What about Ireland George?

19th October, 2010 11:20 am

IrelandBy Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

Ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review tomorrow, and following Alan Johnson’s speech on the economy yesterday, it’s clear that both Labour and the coalition are thinking long-term in their economic strategies. That being the case, you’d hope that the chancellor would be someone who had a track record in quality, long-term economic thinking. An indication of George Osborne’s thoughts on the economy from his early days as shadow chancellor can be found in an article for the Times, in which he praised Ireland’s economic “miracle”:

“A generation ago, the very idea that a British politician would go to Ireland to see how to run an economy would have been laughable. The Irish Republic was seen as Britain’s poor and troubled country cousin, a rural backwater on the edge of Europe. Today things are different. Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking.”

The Irish government were some of the earliest proponents of the “austerity” economics favoured by Osborne, choosing to tackle the recession through severe cuts and tax rises. Yet Sky News reported just two weeks ago that:

“Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – a key measure of the value of goods and services – is expected to increase by just 0.2% this year, according to the latest quarterly bulletin. That compares with an earlier prediction of 1% growth by the government.”

“A weaker economic backdrop will make it even more difficult for Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s government to tackle the worst budget deficit of any country the European Union, as international concerns about the Republic’s finances mount.”

Osborne’s cuts will weaken the economy further by withdrawing crucial spending from the economy – and perversely make it harder to pay off the deficit. Labour’s alternative plan as outlined by Johnson yesterday places the focus on growth to avoid the Irish scenario being replicated here. Osborne, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to have learned the lesson from across the Irish Sea (now that it disagrees with his ideology).

Keynes is often quoted as having said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”. George Osborne however seems determined to prove that this man is ‘not for turning’.

As we head into a spending review that will see severe, real and immediate cuts, perhaps a better question from the media might be – “What about Ireland George?”

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Reed warns over threat of further electoral slump amid council funding fears

    Reed warns over threat of further electoral slump amid council funding fears

    A Labour shadow minister has warned against assumptions that the party’s vote has “hit the bottom” and told colleagues they must speak up for England to a greater extent. Steve Reed, shadow minister for local government, said Labour must learn more from major councils which had managed to be “credible, relevant and win elections”. Reed, a former Lambeth council leader, also warned that the party leadership “feels out of touch”. “I wish the Labour party could speak for England in […]

    Read more →
  • News Maria Eagle accuses Cameron of breaking Leveson promise

    Maria Eagle accuses Cameron of breaking Leveson promise

    Labour is seeking to force the Government to proceed with the second part of the Leveson inquiry after Ministers suggested it was on the brink of being dropped. Maria Eagle, shadow Culture Secretary, accused David Cameron of breaking a promise to set up an examination of misconduct in the press and police, which was due to follow the completion of criminal investigations triggered by the phone hacking scandal. Today Eagle said Cameron is “reneging on this promise as though he […]

    Read more →
  • News Striking doctors fight imposition of contracts but Labour “neutral” on walkout

    Striking doctors fight imposition of contracts but Labour “neutral” on walkout

    The head of the body representing NHS Trusts sparked fury by urging Jeremy Hunt to override the views of striking doctors and impose on them the controversial new contracts. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, called for a tougher government approach as around 37,000 medics joined the 24-hour walk-out at 8am today. He spoke out as Labour again condemned the “utter shambles” which led to the strikes, now in their second wave. Hopson urged the Department of Health to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour must be bolder than the Tories on devolution

    Labour must be bolder than the Tories on devolution

    The launch last week of the new Centre for Cities report Cities Outlook 2016 brought another stark reminder that most cities in the North and Midlands are continuing to punch below their weight economically – with wages in most places north of the Watford Gap falling below the national average, while welfare spending is higher. In Hull, for example, average weekly wages amount to just £376, compared to £539 in Milton Keynes, and £591 in Reading. Even in Manchester – […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured PMQs Verdict: Corbyn shows his passion for housing, despite his relaxed approach

    PMQs Verdict: Corbyn shows his passion for housing, despite his relaxed approach

    Jeremy Corbyn cares about housing. This is obvious. But does he care much about PMQs? At his first meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) as leader, he told MPs that housing would be one of his biggest priorities. Shortly after that, he made the Shadow Housing minister a Shadow Cabinet role, and in John Healey appointed a well-respected figure across the party to the brief. Only last week, the party launched a review, the biggest of its kind in […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit