Balls is in Vince’s court

Ed Balls and Vince Cable have finally come out and admitted to a close relationship. No, not of the kind that would soon make them eligible for holy matrimony. Neither is that way inclined, and Vince is past the age of consent anyway. Their relationship is that of ideological brothers, with both dead set on getting ahead by turning Britain into Greece.

An undertaking of this magnitude is too big for one man, and the brothers know it. ‘I could work with Vince,’ said Ed, snuggling up closer to Cable on the sofa in the BBC studio. ‘Vince should be listened to on banking reform and on the economy.’

I agree. It is indeed an outrage that we haven’t listened to Vince attentively enough. Had we done so we’d know that his economic ideas are akin to those of an arsonist who pretends to be dousing a fire by pouring lighter fluid on it.

His notion of growth is the state spending more and taxing more. ‘I have not been embarrassed to call myself a person of the centre left,’ declared Vince with pride – and excessive modesty. I get terribly tangled up in all those political soubriquets, but if this is centre left, I’d like to know what hard left is. How, specifically, are Vince’s notions different from – take your pick: a) Scargill’s, b) Livingstone’s, c) Castro’s?

While Vince lacks the honesty to echo François Hollande’s admission that he hates the rich, every pronouncement he makes, every measure he proposes screams hatred and envy. This isn’t counterbalanced by any affection for the poor, unless tireless toil to multiply their number qualifies as such.

To Vince, taxation is for taxation’s sake, not for the sake of having more money to give to those who won’t work for it. He knows, for example, that the 50-percent tax bracket resulted in less government revenue, not more. No matter. The higher rate ‘sent an important message’, of the kind François has enunciated with such charming frankness.

Make no mistake about it: it’s our socialist policies, not some global force majeure, that have got our economy into its present state. A burgeoning welfare state is not only ruinous economically but also corrupting morally – which in turn exacerbates its deleterious effect on the economy. An economy bustling with industry and creative energy could perhaps absorb this abomination for a while and still keep the books balanced. An economy such as ours ends up running up a trillion-pound debt.

Apart from being a millstone around our neck, such a catastrophic debt negates the very democratic principles by which our politicians swear. Implicit in such principles is that a development of this magnitude should require consent from the people who are going to bear its brunt. These are mostly generations not yet born and therefore by definition not in a position to express their consent at the voting booth or otherwise.

Vince’s solution? More taxation, more spending, more borrowing, more money printing, more debt, more stifling of wealth production, more tape whose colour matches his politics. This criminally asinine ideology comfortably coexists in Vince’s breast with a knack for political intrigue that puts Machiavelli to shame.

If you listen to the Andrew Marr interview carefully, the love-in between Ed and Vince laid bare their joint strategy, and they aren’t even bright enough to keep it under wraps until it’s time to strike. Ed went Balls to the wall promoting Vince as Nick’s replacement at the head of the LibDems. Cable had ‘distinguished himself,’ went the message, and Ed would be ‘very surprised if Nick Clegg fights the next election.’

One would think that a prominent member of one party should keep his mouth shut on a possible leadership contest in another. Common tact would demand this, but then Ed is a politician, and a bullying leftie at that.

In response, Vince confirmed that his accession to party leadership is indeed the first leg of the joint Labour-LibDem strategy: ‘I am very happy with Nick, he will continue in the job,’ he said. If you are insufficiently fluent in political, allow me to translate. What Vince said means ‘I hate Nick with unmitigated passion and will do all I can to knife him in the back at the first opportunity.’

And the second leg? Ed was just as forthcoming as his new-found brother: ‘I am not somebody who is thinking to myself I want a [Labour-LibDem] coalition for the future. I want a Labour majority government elected in 2015.’ Of course he does. But should by some miracle the polls suggest that the ideal is unachievable, such a coalition would work nicely.

Vince then gave his ringing endorsement: ‘I have no ambitions.’ It takes truly refreshing effrontery for any politician, and especially for one as conniving and nakedly ambitious as Cable, to utter such words. However, he didn’t mean it the way it sounded, though he did say something he meant: ‘But I do have perfectly businesslike, amicable relationships with members of the Labour Party and other parties.’ And, ‘I’m happy to talk to Ed.’

No translation necessary this time. Vince has endorsed the possibility of a coalition with Labour, should it miraculously fail to score an outright victory in 2015. And if Labour does form the next government, Vince will probably be a member of it – a short walk across the aisle is all that’ll take, along with some prior groundwork behind the back of his current coalition partners.

Labour and LibDems are united in their visceral urge to take revenge on those who make themselves and others independent of the state. They are both likely to regard the subsequent collapse of the economy as acceptable collateral damage. The only possible obstacle on the way to their joining forces would be the personal hubris of the parties’ leaders. That’s why Ed and Vince went to such lengths to reassure themselves and their parties that an equitable accommodation can be found.

Job done. Shame about the country.











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