Treasury minister Ed Balls – he of neo-classical endogenous growth theory fame – was in Birmingham the other day to give us his view on the state of the economy.

Pretty rosy it was, too.

Well, that's what you'd expect from a man who confidently expects to replace Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer next year.

A personable bloke, is Ed Balls. He told a couple of jokes at his own expense and made some good points. Like the fact that the Bank of England's ability to tweak the interest rate mechanism at will has, by and large, ensured the economic upturns of the last nine years haven't developed into booms while the downturns have not degenerated into busts.

Like the fact that while British jobs are migrating to India and China, there are some pretty good opportunities opening up in Asia for companies fast enough on their feet and high enough up the added value chain to cash in.

Nothing, of course, about the Government's seemingly wilful wrecking of the private pensions sector; nor its complacent acceptance of the right of its supporters in the public sector to retire at 60 while telling the rest of us to work on to 68; nor its paupering of the middle-income middle classes through "fiscal drag", the refusal to raise income tax thresholds in line with pay.

That's because he was talking to that section of the population with the most discriminating of selective memories – the apparatchiks, placemen, sycophants and quangocrats of the Labour Party: those who think history began in 1997.

I'm not saying a Conservative Minister would have received any less of an obsequious reception from his party faithful. But oh dear, you should have seen and heard this lot.

Sitting listening to them fawn to a man who they think can give them a shove up the greasy pole of politics, I realised just how wide the gap between politicians – not least the ludicrous "Dave" Cameron – and those who create the wealth that generates the taxes that keeps the ever-growing army of public sector wastrels in comfort and perpetuates the catastrophe that passes for public services in this country has become.

Take one example of Labour's "legacy", corporate taxes.

As we report here, the engineering industry body the EEF has calculated that between 1997 and 2008-9 the amount of tax paid by companies will have rocketed by #11.9 billion.

While Gordon Brown's Treasury is greedily filling its coffers at business's expense, our competitor nations are reducing the tax burden on their producers.

And we wonder why it is jobs are being "exported" abroad.

The next time Ed Balls is in Brum he should go and talk to one of the city's legion of hard-pressed manufacturers.

He (or she) may not be able to hold much of a conversation about esoteric economic theory, but he could explain just how hard it is to maintain margins, competitiveness and jobs while being robbed blind and preached at by those who have only ever manufactured excuses for failure.