Ann Pettifor

My verdict on Ed Balls’ conference speech – apologies are not enough

Published in the Guardian Cif alongside responses from Jonathon Freedland and Sheila Lawlor:

Ed Balls said sorry for Labour’s record on ultra-light-touch financial regulation, and that must be acknowledged.

But apologies are just not enough. He and Ed Miliband must stop attacking his electoral base, “hardworking families”, many of whom are trades unionists.

As Balls recognises, unless urgent action is taken, this may be the gravest economic crisis in history – given the global integration of finance and the growth of world population.

So Balls must go further.

First, he must declare loudly and forcefully that Labour will never again be captive to neoliberal central bankers like Alan Greenspan; or private bankers like Sir Fred Goodwin of RSB.

Labour must never again be seen to be in the pockets of the finance sector.

Balls and Miliband must give the Labour party back to its electoral base, to its members.

They must both distance themselves from Labour leaders that profit from links to the global finance sector.

Second, Balls must stop talking about the deficit; about “tough decisions on tax and spending” – the last thing the economy needs. It is private debt – 469% of British GDP and six times the public debt – that is the real crisis facing Britons. It is debt-deflation, and debt-deleveraging, and collapsing private investment that pose the gravest threat to us all.

Given this, there is an urgent need for government spending on environmentally sound projects to generate economic activity – jobs, the income, the savings that will help protect us from Armageddon.

Until he does, his apologies will count for nothing but special pleading.

Read the original article on Cif here >


1 thought on “My verdict on Ed Balls’ conference speech – apologies are not enough”

  1. Ann, I couldn’t agree with you more about Balls’ speech. I tweeted about this earlier. Balls was better than previously I think but he still has a ways to go to get himself out of the clutches of the well off. I would go further than you and claim that Balls may not understand the non-neoclassical approaches to debt and taxation. When talking with Andrew Neill, who referred to Balls as a Keynesian when he isn’t, he still refers to government having to borrow and tax to meet debt. At least he didn’t, as C&O do, compare the government to a household. That would have been complete nonsense.

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