Media Check – Telegraph Cannot Be Trusted On Economics

This blog post was going to be about Peter Hitchens’ disgusting opinion piece in the Mail defending Andrew Mitchell’s ‘plebs’ gaffe, but something much better caught my eye in the realm of right-wing papers spouting nonsense:

The Telegraph – Labour Cannot Be Trusted To Rebuild Britain. Otherwise known as, the Telegraph can’t be trusted with economics…

The premise is simple enough; Labour are trying to rebuild their reputation on the economy. The Telegraph can’t let that happen without a fight, so attack Labour’s record. But rather than being contented with a nice, factual news piece such as this, they had to go on the attack… with sometimes hilariously funny results:

“The slogan for this week’s Labour conference in Manchester is “Rebuilding Britain”. Is this supposed to be a joke? After all, this is the party that squandered a golden economic legacy during its 13 years in office, leaving the country deeper in debt than at any time in its history?”

Erm… if we don’t take inflation or GDP into account, maybe… if we do, well…

http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/include/uk_debt_20c.png

The article isn’t content to let that be its single ridiculous statement;

“Labour Party that sold our gold reserves at rock bottom prices,”

It continues – assuming Gordon Brown – a man with only one good eye as it was – had the ability to see into the future as well.

Interestingly they do not mention the effort Labour went to, to pay down the national debt. As the current Labour shadow government discusses how it would hypothetically spend revenues from 4G sales, we already know how the previous Labour government did spend its 3G sales – paying down the debt.

Of course that would not play into the narrative of the evil Labour party which was reckless and gung-ho in such matters. Forget the fact that before the economic crisis the Uk had a lower debt as a percentage of GDP than France, Germany, the USA, Japan, the Euro zone at large… or that between 2000 and 2007 our debt rose at a slower rate than France, Germany and the United States’.  No let’s move onto the next statement…

“encouraged record levels of immigration”

In an article about paying down deficits, I find this comment particularly humorous so soon after I posted this.

Next;

“Under Labour, a culture of welfare dependency became so deeply ingrained that it is almost impossible to shift,”

To whom or what is this referring? ‘Culture’ is such a subjective term, let’s look at some facts and figures shall we? The unemployment rate under Labour was lower than anytime under Thatcher. The much lamented rise in welfare spending under Labour doesn’t really exist. Check this graph out and tell me that welfare spending has ‘become’ an issue under Labour…

If Labour have created a problem in regards to welfare dependency it’s by not doing enough to make the economy fair for workers in the first place by securing better wages etc or ‘predistribution’ as Ed Miliband would call it. I’m not sure where the Telegraph stands on forcing companies to pay their workers more money but I think we can hazard a guess on that one.

“education standards fell and state services were undermined by an obsession with centrally-determined targets. Even the new schools and hospitals built under Labour were mortgaged to future generations, paid for through PFI programmes that have been of woeful value to the taxpayer.”

Umm… given a hospital in 1997, or 2010, I think we know which one people would opt for. And the same pretty much goes for education. Talk about standards and blame Labour’s PFI schemes for their shortsightedness if you must, but don’t forget PFI schemes came about because of the totally unfit for purpose nature many school buildings were left in by the Tories when Labour took office (leaking roofs, broken heating systems, out of date labs and gyms were the norm) and because PFI was a cheaper option than a government spending spree – which I believe is what the Telegraph objects to in the first place.

Some waffle, and then finally;

“He [Ed Miliband] suggested yesterday that in reducing the 50p tax rate to 45p the Government was “writing out a £40,000 cheque to every millionaire” and that he would therefore reintroduce it. This betrays the classic Labour view that earnings belong to the state which then benevolently dispenses sums as it sees fit.”

Betraying a classic right-wing view that the wealthy owe society nothing for their success. Not to mention the somewhat inconsistent nature of blaming a party for its recklessness in regards to fiscal policy and then critisising it when it makes an attempt to raise extra revenue to cut the deficit. ‘Damn this reckless Labour party, throwing money it doesn’t have around the place like confetti. What’s that, they want to raise money they can spend without going into deficit? How dare they!’

A rather poor editorial all-round. Still, much more fun than reviewing Hitchens.

Cheers

Useful Links:

UK Public Spending

Government Debt to GDP List

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About iwastoldtheredbegin

Politics of the Left Wing and Liberal variety, plus gin!
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One Response to Media Check – Telegraph Cannot Be Trusted On Economics

  1. Pingback: Best of the Blog – 2012 A Roundup | iwastoldtheredbegin

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