Place your bets on Osborne’s next excuse for economic failure

This is not a good time to run a retail business - the effect of the Coalition's benefit cuts will trickle up and bite our rich retailers and industrialists hard.

This is not a good time to run a retail business – the effect of the Coalition’s benefit cuts will trickle up and bite our rich retailers and industrialists hard.

According to the BBC website, business activity was hit hard by last month’s exceptionally cold weather, with the number of people visiting shops down by more than five per cent.

For one person, this will have been an extremely pleasant piece of news, because for once he won’t have to explain himself.

That person is, of course, Gideon George Osborne.

For one month, he hasn’t been in the unenviable position of having to root around in the political undergrowth for a reason the economy has tanked – that isn’t related to his own hopelessly inadequate economic policies.

For one month only!

He will not have an excuse when the figures come in for April, worse than for March, as sane economic forecasters should expect.

Instinct says he will tell us the funeral of Margaret Thatcher will have something to do with it. He used the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a shield – what goes for ‘matches’ must surely apply also to ‘dispatches’.

The real reason will be the effect of the huge benefit cuts, that will take £19 billion out of the economy over the next year, if commentators are to be believed.

That’s just in money terms. Add in a conservative estimate of the fiscal multiplier (the effect on the economy) and we’re staring into the black pit of a £30.4 billion loss. That would be £500 for every person in the UK, if we were all affected.

But the richest among us won’t be. It is on the poorest and least able to defend themselves that this hammer blow has fallen. The government has been giving money back to the richest, as we all know.

In fact, this show of support for his cosseted buddies might protect them from the storm that’s coming, and may therefore prove to be a shrewd move – but we must all remember that Osborne is not an intelligent man and good fortune coming to anyone as a result of his policies is pure chance.

Because the rich will be affected by the benefit cuts. Poor people have no choice but to spend the money they receive. They have to buy things they need and pay the bills, so it goes on food, heat, light, water, the rent, repairs and other necessaries. With less money available to them, they will not be spending as much in the shops, and will be more careful about how much gas, electricity and water they use, as well.

Who owns and runs the shops? Who owns the shares in the utility companies (now that the bulk of shares have been bought up from the middle-class speculators who bought them in the 1980s)?

The rich.

After a few months of this, we’ll see what happens to their profit margins. My guess is that a £100,000 tax rebate won’t help very much.

The propaganda machine keeps spewing out nonsense, of course. Only last weekend we heard Francis Maude telling Jonathan Dimbleby and the Any Questions audience in Exeter: “The Coalition government, which is two parties which have come together from a different place, in the national interest, to do something quite big and difficult, which is to address the biggest budget deficit any country in the west had.”

It wasn’t the largest budget deficit of any western country – either by size or percentage of GDP. That was a flat-out lie and I wish Jimbles would pull him up on it.

The deficit in the United States is greater than ours in percentage terms; in money terms, it dwarfs the UK.

Across the whole world, Japan has the biggest deficit.

Strangely, you don’t hear the Japanese making a big fuss about it.


  1. Chris Tandy April 15, 2013 at 11:06 am - Reply

    This Filth-government cannot justify wasting £12 million (+???) on the old bat’s shove-off into oblivion, ( plus potential ‘£15 million thatcher-library and museum, and interactive leisure-centre or whatever) , and then blame the economic down-turn on it? …Can they….?

  2. Gracie April 15, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

    However, if Osborne hadn’t ruined the recovery and further weakened the economy, we would have been able to withstand whatever the weather threw at us. It’s absurd that Osborne can use the weather as an excuse, it was winter, it snowed, it happens and if it doesn’t affect Canada, Russia or the US, China etc, why is it affecting this little island?

  3. Chris Tandy April 15, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    He might just as well blame it on: “Flobbla-dobbla, winkerty-pinkerty, crinkum-crankum, spisha-sposha, yulk..”
    No, I don’t know what it means either. I just made it up.
    The Towel-Folder might just as well do likewise. His devotees will believe him, and no one else has much say in the matter, and questioning his reasoning gets nowhere.

  4. Jj April 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Gosbo should blame IDS. Austerity might weaken the labour market, but IDS hasn’t made a single wise investment with his budget. He can be relied on to find the least enchanted of all the magic beans out there and this is something, when push comes to shove, Osborne can use as a get out clause.

  5. beetleypete April 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    I don’t know how much Trident Nuclear Missile Replacement (what was wrong with the other ones? It’s not as if they have ever been used) Programme will cost. I suspect it is something like a trillion quid. That alone could sort out the NHS for decades. But no, we hear. We need it, because of the current threat from N. Korea. Come on guys, don’t piss in my face, then tell me it’s raining!

  6. rainbowwarriorlizzie April 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply
  7. Gracie April 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Japan got their very large budget deficit because they trod the same path that Osborne, Cameron and Clegg are treading right now. When Osborne first announced his austerity measures it was said that we could go the way of Japan whose economy has been bumping along the bottom for years and this is exactly what has happened. This past few weeks Japan is now changing but look at what it has taken to make them see, is this what is going to happen to us? In 2010, despite the worse global recession for over 80 years, despite a banking collapse, we were in recovery and we had growth, government borrowing was falling, where is all that now? It’s gone and we have had a double dip recession only relieved for one quarter because of the Olympics, we may have a triple dip and the deficit is rising, the debt is rising and borrowing is rising, these are the indisputable facts and yet we still have organisations like the CBI backing this government when they are obviously not just failing, but failing badly – why? Why is the press giving this appalling government an easy ride against virtually all leading economists comments and predictions etc? Why?

    This is not a partisan comment and it has to be said, no more pussy footing around! It is a fact that despite the the terrible crash we suffered in 2008, this country was far better off under the far from perfect Labour government warts ‘n all, yet the right wing press, the City, business organisations, health companies, even the Governor of the Bank of England allowed himself to become entangled with Cameron and Osborne – why? Just what is going on in this country?

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