In his article this week, Boris derides Labour’s ‘alternative’ to bringing the British economy back to a state of fiscal sanity : attacks on Fortnum’s and the Ritz and the setting of bonfires, all to be controlled — as best they can — by 4,500 policemen at tax-payers’ expense. Having paid close attention to Ed Miliband’s speech, he concludes that the ‘alternative’ amounts to “two-thirds of diddly-squat”.
It seems Mr. Miliband compared himself with the suffragettes and, even more sickeningly, Nelson Mandela. Having announced he was ‘friends’ with all assembled and a supporter of the ‘March for the Alternative’, just at the point at which Boris had hoped to hear what that alternative might be … he vanished ! Given that even Labour now accepts that its management of the country’s finances was a disaster and that Alistair Darling, the last Chancellor of the Exchequer, himself was planning about four-fifths of the savings proposed by the new government, we need to know how Labour’s ‘alternative’ would differ ; if Labour will not come clean, its presence at the march and Mr. Miliband’s speech are fraudulent.
Boris speculates on what an ‘honest’ Ed Miliband might have said to the crowd : “Friends, I am generally opposed to cutting too far and too fast. We think we could perhaps get away with significantly smaller cuts !” The crowd would have roared its approval : “No cuts ! No cuts !”
At this point the ‘honest’ Mr. Miliband becomes uneasy, raising his hand in caution : “I didn’t say no cuts, friends. We could maintain market confidence with only 80 per cent. of the cuts. Think of that : we would institute only four-fifths of the evil Tory cuts !”
“Well, what about my job ?” mutters one Equalities-Impact-Assessment Officer. Soon this question is being asked by members of the throng all around Hyde Park ; as the ‘honest’ Mr. Miliband stammers to produce an answer, his voice is overwhelmed by cries of “We’re all essential !” Soon the crowd, no longer listening, has overrun the stage and carried him off in the direction of the Serpentine.
And therein lies the explanation of Mr. Miliband’s reticence, of Labour’s having offered no alternative other than a general expression of the hatred of wealth-creators, especially in the City of London. Mr. Miliband and his financial spokesman, Ed Balls, are happy just to feel an atmosphere of unrest. They will make no mention of what is really required : cuts in taxation (as soon as possible) ; thousands more apprenticeships ; the repeal of politically correct legislation (and the associated administrative burden) ; the cutting of waste ; and investment in infrastructure.
If this hypocritical silence is the best ‘alternative’ Labour can come up with, they will remain in opposition for years.
Boris writes for The Daily Telegraph on Mondays.