The trials and tribulations of George Osborne….
George Osborne’s position is looking increasingly shaky, broadly speaking for two reasons;
1) It’s pretty obvious that Cameron has decided that, should a ritual sacrifice be required to cauterise the wounds caused by #Hackgate, then Osborne is going to be that man.
2) He is the front-man and the economy is speeding down the toilet at a quite incredible amount of knots.
Number 2 was exemplified today by the now ritual release of poorer-than-expected growth figures; a release of which is becoming something of a circus in itself, with Twitter treated to a regular as clockwork opportunity to play pin- the-poor-excuse on the Chancellor for an entire day. It’s true that Gross Domestic Product is a poor indicator of the quality and especially the breadth and longevity of economic growth and in that sense is something of a lowest common denominator but still, when your failing on the most basic level, that doesn’t say an awful lot for the rest of the factors. In all fairness to George, it’s also true that this isn’t entirely his fault; he is, after-all only faithfully following the crazy-paving path laid down by his government but still; when it comes to carrying the can, it’s his head on the chopper.
The figures themselves show how totally dependant the economy is on the finance sector; an embrace that is a bit like a long, final smooch-goodnight with a vampire by dint of the fact that it is also this sector which is leeching off of the wider economy and thus stopping it growing beyond levels that would trouble an anaemic stick-insect. So it is, that even if the economy were by some absolute miracle to start growing tommorrow at a blinding rate, it would be fast; shallow growth that would soon smash to a halt because the structural problems that caused the first crash have not been addressed.
Capitalism has become totally dependant on finance capital (and consequentially the ever-present debt burden is ballooning in a desperate bid to keep this sector afloat), for its entire health; a union that is being cemented in the fires of globalisation, which is primarily being driven by financiers and the markets. Other gears in the capitalist machine , most notably industrial sectors etc, are totally jammed, and they are not being replaced by sectors of comparable strength when it comes to numbers employed and other factors which help glue society together and help the system continue ticking-over smoothly. Politically, governments are wedded in the same way to the banks through the endless cycle of bailouts.
All of this has within it the genesis of a profound and defining crisis in the entire system. Admittedly, something that Osborne’s position is as much a product of as his direct doing (although the cuts, which are frankly bonkers, have exacerbated a bad situation). My personal view is that Osborne won’t last the entire span of this government; Cameron will keep him as long as he is useful but not a moment sooner, however the profound crisis of our economy, something his actions have deepened, will outlast him and for that Labour needs to be armed with radical answers because we will not be ‘returning to 2006/07’ or any other mythical ‘good time’ in the past; things are changing profoundly and for good and we need answers, democratic and socially just answers, which shape that change, in favour of the people, as opposed to in favour of the markets.