That Starmer fella...

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  • Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson draw level on best PM rating
    It is the first time in 13 years the Labour leader has not been behind in this key rating

    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics­/keir-starmer-boris-johnson-ipsos-mori-p­oll-b957432.html

  • Is it mandatory for the Labour party to continually shit itself in public or is that just an added bonus of 20s politics?

    https://twitter.com/cathynewman/status/1­442470031447576577

  • Balance the books has become a bit of a byword for austerity, rightly or wrongly, trying to cut spending to reduce debt like household spending, rather than investing and spending wisely to help the economy. The phrase sounds Tory, and sounds like what they accuse labour of not being able to whilst doing the exact opposite themselves. I've not looked at her propositions yet so can't comment specifically, but I know I'd avoid getting dragged into book balancing rhetoric at all.

    Quite. 'Balancing the books' is always code for cutting public services, using the false assumption that the UK economy is the same as a household economy.

    Funny how the books are never balanced by increasing taxation on the wealthiest.

  • there's always forests full of magic money trees found when labour right ghouls want to go bomb brown people too

  • Funny how the books are never balanced by increasing taxation on the wealthiest.

    That's LITERALLY WHAT SHE PROPOSED:

    Labour to slash tax reliefs and hit wealthy in pursuit of balanced UK budget
    https://www.ft.com/content/5dcfa73d-5a39­-4f95-b8b3-b706bf9239ce

  • to be fair to rachel reeves (which I am extremely loathe to do) what she said on trans rights is a bit more nuanced than what was reported in cathy newman's tweet:
    https://mobile.twitter.com/Channel4News/­status/1442527461665873920

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  • As others have said, the idea that we should 'balance the books' fundamentally plays into austerity narratives. The books have never been balanced and they likely never will. The economy is not a household budget so rather than reinforce those narratives—which, if they continue to circulate as 'common sense' will thwart the possibility of the massive investment required to decarbonise—Labour should have been challenging them.

    I was being overly forceful in my earlier post about Labour being to the right of the Tories economically, but everything I had seen until then suggested a complete lack of imagination from Labour in terms of state or public investment. Reeves had suggested for instance some kind of extragovernmental 'sensible spending' body which would further divorce a Labour treasury from the ability to enact bold fiscal policies. This kind of idea is fundamentally neoliberal—the ordoliberals in particular would be very pleased by it. On top of that, in the context of fuel price hikes, Starmer refused to back the nationalisation of the big six energy companies; this is a popular policy and clearly in my eyes the right thing to do.

    All this at a time when the Tories are engaged (at least rhetorically) in a kind of Right Keynesianism where they promise massive regional investment projects, and in which COVID has demonstrated that the idea that 'we just can't afford it' simply isn't true. Where money goes is a political choice as much as an economic one and Labour should be making that clear.

    That said, Reeves' green investment proposal looks good. But after the 10 pledges fiasco, why should any of us believe a thing the leadership has to say?

  • Unforgivable.

  • That's good and I agree with you - Cathy Newman (who I expect better of) utterly misrepresented RR's position there.

  • As others have said, the idea that we should 'balance the books' fundamentally plays into austerity narratives.

    I'm afraid I just don't accept that. Being able to explain where the money comes from is a crucial competency test for voters. Is it wrong that they see national finances as akin to household finances? Yes. Should voters have a better understanding of national finances? Probably. Is it worth Rachel Reeves expending her precious political capital explaining to people why they're wrong on this as a pre-requisite of getting her vision out there? Absolutely not. You engage with the world as you find it, not as you want it to be. We can reframe the narrative when we are trusted; trying to do that before we're trusted is not going to work.

  • This is the fundamental problem I'm having with Starmer - I just don't believe a word he's saying now, along with the people around him, as his record on saying one thing then doing another is pretty dire.

    What's announced I genuinely don't think they'll do.

  • I'm afraid I just don't accept that.

    You should accept it, it's true. Again, I've not heard/read exactly what was said but providing costings etc. is good, and was at least a line that could be used as a fall back with Corbyn and his fully costed plans, especially as the Tories have demonstrated the true magic money tree gun reality of what can be done, but any mention of "balance the books" should be avoided as it's just a euphemism for austerity now.

  • The two aren't mutually exclusive.

  • I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here - I didn't use the phrase 'balance the books' and neither did Rachel Reeves. She just had a good answer to the question 'where will the money come from' and I think that's a good idea. Refusing to have an answer for that question on some principle of purity makes us look incompetent - I don't think that's especially contentious!

  • I was under the impression the phrase was used, and that's what I was on about, I did say I hadn't seen/read what she said.

  • Why do so many on the left think that being able to balance the books is somehow being pro austerity, or a right wing concept? We are not trusted on the economy - the media will check our homework in a way that they don't for the Tories. Having answers to those challenges is vital if we want to be credible.

    I don't think Rachel Reeves proposal to scrap business rates is in any way 'to the right of the Tories' nor do I think her proposal to support a global minimum corporation tax is in any way 'pro austerity'. I think her whole argument is that austerity is not fiscally responsible. It's possible to argue with both the heart AND the head.

    Was here that made me assume that. I'll get round to reading what she actually said at some point maybe.

  • Aah I was quoting (but not tagging) Greentricky on this who said:

    fiscal responsibility and balancing the books aka austerity

    I don't think fiscal responsibility or balancing the books IS a synonym for austerity.

    I think the key argument against austerity is that it is fiscally irresponsible.

  • Tbf I think I have given you the crazy pills, last page I said:

    Why does Rachel Reeves feel the need to be a crap George Osbourne, is fiscal responsibility and balancing the books aka austerity really what we need?

    And now there has been a bunch of back and forth on what balancing the books means

    I was mis-quoting what I read in The Times piece and it wasn't the phrase balance the books used, it was :

    Reeves’s other announcement is that she has drawn up new fiscal rules. A Labour government would balance day-to-day government spending, but allow itself to borrow for capital investment. Crucially, it would be committed to reducing the national debt as a proportion of national income.

    But comment on fiscal responsibility was drawn from:

    The shadow chancellor has been outlining her party’s plans to show that they are fiscally responsible. Has she chopped down the “magic money tree”, which seemed to govern Labour’s economic policy under Jeremy Corbyn? “I don’t believe there is a magic money tree,” she says, thankful to have been gifted a soundbite. “If you want to pay for things, you’ve got to explain where that money is going to come from.”

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fired­-up-rachel-reeves-takes-her-axe-to-corby­ns-magic-money-tree-60bsph7mn

    This was before her speech, I thought her speech was a more coherent set of principles although not without challenges

  • I give up. Finance is hard.

  • Don't give up. I do get what she is selling and you are saying and that you have to win over the electorate who have a warped view of how the world works. I just find it frustrating when we have to move to them rather than challenge mis-held beliefs but it is the easier path to victory.

    I also read too much Richard Murphy on twitter who has me very pro magic money tree these days.

  • Also, Baker's Union disaffiliates with Labour, party conference really showing the party as a competent, cohesive alternative
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/b­reaking-bakers-union-breaks-ties-2509085­4

  • debt as a proportion of national income is very different than absolute debt? stimulate growth through good policies and you can then reduce debt as a % with out cutting spending or borrowing.

    I think the electorate rightly and wrongly hang onto small things, so things like the golden rules make sense, people need to be confident in some level of fiscal responsibility rightly or wrongly...

  • Labour really are the most pathetic opposition. Well, obviously the other opposition parties are all also woeful. But given we are essentially a 2 party country it is staggering that at a time where the 10+ year incumbents have got to the stage of causing petrol and food shortages, Labour are still making headlines about factional infighting.
    We are so fucked.

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That Starmer fella...

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