Monday, August 18, 2008

Fisking Yvette Cooper

Labour has a problem. Whenever it launches a premeditated attack on David Cameron it never quite seems to work. Remember the Chameleon, or the Toff attack? They both backfired. Today Yvette Cooper launched a new attack on "Cameronomics". She wrote a piece in The Guardian, which the paper then puffed in its news pages. I always enjoy Yvette Cooper's TV appearances as I can feel the extra Conservative votes going Cameron's way with every word she utters. Anyway, back to her article. I thought it was worthy of a light Fisk. My comments are in blue italics

'It's the economy, stupid." That 1992 Clinton election campaign slogan still resonates and will define the general election debate whenever it comes.
That's one thing we can both agree on. The only question is, will we still have much of an economy left by June 2010.
Our economy faces a difficult time and families are worried about rising bills and job prospects. Labour's economic policy is rightly under scrutiny in response to world economic pressures. The prime minister and chancellor have said we must do more to help families and businesses, building on the financial stability measures and £4bn tax cuts this year, and we will.
So Tax cuts are good then, Yvette? We will return to this in a moment.
But who is asking questions about the Conservatives? Their leader hopes to distract us with frisbees and photo ops. But a serious look at his policies reveals an approach that would be deeply damaging for our economy. Over the next few months, we in the Labour party must expose the risks and contradictions at the heart of Cameronomics.
If I were you, I'd spend more time working out your own vision and your own strategy, because frankly no one knows what they are at the moment.
Wherever possible, David Cameron has ducked difficult questions - be it on global commodity prices, the collapse of Northern Rock, the 10p tax rate, or the future of nuclear power. He has tried to confine policies to vague populist promises, from tax cuts to more prisons, to solving family breakdown.
Er, hang on a cotton pickin' moment. You seemed to approve of tax cuts a minute ago. Except of course when you do tax cuts they're not really tax cuts are they? Ducking difficult questions is actually the preserve of your boss, as you well know. Do I need to list all the times he has ducked a decision in the last year? Two can play at that game.
But dig deeper, and what you see is not quite what you get. He campaigns against a new runway for Heathrow in London's mayoral election, while promising the City to do more on infrastructure.
What's the contradiction there? Infrastructure isn't just about runways.
He promises green tax increases to the green movement, and tells everyone else they won't make anyone worse off.
No, because he has said that any increase in green taxation will be counteracted by a reduction in other taxes, so the overall tax burden will remain the same. Got that? Because we wouldn;t want you contantly repeating lies, would we?
The greatest inconsistencies are in fiscal policy, where Cameron is promising lower taxes, more spending and lower borrowing all at the same time. He pledges billions in tax cuts on marriage, inheritance tax and stamp duty. Savings to pay for proposals often prove illusory. The spending promises continue too - a bigger army, more prison places, and more for the NHS.
Hmmm. He has costed every tax cut he has promised - the first two you mention. He hasn't promised "billions in tax cuts on marriage". Extra prison places will be provided by the savings made elsewhere in the budget - scrapping ID cards being on example. Any spending pledge has been costed. They're sticking to your own spending programmes until 2011 anyhow. The things you regard as promises, I regard as aspirations.
Faced with calls to make the sums stack up, Cameron reverts to slogans - "sharing the proceeds of growth", or "living within our means". When pressed, he concedes this means sticking with Labour's spending plans.
Yes, if only you had understood the meaning of 'living within our means', eh? We might not be in this mess. Have to agree with you though on Sharing the Proceeds of Growth. Hate it.
By my tally, the Tories have commitments of an extra £11bn of unfunded promises, while saying borrowing is too high. This inconsistent approach to fiscal policy would be extremely bad for the economy - creating additional risks and instability at a difficult time.
Well that's a lower figure than the £20 billion Gordon Brown keeps quoting. Make up your minds. Of course, both figures are rubbish. Yes, borrowing is too high. Your government sent it skyrocketing by failing to keep some by for a rainy day. And boy must you regret it now. Not sure how you can keep a straight face when you accuse the Tories of creating additional risk and instability. That's exactly what you have done.
The generous interpretation of these contradictions is that Cameron is confused.
I'm not surprised if he tries to follow your logic. Anyone would be.
I don't think he's confused, I think this is a deliberate strategy to distract.
Talking of deliberate strategies to distract...
He knows that his party - and in particular his shadow chancellor - are keen for some traditional Tory red meat, especially on tax cuts. So they remain ideologically opposed to Europe at a time when world economic problems mean European and international co-operation matter more than ever.
The only thing the Tory Party is ideologically opposed to is tax and spend Labour economic policies.
They remain hostile to government action - for example opposing nationalisation of Northern Rock even at the risk of serious financial instability - at a time when the role of government is critical to stability and prosperity. And as Cameron admitted recently, they are opposed in principle to government involvement in redistribution, even when those on lowest incomes face the greatest squeeze from world pressures.
Go, girl. Polish your left wing credentials. You never know when you might need them. It wasn't Cameron who made the poor poorer by abolishing the 10p tax rate. Your government did that, and the people affected remember it well.
However, after his own experience of Black Wednesday, Cameron knows the damage to his party from inept and unpopular economic policies. Hence the emergence of Cameronomics, where photo ops and warm words attempt to distract from risky, destructive ideology.
Hilarious. You can't say Cameron believes in nothing, and then that he is ideological. Be consistent. It's one or the other. Which is it?
The challenges facing the world economy are, in the words of the IMF, the most serious since the great depression. Cameron would prefer to duck the serious issues. For the sake of long-term economic prosperity, Labour must ensure he doesn't get away with it.
A bit of a weak ending to a very weak article. Get yourself a new Special Advisor if this is the best they can come up with. It's very dangerous to keep on about Cameron ducking serious issues when the electorate believe that it is your government and your Prime Minister which is doing exactly that.


Anonymous said...

Do you fancy her, Iain? She looks like a young man.

Sir Compton Valence said...

Go away you imbecile, some of us actually find this interesting.

Anonymous said...

I made the exact same critique:

Although I made mine by 11.30 ;@)

Dick the Prick said...

I read this on the train this am and the contrast between her and Max Hastings was gigantic. I even thought the dude slating the Olympics had a fair point (even though he was a design consultant - take the money then complain - how very New Labour!!).

Same sentiment as Icedink (funny name - wonder what that means?!?)

Anonymous said...

at the last time of looking (14.25) there were 183 comments - not many of them could one consider complimentary

Anonymous said...

The reality is that all this Labour Government has left is lies, evasions and exaggerations.

They have no vision, no ideas, no substance.

Pat Cooper and her compatriots on their heads, say "there there" and then in two years time send them on there way (making sure it is a very long way!). They have failed and the UK has no use for Labour anymore!

Anonymous said...

The reality is that all this Labour Government has left is lies, evasions and exaggerations.

They have no vision, no ideas, no substance.

Pat Cooper and her compatriots on their heads, say "there there" and then in two years time send them on there way (making sure it is a very long way!). They have failed and the UK has no use for Labour anymore!

Anonymous said...

How is Yvette Cooper ever going to relate to people? This is the woman who married Ed Balls. You won't find a bigger endorsement of a failing Brownie than that.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@anonymous, 2:11: I was also reflecting on sexual matters: in the Cooper/Balls household, which one is uglier at the "moment of delight"? Do they prefer doggy style, so they don't have to look at each other's faces?

Enquiring minds probably don't want to know.

Oscar Miller said...

This is just about the most useless piece of waffle and piffle from the fragrant Yvette imaginable. From the clunking term 'Cameronomics' (bound to catch on - not) to the wildly scattershot approach it fails to land a single blow. In fact it reminds me of the average PMQ performance from the Useless One. Could it be the great leader penned it himself?

Anonymous said...

oops Misread your title at first and the idea of "frisking" Mrs Balls caused me a problem.
When I returned from the bathroom I realised my mistake!

The lady's words are, well, the same as her married name. No surprise there then.

Anonymous said...

In one breath they are saying they are proud to have given away 4 billion in unfunded tax cuts - they also have continued to spend despite the borrowing requirement increasing relentlessly -- and still complain that Tory spending plans are unfunded.

Given their current woeful economic performance the egregious Cooper has absolutely no grounds to complain about Tory policies.

But this is after all in the Guardian, she has to say something which the dozy numpty readership can grasp on to.

Bill Quango MP said...

A Cooper attack! She must be hoping poor Dave be forced to hide in his bunker after such savagery from the biggest dog in the Cabinet.

More likely the Shadow PM is
wondering why this annoying pug keeps sniffing his genitals and contemplating giving it a swift tap on the snout with his Guardian to make the ugly creature shuffle away.

Anonymous said...

Looking at a politician's real world experience is always revealing.

Cooper is an academic / theorist throughout, with zero real-world experience in commerce.

Sadly, exactly the same may be said of Cameron.

Out of interest, which MPs on the front benches of any of the 3 main parties are not ex-academics/political researchers or lawyers? How many prospective leaders, come the next GE, will have actually got their hands dirty, and suffered the pains, in the same way as their electorate?

Anonymous said...

does it matter? She wrote it in the Grauniad. If all guardian readers agreed with it, the tories haven't lost a single vote. If just one disagrees and considers voting conservative then they have a net gain. And it just gets better.

She's doing their work for them, and they should be delighted.

Elby the Beserk said...

Who can take her seriously? When questioned on QT as to whether the excessive use of RIPA powers by local councils was OK, she noted that they were using the law wrongly - not that the law itself is wrong.

Does anyone believe a word any of them say anymore?

Dick the Prick said...

Whoa Anon 2.59. I really quite like the Guardian and have voted Tory at the last 3 elections. Larry Elliott's on top form today and Max Hastings was a treat. Also, why would I wanna read something I agree with (present company excluded ofcourse Mr Dale).

Don't suppose anyone's got 21 across - last one and it's really irritating!!

Anonymous said...

@Dick the Prick

What's the clue, how many letters, and what's in place already?

Anonymous said...

Definitely a very weak article from Ms Cooper, full of inconsistencies and hypocrisy (I love the way she is proud of Labour tax cuts but critical of Conservative ones).

However, there is still a niggling thought at the back of my mind that Cameron's economic policy is bitty and incomplete. I know the hard work of economic reform was done by Thatcher in the 1980s, and that the eleciton could still be a couple of years away, but I wonder whether Cameron should have a greater narrative than just individual policy proposals such as on inheritance tax, marriage, stamp duty and fuel duty. Compared with his social policy (which I am very encouraged by), Cameron has further to go on the economy.

Dick the Prick said...

Inspector. (9,4) - music associated with particular programme or performer.

-I-N-T-R- --N-

Dick the Prick said...

Forgot to mention - err... some of those letters may be mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Signature Tune?

Anonymous said...


The answer is signature tune.
That's ll be 5 guineas in the poor box please.

Alan Douglas said...

At least one can say Yvette is pretty.

Pretty stupid, that is.

And pretty also , compared to yer usual lot of labour hags.

Alan Douglas

Dick the Prick said...

Cheers dudes

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

A very weak article that makes me think back to that post you did a few days ago Iain, comparing the heavyweights of Thatcher's cabinet to the lightweights of Brown's cabinet.

But whether or not you think the article is good or not, and whether Labour criticise Cameron or not, it simply doesn't matter. Labour can shout and scream all they want, but the sad truth (for them) is that nobody is listening anymore.

Anonymous said...

I pointed out much the same error of judgement to Tom Harris on his blog. It seems current Labour policy is basically slag Dave off at every possible moment. They think thats policy to run the country by and win the next election. I kindly explained to Tom that this will result in worse losses than necessary for Labour.

Whilst I hold Labour in absolute contempt, and to be honest I would like to see the party permanently buried by Gordon's lack of vision, I don't think the majority the Tories are likely to get in 2010 is healthy for this country - as Labour have shown very well it doesn't do governments any good at all to have too weak an opposition. And think how weak the opposition would be if it were merely Clegover and his bunch of pillocks..


Anonymous said...

For one moment, I thought Cooper-Balls was writing a critique of her own govt.

Anonymous said...

O/T thought it may be, I'd just like to thank Iain Dale. Although I disagree with his political views sometimes, it's about time there was a decent gay role model in politics.

Huzzah for Dale!

Anonymous said...

Does this article not remind everyone of the demonic poster of Tony by the Tories back in 1997?Obvious comparisons can be drawn with this latest attempt to attack DC as the unknown, unknowable and link him to the incompetence of John Major's government. Tony = really a nasty incompetent labourite proto Kinnock, was the message. Unfortunately for Major, his economic credibility was shot and no one took a blind bit of notice. Sound familiar?

cassandra said...

Gordon Brown is getting on with job according to the sacred five principles of his vision(s)!

1)Run away and hide.

2)Blame everyone else.

3)run away and hide while blaming everyone else untill it all blows over, then come out and take all the credit.

4) Run away and hide while scheming and plotting the downfall of his enemies and of course, smashing things up.

5) Smash things up, blame someone else,run away and hide, plot revenge, surround himself with third rate yesmen and toadies while pretending to be the worst Prime minister in history, ever!Well, not since Ted'im not gay'Heath anyway!

Gordon Brown: A real life cautionary tale about the destructive nature of gaining political power without merit?
Well not since Ted'I hate women'Heath anyway!

Anonymous said...

Iain - I'm constantly amazed by the outrage that results from any Labour politicians having the temerity to attack the Tories, almost as if we have no right to do so.

Anyway, the real reason I'm posting a comment is that "It's the economy, stupid" was never actually a Clinton campaign slogan; it was hand-written on a sign which James Carville put up in Clinton HQ, but it was never intended for public consumption.

Iain Dale said...

Tom, it's just that if you are going to attack, it's always a good idea to do it in a way which might actually have some effect. Yvette Cooper's article was so full of holes it was almost beyond parody. I am sure you would have done much better. :)

Anonymous said...

@ Dick, Solver, anon et al

Dad says: "To tell the truth, Dick, I thought you were being sarcastic, and did not expect to re-visit a while later and discover that (a) your dilemma was genuine, and (b) subsequently the clue had been solved!

"Bugger squared!"

Dad's words, not mine.

"Meanwhile, if anyone is interested, please see my earlier post re the credentials of those that wish to govern us come the next election. Your comments will be most welcome,

"To save your mouse getting RSI:

"Out of interest, which MPs on the front benches of any of the 3 main parties are not ex-academics/political researchers or lawyers? How many prospective leaders, come the next GE, will have actually got their hands dirty, and suffered the pains, in the same way as their electorate"?

Dictated by Insp Morse and sent in his absence by Morse Jnr.

Anonymous said...

I was quite impressed by the picture - she looks all cute and pixie-esque. Still not in the Ruth Kelly league, she just seems so vulnerable and needs looking after. (Sorry, I can't help it, I try and resist but it just doesn't seem to happen)

Anonymous said...

you can just imagine the firseide chats Yvette has with Ed. It would be like two people who couldnt understand a word of each others respective languages
Such a pathetic "attack" if it can even be described as such shows the paucity of "talent" in the cabinet (small c) and why they are all going to get booted out.

Anonymous said...

The whole piece is written in the careless, self indulgent style of a university campus handout.

I particularly loved the opening about 'families' [what's so different about families?] worrying about bills and job prospects, conjouring up the image of parents clustered around the bare kitchen table wondering whether they would have to send little Johnny away to be a chimney sweep.

But the real error is that the Tories are not in power and are not likely to be for another couple of years. It is presently of far greater significance to the country what Labour has done and is preparing to do than anything DC may have planned. The fact that Cooper chooses to write articles knocking the powerless opposition, rather than setting out her own agenda just underlines the feeling that this government has nothing left to say for itself.

Roger Thornhill said...

Problem is, Iain, both Yvette and Dave are talking puff.

We will soon have £700bln debt on the books and still growing. Spending cuts need be significant, and we are talking triple digit billions here.

Bill Quango MP said...

five principles of his vision(s)
Where did you get this leak of the 2010 Labour manifesto from ?
A real scoop.

Shaun said...

I really misread the title of this post but ironically it worked too!

Anonymous said...

Iain, I'd put all of your brilliant rebuttals in the Guardian tomorrow! :) I wonder if you have any plans to stand for Parliament again?

Anonymous said...

You always know when an end of a Government is about to happen.

A Government who is weak, has run out of ideas, and is not resonating with the public gets desperate; and ends up attacking the opposition using any means they can (even if it means lying).

Unfortunately for Labour, they can't even doing that very well.

Fortunately for the Conservatives, poor articles like Cooper's actually work to help them.

Anonymous said...

Yvette Cooper's article was so ,full of holes
it was almost beyond parody. I am sure you would have done much better. :) Said Iain.

Surely then her nick name from now on is Annette

"I'll get my coat..."

Anonymous said...

At her very best she almost look pretty. The rest of the time she looks like a bloke

Anonymous said...

Following VoteDave's comment - I'm not sure if Brentford & Isleworth have a PPC yet. You should try for the seat. It'd be nice if you can kick out Ann Keen for us. She and her husband won joint award for claiming the most expenses.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday we had Ivan (Rats and Cockroaches in hospitals don't spread disease, honest Guv) Lewis the ''Health'' Minister shouting 'tax the rich' in the Sunday Times. Today it's Yvette attacking conservative economic policy.

With a reshuffle pending this smells of fearful, not very good, Ministers trying to position themselves and raise their profiles so the Great Leader will notice (or perhaps not notice) them when he wields the axe to 'refresh the team'.

The problem is that to do this right you have to be good. What Yvette has shown today is that she isn't. Anyone have confidence in her ability to help stave off recession? Control public sector pay? Get better value in Government procurement at a time when government finances are under pressure? Nope, I thought not.

Gordon can't sack her ....Ed would never forgive him and he hasn't that many friends left. So is it time for her to move to somewhere where her talents will be fully exploited? Northern Ireland perhaps? Or, and this could be a masterstroke, into FCO to make Milliband's life a joy.

justoneglass said...

Spending cuts need be significant, and we are talking triple digit billions here

Better cut those MPs expenses after all then!

Catosays said...

Tom Harris MP said...

Iain - I'm constantly amazed by the outrage that results from any Labour politicians having the temerity to attack the Tories, almost as if we have no right to do so.

"Amazed?" should be pleased that anyone takes any notice of your pathetic ragbag of failures!

Oscar Miller said...

Tom Harris - take a look at the comments on CiF in the Guardian. Yvette's article has not impressed anyone across the political spectrum. If you go on the offensive you have to strike home. Isn't there an old radical saying 'those that make a war by halves only dig their own graves'?

Unsworth said...

@ Tom Harris

"I'm constantly amazed by the outrage that results from any Labour politicians having the temerity to attack the Tories, almost as if we have no right to do so."

Several points arise from that:

a) If you are going to do so, then at least make a decent fist of it.

b) Actually the country has seen very little else from this cretinous government. When is it going to try running the country properly, rather than indulging in petty, misguided and useless attacks?

c) Labour will be kicked out of office simply because it has not done what it was elected to do. It has, in short, failed to reach even the lowest expectations.

As to Carville's notice. Presumably you have verified the intention with the writer? Or is this just yet another piece of make-it-up-as-you-go-along nonsense we have come to expect from Labour benches?

What your party has managed to do is to totally destroy its own credibility and that of its supporters. No mean feat for a body which a decade ago came to power on a promise of elimination of 'sleaze'.

As to 'economic competence' - don't let's get anywhere near there, eh?

Anonymous said...

It is not Labour that David Cameron needs to fear but his own party.

As I read a report today about the need to abamdon large tracts of the sinking south I wondered if those ridiculous Tory boys at the think tank really believed anybody in the north would fall for that pathetic attempt to scare us all into leaving our homes so they could be bought for a song by southerners seeking to escape before the rising water engulf their overpriced, overmortgaged properties.

Stay where you are southerners, we don't want our beautiful and comfortable above sea level regions turned into a vast Bovis Homes sprawl with less soul than a worn out shoe.

Anonymous said...

I am a gay man, and fancy her slightly. Should I question my sexuality?

CC said...

Yvette Cooper criticising David Cameron's economic record is like Vladimir Putin criticising the Swiss for having an aggressive foreign policy...

Anonymous said...

Extraordinary picture: orange face, white neck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Iain, You`ve just reminded me why I dont read the Guardian!!..

Man in a Shed said...

Fisking is back- great. My guess is that Gordon has dreamt up a whole load of lies to tell, just like the 2005 general election. He's using Mrs Balls to try a few out.

Anonymous said...

I suspect what you've really fisked is the offering of a juvenile Melissa or Hilary with a degree in politics-according-to-a-man-with-an-icepick-in- his-head, and delusions of political acuity. That'll teach Mrs Balls to spend two minutes 'approving' the text before saying 'Well, that's stuck it Cameron as Gordon asked, now send it off to Georgina, please'.

Alex said...

@ Tom Harris MP who said
"Iain - I'm constantly amazed by the outrage that results from any Labour politicians having the temerity to attack the Tories, almost as if we have no right to do so."

Mr Harris. The reason it causes such a stir is that the arguments used are so poorly constructed. New Labour suffers collectively from an inability to take a balanced view, to estimate the consequences of its actions, and this undermines its fitness to govern.

For example, we have had so many police and criminal evidence bills, education policies and numerous other examples where there has been continuous tinkering without any measurable progress. I can give you an example of some legislation introduced in the second Finance Bill in 1997 that was tinkered with in just about every Finance Bill for 10 years and then repealed. This is because the Labour government has been unable to review its position in a balanced manner and just aacts blindly.

It is the same blindness that leads Yvette Cooper to attack David Cameron's economic policies despite the fact that he is the Leader of the Opposition and she is supposed to be a Treasury minister. Not only is that ridiculous, but she fails to see that her attack, which seems to be motivated by hattred of Tories and nothing more, doesn't stand up to reasoned analysis.

Patrick said...

I find it amazing that she is considered in some Labour circles as a "rising star".

I too have noted her consistently awful TV interviews.

Sooo Over promoted.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Iain, keep up the great writing

Anonymous said...

Ian Thorpe - you are presumably referring to the Policy Exchange report (not commissioned by the Conservatives) that was written by a LibDem?

And the main reason for the appalling housing sprawl and overdevelopment in the South is Labour Govt/Labour London Mayor directives.

Anonymous said...

Bit harsh, Iain, posting that picture. A bit unkind, really. You should be more considerate to your readers.

In fairness, her article was such utter bollocks that even the comments section was full of tirades of venom.

Anonymous said...

For god sake, Iain! That picture! I've not long had breakfast. Never do that again.

Brandon Lewis said...

If the column is the opening salvo of a Labour fightback, then we have much to look forward to.
Surprising that they feel the way to go is to try and attack Conservatives, when what is need is for them to be a productive government. I suspect that the British public are now tired of her type of moaning politics in absence of any positive action.

Anonymous said...

Stuart - 7.48 18/08/08: No, not yours, hers!

Anonymous said...

Lying filth lies filthily? Is that it?

Anonymous said...

Her and that cretin she is married to really deserve each other. Hopefully they will have much more time to ponder that soon...