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There’s absolutely no possibility that George Osborne will give in to the latest calls for him to ditch his ‘deficit reduction strategy’ and adopt a more moderate plan.
Firstly, people need to understand that the Coalition government’s fiscal strategy isn’t about reducing the national deficit at all. If it was, we would not have had a big tax break for the richest in society as part of the last budget. It’s a strategy to axe public services, selling off to rich corporations any that might be capable of yielding a profit. George W Bush followed this policy in the United States a few years ago; it’s called ‘starving the beast’ – look it up on Wikipedia.
Secondly, a more moderate plan, mixing appropriate savings in government costs with growth-creating measures, is something Mr Osborne could never palate for one reason: It’s the policy put forward by the Labour Party before the 2010 election. Adopting it would mean that he was admitting Labour were right; the Conservatives were entirely wrong to put forward their ideologically-driven austerity plan as an alternative; and that he had wasted everybody’s time and tax money for the past two and a half years.
At least we get the joy of watching all his support flow away, drip by drip. The current story shows nine of the 20 economists who signed a letter supporting austerity back in February 2010 (just before the general election) have had a change of heart. Others have already done so.
Furthermore, Boris Johnson merrily stabbed the part-time Chancellor in the back, at the same time as the economists. He called for David Cameron to “stop pussyfooting around” and invest in major infrastructure projects in London.
His outburst was an outstanding achievement as he managed to shoot himself in both feet at the same time – putting himself at odds with the Conservative leadership and showing the country as a whole how out of touch he really is.
London has just received £9.3 billion worth of investment for the Olympic games, along with related infrastructure investments worth a further (reputed) £16 billion. Other parts of the UK are desperate for investment on a fraction of that scale!
For example, the people of Scotland might reconsider whether secession from the United Kingdom was a good idea, if the UK government invested a little cash in their country; as might the people of Wales.
Oh! But then, Scotland and Wales don’t vote Conservative, do they?