Well, well, well. I heard the news about the resignation of Alan Johnson as Shadow Chancellor whilst I was stuck in a traffic jam after today's Gateshead Council meeting. One kilometre down the road I got the best news of the day: Ed Balls is to be his replacement. If the Conservatives had John Redwood, the Vulcan, Labour's very own alien from outer space is Ed Balls. Alan Johnson served a useful purpose for Ed Miliband. He kept Balls out of the role of Shadow Chancellor. Now the blockage has been removed, Balls has bounced into the post.
Balls is an economist who is unable to speak the same language as ordinary people. Yet, despite his undoubted knowledge of economics, he offers an economic alternative that carries massive risk of long term collapse under the weight of ever increasing debt. The position he promoted during the Labour leadership election was one of no cuts at all. For a highly educated economist to have such an economically illiterate position is, to say the least, very interesting. Nevertheless, his views will chime with all the other economically illiterate members of the Labour party who believe there is a pain free way out of the economic mess in which we are in.
Balls is much more aggressive as a politician as well. Politics will now be a battle between those who know action needs to be taken to sort out the problems of the economy and those who think a spend, spend, spend approach will solve everything. My own feeling is that the British people hate the mess the country is in but they know that it can't be solved without pain.
And finally, don't forget who was City Minister in 2006 when the excesses of the banking sector were at their height. It was Ed Balls who defended "light touch" regulation of the City. He is heir to Brown, he had his hands all over the failed economic policy of the Blair Brown years. The leaflets write themselves.
Sent via BlackBerry