Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How Lib Dem Ministers lull themselves to sleep each night

A real car crash of a press conference this morning from the Tories and the Lib Dems on their first joint party outing.

Baroness Warsi, chairwoman of the Tory Party and Chris Huhne, Lib Dem Energy Minister, went all out to pin the blame for the age of austerity on "Labour's legacy". It was slightly hilarious watching them trying to outrun the political consequences of their own freight train cuts package which is coming down the tracks at some speed

The most audacious line was from Huhne: "It gives me no satisfaction that Labour are not willing even to talk about tackling the deficit. But they know what we know: the unavoidable cuts that are coming are Labour cuts..."

It was incredible stuff, but not as jaw-dropping as Baroness Warsi accusing Labour of being "criminal" in office (a phrase she later clarified) and her student stunt letter to Labour cabinet members asking them to repay their severance package.

I know she doesn't get paid to attend cabinet but Huhne does draws a salary to get on with governing instead of indulging in this nonsense.

The Energy Secretary did do us one service this morning. He gave the most succinct explanation yet of how the Lib Dems managed the biggest volte face in British politics by being against severe cuts during the election campaign and then eagerly implementing them in office barely a week later.

To justify himself Huhne employed what Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman has described as the myth of the invisible bond vigilante and the confidence fairy.

These are the creatures which would have swallowed Britain whole had it not been for brave wee David Laws embracing the Tory ideology of "unavoidable cuts" in coalition negotiations.

Here's Huhne, in his own words, excusing himself in what will be a rehearsal for his speech to the Lib Dem party conference next month.

He said: "The Greek government now faces a cost of borrowing twice its pre-crisis level. At the beginning of April – and our election campaign - the Greeks paid 7%. By the Friday after our election they paid 12%. And in just those few days in which we were negotiating our coalition, Europe's finance ministers had an emergency meeting to staunch a crisis spreading beyond Greece to Spain and Portugal. They announced a 500bn euro rescue package ...

We cannot hide from these facts, however unpalatable they are. Labour has become so disconnected from reality that it thinks that if it simply refuses to face up to them, they will go away. They won't ...

Our choice was simple. Take swift action to stabilise the economy, or lose control and hand the job over to others to do it for us."

AS far as I can remember there were no "facts" about the IMF preparing to bail out Britain in May 2010 if Labour had formed a government or signs of the bond vigilantes circling to bring the economy down. I don't remember Britain being part of the Eurozone currency then either. And yet Huhne accuses Labour of being in denial?

I suppose Lib Dem Ministers have to appease their consciences somehow but they really should stop telling the rest of us to believe in fairy tales.

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