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 Miliband launches Labour’s “Business Manifesto” – Full speech text

    Miliband launches Labour’s “Business Manifesto” – Full speech text

    Ed Miliband launches Labour’s Business Manifesto this morning at Bloomberg in Central London. You can read our take on the announcement here, and read the full manifesto here: Thank you, Margaret, thank you, Paul, for those fantastic introductions. And I also want to thank Constantin Cotzias for hosting us today. And for all the great work you do at Bloomberg. And most of all, I want to thank you, representatives of British business. For what you do for our country […]

    Read more →
  • News Tory Minister puts photo of prominent campaigner against Tory welfare cuts on her election leaflet

    Tory Minister puts photo of prominent campaigner against Tory welfare cuts on her election leaflet

    Tory Minister Esther McVey is facing a real struggle to hold onto her marginal seat Wirral West (she has a majority of only just over two thousands), but her latest leaflet includes a bizarre addition – a photo of someone who has campaigned powerfully and prominently against her government. After 5 yrs campaigning against Cons welfare cuts, imagine my surprise to see myself on their election leaflet pic.twitter.com/wkzP6Nlqwl — BendyGirl (@BendyGirl) March 30, 2015 Suffice to say Franklin is probably […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Featured Labour highlight threat of Brexit as Business Manifesto is launched

    Labour highlight threat of Brexit as Business Manifesto is launched

    Labour will today launch their “Business Manifesto” in an effort to win support from the business community. Titled Labour’s Plan For Business, the manifesto will be launched with a speech from Ed Miliband to Bloomberg this morning, in which he will warn of the dangers of leaving the EU posed by the Tories’s referendum pledge. We need to create more, better jobs and that means backing businesses. The Tories are putting jobs at risk with threats to leave the EU. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment If Labour is to govern well, it needs to be a movement again

    If Labour is to govern well, it needs to be a movement again

    The Labour party is not a staid, safe and secure party ensconced in Westminster. It is not enshrined in a single man or woman. It is not hidden away behind bricks and mortar. It is not a piece of writing on a card, a book of rules or a group of MPs in parliament. The Labour party is a movement – perhaps the greatest and most successful movement for justice and social change that Britain has ever known. It is rooted in […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Tory wobbles

    Tory wobbles

    Speed kills. In an election campaign taking place in an ever-faster news cycle, with over-reaction piled on top of over-reaction, it will be hard to separate true facts from dramatic but misleading noise. Opinion polls will be at the heart of this process. Daily trackers and ramped-up instant reaction surveys will proliferate. Even as I started writing this last night, the latest ComRes poll (four point Con lead) came as a reminder not to get over-excited about any single poll […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit