08 September 2011 12:15 PM

Balls: Lead the world, George

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls was making an interesting argument about the economy on the radio this morning.

Essentially he was saying that George Osborne should water down austerity measures to show global leadership because only Britain has the right political climate for such a move.

He told Today: "You can't have credibility without growth. The problem is in the eurozone, politically they are completely stuck, they can't reach a political agreement about what needs to be done. In America, tragically with the election coming up, the Congress and President Obama are at loggerheads, they can't politically resolve this. The irony is the one country which has got the political strength to change course is Britain and to make that argument in the world, the problem is, it's almost the opposite problem.

"Our Coalition has decided the cornerstone is sticking to a deficit reduction plan which isn't working, has flatlined our economy. Our problem is, we can't argue for sanity in the eurozone, in America, if we are sticking to a failing policy in Britain."

I find it hard to believe that Labour would hail Osborne as a strong Chancellor if he tore up his deficit-busting plans and tried to paint it as a way of "saving the world" - as Gordon Brown might put it.

There was another eye-catching line from Balls on the same topic, which might have had Angela Merkel choking on her breakfast.

He said: "In Europe austerity isn't working but the German people are not going to face up to that unless they are led to do so...Here in Britain we should be leading those debates."

Craig Woodhouse
Follow me on Twitter @craigawoodhouse


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