There’s something about a man worth millions telling us about austerity that makes my balls shrink. When I began that sentence, I had no idea it was going to end that way, sorry. But it’s true. David Cameron is, as Charlie Brooker says, “a hollow easter egg with no bag of sweets inside.”
If that wasn’t evident enough already, this week’s party conference has done nothing to sway me from my contempt.
I’ve written before here about how belt-tightening was inevitable given the financial events of this year, but I was wrong, and it belied a misunderstanding based on ignorance. Nothing much has changed there, but the problem is we seem to have fallen into a group-think mind-set about all of this.
“High national debt means we need to reduce costs in the future to pay down that debt” seems to be the consensus. Well, my brain has reminded me that it’s absolute testicles. Roosevelt of course literally bought the USA out of the Depression with the New Deal, and when he fell in to the same trap as we are now, recession came back and bit him on the bottom.
The level of debt compared to GDP in the UK was one of the lowest in the world, and is still pretty low. In fact, even now, it is still at one of its lowest historical levels.
When the economy shrinks, people don’t spend money. If the Government stops spending money, it means no-one is buying anything, and recession turns into depression.
The only way out is for governments to pick up the slack and borrow money to spend on public projects to get money running through the economy again. Then, once revenues begin to roll back in, the government pays down the debt with the proceeds of growth.
Financial experts think George Osbourne’s cuts package could send unemployment soaring to five million, and that by cutting the Educational Maintenance allowance we will be condemning a generation of people to diminished expectations.
The Compassionate Conservatives are hijacking a complicated financial problem in order to back door swingeing cuts they would never have won a mandate with three years ago. And all the while a rich man is grinning at us with teeth shaped into the word Change. “It’s time to spend less,” he whinnies, “All of the social justice you’ve fought hard to win, ignore it. We won’t tax people like me, we’ll simply take all of it away from you.”
And what’s worse, the Government seems to be stepping into line behind him and nodding their agreement. “Quite right Dave, we’re living beyond our means. We’ll retire downstairs and polish your silverware.”
Change here means a restoration of the old ways, and we’re falling for it.