Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tessa Jowell Argues Both Ways on Olympic Investment

I simply do not understand the logic of Tessa Jowell's comments about the Olympics today, as reported in the Telegraph. She says that if the government had known there was going to be a recession, they would not have endorsed a bid for the 2012 games.
Had we known what we know now, would we have bid for the Olympics? Almost certainly not. I have often observed that we bid for 2012 in one economic climate and are now in another. Had the scale of the downturn been anticipated, I am sure there would have been a view from some that this would not be the time to commit significant public expenditure to a project like the Olympics.

But she then goes on to argue the opposite case...

...but as I made clear in my speech, the reality is very different. This is precisely the time for this investment to be made. It has the potential to be economic gold at a time of economic need.

So what point was she trying to make? Because the net result of it all is that she comes across as not knowing her arse from her elbow. Maybe it is clumsy use of language, but she is essentially saying that had the government been able to predict a recession it would not have committed public funds to the Olympic programme. Which is odd, when as she later points out, the investment programme in new buildings, stadia and the regeneration of East London will create many thousands of jobs - and not just in London. Isn't the Olympics a prime example of where public investment can indeed boost the economy? I think that's what Tessa Jowell was trying to articulate, but she didn't get off to a very good start, as evidenced by the Telegraph headline.

22 comments:

Womble On Tour said...

Governments are historically dire at boosting the economy through their own capital spending projects. The cost per job created is usually colossal. Far more effective to give the money back to the people in tax cuts. The problem is that they cannot afford to cut taxes because of the ridiculous spending commitments it has signed up to (of which the Olympics are just one part).

Anonymous said...

Reading the news today, it seems most of the new jobs will be taken up by East Europeans...That's really gonna help...NOT.

David Boothroyd said...

The two statements are not contradictory, and you have misread them. The first statement does not say that Tessa Jowell would herself have opposed an Olympic bid at the time of a recession. It says that she thinks that the consensus of opinion generally would have been against it. She then, in the second statement, says that in this event she would have been arguing in the minority, in favour of the bid even though it was a recession.

The building projects associated with the 2012 Olympics fit almost perfectly with the Government's policy of keeping Britain working to avoid the recession becoming too harsh, so this second statement is hardly a surprising one.

Telegraph sub-editors are evidently either stupid, or deliberately writing false headlines.

Scary Biscuits said...

Anybody who believes that the 'investment' in the Olympics will benefit the economy is a fool, so it doesn't matter which way Tessa Jowell argues. (She lost all credibility anyway when she claimed to know nothing about her husband's involvement with the mafia despite having her signature on a mortgage document for repayments beyond their combined means.)

No other country has yet derived long term economic benefit from the Olympics, so why should we? In the short term, the public spending will 'crowd out' more productive private spending and so deepen the recession that is coming and delay the turnaround.

There is no evidence that Keynesian public works spending helps, quite the reverse. All Japan has achieved is a huge national debt and their economy is still in the toilet after 10 years. In America in the 30s it wasn't building dams but war that turned their economy around.

Helen said...

Iain,

Just exactly how is the Olympics project going to boost the economy. When it is all over, what will be left? Which Olympics project boosted anything? Athens? Sydney? Barcelona? This is a pharaonic Labour project. Oh, and by the way, predictions of the coming recession were all around us when they went for that rather inaccurate bid. Remember how they forgot to mention VAT? If an ordinary builder did that, he could be sued.

Anonymous said...

It's a case of NUEnglish!

Gareth said...

"So what point was she trying to make?"

At a guess; The Olympic investment will be included in the fiscal binge, leaving aside the fact it's already been announced.

The first step will be being honest about the cost. They've know since day one the costs will be colossal but have inched the tally up as and when they thought they could get away with it.(I have a vague inclination that the contingency fund alone is approaching the original publicised estimate.) The cost will almost certainly be North of £20billions.

To paraphrase: 'We wouldn't have bid for it. But seeing as we've won it lets turn on the taxpayer taps.'

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Just heard Tessa Jowell on the World at One. Not impressed. Tying herself in knots. Put her in the witness box for ten minutes and a good QC could demolish her.

Anonymous said...

Maybe when writing the article she wrote the first bit and then changed her mind and wrote the second bit. She then meant to go back and edit out the first bit but forgot.

... or ...

... maybe she doesn't know her arse from her elbow.

morris hickey said...

This incompetent excuse for a minister is now reaching conclusions that many of us arrived at some three years ago. Her comments are no more than a "softening up" process before she tells us what the huge debt legacy will be when these games are over and gone.

My verification word is "nessnet"! Very appropriate when dealing with a minister like Tossa Jowell.

King Athelstan said...

Well, She's not talking out of Her elbow.

Browned off said...

'We can't really afford it, so we are going to spend double the amount instead'.

Tom FD said...

translation: if I'd known I'd end up working with Boris Johnson on this project, I wouldn't have bothered.

The Laughing Cavalier said...

The whole thing was a colossal vanity project for NuLabour politicians from the very beginning. The bid was based on their conceit and lies. It should never have been made to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you ID. You are being totally unreasonable.

How can you possibly expect coherence and fiscal comprehension from a person who doesn't even know whether or not her own mortgage has been cleared.

<'((())<

Not really anonymouse...just can't log in

Westminster watch said...

Just heard Peter Allen interview Tessa J on the topic on 5Live. Classic - I can't talk about what I talked about because I don't know what I'm talking about interview - digging ever deeper as she went on. And she holds a position of responsibility??!!

joe bonanno said...

In my fifty years on this planet I have rarely heard anything quite so stupid as -

'I would throw myself under a train for him'

'I' being Tessa Jowell and 'him' being Tony Blair.

Truly a government of all the talent-free.

Arkangel said...

David Boothroyd.
You are clearly a class one idiot.
Go back to the school of idiots where there is a place reserved for you.
You are an utter fool!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you lot leave the poor girl alone? She's done nothing wrong. In fact she's done nothing.

She is beyond embarrassment and is a favourite of the Great Leader.

You will just have to be a little patient. Wait 'til 2010.

Roger Thornhill said...

Iain,

The reason you are struggling to understand is because you have placed the words "logic" and "Tessa Jowell" in the same sentence.

Anonymous said...

It's very simple.....she's not very bright

neil craig said...

We are on 9.3 billion for the infrastructure & 2 B for administration. However they are sitting on the fact that the builder of the Olympic Village (1.4 billion) is not getting the promised money from the banks (apparently they think the flats may not sell so well afterwards) & we are probably going to habe to bail that out too.