Posted by: John | June 2, 2008

Beware the New Labour narrative

I think it’s clear what the tramline narrative is we’re going to hear over the coming months – Ed Balls defined it classically on R4 Today Prog this morning:

`The Global Economy is creating tough economic times that require tough decisions. The choice will be between Labour who steered the economy smoothy for ten years with low interest rates, low unemployment and low inflation and untested David Cameron and Charles Osbourne.`

To say this is both passive and unimaginative is an understatement. Let’s analyse this narrative through paraphrasing:

1. `Stick to nurse in fear of something worse` – well it worked for Major!

2. `Don’t worry your head over that third party – yes they have Vince Cable et al but they’ll never get into Government` – keep the masses in ignorance!

3. `Stick to those who once did it best` – the harder nut to crack though there are of course two schools of thought a) that Labour buffeted the British economy which begs the question what’s happening now and wasn’t the rest of the world experiencing a boom at that time or b) Labour have lost their way and it’s worth welcoming home a prodigal son who made mistakes – the problem is there is a choice on offer and they might be offered a lower ranking job in the future

4. `You might think we’re bad but just look at that snake oil salesman Cameron and his pipsqueak sidekick Osborne`

They really shouldn’t get away with it and we have to show that we have SOLUTIONS to our problems twinned with being HONEST about the way the economy is at the moment.

In our heart of hears most Liberal Democrats didn’t want this huge boom based on cheap credit and inflationary and exclusive (socially damaging) house prices. Sure there’s no problem with those buying up wrecks etc doing them up and selling at a profit. To my mind the big image problem Labour has with those socially aware, or indeed anyone with a social concience, is of Iraq and the fact people were literally sitting on second homes for years and then making vast profits when the actual economy hadn’t grown that much from those financially excluded from that process.

It was economically, socially and in common sense terms both rubbish and fantasy land economics.

The point is now what are we going to tell the British people. Are we going to just do a `business as usual` approach to this subject or are we going to flesh out the fact that our quality of life is artificially too high and for most working people sacrifices will have to be made?

We need not just stable prices but stable house prices too!

Not exciting is it – yet the worst for Britain is yet to come.

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