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Sunday 5 March 2017

Tory Drunken Sailor Jibe BUSTED

There are still some out there who claim that the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie is worthy of being called a serious pundit, that I am unduly harsh on The Great Man for calling him out for a combination of political ineptitude and economic illiteracy. After his sneering earlier today at Labour MP Chuka Umunna, the time has come to finally disabuse all those Monty boosters of their misapprehension.
Ah right, is that what economics means?

Umunna was not impressed by the appearance of Chancellor Philip Hammond before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm): “Having cut skills funding by 7% in the last 5yrs the Tories now want thanks for giving some of it back. Shameless”. Monty was not letting that pass unchallenged. “I wonder why cuts had to be made? Was it because Labour spent like drunken sailors?” Owen Jones, in turn, was not happy about that.
The financial sector crashed the economy, not Labour investment which the Tories backed pound for pound. Enough of this”. And that was only the start of it. Monty countered with “Here's why it's far from whole truth for Labour to blame global crash for the mess they left behind”, citing the far from unbiased and selective Conservative Home.
Steve Fielding corrected the assertion of overspending: “Yes, increased to a level just above those of the last year of the Major government”. Moreover, those pre-2008 levels were lower than during the reign of the Tories’ most beloved of leaders, Mrs T, not that Monty is going to crop his charts to show you that. And it gets worse.
Fielding’s chart shows that, even after several years of needless austerity imposed by Tory-led and majority Tory Governments, spending as a percentage of GDP has still not returned to 2008 levels - and we now have an economy where there is growth, but wage rates have declined. And then there is the question of debt and deficit.

Monty wants to talk about deficit - so let’s do just that. The UK’s net borrowing, measured in billions of pounds, has still not come down to 2008 levels. And what of debt levels?
The public sector debt as a percentage of GDP was less than 40% before the financial crisis - not of Labour’s making - hit in 2008. After all those glorious Tory-led and Tory years, it is now well over 80%, and shows little inclination to come back down.
Why this should be may not be obvious to Monty, but one must try, even in the most resistant of cases, to get the point home. Not only does the “drunken sailor” smear suggest that spending on things like schools, hospitals and the like was somehow frivolous, it deflects, perhaps not coincidentally, from the reality of the post-crisis period.
What the then Brown Government did was to follow the dictates of Keynes as laid out in The General Theory Of Employment Interest And Money: an increase in spending to help the economy to recover. And the economy had indeed begun to recover by 2010, although not nearly enough to help Labour back into power.
But then the Tories cut off the recovery by imposing austerity. It really is that simple. Oh, and their pals then blamed Labour. They are still doing it now. They are still wrong.

Tim Montgomerie is indeed a false prophet. Media bookers take note.

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