Gallery

Observation On Labour Slams PM’s ‘Camerkozy’ Performance


Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Prime Minister’s austerity measures were a “catastrophe for Britain” and urged Mr Cameron to change course to a policy of jobs and investment.

Interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News about the G8, Mr Balls said: “You had overnight this announcement and cosy photos of David Cameron and President Obama.

“The reality is that Obama and the new French President Hollande are saying you’ve got to have a growth and jobs plan because without growth you won’t get the deficit down.

“David Cameron has been stuck with the German Chancellor Merkel saying for the last two years faster cuts will work, stick with the austerity, that’s the only way for growth.

“It’s been proved wrong across Europe and in Britain too, they look increasingly isolated in my view.”

Mr Balls reinforced an attack on the Prime Minister by Ed Miliband in a Financial Times article in which the Labour leader condemned the “complacency of ‘Camerkozy’ economics” and claimed it had led Britain into a double-dip recession.

“President Sarkozy, the previous French President, a right of centre politician, tried to persuade Germany too,” said Mr Balls.

“But in the end it ended up with Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron – this ‘Camerkozy economics’ – all agreeing austerity would work.

“In the end, if you’re not though at the table being influential, somebody has got to persuade Germany that this is a catastrophe for Britain, Europe and the world and that Germany has got to change course.”

Questioned about an updated biography of Mr Cameron which describes the Prime Minister as “chillaxing” with karaoke, snooker, tennis and three or four glasses of wine on a Sunday followed by a nap, Mr Balls said: “What I’m worried about is what he’s doing during the week.

“I often feel in the House of Commons he is not really on top of the issues, he’s not on top of the detail, he doesn’t know the answers to the questions and he doesn’t seem to always understand the economics of the huge problems that we’re dealing with and when we’re in recession that’s a bit worrying. So, look, I don’t care what he does on Sundays but Monday to Friday he makes me worried and the same is true with our part-time Chancellor too.”

Mr Balls also confirmed that he and other senior shadow cabinet figures, including new policy chief Jon Cruddas, are urging Mr Miliband to consider offering the British people an EU referendum at the next general election.

He said a referendum was not the biggest priority, but said: “I don’t think you should ever say that the public shouldn’t be consulted as part of the discussion and in some ways part of Europe’s problems is that it has been seen to be run too much by elites and not enough in touch with the people.”

 

Also speaking on Murnaghan, Justice Secretary and former chancellor Ken Clarke admitted Greece could leave the Eurozone if left-wingers won the second general election on June 17, but said it would be disastrous if it did.

“If they get a hopeless lot of cranky extremists elected at the next election then they will default on their debt and everybody says they will leave the euro,” he said.

“Actually that’s quite likely but it doesn’t necessarily follow, but they’ll default on their debt. The problem then is for the Greeks that will be disastrous, they will encounter real poverty.”

Hitting back at Mr Balls’ criticism of the Prime Minister, Mr Clarke said: “There’s a silly argument going on about are we in favour of growth or are we in favour of austerity. You need both. If there is any politician in Europe who isn’t in favour of growth he’s an idiot.

“We’ve been in favour of growth ever since we got in. It has to be combined with fiscal discipline so you can’t do as Ed Balls describes and say a policy for growth involves borrowing more money. That is absolutely ludicrous but sensible policies for growth like completing the single market, reforming the labour markets, rebalancing the European economy, having some structural reforms.

“We’ve got to join in with the Germans, with the French, with the other sensible politicians, with the very good Prime Minister of Italy, in arguing for a combination of the two as we have been actually for the last 12 months.”

Mr Clarke, a long-time opponent of referenda, also rejected Labour’s moves towards offering a referendum on EU membership.

“I can’t think of anything more irrelevant to the present situation actually and nor personally can I think of anything more disastrous than the British leaving the European Union and deciding now is the moment to take up splendid isolation alongside Iceland and others,” he said.

“The Labour Party is led by Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, this is Gordon Brown’s old private office, this is his fan club. They were as irresponsible as the Greeks have been when they were in office. All the rules, the single currency and the European Union was meant to have about fiscal discipline were broken by Gordon Brown as much as they were broken by the Greeks.”

And on Mr Cameron’s lifestyle, Mr Clarke quipped: “David has a quite different metabolism to me, he appears to get up at the crack of dawn and I hear him referring to people on Farming Today on the radio. I have not listened to Farming Today for many years but you might find me with a brandy and a cigar at one o’clock in the morning working on my papers.”

Observations:

So according to one of the Tory rag quotes the partner of Cleggybabes (Cameron) wants to revamp our job red-tape what a cheek.

Many of our activist both from trade unions and Labour have doubts that ConDems will improve the economic problems in the UK let alone improve our future with more jobs for the unemployed.

Everything in Britain’s economic garden would be coming up roses but for the eurozone causing problems, says David Cameron.

Not so, says Labour economic supremo Ed Balls. Although the eurozone crisis poses some danger to this country, its growth last year “was faster than British growth.”

With experts such as these no wonder people in Britain are confused. They are united over the doctor’s prescription, differing only over dosage and duration of treatment.

Their prescription is austerity, forcing working people to tighten their belts while big business and the rich benefit from tax breaks to coax them – if they wouldn’t mind awfully – to invest in the British economy.

Cameron’s broadside against the eurozone betrays a belief that, while his conservative coalition paralyses Britain’s economy, the eurozone should provide export opportunities for British companies.

Neither he nor the international finance agencies that applaud his government’s orthodox neoliberal approach appreciate that all administrations have a responsibility in recession to encourage economic activity to boost employment and production.

Balls cites the eurozone economy as more successful because it achieved zero growth, but the zone covers very divergent economies.

Growth in Germany, the zone’s powerhouse, which even has a trade surplus with China, raised up the average, but it cannot disguise the economic contractions elsewhere in the zone.

Italy’s economy shrank by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, Spain’s by 0.3 per cent, the Netherlands by 0.2 per cent and Portugal’s by 0.1 per cent.

Official Greek statistics indicate an annual decline of 6.2 per cent, which reflects the utter failure of the austerity voodoo economists who offered their usual prescription of pay, pension and benefit cuts, privatisation and higher taxation on workers and the poor.

The more the Greek people suffer, the more the rich transfer their wealth abroad, the higher the national debt grows and the more the European Union elite demands yet more austerity.

“If Greece strays from the agreed reform path, then the payment of further aid tranches won’t be possible. Solidarity is not a one-way street,” said pompous German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle last week.

Irish quisling Finance Minister Michael Noonan spoke patronisingly of Greeks “sorting themselves out” while urging his compatriots to swallow the same austerity poison, which can only exacerbate matters for Ireland’s suffering people.

What none of them – Cameron, Balls, Westerwelle or Noonan – will acknowledge is that the far-famed European Central Bank-International Monetary Fund bailouts are about rescuing international banks not people’s living standards.

The hardships visited on the Greek, Irish, Portuguese and Spanish workers are at the behest of German, French, British, Italian and Spanish banks.

This is why European Union communist parties issued a statement on May Day urging workers across the EU “to resist and oppose the adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union and the revised Treaty on the European Stability Mechanism.”

They posed the need for workers and their unions to mobilise against the unfair onslaught and to “present the vision of socialism as the answer to the crisis of the capitalist system.”

Unrealistic? Absolutely not. What is far less realistic is to foster false belief that there is a viable way forward for working people based on cutting public services, jobs, pay and pensions while the plutocracy laughs all the way to its own bailed-out banks.

Most of us have come to the conclusion that David Cameron will throw his weight behind a far-reaching report which calls for a bonfire of regulations that employers say are stifling job creation.

The report by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist, will be published in full this week after months of delay.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that it will call for firms to be given much greater flexibility to make redundancies; for the lifting of restrictions on the equality laws that industry says are stifling job creation, and for a cap on employment tribunal payouts.

Mr Cameron will risk severe tensions with the Liberal Democrats by backing such far-reaching proposals but will use his support to attempt to reassure business that the Government is “pro-growth”, after a bruising reaction to the Queen’s Speech.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the 15-page document, drawn up by Mr Beecroft after he was given access to Government lawyers, has 20 proposals including:

* An end to a mandatory 90-day consultation period when a company is considering redundancy programmes. Mr Beecroft recommends a 30-day period and an emergency five-day period if a company is in severe economic distress.

* A cap on loss of earnings compensation for employees who make successful unfair dismissal claims. Payments can often total hundreds of thousands of pounds.

* Major reform of the rights that workers are allowed to “carry” to new employers when they are the subject of a takeover. Currently, the rights, called transfer of undertakings (TUPE), can leave people in the same company working in the same job with different levels of rights for many years.

* An end to provisions in the Equality Act which make employers liable for claims from employees for “third party harassment” — for example, customers making “sexist” comments to staff in a restaurant. The Government has already begun a consultation on the issue.

* Moving the responsibility to check on foreign workers’ eligibility to work in Britain from employers to the Border Agency or the Home Office.

Whitehall sources said the Prime Minister and the Chancellor believe the publication of the report will show that the Government is serious about kick-starting the economy, which has seen two quarters of negative growth, officially putting the UK in recession. A Whitehall source who has seen the report said: “It is aimed at getting rid of blocks to hiring people and the sense of entitlement for those who are already in employment.

“What about those who want to get into employment? They need the chance. It is about reform to drive growth, it is much too hard for companies to restructure and get the right people that they see as fit to do the job.”

Yesterday Mr Cameron spoke of the urgent need for growth as he met the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies at the G8 summit in the United States. He delivered a blunt warning directly to other European leaders about the need to resolve the mounting eurozone crisis.

At the summit in Camp David, the US presidential retreat, he said Europe’s leaders should act “very fast” to resolve the crisis. The Prime Minister urged eurozone leaders to put in place “strong contingency plans” for a possible break-up of the single currency.

The fate of Greece, which is widely expected to crash out of the euro in the near future, was high on the G8 agenda.

Last night, in their post-summit communiqué, the G8 leaders said they wanted Greece to remain within the single currency but acknowledged that “the right measures are not the same for each of us”.

Mr Beecroft, a Conservative Party donor, caused controversy when parts of his report for the Prime Minister on making it easier for employers to sack underperforming staff were leaked last autumn.

Many Liberal Democrats made clear their opposition, with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, particularly concerned by the recommendations, which is why the report has languished unpublished since then.

Although the first Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech was legislation to overhaul employment regulation, it stopped far short of promising moves to implement Beecroft.

The only concrete detail disclosed of the report was that it would encourage employers and employees to go through conciliation rather than legal tribunals.

Critics pointed out that the legislative programme would lead to the creation of several new quangos, undermining previous efforts to cut the number of such bodies.

In a major speech last week, the Prime Minister said that although he would not deviate from plans to bring Britain’s deficit under control, he recognised the need for growth policies.

Some business leaders, such as Justin King, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, have criticised the lack of pro-growth measures in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month.

Last week, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, issued a stinging riposte in a Sunday Telegraph interview, telling business critics to stop “complaining” and saying: “There’s only one growth strategy: work hard.”

This week, a group of backbench Conservative MPs will keep up the pressure on the Government with their report “The Growth Factory”.

Edited by Damian Collins, with contributions from fellow MPs Kwasi Kwarteng, Sam Gyimah and Jo Johnson, it will call for new policies to support growth, such as an extra runway in the south-east of England; a push for more engineering graduates and the promotion of start-up loans for businesses.

“With high levels of unemployment in Europe in particular, people require more of their leaders and to see evidence that they are straining every sinew to help create competitive advantage in their economies,” Mr Collins says in the report which will be published by TLGLab, a new business think tank.

At the G8 summit, President Barack Obama said all the G8 countries were “absolutely committed” to growth, stability and fiscal consolidation.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is coming under pressure from the United States and François Hollande, the new president of France, to soften her commitment to austerity in favour of growth.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph this weekend, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, urges Europe’s leaders to develop a continent wide growth strategy rather than each pursuing austerity within their own country.

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