Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Belt tightening

The British government threw billions of pounds at the banks to keep them afloat. So how are they going to get the money back? Why, by clobbering the already hard-up citizens naturally.

Has a single politician pledged to get the cash back solely from the wealthy, from those in a position to fork out painlessly without it affecting their daily lives?

Er no, not to my knowledge. The political parties are now competing ruthlessly to announce the biggest and most punitive round of public spending cuts and tax increases, should they win the next general election.

And in the main they'll be hitting the poor and struggling, those who're already reeling from job losses, repossessions and huge debts.

Already the politicians are talking of freezing civil servants' pay, raising the state pension age, cutting welfare benefits, trimming health services and upping university fees.

I'm sure that's just for starters. Once one lot or the other has won the election, they'll be hacking away at every benefit and allowance in sight, be it for pensioners, children, the sick, the disabled, or deaf, dumb and blind paraplegics. No one will be sacred.

What was it the former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock once said? "I warn you not to be ordinary, not to be young, not to fall ill, not to get old." He could have said the same today.

The senior Conservative politician George Osborne declares "We're all in this together." Really? Including the millions of people who had nothing whatever to do with the banking meltdown? Why should they have to pay?

Meanwhile the wealthiest in society - who are still worth billions despite the economic collapse - carry on jetting round the world and snapping up £50,000 trinkets as if nothing much has changed. They can rest assured the politicians won't be requiring them to tighten their belts any time soon.

PS: See this excellent article by Johann Hari in the London Independent on why huge cuts to public spending will only bring economic disaster, and why the high level of public debt is not a problem anyway.


Wisewebwoman said...

It is the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the obscenely rich in history, Nick. And it continues unabated.
Are we all too beaten down or sedated to revolt?

Rummuser said...

We too have had our politicos mouthing platitudes about austerity and cutting expenses till the public told them to start practicing what they were preaching and went some distance further and asked them to do it on a long term basis.

Nick said...

www - A lot of people actually support spending cuts even though they might personally lose out. They believe all the propaganda about making sacrifices, all pulling together etc. The Trades Union Congress is talking about mass industrial action but I doubt if many people will participate - they're afraid of losing their jobs.

Ramana - It sounds like Indians are more bolshy than Brits and less likely to accept the politicians carrying on their well-padded lifestyles while ordinary folk suffer.

Baino said...

There's already a wage freeze for public servants here and on Tuesday the so called 'stimulus package' saw an increase in interest rates by .25 basis points. Here it's the 'middle class' I guess because they're the largest group of pay as you earn tax payers that pay the price. I'm sick of it. Food has never been more expensive, jobs have never paid less and yet the fat cats in Canberra manage a wage increase and big companies shaft their profits into overseas tax havens.

kylie said...

generally speaking i have never worried too much about our politicians pay rates, they seem high to the average person but i think they are small if the pollie involved is actually doing the job. i wouldnt want to do it.

CEOs and board members are another story

and neither do i want to see the already hurting and disadvantaged pay for the mistakes of the fat cats, which of course is your point, but until the masses rise up it will continue as is.
i dont think we are ready for a revolution, not in australia, so i suppose things will stay much the same


Nick said...

Baino - Food prices are leaping up here as well. And the average wage is being steadily squeezed down while the chief executives get ever bigger salaries, bonuses and pensions.

Kylie - No, not much enthusiasm for a revolution in Britain either. People prefer to drown their sorrows in drink and drugs rather than demand a completely different type of society.

Anonymous said...

tough times indeed, glad I'm poking my head in the sand although I dread what it will be like when I emerge from denial.

Nick said...

Conor - A trip round the world is probably as good a way of dealing with the economic crisis as any. Better than sitting about in a cloud of gloom and pessimism.

Quickroute said...

Belt tightening indeed - we'll be back to holdin' our trousers up with rope at this rate

Nick said...

Quicky - What trousers? Do you think I can afford trousers? I just make do with a bit of sacking myself. Heavily darned of course.