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  1. Politics
29 September 2010

Ed Balls follows Staggers with IMF takedown

Shadow chancellor in waiting takes a leaf from the New Statesman.

By Patrick Osgood

It’s good to be in good company.

In his trenchant bid for the shadow chancellorship earlier today, Ed Balls tore into the IMF and their Osborne-led sado-monetarist fanbase:

But we don’t need to go back to the history books to see the warning signs over George Osborne’s economic policy – we only need to look across the Irish Sea.

Two years ago, the Irish Government convinced itself they had to slash public services and cut child benefits to get their deficit down as fast as possible and reassure the money markets. The IMF praised the Irish government for its “sense of urgency”.

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And what has happened since? Recession turned to slump, unemployment at a 16-year high, 19 consecutive months of deflation, consumer spending and tax revenues plummeting, and the deficit worse now than when they started.

The Irish Economist David McWilliams said this week: “It is like watching a slow car crash. The more they cut, the more the economy will continue to stagnate.”

George Osborne used to say that Ireland has so much to teach us, if only we were willing to learn.

In a Staggers post yesterday, I gave Ireland as one example of why a blessing from the IMF is at best, a mixed one. It’s a compliment, if only by association, from the right man for the job.

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