A Question to Which the Answer was No
Now I have had time to read the transcript, and can confirm my assumption in the previous post that, while the style might have been better, the substance was dire as ever. Indeed, you do not need to read further than the opening exchange:
Do you accept that before the crisis happened, actually Labour was spending too much?
ED MILIBAND: No, I don’t.
Miliband then went on to explain that, under Gordon Brown, the government was borrowing 2 per cent of national income, to make the point that the increase to 10 per cent borrowing now was not “caused” by Labour’s spending. No one says it was. But what is obvious is that it made the public finances worse. If the Brown government had been 2 per cent in surplus, as it should have been under Brown’s own “golden rule”, then borrowing would now be 6 per cent of national income and the deficit, though serious, would be of a different order.
Of course, as Miliband has pointed out at other times (but not, curiously, for it is one of his stronger defences, today), David Cameron and George Osborne supported this irresponsible borrowing. But that should not prevent his saying now that, looking back, it was a mistake, and that he supports the idea of the Office for Budget Responsibility to ensure that it cannot be repeated.
The rest of the interview contained some tell-tale statist language. Miliband twice said “we” have to “make the economy grow” – rather than setting out his ambition to create the conditions in which entrepreneurs and wealth creators can thrive.
And if anyone can resolve his pay-off line, I would like to see the illustration:
We were both too if you like open to the market dictating things in a local area – the local high street which ends up being a betting shop and a nightclub and so on – and we were also sometimes a bit too remote in the way we used state power.
Photograph: PATagged in: ed miliband, headline, markets, tax and spend
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