boy blunder shadow chancellor, George Osborne, has hit the press this morning with his announcement to anyone who listens that he will be making cuts “from day one”. He has warned that the Tories believe that the deficit is so large, and causes such a threat to the country that he would be unable to wait the 6 weeks until a previously promised emergency budget, but would initiate cuts immediately. The Tories have always supported immediate cuts in spending without going into any details about what exactly they’re going to cut, and to what extent. Would this work? What effect will it have? To find out, we only have to look to Ireland, where they have followed exactly this policy.
I don’t know about you, Dear Reader, but since the start of the recession I’ve tightened my belt a little. Cancelled a few direct debits, started buying more Tesco Value products instead of nipping to Marksies, turned down the thermostat a degree or so, not booked a holiday to the Red Sea this summer. It’s logical, isn’t it, to spend less when times are hard? Isn’t it? David Cameron certainly thinks so. And so apparently do the Irish government. In the aftermath of the 2008 crash, they ignored the economic stimulus route, as championed by Gordon Brown, and opted to cut the deficit fast and hard. They cut spending on schools, childcare, health and social care, amongst other things. In fact, they’ve cut their total annual spend by 25%. And now? A little over a year later? The country is screwed. The economy has shrunk 15%, unemployment has risen to 13% (it’s around 7% in the UK), the government has an approval rating of 14%, and young people are flooding out of Ireland.
Cameron/Osborne economics don’t work. The world has known that since Keynes and the 1930s. They would lead the country into a disaster. And, of course, we wouldn’t be all in it together as multimillionaire Osborne would have you believe. With an election looming, and people looking for differences between the two parties, this is a huge one. And one the Labour party should be drawing attention to on a daily basis.
I remember the dole queues outside the job centre, I remember the coalmines and shipyards shutting down, I remember riots in my city, I remember people waiting years to see hospital consultants, I remember people living on food parcels, I remember my school being held up by scaffolding, I won’t ever forget it. And I don’t want to see it again. Cameron’s Tories would bring a return to those nightmares and have to be stopped.