autumn statement, Boris Johnson, Brexit, Chancellor, EU, european union, Exchequer, fuel duty, immigration, investment, John McDonnell, Mike Sivier, mikesivier, National Health Service, NHS, Philip Hammond, productivity, stagnate, stagnation, Theresa May, Vox Political, wage
Probably because there are very few people around with the economic expertise to know that outrage is the proper way to respond.
Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement – his first real contribution to UK politics as Chancellor of the Exchequer – was a long admission that the Conservative Party has ruined the country, hidden behind an attempt to blame it all on Brexit.
No, Philip; your party’s policies are responsible.
So it seems the UK is going to have to borrow an extra £59 billion – just to cover the cost to the country of Brexit.
This means the claim on the side of the famous red Brexit bus, that we could put £350 million a week into NHS services was definitely a lie. Let’s not beat around the bush any more – it was a lie and the people who made that statement are liars who cannot be trusted with anything.
Oh – but Boris Johnson, one of the arch-liars, is now Foreign Secretary and has a huge responsibility to deliver the best possible exit from the European Union for the population of the UK. Honestly, how do you think that’s going to work out?
We now know there will be less money available for the NHS and other public services than before, due to lower productivity growth (because foreign countries aren’t buying from us) and – yes – lower immigration.
Your wages and prosperity will suffer like never before, because of this. But I bet your right-wing neighbour still thinks immigrant-bashing is a worthwhile activity.
Paul Johnson, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has said, “One cannot stress enough how dreadful that is.”
And all as a result of the vote for a Conservative Government last year.
It is worth emphasizing, as many commentators have, the almost-complete failure to mention the National Health Service or provide any more money for it, even though it is in a funding crisis of horrifying proportions. Mr Hammond says announcements about extra funding for the service have already been made, ignoring the fact that his government has not provided enough.
Perhaps one reason for this is the pitiful increase in public investment announced by Mr Hammond, at a time when interest rates are at an all-time low. There will never be a better time to borrow money and invest it in the UK’s infrastructure, but instead we’re getting 0.3 or 0.4 per cent of GDP, in each financial year leading up to 2020 – slightly more than from New Labour in the years before the financial crisis.
This tells us – although Mr Hammond will never say it aloud – that the Conservatives are continuing their squeeze on public services, started back in the dark days of the Coalition Parliament. One might say it is all part of the plan to take everything away from public hands, as started by Margaret Thatcher and her cronies back in 1979 – if only one had the experience and understanding to see that far.
There’s more – we could discuss the hidden policy not to increase fuel duty, that throws out all the economic predictions but gives the Tories a favourable headline in their poodle press; or we could mention the new fiscal rules which set the scene for panic cuts in public investment as we approach the now-fixed (rather than rolling) date for the deficit to be cut back to a new level set by Mr Hammond.
But it is all too depressing, really.
Someone recently said that, with a May as prime minister and a Hammond as chancellor, all we need is a Clarkson for the UK’s government to emulate the former Top Gear presenting team, now relegated to internet TV on their Grand Tour. It is true that Clarkson once considered standing in the 2015 election.
Some might consider that a good idea – a brand behind which to market the UK’s flailing government.
But let’s be honest: Clarkson, Hammond and May were successful because they presented themselves as three petrol-headed idiots.
With May, Hammond and Boris Johnson in the UK’s driving seat, we don’t need any marketing.
We already know they are idiots. Sadly, we also know that their calamities won’t just be television entertainment – we’ll have to live with the consequences.
But the response to the Autumn Statement has been muted. Some have even claimed that John McDonnell was wrong to challenge it by demanding more investment.
This is because we do not – as a nation – know enough about economics. Otherwise we would be on the streets in front of Parliament, right now, demanding a change of direction – or a change of government.