Monday, 10 July 2017

Beware of MPs who are infected with the austerity delusion

The right-wing Labour MP Chuka Umunna has established a cross-party working group to oppose extreme Brexit.

While I see no problem with like-minded MPs forming cross-party groups to stand up for what they believe in, I do think that certain MPs should be incredibly wary of the kinds of people they're leap into bed with.

The leading Tory in the group is Anna Soubry who has repeatedly voted in favour of the Tory policy of economically punishing the majority of people with hard-right austerity dogma in order to fund ever more lavish handouts to corporations and the mega-rich.

The Leading Lib-Dem in the group is Jo Swinson. She is also an austerity fetishist who voted time and again in favour of George Osborne's socially and economically ruinous austerity dogma until she was lobbed out of her seat in the 2015 Scottish backlash against Tory/Lib-Dem austerity fanaticism. She's back again and nothing she has said has convinced me that she's willing to admit the error of her ways.

Then there's Chuka Umunna himself, who is still unwilling to accept that "let's cut our way to growth" is, and always has been a load of economically illiterate hogwash designed to con the gullible into supporting the very same kind of hard-right economic policies that created the conditions for the economic crash in the first place.

The reason we know that Umunna is still an austerity fetishist is that he openly claimed that leaving the Single Market would mean even more austerity measures would have to be imposed, meaning he's still refusing to admit the fact that austerity dogma is demonstrably the wrong solution to economic trouble.

There's no way I'm disputing that crashing out of the Single Market with no deal would cause a bloody big recession, it's beyond obvious that it would cause absolute chaos.

What I'm disputing is that austerity dogma is the solution to anything at all, self-inflicted or not.

What I'm disputing is the automatic assumption by so many Westminster club insiders (including MPs like Chuka Umunna who should surely know better by now) that the only way to deal with an economic downturn is to turn all of macroeconomic theory on its head and set about cutting public spending when established theory says you should temporarily boost public spending in order to offset the decline in private sector activity.
  • After seven years of watching the Tory party imposing austerity dogma and then continually missing all of their economic targets, Chuka Umunna still believes in it.
  • After years of people telling him that austerity is a con to ensure an upwards redistribution of wealth, Chuka Umunna still believes in it.
  • After Labour totally squandered their opportunity to smash the 2015 General Election on a clear anti-austerity platform, and instead actually lost ground by pushing Ed Balls' shockingly unappetising and unpopular prescription of austerity-lite, Chuka Umunna still believes in it.
  • After Jeremy Corbyn secured the biggest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 with a clear investment-based alternative to hard-right Tory austerity dogma, Chuka Umunna still believes in it.
  • Even after campaigning on an anti-austerity manifesto, Chuka Umaunna still actually believes in it.
In my view the pro-investment politicians backing this cross party group (Caroline Lucas of the Greens, representatives of Plaid Cymru and the SNP, and any non-Osbournite Labour MPs who get involved) should be incredibly wary of working alongside MPs who maintain their burning ideological commitment to the bonkers idea that growth and stability can be achieved through a death by a million cuts strategy of constantly attacking infrastructure investment, wages, emergency services, the education system, and other public services.

Austerity dogma is a toxic ideological derangement that has infested the Westminster establishment club for seven disastrous years, and the outcome of the Brexit negotiations won't really be of much consequence if this virulent form of economic madness within our own political system isn't controlled and contained.

The pro-investment MPs who involve themselves with this anti-extreme Brexit group should be aware at all times that prominent members like Jo Swinson, Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna are still dangerously infected with this hard-right economic delusion (even after the actual source of the contagion has quit parliament altogether to spend more time with his jobs).

The politicians who haven't been infected with austerity madness who join this group should be aware of the dangerous delusions of their fellow members, and they should be constantly vigilant that this group isn't used as an excuse to re-toxify the economic debate by using it as an excuse to provide a fake veneer of cross party support for the ruinous austerity fetishism of many of the group's most prominent members.

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