It is late summer in the United Kingdom. Politicians are off on their annual break and the silly season will soon draw to a close. We are midway between the Olympics and the Paralympics and already the clouds of gloom gather impatiently, awaiting the start of the next Parliamentary term.
As Greece requests more time to sort out its ailing economy and the rest of Europe keep their hands firmly away from their pockets, Britain sees local councils planning to introduce food banks to help those on lower incomes, where the cost of living is simply beyond their ability to keep up (Guardian 22 Aug 2012). This is David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ revealed, where volunteers work on the breadline for the poor to protect profits for the rich.
And it is all down to the economy of course, which flatter than the wafer thin expectation that the electorate are in any way considered first in a desperate attempt to rev up the growth machine. But if the masses don’t have any money, it really is a case of wagging the dog. What is the point of giving rich people and business more and more money, if all they are going to do is hoard it until their profit margins start to increase?
And what is the point of taxing big business more money, if all they do is produce less? George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) imposed a 2 billion pound tax increase on North Sea Oil. So what did they do in return? They reduced production resulting in a 2 billion pound drop in revenue. So Mr Osborne, without fanfare or big announcement, quietly cut tax levies again.
Big businesses do not have to produce more money for governments; so if shareholders receive nothing extra from tax increases there is no reason to encourage governmental greed.
The nature of George Osborne’s, and indeed the Conservatives, hubris is that they truly believed that their core supporters of wealthy individuals and influential businesses would generate jobs and growth to pull us all out of austerity. Today George Osborne knows that this is a delusion. The targets he set are now in tatters. The UK’s deficit will most likely be reduced at the end of the year to no more than Labour’s promise before the 2010 election but without the investment in jobs.
But still the politicians will argue that their method of steering us out of austerity is the right way. The fact is that no government will get us out of debt any faster than 2020 (as David Cameron already admits), by which time the economic landscape will have altered irrevocably. So why politicians are so hell bent on denial of the blatantly obvious is alarming. Can they not for just one moment stop the short term politics and pay attention to the damage all this stupid tinkering is doing to ordinary people?
It is not the end of the world if we do not pay all our debts for a bit longer than a government term of 5 years. It is more important to beat down the debt interest rate than it is to beat down the livelihoods of general populace. And we wonder about who we actually owe all this money to? The billions and billions of (select currency) is going somewhere but it sure isn’t coming back.
Is it not time to consider seriously an economic system that works for everyone? Obviously that won’t happen in my lifetime but you have to make a start somewhere. For now, however, we need politicians to stop playing politics with our lives and make sure we can all afford to put a loaf of bread on the table.