Sunday, June 06, 2010

Ed Balls sets new standards for the meaning of hypocrisy

Why the wannabe Labour leader has the coherence of a spraying hosepipe.

This is a man who sat at the core of the whole New Labour project. He was part of the inner circle since 1994. He went along with whatever was agreed. He made significant contributions to all aspects of government policy.

Now Ed Balls has decided to involve himself in a game of triangulations, positioning and politicking so pathetic that, compared to him, even Tony Blair would look more genuine.

Two weeks ago he came out with the revelation that Britain was "wrong" to join the Iraq war, without a shred of dignity or a passing thought that he would just be viewed as a spineless opportunist.

Like Mark Steel commented in the Independent, Balls could herald a new Labour tradition, that of opposing wars after they've ended: "Even a month ago [Balls and Miliband] said nothing, so they've all just changed their minds, have they?", wrote the comedian.

That was about Iraq. But Balls didn't stop there. His article in today's Observer is further proof that this second generation New Labourite only believes in two things: hypocrisy and opportunism.

Probably aware that his chances to become Labour leader are getting slimmer by the minute, Gordon Brown's economic adviser decided to raise his profile by turning to the Daily Mail brand of populism and cynicism - that is playing workers off against each other.

Essentially, Balls is calling for an end to the free movement of labour within the EU.

"We were wrong to allow so many Eastern Europeans into Britain", he writes. "Europe's leaders need to revisit the Free Movement Directive, not to undermine the union, but to make it economically and politically sustainable". Those words alone set him automatically to the right of the Tory party on immigration.

Balls, however, went further. Look at this staggering piece of hypocrisy, arrogance and subconscious post-colonial instinct:
"While it is true that one million British people do migrate to work in the rest of Europe, they are more likely to be working for higher wages in Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan than undercutting unskilled wages in the poorer parts of Europe."
This argument is infinitely worse than what you hear from the likes of UKIP. Because at least UKIP has the coherence and the intellectual honesty to argue in favour of Britain pulling out of the EU altogether. Instead, Balls' opinion is not just flawed, it's obnoxious.

1. Apparently it's ok for the British to take other people's jobs, the good ones in fact, but it's not ok for other people to take our jobs, even the shit ones. One rule for us and another for everyone else. Proper School of Post-colonialism;

2. Balls also displays a worrying lack of perception which, for an aspiring leader, is very bad news. Leave aside the crass sweeping generalisation that Brits in the EU work "for higher wages in Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan", as if they were all investment bankers, market analysts or fashion gurus - which is total balls (I know, I couldn't help it). Balls is totally unaware of the impact that significant chunks of the million British people living in the EU are having on certain areas;

3. Entire provinces in Spain have seen property prices hugely distorted by the high influx of hundreds of thousands of Brits in the past ten years. Not only have locals often been priced out of the property market, but the strain on public services has been significant, especially as thousands of Brits don't bother to register with the local councils, with the result that allocated funding to local hospitals and services doesn't correspond to the actual local needs.

There's also a final atrocity in Balls' article. Exactly like with Iraq, the wannabe Labour leader spews up eye-watering levels of hypocrisy when he writes that immigration undercutting unskilled wages was made "worse" by "the failure of our government to get agreement to implement the agency workers directive"(!).

Another Road-to-Damascus conversion. How do you call that? Cheek? Nerve?

On the TUC blog Owen Tudor just stopped at "chutzpah":
"What [...] the trade union movement argued all along – for over a decade - was that, with labour market regulation like the agency workers directive and the posted workers directive, migration would not set worker against worker, allow employers to undercut existing terms and conditions (regardless of the nationality of the victims), or lead to a downward spiral of wages".
Ed Balls sat at the core of the Labour government which, just over six months ago, took the active decision not to implement the agency workers directive, leaving 1.3 million workers in the most precarious and vulnerable situation.

Quite simply, there is enough evidence to suggest that Ed Balls is all over the place. He's got the coherence of a spraying hosepipe and, to quote the excellent Paul Sagar, "he comes across like a slimy, self-satisfied, mendacious and slippery political manipulator".

Make him Labour leader and the Tories are guaranteed half a century in office.

6 comments:

Patrick Gray said...

Yeah basically Ed Balls is saying that we're alright as expats (because we're not migrants), because we automatically take well-paid jobs.

Those foreign scumbags instead are not alright. Because we pay them crumbs and they even dare to take them.

So we can go to their countries. They cannot come to ours.

This is what a top Labour figure is saying in 2010, ladies & gentlemen.

How low can that party stoop?

Chris Baldwin said...

Yup, I'm not voting for him!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The man is a monstrous tit.

Anonymous said...

"Entire provinces in Spain have seen property prices hugely distorted by the high influx of hundreds of thousands of Brits in the past ten years. Not only have locals often been priced out of the property market, but the strain on public services has been significant, especially as thousands of Brits don't bother to register with the local councils, with the result that allocated funding to local hospitals and services doesn't correspond to the actual local needs."

Don't forget the cost of delivering services in English because so many of the ex-pats don't bother to learn the language. They're far to busy posting comments on UK message-boards about how blighty is being over-run.

So if Balls wins it will be a case of "Vote New new labour, just like old new labour but with added xenophobia."

Oh and I don't mean to have a go, but I always believed that 'post-colonialism' refered to the body of writing produced by people in societies subject to colonialism, and more generaly the act of oppressed people speaking for themselves rather than being analysed and discussed by the colonialists.

What you are describing sounds more like 'neo-colonialism'

Great blog by the way.

DomFisher said...

Agree about Balls. You seem fairly strident about the impact of British migration to Spain in terms of the pressures it causes on housing and public services. Why is it that as far as I know you have never managed to even elude to downsides of migration to Britain?

claude said...

DomFisher,
because I am not against migration.

I think it's fairly reasonable to point out that a lot of the people who rant against "too many new arrivals" are blind to what themselves do elsewhere.

The sight of British migrants (I refuse to call them expats) in Alicante or Murcia buying the Printed-in-Spain Daily Mail ranting against immigrants "taking over Britain while they also don't pick up the language" -you will have to concede- is proper comedy material.

However, I will concede that there are some factors that need looking at asap. I once wrote this blog entry about the long-term impact that too many faith schools are having. There's no pretending that problems don't exist.

There are serious risks to social cohesion, in my view.

But they come on two fronts: income policies (or class, if you like) and religion and rather than ethnicity.