Labour failing to tackle Conservative myths on the economy, claims Welsh MP

Labour MP Geraint Davies has warned that the party has not done enough to tackle the line that Labour is responsible for the country’s economic mess.

With just weeks to go until the party conference, the Labour Party this morning faces yet more ‘constructive’ advice for Ed Miliband on how to improve the party’s performance and tackle their plummeting performance in the polls.

Writing in the Independent this morning Labour’s MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies has warned that the party is close to resembling a “shamefaced schoolboy” by failing to effectively tackle the line being peddled by the Conservatives that Labour is responsible for the country’s economic mess.

Arguing that the Conservatives have been “busy trying to recreate the political choices of the 1980s” Davies writes:

“The party’s challenge is to provide a compelling case as to why Britain would be better off with Labour. Firstly, the problem is that the electorate doesn’t yet see a clear choice between the parties on cuts vs growth. Secondly, the Tories have been relentless in asserting that Labour messed up the economy.

“Not rebutting this charge makes us look like a shamefaced schoolboy admitting responsibility by omission. And if we don’t rebut the accusation, it will simply amplify as the election approaches.”

He continues:

“Labour needs to set out a vision of a stronger Britain that provides the economic confidence to invest and consume to stimulate jobs and growth. The Conservatives have been busy trying to recreate the political choices of the 1980s – between an “all heart and no mind” Labour which would tax and spend Britain into bankruptcy vs the hard-nosed business sense of the Tories making tough choices in the nation’s interests.

“Labour needs to talk the talk of UK plc – boosting the UK’s productive capacity by linking industry, universities and councils. We need a sharper focus on the growing export opportunities to China, India, Brazil and Russia. We must invest in homes and transport, use public procurement as an engine to grow small and medium-sized firms.”

Pressed to respond to the concerns raised by Mr Davies, Chris Leslie, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister told the BBC:

“He is saying make sure that we don’t let the Conservatives get away with the lie that somehow it was Gordon Brown who singularly, in the UK, caused the global financial crisis, as though he got on a plane and caused that in the United States with their sub-prime mortgages or in Greece or elsewhere.”

With Ed Miliband once again at the centre of political debate, this time around Syria, Davies’ comments will come as an unhelpful intervention and distraction at just the time that the leadership needs a united party going into the party conference.

Last month, the former Cabinet Minister, Tessa Jowell warned that such public signs of division create the impression of “toxic disunity”.

“Publicly offered constructive criticism” she wrote in the Observer, “is only ever destructive”.

2 Responses to “Labour failing to tackle Conservative myths on the economy, claims Welsh MP”

  1. treborc1

    Of course it would be nice for Labour if the people did not blame them, but the past has shown many times that once out of power Labour has found it difficult to get back in, of course New Labour did win three elections, some will say after two wars and a banking crises it may well be another three before the public will want to trust them again.

    Thatcher as I remember it, came to power and labour felt they had a very good chance of winning each election she won, and even when it was 100% sure Major then won.

    Did Labour cause the banking or financial, was it just America well that is what Brown tried to say it was not me it was them, but then he apologized for well not seeing anything.

    But look at the other mess Labour made the housing bubble the expenses scandal seeing nothing at all wrong with any of the banking and then we have PFI.

    God politicians think we are that thick, do not even ask about ID cards or the waste of Billions on IT, PFI or the welfare reforms.

    It was not us it was them they did it all, Tory and Tory Lite.

  2. LeftCowes

    Sadly I agree that Labour keeps letting the Tory lie machine run without challenge. By constant repetition of “it is all Labour’s fault” every time a Tory/LibDem spokesman or MP is on the TV or radio the country begins to beleive this message. Non political anoraks will not spend time analysing whether it is factually correct. Lynton Crosby’s latest slur is aimed at painting Ed Miliband as weak. As I only joined the Labour party because of Ed – at last a politician with integrity and morals – I find this very frustrating. How difficult is it for the Labour Party to play the same game, and drum into those appearing on the media on behalf of the party that they ALWAYS get Labour’s soundbite in? For example, I think we should be saying something along the lines of that it was private debt, stoked up by the Tory donors in the finance industry that wrecked the economy, not public sector debt. The problem now is that young Gideon is making it worse again by starting a new housing bubble. Also we should be highlighting that the reason Cameron will not return to a vote on attacks on Syria is because he knows his party doesn’t support him and he’d lose the vote and have to resign. I’m sure people much cleverer than me could hone better sound bites, but with the election only two years away I do believe action is urgently required.

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