Peter Hoskin

Labour’s strategy is stuck in the past

Labour's strategy is stuck in the past
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As numerous Labour MPs have been saying recently, Brown needs to start doing something different if Labour are to reverse the Tories' momentum in the the polls.  But, interviewed in the latest New Statesman, Alistair Darling indicates that Labour High Command are happy to stick by the old, tried-and-tested methods which are no longer getting them anywhere:

Darling believes that the battle lines at the ­election will be clear: a simple choice between Labour investment versus Tory cuts.

"The Tories seem to be going back to where they were in the early 1980s - saying the government's role is pretty limited. They have set themselves significant cuts in public spending. I think that's incredibly short-sighted."

From Labour's perspective, there are two main problems with this.  First - and as the IFS highlighted yesterday - any post-recession government is going to have to rein in spending in order to pay for Brown's debt addiction.  Indeed, Labour have themselves pencilled in £37 billion worth of "cuts" for between 2011 and 2014, and the Tories haven't committed to much more beyond this.  And, second, the politics of a recession mean that "belt-tightening" messages are likely to have greater traction.  To ignore that is to swim against the political tide.