With the teetering collapse of the coalition between Lib Dems and the Tories our beloved Chancellor promised to concentrate 110% on the kick starting the economy. The comment was soon lambasted as a Chancellor unable to do the math – one would have thought that math was a prerequisite qualification for running the economy, unless it was running it into the ground which the Coalition has managed to do so far.
The problem I have with the statement was not that the Chancellor with this History Degree from Oxford seems unable to grasp that you cannot actually give 110% but that he has not been giving it his full attention so far is the worrying thought. I would have hoped that in two years he has been giving it his attention 100% would be sufficient. I have to defer to Guy Penn and his blog (unfortunately because I like tearing the Tories to bits) and move behind the unintentional faux pas and concentrate on substance.
When the Chancellor took office the mantra has been, and still is , that the Tories are cleaning up the mess left by Labour. There is never any comment on what the Tories would have done as the global financial system went into meltdown, in fact their silence as to what to do is acquiesce as to the plan that was followed was, more or less, correct. Would the Tories have left Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland fail and create a crisis that we could only imagine? Also are the Tories, in the face of the LIBOR fixing scandal proposed tighter regulation on the Bank – no they have not, they are happy with the system that allowed Banks to play Casino Capitalism.
The ‘mess that Labour left’ has been the perfect excuse to reduce the role of the State, it has become an excuse for ideological thuggery and hand over to the private sector areas of that State has a great role to play – Health Care, Infrastructure provision, and Policing, all areas the Chancellor is seeking to privatize, and not to mention Education. Health and Education for profit is obscene.
Has the Chancellor actually helped the situation – well not he hasn’t. It has been either that he has not been able to concentrate a 100% on the task - note that I am not using the 110%, though sorely tempted – and starved the economy, exactly what you should not do during a recession – put simply starving the economy reduces your tax income, through increased unemployment, and your expenditure through increased Benefit Payments. As Ed Balls keeps saying ‘a recession made in Downing Street.
The Chancellor has been promising ‘Jam tomorrow and free puppies’ every time the quarterly figures comes in, this year he promised growth should have been 2.4% and not recession. The United Kingdom will be lucky to achieve zero growth. Unable to take responsibility every excuse has been used, after the ‘Labour’s fault’ excuse sounded too repetitive it was the ‘Royal Wedding’ which reduced growth – strange since he said it would create growth, then the Golden Jubilee, similarly should have increased growth, I am just wondering if he will blame the Olympics for the next set of appalling figures.
Of course the Chancellor has been busy the past couple of months trying to muck rake over the LIBOR scandal and making scurrilous remarks about Ed Balls, which when proved to be – and I am being diplomatic here – inaccurate failed to apologise for.
The frightening admission this week by the Chancellor is not that he will give 110% attention to growth but that he hasn’t been giving it that attention already.