Sunday, 12 September 2010

Darling toasts Blair and warms his own memoirs

Alistair Darling's review of Tony Blair's Journey in Saturday's Guardian turns out to the be the calmest and most even handed reaction to the tome yet.

He disagrees, very politely, with Blair over the need to cut the deficit immediately and suggests that his critique of Labour's response to the financial crisis is off-beam.

Darling writes: "He is wrong to suggest that those of us who supported a Keynesian response to the economic crisis thought "the state was back in vogue". It is an incontrovertible fact that in times of such crisis only the government can step into the breach. That is quite a different thing from suggesting that the state should do everything. Some may take that view, but many of us don't. And to characterise Gordon as having taken that view is wrong."

Well, Darling should know - he was there for the banking crisis and Blair wasn't. All of which just whets the appetite for the Edinburgh MP's own account of that momentous journey begun in the autumn of 2008 when he predicted the worst financial crisis in 60 years.

Darling said last week that after 23 years on the frontline of politics he was going to take a year out and is expected to stand down from the shadow cabinet. Pity, over the summer only he and Ed Balls have made a fist of defending the party's record in office and countering the Tory/Lib Dem narrative that the deficit is a result of the Labour government's decisions rather than the biggest economic crisis in a generation.

Still, if he gives us a good book, I suppose we can excuse him duties for a while.

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