Friday, 2 January 2015

Are you as gullible as the Tories think you are?



In January 2015 the Tory party released a bizarrely misleading poster which made three extremely dubious claims beneath a highly optimistic statement that they have been leading the UK "on the road to a stronger economy", when everyone with a few brain cells to rub together must surely be aware that ideological austerity has severely retarded the post-crisis recovery in favour of carrying out a huge ideologically driven transfer of wealth from the poor and ordinary (who have suffered years of wage repression, cuts in in-work benefits and destruction of the public services they use) into the pockets of the super wealthy economic minority (you know, the establishment class who were to blame for the economic crisis in the first place).

In this article I'm going to analyse the three extremely disingenuous claims, and the absurdly over-optimistic statement that the Tories have been leading, rather than retarding the economic recovery.

"1.75 Million more people in work"



This claim is particularly disingenuous because it takes no account of population growth, which has been significantly more than 1.75 million since 2010. The exact figures for 2014 are not available yet, but in the four year period between 2009 (Labour's last full year in office) and the end of 2013 the UK population grew by 1.8 million [source].

If we look at the official population growth estimates, they show that the UK population has been projected to grow by 2.5 million between 2010 and 2015 [source], and these estimates were carried out under the assumption that Theresa May's draconian economic apartheid scheme against lower income British families and her economically illiterate efforts to drive highly qualified graduates out of the UK would reduce net migration to less than 100,000 per year, when in reality it's running at 243,000 per year.

Even if we ignore the fact that this figure is misleadingly presented without the vital context of population growth, the nature of these new jobs is also very important. It's absolutely clear from the above chart that the majority of these new jobs are low-paid, insecure, self-employed, zero hours and part-time positions, whilst the number of full-time employees has actually fallen by almost 200,000 since the economic crisis.

The fact that the majority of these 1.75 million new jobs the Tories are bragging about are low quality, low paid positions is reflected in the huge shortfalls in Income Tax receipts that has seen the Tories continue to run huge budget deficits.

"760,000 new businesses"

A crude measure of the total increase in businesses is virtually meaningless if it makes no differentiation between valid businesses (that make profits, pay taxes and employ people on decent salaries) and dodgy businesses (tax-dodging shell companies, unprofitable one person shows and profiteering companies that pay poverty wages to their employees - meaning that the taxpayer has to top them up with Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Relief etc). 


The Tories made it extremely difficult to find out where this claim of 760,000 new businesses actually came from, and when we find out, it becomes absolutely clear why they were so keen to present the number without the source to back it up. 

The claim comes from the 2014 Business and Population Estimates from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, which makes some pretty desperate reading. It turns out that 80% of the growth in the number of businesses in the last year has been generated by tiny businesses with no employees, while the
 number of large businesses (with more than 250 employees) is still well below the level in the year 2000, and the number of Small and Medium businesses (SMEs) has also flat lined since 2000.

"The Deficit halved"


Of the three claims this is by far the most misleading. Anyone with basic maths skills could tell you that reducing the deficit from £153 billion to £91 billion does not represent a halving, it's actually more like cutting it by a third.

Even if we ignore the dodgy calculation tricks the Tories used to pretend that they'd cut the deficit in half, we should remember that George Osborne and the Tories came to power in 2010 full of promises that they would have completely eliminated the deficit by now. The fact that they are still borrowing hundreds of millions of pounds every single day is irrefutable evidence that their ideological austerity experiment is a hopeless failure in its own terms.

"Let's stay on the road to a stronger economy"

The reality is that the Tories have overseen one of the biggest transfers of wealth from the poor and ordinary to the super-rich in history. The vast majority of people haven't seen any of the economic "recovery" the Tories are always harping on about. It's absolutely clear that tens of millions of people have suffered real terms declines in their household incomes, whilst costs like electricity, gas, water rates, public transport costs and food have continued to inflate massively.

The economic recovery has only been felt by people like income millionaires (who got an average £100,000 per year tax cut in 2013) corporations (a 40% cut in Corporation Tax since 2010) corporate directors (huge inflation busting pay rises year after year) owners of London property (thanks to the unsustainable London property bubble) bankers (who continue to get vast bonuses despite the fact that their totally insolvent banks were bailed out by the taxpayer during the crisis) private health profiteers (who have benefited enormously from the Tory party carve-up of the NHS) and an alphabet soup of corporate outsourcing parasites that are getting fat on ever more lucrative and extraordinarily one-sided government contracts (A4e, G4S, Atos, Capita, Secro, Seetec, Avanta ...).

The only hope is that the majority of the electorate are not gullible enough to blindly fall for the Tory "recovery" propaganda, and realise that virtually all of the anemic economic growth since 2010 has been distributed to the wealthy minority.

I think there is a strong possibility that the Tories have badly miscalculated their ability to trick ordinary people (who have borne the brunt of ideological austerity) into believing that they too are benefiting from this "recovery for the rich".

Of course the Tories have the vast majority of the media on their side, so we can expect a powerful pre-election fearmongering campaign in favour of continued Tory rule. Then there's the problem of Labour incompetently shooting themselves in the feet over and again instead of spelling out anything resembling a coherent alternative to ideological austerity. However I'm hoping that most people will go to the polls knowing that after five years of Tory misrule, they're now significantly worse off than they were in 2010, whilst the Tories and their chums have raked in untold fortunes at the expense of the balanced and sustainable economic recovery that they're trying to dupe everyone into believing that they've achieved.



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NOTE: It now turns out that the road in the Tory poster isn't even in the UK, it's in Germany!





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