A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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The architect of our problems is now in charge of Labour's economic policy
20/01/2011 23:52:00

I don't know Alan Johnson but he has always struck me as a decent man. I hope he gets through whatever personal problems he is experiencing.

But Ed Miliband's decision to appoint Ed Balls in his place is a big mistake.

Sure, he is Labour's best Parliamentary performer and will give George Osborne a much harder time than Alan Johnson, who was clearly struggling in the role.

But he is the worst possible person to put in charge of Labour's economic policy. No-one other than Gordon Brown is more responsible for the mess we are in today.

He was Gordon Brown's chief economic adviser and then served under him as a Minister. He was there when Brown destroyed our pensions system, there when Brown sold off our gold reserves for a rock-bottom price, there when Brown took away the power to regulate the banks from the Bank of England and there when Brown got us further and further in debt in the boom years when he should have been putting money aside for a rainy day. He has never apologised for any of these mistakes and since the Election he has made it clear that he doesn't even support the previous Government's inadequate plans to deal with the deficit.

We know that Ed Miliband didn't want to appoint Ed Balls to this job - indeed, he was so desperate not to do so that he picked someone with no economic experience instead. The fact that he has had to turn to him second time around shows how weak his position is.

Tackling the deficit and getting the economy growing again is the biggest challenge facing this country. Ed Miliband has just put the architect of our problems in charge of coming up with Labour's solution.

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