This is our truth, tell us yours
New Labour, the rump of the organization Blair won with, need a few lessons in how to frame a debate. Either that, or like John Cruddas’s survey about ‘living within our means’ they know how to frame a debate and want the austerity message to win.
So here’s a freebie about framing for them.
Family A spends £453 per week. Family B spends £455 a week.
Family A has income of £443 per week. Family B has income of £386 per week.
Clearly Family B has a problem. Either it needs to earn more money, or it needs to spend less. Is it possible for Family B to earn as much as Family A?
That’ an interesting debate about which we don’t have enough information to make a choice.
Family A is Germany. Germany spends 45.3% of national income on government services, and takes 44.3% of national income in revenue – taxes and so on.
Family B is the UK. We spend 45.5% of national income on government services, but have revenues of only 38.6% of national income. The figures are here, by the way.
That, my friends, is called a deficit.
How do you tell that story in images?
Scene one is simple. The kids come downstairs to breakfast. There’s no milk for their cornflakes. Dad comes down and says ‘We spend too much on milk – we have to live within our means’ before loading his golf clubs into the back of his Jaguar and driving off.
Scene two is the same family. The kids are doing their homework around the table. Dad switches the light off. ‘We spend too much on electricity. We have to live within our means.’ He then goes out into the garden, pours himself a whisky, and lights a cigar.
That’s not difficult is it? That’s not complicated is it? Either John Cruddas is very stupid, or he believes in austerity, in low taxes even if it means the end of breakfast clubs for kids (increasingly scarce now SureStart centres are closing in their droves).
Labour lost in 2015 because it didn’t make the argument. it ran from the fight before it even started, and Cruddas’s argument is it didn’t run far enough or fast enough.
While cowards flinch and traitors sneer, is it too much to ask that Labour keeps the red flag flying here?