“The deficit reduction programme takes precedence over any of the other measures in this agreement” – stated in the Coalition Agreement.
For a government whose raison d’etre is deficit reduction, the coalition really isn’t very good at all.
Of course the truth is that this whole process of prolonged austerity is NOT about deficit-cutting. It’s just the cover for Tory ideology. It is actually about “shrinking the state” and squeezing the public sector until it becomes marginal, then none existent, in an entirely market-driven, competitively individualist society. The banker crisis-generated deficit has been a gift to the Tories in enabling them to launch the scuttlebutt that public expenditure has to be massively cut back, which they would never have been able to get away with without the deficit-reduction excuse in the first place.
And I am still seeing the “inherited debt” LIES that the Tories are still telling, despite official rebuke from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) chief Robert Chote. This is the same Tory-led government that lost our triple A Moody and Fitch credit rating, and that borrowed more in 3 years than Labour did in 13. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the coalition had borrowed £430.072 billion in just 3 short years, whereas the last Labour government managed to borrow just £429.975 billion in 13 years, and unlike the Tories, Labour invested most of what they borrowed in public services.
After continuously lying that the UK had the biggest debt in the world, George Osborne admitted to the Treasury Select Committee that he did not know the UK under Labour had the lowest debt in the G7. Also, confirmed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Those who have used cash terms (instead of percentages) have done so to scare, mislead and give less than half the story.
The much banded about 2010 deficit of “over 11%” is false. This is the Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB – total borrowings) and not the actual budget deficit which was -7.7%. (See OBR Economic and Fiscal Outlook March 2012 page 19, table 1.2.)
Secondly, in 1997 Labour inherited a deficit of 3.9% of GDP (not a balanced budget) and by 2008 it had fallen to 2.1% – a reduction of a near 50% – now that’s impressive. Hence, it’s implausible and ludicrous to claim there was “overspending.”
It’s common sense, in cash terms, that a millionaire’s debt would be greater than most people’s. Therefore, the UK would have a higher debt and deficit than most countries because we are the sixth largest economy. Therefore, its laughable to compare UK’s debt and deficit with Tuvalu’s who only have a GDP/Income of £24 million whilst, the UK’s income is £1.7 trillion.
In 1997, Labour inherited a debt of 42% of GDP. By the start of the global banking crises 2008 the debt had fallen to 35% – almost a 22% reduction (page 6 ONS). Surprisingly, a debt of 42% was not seen as a major problem and yet at 35% you would think the sky was suddenly falling, to hear the Tories acting up.
The deficit was then exacerbated by the global banking crises after 2008. (See HM Treasury archives). The IMF have also concluded the UK experienced an increase in the deficit as result of a large loss in output/GDP caused by the global banking crisis and not even as result of the bank bailouts, fiscal stimulus and bringing forward of capital spending. It’s basic economics: when output falls the deficit increases.
The large loss in output occurred because the UK, like the US, have the biggest financial centres and as this was a global banking crisis we suffered the most, and not as a result of overspending prior to and after 2008 – as the International Money Fund (IMF) concur.
So a further saving of £3 Billion in benefits, as proposed by Osborne, will clear the debt in, say, a mere… 500 YEARS.
Once again, this exposes the nonsense of the “reducing the deficit” excuse as being a genuine motivation behind cutting the incomes of the poorest and the most vulnerable citizens in the UK.
Gosh. Tories in “telling lies” shocker. Here’s a few more:
In October 2010, Cameron said : “But it’s fair that those with broader shoulders should bear a greater load.”
sinister minister talked of “fairness” as he tried to dodge the criticism that the poorest would suffer from the second big announcement of that week: a cap on benefits paid to out-of-work households.
Cameron said his government would: “always look after the sick and the vulnerable”, but said that: “society will have to rethink its approach to fairness.”
It hasn’t been “rethought” : it was the very first austerity cut.
He lied, because:
- People in poverty are targeted by the cuts 5 times more than most citizens
- Disabled people are targeted 9 times more than most citizens
- People needing social care are targeted 19 times more than most citizens.(From: A Fair Society? How the cuts target disabled people )
Cameron also said said : “Too many people thought: ‘I’ve paid my taxes, the state will look after everything.’ But citizenship isn’t a transaction – in which you put your taxes in and get your services out. It’s a relationship – you’re part of something bigger than yourself and it matters what you think and feel and do.”
Well actually, Cameron, your arrogance will be your greatest downfall, because we DO have a right in a so-called democracy to demand transparency and accountability from government, the state IS responsible for maintaining essential public services and provision, AND for upholding our human rights. Citizenship isn’t all about responsibility and giving to the government and an elite of millionaires – there IS something of a contract which we call “democracy”.
Citizenship is a foundational and structural institution of democracy, insofar as it is both a legal status and a societal and political value. As a status, citizenship bestows a collection of rights and a set of responsibilities on individuals who are free and equal in rights.
In a democracy, citizenship is not a privilege that may be granted by the government at their discretion; it is a right.
Someone should remind Cameron that the term democracy comes from the Greek language and translates simply as “rule by the people”. The so-called “democracies” in classical antiquity (Athens and Rome) represent precursors of modern democracies. Like modern democracy, they were created as a reaction to a concentration and abuse of power by the rulers. Yet the theory of modern democracy was not formulated until the Age of Enlightment (17th/18th centuries), when philosophers defined the essential elements of democracy: separation of powers, basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and separation of church and state.
In order to earn the label democracy, a country needs to fulfill some basic requirements – and they need not only be written down in it’s constitution but must be kept up in everyday life by the government:
- Guarantee of basic Human Rights to every individual person (including poor people and sick and disable people) vis-à-vis the state and its authorities as well as vis-à-vis any social groups (especially religious institutions) and vis-à-vis other persons.
- Separation of Powers between the institutions of the state:
Government [Executive Power],
Parliament [Legislative Power] and
Courts of Law [Judicative Power]
- Freedom of opinion, speech, press and mass media
- Religious liberty
- General and equal right to vote (one person, one vote)
- Good Governance (focus on public interest and the absence of corruption).
I think the Conservatives have spectacularly failed on meeting most of these criteria.
We also have an absolute democratic right to ask: what have you done with OUR money?
This was (allegedly) a liberal democracy before you took office, Cameron, not your “kingdom”.
Democracy isn’t something the government is elected to redefine and “manage”.
It’s worth noting that the word “Tory” was originally used as term of abuse. It derives from the Middle Irish word “tóraidhe” which means outlaw, robber or brigand. That explains Conservative policies, then. This Government is certainly robbing the poor to give handouts to the rich.
A catalogue of official rebukes for Tory lies: Austerity, socio-economic entropy and being conservative with the truth