What the Tories really think about Ed Balls

12th March, 2013 4:51 pm

Tory MPs usually spend their time talking about how dreadful Ed Balls is, and how they’d like nothing more than for him to stay in post until the General Election. But is this what the Tories really think about Ed Balls? Perhaps not. Today Rob Halfron MP wrote the following for ConHome:

halfron ed balls

Funnily enough, no Labour MPs are saying that we need our own George Osborne…

Similarly, Iain Dale rode to the defence of the Shadow Chancellor last month, saying that:

“he has transformed himself from being chiefly seen as Gordon Brown’s chief henchman, into a politician who is both formidable and, in my opinion, rather impressive.”

The Tories may deride him, but seemingly some of them see how effective and formidable he can be – which might just explain why they deride him, and are so keen to see him go…

  • postageincluded

    Agreed. Always assume Tories are lying and you won’t go far wrong.

    • Gaudi

      Good to see an open mind there. Labour politicians have never lied right? This is the sort of political discourse which drives me bananas. I am Labour to my fingertips but I’m not going to bring people around to my way of thinking by assuming they are all liars.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Does anybody really like Ed Balls as a person? On the left or on the right of politics? As clever as Balls undoubtedly is does he really come across as a warmer, more trustworthy, and more likeable personality than his emotionally stilted mentor Gordon Brown? Eeek.

    • Chilbaldi

      That is Ed Balls’ problem.

      • AlanGiles

        I remember Blair once saying that he would know New Labour had succeeded when the party “loved Peter Mandelson”.
        Of course that was one battle our great war leader didn’t win, now it seems LL’s raison d’etre is to do the same thing for Eddie Balls.

        I am afraid I find him a devious, oleaginous go-getter, more interested ih his own career and position than anything or anybody else.

        He seems to have a Marxist philosophy (Groucho Marx, that is) “these are our principles, and if you don’t like them… well, we have others”

        • John Ruddy

          Care to point to a time when he’s said that?

        • John Reid

          In Ed’s defence he may be what you said ,But he’s doing it as he wants to get Labour into power, Ed’s manipaltion is over distancing himself from Gordons running the Economy, Mandlesons maipulation was of the press, In trying to get them to forget the Loony left, hardly the same,

    • postageincluded

      I really can’t see what the problem is. And I don’t believe there’s any evidence that the general public cares either – all that registers with most people is that he’s shadow chancellor; his personality and his history are closed books to the vast majority.

      This idea that Balls is a uniquely unpleasant person is a trouble-making story cooked up in Tory central office, that’s all. It only has traction because opponents on the left and right of the party would like to see him replaced by one of their own. If you don’t like his politics, say so; the personality stuff is just pathetic and irrelevant.

      • Monkey_Bach

        Wrong. Or should I say naive. Politicians determine so many things that influence and affect the lives of individuals and their families in so many ways that the message AND the messenger BOTH matter in politics. In a physical science being a dislikeable genius won’t stop you from winning a Nobel Prize, if you’re good enough, but might would stop you in your tracks as far as being elected to office by a population goes if you have similar characteristics as a politician. To the man and woman in the street as far as politics goes the man, or woman, and the message they deliver are pretty much one and the same.

        Personally, I will happily to judge Ed Balls according to his politics as soon as I discover, or somebody tells me, what his politics happen to be.

        Eeek.

        • postageincluded

          I would say you’re naive here, Monkey. You’re assuming that voters are as informed and as opinionated as you. The great majority of voters know nothing about Ed Balls so the personal failings that you accuse him of won’t influence them.

          As for his politics, I usually find the internet quite useful, don’t you?

        • postageincluded

          I would say you’re naive here, Monkey. You’re assuming that voters are as informed and as opinionated as you. The great majority of voters know nothing about Ed Balls so the personal failings that you accuse him of won’t influence them.

          As for his politics, I usually find the internet quite useful, don’t you?

        • postageincluded

          I would say you’re naive here, Monkey. You’re assuming that voters are as informed and as opinionated as you. The great majority of voters know nothing about Ed Balls so the personal failings that you accuse him of won’t influence them.

          As for his politics, I usually find the internet quite useful, don’t you?

      • Monkey_Bach

        I think you’re mistaken.

        A shifty dislikeable genius in a physical or theoretical science can still win the Nobel Prize if they are good enough, because the quality of their work is judged by knowledgeable peers, dispassionately, as an entity separate from its creator. This isn’t true in the world of politics where inexpert members of the population vote parties into office based on what the leadership of those parties are, or seem to be, both personally AND politically. To the man or the woman on the street as far as politics goes both messenger and the message are more or less one and the same and the general public will be hard pressed to bring themselves to vote for someone they do not trust instinctively, no matter how brilliant, with the power to determine the future for themselves let alone their families.

        (That said a majority of people may prefer Balls to Osborne by 2015.)

        I cannot judge Ed Balls by his politics because I have no concrete idea in respect to what Ed Balls’ politics actually are, although I would be willing make a stab at an opinion if/when such knowledge becomes extant.

        Eeek.

        • postageincluded

          I think you both underestimate and over-estimate voters. You underestimate their ability to think about issues and overestimate their interest in political gossip.

          The majority vote out of loyalty to a party, or because a party is saying something that they want to hear. I agree that some base their judgement on personality or other trivia but what can you do?

          I remember a survey that said about 1% of voters didn’t vote for Kinnock in 1992 either because he was bald or because he was ginger. I’d bet there were quite a few people who didn’t vote for Major for similarly trivial reasons; because,for example, “He’s the only man in England who wears his moustache on the inside of his top lip” (for which joke I must thank the late unlamented Bernard Manning). Some people may find Ed Balls’ manner off-putting, some people may find his porkiness reassuring. I am sure I am not the only person in the country who is disturbed by Alan Johnson’s over-coiffed hair but I actually put that aside in my judgement of him, and I think you underestimate voters if you think that the majority of them don’t do the same.

          • Monkey_Bach

            I wish you were right. But if policies generally trump personalities it does kind of make me wonder how someone as vapid, callous, superficial, shallow and incompetent as David Cameron could ever have become Prime Minister.

            Eeek.

          • postageincluded

            And just on cue the Evening standard publishes a poll saying that not only do the public trust Balls over Osborne on the economy, they also trust Balls over Labour. Your argument is just political prejudice.

          • postageincluded

            And just on cue the Evening standard publishes a poll saying that not only do the public trust Balls over Osborne on the economy, they also trust Balls over Labour. Your argument is just political prejudice.

        • postageincluded

          I think you both underestimate and over-estimate voters. You underestimate their ability to think about issues and overestimate their interest in political gossip.

          The majority vote out of loyalty to a party, or because a party is saying something that they want to hear. I agree that some base their judgement on personality or other trivia but what can you do?

          I remember a survey that said about 1% of voters didn’t vote for Kinnock in 1992 either because he was bald or because he was ginger. I’d bet there were quite a few people who didn’t vote for Major for similarly trivial reasons; because,for example, “He’s the only man in England who wears his moustache on the inside of his top lip” (for which joke I must thank the late unlamented Bernard Manning). Some people may find Ed Balls’ manner off-putting, some people may find his porkiness reassuring. I am sure I am not the only person in the country who is disturbed by Alan Johnson’s over-coiffed hair but I actually put that aside in my judgement of him, and I think you underestimate voters if you think that the majority of them don’t do the same.

        • postageincluded

          I think you both underestimate and over-estimate voters. You underestimate their ability to think about issues and overestimate their interest in political gossip.

          The majority vote out of loyalty to a party, or because a party is saying something that they want to hear. I agree that some base their judgement on personality or other trivia but what can you do?

          I remember a survey that said about 1% of voters didn’t vote for Kinnock in 1992 either because he was bald or because he was ginger. I’d bet there were quite a few people who didn’t vote for Major for similarly trivial reasons; because,for example, “He’s the only man in England who wears his moustache on the inside of his top lip” (for which joke I must thank the late unlamented Bernard Manning). Some people may find Ed Balls’ manner off-putting, some people may find his porkiness reassuring. I am sure I am not the only person in the country who is disturbed by Alan Johnson’s over-coiffed hair but I actually put that aside in my judgement of him, and I think you underestimate voters if you think that the majority of them don’t do the same.

      • Chilbaldi

        It isn’t Tory head office you’ll find. It’s a range of sources – several books covering the Blair-Brown era and confidants of Brown and Blair.

        On the other hand Ed Milliband comes out of this era reputation intact.

        • postageincluded

          How many people read those books? I doubt if it’s a significant number. If the Tories hadn’t taken to describing Balls as an ogre these books and their authors would be even more obscure than they are now.

        • postageincluded

          How many people read those books? I doubt if it’s a significant number. If the Tories hadn’t taken to describing Balls as an ogre these books and their authors would be even more obscure than they are now.

          • Chilbaldi

            The journos read them, and write their articles accordingly.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Does anybody really like Ed Balls as a person? On the left or on the right of politics? As clever as Balls undoubtedly is does he really come across as a warmer, more trustworthy, and more likeable personality than his emotionally stilted mentor Gordon Brown? Eeek.

  • postageincluded

    Nice to see that your sense of humour has been thoroughly removed.

  • postageincluded

    Nice to see that your sense of humour has been thoroughly removed.

  • postageincluded

    Nice to see that your sense of humour has been thoroughly removed.

  • Pingback: Balls on Newsnight. | liberal reflections()

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