Tag Archives: ‘Starve the Beast’

Government benefits squeeze confirms intent to shrink UK economy still further

Overbalancing: As the Tories continue to concentrate all the money in the top 10 per cent of earners, the UK economy will overbalance. We’re heading for another crash!

The minority Conservative government’s benefit freeze will take more than £300 out of working households’ budgets, meaning less cash to spend into the economy – which will shrink as a result.

The short-sighted move by narrow-minded Tory penny-pinchers means the UK’s economy will be contracting when the full effect of Brexit hits us – a phenomenon that is believed can only amplify the harm.

National economies work best when people at the lowest level of society receive enough money – not only to survive, but to spend on improvements to their homes and lives.

Poor families spend all their money into the economy, and the so-called “multiplier” effect means the cash adds several times its value to the national economy (depending on how it is spent) before it returns to the Treasury as tax.

In contrast, rich people spend only a fraction of their cash into the national economy and put the rest in their bank account – most probably in a tax haven, to ensure that the Treasury won’t receive the tax it is due and therefore starving the economy. Not only that, but huge tax cuts granted by the Tories since 2010 mean that the tax contribution by the rich has diminished significantly.

The whole process is part of the Tory “starve the beast” project described by This Writer a few days ago.

By depriving the poor of the money they need – simply to survive – the Tories are pushing millions of people towards deprivation and debt. There won’t be money available to pay the rent, to pay for cars or public transport, for heating, for food; there won’t be disposable income for luxury items.

Debt will proliferate, the economy will stall and crash – and then there won’t be any money for anyone.

The Tories don’t care because they don’t understand economics.

The Government has confirmed it will be freezing benefits until 2020 costing a typical working family around £300 per year.

Caroline Dinenage, a work and pensions minister, said the freeze for working age people who receive benefits will go on even as the state pension and some other benefits increase by three per cent, in line with inflation.

This will be a real terms cut in income of £315 a year for the typical working family with two children as the cost of living will eat further into their income, according to a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The freeze, which has been in place since 2015, has coincided with the longest fall in living standards in the past 60 years with the thinktank saying real disposable incomes are now to set to fall for 19 successive quarters.

In a report published before the budget, the foundation warned the freeze would worsen inequality which would take an average of £715 away from the poorest third of households whereas the richest third looks set to gain £185 from other tax breaks.

Some will see the cut partially offset by the increase in minimum wage, which will go up to £7.83 per hour from April, but many will still feel the squeeze as the Treasury hopes to save £1.9bn over the next year.

Source: Government confirms freeze on working age benefits minutes after Prince Harry wedding news revealed


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Tory twit(terer) undermines seven years of government economic policy – in ONE TWEET

Philip Hammond, by cartoonist Dave Brown: Mr Hammond’s policies are more likely to strangle the UK’s public services than the Chancellor himself.

It takes a special kind of genius to (metaphorically) shoot your own mouth off and shoot every Tory MP of the last seven years in the foot – at the same time.

That is the achievement of a Twitter user who, with stunning insight, calls him- or herself “Voice of Reason”.

This person clearly set out to undermine Labour’s answer to this week’s Budget statement, which Conservatives have tried to reduce to a claim that John McDonnell would borrow so much money, he would bankrupt the country.

That is impossible in a sovereign country, and there’s a huge difference between borrowing money, spending it, and having nothing to show for it – as the Conservatives have been doing – and borrowing in order to invest in business and receive a financial reward in return.

These facts seem to have bypassed “Voice of Reason”, who transmitted the following to the world:

Let’s just nail the fundamental flaw in the argument right now: John McDonnell and Labour have never claimed they won’t need to pay back any money they borrow – they want to invest such cash in money-making enterprises that will make a profit for the country. That doesn’t mean the premise of John McDonnell borrowing money for a house is false, as the Tories’ own policies have offered ways to make that work, too – as we shall see, now.

I don’t know whether the people who responded to this ill-advised outburst were Labour supporters or economists, or Labour-supporting economists, but they dealt out a lesson that everyone should remember. Let’s consider their responses:

With apologies to those who are easily offended by harsh language, that really is how this works. Labour is proposing business loans that are intended to produce a return on the investment – making more money than the initial outlay, which is exactly the same as any other business loan.

For ways to make money after buying a house, try this:

https://twitter.com/mikey_rains/status/934051173107163136

Alternatively, Jude (@faybijou) wrote:

“Or:
“Borrower: I’ll leave it empty. House prices will rise because there aren’t enough to go round. And then eventually sell it at an inflated price and hide the profit in Paradise.”

Here’s a response that shows up Tory police for what it is:

https://twitter.com/JohnHare17/status/934042437458198528

Other commenters didn’t bother copying the style of the original tweet to point out its uselessness, but went straight for an explanation of the substantive issues:

https://twitter.com/Rugbymumno9/status/934039376090357761

The response to this showed up “Voice of Reason” even more:

https://twitter.com/Rugbymumno9/status/934077593422352384

Yes indeed – where is our money? Panama?

Moving on, try this:

This exchange is quite funny:

In fact the UK government never has any problem finding people who will lend money. The process was explained on the BBC’s Daily Politics this week: The Bank of England issues debt securities called “gilts” in one of two forms. A conventional gilt is a bond issued by the UK government which pays the holder a fixed cash payment (or coupon) every six months until maturity, at which point the holder receives his final coupon payment and the return of the principal; index-linked gilts pay coupons which are initially set in line with market interest rates.

Government bonds are usually in the currency of the country of origin, in which case the government cannot be forced to default.

The terms on which a government can sell bonds depend on how creditworthy the market considers it to be. International credit rating agencies will provide ratings for the bonds, but market participants will make up their own minds about this.

Not only does the UK have its own sovereign currency, meaning it cannot be forced to default on its debts, but market participants have chosen to ignore several downgrades by credit rating agencies since the Conservative took office in 2010.

This means UK gilts are considered extremely safe forms of investment. About two-thirds of UK gilts are held by insurance companies and pension funds. The UK has absolutely no problem finding lenders.

The claim that Labour has only ever spent money without making any return is risible. History shows that Labour is the party with a record of paying off the national debt; Tories merely increase it. Recent history shows that the Tories have borrowed more than every UK Labour government there has ever been.

https://twitter.com/GreatRedDragon0/status/934043176503074817

This last response nails “Voice of Reason”‘s problem in a nutshell:

Correct.

It is indeed economically illiterate to claim that anyone borrowing money to invest it in profitable enterprises, then using the profit to pay off the debt with interest, and still having cash left over, is a “nutcase”.

It is also economically illiterate to claim that the national debt will be paid off by borrowing money and then slashing economic growth, as the Tories have claimed for the past seven years.

So their economic policy can’t be about paying off the national debt.

In fact, Tory economic policy is about ensuring that the state cannot fund public services and must therefore sell off publicly-owned assets, forcing citizens to pay for services themselves – a far more expensive form of provision which therefore makes a large profit for any privately-owned provider of those services.

It is also about ensuring that the majority of citizens simply don’t have the funds to pay for those services privately, putting them at a permanent disadvantage in comparison to the rich asset- and shareholders.

That is why the Conservative-led governments of the past seven years have offered huge tax cuts to the richest people in the UK, when that money could have been used to help pay off the deficit and debt; and austerity to the poorest, cutting public services and business investments that could have brought in revenue for the state.

The policy means tax revenues are never enough to cover the cost of public services, providing the Tories with an excuse to go on cutting them until there are none left.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), we will reach that point in 2031. The Tories themselves are hoping to manage it in 2025.

Those are the dates at which these two organisations reckon the deficit will go into surplus, and that’s why we may conclude that it is the date by which all public services the Tories want to sell into private hands will have gone.

And this is the only explanation of Conservative policy on taxation and borrowing that makes any sense at all.


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UKIP cautiously unveils new policies – the inadvisable and the unachievable

UKIP or U-F-O? If the Purple Peril wants to gain votes it needs to shed the antisocial image it has gained from the antics of people like Janice Atkinson, who had to apologise for a racist remark earlier this week.

UKIP or U-F-O? If the Purple Peril wants to gain votes it needs to shed the antisocial image it has gained from the antics of people like Janice Atkinson, who had to apologise for a racist remark earlier this week.

At long last, after months in a vacuum after its last set of policies was removed from the Internet as a risk to the party’s popularity, UKIP has unveiled the new plans that will take it to the next general election.

They are a cautious mix. Many are continuations of Coalition policies, while the rest aim to throw out the least popular moves of the last four years.

Social security

So the Tory-motivated Bedroom Tax is out, but child benefit would be confined to two children (as Conservatives desire). People who have been employed for a long time and have paid their taxes would receive higher Jobseekers’ Allowance, which is a proposal that Labour has been considering.

Losers would be new migrants into the UK (quelle surprise) who would not be eligible for any benefits at all until they had been paying tax and national insurance for five years – and “people who have made a living out of having children so that they can get more benefits and a bigger house”. This last group has attracted considerable animosity from large swathes of the public for decades but, although it is not mythical, it may be very hard to pin down those who belong to it as the definition depends on intention. What about people who had a larger family because they were in good jobs, which then fell apart?

It seems pensioners would also lose out as, despite having examined the issue of public sector pensions, UKIP’s policy unit “ran away” from it. There will be no relief from the Conservative-led attack on pensioners and the increase in the retirement age will remain, if UKIP ever formed a government.

Tax

UKIP’s tax policies have undergone a major overhaul, in recognition of the calamitously regressive decision to ask lower-earners to agree to a huge tax rise in order to subsidise a cut for the massively rich. The flat-rate 31 per cent income tax idea is in the dustbin.

Instead, UKIP has decided to copy the Coalition and follow George W Bush’s ‘Starve The Beast’ policy. That’s right – they want more tax cuts for the super-rich, while the lowest earners including those on the minimum wage would be taken out of tax altogether. The new top tax rate would be 40p in the pound (from 45p at the moment) and earners would have to be making £45,000 a year to pay it (up from £41,865 at the moment).

This means the Treasury would receive far less revenue than it does even today, necessitating spending cuts (as it did in Dubya’s USA and as it has here, although the Tories have cannily failed to admit it). In line with its historically jingoistic stance, UKIP would abolish aid to foreign countries, removing a need for less than one per cent of current UK budgets (gosh).

Environment

More seriously, UKIP would abolish the Climate Change Act, whose commitment to environmentally-friendly energy is allegedly costing the country £18 billion every year. Apparently it is more desirable to choke on the fumes from fossil fuels in UKIP’s book.

Business

Another sinister claim comes from Tim Aker, head of UKIP’s policy unit: “There are elements of BIS [Business, Innovation and Skills] that we are looking into.” How he proposes to shrink this department, and what it may mean for the economy, are anybody’s guess.

Democracy

UKIP also has a plan to introduce a “direct democracy” mechanism allowing the public to organise petitions which, if successful, could result in national referendums. Anyone who has used the current government e-petition system will be wary of this. Successful e-petitions have led to debates in Parliament – which have resulted in no action whatever. That system is a public relations exercise and a waste of time; it seems unlikely that UKIP’s proposal will be any different.

All in all, this is a good manifesto for a party considering Coalition with the Conservatives.

However, with UKIP registering only around 12 per cent in polls for the general election, it is likely that the party’s best result will be a gain of only between three and six seats.

If UKIP really wants to be the “people’s army” its campaigners suggested during the European elections, it will have to come much closer to what the people want.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The Magical Land of Os(borne) – fantasy economics

131004osborne

George Osborne’s claim that his nonsense policies have magically turned the economy around, coupled with his equally-preposterous claim that the UK needs another seven years of austerity before he can balance the books – provides a fine example of the duality at the heart of Conservative economic policy.

He needs to convince you that his choices have made a difference and the nation’s fortunes are changing, but he also need to convince you that we’re in a terrible mess – or he won’t have an excuse to continue cutting more public services and selling them into the private sector so his rich friends can use them to fleece you.

The two claims are not only contradictory of each other – they are self-contradictory. The evidence shows that Osborne’s policies delayed the recovery, rather than encouraging it, and the ‘Starve The Beast’ plan he cribbed from George W Bush has long been recognised as harmful to any country’s economic health; by cutting services he is starving the economy of the liquidity that is its lifeblood.

(This is a point worth remembering: Whenever a TV news reporter says Osborne or the government want to make cuts in order to “save” money, they mean the government will be “taking money out of the economy” – which will consequently be worth less. As a result, some people will have to become poorer. Can you guess who?)

Before we congratulate Osborne in ways that are anything like as effusive as David Cameron’s endorsement earlier this week, let’s look at the facts: According to Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, in three and a half years, the UK’s economic performance has improved by just 2.2 per cent – against a prediction of 8.2 per cent by his pet Office of Budget (Ir)Responsibility. In the second quarter of 2013, Gross Domestic Product was 3.3 per cent below its pre-crisis peak and 18 per cent below its 1980-2007 trend, making this the slowest British recovery on record.

Osborne and the Conservatives point proudly to the strong increase in private-sector jobs but, as Mr Wolf states, “this is hardly something to boast about”. While employment – on paper – is at an all-time high, productivity has fallen back to the level it reached in 2005. What does this say about the quality of the jobs that are being filled? Are they high-quality, long-term, well-paid careers, or are they part-time, zero-hours, throwaway fillers? We all know the answer to that. Average wages have been cut by nine per cent, in real terms, since 2010 – and they are still falling.

Even by the standards of other crisis-hit, high-income economies, the UK’s performance has been dismal, says Mr Wolf, pointing to work by Spencer Dale and James Talbot of the Bank of England. This indicates that the Eurozone has performed just as badly – but the difference is that the Eurozone countries do not have control of every economic lever that is available to them; Britain does.

Osborne claims that high global inflation and the performance of the Eurozone have impacted on the UK; Mr Wolf’s assertion is that austerity is the reason for this disappointment – and Osborne was just as much a cheerleader for austerity in Europe as he has been for it in the UK. Furthermore, as the Labour Party pointed out in its report, “David Cameron’s out of touch, you’re out of pocket” (2013), inflation in other G7 countries has been lower than in the UK, indicating that high global prices have little to do with the problem.

“Yes, but,” says Osborne, “austerity has kept interest rates down.” Did it? Did it really? In that case, interest rates would have been kept low because of the promise (in 2010) that borrowing would be brought down by 2015. When the Coalition came to power, Osborne said he expected to borrow a total of £322 billion by 2015. In March this year, that figure had risen to £564 billion – an increase of 75 per cent! Meanwhile the deadline for the national debt to start falling has slipped from 2014-15 back to 2017-18 and the level at which the debt was expected to hit its peak has jumped from 70.3 per cent of GDP to 85.6 per cent. The deficit has been stuck at £120 billion a year for the last two financial years, despite the repeated claims that it has been cut by one-third. None of this has affected long-term interest rates and neither did the loss of the UK’s AAA credit rating in February this year.

Here’s why – as explained in an article on this site in June:

As Professor Malcolm Sawyer notes in Fiscal Austerity: The ‘cure’ which makes the patient worse (Centre for Labour and Social Studies, May 2012), “It is well-known that a government can always service debt provided that it is denominated in its own currency. At the limit the UK government can ‘print the money’ in order to service the debt: this would not take form of literally ‘printing money’ but rather the Central Bank being a willing purchaser of government debt in exchange for money.” This is what is happening at the moment. Our debt is in UK pounds, and we can always service it. Our creditors know that, so they remain happy to continue financing it.

“With interest rates at the zero bound, austerity weakened the economy relative to what might otherwise have happened,” wrote Mr Wolf.

Nobody thought recovery would never happen under austerity, merely that it would be damagingly delayed… This has been an unnecessarily protracted slump. It is good that recovery is here, though it is far too soon to tell its quality and durability. But this does not justify what remains a large unforced error.”

Looking to the future, Osborne has reacted to the new barrage of Labour policies, all of which have been carefully costed against savings in current budget areas, with a series of rushed measures that are entirely unfunded. Remember that, next time a Conservative accuses Labour of borrowing and spending!

The married couples’ allowance, worth less than £4 per week (and less than £2 if you’re on a low income) is unfunded. The promised fuel duty freeze is unfunded. These will cost more than £2 billion and no source has been identified.

And what about the £12 billion stage two of the housing ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, that Osborne rushed forward to this month?

He has pulled £14 billion out of nowhere, but still expects us to believe he will resume his stalled deficit cuts by £35 billion by 2015, £42 billion by 2017-18 and £43 billion by 2020, in order to create a budget surplus.

All the while, he is promising “improved living standards for this generation and the next”. For whom? These cuts must come from somewhere, and they mean removing a cumulative total of £120 billion from the economy each year by 2020. That has to come from somewhere.

Look at the amount by which bosses’ pay in FTSE100 companies has increased in the last three years – 32 per cent, while average worker pay has dropped by nine per cent.

Do you really think the “Have-yachts” will be paying for these cuts?

Further reading: George Osborne’s credibility gap (Alistair Darling, Guardian)

Have the Tories taken leave of their senses? (Michael Meacher, blog article)

From the DWP to the economy – the Coalition’s growing credibility chasm (Vox Political, June 2, 2013)

Treasury responds to Vox’s austerity challenge (Vox Political, May 13, 2013)

Another Tory ‘bait-and-switch’ scam – shares-for-rights scheme is employers’ tax dodge

shares-rights-tax

“This government is taking action domestically on [tax] avoidance and evasion,” wrote George Osborne in an article for The Observer, back in February. How right he was.

The Tory-led Coalition has done everything in its power to facilitate tax avoidance and ignore evasion, it seems, including the latest wheeze, which is to link it with a feeble attempt to get working people to throw away their rights in exchange for a few shares.

The BBC has reported that the new status of “employee shareholder” has come into force, allowing working people to claim shares in the company that employs them, if they give up the rights to claim unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working (except in the case of two weeks’ parental leave), and some rights to request time off for training.

Nobody in their right mind would do this and expert opinion is that take-up will be small. So why do it?

Well, it’s not about the workers at all. It’s about helping company bosses avoid paying their taxes. Even the right-wing-leaning BBC was unable to cover up the facts (although it left them until the end of the article):

“Companies can also claim some corporation tax deductions on the issuance of shares to employees.”

Yes – it’s a tax dodge!

Here’s how it works, according to the Mirror: “New analysis show[s] it could also allow executives to avoid paying revenue on company shares. Tax experts commissioned by the TUC believe ruthless bosses could classify themselves as ’employee owners’ to escape Capital Gains Tax. And the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the scheme could cost up to £1 billion, mainly due to tax avoidance.”

This will, of course, involve a drop in tax income to the Treasury, meaning increases in the national debt and deficit, which the Tories will no doubt use to justify further cuts to public service budgets as part of their ‘Starve The Beast’ agenda. Remember, this country has a chancellor who, for ideological purposes, actually wants to harm the British economy.

Meanwhile, as our friend at Another Angry Voice has put it: “If you’re thick enough to cash in your labour rights for a few grand worth of shares in the company you work for, then in a couple of years time when people are calling you ‘feckless’ for being unemployed, you’ll be one of the minority that actually deserve it (and your shares might well be worth only pennies in the pound compared to the value they had when you scrapped your labour rights to get them).”

UK Treasury changes title to ‘Department of Clutching At Straws’

The economy is growing: The Coalition government will claim credit but there is no reason to believe it has anything to do with current government policy - quite the opposite, in fact.

The economy is growing: The Coalition government will claim credit but there is no reason to believe it has anything to do with current government policy – quite the opposite, in fact.

All right, the Treasury hasn’t really changed its name – but it might as well have, after the joy that greated this week’s meagre growth figures.

The Office for National Statistics is reporting growth in construction, manufacturing, services and agriculture in an estimate based on 44 per cent of actual data on economic activity during the second quarter of 2013 (April-June). That’s less than half of the evidence.

We live in times when the whole of the evidence means a great deal – for example, information on Q1 of 2012 that put growth at a standstill – neither up nor down – meant the UK did not enter a double-dip recession, even though the economy contracted in the periods immediately before and after. In real terms we were backtracking – but on paper, no.

Let’s remember, also, that the organisations that record our economic fortunes are liable to revise their predictions down as well as up – remember when the Office of Budget Irresponsibility changed its mind about the growth figures for 2012? It had predicted growth of 2.5 per cent for that year. In fact, once we iron out the ups and downs, the economy really only bumped along at a roughly steady state.

The International Monetary Fund had predicted a more conservative 1.6 per cent growth for 2012 – but in January of that year revised this down to 0.6 per cent. You get the picture.

The 0.6 per cent figure was in line with market expectations, though – and that is a good sign. But 0.6 per cent is a very fragile figure and the prospects for the rest of the year are “highly uncertain”, as market analyst Richard Driver said in the BBC News website’s report.

We all knew that the economy would start turning upwards again at some point. That it has taken five years to do so indicates the severity of the banker-induced crash – and also the lack of any investment in recovery.

In the past, the upturns arrived comparatively swiftly – but there had been a willingness on the part of both government and businesses to put money into it. The current government has been sucking money out of the economy in the pursuit of Gideon‘s nonsensical “expansionary fiscal contraction” and getting the deficit down – meaning that all the effort has been put into cutting spending and none into actually making a buck or two. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that businesses have been sitting on fortunes totalling six or seven per cent of GDP – around £775 billion, according to Michael Meacher.

In his blog, Mr Meacher said he expected the announcement to be “milked by Cameron-Osborne for all it’s worth” and he was not to be disappointed.

“These figures are better than forecast,” said Osborne in the BBC report – claiming credit for something that had nothing to do with him. “Britain is holding its nerve, we are sticking to our plan, and the British economy is on the mend – but there is still a long way to go.”

What will he say if a later revision knocks the figure down again?

Mr Meacher’s blog stated that the growth figures had been inflated “by being talked up by the finance sector”, and stimulated by Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme “which has ploughed taxpayers’ money into mortgages but without increasing the number of houses being built, which can only push up property prices… igniting yet another housing bubble which is the last thing the economy needs”.

He added that the real essentials of recovery are still missing – “an expansion of manufacturing and exports”.

We may have to wait for another government before that happens; the Coalition is too busy exploiting our current economic fragility as an excuse to sell off the family silver – those parts of the NHS it thinks nobody will notice, the Royal Mail, school playing fields, student loans…

I could mention ‘Starve the Beast’ again – but by now you should be on intimate terms with that expression.

(The first Vox Political collection, Strong Words and Hard Times, is now available and may be ordered from this website)

Cameron’s determination to ruin us all continues unabated – BBC

borrowing

David Cameron must think we’re all as stupid as his fellow Conservatives and that party’s most rabid adherents, if the latest BBC report is to be believed.

In it, he responds to comments from his Coalition government’s own Business Secretary, Vince Cable, suggesting the government could consider borrowing more – at, let’s remember, the lowest interest rates in British history – to inject some growth into the economy.

Cable’s remarks are eminently sensible – which is, of course, why Cameron is believed to be moving so quickly to counter them. The fact is that austerity never – ever – brought a country out of debt. Investment is the key. Investment needs money. If you don’t have money, you borrow it from someone who does. Then you pay them back – with interest from your profits. ‘Speculate to accumulate’, as the saying goes. It’s how most Conservatives and Tory voters made their money but Cameron – and his sidekick 0sborne, let’s not forget – inherited theirs and therefore, we may reasonably deduce, know nothing whatsoever about it.

Instead, Cameron will reiterate his insistence on following the ‘Starve the Beast’ policy that George W Bush used to such devastating effect when he was President of the USA, reducing a surplus of $128 billion to a deficit of $10.627 trillion within a few short years.

A decent definition of ‘Starve the Beast’ economic theory is that it is a fiscal strategy to create or increase existing budget deficits via tax cuts to force future reductions in the size of government.

This is clearly what Cameron and his cronies are doing – and the Liberal Democrats are helping them all the way, no matter what Cable says about it. It’s why they’ve borrowed more money in the last two and a half years than the Labour Party did in three terms of office (as a recent meme puts it).

And they will cut the machinery of this country’s government down to the marrow, for no better reason than their own personal enrichment and the fact that it will create huge problems for any government that follows them in 2015.

The BBC report contains excerpts of what Cameron was expected to say in a speech today (Thursday). These deserve interpretation, as their meaning is not entirely clear at first glance:

I know some people think it is being stubborn to stick to a plan. That somehow this is just about making the numbers add up.” He’s setting us all up with a false premise. We don’t think he’s being stubborn; we know his real plan isn’t what he has been trying to sell us. It’s about cutting the state to nothing, impoverishing the vast majority of us in the process and enriching his cronies. This is why, crucially, the numbers don’t add up at all.

The very moment when we’re just getting some signs that we can turn our economy round and make our country a success is the very moment to hold firm to the path we have set.” So the present moment, with the loss of our ‘AAA’ credit rating, high street shop chains dropping like flies and his own political party regularly being dropped to third place in by-elections, would definitely not be that time.

And yes, the path ahead is tough – but be in no doubt, the decisions we make now will set the course of our economic future for years to come.” This is absolutely true. The decisions he makes now will set the course of our economic future for years to come. What a shame nobody seems able, or willing in the case of the Liberal Democrats, to stop him.

And while some would falter and plunge us back into the abyss, we will stick to the course.” He is projecting the effects of his own actions onto his political opponents. He knows perfectly well that it is his course that will lead us straight to that metaphorical abyss – if he hasn’t pitched us over into it already.

The BBC article goes on to say that he will point to the creation of a million extra private sector jobs – a claim that has been debunked many, many times since he first made it. Private sector jobs have been created, but nowhere near a million of them! Also the terms under which people are being employed are appalling.

It is typical of the kind of ridiculous babble to which he and his lieutenants have subjected us for nearly three years now – a period in which our situation has never – not once – offered even the appearance of improvement.

This blog reported only a few days ago that Cameron had been put on notice by his own party – improve or lose the leadership.

The sooner those backbenchers follow through on this threat, the better.

For all of us.