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September 26, 2014



Reality is the Overton window. The fact that Balls and Miliband have deliberately chosen not to widen the Overton window on deficits (and even apologised for Labour's past performances) is their fault. Balls is highly educated on economics, so he knows all the stuff you and Simon say. The opposition has considerable powers to set the media agenda and the media only reports on stuff within the Overton window (rightly so, you could argue). It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, but I blame the opposition more than the media.


Could it be, then, that the Westminster bubble describes the media more than politicians?
Yes I think so, because MPs do have constituents and do have to meet them and deal with them. The media has editors living in newsrooms calling all the shots. I think the politicians know that the media editors are more powerful than them.

The roving reporter who actually goes to places, talks to people and finds out what's going on has almost died out. Reporters like John Harris and Paul Mason, who actually go out and talk to people, file stories to a totally different agenda than the bubble's.

Luis Enrique

I like to think labour could say something like this: ""we are more worried about falling real wages for the majority in this country than about the deficit. We will fix the deficit by fixing the economy and you won't fix the economy by cutting it to shreds. We've tried that, and borrowing keeps being higher than budgeted for." ... and some more about why tax revenues have disappointed (see the excellent flip chart rick's most recent). They they could turn round and ask the interviewer why they are more worried about the deficit whilst interest rates are negative than they are about what's happened to the livelihoods of millions of Brits.

Then I think the conservatives would just say, there we go, old Labour, tax and spend, public finances will go to hell, can't trust them ... and they'd lose. that must be what Labour is thinking, right? But I'd almost rather see them have a crack at it and come out fighting.

Ralph Musgrave


Balls faces a big problem if he tried to widen the Overton Window, i.e. speak the truth. The problem is that the deficit story as set out by important people chimes with the views of Mr & Mrs Average on household deficits. I.e. Mr & Mrs A. think that the perils of an individual household or firm running a deficit for too long (i.e. eventual bankruptcy) applies to the economy as a whole.

It’s near impossible to get Mr & Mrs A. to see the mistake they’re making.

George Carty

Isn't the root cause of Britain's budget deficits the fact that Britain imports too much? A current account deficit means that the government's budget can only be balanced by gradually impoverishing the private sector.

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