Ed Balls was always my choice for Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer as I blogged, during the Labour Party Leadership campaign. I am therefore very pleased to now see him taking up that role.
I’m also delighted to be proved right. Ed Balls give a blinding performance on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, quite the best I’ve seen on that particular programme for a long time. While I was never a natural Balls supporter for the leadership of the Labour Party, I became increasingly impressed as the campaign went on.
It’s a massive task facing Ed Balls. There is no doubt in my mind that the Tory cuts are ideologically driven, just the same as they were under Margaret Thatcher. Make no mistake, David Cameron is Margaret Thatcher updated to 2011. This Tory government is a “conviction” government is the same way. They just hide it better.
Those of us who were active in the Labour Party when Thatcher was in power remember just how terrible it was – over 10 million unemployed, vast swathes on industry closed down, savage benefit cuts hitting the most vulnerable, to name but three.
Thatcher’s reign of terror was no good for Britain. We were never the international power we claimed to be and we were severely weakened at home. I, for one, never wish to see this happen to our country again.
This is why Ed Balls’s job is so important. He set out his planes in the Independent on Sunday. Yes Britain does need to tackle the deficit, incidentally not caused by the last Labour government as the Tories would have you believe but by the international banking crisis. However we do not need to go as fast as George Osborne. The watchword is responsibility, something Osborne seems to lack all together.
Since growth in the British economy has come to a standstill we need to get things moving. As Ed Balls has said it’s jobs and growth first. This has to be right. The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens and improve their living, working and leisure conditions. Osborne is patently not doing this and neither does he intend to do so. Labour must keep on until we get the opportunity to form a government ourselves.