I'm grateful to a dinner guest on Saturday who is not a member of the Labour Party for raising this issue. We were discussing the cost of the economy of Conservative opposition to the government's plans to rescue the banking system and try and ensure the recession is as shallow and short as possible. By carping on about debt levels, the Tories are both increasing the risk of higher import prices and hence domestic price levels by talking the currency down, and adding to the debt by increasing the level of interest rates and risk premia to be paid to lenders.
Let's be clear, as the reluctance of private investors to finance increased capitalisation of the banks is illustrating - no government knows with certainty how much money will have to be borrowed to ensure the viability of the banking system. CHX Alistair Darling set out how prudence can be sustained in his Pre Budget Report a week ago. Faced with the very real threat of a collapse of the banks, what on earth was a Labour government going to do, other than what was necessary?
Any politician that continues to whinge about debt levels is debasing the currency. Rather than focussing on Conservative shadow home affairs spokesman Damian Green and the hamfisted way in which the police handled their investigation into a possible serial leaker of government documents, I'm much more concerned to see Conservatives in the dock charged with treason for undermining sterling.
Wikipedia helpfully states:
Quite so. It is about time all those media outlets that claim to be so concerned about the pound in our pocket named and shamed the Conservative leadership as such. Public money is allocated to support Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, if any one can think of a better way of bring the Tories to their senses, I'm all ears.