Ed Balls today made a joke about Cameron and his beach towel then went on to hide his own embarrassment at Labour’s 13 years of destruction with a load of old flannel.
The BBC’s reaction to all that is going on with Labour at the moment? Well…not too bad as I saw it….at least in parts.
John Pienaar was his usual Labour leaning self, in my opinion…with little in the way of hard hitting analysis of Balls’ speech.
This morning on Today Justin Webb had the job of tackling Balls. (07:35) The interview was on the moderate side with no questions that Balls couldn’t easily bat aside. Humphrys should really have done the interview, his style of interviewing would have rattled Balls far more.
Webb allowed Balls to get away with a lot of that ‘flannel’.
For instance Balls said that the Socialism that Labour represented was not ‘economic socialism’..it was about values, policies with an ethical basis..fairness. Webb didn’t challenge that claim that it wasn’t the economics of socialism that was being taken up once again by Labour.
Webb said that Labour were going to spend more but hadn’t laid out the ‘big picture’ of what cuts they would make and what actual plans they had.
Balls replied Labour would match the government’s spending plan but make different choices within that budget.
In contradiction to that, and his request to the OBR to scrutinize his plans, he said the budget plans would only be published in the 2015 manifesto.
Webb didn’t react to either point…the first means that Balls has adopted Osborne’s Plan A…and the second point raises the question of just what would the OBR be looking at if Labour’s budget isn’t published until 2015…Balls has after all spent 3 years steadfastly refusing to disclose his spending plans whilst making claims that his spending plans would save the economy….and yet he always said he couldn’t publish the plans because he didn’t have the data…so how could he work out that plan in the first place?
The reliably awkward Andrew Neil however proved more hard hitting than Webb on the Daily Politics.….though the BBC have once again dragged in someone from the New Economic Foundation….she panned Labour…but only because they weren’t really socialist enough.
At 08:22 the Today programme delved into the murky world of Damien McBride who has lifted the lid to confirm what we already knew about the mad, bad and ugly goings on in Labour’s backrooms.
It seems also to have stirred the BBC into action…whilst they are reluctant to criticise Brown for his economic policies they apparently have no problem here slating him for his political machinations….and it seems apparent that Brown knew all too well what was going on and even ignored complaints from MPs and Cabinet members.
Later on Woman’s Hour brought on Harriet Harman and again the BBC laid into Brown in regard to McBride’s revelations with some reasonably challenging questions. However once that little difficulty was out of the way it was all sisterly love and unity….eulogising about Harman’s feminist sensibilities.
Harman complained about the lack of women in Parliament….stating that the problem with Thatcher was that yes, she was a woman PM, but she did little to help women to enter Parliament and that Thatcher got to be PM by the shocking tactic of playing men at their own game…..whatever that means….is there a separate and different route reserved for women…bikinis and baking competitions rather than the trouble of having to win at the ballot box?
Harman was allowed to avoid answering the obvious question…she could have been Labour Leader and possibly PM if she had gone for the leadership, but she refused to take on the challenge. How is it that a champion of women’s progress and someone who says she wants more women in higher profile jobs refused to put herself in the role that could have helped with that…apparently…if, as she claims, Thatcher could have helped women, why did she not take on the responsibility herself?
And no questions about her casting aside her feminist solidarity when it came to refusing to accept an all woman candidate list in a constituency her husband wanted to stand in.
All in all a mixed bag today….they were on the right track but the heart didn’t seem to be in it for the most part, lacking a bit of the necessary brutality when dealing with Labour’s politicians and policies…..a brutality necessary because whilst Balls made the hilariously unaware claim (having spent 3 years denying Labour had anything to do with the greatest economic crash in 100 years…and still denying it in his speech today) that Osborne can’t airbrush out the economic past, Balls and his Labour comrades are all wandering around the studios saying that McBride’s allegations are all things dragged up from the past, irrelevant, depressing, and you know what, let’s not talk about it.