Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you can always count on Tories to come up with an idea so hare-brained it makes you wonder whether they belong to the same species as the rest of us, or to some bizarre, inbred offshoot of humanity where evolution gave up on them after realising their logic runs backwards in comparison to everybody else.
If you’re wondering what has provoked this rare torrent of invective from my normally mild-mannered keyboard, I’ll tell you:
I was wandering through internet news coverage of yesterday’s events, partly in search of something to write about, partly out of interest in what other commentators had to say about the latest economic downturn (the latest? Have we become so casual about it, so quickly?), but mostly out of a desperate need to find an observation about the situation that hadn’t already been thrashed out in front of Joe and Jane Public a thousand times already.
It was disappointing work and I was starting to give up hope. Mostly I was reading that
Gideon was “under pressure” to change his cuts agenda (heard it before!); that he told everyone to get stuffed (again!); that he wants further spending cuts to come into play during 2015-16 (boring! But also psychotic!); that Nick (We’re Sorry) Clegg has admitted cuts in capital spending early in this Parliament were a mistake – but he isn’t going to do anything about it (windbag!); that Boris (Zipwire) Johnson (windbag! Oh– sorry, I got carried away there; forgot I hadn’t actually mentioned what he’d done) has tried to show what a man of the people he is by saying there’s huge potential in the UK, if people are given a feeling of confidence – and then blew it all by talking about a “hair-shirt, Stafford Cripps agenda”. Cripps was a Labour chancellor under Clement Attlee, who tried to use taxes and rationing to control economic growth. I’m a Labour Party member and I didn’t know that, so what chance anybody else has, I don’t know. I do know that, by using that reference, Boris stuck his foot right in his mouth (windbag! No – wind-zeppelin!); and that David (Flashman) Cameron wants to be the Prime Minister who secured Britain’s place in a newly-democratic European Union, or some such nonsense, showing yet again that he is completely divorced from the reality faced by you and me every day.
Then I read this, in a Guardian article:
“Osborne is also under pressure from rightwing thinktanks which want him to offer tax cuts to boost consumer spending, with money taken from departmental efficiency savings and deeper welfare cuts.”
– but only because it’s so whacko-Jacko that it could only come from a right-wing think-tank.
Tax cuts to boost consumer spending? Firstly, if you’re thinking that means a cut to the base rate of income tax, please get a grip. They mean more tax cuts for the richest in society – the people who actually have all the money.
(There’s loads of it around, by the way. Oodles and boodles of the stuff. It’s sitting in banks, in tax havens all around the world and also in the Channel Islands. It has to go somewhere, and it’s been going to the rich. That’s what Conservative policy does, whether the Liberal Democrats are hanging on the coat-tails or not.)
The most obvious problem with that is, the richest in society don’t actually need tax cuts to put more money into society. They can pay their way perfectly well as matters stand. Consumer spending won’t budge if they get another fat rebate (remember, the top rate of Income Tax is already dropping by a fat five per cent, and Corporation Tax has plummeted by a quarter since the Tory rabble got into the Treasury).
Behind that is a worse problem – that it implies less money will go into the Treasury, to be spent on public services. As a result, those services will suffer. Starve something and it will wither and die. You can check the truth of that by depriving a plant of water. Before you know it, you’ll have a dried-up stem where your beloved dahlia used to be, and nobody to blame but yourself.
If idiots like George 0sborne do that to public spending, we’ll only have ourselves to blame, because we’re the ones who gave the Tories enough of the vote to allow them to Con their way back into power (collectively, I mean. I didn’t vote for them and I don’t think I know anybody who’ll admit that they did). What will we end up with? A withered economy; shrivelled-up and useless.
But no! They say the tax cuts should be funded with money taken from departmental efficiency savings and deeper welfare (I prefer “social security”) cuts.
Clearly it has skipped their notice that 0sborne has been having a hard time finding efficiency savings within government departments – they were, in fact, pretty much down to the bone when he turned up at Number 11 (if we’re to believe certain commentators, anyway) – so the bulk of the bill will end up being paid from the social security budget.
In other words, it’s yet another attack on the poor.
They clearly haven’t realised – even yet! – that it’s the poor who have been paying for their good times, ever since the Coalition got into power back in 2010. They’ve been propping up their useless economic model with money taken from the most vulnerable of us – in fact, particularly targeting the most vulnerable, presumably in the hope that they will die off before anyone important wakes up enough to realise what’s going on and stand up for them. Sadly, it’s a policy that has worked, so far, thanks to copious support from the right-wing media, who’ve managed to persuade many of the poorer sectors of society that turkeys should, in fact, vote to support Christmas.
Almost as mad as having a slap-up meal in a swish place like Davos, the day before figures are published showing that the economy you’ve designed has tanked. Again.