Coffee House

Treasury questions: George Osborne takes aim at Labour’s record in opposition

10 September 2013

Listen to Osborne and Balls’ exchange at Treasury questions here:-

‘I hope this is not our last encounter across this despatch box,’ George Osborne said rather slyly to Ed Balls this morning at Treasury questions. ‘Because we are enjoying it.’ The Tories were in a good mood, because they’ve decided that they can now start to talk about the economic clouds lifting, and this means that they can say that everything Labour has ever said is wrong, wrong, wrong. ‘Cheer up Ed!’ Sajid Javid shouted cheerily at the shadow Chancellor as another Tory MP used their question to say that George Osborne has been absolutely correct in every decision he’s ever made.

Claim your gift

But Osborne and Balls were also enjoying staking out their usual territory. When it came to topical questions, Ed Balls leapt to his feet, and reeled off his regular Angry Ed Balls recital that appears at every Treasury Questions. He bellowed:

‘On growth, on living standards, on the deficit, on every test the Chancellor has set himself, his economic plan has failed, Mr Speaker. Since 2010, growth not 6.9% but 1.8%, families not better off but worse off and the deficit not down to £60 billion but stuck at £120 billion. How on earth can the Chancellor now claim his economic plan has worked? After three wasted and and damaging years, doesn’t he realise he can’t just airbrush out his failure?’

George Osborne’s reply made him sound rather like a teacher asking pupils to own up to who had pinched all the red felt tip pens. The Chancellor was half in a good mood about his decision that the economy is on the up, and half in a strange scolding schoolteacher mood.

‘The Shadow Chancellor can’t airbrush out his predictions. He said the double-dip recession was even deeper than he thought, there wasn’t a double-dip recession. He said it was a complete fantasy that private sector job creation would replace losses in the public sector, they have three times over. And three months ago he said our policy would choke off the recovery. The fact is this: he cannot stand the fact that the economy is recovering, his plan would have been a dictate and let us fear that the predictions about his own future in the shadow cabinet turn out to be more accurate than his predictions about the British economy.’

He later chuckled that ‘we are enjoying the fact that he simply does not admit the mistakes that he made not only in office but in opposition and i have to say he is increasingly like Monty Python’s Black Knight defending that bridge… the limbs are falling off his economic argument and it would be a comedy if it weren’t for the fact that Labour’s economic policies were a tragedy for this country.’

And he repeatedly glanced at the clock and pointed out the length of time this session had worn on for without an apology from the Labour frontbench for their own economic record. But he took as much pleasure today in talking about Balls’ economic record as shadow chancellor (or ‘Deputy Chancellor’ as Sir Peter Tapsell accidentally called him during his customary long question about Glass-Steagall reforms) as he did in criticising what Labour did in government. Osborne clearly wants to tell voters that the evidence for not trusting Labour on the economy comes as much from what they’re saying now as it does from what they did when in government.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • asalord

    Great to see the tories doing well in England.Keep it up,chaps! [That goes for you ukip types,too].

    It all augurs well for the independence movement in Scotland.

    • Barakzai

      You clearly aren’t interested in Westminster politics, so please return to the comfort zone of the Massie blog where you can chirrup away with your Nat buddies. Many thanks.

      • asalord

        Believe me,I’d love to be completely disinterested in Westminster politics.Sadly I can’t because Westminster still wields influence in Scotland’s affairs.
        One of the many benefits of Scottish independence will be the absence of the likes of me from unionist threads like this.

        • MirthaTidville

          unfortunately I have a horrible feeling that the turkeys arnt going to vote for Christmas and we will be stuck with your lot for a good while longer…

          • asalord

            Bitter together,better apart.

  • telemachus

    “Deputy Chancellor”
    Soon to become top chap

    • telemackus

      Our cunning plan is for Mrs Ed Balls and Mr Yvette Cooper to finish what they started in 1997-2010. When they take over in 2015 they will destroy the economy again and usher in 1000 years of socialist rule and welfare for all labour voters.

  • Chris lancashire

    You have to feel sorry for Balls. A totally indefensible record in government helping to create the biggest boom and bust this country has ever seen followed by a disastrous record in opposing any and every Coalition policy with a prescription for more borrowing to solve a debt crisis. He must have incredible ego and self-belief coupled with a hugely selective memory to be able to carry on in his post. And let’s all hope he does carry on.

    • HookesLaw

      No you don;t have to feel sorry for Balls. I will let you off as feeling obviously under the weather,
      Balls ruined Britain. He is a clueless nincompoop who fed toxic rubbish into the ear of a clueless imbecile.

    • DWWolds

      No Chris, I do not feel sorry for Balls. I do, though, hope he carries on as a constant reminder of the disaster that was, and is, Labour’s economic policy.

  • AnotherDaveB

    So Labour _and_ the Conservatives are bad choices to govern to the nation. This is not news.

    • Russell

      So vote UKIP and hope that a Tory UKIP coalition with a real Tory leader instead of Cameron can really get on with the job of drastically reducing the size of the public sector as well as the ‘benefits culture/dependency’ and tackle the deficit properly.

      • HookesLaw

        Vote UKIP and undermine the tories to let in labour.

        • Russell

          Vote UKIP and at least you have voted for a party that puts the British first and foremost, the country as well as actually caring about ordinary white male ‘straights’ who are sick of lies, spin and smear and the PC brigade.
          If the Tories don’t change the people like me will change (parties).

          • asalord

            Vote ukip and at least you have voted for a party that puts the English first and foremost…

            • Russell

              And what is wrong with that……I am English.
              You have your own ‘Assembly’ up there in Scotland, and I’m sure they couldn’t give a damn about the English! (they put the Scottish first and quite rightly).
              I just hope that if Scotland gets Independence (and I really hope it does), all the Scottish Labour MP’s pack their bags and move North. Almost every labour MP whingeing about everything the government does or proposes to do has a strong Scottish accent, even the ones in English constituencies!

Can't find your Web ID? Click here