It’s been a fascinating few weeks e Labour conference and the start of Parliament with Labour’s new leader. It has been a struggle for some of the MPs to adjust, as they discover just how out of touch with their members their policy positions and statements had become. It is also a reminder that political leaderships do need to lead. They do have to explain to passionate followers what is possible , and to remind them they are there to serve the wider public and not just the believers in their causes.
Labour now say they are against austerity. This is the party which first spent all the money, then announced the need for major cutbacks to get the budget deficit under control. This is the party that slashed capital spending especially heavily prior to 2010 as their downpayment on getting the accounts into shape.
They need to discover this truth. Any sensible politician or party is against austerity. I want prosperity for the many, and an economic policy which delivers it. Labour delivered massive austerity to voters through the great recession in 2008-9. The issue in politics is not between proponents of austerity or prosperity. One of the central issues is how do you best create prosperity for the many?
Labour seems to think you create prosperity by raising taxes on business and successful business people. It thinks you create prosperity by spending more on benefits. It wants to legislate its way to prosperity with more laws and regulations. History tells us this is the opposite of how you bring prosperity about. You do not make the poor rich by seeking to make the rich poor.
Labour also hopes you can create growth by more public spending and more public borrowing. As our economy recovers the danger of such a route is you might end up with more inflation, and far too high a debt interest burden. Labour is wrong to say the Conservatives are balancing the books at the expense of the poor. Conservative tax cuts take people on low incomes out of tax altogether. Conservative economic policies promotes more jobs and better paid jobs. The best way out of poverty is to have a job, and to move on to a better job.