It is one thing to have a following for writing a blog. Far more impressive, surely, is to have a following for being a regular commenter on a blog.
Yet that is what is clearly happening to our Finnish friend Olli Issakeinen, who pops up here often with very sound views on politics, the economy, and particularly the lies that Tories tell. I find it genuinely impressive that someone from another country is so well-informed about our political debate.
‘Is Olli AC?’ someone called Pam (no surname always makes me a bit suspcious) asked yesterday after Olli yet again demolished the Tory claim that all the difficult decisions they are taking have been forced upon them by the so-called mess they inherited.
Pam’s little posting casts doubt on the integrity of both of us but I will let that pass. I think if I were to post under a pseudonym I might choose something a bit closer to home.
Anyway, Olli has been saying consistently for months that the Tory claims for their current actions are based on a set of economic and political deceits now posing as a thought through economic strategy.
He referred yesterday to one of my golden rules of communication – that when political journalists become tired of hearing something, and the politicians tired of saying it, that is the time the point is just beginning to enter the public consciousness.
The Tories have had a good run with ‘it’s all Labour’s fault’ and ‘all we are doing is clearing up their mess.’ Both are lies. It is not all Labour’s fault and the Tories are now making choices which are political as well as economic. Good to see Alistair Darling out last night, pointing out that far from ‘the books’ being worse than expected when the Tories took over, in fact they were slightly better.
Despite my never having met him (oh the joys of the internet) Olli is hereby appointed economics adviser to alastaircampbell.org and I look forward to more of his calm, dispassionate and superbly argued postings getting up the noses of all the Tories who come on here.
Olli is also a Burnley fan. He has never explained why but no doubt one day he will. He will understand why today I am off to Enfield for the funeral of the wonderful player that was Ralph Coates. The club called me yesterday and asked if I would represent Burnley fans unable to go, and I am honoured to do so.
Meantime, to save you going back to yesterday’s blog here is the comment Olli posted yesterday.
One of Alastair Campbell´s cardinal rules is that a message can only be assumed to have been heard by ordinary voters when the political journalists are fed up with it.
A lot of journalists now understand that the “mess” can only partly be blamed on Labour – if at all.
According to Larry Elliott the mess of Britain´s finances was caused by weaker than expected tax receipts during the boom years, depth and duration of the recession and by the help for the unemployed. The economic crisis was, of course, caused by banks.
No one should believe the claims made by the coalition that Labour caused the biggest economic crisis the world has faced since 1930s by overspending on public services. There is not a shred of evidence of it.
Britain´s debt will peak at 70% of GDP creating no big problems. Interest payments on debt are not a problem as long much of the debt is owned by Britons.
The Tories are not competent on the economy. Britain was not bankrupt in the spring of 2010 as George Osborne said. Governments are not like prudent households because they can print money and tax people.
There is no economic rationale to cut £81bn. No economic theory supports cuts on this scale.
The Tories are using the deficit as a pretext to shrink the state. About £30bn of cuts are ideological and completely unnecessary – as a matter of fact they are harmful as they shrink the economy.
The debt was taken to save banks, jobs and homes. Alternative would have been depression with banks collapsing and people losing jobs and homes. Labour and Gordon Brown prevented this disaster from happening and now get blamed for it!
The Tories opposed fiscal stimulus, QE and bank nationalisations which helped to prevent depression.
There is a rise in VAT so that the Tories can cut corporation tax.
Ed Miliband is playing a long game. He has a clear plan which will work. Patience!
Big structural bear markets take 19 years on average and have four recessions. We have had just two. So the danger if far from over. Eurozone problems will affect also Britain in 2011.
The coalition believes that it will wipe out the deficit and then win in 2015 by cutting taxes. But its reckless approach condemned by Nobel-winning economists will not work.
It is time now for the general public also to understand that Labour did not create the worldwide “mess”. And that the cuts are ideological because they will not be reversed when the books have been balanced.
All is fair in love and war, but not in politics. In 2011 the coalition must stop telling lies!
And just for good measure, here is a recent comment he made about the Tories’ partners in crime.
The Lib Dems are a minority party in a centre-right coalition. The coalition is about to dismantle the welfarist social democracy created in 1945.
Mr Clegg has placed the future of the coalition above the future of his own party. The “Maoist revolution” of public services will be hard to reverse.
The Lib Dems have a new identity. They are now a party of individualism and small-state liberalism.
Social liberal tradition and social democratic inheritance have been abandoned.
The pain of being in a coalition is not equally shared. The Lib Dems are now down to 8% in the polls.
There is no more much talk of pacts or mergers. Only about one in five Tories want the coalition to go on and on.
The Lib Dem brand has been tarnished. Cleggmania has gone with the wind. Speculation on the new leader has already started.
More than 70% of the Lib Dems´ supporters think themselves as on the left.
The Tories´ free ride must end in 2011. Labour did not create the deficit by overspending on public sector. Tens of billions of cuts are ideological aiming at smaller state. The Tories do want to cut!
Big Society will not work.
As Jackie Ashley wrote in the Guardian, main cause of the economic crash was global. And last government´s record was not as bad as the coalition propagandists claim.
According to British Social Attitude report public satisfaction under New Labour increased a lot when it comes to health and education. Thanks to New Labour investment.
Support of the coalition is down from 59% to 43%. The cuts are too fast, too deep and unfair. Poverty and inequality will result. And unemployment.
Labour must come up with CREDIBLE ALTERNATIVE for growth, jobs and tax justice.
Labour´s narrative must be that not all cuts are necessary and that banking crisis caused the “mess”.
All hail Olli.