The News In Shorts

How the news would look if everyone stopped waffling and told the truth.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lagarde Agrees With Osborne - Sort Of.

Christine Lagarde stood next to George Osborne and, according to the Tories at least, agreed with him. The truth is, as she herself openly admitted, she chose her words very carefully. She was at great pains to point out that, though the IMF broadly agreed with a deficit-cutting strategy, it only approved of the "policy mix" and not particular policies. She certainly did not think that increasing inequality and high unemployment was "a price worth paying" and archly pointed out that persuing such policies is counter-productive and, ultimately, dangerous. She then went on to say quite pointedly that if the British economy continued on its present course and remained in recession, then austerity measures would have to be relaxed. "Unfortunately the economic recovery in the UK has not yet taken hold and uncertainties abound," she said. "Growth is too slow and unemployment - including youth unemployment - is too high. Policies to bolster demand before low growth becomes entrenched are needed." Hardly a ringing endorsement of Osborne and his "austerity at all costs" strategy. Of course Tories only hear what they want to hear, but explaining the BBC's opinion that "Ms Lagarde gave a strong endorsement to the government's actions" is somewhat difficult to understand. Both the BBC and the Tories seized on one comment by Ms.Lagarde - "Sometimes you feel like you could look back and wonder 'what if?'. And when I think back myself to May 2010, when the UK deficit was at 11% and I try to imagine what the situation would be like today if no such fiscal consolidation programme had been decided... I shiver." Their take is that she was saying that if Labour had been in power then there would have been no austerity measures and Britain would have crashed and burned. Considering the praise that the IMF heaped on Gordon Brown for saving the banking system this seems a little odd. Of course she wasn't actually accusing Labour of being congenitally insane or that they would have done nothing - she was merely saying that if nothing had been done it would have been disastrous. The Tories are now running from studio to studio spreading the idiotic notion that a hypothetical Labour government would have hypothetically done nothing - despite the fact thay they have spent two years shouting that Labour's policy is little different to their own. Its cake and eat it time in Toryworld.

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