Duncan’s Economic Blog

Ed Balls & Alistair Darling on Ireland

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on September 23, 2010

I voted for Ed Balls, and whilst I hope he wins, it looks like we’ll be having a Miliband as leader. I think both of them would be excellent, so I’ll not be too upset either way.

The post of Shadow Chancellor will be crucial. Today Ed Balls gave us a preview of how he’d handle it. Compare and contrast the statements from Ed and Alistair Darling today.


“Today’s data showing that the Irish economy has fallen back into recession demonstrates very clearly the risks with the approach being followed here in the UK.

The coalition thinks that cuts, however big, will always support growth. In times like these this is plain wrong. Ireland has gone through major cuts and tax rises, but because growth has been hit getting the deficit down is harder not easier. The coalition is going down the same road, and their risky gamble risks hitting confidence, growth and jobs.”


“These figures are a stark warning to governments across Europe including our own. An austerity programme of deep cuts now, when our economic recovery is not secure, risks lower growth and higher unemployment.

“That is not a credible economic strategy because lower growth and fewer people in work and paying taxes ultimately leads to a bigger deficit not a smaller one.

“As I have argued, we must challenge the idea that the coalition’s ideological and reckless cuts are unavoidable and set out a credible alternative which puts jobs and growth first with a steadier deficit reduction than the counter-productive cuts the coalition is forcing through.”

“Demonstrates very clearly” versus “stark warning”.

“Risky gamble” versus “ideological and reckless”

Ed would take the fight to Osborne in an aggressive manner, just as he’s spent the Summer taking the fight to Gove.

Iain Martin thinks the Irish experience will prove a blessing for Labour. I think he’s right (and indeed have been pointing this out for the past year). Ireland can be our Greece – an example of what our opponents policies can lead to.


8 Responses

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  1. Will M said, on September 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    It’d help if the BBC had been crediting the reason for the recession the cut in Irish government spending, rather than the bullshit reasons that they were giving.

  2. pablopatito said, on September 24, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Darling talks like an economist and Balls talks like a politician, and for this reason I’d always choose Darling as future shadow chancellor, but I guess that is never going to happen?

    But I think there’s a danger that voters will wrongly dismiss Balls as a typical leftie deficit denier (sic), whereas no-one would ever accuse Darling of that, so maybe Darling would do better because he has more credibility? He’s very popular in the City isn’t he?

    • duncanseconomicblog said, on September 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

      Whereas, strangely enough, Balls is actually a skilled economist and former FT writer.

      • Alex Ross said, on September 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm

        I guess you could argue the problem for Balls is that he is no longer an economist and FT writer but rather a politician with all that goes with it.

        I don’t doubt Balls’ economic analysis and skills, but I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable seeing him as Shadow Chancellor, I’m not convinced about his ability to take one for the team even when he personally disagrees about it – the way he undermined Darling periodically really annoyed me.

        • James Doran said, on September 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm

          I think if Balls had been shadow chancellor before the election there might have been more coherent arguments about the economy which would have challenged the Tories and Lib-Dems.

          The impact of his Bloomberg speech was not that he was regarded as being complacent about the deficit – but that he had correctly emphasised the need to secure an economic recovery before fiscal consolidation.

          • Alex Ross said, on October 1, 2010 at 8:14 am

            Perhaps we would have simply because we’d have had a more coherent position – but then part of the reason Darling struggled was Balls popping up in the media to publicly or implicitly disagree with him, and Brown being too stubborn to accept the need for cuts (though I think his thinking had a logic to it).

            Thus we ended up in a muddle, one or the other – properly set out – would probably have done better than the muddle in the middle we ended up with.

            The blame for that doesn’t like with Darling but with Gordon Brown (and I say that as someone who supported him!).

            • James Doran said, on October 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

              I don’t think Darling could have made a coherent position – for example, I recall watching TV interviews in which he admitted the cuts would be worse than Thatcher, scoring an own goal by allowing this message to be put out without context (namely that the scale of deficit reduction would have been bigger than anything attempted by the Tories, but that this did not have to mean allowing poverty and unemployment to sky-rocket).

              But, enough about the past. I’d like to see Balls shadowing Cable at BIS (cooperativism and post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory) and Cooper shadowing Osborne at the Treasury (down-to-earth mother, jobs guarantee).

  3. Darling: We can't ignore deficit | BBC News said, on September 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    […] Ed Balls & Alistair Darling on Ireland « Duncan’s Economic Blog […]

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