Shhh, Don’t Mention the Budget!

The Labour Party is ahead of the Conservative Party in the polls for the first time since Corbyn was elected leader. While in the US the politicians scream and shout at one another, the victory here is beginning to move in favour the quiet man of politics.

There is a hushed response to the magnitude of the political change. The media is stunned almost into silence. While we may make noise around the periphery, on the sugary drinks tax and the cut to disability payments, the bigger truth, the abject failure of Osborne’s ‘long term economic strategy’ is the barely mentioned ‘elephant in the room’.

Corbyn’s greatest political asset is the failure of Osborne’s ideological stance on the economy.  ‘Austerity for the many and extraordinary levels of wealth for the few’ has not brought growth to the economy as a whole. Growth projections have been continuously revised downwards for the last five years. Osborne’s only answer is to try harder to tempt capital with ever more generous, give-away tax regimes. The public is beginning to see that Osborne’s medicine is killing the patient.

Mariana Mazzucato, author of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public Vs Private Sector Myths, one of the Labour Party’s economic advisors, outlines the way in which returns  on investment in the private sector are predicated on healthy investment levels in the public sector. Osborne seems utterly blind to this fact that is so well known in the emerging nations, where leaders see quite clearly how public investment programs can transform a nation’s growth prospects.

Continuing to strip back public investment has done nothing to improve productivity, innovation or competitiveness in the UK. This is the primary failing of the government, one that cannot be blamed on international circumstances or on lack of incentives. It can only be described as is a self-inflicted wound, a consequence of Osborne’s failed economic strategy.

Corbyn is leading a revolt against one of the details in Osborne’s latest budget, the cuts to welfare payments for the disabled. Some Conservative MPs are threatening to break ranks with the party whip. They feel compelled to rebel against the sheer injustice of the welfare cut-backs, something they find it hard to  justify to their constituents, something that looks all too much like the ‘nasty party’ image of old, an image the Tories have tried so hard to shake off.

So much for the detail of the budget, it is the substance that is more unnerving. The abject failure of Osborne’s so-called ‘long term economic strategy’ is becoming increasingly apparent by the day. The media seems to be walking on eggshells on this matter. The silence is deafening. It seems to be a case of ‘shh, don’t mention this fundamentally important aspect of the chancellor’s budget’. One can only wonder how long it will be until there is a bit more of a hoo-ha.


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