Darling: It’s not easy being chancellor

By Ian Dunt

Being chancellor during the financial crisis has been a difficult experience, Alistair Darling has said.

Speaking at a keynote speech in Edinburgh, the chancellor poured scorn on the Conservatives’ economic policies and stressed they made the wrong judgements throughout the financial crisis.

“It has not, I admit, been an easy time to be chancellor – here in the UK or anywhere in the world,” he said.

“Over the last three years, there has been a global storm of unprecedented ferocity, which threatened the entire financial system and world economy.

“I didn’t relish having to warn, in August 2008, that we were heading into the deepest recession for over 60 years.”

Later in the speech Mr Darling criticised the Tories’ financial policy, warning it could trigger a double-dip recession.

“I have no doubt that David Cameron and George Osborne are well-intentioned,” he said.

“My concern is not over their ambitions. It is over their judgement – shown time and time again in this recession to be badly flawed.

“In opposition, this is embarrassing. In government, it would be disastrous.”

The Tories were not the only party to find themselves attacked by the chancellor. He also turned his eye on Vince Cable, the popular Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, suggesting he U-turns on major policy issues, such as using the Bank of England to support the economy.

“We know he’s a nifty mover. But facing both ways at once is hard for even the best dancer,” Mr Darling said.

“I was already facing Boy George. I now had to contend with Karma Chameleon as well.”

The chancellor spokes as all three major parties faced criticism for not being more honest with voters about the spending cuts that would have to take place after the election.