Labour have wanted a policy debate for a long time and now that we are fully engaged in a sensible debate about public spending they are trying to shy out of it instead preferring to throw up a smokescreen of Tory cuts. This debate was sparked by Andrew Lansley’s gaffe last week but we have acted swiftly to once again move onto the front foot. Writing in the Times today the shadow chancellor George Osborne has written the kind of article on public spending that is long overdue. He says:
“There is a moment in Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston Smith realises that “in the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it…the logic of their position demanded it”. The Labour Party reached that moment last Wednesday when Gordon Brown told it that his plans to cut real spending on public services and halve capital spending equalled more “Labour investment”.
Gordon Brown was at it again this weekend, talking about the Tory’s 10 % cuts – only for the Institute for Fiscal Studies to point out that this is exactly what his own plans involve if he, like we Conservatives, promises to protect health spending. Why is Brown treating us all like fools, Gordon Brown’s claim that real spending will rise under Labour is akin to his claim that the 10p tax rise didn’t hit the poor.
“The big discussion in British politics for the foreseeable future will be how to tackle the debt crisis and deliver quality public services when spending is tight, and Gordon Brown has taken his party to the sidelines of that discussion.
The real dividing line is not “cut versus investment”, but honesty versus dishonesty. We should have the confidence to tell the public the truth that Britain faces a debt crisis; that existing plans show that real spending will have to be cut, whoever is elected; and that the bills of rising unemployment and the huge interest costs of a soaring national debt mean that many government departments will face budget cuts. These are statements of fact and to deny them invites ridicule.”
This is excellent stuff. Rather than fearing Brown’s “cuts vs investment” dividing line, we are taking him on, exposing the truth behind his rhetoric. The old saying that a house built on shifting sands can not stand, seem to ring true for Browns argument. Thankfully no one in the media is being taken in by Browns lies, not even the Guardian and everyone knows that there will need to be cuts in spending. As Peter Hoskin says “Brown is now in danger of losing what is perhaps the biggest pre-election battle there is.” Good work George, keep it up!