“We used to think you could spend your way out of recession and increase employment by boosting government spending. I can tell you that option no longer exists. And so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step.” Jim Callaghan – Labour Prime Minister 1976-1979
Yes, these are the words of a Labour Prime Minister but the party and a large section of the media don’t seem to rate Jim Callaghan’s words of wisdom. In fact if the recent track record of the Labour Party is taken as a benchmark, it doesn’t bode well for a future Miliband/Balls government’s impact on the British economy, living standards and mandatory austerity.
1964-1970 Harold Wilson’s Labour government – Sterling collapses, International Monetary Fund called in – pre-election promises jettisoned and emergency austerity measures inflicted on the electorate.
1974-1979 Wilson then Jim Callaghan’s Labour government – Treasury predicts black hole in public finances, International Monetary Fund called in – pre-election promises jettisoned and emergency austerity measures inflicted on the electorate.
1997-2010 Blair and Brown Labour government – after announcing “no more boom and bust”, the government went on to cripple the country’s finances and to create a record breaking budget deficit (comment from the departing Treasury Secretary after Labour lost the election – “I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left”), followed by, you guessed it, more austerity measures.
On recent form, it looks like a general election win by labour would be a vote winner for austerity.