He says in his title: ‘Unemployment is always higher under Labour’
Well, no. Let’s look at the Claimant Count as a simple measure:
My rough averages say: Conservatives since the War have averaged a claimant count of 1.56 million. The Labour party: 900 thousand. Clearly you have to interpret Iain’s post differently from the obvious “unemployment under Labour is always higher than unemployment under the Conservatives”, because that would be an obvious lie – and Iain is not a liar.
What he is saying, instead, is that unemployment has always ended Labour’s terms in government higher than at the beginning. Well, quite possibly. Since the War, as the graph shows, we have been through a period of generally rising unemployment. But it is not true that each Labour electoral term in power has seen such a performance; neither 1997-2001 nor 2001-2005 had higher UE counts at the end than at the beginning.
Can the Tories be accused of ending each period in office with higher unemployment? No; because of Edward Heath. 1952-63 saw higher unemployment. 1979- 1997 did too, breaking several records along the way. Edward Heath managed to avoid it through what was perhaps the worse period of economic management ever – the Barber boom, one of the major reasons that Healey had such a devil of a time in the next few years (Heath’s caving to the miners also helped). Otherwise, Tory Governments can be accused of the same thing that Iain Dale implicates Labour governments in – causing unemployment to rise.
Bizarre, huh? perhaps Dale wants to write a post defending Heath’s economic policies next, because the by the criteria he uses for judging success, they were the only decent government we had.
UPDATE: Paul C has a narrative version of the point I’m making here, which is well worth reading.