Peter Hoskin

Labour’s brand new strategy to deal with the Tories: investment vs cuts

Labour's brand new strategy to deal with the Tories: investment vs cuts
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Well worth reading this article in the Times, which tunes into some of the radio chatter circulating 'round Labour at the moment.  Among the tidbits it contains is speculation that Brown might make Peter Mandelson Foreign Secretary in his June reshuffle, and word that ministers are concerned Labour won't be able to raise election funds unless they get closer to the Tories in the opinion polls.  This snippet jumped out at me, though:

"Ministers will be expected to spend the summer preparing for an autumn relaunch intended to narrow the Tory lead. Departments are being encouraged to introduce public service reforms and switch spending from capital to resource accounts to soften the impact of the cuts needed.

'Our theme will be ‘building Britain’s future’ — that we will continue targeted investment against the Tories’ blanket cuts,' said a senior minister." It remains astonishing just how determined Downing Street is to stick by the same old investment/cuts dividing line of the past ten years.  Aside from going against the general political tide, it simply creates several tactical problems for the Government.  Among them is what to do with Alistair Darling's optimistic growth forecasts - stand by them, and risk further ridicule; or downgrade them, and risk creating a stronger case for cuts?  Brown really is playing lose-lose politics at the moment.  And guess what?  He'll lose.