On today's Politics Show the chilling David Frost of British Chambers of Commerce seemed to have a truly lamentable command of Economics and/or a horrendous ideological bias against any and all customers from the Public Sector. Yes, customers. The NHS workers for example who buy their groceries. The teachers who take a holiday. The town hall folk who buy a car, a house, a fridge, a sofa. Thanks to having jobs and all.
And then there are the capital projects. Potentially employing thousands, and all being well driving profits. Fling these people on the dole and we have the near opposite of a multiplier. We could call it a stultifier.
Instead of public sector worker spending £X and let's say one half of that £x/2 going into the pocket of private sector workers and onwards £x/4, £x/8, £x/16 already giving a multiplier of almost two times X going through the economy. And plenty of tax going to the exchequer, at every level. Instead we not only have money going OUT of the exchequer in benefits but also only somewhere between 10 and 20% of X and its multipliers wandering round the economy.
Brendan Barber of the TUC was far better. And best of all was Alan Johnson. Hitting well above Mr Rawnsley's faint praise. Link below. He didn't spell out the economics perhaps. But he did make the case for Brown/Darling calling every decision right while Cameron/Osborne called every decision wrong. Pointing this out, looking forward with positive principles and plans and being united are key to taking the fight to the (a) wrong; (b) miserable; and (c) deeply divided Tories. Labour must find ways to be quietly confident in telling it the way it is.
Mr Frost is not only a lamentable economist and prejudiced parrot but also the epitome of the Tory analysis. Which somehow sees them riding a solid lead, albeit it being perhaps 5% short of what they should have to overwhelm Labour.
Labour accepting an inevitable "sea change" as Andrew Rawnsley has suggested happened in times past, in Observer Comment will allow the worst to happen. A Spring tidal wave of Tory tossery. Wet behind the ears but hard right between those ears new Tory MPs crashing about, damaging everything as their ideologies trump doing the right thing.
Here are some of the demands the weak yet cocky Cameron/Osborne combo face:
The Tory account of what they would have done to save the economy is unconvincing and their prescription for the future is fiercely arguable. The Conservatives remain outside the international consensus when they argue for immediate and deep cuts to public spending.
Economists of the right as well as the left contend that this would choke off the first tentative signs of economic recovery. While David Cameron and George Osborne remain shy of detailing where their axe would fall, some of their fellow travellers have become emboldened to be harshly specific.
The Institute of Directors and TaxPayers' Alliance have just produced a shopping list of cuts for a Tory government, which include the abolition of all Sure Start centres, the end of child benefit and the withdrawal of free travel for pensioners.
Waking the electorate to these nasty realities can and will turn the tide.