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New Labour Died in 2007 - Labour Died, Slowly, in 2011

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In the week of the budget, Labour has little economic credibility and is rightfully trailing the Tories on who would run the economy better.

While I believe that Osborne has made many wrong choices on the economy, Labour has consistently been out of line with and detached from the economic reality.

Labour should be about fairness. But it should also be about aspiration, yet, in 2010, Labour fell asleep and it has not yet woken up to the economic mess we are in.

The Tory-led government may blame the last Labour government. But, in reality, Darling had a very sensible plan. The coalition would do better to exploit Labour's current economic position that is as weak and vapid as Darling's plan was rational and inspiring.

This government has squandered Labour's legacy and has brought consumer confidence to its knees.

However, it is the irresponsible reaction of our Labour opposition, of which I am a member, both to the economic crisis we face and to the strong economic legacy of our party they have shredded that will cause the most damage to this country in the long run.

In recent days we have seen a coup in Labour's headquarters. The leadership sees the party as being too 'New Labour' and distanced from its message of public sector enlargement. And it's the message of opposing almost every single cut that is causing the most damage to Labour's reputation.

Labour's lip-service to supporting some cuts is see-through - 12% to police, £5bn from the defence budget. These belie the reality of an opposition living in a fairytale land. Labour has consistently spoken out against all cuts without providing a viable alternative or costed means to support continued investment in tax benefits, civil legal aid, public sector pension changes, building schools for the future, further police cuts, EMA, DLA. The list goes on.

In fact, the list of people who have spoken out against my party's economic policy is growing daily. All the credit agencies, the IFS, the IMF, and the OECD among others have warned against retrenching on the cuts and against a very large fiscal stimulus, as Labour has proposed.

Yet, Labour has staunchly ignored all these warnings, arguing that, while on the one hand the chancellor has failed because of the macro-economic warnings these bodies have issued, on the other hand these bodies are irrelevant to policy making when they turn their attack on Labour's policies.

It is not so much the five point plan as the uncosted proposals that would drive down market confidence and investment in our economy. It is not so much the desire to support hard working public sector workers as the continued anti-business rhetoric from all corners of the shadow cabinet that is making even Labour supporters in the city think twice about their vote.

On the 50p tax, for example, the party will not listen. The party has openly said that they would keep it even if this meant less money in the exchequer. I believe that this is trite populism of the worst kind, disregarding all warnings in favour of a politics of class war and jealousy, redistributing wealth from hard working squeezed families. In short, they want to introduce a something for nothing culture and want to oppose policies that would bring stability to our ailing economy.

Therefore, in budget week, Labour has two choices. They can continue their failed economic policies that would make Britain uncompetitive and a bad place to do business. Or they can accept the new economic reality of less spending, combining it with fairness that is missing from many of Osborne's policies. The choice is there and I hope, for the sake of the party, they make the right one.

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