Connected to the New Labour project was the thinktank Demos. This was ostensibly left-wing, but in fact contained a number of extremely right-wing business leaders and academics. It has been described by one of the leaders of the Libertarian Alliance as
a cavalry of Trojan horses within the citadel of leftism. The intellectual agenda is served up in a left wing manner, laced with left wing clichés and verbal gestures, but underneath all the agenda is very nearly identical to that of the Thatcherites.
See the article ‘Demos’, by William Clark in Lobster 45, Summer 2003.
There you have it. The Libertarians themselves have more or less stated that the free marketeers in Labour are entryists. It’s high time support was shown to Miliband, and these Trojan horses put out to grass.
Oh dear, oh dear! The Tories are in trouble over another campaign offering!
This time it’s a video, not a poster – featuring the voice of Paul Johnson, head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies thinktank, apparently criticising the Labour Party’s plans for the economy.
The recordings quote Mr Johnson as saying “borrowing would be higher under a Labour government… the debt would be higher…. you’ve got more risk with the public finances”.
But the gentleman concerned, who has been described as “the mild mannered nerd who might decide the election”, has said his comments have been taken out of context.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Mr Johnson said the quotes were made up of “small clips from a much broader and obviously much more balanced interview that I gave”.
He said it was a “shame when words are taken in a particular context”.
He also said he “was a bit surprised and wasn’t given any warning” that his voice would feature in the advert.
Asked whether he would like the video taken off YouTube, Mr Johnson said: “Yes I would like it removed,” – but added that he found the film “quite funny”.
Here it is:
As at 9.30pm on January 21, the Conservative Party is defiantly refusing to take the video down.
A spokesman said: “Paul Johnson is perfectly clear that Labour’s economic offering would mean higher borrowing and more debt and that, in turn, creates more risk with the public finances. And that was exactly the point we were making. Voters will decide if they want that or not.”
Ed Miliband desperately needs to change Labour image away from being a bunch of middle-class lawyers, barely different from the Conservatives, and back to being the party of the workers[Image: Reuters].
Ed Miliband is talking the talk, but can he walk the walk?
It seems there may even be a rumour that a senior member of Labour’s health team is about to defect to UKIP.
Here’s Miliband’s problem:
Emily Thornberry, also known as Lady Nugee, now-former shadow attorney general, born in north Surrey to a Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College London and a teacher. Barrister. Has spoken on the need for more affordable housing – but her husband, Sir Christopher Nugee QC, had bought ex-social housing stock for over half a million pounds and receives rental income from the property. She’s clearly the wife of a millionaire and her only contact with the working class is professional. What does she know about how working people live?
Let’s look at Labour’s health team:
Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care and older people, attended Watford Grammar School for Girls and Queens’ College, Cambridge. Has worked for two charities and a thinktank before becoming a SPAD (special advisor) to two cabinet ministers. What does she know about working people?
Luciana Berger, shadow minister for public health, educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, a private school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, the University of Birmingham, ICADE in Madrid and Birkbeck, University of London. Worked for management consultancy Accenture advising FTSE 100 companies including Barclays and BP, as well as the London Stock Exchange, Accenture’s Government Strategy Unit supporting government departments including the Treasury, and became Government and Parliamentary Manager for the National Health Service Confederation. Director of Labour Friends of Israel from 2007-2010. Labour was accused of ‘parachuting’ her in as a candidate for Liverpool Waverley in the 2010 elections. What does she know about working people?
And Labour is likely to ‘parachute’ even more “preferred” candidates into seats that become vacant between now and the election, it seems.
Will any of these “preferred” candidates have had a real job? Are there any ex-factory workers among them? Manual workers of any kind?
Dennis Skinner used to be a miner. His recent ousting from Labour’s National Executive Committee was met with outcry across the party.
Aneurin Bevan also used to be a miner. He went on to become the architect of the National Health Service that the Coalition government is busily breaking up and handing over to Conservative Party donor companies.
If Labour was really the party of working people, it would offer voters the chance to choose working people as their MPs. Instead we see an unending flow of lawyers, advisers and thinktank staffers who’ve never done an honest day’s work in their lives – while working people are sidelined.
That’s the dilemma facing Ed Miliband.
Where are the working people in the party of the workers?
It seems more than half of the UK’s voting public would be willing to pay more income tax in order to fund the National Health Service.
Pollsters ComRes told The Guardianthat 49 per cent of people would accept a tax hike if the money went directly to the NHS, compared with 33 per cent who would not and 18 per cent who didn’t know what they would do.
This must be very gratifying for David Cameron, whose creeping privatisation of the NHS is at least partly to blame for the increasing deficit faced by the UK’s flagship public service. The Private Finance Initiative, introduced by the Conservatives in the early 1990s, must also take much of the flak, along with a reduced funding commitment from the Coalition government.
(We can’t be sure about the government’s funding commitment. Back in 2010, then-NHS chief exec Sir David Nicholson said it would have to make £20 billion of efficiency savings within four years – but the Coalition Agreement of 2010 promised “We will guarantee that health spending increases in real terms in each year of the Parliament”. However – again – by late 2012 the figures showed a real-terms cut in expenditure which meant the government was not taking its commitment seriously.)
Professor Chris Ham, chief executive of health thinktank The King’s Fund, reckons people want to help the NHS because they have been led to believe that it is starting to struggle financially and clinically, and because they value it very highly.
This indicates that the public has been misled.
Look at the Private Finance Initiative. According to Private Eye (issue 1,369, p34), buying its way out of a PFI contract for Hexham General Hospital will cost Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust no less than £114.2 million. That’s exorbitant enough, but consider this: the buy-out will save around £3.5 million a year on PFI costs over the 19 years the contract would otherwise have had to run.
How badly are PFI contracts crippling the NHS? Well, according to The Guardian, PFI repayments were costing the service £1.76 billion – that’s almost two per cent of the £100+billion budget.
So thank goodness for all the kind-hearted earners who are happy to pay an extra penny from every pound they earn, for the NHS. But that won’t cover the projected £30 billion gap in its finances by 2020.
Taking average earnings to be £26,000 per year (as the government does), then every earner would have to pay an extra 4p in the pound. Tax paid on £26k per annum is 20p in the pound, so that’s a tax increase of nearly 17 per cent or one-sixth.
Earners would be £1,040 per year worse-off. That could put many of them in financial difficulty.
And they would be paying debts accrued by big businesses who wanted to profit from healthcare.
Speeches – especially those made by politicians – are checked by several people, not just the author or the person delivering it (these are not necessarily the same person), and even then, the speaker can decide to omit parts or include new information in the moment.
That’s why the words “Check against delivery” appear at the top of every speech issued by political parties to the press. They protect the organisation and its speaker from exactly the sort of criticism currently directed at Mr Miliband by Andrew Dilnot of the UKSA (who should know better) and business minister Matthew Hancock (who made the complaint and therefore, clearly, does not).
Miliband took his information – a claim that four-fifths of all new private-sector jobs created since 2010 are in London – from the Centre for Cities thinktank. Both have stated that they believe the claim to be accurate.
That doesn’t have any bearing on the argument, in fact. The version of the speech received by the press makes it perfectly clear that the statistic is independently-sourced, not an official figure from the Office for National Statistics.
So not only did Mr Miliband not mention it, but there is no official figure against which to compare it. Mr Hancock, Mr Dilnot and the whiners in the news media are attacking him for something he hasn’t done – and that is the only unsurprising aspect of this story.
After all, it isn’t the first time Tories have made false accusations about the Labour Party.
They’re still trying to make us believe the financial crisis was caused by Labour, rather than bankers.
It seems the neoliberal Blairites of New Labour are coming out of the woodwork in an effort to ensure that nobody in their right mind supports the modern Labour Party next year.
According to the Huffington Post, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie reckons that a future Labour government will not undo the Coalition’s hugely unpopular cuts but will continue to impose the austerity that has kept our economy in crisis for the last four years.
In that case, why bother voting for Labour? We’ve already got one lot of Conservatives in power; there’s no need for any more.
Just to recap what we all know already, austerity is no way out of a recession. Economies grow when an increased money supply travels through the system, making profits for businesses and creating the fiscal multiplier effect. This means more tax comes to the government and it is able to pay down its debts. Austerity cuts off that money supply, making it much more difficult for money to circulated, profit to be made and tax to be taken. Evidence shows that the only people who profit from it are those who were rich already.
Indeed, the current economic miracle (if you believe George Osborne) was engineered by government investment – rather than austerity – in a housing price bubble. It’s almost a return to Keynesian economics, but done in a cack-handed, amateurish way that will cause more problems in the long run.
Austerity is, therefore, a Conservative policy and one that should be abandoned if Labour ever comes to power. The fact that this Leslie person is promoting it shows his true-Blue colours. Perhaps someone should start a petition to have him ejected from the party.
Retaining austerity was described by the HuffPost as part of “Labour’s ‘radical’ policy plans”, but this is ridiculous. How can retaining a policy that is already causing uncounted harm be, in any way, radical? It’s just more of the same neoliberal Conservatism.
“George Osborne has had his five years to eradicate the deficit. I am determined that we finish that task on which he has failed,” said Leslie in the article. How does he propose to achieve that aim, if his methods are the same? The man just isn’t making sense.
Meanwhile, a former Blair aide named Nita Clarke has defended another pillar of neoliberalism – privatisation – by making the absurd claim that Labour should not criticise private firms when they fail to deliver public services.
How does Nita Clarke think British citizens feel about being let down on a regular basis by these profit-guzzling clowns, ever since Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives first started letting them into places where they did not belong?
How does Nita Clarke think British citizens felt when neoliberal New Labour refused to push back the tide of privatisation?
How does Nita Clarke think British citizens should feel about the fact that privatisation is now threatening the welfare state, the National Health Service and even state pensions?
Like austerity, privatisation is a fundamental pillar of the current neoliberal agenda. It has no place in the Labour Party, if the Labour Party is serious about opposing the Conservatives at the next election.
There should be no place in Labour for Chris Leslie, Nita Clarke, or anybody who supports their views, either.
It’s a view that might be unpopular with the Blue suits that make up the current Labour leadership.
But it’s the only way Labour will ever come up with a really ‘radical’ – and workable – plan.
Struggling to make an impact: Ed Miliband must reject the Tory Party’s narrative about the need for austerity and bring forward a vision for the future that really does make us ‘One Nation’ again, rather than hanging on David Cameron’s neoliberal coat-tails, as many former Labour voters believe.
The political debate is all about the Labour Party again today – as it has been since the Budget.
The newspapers and websites are full of advice for the party, which is now clearly seen to be struggling to gain any kind of a foothold with electors who have become disillusioned at what might best be called the Party of Very Little Opposition.
Labour “must adopt new principles” according to an alliance of thinktanks and party intellectuals who have written to The Guardian; Ed Miliband has been told “don’t play safe” with the party’s manifesto according to an article on the same paper’s site.
We can probably discount the Telegraph article by Dan Hodges, claiming that Labour is “closed for business”. It plays to right-wing readers’ prejudices just a little too much.
Will Ed pay any attention to these pleas? Evidence suggests he will not.
I should clarify from the outset that, as a Labour member, I want the Party to win in 2015 (and also to gain the lion’s share of the vote in May’s European elections).
But Miliband seems to be living in a world of his own, insulated from the rest of the Labour Party – not to mention supporters of Labour ideals who are not members – by a small group of (not-so-special) advisers who, it’s claimed, intercept any decent ideas before they get to the party leader and spin them until they turn to drivel. Whether this is true or not seems immaterial as this is the perception of the general public.
And perception is everything.
As I write this article I have just received a comment stating that “Miliband’s strategy for the next election seems to be a) to accept the Tory frame of reference for any given argument and b) to then concede the field of battle on that issue, whatever it is, without a shot being fired.” This is a common complaint, and Labour has no answer to it.
Why do Miliband, Balls, Tristram Hunt (notably), Rachel Reeves (lamentably) and all the other Labour frontbenchers blithely accept the Coalition’s terms of reference on any issue, against the wishes of their own backbenchers, their party as a whole and the public at large?
Are they really just a gang of greedy moneygrubbers, determined to screw the country for whatever they can get? That in itself would be a betrayal of Labour Party ideals and their constituency parties should deselect them if members believed that to be the case for one moment.
Are they a gang of neoliberals, their political philosophy so close to that of the Conservatives that you can’t get a credit card between them? This rings threateningly true in the cases of Oxford PPE graduats Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, ex-Bank of England employee Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt. But Ed Miliband is (famously) the son of a Marxist. He, above all, should know better.
The trouble is, David Miliband is the son of the same Marxist and he was as much a part of the neoliberal New Labour Red Tory deception as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Oh look – another comment has just arrived. “More people don’t bother to vote because they feel that we as a people have moved on and all we really want is people who will represent us honestly, by majority and with no hidden agendas, backhanders or lobbyists pulling the strings. I don’t see any evidence that the present government or the Labour Party are capable or willing to do just that… They should have the courage to change and become the voice of the people.”
Become the voice of the people. The meaning is clear – Labour is not currently representing anybody at all.
Is this true? Let’s look at some of the other comments on my (left-leaning, let’s not forget) blog. These are from people who are generally sympathetic to Socialism and who should, therefore, see Labour as the natural home of their vote. What do they say?
“[Is it] any wonder [that] 1. People don’t vote because they are seen as “all the bloody same”? and 2. The perceived differences have become so minuscule?”
“Until Labour wakes up and realises it is the welfare cuts that are a major concern to most of us and to anyone who has a conscience, they will lose the next election due to apathy.”
“Labour have to do something different to what they have up to now but they don’t seem to want to. Are they scared of being in government over a country in the state it is?”
“Labour have had four years to do something – anything – to fight against the welfare cuts, and to help the people they are supposed to be the party for! They’ve really done nothing when all is said and done.”
If Ed Miliband was reading this, I would be asking if he was getting the message yet (are you, Ed?) and what he proposes to do about it. You think not? Let’s have some more comments from people who should be supporting Labour – I’ve got plenty of them!
“There has been absolutely no fight in this opposition and I am ashamed of them.”
“People need a reason to apply their votes to Labour and Miliband-Balls are not providing them with one. They are sleepwalking into another hung Parliament and a very real risk of the Tories teaming up with UKIP. Then we’ll really see Nazism grip this country.”
“The would-be voters demand change and need bold new policies to blunt the Tory cutters. If the Labour Party cannot come up with policies which are radical then they don’t deserve to be in power at the next election, or ever.”
“Ed Balls worries me because he seems intent on copycatting Osborne. For example Osborne says he will run a surplus by the end of the next Parliament and Balls promises the same. Osborne say he will be introducing a Benefit Cap on social security spending on working age benefits (which could have devastating effects and lead to real terms cuts in benefits for years on end) and Balls says that Labour will vote with the Coalition to introduce it.”
“Surely we need some clear red water between Labour and the Tories? Surely Labour needs to differentiate itself more from the policies of the Coalition?”
“I sent an email to the Labour Party asking for its policy on TTIP (the rightly-feared Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will force employment standards down to third-world levels, or below), amongst other things. They were decidedly equivocal and I felt no reassurance at all. I think it’s about we faced facts, Labour aren’t being coy in a pre-election year to avoid frightening the horses, they really are just another pack of neoliberals.”
This is how left-wing voters (and the squeezed-middle waverers to whom Ed Miliband keeps trying to pander) see the modern Labour Party: Carbon-copy Tories with no fresh ideas who aren’t worth the effort of voting.
If any of Ed’s shadow cabinet is okay with that description, he needs to sack them and bring in someone with a clue. And he needed to do it last year.
If the Conservatives win in 2015, it seems clear that responsibility will lie as much with Labour’s failure to provide any clearly-visible alternative.
We have already seen carnage inflicted on the poor, the sick and disabled, and a Conservative-only government (or in collaboration withUKIP) would increase that bloodshed tenfold (senior citizens take note: the bribe you were given last week was a trick and if you vote Conservative, many of you will not live to rectify your error at another election).
Unless Ed Miliband sorts out his party – pronto – that blood will be on his hands as well, and the people will not forgive him.
Note that I did not say they won’t forgive Labour. I said they won’t forgive Ed Miliband.
Words cannot describe the way people feel at what has been done to them by the Coalition. If Labour reveals even the slightest element of complicity, I wouldn’t give a farthing for Miliband’s safety.
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Cost shock: Even the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph has been complaining about high energy prices – as demonstrated by this cartoon from 2012.
To borrow a favourite David Cameron phrase: Let us be clear on this – any savings on your fuel bills as a result of the Coalition government’s policy change will be added to general taxation in another way and you will still pay.
Energy firms’ profits, which have tripled since 2010, will be unaffected. Cameron’s plan is akin to shifting deckchairs on the Titanic (to borrow another well-known saying).
Why on Earth does he think anybody is going to be deceived by this silliness?
Even with the changes in place, prices will still rise by an average of around £70, at a time when people were already being forced to choose between (let’s have yet another now-tired phrase) heating and eating. Average household incomes have dropped by nine per cent since David Cameron made himself Prime Minister by the back door three years ago.
Average pay for bosses of FTSE-100 companies has risen by 20 times the rate of pay growth for most workers, just in the last year. And let’s not forget that they were getting much higher than average pay already!
It should surprise nobody that all of the ‘Big Six’ energy firms are part of the FTSE-100 – or were, before foreign takeovers.
This means average pay for these companies’ bosses should be around £2,321,700, while profits have risen to £2 billion – up 75 per cent on last year (according to the Independent reports).
None of this will be changed by David Cameron’s measures, which were hastily cobbled together in a bungled bid to regain the initiative from Labour, whose plan to freeze energy prices and re-order the energy market has captured the public imagination.
Instead Cameron – who once campaigned under the slogan ‘Vote Blue – Go Green’ – will postpone green policy targets to a later date, cutting the so-called ‘green levy’ on the energy firms accordingly. This means the UK will be forced to rely on greenhouse gas-producing carbon fuels for longer.
Subsidies for people in fuel poverty will be moved into general taxation, meaning we pay for them rather than the energy firms who should.
“Even after these changes to levies, energy bills are still rising and the average household will still be paying £70 more for their energy than last winter,” said Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Caroline Flint. “Any help is better than none, but you can judge this Government by who they’re asking to pick up the tab – the taxpayer. The energy companies have got off scot-free.
“This shows why nothing less than a price freeze and action to reset the market to stop the energy companies overcharging again in the future will do.”
She was expected to tell the IPPR thinktank today: “If David Cameron and Nick Clegg think just doing what the energy companies ask of them is the answer to bills being too high, they are wrong.
“Energy bills have gone up by £120 this winter alone, so even with a £50 cut in levies, people’s bills will still be higher this winter than last year. The real reason bills are rising year on year without justification is because the energy market is broken.
“Instead of bailing out the energy companies, David Cameron should stand up to them and stop them overcharging people.”
But we all know that David Cameron never stands up to his corporate masters, don’t we?
Schizoid report: José Ángel Gurría, secretary general of the OECD. He’d probably object to the way we’ve defaced his sign, but it now provides a more accurate description of his organisation’s opinions.
How can the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development tell George Osborne that he should invest in infrastructure projects but continue with his policy of cutting public spending, when the first public spending he cut was infrastructure projects?
Is this a sign of the delirium into which the western economies are sinking, partly through slavish adherence to neoliberal nonsense – in the face of all the facts – and party through a lack of raw intelligence?
The OECD, according to The Guardian, has revised down its economic growth forecast for the UK. What a surprise; they haven’t revised our growth upwards since before Osborne became Chancellor – and that alone indicates where the problem lies.
It says spending cuts and a lack of consumer and business confidence are restricting what we should all call “the recovery” only in mocking terms.
But, as the newspaper reports, “it [the OECD] backed George Osborne’s plans for further spending cuts, saying: ‘With a high budget deficit and gross government debt rising to 90 per cent of GDP in 2012, further fiscal consolidation is necessary to restore the sustainability of public finances.'”
What? It’s still supporting the discredited view that when public debt hits 90 per cent of GDP, growth is slowed? Hasn’t that idea been comprehensively rubbished – not only on paper but in the fact that UK growth hit standstill point the instant Osborne came in as Chancellor and inflicted his policies on us all?
It isn’t the amount of debt that’s the problem – its the stupid things that blinkered upper-class idiots do in response!
The OECD said the Labour market was “resilient”, so it obviously has been paying too much attention to DWP press releases when it should have looked up the facts. According to the Resolution Foundation (yes, another thinktank), as reported in The Independent, “The jobs market remains weak and is likely to continue to struggle well into the second half of the decade, making this a more severe downturn for employment levels than the two previous recessions”.
The article states: “The Resolution Foundation has performed an analysis of the total adult employment rate – which reflects the increase in the size of the population and the growth of the available workforce – and found that there remains a “jobs gap” of 930,000. This is the number of new jobs that would be required to restore the employment rate from its present level of 58.5 per cent to the 60.3 per cent recorded in 2008. This jobs gap has actually grown from 830,000 in the final quarter of last year.”
Once again, we see the facts do not support Coalition government press releases.
The OECD’s claim that average real earnings are “weak”, on the other hand, is realistic and gives the necessary perspective to a report from the Office for National Statistics that the total number of weekly hours worked across the economy hit a new record high of 950.3 million in the first quarter of the year.
If everybody’s working so much, why haven’t we got any money? Answer: Because the Tory-led government has been pushing wages downwards, ever since it came into power. Average earnings for bosses of FT350 companies have rocketed upwards, but the worker on the street had a pay rise of just 0.8 per cent last year. Look at the way benefit increases have been pushed below the rate of inflation (the DWP again!) in order to make the unemployed desperate to take whatever work they can get – no matter how poorly-paid – and to put those who have jobs in fear of losing them, so that they won’t be demanding pay rises anytime soon.
Back to the OECD: It wants a house-building programme to spur jobs growth. Without this, it warned that house values could overheat, sparking another price bubble. Isn’t that what George Osborne wants? Look at the so-called “second-home subsidy” he announced in the March budget, when he said the government would underwrite a percentage of new house purchases. Already we have seen warnings (from Sir Mervyn King in this Vox article) that it will create a price bubble.
So not only is Osborne right; he’s also wrong. Growth is down because of his policy of cuts, but he should continue making them. Unemployment is down – but the jobs gap has grown.
Also, not only is Osborne wrong; he’s very wrong. Low wages mean economy-boosting demand is also low – but the government is pushing wages down still further. House-building is needed to spur jobs growth and prevent a price bubble – but he isn’t building houses and he is actively pursuing the creation of a price bubble.
That’s what the OECD report says. There’s no way Osborne should be using it to support his policies but I bet he will.
If I were the secretary of state in one of the government departments he’s trying to squeeze for more cuts, I would be phoning the local mental hospital, saying a dangerous madman was loose in Whitehall and demanding that he should be sectioned.
But it seems that, instead of this, the ministers who’ve dragged their feet will be subjected to a grilling by the all-new ‘Star Chamber’, which is the name for the public expenditure committee Osborne has set up. Apparently ‘Star Chamber’ has a “mystique” about it (according to The Guardian); in fact it will consist of Osborne, Danny Alexander and those ministers who’ve given in and agreed cuts, haranguing the dissenters until they fold up like cheap thugs who’ve been punched in the kidneys once too often.
The fact that they will all eventually capitulate means we can laugh at them next time they’re on television trying to act tough, but the whole sorry story leaves us with one immutable fact:
I know I used this photo very recently, but it’s the only one I feel really gets across the CHARACTER of our vampiric Chancellor.
Oh look, Gideon George Osborne’s an idiot again. Or a genius, depending on whether you’re a fan of responsible government or of shrinking the State.
He’s going to cut government spending by £48 BILLION in the next government spending round (The Guardian says he could increase taxes by that amount but I think we all know that’s not going to happen. Not to the rich, anyway).
It turns out the economy is weaker now than when he started – no surprises there, that’s what his policies were intended to do – so he’ll have a bigger gap to bridge when he makes his next set of multi-year spending plans. Let’s bear in mind that there will be an election around this time; we can boot this bunch of economically-illiterate lunatics back out to rot in their country estates and get someone in who actually wants to do some good.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, according to The Grauniad, in addition to the deep cuts in government departmental spending for 2010-15, Mr 0 pencilled in £26 billion of additional cuts for the next spending round “to complete” – don’t laugh – “the repair work”. Obviously “repair” was a space-holding word and they were looking for an appropriate one. “Demolition” seems a likely contender to me.
It turns out the UK’s structural deficit – that’s the shortfall in the public finances that will remain when the economy has fully recovered from the recession, as they love to remind us – was 1.1 per cent of GDP higher than forecast in March. So that wipes out the one per cent growth we had in the last quarter, then. Harumph.
This means that the current spending round’s cuts of 2.3 per cent will be dwarfed by the 3.7 per cent further cuts required in the next one – so everything is going to plan, you see.
The paper quotes Ian Mulheirn, director of the Social Market Foundation thinktank, as saying: “The chancellor will have to lay out some eye-watering cuts at the next spending review and will prolong austerity deep into the next Parliament.” Eye-watering to you, sir – MOUTH-watering to him.
For those of us who know we’re going to have to pay for it (some of the poorest with their lives, I’m sure. It’s already happened in this Parliament; if the Conservatives continue into the next, it’ll only get worse) also know that it could be very different.
This government has overseen and facilitated some of the worst tax avoidance fiascos in the history of, well, taxation itself, I expect. Look at the article I posted yesterday about the water companies. Look at Starbucks, Google, and Amazon, that are all having to explain themselves because they are companies owned by Johnny Foreigner. It’s all right for British businesspeople to stash your cash in tax havens abroad, but we can’t let just anyone have it, can we?
Come to that, look at how gas prices are allegedly being manipulated for their own ends by the big power companies, which is the lead on The Guardian‘s website as I type this. That market is worth £300 billion, according to the paper. How much of that does the State get, and how much disappears?
If I hear one more overprivileged bozo telling me it’s what the law allows I shall retch in my – in HIS – hat. The law allows it because the laws are being MADE by an overprivileged bozo – Gideon George Osborne!
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