Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “spending cuts”

Fiscal Cliff? Cheers!

I’m confused.  I thought that Fiscal Cliff was the accountant bar-fly in Cheers.  How is he capable of bring the US economy to the verge of collapse?

Cheers is in Boston – of tea-party fame.  Could this be the source of this political weevil?  Did Cliff change his name and get elected to Congress and become leader of the republicans there?

As I say I’m confused, but then I am trying to observe this pantomime from the opposite side of the pond.

Standing up to the blackmailers

Lord Jones of Birmingham (Digby Jones formerly of the CBI and former goat) says we have to be careful that the banks do not decamp to the Gulf because the banks account for 20% “of the entire tax take of the United Kingdom” (BBC News Website 11 January 2011). Others have made similar points.  In effect the banks are saying “play the game our way or else”.  When the Krays did similar it was called a protection-racket and they were accused of intimidation (Met Police: The Kray twins).  The banks may not be literally and directly killing people, but when faced by blackmailers you have to do something. Read more…

No faith, not much hope, but more charity?

The Coalition Government says that “Big Society” and the Voluntary Sector will pick-up some of the functions abandoned by the State (particularly Local Government). I am not so sure – particularly in my region (the North East of England). Read more…

Public Service / Private Wealth Creation

The new government seems to believe that by cutting back on public services it can improve the wealth of the country.  I’m not convinced.  If the services are required they will be privately purchased by the economically able and distressingly missed by the economically less-able.  This will not necessarily improve the economy.

Two questions need to be addressed:

  • Public or Private: what is the difference?
  • Wealth consuming activities or Wealth creating activities?

I think the solution to the economy’s problems lie in the second question. But let’s kick the first into touch. Read more…

Capitalism: you can’t budge it

Last week’s budget was in some ways unsurprising – and we have not seen all the details yet.

Inevitable squeals from Labour that “the electorate did not vote for this” – but they did not “vote for Labour” either; they can watch the Conservative Liberal Coalition do the dirty work to tackle the unspoken issue of the last election – the Debt and the Deficit.  That has interesting consequences for all the political parties. Read more…

The Aftermath II (of ?)

So discussions are continuing and the press are baying either for a government or for Gordon Brown’s blood.  They say “the markets” will take it very badly if we have not got a government by the time they open on Monday.

I would rather we took a few days longer to get a government that may last a few months longer – which is what happens elsewhere.  Meanwhile, the press should remember that the Queen’s ministers must continue the government until a new one able to command a majority in the Commons emerges.

As for the markets, they need to seriously chill out a little. Read more…

Greece: Crucible of Democracy – a lesson in Responsibility?

Channel 4 News tonight shows unrest in Greece with one protester saying why should she pay? – It should be their leaders for the last 10, 20 years who should pay.

Whilst the scale of the “Greek problem” massively exceeds the wealth of all their leaders for decades, the theory in a democracy is that “the people” elect their leaders and they should, therefore, be responsible for their choice.  Whilst it is possible that the Greeks have had a (geographically) mistaken belief in “La Dolce Vita”, they have also been in an ostrich like conspiracy with their leaders to ignore the flaws in their economic system.

Now their leaders are having to impose policies that were definitely not in any previous manifesto and the pain is severe; arguing about how the pain is distributed (“tax the rich”) will not change the fact that everyone is going to see a very significant drop in their living standards.  Is this the price for ignoring the economic facts of life and “voting with your wallet”?

So, if we have similar levels of debt (although thankfully more long-dated), and none of the parties are telling us the full facts about future taxes and upcoming cuts, how do we take responsibility?

Whatever our result and whatever the permutation of parties that make up the “government side”, it is unlikely that they will have a mandate for what so many experts say they will have to do.  Can we protest with the ferocity of the Greeks?  The Poll Tax riots, The Miners’ Strike, The G8 Riots, all say we can – but it will probably be just as futile, and the pain will hit all of us.

Tomorrow I will get a Conservative MP – no matter what happens, we have had one since 1924.  But I have to accept the result, “take responsibility for my choice”, and take the pain.  I am already feeling sick.

Outside the Campaign

It looks as if we are only experiencing a portion of the election campaign.

The IFS, quoted on the BBC News Website Parties defend spending cut plans 28 April 2010 15:17 shows that none of the parties have come clean on the economy.

Parties' planned cuts and the spending gap

This would seem to me to say that each party has a massive hidden (or at best unspecified) manifesto, and without sight of it we cannot make a responsible choice as to what is best for the country.  So I guess that we will have to vote according to what seems best for our own pockets.

Just as well outside the marginals that our votes don’t count?  In the marginals I suspect the campaigning will be getting very parochial.

What a lousy system and what a mess will be left after the result; possibly a government without a mandate, a whole lot of unaffordable promises and a massive amount of previously concealed spending cuts and tax rises on the way.  Bound to raise confidence in the political system and the honesty of politicians.

But if a politician was honest enough to tell us the truth, what would happen?

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