The Chancellor's Autumn Statement.
This country is paying £120 million every day in interest, that's £120 million pounds down the drain, every day, before we spend a penny on education, healthcare, infrastructure, or anything useful. So called experts tell us that Britain can afford this. Personally I know that if I don't live within my means things get tough and frankly, expert or not, I'm pretty damn sure the country has to live within its means too.
So what do I think of the Autumn Statement? Weak, weak, weak. The Chancellor's new plans ASSUME growth in two or three years time, have they not learned how dangerous these ASSUMPTIONS are? Clearly not actually. They forecast 0.8% growth this very year, but actually it's now minus 0.1%.
One forecast that probably has a basis in FACT is that borrowing will grow by between £61 BILLION and £135 BILLION. That means that the £120 million per day going up in smoke today and every day will INCREASE.
The government blames the international situation, which is partly true. Personally I also blame Blair and Brown. Over the last two years as a whole our economy has grown 0.6%, the Chancellor's forecast WAS 4.6 %, some miss! Mull that one over for a minute. So why don't we forget these forecasts and just deal with the damn deficit. It's true that France has grown 1.7% in the same two year period, Germany 3.6% and the USA 4.1% though goodness knows how and of course France and Germany have the Euro crisis and Greece hanging over them like the sword of Damocles. So it's not all about the international situation, it's about the deficit and if that sword should fall on the main Eurozone players you can forget about growth two and three years from now, in Britain or anywhere. Let the Eurocrats try and increase their spending then!
Basically, what this coalition government lacks is balls. Maybe because it is a coalition. At the election they more or less promised more pain, slash and burn, get the deficit down, (well, the Tories did anyway, perhaps Clegg's the problem?) but they haven't done it. Now, I don't want to suffer any more pain than the next person, but I do want to see this country back on a firm footing, that's why they won the damn election.
They're tinkering and trying to steer a middle course and I can understand the temptation, but it's NOT what they said they'd do. Nor is it working – clearly. There are two possible scenarios, aside from trying to walk down the middle – one go all out for growth (as Labour, the architects of this current dilemma demand), or two, go all out for deficit reduction. I think the former would be a mistake, where's the growth to come from, increased exports? Dream on in this climate. And it can only be attempted by even more unaffordable borrowing, even more interest payments and money lost, that's taxpayers' money – yours and mine, paid out in interest. What then if the Eurozone does collapse? (Which is not that unlikely) So please, lets shield ourselves by fixing the roof – even during the storm. Even though we'll catch a short term cold. We can dry out and put the heating on after the roof is fixed.
On the subject of the storm, the storm from the opposition benches was redolent with the hypocrisy of the party that got us into this mess in the first place. Remember the note in the treasury “sorry there's no money left” ha, bloody ha. An apology from Ed Balls and co. and cooperation to get the deficit down might play better with intelligent voters. Of course politicians find the idea of apology an anathema. Oppositions oppose for opposition's sake.
Some of my own controversial ideas would probably make a rather limited difference, but I do feel illegal immigrants shouldn't receive more than pensioners who've paid National Insurance all their working lives. What about removing the incentive for economic immigration by saying if you can't find a job you'll receive exactly the same welfare you'd receive in your country of origin!
What about a work fair system like the Yanks have rather than a welfare system where you get paid for doing nothing, instead of cutting infrastructure projects get people who are already being paid to work on them and for the money they receive.
They advertise to young people saying join the army and learn a trade, well bring them back from overseas adventures and have them work on infrastructure projects, so they do learn a trade and prepare them for life after the army, whilst doing something good for the country that doesn't involve dying.
Change the laws that allow overseas giants like Starbucks, Google and Amazon to cook their books so the profits made here in the UK appear to be made in countries with lower tax regimes.
And finally CUT taxes for working and middle class people (actually all people – but they seem to be doing it for the rich already), and for companies (something they are actually doing a bit to be fair and which would, if taken far enough, mean companies would actually want to make their profits right here in the UK and not in the USA, just glance back at those growth figures above).
So much evidence shows cutting tax rates brings more into the treasury, (but not necessarily overnight). Unfortunately it goes against certain political parties' ideology. Cutting taxes means less tax avoidance and more of a feel good factor, more investment and dare we whisper it growth. Of course in the immediate short term it means cutting spending, dramatically in this current scenario, where we simply have to reduce this deficit NOW. And there we are, back to the slash and burn they said they'd do and don't have the courage to do. Our old age and our kids lives will be the poorer for it, believe me.
Coalition nil – Labour nil. Time for a radical shake up, I wonder if Boris could do better??