Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The dangers of Labour's approach

The problem with casting your primary political message as being that the Coalition Government's economic policies will lead to a double dip recession, vastly increased unemployment and basically the end of the world as we know it is that it leaves a gigantic hostage to fortune.  What, to put it at its most basic, happens if there is no recession, if unemployment doesn't soar - if the UK goes into recovery?  Labour will be left looking rather silly, and fundamentally economically wrongheaded.  You got us into this mess, the Tories will say, and then you opposed our efforts to get us out of it into the bargain! 

So Labour will be understandably conflicted about the latest, better than expected economic data. On the one hand, I don't think even Labour politicians really want to see the UK go back into a full-blown recession.  On the other, it must be a trifle embarrassing to have spent the entire summer calling Coalition plans reckless, uneconomic and counter-productive and then to see the strongest third quarter growth in a decade.

That's the problem with opposition, since all you do is talk there's a strong temptation to talk yourself into awkward corners.  You can certainly expect David Cameron to play on the GDP figures quite strongly - until next quarter's figures come out anyway.

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