The best analogy that occurs to me is the unsavoury service that the most raddled and debased junkie whores used to offer passers-by in the vicinity of Kings Cross.
Richards' comments on Osborne seem fair enough - in opposition he was a weathercock - as are they all when in opposition. He says nothing about Osborne's actions as chancellor other than to repeat the tired Brownite trope about "cuts on an unprecedented scale" which have neither been announced nor implemented. Returning spending to 2007 levels by restraining increases irresponsibly set in motion by the Labour pukes cannot be called "unprecedented" except by the deliberate exercise of maliciously bad faith.
But when it comes to Balls, Richards puckers up, hollows his cheeks and does the Dyson:
Balls is most formidable as an economist who applies policy making to the daunting demands of political context.WTF does that mean? It seems to skate around the obvious fact that Balls has always and will always perceive policy making as a means to score points in the Westminster game of pat-a-cake; but actually it is meaningless. "Richards is most pitiful as a journopuke who applies his limited skill as a wordsmith to the daunting demands of presenting a turd as a diamond in the rough".
Then Richards puffs his book, which apparently highlights how Balls worked on the policy detail that restored the Labour pukes credibility on the economy. Well, no. Balls and Brown lied like flatfish to conceal the fact that their policies were the same old tax, borrow and spend, with the entirely predictable outcome that Richards cannot bring himself to admit.
After acquiring  a stable macro-economic framework, Labour acquired  space to invest more in public services and retain  the support of enough voters to win elections, a rare combination and one that currently eludes left of centre parties around the Western world.1. Acquiring? Inheriting from the despised Major government, you dishonest little shit.
2. Nobody ever lost votes by "investing" in give-aways. You can bribe some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but the money eventually runs out.
3. And will always elude them, as they deal only in crowd-pleasing redistribution and neither know nor care how wealth is created.