Friday, January 21, 2011

Are two Eds better than one?

When one is an impotent, insecure, political milipede and the other a testosterone-charged rottweiler with a lot of balls, there is a certain – how shall we say – hormonal imbalance.

Politics is a rough enough game at the best of times, without the need to have to constantly look over your shoulder or watch your back because your second-in-command has designs on your job.

The reason the Cameron-Osborne partnership works well is because George Osborne is very content in his present role, has absolutely no vaulting ambition to succeed Mr Cameron and there is a great deal of mutual respect. The reason the Blair-Brown partnership worked for so long was because of the verbal ‘Granita’ agreement which bound them to a common economic purpose with a clear understanding that the Treasury would be virtually co-regent with No10.

It has to be observed that there is no such mutual respect between Eds Balls and Miliband, no such verbal agreement, no common purpose (other than to win the next general election) and no agreed division of the kingdom.

Two heads are only better than one where there is unity of purpose, singularity of vision, solidarity in philosophy and univocity in policy.

Eds Balls and Miliband conflict, contradict, confute and counteract.

There is no possibility that Ed Balls – Gordon Brown’s chancellor of preference – will be content with fewer fingers in the policy pies which his political mentor and economic idol was permitted. There will be an aggressive accretion of power to his political base and the next four years will be a re-run of the Blair-Brown tales of infighting, gainsaying, undermining and ultimate betrayal.

And it will be even easier with his wife by his side as Shadow Home Secretary.

As the architect of Gordon Brown’s economic policies, he will not relinquish ownership, admit error or concede that anyone but he has the necessary grasp of macroeconomics: he alone is qualified, certified by Oxford and Harvard, and credible. His orthodoxy is fixed; on taxation, welfare, jobs and banking regulation. Ed Balls will simply bring us more of the fiscal woes which brought the nation to its economic knees.

Ed Miliband wants to learn from past mistakes. But they were Ed Balls’ mistakes. From central banks stripped of their supervisory powers to the borrow-and-spend which maxed out the nation’s credit card, the Brown boom was an illusion but the Balls bust is acutely real and is going to be very painful.

Eds Balls and Miliband do not agree on public spending, public sector accounting, the 50p rate of taxation or the rate of wealth redistribution. There is no unity on benefits and welfare, public sector employment, debt repayment or deficit reduction.

There is paralysis, tension, impairment and dysfunction.

Exacerbated by the incontrovertible fact that Ed Miliband passed over Ed Balls for the post of Shadow Chancellor just a few months ago: it will not be easy to counter the perception that Ed Balls is second choice, second rate and second best.

Labour’s body politic is divided: it is not simply that the left hand does not know what the right is doing; it has two heads, an oversized spleen, one foot, 254 thumbs and no heart.

And the brain manifests those very symptoms of schizophrenia responsible for Labour’s internecine warfare.

On his appointment, Ed Balls said: "It is my job with the Labour party to take the argument to the country that there is an alternative – we don't have to do it this way.”

He was, of course, speaking about George Osborne’s economic strategy.

One might be forgiven for believing it was another pitch to lead his party.


Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Like the title!

The rest of it is probably true, but I now consider Westminster politics a complete irrelevance. It is just a diversion to keep the political pundits happy whilst all the power & changes remain unobserved, unscrutinised & unaccountable in Brussels.

21 January 2011 at 09:52  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Are two Eds better than one?


The is the Cameron/Osborne Dream Team, courtesy of Milipede. Just when the going is getting really tough, the architect of misery presents as a target and a distraction. Competently exploited, the emergence of Ed Balls could guarantee the Coalition a second term. Johnson was too soft a target to bother with, or to rate a decent headline. Luckily he has done everybody a favour by falling on his, err, sword.

21 January 2011 at 10:30  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

"it is not simply that the left hand does not know what the right is doing; it has two heads, an oversized spleen, one foot, 254 thumbs and no heart."

Line of the week.

21 January 2011 at 10:47  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

Ball's up in the higher echelons of the feckless opposition party. How appropriate.

21 January 2011 at 10:58  
Anonymous Servus said...

Sheer brilliance, Your Grace!

Your humble communicant genuflects, nay, prostrates himself before you, longing to kiss your archepiscopal ring. Grant me your favour!

The Tory gods conspired to bring the one who ballsed up the economy back to haunt the millipede. They conspired to reveal Lady Johnson's dalliance with the muscle's johnson. Thor has clamoured, and thundered dischord once more into Labourite ranks. Margaret be praised!

He who is to be blamed stands again at the despatch box. By George, he deserves all that will be thrust at him.

Your humble servant awaits Your Grace's next homily.

21 January 2011 at 11:55  
Blogger James Reade said...

Far from sheer brilliance. The usual tired assertions and blame game of right wingers who think they know all about the economy and why we are in the situation we are in. The fact it's a global recession is something entirely glossed over...

It's always nice and easy to blame someone else, and to try and use economics to do so.

Archbishop Cranmer, like a lot of Christians on the right, should stick to things he knows something about...

21 January 2011 at 12:39  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Rebel Saint is right. Westminster is nothing more than a local council.

21 January 2011 at 12:40  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

@James Reade

Are you suggesting that the previous administration had nothing to do with the horrifying debt that the country is in - which amounts to over £34K per head? Perhaps you're predisposed to ignore inconvenient facts - as the wrong wingers tend to do when confronted by their folly.
Most commenters on this blog are not economists - but as Samuel Johnson said, you don't need to be a carpenter to recognise a good table. And while I'm still fulminating - the so-called 'right wingers' are not interested in blame - but they are interested in responsibility. I have reason to believe that most politicians want to avoid it - at all costs.

21 January 2011 at 12:54  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

But maybe we shall have fewer" Public School= out of touch" jibes.

21 January 2011 at 13:57  
Blogger R_Bland said...

written as a true blue supporter. Ed Balls is the right man to confront Osbourne on his economic policy. Better late than never. Tory wishes on another Blair/Brown conflict is just that a desired wish.

21 January 2011 at 14:07  
Anonymous Oswin said...

''There may be trouble ahead
but while there's music and love and romance ... there may be teardrops to shed ...''

Well, it's time for the 'Milipede' to dance!

21 January 2011 at 17:29  
Anonymous Oswin said...

R.Bland @ 14:07

That's supposing that Balls can extricate himself as a previous architect of disaster ... nimble foot-work required methinks. (dancing on the balls of his feet, even?)

21 January 2011 at 18:02  

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