All over the country Labour Councillors are in full denunciation mode attacking the coalition government for everything from a policy of the murder of the first born to a return to slavery for the masses.
Nationally Labour is a lot quieter. Just remember the silence of the Labour MPs as they listened to the CSR. What was going through the minds of most of them was not, ‘how bad these cuts are’, but, ‘thank goodness we didn’t have to make them!”
Let’s be quite clear there are two major problems with borrowing both created by Labour.
Even before the financial crisis hit the Government had moved the goal posts about the golden rule. The rule that controls the extent of borrowing over an economic cycle. Why did they do that? Because they had already broken their own rules! Public borrowing was already getting out of control – they were borrowing more and more so that there was a structural financial deficit building up which would one day need addressing.
Then the financial crisis hit. “Ah”, says Labour, “that is not our fault – it was an international crisis”. Yes that’s true but much of the crisis was manufactured by the creatures of the dark arts – the bankers- in the cities of London and New York. Both Bush and Brown chose not to provide proper regulation and oversight for the Banks. As long as the dosh flowed alongside the champers Gordon Prudence Brown’ was happy to see it happen. His even dodgier companion – Mandelson – delighted in the concept of people being filthy rich.
The upward spiral stopped and went into reverse so what did Labour do? They borrowed more and more. That borrowing at that time was supported to some extent by both the other Parties but all three Parties knew – just as all of us really know – that if you borrow money you have to pay it back.
Labour proposed to do that by reducing public spending by £72 billion from April 2010 in the Pre Budget Report issued by Alistair Darling in November 2009. The coalition government last week introduced cuts of £83 billion. So the direction is the same from all 3 parties and the quantity isn’t that much different.
So everywhere the Labour Party oppose every cut made by the Government and say that their cuts would either have been none-existent or fairer. But not one member of the Labour Party at any level has yet said how they would have dealt with this massive financial problem.
I don’t like everything that the Government is doing. Left alone the Lib Dems would not have done exactly the same things as the coalition government but the direction was right and there was some good news in the pain that we should welcome. More targeted at the lowest paid, highest tax increases on top 2% who control so much of our wealth – a first levy on the Banks – £2 billion for enhanced social care for the elderly – pensions linked at wage inflation and much, much more. The school building programme largely reinstated but without much of the bureaucratic costs in the BSF programme.
As Andrew Rawnsley confirms in today’s Observer even when all the cuts are made we will still be spending money at the same level of GDP, 41%, that pertained in the last year before the crisis 2006/2007. That 41% is higher than most times in this Country since the war and is one of the highest rates of public spending in Western Europe
Locally or nationally Labour has no credibility until it comes up with a comprehensive and deliverable plan to implement its own spending cuts figure. It then needs to explain why they are content that their figure will continue to grow the amount of interest the country will need to pay off. They will then need to say why it is right that we should pay more interest to foreign bankers rather than to provide services in the UK. Lastly they have to say why it is right that we already pay more in interest than we do for education or defence. Left to them by the end of this Parliament we would have been paying more in interest than education and defence.
One day the worms will stop turning and will stop spinning. But don’t count on it being too soon!