Stung by criticism of being AWOL, missing while the country's economy flounders, the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, surfaced briefly on this morning's BBC Radio to defend his "measures".
"We have flexibility built into our plan. But what our plan provides is credibility where there was no credibility, stability where there was no stability, confidence that actually the British economy is getting its act together."It now appears that the Tory chancellor has no proper defence of his plans which are now widely seen as failing the British people and the British economy, instead he attempts to explain the dire and worsening economy under his watch with meaningless "soundbites" and copious amounts of spin.
- How is talking the economy down as Cameron, Osborne and Clegg have repeatedly done, destroying consumer confidence in the process, be deemed a credible manner in which a responsible government would act?
- How is blaming Gordon Brown and the Labour government for what was and remains a global financial recession in any way credible and through this shameful politicking place the country at the mercy of an even bigger financial crash than the last one, simply by refusing to learn the lessons?
- How can forcing the "Hardest Hit" ,the disabled, the very poor and struggling families to bear the brunt and pay for what the self-serving avaritic, egotistical lying bankers did to this country be in any way shape or form deemed credible?
What flexibility is George Osborne talking about when he says they have flexibility built into their plan? What flexibility is he talking about when he repeatedly says: "there is no plan B"? Why isn't the chancellor being forced to explain what he means by flexibility? Does he mean flexibility to introduce yet more even harsher austerity measures into the economy when these ones do not work? Just like more and more austerity measures continually being introduced into the economies of Greece, Ireland and Portugal are not working? Does Osborne mean by "flexibility" that he has room to abolish/reduce the "national minimum wage" just like they have done in the Irish economy that George Osborne is on record as saying he so loves? "Look and learn From Across the Irish Sea" "A generation ago it would have seemed ridiculous to go to Ireland for economics lessons - not anymore" By George Osborne. Does Osborne mean flexibility to remove yet more workers rights from their work places and render them helpless to withstand the attacks and unrealistic demands of ruthless Tory bosses? Flexibility to take away the basic rights of those who voluntarily join a union? Flexibility to be free to lower living standards, govern by fear, chaos and confusion by putting people in fear of losing their jobs, and the unemployed, chronically sick and the disabled kept in fear of losing the paltry benefits they receive from Osborne and Cameron's ever shrinking state and be made to feel like "scroungers" and "malingerers" by their own government and leaving them open to verbal attacks and even physical assaults from people that have been persuaded by Cameron, Osborne and Clegg that every person in receipt of benefit is somehow a scrounger, that people suffering from mental health illnesses are somehow shirkers? Is this what he means by "flexibility", flexible to make all these people unfortunate to find themselves in these positions pay even more by cutting their benefits and forcing them to live in poverty, or worse out on the street with nothing and nowhere to turn to? Flexibility to demonise public sector workers and sack even more of them, as if public sector workers are somehow not human beings with families to support too and to continue to deliberately mislead people about the public sector and perpetually refer to it as the "bloated public sector"? What is Osborne's definition "flexibility"- exactly?
How stable (or credible) is it in May 2010, to be handed a stable but fragile economy in recovery with steady and increasing growth, falling unemployment and strong consumer confidence (despite the country going through the worse global financial recession for 100 years) and take all those precious economical factors and smash them to pieces with the Tory ideological sledge hammer and all within a matter of months?
How stable was it of this Tory chancellor to be warned repeatedly by world leading economists that his plans were wrong and would harm the British economy, yet ignored them and went ahead anyway? Now even economists that previous backed Osborne are warning him Coalition Spending Plans Simply Don't Add Up!
Recent economic figures have shown that the government urgently needs to adopt a Plan B for the economy. As economists and academics, we know the breakneck deficit-reduction plan, based largely on spending cuts, is self-defeating even on its own terms. It will probably not manage to close the deficit in the planned time frame and the government's strategy is likely to result in a lot more pain and a lot less gain.
We believe a more effective strategy for sustainable growth would be achieved:
• through a green new deal and a focus on targeted industrial policy.
• by clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion, as well as by raising taxes on those best able to pay
• through real financial reform, job creation, "unsqueezing" the incomes of the majority, the empowerment of workers and a better work-life balance.
These are the foundation of a real alternative and it is time the government adopted it.
Prof Richard Grayson, Goldsmiths, University of London; lan O'Shea, emeritus prof of cultural studies, UEL; Henning Meyer, senior visiting fellow, LSE Global Governance; Howard Reed, director, Landman Economics; Prof Geoffrey M Hodgson, University of Hertfordshire Business School and 47 others (see observer.co.uk/letters)
Professor Jonathan Rutherford Middlesex University
Professor Natalie Fenton, Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Stefano Harney, Queen Mary, University of London
Andrew Watt, Senior Researcher, European Trade Union Institute
Professor Mariana Mazzucato, (Chair in the Economics of Innovation),
Professor Gregor Gall, University of Hertfordshire
Prof George Irvin, Univ of London, SOAS
Prof Peter Case, Bristol Business School
Michael Burke, Economic Consultant
Professor Marcus Miller, University of Warwick
Professor Susan Himmelweit, Open University
James Meadway, Senior economist, new economics foundation
Professor Dennis Leech, University of Warwick
Jonathan Glennie, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute
Stewart Lansley, Research Fellow, Bristol University
Alan Finlayson, Reader, Dept. of Political and Cultural Studies,
Robin Murray, Senior Visiting Fellow, Global Governance, LSE
Richard Murphy, Director, Tax Research LLP
Prof. Giuseppe Fontana, Leeds University Business School
Pat Devine, University of Manchester
Prof Malcolm Sawyer, University of Leeds
Dr Paul Segal, University of Sussex
Professor Stephen Haseler, Director, Global Policy Institute
Andrew Simms, nef fellow and Green New Deal Group Member
Ruth Potts, Campaign Manager, the Great Transition
Valerie Bryson, Emerita Professor of Politics, University of Huddersfield
Mark Fisher, University of London
Dr Jonathan Perraton, University of Sheffield
Nick Isles, Managing Director of Corporate Agenda
David Purdy, Social economist now retired, formerly Head of the
Department of Applied Social Science, University of Manchester
Dr. Douglas Chalmers, Glasgow Caledonian University
Sheila Dow, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Stirling
Barbara MacLennan, retired academic economist: Universities of York
David Donald, Glasgow Caledonian University
Ismail Erturk, Senior Lecturer in Banking, University of Manchester
Ian Gough, Emeritus Professor, University of Bath
Colin Crouch, University of Warwick
Professor David Marquand, Oxford University
Stuart White, Jesus College, Oxford University
Professor Diane Elson, University of Essex, Chair UK Women's Budget Group
Professor Andy Danford, Bristol Business School
Professor Simon Lilley, Head of University of Leicester School of Management
Professor Stephen Linstead, University of York
Professor Adrian Sinfield, University of Edinburgh
Professor Sir Tony Atkinson, Nuffield College, Oxford
Professor Matthew Watson, University of Warwick
Professor David Bailey, Coventry University Business School
Dr Damian O'Doherty, University of Manchester
Professor Derek Braddon, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University
of the West of England, Bristol
Dr. Olivier Ratle, University of the West of England, Bristol
Professor Alison Pullen, Swansea University
Professor David Knights, Bristol Business School
Dr Gregory Schwartz, University of Bath
It is no surprise to many of us that Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Ed Balls have been proven to be 100% correct on the British economy and that despite all the horrendous global financial recessional odds stacked against them, when Labour handed the economy over to George Osborne it was steady and growing and on the back of that growth government borrowing was forecast to be £42 billion *less*. (£20 bn immediate effect and £22 billion forecast by analysts on future growth predictions), this coupled with George Osborne's record breaking borrowing for April 2011 of £46 billion *more* than Labour would have borrowed, puts Osborne's plans a huge £88 billion adrift and disappearing rapidly down a black hole. The previous labour government have made mistakes and I'll not defend those, but overall they did a lot for this country, they left this country a stronger, more decent caring society than when they found it in 1997 with crumbling schools, decaying hospitals, atrocious health care, escalating crime and 4 million unemployed. They had to steward this country through some really tough economic times and they managed to do this without making people feel cheap, nasty and worthless to society, which has become the trade mark of this present Tory government, in its attacks on the unemployed, the poorest, the disabled, the elderly and the hardest hit.
Cameron and Osborne's political hang-ups about state involvement in the economy, (hang-ups that are shared by Vince cable too) prevent the formation of a coherent policy for seeing Britain through the worse recession for a 100 years. It's obvious Osborne has no clear plans for growth, when he started his so-called "budget for growth" off by actually LOWERING the growth forecast, a forecast he and the OBR has been forced to lower again and in among all the waffle from the waffling dishonest IMF we see that the IMF's growth forecast long term for the UK is actually lower than Osborne's OBR! In many industries in small to medium sized businesses, despite being viable are being turned down for credit or are not asking for loans in the first place, this is because people are unable or reluctant to invest because there is not enough certainty about where government policy is taking us and this in turn is feeding through to the banks. This is in addition to all the toxic debt the banks have hidden in their books, which is preventing banks from lending.
In the IMF's latest report on the UK, Lipsky said the post-crisis repair of the British economy was underway. He noted that weak economic growth and the pick-up in inflation over the last few months had been "unexpected"."This raises the question whether it is time to adjust macroeconomic policies. The answer is no as the deviations are largely temporary," said Lipsky. "The stability and efficiency of the UK financial system is a global public good due to potential spillovers and thus requires the highest quality of supervision and regulation."
He added that there were "significant" risks to inflation, growth and unemployment. "If they materialise, the policy response will depend on the nature of the shock."
On one hand the IMF are saying Osborne is on the right course, but on the other they say there is "significant risks to inflation, growth and unemployment", what they seem to be doing is trying to have it both ways! Which doesn't help the situation we are in, however, if the IMF were to trash Osborne's plans, they would of course trigger panic in London's stock market. Although their refusal to actually see the narrative is I feel going to leave the IMF once again with egg all over their chins.
One more thing about the right wing leaning IMF that need a good dose of left wing suppository up their proverbial to try and balance it out, is why should we believe anything they say when the IMF has repeatedly downgraded the UK growth forecast for this year and cut it again on Monday, to 1.5% – down from 2.5% forecast in April 2010. They never get it right, still what can we expect from them when they support:
Read: The Myth of Record Debt
The writing is not only on the wall for this dreadful criminally feckless
The bottom line is that Osborne and his cronies in the right wing press can spin this all they like the proof is there for all to see and it is being felt by countless families, the poor, the needy, the sick, the disabled, the unemployed, up and down this land. The economy is on its way down the pan through sheer obstinacy or lunacy call it what you will of just three men, Cameron, Osborne and Clegg. Chancellor Osborne refuses to admit he has made huge mistakes with the British economy, see that he has got it wrong and change tack and that is not financial tenacity, that is just sheer stupidity, the kind of sheer stupidity which cause suffering, distress and hardship to each and every ordinary person, the kind of sheer stupidity that will rob children of their education and futures and the young of university places. However, the Osbornes, the Camerons, the Cleggs, the Goldsmiths and all the other mega rich toff cronies (who all donate financially to the Tory party) won't suffer though, they'll cause the problem along with all their City friends in the CBI, the BCC, the bankers, the hedge funders etc etc none of them will suffer that will be reserved just for us, you and I and our precious families, relatives and friends! How come George Osborne allows his rich City mates, his r=mega rich corporate buddies to get away without paying £25 billion PER YEAR in UNPAID tax? Companies like Vodafone who owe the Treasury £6 Billion and Osborne has actually waived that bill and told Vodafone they need NOT pay it, YET, Osborne has instructed HRMC inspectors to chase small struggling business owners late paying their tax and threaten them with bailiffs and bankruptcies? Their combined late paying (NOT wont pay) doesn't even tot up to a fraction of what Osborne just allowed Vodafone get away with. Osborne also while chases after benefit fraud which costs the country approximately £650 million, where is the comparison with the £25 billion per year Osborne allows his rich mates to get away with? They are both wrong but if you were chancellor with a deficit that you want to pay down which would you go after first?
a) cutting government spendingHowever, it should be noted that even the IMF did not appear to have the stomach to fully endorse Osborne's insanity, they could only offer lukewarm sentiments that match their own!
b) privatising everything possible
d) cutting welfare benefits
e) reducing taxes on business
f) increasing VAT
g) increasing charges for previously freely available public services
h) reducing health, education and other essential public services
And the outcome of this mantra, often imposed on developing countries as a consequence of IMF loans? It’s always an economic disaster: the fact that the developing world has not made little or no progress in the last 30 years is almost entirely the fault of the IMF imposing such absurdly inappropriate policies on so many poor states. Tax research UK