Looking ahead, McDonnell has three issues to address. The first is that some current spending – increasing the pay of teachers, for example – could be classified as investment rather than current spending.

That’s exactly what will happen. Pay rises for nurses will be “investing in the NHS” and so on. Thus the borrowing only to invest promise is a dead letter.

17 thoughts on “Well, yes”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    Larry Elliot – even more ignorant about economics than the LHTD?

    Having been in the military, where budgets happened several levels above me and normally to civilians, and then in small companies where they didn’t care what you were spending it on as long as you stopped immediately, it was a bit of an eye-opener when I got to an organisation that cared about the difference between revex and capex.

    But then I’m not the economics editor of an obscure left-wing chip wrapper.

  2. The Laughing Cavalier

    McDonnell is using the Brown deceit of renaming current account spending as “investment”.

  3. What investment?

    I think a serious problem for lefties is that they were in their ascendant when we needed lots of new infrastructure. Someone figures out electricity, aircraft, cars, sewage and you need someone to build the infrastructure. And it’s sort of stuff the state had to build or plan.

    I think it’s something they haven’t really grasped. The first 2/3rds of 20th century were the era of big government in the UK because to some extent we needed a lot of it. What would you build today, aside from nuclear power stations? We’ve pretty much got the road and rail infrastructure we need. OK, there’s a few projects that might make sense, but a couple of hundred miles of dual carriageway isn’t going to be a big deal.

  4. All public spending is ‘investment’ to them. It is a public relations exercise, or ‘lie’ as these things used to be called.

    I can’t see the public believing McConnell saying this, but you never know. Then again, I don’t think the public really care about the deficit.

  5. While they’re screaming ‘investment’ would they like to tell us which, IF ANY, of the proposed new London airports, or transport links, or residential developments or…or any actual infrastructure spending g they do support. Because when it comes to the crunch, they sit on heir hands.

  6. I live the dissonance of McDonnell saying Labour will balance the books and Corbyn saying end austerity. Since Corbyn is incapable of message discipline, he will ruin any progress McDonnell makes.

  7. The articles says “teachers”, not “nurses”. And it’s true that good education is an investment for the future.

    I’m not persuaded that counting current expenditure as investment is ever good practice, but let’s stick to the point.

  8. ‘The first is that some current spending – increasing the pay of teachers, for example – could be classified as investment rather than current spending.’

    “Let’s give more money to our voting bloc!”

    The idea seems to be that if you pay teachers more, you will get better teachers. It is cringe worthy, as if you pay teachers more, they aren’t going to quit, so they won’t be replaced with ‘better’ teachers.

  9. Actually there’s one large part of the british infrastructure that’s been wholly neglected for …decades.., needs addressing, and fits in the Keynesian Investment category: water management.

    While I do not buy into the omfgweregonnadrown school of Ecological Disaster, global warming (regardless of the cause) is a fact, and the most noticeable thing for our particular bit of the globe is that there’s a lot more moisture being carried in, and with the Pennines ( and some others) in the way, a lot of water will be running down those slopes.
    The British isles being the first obstacle the major air currents encounter after the Atlantic this has always been the case, but it’s simply going to get worse.
    Getting that water out and away as efficiently as possible is a serious job, and given the quite painfully obvious sorry state of british water infrastructure, there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done there.

    For the UK, the biggest threat when it comes to “climate chance” does not come from the sea, it comes from the sky.
    And I don’t think that has registered yet with the Powers that Be.

  10. Perhaps removing bad teachers would help with education. Wait, that was tried and didn’t remove many….

    Perhaps have a time limit on teaching. Can do it 5 years then have to get a ‘real’ job.
    Number of times I hear teachers complain about their holidays, hours worked etc – which they knew before they got the job!
    No sympathy for the ones complaining about the pay. Get a 2nd job!

  11. Gamecock,

    “It is cringe worthy, as if you pay teachers more, they aren’t going to quit, so they won’t be replaced with ‘better’ teachers.”

    In the late 80s, that did happen. It was a real problem that talented people left teaching (especially people with maths skills). Today, not so much. I know what primary teachers make and most of them couldn’t go into another job for more money.

    It’s why I’m basically “sod off” about junior doctors. There will be no shortage of 4 A* A-level candidates queuing up for medical school in August (and we don’t even need many people that good for the routine shit that most doctors deal with).

  12. Gamecock,

    The idea seems to be that if you pay teachers more, you will get better teachers. It is cringe worthy, as if you pay teachers more, they aren’t going to quit, so they won’t be replaced with ‘better’ teachers.

    How about if the extra spending was used to fund performance related pay bonuses for teachers?

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