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George Osborne: Labour is ‘anti-the British people’

28 January 2014

Quite naturally, there were rather more Conservative than Labour MPs in the House of Commons for Treasury Questions this morning. And quite naturally, George Osborne and colleagues on the Treasury front bench spent most of the session goading their Labour opponents about this morning’s growth figures.

Deputy Chief Whip Greg Hands and Ed Balls had a wonderful extended session of heckling one another across the Chamber as the exchanges went on, with Hands mocking Balls’ flatlining gesture.

Other MPs, though, were kept waiting rather longer to do what they’d turned up to do: jeer the Shadow Chancellor when he eventually stood up. But when he eventually stood up, 50 minutes into the session, the Conservative benches went wild with roars. Speaker Bercow was delighted, too, telling them ‘you’ve got the man at the box for whom you were waiting!’ before making a joke about ‘new balls’ in tennis.

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The jubilation wasn’t stemmed by Balls’ first few words. In his normal angry disapproving tone that he specially reserves for days when something has gone right for the Conservatives, Balls barked:

‘After three damaging years of flatlining in our economy… after three damaging years of flatlining, today’s growth figures are welcome.’

He then complained that Osborne didn’t understand that ‘this is still no recovery at all’ for ‘working people facing a cost-of-living crisis’. All standard fare, and Osborne decided to tease him about the insecurity of his job and the ‘gritted teeth’ through which the Shadow Chancellor was welcoming the good news. Osborne added:

‘He didn’t only say it wouldn’t happen, he said it couldn’t happen if we pursued our economic plan. He predicted that jobs would be lost and a million have been created. He predicted that the deficit would go up and it has come down. He predicted there would be no economic growth unless we borrowed and spent more. He has been wrong on all these things and Mr Speaker, what they need on the other side of the House is new crystal balls.’

Balls, possibly already a little riled by the Speaker’s tennis ball joke, was not amused at all by this.

‘Very good. Very good. Very good. Very good chancellor, a joke about my name being called Balls. Fabulous.’

It was never going to be an easy day for Balls, and he did not make it look easy, either. But where he did score a hit that will at least leave him thinking that he got something from that bruising session was on his next question, about the top rate of tax. He demanded that the Chancellor rule out cutting the top rate of income tax to 40p. ‘Come on, George, stand up and rule it out!’ he bellowed. Osborne gave a perfectly workmanlike answer, but of course he didn’t rule it out. Which gives Labour something to campaign on.

Osborne himself has a new line that he was trialling at Treasury Questions today. Clearly taking the advice of his junior minister Nicky Morgan that it’s dangerous for parties to simply be seen as anti-things, he decided to paint Labour as not just anti-business, but, anti-, well, everything. He said:

‘It is up to those in this House who promote an anti-business rhetoric to get up and explain to the House how that could possibly help our economy. The truth is that by being anti-business, they are anti-recovery, anti-jobs, anti-investment, anti-the British people.’

Perhaps Balls might add that they’re also anti-joke.

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Show comments
  • John Hardman

    torys.liars all. utter scum.

  • Daniel Maris

    The truth of the matter is that 80% of new private sector jobs are created in London.

    It is also the case that 90% of new jobs have gone to immigrants.

    The truth is that this “recovery” is nothing of the kind – it is simply a job creation programme for immigrants in the London area.

    Once you understand that, you understand why there is a continuing cost of living crisis among UK citizens. .

    And this government’s prescription is “more of the same”…more of the medicine that is killing the patient: more mass immigration…more facilitating making London a playground for the corrupt elites from the Arab world, from Russia and China and elsewhere… more and bigger airports that in turn attract immigrant labour…more banker-friendly policies…

    This government is likely to be seen as one of the worst ever in terms of economic management.

  • Tony Quintus

    I’d love to know who in the Labour party pi**ed in the speaker’s porridge, he is a completely different man these days.

    • mattghg

      I know!

  • Kitty MLB

    Yes. George we know Labour are the anti- British Party,
    the entire Leftie Establishment in which controls this country are anti- British
    and as we all know your coalition partners, who you got together with for the national
    interest are also as we know very pro Europe and Anti British – how was that
    going to work out, dear deficit slayer?
    Also perhaps your anti British and anti- Business secretary should cross the floor,
    and take young Danny Alexander with him, unless you think you might be free
    of him after next years Scottish elections anyway.

  • Roderick

    The recovery may be shaky… but by God it is shaking the Opposition!

    (with apologies to the first Duke of Wellington)

    • Hello

      I used to say of Balls that his presence in the commons made the difference of half a million votes.

  • swatnan

    George should know that jingoism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
    Somehow the British Economy got growth of 0.7 despite George’s efforts to wreck it.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Desperate rubbish .

    • mattghg

      ‘efforts to wreck it’???


  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Is that headline even English?

    • Makroon

      I don’t know, but your comment isn’t.
      (or did you mean “as opposed to uneven English” ?)

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers


  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron/Osborne failure to rule out cutting the top rate of income tax to 40% will play and play right up to the general election. Especially as it is known that Mr Clegg stopped Mr Cameron/Osborne doing so already. You can see the posters now, Vote Labour to stop Mr Cameron to giving another £40,000 tax cut to millionaires.

    • Makroon

      You do realise that when Darling put the rate up from 40% to 50%, at Brown’s insistence, it was justified as a “short-term, temporary measure” don’t you ?

      • John Ruddy

        Yes, and when the deficit is finally got down to nothing, it can come down again. Until then, those earning over £150k need to pay a little more.

        • Kitty MLB

          They already pay the highest rate of tax,
          I suppose they could follow the example of France and gradually
          move themselves and their businesses and wealth elsewhere.
          After all they do more for the economy then anyone else and they pay for public services ( I am not one of them, just felt
          with the politics of envy and division that they needed defending)
          The country needs wealth, and wealth can move if it choses to.

        • Mynydd

          This is effectively what Mr Balls said Sunday on the Andrew Marr show, the 50% rate will be in place until the deficit is down. Maybe the millionaires are still in bed with the curtains closed on Sunday mornings.

          • Kitty MLB

            I do not suppose they became millionaires by lying in bed on
            Sunday mornings with the curtains closed, one assumes they
            worked hard for what they have.
            The ones lying in bed on a Sunday morning are those who
            want what someone else has earned.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            And you believed him.

        • Andy

          So do you. So send the HMRC a cheque.

      • Mynydd

        It seems that a “short-term, temporary measure” is three years because that the term Mr Cameron/Osborne imposed 50% rate on their chums.

        • Holly

          I hope the people deciding what comments they let through, allow my earlier reply to you.
          There is no swearing or untruths in it, so live in hope that the Spectator blog does indeed support freedom of speech for ALL, and not just journo’s, the MSM, the print press, or those trying to talk up Labour, while talking down everyone else.

      • 2trueblue

        Interesting that it all fell apart 2yrs before they put it up, and just before the election. Timing is everything. Liebore could not care less what they did to the country, they just like the headlines that the BC give them.

    • Nicholas chuzzlewit

      Yes that would be typical ofLabour the party of lies, lying and liars.

  • Graeme S

    Yes George … we are aware that Labour are anti British People. Thanks for the reminder

    • telemachus

      The Socialist party are the very essence of promotion of British interests
      As over the last 2 millennia we have promoted the synthesis of our integral multiple origin people into the great nation we are today
      Mark my words Osborne and his aristocratic friends will rest on their laurels and not only deny the fruits of recovery to the majority of British people but will promote retraction into little englishness to keep those resources and deny the improvement of our gene stock by choking off the benefits of immigration

      • Andy

        You National Socialists are a complete and utter disaster. You’ll be annexing Poland next and building extermination camps.

        • telemachus

          We love the Poles
          The more of them that come here to energise us the better

          • Andy

            Oh yes Ed the Pole.

            • telemachus

              One of the best of them

          • Stanislav Romanov

            Blind love cause of to grow cuckold wreath even in politic.

          • Holly

            Glad you mentioned the subject that people are now voicing their concern about…
            Also glad you are an avid supporter of the two Ed’s, who’s party’s immigration policies led to those concerns being silenced by the two Ed’s party, but can now be aired openly.

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