Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sack Balls, Screw the Unions

Ed Balls helped create British fiscal mess, cannot remain Shadow Chancellor

If Labour leader Ed Miliband has a single, overriding problem, it comes in the embodiment of his Shadow Chancellor of the Excchequer, Ed Balls.

As a former Secretary to the Treasury -- charged with heloing manage Britain's public finances -- Balls had a direct hand in the profligacy that has led to the current state of the UK's finances.

Yet he has the temerity to stand as Shadow Chancellor, even as he continues to avoid admitting his part in the ballooning of Britain's public debt.

Terry Smith, the President of Tullet Prebon, has had enough. He says it's time for Balls to depart from Ed Miliband's shadow caucus.

“He is in total denial about the fact that Labour was running a deficit years before the financial crisis struck and seems to think that we can borrow and spend our way out of a crisis caused by excessive debt,” Smith declared. "There is no avoiding the fact that Labour ran a growing deficit from 2002 as the economic boom was heading towards its peak”.

Smith charges that Balls, as well as Gordon Brown and those others tasked with keeping Britain's finances on the rails, put political expediency far ahead of responsible fiscal management.

“Moreover, the government spending which led to this deficit before the banking crisis struck was wasteful, unproductive and cynically aimed at buying the loyalty of a growing dependent section of the population to the Labour Party,” Smith continued.

Ed Balls wasn't the only thing on Smith's mind. He also declared the pensions owed to public service employees to be unviable, and suggested they should be cut back.

"Unviable because we cannot sustain a system in which people can retire and live for another 20 years at the expense of the state,” he explained. “This was never the intention of the original social security systems and it has been made unviable by improvements in health care and life expectancy.”

Smith has presented Ed Miliband with some difficult choices. Certainly, labour unions will never tolderate a Labour leader who pushes back against their unsustainable pensions. Certainly, the left wing of the Labour Party will bristle at Ed Balls being relieved of his duties.

Smith suggests that Balls should be shuffled to the most junior shadow cabinet post in existence. Ed Miliband would be better off shuffling Ed Balls out of politics altogether.

Balls, and his allegiance to the unions, are relics of an old left-wing politics that has catastrophically failed in Britain. If the Labour Party is to survive -- and its survival is far from guaranteed -- they will need to find a new brand of left-wing politics that can account for and repair the damage done by Ed Balls and his associates.

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