The Great Debate UK

Does the expenses row sound the death knell for New Labour?


justin_fisher- Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The expenses crisis is well and truly engulfing Westminster, with equal anticipation and dread about future revelations. Labour was quite reasonably aggrieved that the initial stories all seemed to be about their MPs.

Perhaps this was naive – governing parties are obviously more interesting than their rivals – but the fear was that this crisis would be indelibly linked with Labour and Labour alone. Yet perhaps they needn’t have worried – the Telegraph was keeping its powder dry and today’s stories about some Conservative MPs are possibly even more damaging.

Claiming for a bathplug may raise a titter and seem petty – claiming for repairs to a swimming pool is of a wholly different order – at least as far as the public is concerned.

from Luke Baker:

In for a penny, in for £175 billion

It may not be tax and spend exactly, but it's definitely tax and borrow.

For the best part of 12 years, Labour has pursued essentially conservative (with a small 'c') economic policies, steadily underburdening itself of the 'fiscally unreliable' tag that some earlier Labour administrations were (wrongly or rightly) saddled with.

And for most of the past 12 years, as the global economy steadily expanded and Britain's along with it, with aggregate wealth rising smoothly, Labour looked strong at the helm each time the budget came around.