I always take anything Patrick Wintour and Nick Watts write about Labour in the Guardian with a pinch of salt, but this has some resonance:
On the Today programme on Radio 4 on Thursday morning Balls found it hard to make his point that the whole spending review was the consequence of an austerity policy that had failed.
An astonishing round of cuts has not met with effective opposition from Labour, and that's because it is on the same hymn sheet as the Tories believing that cuts are essential.
What is essential is that we work out how to get the UK to work. If unemployment was reduced to 1 million the UK would not have many of its economic problems. As Keynes put it, look after unemployment and the budget looks after itself.
Isn;'t that obvious? Surely it is apparent that paying vast numbers of people to do nothing cannot ever make sense or be the foundation of anything like a genuinely prosperous country?
But what do we get instead? Bankrupt economics based on the theory of the firm, and not a macro understanding of the state and a consequent wish to seriously increase the number out of work as if that will shed those people from the payroll - which in the case of the government it palpably fails to do.
Until Labour offer a different economic narrative of course they won't hit home on the Tories. Shadows don't hurt. Alternatives do.