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Quotations of the Week

John Rentoul

len mccluskey 5 copy 288x300 Quotations of the WeekDon’t look over here. Look over there, at my colleague Simon Carr, whose account of one of those 6.30pm meetings that take place in and around the Palace of Westminster every day manages to encapsulate all of Labour’s deepest problems at once.

Some choice quotations:

Ed Miliband is trying to relitigate the past. (Tim Bale, professor of politics, Sussex University.)

It was possible in the past to win an election with a leader seen as a negative, but not any more. (Ditto.)

Conservatives aren’t there to malevolently do down the British people. It is actually trying to do the best for most people and to say the opposite lacks plausibility. You may disagree with them – and I do – but don’t dismiss them as being evil. (Jenni Russell, The Guardian.)

We haven’t torn ourselves to pieces, but there is a calm of the graveyard about us. (Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich.)

People don’t turn left in hard times. They want to hang on to what they’ve got. Talk of equality makes them think things they have will be taken away from them. (Jenni Russell again.)

And finally, not in Carr’s report, today’s quotation of the day from Len McCluskey (pictured), leader of the Unite union, which secured the election of the Labour leader against the wishes of Labour MPs and party members:

Liam Byrne, Jim Murphy, Stephen Twigg and now Ed Balls: four horsemen of the austerity apocalypse.

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  • porkfright

    That quote from Len McCluskey-brilliant! Wish I’d thought of that.

  • Adam Hewitt

    I’m depressed by the cuts and really support decent public spending on public and voluntary services. But while I disagree with many of the individual cuts decisions made by the Government and councils, etc, I think the scale of them and the priority given to the cuts is, unfortunately, probably correct, based on what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.
     
    They may indeed be hampering growth, which would be a much nicer solution to our problems than austerity, but the evidence seems to suggest that higher borrowing to try to fund growth would ultimately cause us even more problems and make our current debt harder to service (doing more damage to future public spending).
     
    There is an absolutely key point, however, that I don’t think is mentioned enough in the media debates over the cuts – the Tory top team have suggested they will never be reversed, eg:
     
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/03/david-cameron-public-sector-cuts-permanent
     
    For myself and many others who reluctantly agree with the need to cut public spending primarily to avoid it being cut even further in the future because of out-of-control deficits and borrowing and interest payments, the cuts are a crisis measure, and one that should be reversed once the economy hits better times. For Cameron & co, it’s about permanently ‘rebalancing’ the economy towards the private sector and lower state spending – which, as they’re Conservatives, sounds about right.
     
    I get the sense this is a potential faultline in the coalition, especially if it ends up governing for a second term in improving economic times – perhaps even the basis for a future Labour/Lib Dem rapprochement…restoring public spending to decent levels, but running surpluses in the good times to safeguard it forever.

  • JohnJustice

    How about this one JR?

    Conservatives are people who may care about the less fortunate in our society but they don’t care ENOUGH to do something decisive for them at the social level which might conflict with their own interests. (John Justice).

    PS What does “relitigate” mean?

  • ZacMurdoch

    How many Tories and Lib Dems are there in the Unite union?  and the others?  Does anyone know if there’s any analysis?

  • JohnJustice

    Nice to see such a thoughtful comment here even though I don’t agree with the first part. The difference between Labour and the Coalition is not over whether there should be cuts but about whether the Coalition are cutting too far and too fast. There are many eminent economists (including Nobel prize-winners) who support Labour’s view but we don’t hear much about that, even on erudite blogs like this one. In those circumstances it is understandable that even sensible people like you believe that there is no alternative.

  • AlanGiles

    We all know John Rentoul dislikes Ed Miliband. He shows it in every post.

    He often gtalks about “Blair haters”

    Could it be that he is an “Ed Miliband hater”?


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