Thursday, 19 December 2013

One Nation Labour, One Idea Balls

Continuing his tradition of re-using old ideas (and hoping that no-one will notice), such as allocating the funds Labour would supposedly raise from a one-off 'bankers tax' ten times over, Ed Balls is now trying a variation on broadly the same lines.

This time, he is launching the same idea he has put about previously – in fact, twice before, as Guido reveals (as have others).

It is interesting to note that the first time he repeated this 'launch' of his so-called zero-base cost review of all public spending a good year after his original announcement of precisely the same thing (although we can now expect Labourites to 'explain' how this is actually something different, somehow). The first was in September last year, repeated this past September.

Now, just three months later, here it is being 'launched' yet again. It seems that he has no other ideas, and has to repeat the same old same old instead of any original thinking, going forward. The reason appears to be an increasingly desperate attempt to hold onto the Shadow Chancellor position which, you might recall, he didn't get originally anyway: the somewhat hapless Alan Johnson held the position previously.

Now it looks as though it could pass to old hand Alistair Darling, or perhaps another, as Balls becomes ever more of an embarrassment to ed[ward] Miliband both for putting out messages that disagree with the party leader's stance (hardly a 'one nation' approach!) and for his weak and childish pranks before the television cameras, not least as the 'turkey' at Prime Minister's Questions.

As I have mentioned on a number of previous occasions when writing my political entries for this 'blog: the clues are all there, and their actions so often betray their motives. While it is always possible to read more into a situation that actually exists, often there are just so many indications, both current and from individuals' and parties' established patterns of behaviour, that it becomes a safe enough conclusion to deduce such as what I have outlined here.

This continues to leave Ed-M with the dilemma of what to do about (and with) Ed-B. Probably his only way out is to do something similar to what was done by Tony Blair to move John Prescott out of harm's way (at least in theory), which was to create a new position specially for him. Thus Prescott became Deputy Prime Minister, with his own ministry.

Something similar might be the only feasible way to deal with Ed Balls, though in opposition it is not quite the same thing. It would therefore be tricky and need a lot of very clever strategic thinking. I can think of a few approaches, or components of an overall approach, that might work...

In any case, all we need to do for now is sit back and watch what develops over the next few weeks and months, but with knowledge of 'the story so far' to inform our reading of that future. I expect lots of light bulbs to come on over people's heads, when that unfolds, because of this foreknowledge.

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