Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What If There's No Growth, Emily?

Earlier this evening I spent an hour on LBC alongside LibDem MP Susan Kramer and Labour MP Emily Thornberry discussing the Queen's Speech. Never was so much hot air expounded over so little.

Thornberry is an ultra loyalist and I expected her to defend the government's programme, but I was somewhat surprised when she was unable to explain how the government's Fiscal Responsibility Bill will work.

She tried to say that it would all be funded by growth. But what if there isn't any growth, I asked? But there will be, she said. But what if there isn't enough growth, I rejoindered. But there will be, she insisted. But just supposing on the off chance there isn't, I countered. Surely there would have to be public spending cuts. Otherwise the government would be breaking its own law. No, no, it'll be alright, she said. There would be growth. I left it to the listeners to judge what she said.

As Vince Cable has just pointed out on Newsnight, there are no sanctions against the Chancellor or the government if they don't meet the target of halving the deficit. So what exactly is the point of this Bill? It seems to me it is a Bill designed to encourage the Chancellor to do his job. Pathetic.

Footnote: If you close your eyes, and just listen, Emily Thornberry sounds rather like Margaret Thatcher. I kid you not.


heckmonwyke said...

Judging by the MPs on LBC with you tonight,no wonder public opinion of them is so low,sooner they go the better.

Mack said...

" 'it'll be alright', she said", sounds more like a mother comforting her child waking from a nightmare - the prospect of another Labour government!

Fourmenterian said...

The last government to pass a Fiscal Responsibility Act appears to be Nigeria in 2007. Inter alia, it sought: 'to ensure that the Federal Government will never commit itself to spending money without ensuring that it has the necessary funds in place to begin with'. It also placed controls on government borrowing. Significantly, "it will make it more difficult for the Federal Government and the state governments to borrow money at random in order to plug unexpected gaps in funding. And it specifically bars government from borrowing money to fund routine items of recurrent expenditure such as staff salaries." (Source Nigeria Budget Monitoring Project). It will be interesting to see if the proposed UK FRA contains similar provisions to the lastmentioned as opposed to the headline grabbing 'halve the deficit'. I'm willing to bet it'll contain no such thing. What is proposed is a none too subtle headline grabber, nothing more than a device to portray the next (Tory) government as fiscally irresponsible when they repeal this tosh.

Oliver Drew said...

There are no sanctions because it's a populist sham, designed to suggest to the members of the population who are floating voters who don't get really involved in politics that Labour can and will get the deficit down.

It's just like the entirety of this government - laws for everything, even when there is no point.

pete-s said...

The very action of thinking they need a Bill to cut the fiscal debt. Then compounding it by stating in the Queen's speech they will do; demonstrates the complete lunacy of this Liebour government. Interesting to see how the Labour troll idiots will spin this one?

The King of Wrong said...

Not only are there no sanctions, the bar is set incredibly low: "after a full term of government, we only want to be overspending by £90bn/year". If we can manage that, but if not, never mind.

Out. Now.

Hawkeye said...

fourmentarin said: "What is proposed is a none too subtle headline grabber, nothing more than a device to portray the next (Tory) government as fiscally irresponsible when they repeal this tosh."

Why should the tories repeal it? They can use it to justify all sorts of cuts and then blame Brown. "We are following his fiscal responsibility bill" they can say. Cue outraged silence from the Labour benches.

Alan Douglas said...


You can never reason with socialists - they don't think, they emote.

Except for the really evil ones like Fumblebum, who DO think - about how to get others to emote.

Alan Douglas

Nick Drew said...

these 'declaratory' Acts are a poor joke: take the much-lauded 'legally binding' CO2 reduction targets - here's what the legislation says

"The Secretary of State may by order amend the percentage [i.e. target] specified in section 1(1) …if it appears to the Secretary of State that there have been significant developments in— (i) scientific knowledge about climate change, or (ii) European or international law or policy"
(Climate Change Act 2008 Part 1, Sect 2)

- i.e. can be changed at will: completely devoid of any force whatever

"and there's a legal limit to the snow here - in Camelot!"

Ben said...


Well, they say that any noun can be verbed, but surely there are limits.


It is an insult to our intelligence that people like this Nu Labour apparatchik inhabit the corridors of power.

widget said...

If only Gordon had thought to enshrine in the Fiscal Responsibility Bill that there would be growth, then, Iain, you wouldn't have had a leg to stand on - game, set and match to Emily

norman said...

Emily Thornberry like Bliar living next door to a bad comprehensive school in Islington sent her daughter to selective grammar -Dame Alice Owen in Pottersbar miles away justifying about the'choice'. Other residents have no choices. She is a hypocrite like Harman and Bliar. Foolish LibDems if they had a good candidate and put forward messages about this Labour champagne socialist could have won the seat (vacated by Chris Smith and Thornberry stood)during the last GE, the Libdem candidate, a weak candidate came within 500 votes of winning the seat . She lives in the richer part of Islington ( where I assume Boris also moved recently but got flak)where no resident sends his/her children to local schools and like Hampstead most of them are champagne socialists. I have no time for this hypocrite.

Man in a Shed said...

I think many Labour MPs just don't understand how bad things are. They are used to believing in their socialist fantasies and find reality impossible to deal with.

Which is why its time for the gown ups to govern.

titus-aduxas said...

"But what if there isn't enough growth, I rejoindered. But there will be, she insisted"

.......I've a stash of those little blue pills.

neil craig said...

Economic growth is easily the single most important thing for any government to achieve. With that solved all omost all other problems are at least half solved.

Since the world average has been 10% over the last decade, India & China are managing 10% & the Conservatives gave brown almost no stick when he boasted of managing 2 1/2% it seems unlikely that senior Conservatives understand that.

"Economic freedom is a necesary & sufficient condition for growth"

Obviously Brown & Clegg either do not understand that or, do but prefer growing government power to growing national success. I think Farage does know it. I wish I thought Cameron does.

neil craig said...

GNP is closely related to electricity consumption. In fact Britain gets much more than the world average GNP for our electricity already (2 times that of China or Russia & more mthan any other large country). Since parliament united last year to pass a law to say that future governments will ensure we produce much less CO2 that means, much less & more expensive electricity & substantial negative growth.

Well done the Lab/Lib/Con party then. So how are you going to pay for it with negative growth Emily.