The war about the debt

var fctb_tool=null; function GPGfX3PD5r_u(t) { fctb_tool=t; start(fctb_tool); }UK politics is likely to be about debt for some time. Whoever sets the agenda for this debate controls the future direction of UK politics.
The present government was elected on the basis that 'something must be done' and have turned this into a mandate to reduce public expenditure. This is clearly the public will and yet the public could just as easely have gone the other way and given a socialist government authority to tax and regualte. As it is we see that the public is torn two ways over the issue. On the one hand they wish to end government waste but on the other hand they would like to string bankers from lampposts. This means that the debate could move us to the left or to the right depending upon how the question is framed.
Various groups have sprung up to educate, confuse and mislead us to this end. Even the government is playing what it believes is a sophisticated political game by making it appear that they are cutting more deeply than they are. In reality most of the supposed cuts are actually cancellations of programmes that were planned by the previous government but would have been canceled whoever won the election. The plan seems to be to cry 'disaster' so that they can blame everything on the previous government. This sets the scene for a second act in which they increase expenditure once again because of their good management.
The trouble with political theater is that most people believe the show more than reality. In other words this government will go down as the second age of austerity despite never making the cuts that are needed.
The most intelligent of this group are They make a number of dishonest claims- chief of which is the lie that nobody voted for cuts. They minimise the debt by pointing out that the UK had more debt at the end of the second world war than we do now. This is true (sort of) but it ignores the fact that much of the present debt is hidden. Items such as unfunded retirement obligations, capital projects and PFI make the debt even greater than it appears on paper. This is ignored by the debt deniers who focus purely upon the national debt and ignore the fact that government has assumed all sorts of long term obligations that are entirely unfunded at present. This may be contrasted with the situation in 1945 where the obligations of war could be fairly easily wound down.
The great failure of debt denial is that it is dishonest. It would be possible to make a case for paying off the debt by nationalising industry but nobody truly believes that we can ignore it. The result is angry and violent protests that basically refuse to name a solution themselves.
The right is waking up to the notion that the public may be ready for change provided they understand the gravity of the situation. The trouble is that most people believe that the hard work has already been done even though the cuts are largely imaginary. The present government cuts do not address the national debt. They do not even come close. If we assume the government achieve all of their savings which is doubtful- all that will be achieved that the government will achieve break even by 2015. This means that the present government plan to pile on more and more debt in 1011, 2012, 2013 and 1214. They have no idea how any of will be repaid because their plans do not stretch beyond 2015.
The Tax Payers Alliance is the leading body pressing for change. They are demanding a culture change leading to the actual repayment of the debt. The left are so afraid of this group that they have created their own Other Taxpayers Alliance to throw childish insults at it. Nevertheless the fightback has begun. A rally against the debt will take place on 16 April.
var fctb_tool=null; function Xk4N7j2Bqc_V(t) { fctb_tool=t; start(fctb_tool); }


Post a Comment