‘Flandering V [flarn-der-in']‘: Floundering whilst flimflamming on Labour’s behalf.
Fun day yesterday listening to the BBC old guard forming a ragged thin red line around Labour’s battered and discredited leadership just as Labour’s very own Old Guard are doing the BBC’s job and holding Labour to account.
Yesterday as mentioned in an earlier post the Mirror’s Brian Reade launched an attack on Labour’s record on the economy and now, today, Lord Mandelson surfaces to torpedo Balls and Milband…he says their approach to the economy is based purely upon party politics rather than any genuine attempt to fix the economy….”It is rather predictable party political stuff from over the dispatch box and it is a bit tiring to the public,”…….‘The former business secretary said arguments about the depth and speed of cuts were outdated and Labour should focus on how to rebuild the economy’.
The Telegraph reporting he said: “I can’t quite remember which member of the government it was who claimed to have abolished boom and bust. Well, we abolished boom,”
Flanders, indeed the BBC as a whole, has always swallowed the Balls approach without any attempt to challenge it in any meaningful way. They were happy to take the easy option because it reflected their own beliefs.
Here Flanders, after years of cheerleading for Plan B, finally admitted that it was pretty much baloney…short term popularism that solved nothing except to make people feel good…for a short time…..she is saying pretty much what Mandelson has now said:
‘Why do we spend so little time talking about what really matters?….if you ask business leaders, or most economists, which government decisions taken over the next few years will have the biggest long-term impact on our economic future, I’m not sure that Plan A versus Plan B would even make it to the top three.
Far more important, to them, would be the kind of long-term strategic choices highlighted in the LSE’s report.’
Perhaps in light of what must be a heavyweight battering from Mandelson on Labour’s credibility the BBC must at least be making serious demands that Labour start putting some meat on the bones of their claimed policies…and ask how much they will cost…and where the money is going to come from…two questions Balls has evaded for nearly 3 years… and not only ask the question…but get an answer.
What the BBC are prepared to do is to rip into Coaliton policies…such as the Budget. No stone is left unturned in their search for something bad to say about it and the economy….as the Mail notices:
‘In a masterclass of uncritical journalism, the BBC gleefully gave the shadow chancellor a platform yesterday to recite why Mr Osborne’s austerity programme was not working.’
Nick Robinson, who seems to have lost his detachment and independent mindset since joining the BBC, seems delighted to keep using the word ‘omni-shambles’ (0805) to describe anything to do with Coalition economic policies whilst detailing just how terrible the economy is….. ‘In the big economic picture ‘shambles’ is a good description of it…the chancellor would be in despair…the overall economic picture is pretty gruesome.’
Absolutely no recognition of where the blame lies for such a heavy burden of debt…context really is everything here.
Flanders tried her best but came up against a hard truth that she had to admit…Osborne’s Budget was ‘all about encouraging the private sector to expand’….or put another way…for business to grow. So Osborne has a policy for ‘growth’. Flanders now admits it. One to remember.
Flanders has long advocated building houses as a way of stimulating the economy ala 1930’s which holds some ‘useful lessons for today’:
‘The last time our economy suffered so badly was during the Great Depression of the 1930s. One of the things credited for turning around the1930s slump was a boom in house building. This hasn’t escaped the notice of some commentators including the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders.’….
and ‘the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders recently highlighted how house building is the very industry that could take us out of recession.’
However whilst she admitted that the 1930’s housing boom was funded by private money she thinks such a policy could work equally well funded by government borrowings…and apparently there were no down sides to this policy or none that she cared to mention.
Osborne in his Budget has put in place an enormous incentive for the housing market to get building.
People from the housing sector said that the measures would have ‘significant and profound effects’ no less on the housing market and provide a boost for the economy.
Osborne has done essentially what Flanders was urging…and with government money.
But is the BBC happy?
They went straight onto the attack…immediately questioning the basis of such a policy which might create another housing bubble which was what originally landed us in the crisis we are in now.
That’s all true enough and the potential is there…but the BBC didn’t qualify their previous comments about housing being the solution when they were saying building homes was the way to recover from the recession….and now they don’t highlight those supposed benefits that were previously ‘so obvious’.
Once again the BBC take the negative view of any policy even if it means performing a volte face and radically altering their position.
An embarrassment for Flanders is that Tony Livesey, standing in for Victoria Derbyshire, has done a far better job of reporting an economic story than she has ever done…and he is not a BBC ‘economics expert’.
Yesterday he presented a programme investigating ‘Reshoring’, the bringing back of jobs, services and manufacturing to the UK…up to 40% of British manufacturers are doing this.
Livesey made a refreshing change being rigorous, even handed and looking indepth at the subject giving us a wide ranging analysis without any preconceived dogmas or party political points to make.
Worth a listen if only to see that the BBC can give us interesting, informative and impartial programmes….it is possible……