A bad day at the office for Mr Osborne….
When the history books are written, if they manage to escape the attention of Mr Gove, I am totally confident they will remember George Osborne as one of the worst Chancellor’s Britain has had the misfortune to have to suffer. Today, he came out of the traps with a suspension of the planned fuel tax hike but that in itself was a desperate attempt to conceal the mornings double-whammy of increased government borrowing and declining tax returns.
It’s not that the money isn’t there you see, it’s just that the government is frittering it away in policy u-turns and ideological pet projects. If you look at the welfare debate started by an increasingly desperate Mr Cameron then this is the archetype example of how this governments malevolent social and economic experiments are costly and wasteful. Coupled with zero-sum growth in the economy this is brewing up a perfect storm which is set to sink the British economy so deep in the mud that it is unlikely to recover for decades.
Sadly, it looks like Ed Balls fluffed his lines in reply to Osborne today. He was carping about u-turns when he should have been exposing the cover-up of the borrowing and tax receipt figures. The Labour critique of the government leaves alot to be desired and is hampered by the obvious lack of an overarching philosophical standpoint. I am tempted to conclude the fondness for ‘Neo-Keynesian’ economics, for example, is a cover for the lack of political courage necessary to argue a proper Keynesian case. Let’s have no illusions in Keynesian economics, it doesnt provide a long-term solution to the inequities of the capitalist system, but it would provide immediate relief for Britain’s suffering people and establish a platform on which the radical, long-term, needed could be introduced.
Labour needs to seize the economically rationalist high-ground and this wont be achieved with half-measures. We need a clear and unambiguous direction of travel and we need a philosophical framework to be given to our proposals. This is what the government and advocates of the austerity agenda have done so well, framed their agenda within the seemingly rationalist context of cutting the deficit and this is why this agenda holds so much sway over our political discourse. However, it is an illusion, a grand deceit, as the borrowing figures show, because this governments economic policies amount to finding us in a hole and then, rather than trying to climb out, start digging a 24 hour three-shift system. If we can’t challenge that then, despite what the opinion polls say, we wont win the next election. It really is the economy, stupid and we desperately need to be mounting a stronger challenge to the economics of sheer stupidity.