Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ed Balls Can't Count

It is rather alarming to read this story in today's Independent from Labour's Shadow Chancellor.

He rashly calls on Liberal Democrat MPs to leave the coalition immediately and to join Labour in an alternative Government. He says:
"I think it would be much better now and for the future of the country if they did. It would be in the national interest. I don't think they should wait until 2015".
As the piece continues:
He points out that the Coalition's law bringing in five-year fixed-term parliaments allows for a new government being formed without a general election.
This is the Shadow Chancellor. A man who should have a decent head for figures. So how does he envisage this new Government being able to Govern in the 'National Interest' short of a general election and without a majority in Parliament?

The whole concept smacks of an incredulous disregard for the facts as they stand today.

Yet, earlier in the same interview, Balls says:
"We are also facing a massive catastrophe in Europe. 2012 feels like the most dangerous year in my life. It is a very, very dangerous time...What we have seen is the inability of political leaders in the eurozone to put short-term politics aside and do what's right. This is about leadership. They have got to act and they can't. It is existential...when it happens there will probably be a crisis moment that puts things into deep freeze, making it hard to trade and hard to finance...the impact on growth and jobs is really dangerous."
I agree with his concerns. So how on Earth does he think that replacing a Government in Westminster with a healthy majority for one that could not muster enough numbers to pass through basic leagislation is going to help matters?

At a time of danger as he states, such a Kamikaze move would be absolutely disastrous for Britain. At this time of economic peril, stability is needed more than ever before. A change of Government on the current numbers as Balls calls for would be one of most destabilising events that could occur in the UK over the next 12 months.

The idea is preposterous and indeed, fundamentally dangerous at this time. Whatever the party politics of the situation, it can not work. If it could, then we may had a different result in May 2010 from the Coalition Governemnt that was eventually formed.

I can't believe that Ed Balls could make such a reckless suggestion. As Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, he should have a better grasp of figures and political common sense than this.


  1. I think they are playing a wise game. They realise that there is absolutely no way we could possibly do this, for all of the reasons you've just stated.

    However come 2015 when the next GE rolls around they'll be able to say to the public that there was another option and they had made the plea to us to join them and we didn't.

    They can look like they were open to pluralism (which they weren't in May 2010 - whatever they say, and they pretty much aren't now) whilst at the same time getting to stay on the outside.

  2. And the fact that he cannot count is demonstrated thus: There are 650 MP's in the House, you need 326 to gain an overall majority (although with the Speaker and his deputies not voting and Sinn Fein not attending, that figure reduces to 321). At the 2010 General Election, Labour won 258 seats and the Liberal Democrats have 57 seats, that's a total of 315 (6 short of an overall majority) and therefore liable to have defeats inflicted upon that government. You would need the SNP to get that 321 figure and then another party (possibly Plaid) to gain an overall majority. That's a four party coalition (simply unsustainable)

  3. I can only think he's been the victim of identity theft. Can this be the self-same Ed Balls who (together with the Tories - same old Labour)was so keen on 'light-touch' regulation for the banks that he made it the subject of a self-congratulatory speech to the City of London at the Guildhall in (I think) 2007? As for 'putting aside short-term politics' - dose he mean the way Good Ol'Labour did during the negotiations in 2010? Senior Labour figures trooped through TV studios to rubbish the idea of any accommodation with the LDs - they wanted opposition - that way they didn't have to sort out the shambles they left behind, and could be 'principled' in opposition instead - which as I can vouch for, means opposing everything whether it needs opposing or not.