A rebuke for those who read too much into the Huffington Post article about Chris Leslie’s plan for Labour to continue austerity – and for those on the Left who took that ball and ran with it. Some may say VP was one of the offenders; we certainly put a shot across Labour’s bows, to warn party leaders against any return to neoliberalism.
A Guardian/ICM poll in autumn last year revealed an alarming fact: David Cameron and George Osborne are more trusted by the public on “economic management” by a margin of 40% to 22%, and we know that the public – and a number of Labour supporters amongst them – have hardened their attitude towards welfare support.
Yet we know that Labour’s social policy was a success, this is verified by the London School of Economic’s definitive survey of the Blair-Brown years: “There is clear evidence that public spending worked, contrary to popular belief.” Nor did Labour overspend. It inherited “a large deficit and high public sector debt”, with spending “at a historic low” – 14th out of 15 in the EU.
Although Labour’s spending increased, until the global crash it was “unexceptional”, either by historic UK standards or international ones. Until 2007 “national debt levels were lower than when Labour…
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