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Friday, February 19, 2010

Tory Shadow Chancellor strikes out again

I suspect that one of the reasons why the Tories do not have a commanding lead in the opinion polls at moment is that their leadership does not inspire confidence. David Cameron comes across as a poor man's Tony Blair, whilst George Osborne projects the image of somebody who we could not trust with the household budget, nevermind the country's finances.

Alas for the Tories, Mr. Osborne has lived up to his reputation again with more than 60 heavyweight academics, many of them professors, issuing a stinging rebuke to his claim that a consensus of economic experts support his policies:

In two letters, one led by Lord Skidelsky, a biographer of JM Keynes, and former monetary policy committee member David Blanchflower, and the other led by Lord Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the LSE, the economists have written to today's Financial Times to warn that starting a fiscal squeeze immediately could jeopardise the recovery, and "for the good of the British people, the first priority must be to restore robust economic growth".

They argue that the increase in the deficit in the last two years was unavoidable, given that the UK has just experienced the most severe recession since the ­second world war and GDP has fallen by 6%, forcing emergency government action to prevent the economy "falling off a cliff"

This proposal for immediate budget cuts is a hallmark of Osborne's policy. It has already been criticised by Vince Cable for the Liberal Democrats.

With so many questions about his judgement perhaps the Tory Shadow Chancellor should adopt the sobriquet 'hapless' before his name at all times.
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