Shocking economic illiteracy from the Telegraph


In a grandiose editorial proclaiming Labour “cannot be trusted to rebuild Britain”, the Telegraph this morning showed that it cannot be trusted to tell the truth on the economy.

Today’s leader column ranted:

The slogan for this week’s Labour conference in Manchester is “Rebuilding Britain”.

Is this supposed to be a joke? After all, this is the party that squandered a golden economic legacy during its 13 years in office, leaving the country deeper in debt than at any time in its history?

Britain “deeper in debt than at any time in its history”?? Not according to the facts, as the graph below shows:

One might ask, is today’s Torygraph “supposed to be a joke”?!

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7 Responses to “Shocking economic illiteracy from the Telegraph”

  1. LeftFootGreenFootprint

    You shouldn’t really present this graph as the last word on this topic: presumably actual GDP was lower in 1820 and 1950, so debt now although lower than previous percents of GDP is greater in ‘absolute’ terms.

  2. LB

    So what about the state pension? You owe it, its not in the figure.

    What about the state second pension, ditto

    Civil service pension – hidden off the books again.

    Post office pension guarantee – off the books.

    Nuclear decommissioning – paid for up front, not on the books.

    PFI – not one the books.

    You can’t claim anything unless you give us the real numbers, rather than a work of fiction.

    As for borrowing / GDP.

    You don’t own everyone’s income in the UK.

    The real measure is total debt / tax revenues. That’s tells us if you are running on a sensible measure of debt to government income.

    13 times geared. Worse than RBS when it went bust and it didn’t have welfare, the NHS, schools, roads police, defence, politicians expenses to pay.

    You are the joke. It’s deliberate too. You know that the government owes people a state pension.

    That means you are either a fraud or ignorant.

  3. LB

    It’s only because he’s planning on not paying out on the big debts, the state pension, the state second pension, civil service pensions, … that he can manipulate the ratio down.

    Likewise use GDP rather than taxes. That makes the ratio smaller and hence ‘more affordable’

    It’s a con designed so you carry on paying for something you will never get.

  4. Timbo

    The chart compares like with like as it looks at the debt / GDP ratio since 1700.

    If you want to change it to looking at the ratio with revenue, then you need to do that for the historical comparison too so that it remains a comarison of like with like over the period. That would radically alter things by making us look more secure by comparison, given that revenue as a share of GDP used to be much lower.

    All that you mention LB is of course relevant to the long term management of the economy, the public purse and its liabilities. But your charges could be levied at everyone and anyone who by convention uses the sovereign debt to GDP stats in their current form, including most of the analysis in the Telegraph. It is daft to make specific allegations of fraud and ignorance to LFF when they are following the same conventions on this debate as pretty much everyone else.

    The point that the Telegraph was utterly wrong still stands. Regardless of the fact that we do indeed need to pay attention to things like pension liabilities, PFI etc. the basic point LFF made about the Telegraph in this particular post is valid.

    If you want to make valid arguments about some of the hidden liabilities the nation has, I expect you’d get more productive engagement from people if you modified your style.

  5. Brian Moylan

    The next 5 years from this chart show the (lack of) change under Osborne:

  6. Newsbot9

    No, YOU plan, politician, to end pensions. Post under your real name so we can see who you are. I believe from what you’ve said you’re a Labourite…

  7. Newsbot9

    Yes, you’re an ignorant fraud, self-admitted politician. The books are there, you’re saying “burn them” rather than pay your tax.

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