what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Coalition Government's 100 billion cut

From the priest’s chants, it appears that it is yet another feast day? So I limit the external work to reducing the large pile of branches outside the house to sackloads of sticks which I store in the backroom – and to carrying the very light stuff to the track at the bottom of the garden for burning. No power saw today! I don’t want to scandalise the neighbours!
I’m glad that Craig Murray is back blogging again – after some major house rehabilitation apparently. He has a brief remark on the UK Coalition budget which has just announced 100 billion of public spending cuts over the next 4 years.
The Comprehansive Spending Review announced today is designed to bring public spending back to the same level in real terms that it was in 2006/2007. It is not radical. It is not nearly radical enough. The state sector is much.much too large in this country. We could have a much smaller public sector which at the same time was much more effective at wealth redistribution. 500,000 public sector job cuts hardly scratches the surface of needed reductions in our ludicrous bureaucracies. The Private Finance Initiative, Internal Market mechanisms, fee and academy schools - and their hordes of accountants and administrators should all go and be replaced bysimple direct provision of necessary services. Local income tax should fun over half of public spending, decided upon and provided close to the point of delivery. And the UK should be broken up anyway.
Murray does know what he’s talking about – having been an HM Ambassador and also Vice-Chancellor of a University.

There is some confusion about how much of the financial debt of the british Government comes from the banking bailout; how much from the significant increased public spending of the previous 5 or so years which Brown chose and thought would be covered by economic growth which was torpedoed by the global meltdown; and how much from the welfare consequences of the economic decline of the past 2 years. But a recent blog did an excellent job of exposing some myths being perpetrated by the government. And the BBC economics correspondent - Stephanie Flanders - whose blog I have only today discovered - cast the appropriate light on the confusion. And it is consistent with Craig Murray's argument.
What, however, seems clear is that the coalition is using the consensus about the crisis to push through an ideological agenda. The maverick John Grey has a good post on this. And both the increase in the budget of the International Development Department and the sacle of the cutback of the BBC budget are proof of that.
Prospect magazing gives an interesting insight into how of the influentials see the problem and its solution - as well as an overdue comment about the money which tighening up tax avoidance could realise.

I thought something interesting was going to happen when 37 Conservative MPs indicated they would vote last week against the latest, utterly unacceptable demand from the EU for an increased budget. But it was not to be. What sort of planet is the European Commisison living on to expect increased budget when all members are reducing their budgets – and what sort of pusillanimous creatures are the various EU national governments made of to accept increased payments to a system which pays its officials such salaries, pensions and severance payments???? Actually it's worse than that - the EU for leading member state politicians and officials is like heaven - a better place to go after their life in national systems finished. So they have an interest in the totally immoral level of payments - open and hidden.
I’ve been wanting for some time to write about this. Open Europe does a good job of exposing the various nonsenses. See also BBC Gavin Hewett's comment.

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