Rattled: IDS charges Flanders with 'peeing all over industry'

Iain Duncan Smith's attack on BBC economics editor is further evidence of panic at lack of real growth

Column LAST UPDATED AT 07:48 ON Mon 20 Aug 2012

ALLEGATIONS by Iain Duncan Smith that BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders was guilty of "peeing all over" British industry are being held up by Labour as evidence of jitters at the heart of Team Cameron over the failure of the coalition to get the economy working.

Today's papers are full of further evidence of Tory nerves at the failure to stimulate growth, including the front page of The Independent's cheap sister, the i, reporting that local government minister Eric Pickles is planning to scrap rules that he believes inhibit private house builders, including the requirements for 'affordable' housing in all new home developments.

Duncan Smith's outburst at the alleged anti-Tory bias of the normally well-respected Flanders is seen by senior Labour  officials as further evidence that Cameron and Co are rattled by the failure of George Osborne, the Chancellor, to produce real growth in the economy.

Flanders provoked the Work and Pensions Secretary into an angry rant in the Mail on Sunday by posing the very real question – why is the economy stuck firmly in the doldrums while the latest unemployment figures last week showed that the number in work has risen by 201,000, the highest increase for two years?

Of course it was "good news" that unemployment was falling, said Flanders, but the figures were a puzzle. "It is not necessarily good news for us or the Chancellor if we are needing more people as a country to make less stuff."

With economists who previously supported the Osborne austerity plans increasingly calling for a Plan B to be tried, there is more evidence of the growing desperation in the Tory ranks on the grassroots ConservativeHome website where Paul Goodman, the former MP for Wycombe, is warning this morning that Cameron's leadership is now open to question.

"Mr Cameron's position is at risk - and would be more so were there a convincing challenger in the Commons," he writes.

Goodman also predicts that "in the absence of any compelling plan to open up a ten-point lead over Labour, party conference will be far more tense than last year's."

He reckons Cameron's hopes of pushing through a big economic renewal package are doomed to failure because the Liberal Democrats and Labour would vote against them. That's because the PM's plan is based on tax cuts for the rich and a massive deregulation programme.

Cameron is spending the holiday contemplating how he can reassert his authority with a reshuffle when he returns to his desk - but he can't even do that. Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, warned through "friends" to the Mail on Sunday that he won't be removed without a fight.

Clarke has long been a target of the Tory right. If Cameron caves into pressure to sack him, the PM will be accused of  removing from the Cabinet one of the few genuine heavyweights who helped reassure liberal Conservatives that Cameron would not be made a hostage of the Tory right wing. · 

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Instead of inventing tacky metaphorical phrases, IDS should ask himself why Stephanie Flanders addressed the question in the first place.
Anyone with half a brain was asking themselves how unemployment cd go down when the economy is flat-lining. So SF quite rightly did a piece addressing it.
Memo to IDS: Instead of shooting the messenger, focus on understanding why the messenger felt moved to deliver a message in the first place.

As a former girl-friend of Miliband, Flanders is a Labour supporting stooge at the BBC if ever there was one. In any event, let's remember this is the 'silly season' and journos have to write something to justify their existence.

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"It is not necessarily good news for us or the Chancellor if we are needing more people as a country to make less stuff."

I remember hearing her say that and thinking she really should know better. GDP does not measure "stuff".

it includes non-tangible goods and services...including public sector services (PSS). PSS are included in GDP AT COST...the more we spend, the higher GDP, even if the spending is wasteful and makes us worse off. If PS jobs are reduced without a reduction in useful services it will tend to increase unemployment and *reported* GDP whilst reducing waste.

If the private sector increases employment and sells its output for less than the PPS GDP reduction, Reported GDP will fall, even though output is rising and productive jobs are being created.

Does that explain the apparent anomaly? I don't know...but to pose the question Flanders posed without checking is poor reporting...very poor.

Add to that the BBC repeatedly claims QE is money creation (it is not, absolutely not) and refers to changes in year-on-year CPI (or RPI) as the *current rate* of inflation (utter nonsense) we are being poorly served for our licence fees.
It might help if the BBC made sure that it reported in a factual and correct way, with explanations as needed.

Who is surprised when the BBC supports Labour...thats what they do, isn't it? And no, Cameron is not (unfortunately) in any danger of displacement because there is not an obvious leader in any of the parties at the moment. Despite Cameron being a school prefect rather than a Leader, he is safe for the time being...it's the leaderless, directionless UK that is at risk...How many other UK Manufacturing Industries will be sold to overseas interests during his and other similarly weak leaderships? There's the real reason for unemployment going down while the economy is stagnant: What manufacturing skill and experience we have left is being bought at wage rates by overseas interests, who take the profit off to their own counrty. STOP SELLING BRITAIN

Manufacturing isn't that important...hasn't been for 40 years. From a trade view, all that matters is that we get money from foreigners. Services can do that as well as goods. Being more labour intensive than manufacturing, many service exports will create more UK jobs.