Tag Archives: Macro

The Tories have run the UK into the dirt and Labour needs to ram the point home. Here’s how

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson thinks it’s for handing out to his party’s friends and donors rather than for investing in the UK economy. Labour needs to explain why his Tories, despite their false claims, are silly with our cash.

It’s no secret that Labour under Keir Starmer is failing to make the right points against Boris Johnson’s lying Tories.

Some of the worst falsehoods in the Tory narrative are about the economy – but, as Mainly Macro‘s Simon Wren-Lewis mentioned (on which I expanded), Labour has consistently failed to address them in any meaningful way.

Professor Wren-Lewis has followed up his article with a new piece suggesting possible pressure-points Labour could attack.

I think he’s wrong to suggest Keir Starmer should do so, as Starmer is unlikely to want to – or indeed to be around for long after the local elections next month, but the ideas are sound and whoever becomes the new leader should certainly consider them seriously. They are:

1. Austerity – Conservatives from David Cameron onwards claimed austerity was a vital response to the economic crisis of 2008 onwards; in fact it harmed the economy.

Labour should assert – forcefully – that there was no debt crisis and the economy needed stimulation rather than starvation. Tory austerity not only delayed any recovery, but diminished it so that wages are now – perhaps permanently – lower.

So the Tories attacked the UK’s economic well-being in order to impoverish the wider population.

2. The second wave of Covid-19 was much worse that it could have been because Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak resisted an early lockdown.

This delay meant not only that many more lives were lost to the virus than ever needed to be, but also that the lockdown that eventually had to be imposed had to be much longer.

So the Tories attacked the UK economy – and caused many thousands of unnecessary deaths – by failing to lock down strongly and early when cases started rising.

3. Brexit has created a bureaucracy mountain that has hit exports and many firms very badly. I suspect Professor Wren-Lewis wrote his piece before the extent of the violence in Northern Ireland became clear to him, otherwise he could have mentioned this.

It means the Tory-created bureaucracy has harmed the UK economy in a way that has actually re-kindled the Troubles in Northern Ireland after 23 years of hard-won peace.

Professor Wren-Lewis goes on to state that Labour avoids the argument because party leaders know the Tories will answer it with claims about “overspending” by the last Labour government.

But these claims have always been false:

Prof Wren-Lewis also suggests a few responses to the usual attacks we can expect from the Tories and their lackeys in the mainstream media. For example:

No, the Coalition government’s austerity measures did not save the UK from a financial crisis. The Conservatives have demonstrated, many times now, that the Bank of England will create any money needed to cover the UK’s debts, if the markets won’t or can’t do so. Risk of inflation is negligible for reasons we’ve seen in action in the Covid crisis.

No, it isn’t reasonable to suggest Labour was partly responsible for the damage the crash of 2008 onwards caused by pointing at its failure to regulate the banking sector. At the time, the Conservatives were demanding even less regulation, meaning they would have caused more harm to the economy if they’d had the chance.

And no, Labour did not “overspend”. That party left office in 2010 with a record deficit of more than 10 per cent of GDP, but only because of global economic events and measures taken to prevent job losses after banks started collapsing. After 11 years of Conservative rule the UK has a record deficit of 17 per cent of GDP – because of “overspending”? Arguments that Labour would also have introduced austerity can be overcome by pointing out that the party’s critics can’t criticise the party for both over- and underspending.

Finally, Prof Wren-Lewis suggests that the argument about Tory economic incompetence may be wrapped up in a larger attack on Tory incompetence in general:

Boris Johnson and his Tories have been incompetent in handling Covid, running the NHS, looking after law and order, and handling public money.

Their only success has been in handing public money to their personal friends and funders.

Put it like that and Labour is on a path to electoral victory again – if that party can devise policies that capture the public imagination (Jeremy Corbyn was very good at that) and defend them against Tory attack lines (he wasn’t quite so successful there).

But Keir Starmer won’t put it like that because he simply doesn’t have the grit for it. That’s why we have to wait for the next Labour leader and hope that they will.

Source: mainly macro: Labour should start contesting the Tory record in running the economy

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Tory ideas about money have been wrong since before 2010. Here’s the reason

Flag-waving fools: Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have no idea how to run a country. They rely on patriotism to blind the gullible while they take your cash – and still put us into debt.

Some of us have been saying this for years but here’s a big-league economist to back us up.

Remember all the talk about Labour having “Maxed out the national credit card” that David Cameron and George Osborne used to win just enough seats to form a coalition with oily Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in 2010?

It was nonsense. I said it at the time (and many times afterwards in articles on This Site. You can’t compare a national economy with household income and expenditure.

But it seems people are still being taken in by it because the Tories are still using it as the basis of their economic model.

That is the reason the UK has fallen deeper and deeper into debt during their 10 years in office. We can only go into debt, while they continue to follow this course.

Richard Murphy explains it very well in the video clip but I’ll paraphrase: while households become better-off by restricting spending, the nation loses out because businesses don’t benefit from that spending and cannot pass the money on through the system – therefore the nation becomes poorer.

So, by restricting spending with austerity policies, the Tory governments of the last 10 years have starved the UK of its economic lifeblood and plunged us into trillions of pounds worth of debt.

The only way to improve our economic situation is by spending into the economy with wise investments that help it to grow.

But Conservatives simply do not understand this basic (macro)economic fact. They never have.

See for yourself:

Some households fared well during the first Covid-19 lockdown. The lack of any way to spend their money meant they were able to pay off debts and bank spare cash.

But that won’t last. In some cases, families are already suffering because their income has fallen below their outgoings and the lockdowns are still going on.

In fact, the Tory plan is to ensure that they leach that money away from all of us as soon as possible.

There is nothing you can do about it in individual households because the household unit is too small to stave off economic intervention from a national government.

But if you group together with others, you might find a way.

Alternatively, you can just stick your head in the sand and wait for Rishi Sunak to empty your bank account and steal your house. It’s up to you.

You’ll probably see the sense in these words on March 2, when Sunak announces his spring budget.

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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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