What the Tories used to say would happen if the deficit was only halved by 2015

election poster

It’s funny how things change. The Conservatives launched this, their first election poster this week. One of their three boasts is “THE DEFICIT HALVED”. This has now been redefined as a success, but Jonathan Portes has dug up some great quotes from 2011 when they were saying something entirely different:

Mark Lancaster: The Government’s plan to eliminate the deficit by 2015 is in stark contrast to the Darling plan, which was simply to reduce it by half. What assessment has the Minister made of the likely impact of the Darling plan on the level of debt and the cost of servicing it?

Mr Hoban [Mark Hoban, at the time a Minister at the Treasury]: If we had continued with the previous Government’s deficit reduction plan, debt would still be rising in 2015, not falling, meaning that we would have to spend an extra £3 billion in one year on debt interest while still having to make spending cuts. The lack of ambition in the previous Government’s plan put our credit rating at risk, thus threatening the prospect of higher interest rates and putting a brake on the recovery.

Then, only halving the deficit by 2015 as per Labour’s original plans would “put our credit rating at risk, thus threatening the prospect of higher interest rates and putting a brake on the recovery.” Now though, halving the deficit is cause for high-fives all round!

This is not to say that Labour’s plans were better than the Tories, both were stupid to focus on the deficit, which was never a big issue. I just make the point to show how divorced politics and economic reality have become. Failure can be redefined as success at will, and something that once was said could lead to catastrophe is now just a step on a road to long term recovery. It’s rather transparent, so hopefully more people will start to notice.

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11 thoughts on “What the Tories used to say would happen if the deficit was only halved by 2015

  1. It also says something about the complacent arrogance of the Right. They just *assumed* that the plan alone was evidence of its own success. It never seemed to cross their minds that the plan might not work.

  2. Reblogged this on TheCritique Archives and commented:
    Not only does this highlight Tory hypocrisy, it also says something about the complacent arrogance of the Right. They just *assumed* that the plan would work, as though having the plan alone would be enough to guarantee its own success. It never seemed to cross their minds that the plan might not work. And it overwhelmingly hasn’t.

  3. A week used to be a long time in politics. In the modern smartphone era I suspect that has been reduced to five minutes.

    It doesn’t matter what you said. It matters whether what you say now resonates with what people believe. Influence and persuasion is a very interesting process that has next to nothing to do with rationality and logic.

    1. Didn’t Enron have a AAA rating at one time?

      What does anything less than a a AAA rating mean for a sovereign currency issuing govt? Do the ratings agencies think that the UK govt can ever run out of ponds?

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