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”.

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