Monday, 24 May 2010

Cutting remarks

Against the clock once more. I don't seem to have enough time outside of commuting to work, to do my part in paying off this massive national debt, under increasingly difficult conditions. It's a hard life...

There has been a reasonable amount of activity of course, in the early days of this coalition, but two major stories that hold my interest are the Labour leadership race and the impending cuts in public spending.

These are ongoing matters (the Labour leadership bun fight will drag on for months it seems), so I will look them again, but I wanted to make some quick comments, in a vain attempt to keep up with things.

Ed Balls and Ed Miliband criticised the Iraq war over the weekend. Well that's very big of them... Just 7 years after the war, and granted neither of them were MPs at the time of the war, but we heard barely a squeak out of them until now. Now Brown has gone these brave boys have piped up.

Balls thinks he can do what he likes now Brown has gone.

"S**t. Is that Gordon?!"

But it is David Miliband who has once again stated that we 'should just move on'. It is true that none of what has happened can be undone, but the effects of the war will continue to be seen for years to come. Many people feel the angry about the thoroughly deceptive way the Labour Government acted before and after the war and that we have not received anything close to satisfactory answers and admissions.
You could make a lot of comparisons to other historical events stretching back over many years and the extent to which we've 'moved on', World War Two seems to still get a lot of press these days...

But a good example I saw a couple of years ago was on Question Time when the Leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, picked up the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, about his dismissal of questions about the Iraq war. Lord Falconer was saying we need to 'move on' and it's in the past now, when Salmond pointed out that this attitude was coming from a Government that was considering an apology for Britain's involvement in the salve trade.

Some people do pick and choose which parts of 'history' to move on from. Maybe we'll hear from Blair's descendants in 200 hundred years. Now there's a thought...

This sort of attitude from David Miliband is just an example of the dismissive and patronising disposition that I came to expect from the New Labour hordes in the latter years of their government. He's going to have his work cut out trying to change the mechanics of that spin machine. As since he was integral to it, can it really change?

"Next Labour", really? That's pretty desperate and I reckon they are scrambling around trying to come up with something new.

Maybe that was a covert parting shot from Alastair Campbell? Whoever it was, I bet Mandelson was probably laughing his arse off that one.

Mandelson and Brown consider their legacy

"Well we f***ed over Miliband. Me and you Gord, they won't forget us in a hurry..."

Patronising, dismissive, deceptive; some of New Labour's finest traits and all embodied in Peter Mandelson. But they still like to have a laugh...

They're all at it, Tory or New Labour, taking the piss. But some of them get caught out.

I'm thinking 'time and place' with Liam Byrne's joke letter to his successor at the Treasury about there being 'no money left'.

Different economic and political circumstances he might have got away with it. But I've seen Mr Byrne's 'performances' a few times, I can't say I'm a fan...

But laugh it up, because cuts are on the way. A lot of people are running out of time (just as I am as I write), because the axe will fall as announcements today have made clear.

I will come back to this subject again, as I say it will continue to roll on of course, not least because of the reactions from the Unions as plans are laid out and the cuts begin. The thing that I find slightly disconcerting is this very common viewpoint that the public sector should be saved from cuts, on various timescales, what a tragedy the cuts will be for normal working people and 'why should civil servants pay for the mistakes of Bankers?'

I agree that no job cuts are good and also that frontline services should be protected as much as possible.

But hundreds of thousands of people have been losing their jobs in the private sector over the last two years. Pay and recruitment freezes and declining working conditions have occurred throughout the private sector. There is a common focus on higher earning bankers apparently carrying on regardless, but this is not replicated through the rest of the private sector at all, times are still very hard for those at the bottom.

In comparison the public sector has been largely sheltered from the downturn and in many ways it has been sheltered from the effects of the global economy over the last 30 years, which have continued to radically change conditions in the private sector. Except in one way, in that Gordon Brown's Treasury benefited from a long period of economic growth based on global economic circumstances, so the public sector grew. And as that growth turned out to be completely unsustainable, surely it correlates quite directly that the size of the public sector is unsustainable?

I don't think anyone if they were honest and had some real experience of the public and private sectors would deny that there is huge scope for these cuts. Only the most rabid Unionist or sheltered public sector worker would object to any cuts. I imagine we'll see a few in the coming months/years.

The fact is we're all going to have to pay for the mistakes of the Bankers AND the Labour government, because of their lax regulation.

I don't see why the private sector, particularly the low paid, should have to work and compete in increasingly difficult environments, to help maintain the conditions of the public sector through these hard times. As well as have to pay off all this debt.

Would that have been Labour's "Future Fair For All"?

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