Duncan’s Economic Blog

How I’ll be voting

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on September 1, 2010

So I’ve had a week on holiday and week of generally catching up on work. Lots to blog about but as today is “ballot paper day”, I thought I might share how I’ve decided to vote.

It’s been a really difficult one for me. I’m drawn to three different candidates for three different reasons.

Ed Balls is combative, capable of achieving things and seems to best grasp Britain’s immediate economic problems. He has taken the fight to the coalition and set out the “there is an alterative” economic case well.

David Miliband is credible, thoughtful (certainly not the straight “Blairite choice” he is often presented as being) and has outlined what I regard as the most interesting (and detailed) vision of economic policy in the medium and long term – the British Investment Bank and the focus on the jobs deficit. His Keir Hardie lecture was arguably the best speech of the campaign.

Ed Miliband perhaps best represents where I come from politically and has been right to emphasis the need for break with the past and to push the Living Wage. I side with him over Peter Mandelson on the question of why Labour lost and what needs to change.

All three suffer from problems to.

Ed Balls has an image problem and maybe we should learn from the experience of Brown, that these things are hard to change. That said, there is a long time to change – and having a leader who looks and sounds different from Cameron/Clegg is no bad thing.

David Miliband has attracted some of the “wrong” backers, which worries me. He also seems wedded to the four year deficit reduction timetable, whereas I favour more flexibility.

Ed Miliband, despite initial early promise hasn’t really set out the kind of detailed new policy position I would like to see. I worry he’d be blown off course in a way David won’t be.

I’d be happy with any of the three as leader and I’d like to see all three in senior roles whoever wins.

But, after much soul searching, I’m voting Ed Balls one, David Miliband two and Ed Miliband three.


6 Responses

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  1. Alex Ross said, on September 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Very interesting indeed!

    You could argue that Milibands ‘wrong’ backers, presumably Mandy et al, are backing him because they seem him as most likely to win (a position that Cameron seems to share) even if they disagree with him on various things.

    I suppose we all want Labour to win even if we approach what Labour should be from different angles!

    Out of interest, are the wrong backers you refer to Campbell, Mandy, Blair etc or other people?

    • duncanseconomicblog said, on September 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm


      Perhaps “wrong” is too strong a word. But yes I mean the Blairite old guard generally. I think David is talking about taking the party into an interesting and new place, certainly more interventionist in its economics. The fact that that lot back him slightly worries me. (That said I suspect the fact that Jon Cruddas has endorsed him, may worry some of them!) .

  2. Sunny H said, on September 3, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Duncan – I think Ed Miliband set out some economic positions in the Observer last week. Did you see it?

    I also think he’s more aligned with Ed Balls than you give credit for. See:


    • duncanseconomicblog said, on September 3, 2010 at 8:14 am

      I saw that Sunny. Good article, and like I say I’d be happy enough with any of the three.

      I’d be curious for your views on this David speech:


      • pablopatito said, on September 6, 2010 at 9:27 am

        I’d be curious for your views. Is there much evidence from abroad that governments are able to create jobs? The UK’s one successful policy on reducing unemployment appears to be labour market flexibility, and these benefits seems to disappear once other EU countries introduce flexibility into their labour markets – then it becomes a race to the bottom.

        His speech does well in outlining my own views on the problems of capitalism, but doesn’t really seem to suggest any solution other than the usual ‘we need to think’, ‘we need to work together’ and the classic ‘we need to look at Sweden’. He’s seems to be saying ‘I’m going to give the poor more money, and I’m going to give the middle more money, and well, I won’t mention what will happen to the rich’.

        Also, I’m dubious he really means he wants a ‘truly independent’ office of budget responsibility. The reality is surely that he wants one the supports his views on economics rather than Osborne’s. The mere use of the phrase ‘truly independent’ just tells us that in government terms there is ‘truly independent’ and ‘not-so independent’.

        I only really hope for a government that will make up for capitalism injustices by taking money of the rich and giving it to the poor – either via the welfare state or subsidising jobs. I’m sceptical about anyone suggesting government policy can make everyone richer.

  3. […] Duncan Weldon, a proper economist as well as Labour member: Ed Balls is combative, capable of achieving things […]

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