Saturday 4 October 2014

David Cameron's debt reduction lie - Part 2

The contrasting press reactions to the party conference speeches of Ed Miliband and David Cameron could not have been more marked. Miliband was savaged over the fact that he forgot to say part of his speech after attempting to speak for over an hour without notes, then David Cameron's speech was showered with superlatives, even though he told an absolutely outrageous lie in it about the national debt.

The factor that made David Cameron's claims that his government has been reducing the national debt so egregious is that he has already been rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for telling exactly the same lie during a party political broadcast in 2013.

In the 2013 party political broadcast Cameron claimed that "we're paying down Britain's debts" and was rebuked in no uncertain terms for misleading the public about economic matters.

In his 2014 Conference speech Cameron used the same unusual phrasal verb to claim that Britain is "a country that is paying down its debts", prompting another rebuke from the 
UK Statistics Authority (see letter).

In order to properly understand the next few paragraphs, you need to understand the difference between a debt and a deficit. If you're not completely clear on the difference here's a link to my article explaining it in layman's terms.

The facts are absolutely clear. Despite Cameron's repeated claims that the national debt is being "paid down", and George Osborne's wildly optimistic 2010 predictions that he was going to have completely eliminated the budget deficit by 2014-15, the UK debt is still rising dramatically. Every single time you hear a Tory boast that they've "cut the deficit by a third" it is an explicit admission that despite all of their ideological austerity, the national debt is still growing almost as rapidly as it did at the very peak of the global financial sector insolvency crisis. It's an admission that they're still borrowing £billions when their 2010 predictions said they would actually have begun paying money back by now. Every time they repeat the 
"cut the deficit by a third" mantra, they're explicitly admitting that they've spectacularly failed to do what they claimed they were going to when they came to power.

The evidence is absolutely clear. Since the Tories were enabled into power by the Liberal Democrats in 2010, the national debt has grown dramatically.  Statistics from the UK Public Spending website show that the national debt stood at 44% of GDP at the end of 2009 (Labour's final full year in office) and have risen to over 76% of GDP now. To put this into monetary figures, the debt the Tory party inherited from Labour was lesst than  £1 trillion, it is now more than £1.4 trillion and still rising rapidly. That means that rather than "paying down" the debt, this Tory led government has increased it dramatically!

In just four years George Osborne has created more debt than every single Labour government in history combined. One of those Labour governments was in power during the worst global economic crisis of the 20th Century (the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression) and another was in charge during the worst global economic crisis so far in the 21st Century (the global financial sector insolvency crisis), yet in just four years George Osborne has borrowed more than both of them together, and all of the other Labour governments in history added in for good measure too!

Only the most egregious of liars could try to claim that increasing the debt by significantly more than £400 billion in just four years represents a 
"paying down" of debt, especially if he's already been officially rebuked for telling exactly the same lie before.

Perhaps the use of the unusual phrasal verb "paying down"  in place of more normal and natural verbs like "paying off" or "reducing" is some kind of subconscious effort to obscure the fact that any such claims are outright lies?

In 2013 I wrote an article about Cameron's "
paying down Britain's debts" lie, in which I concluded that David Cameron is either so economically illiterate that he doesn't even know the fundamentals of what he's talking about, or that he was deliberately and cynically playing on the widespread economic illiteracy of the public in order to make a desperately misleading claim, which he knew to an outright lie when he uttered it.

The fact that he has been rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for this kind of desperately misleading 
"paying down" of debts statement before, yet he's chosen to say it again proves beyond any reasonable doubt that he knows perfectly well that he is lying, but that he feels completely safe doing so because the UK Statistics Authority has no means of actually punishing him for his lies.

David Cameron tells lies because he knows he can get away with it, and because he believes that enough of the public are economically uneducated enough to actually believe such blatant rubbish.

Returning to the contrasting mainstream media reactions to the conference speeches of Ed Miliband and David Cameron, if I wasn't already familiar with the strong pro-Tory bias of the UK press I'd have been astonished at the way Miliband was lambasted for attempting to do a 65 minute speech without notes but accidentally missing out a few sections, then David Cameron was lauded for a speech which contained an egregious and quite deliberate lie about the economy.

Perhaps the most dispiriting thing of all was the way in which glowing media coverage of Cameron's Conference speech gave the Tories such a boost that they jumped ahead of Labour in the polls for the first time since early 2012.

It's not shocking that David Cameron lied, he is an inverterate liar, who lies with such regularity and ease that it is clear that it comes naturally to him. After "no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS"  (when he was perfectly aware of the secret Tory plans being drawn up for the biggest top-down reorganisation/mass privatisation of the NHS in history, to be launched as soon as the Tories got back into power), nobody should be surprised that he blatantly lied about the economy in his Conference speech.

What is shocking is that the mainstream media not only let the lie slide by without the slightest effort to counter it with the actual truth, but they lauded his speech so much that the Tories actually got an 8 point poll boost from it.

What is even more shocking still is that there are still apparently millions of people who don't have the faintest clue about economics, and choose to believe David Cameron's completely unacceptable lies about the economy at face value.

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David Cameron's debt reduction lie (part one)
What is ... the difference between a debt and a deficit?
The Tory ideological mission

We've cut the deficit by a third - the worst boast in politics
Why do so many people still trust the towel-folder in chief with the UK economy?
Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
12 things you should know about the 2014 European elections
Why bailing out RBS was a catastrophic mistake

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