we are also personally indebted to the tune of £1.5 trillion. In Portugal, Greece and Ireland it is only the state’s finances that are up the Swannee – here it state and people’s money.
- Even before the banking crisis there was a structural deficit that needed to be tackled. To be fair it was not a massive one and could have been remedied with a little but not too much pain but Brown and Darling chose not to do anything before the General Election. Your government then borrowed £200 billion for quantitative easing as well as incurring all sorts of other debt. Today and every day at present we are borrowing an additional £400,000,000 and will pay back £120,000,000 in interest. That is not sustainable.
- Council finances are in a total mess and you failed to do anything about them. Do you remember the Lyons Report? He undertook a massive review of local government 4 years ago. You gave him an extra six months to look at local government finance. You then never even responded to the report. It is very difficult for this government to create a fair system of distribution when the funding mechanism is so seriously broken.
So we are where we are and you have some responsibility for where we are. In total there is just £11 billion difference between the spend of the Government in the year starting tomorrow between what Alistair Darling said it would be and what the Government is actually doing. That sounds a lot but not when set against the fact that total spend is in the order of £750 billion. Every now and then there are little glimmers of honesty. In replying to the local government settlement Caroline Flint said, “I would have been announcing cuts too”. You have admitted that you were not lax with bank regulation. You have all invented a formula that, “we would have made cuts but ours would be fairer cuts”, but then gone onto oppose every single cut.
One day you want to leave behind the pupa state of opposition behind and emerge as a fully fledged grown up capable of forming a government. You will never do this by being evasive or shifty in the way that you are. Sometime you will have to tell us:
- What Labour would have done if they had been re-elected in May 2010; and more importantly
- Tell us what your economic strategy would be now. Mr Balls has currently given firm proposals that are only 0.3% different than those of the government.
Stop squeaking and start speaking Mr Milliband – it’s the best thing to do in the long run