Sunday, 24 March 2019

Are you guilty of unwittingly spreading hard-right Tory austerity propaganda?


There was a time not so long ago when Tory austerity myths were all pervasive, with virtually nobody besides a few obscure academics and leftist bloggers calling it out for the brazen wealth transfer con it always was.

The darkest days were when poor hapless Ed Miliband allowed pro-austerity neoliberal ideologues like Ed Balls and Chris Leslie free rein at the shadow treasury, meaning all three Westminster parties were simultaneously pumping out economically illiterate pro-austerity gibberish about the fictional need to 'cut our way to growth'.

The space for dissenters to talk about rational pro-investment economic policies was extremely limited, and ruinous austerity dogma went almost entirely unchallenged in the mainstream media and wider UK public discourse for a significant period of time.

The problem of course is that when a crackpot ideology is presented as essentially unquestionable "common sense" for a singificant period of time, the fundamental assumptions that make up the foundations of that ideology tend to seep into the public consciousness.

Even now when right-leaning organisations like the OECD and the IMF have admitted that austerity is an extremely damaging economic ideology, these pervasive pro-austerity myths continue to circulate within public discourse.


One of the most most pervasive myths of all when it comes to austerity dogma is the "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) argument, which is just a simple Tory reworking of 1980s Thatcherite pro-privatisation propaganda for contemporary purposes.

The TINA austerity argument goes like this: National borrowing is too high. The only way to reduce borrowing is to reduce spending: Therefore there is no alternative to our programme of austerity, wage repression, public service cuts, vandalism of the social safety net, and deliberate under-investment in drivers of future economic prosperity like infrastructure, education, and affordable housing.

This narrative outright defies the lessons of economic history that have proven time and again that investment is the true key to success.

Just look at the New Deal in the US. Look at the unprecedented four decade growth boom in China and the role that massive investment projects have played in facilitating that growth. And look closer to home at the post-war Attlee government that managed to significantly reduce Britain's all-time record high debt mountain by founding the NHS, expanding the welfare state, introducing Legal Aid, rebuilding our shattered nation, and building millions of decent affordable houses.


The problem is that the toxic Tory TINA austerity narrative has been so well drilled into people that you often hear anti-Brexit people resorting to the argument that Brexit will be a disaster for ordinary people because it would inevitably mean more austerity.

Of course this argument makes sense as long as we assume that the Tories would be in control of government in perpetuity (something a lot of mainstream media figures seem to want), because the Tories would obviously see the Brexit meltdown of their own making as an ideal opportunity to ramp up their favourite upwards wealth transfer con all over again.

But the assumption that austerity would be completely inevitable under a Brexit recession is actually just Tory propaganda, because like I said before, economic history has proven time and again that the true way out of economic difficulties is targeted investment in productive sectors of the economy, not wanton slash-merchantry.
Of course inefficient forms of spending can be cut in conjunction with targeted investment (no sane economist is in favour of waste), but the assumption that departmental budgets across the board need to be slashed in order to reduce borrowing is total economic madness, when the truth is that increased investment is the key to recovery.

Successful nations invest their way out of trouble, and those led by ideologically driven slash-merchants end up in chaos.

Brexit is actually an example of this reality in action. Austerity trashed our living standards, hard-right ideologues blamed these falling living standards on immigrants and the EU, millions of people protest-voted in favour of Brexit because none of the mainstream political parties gave them the option of rejecting austerity, and now the Tories are trying to use Brexit as an excuse to drag workers' rights, living standards, environmental laws, consumer protections even further downwards in order to benefit their mega-rich backers.


If the economy tanks under Brexit, which definitely would be a bad thing, the solution is still investment, not austerity.

Anyone pushing austerity as an inevitable solution to Brexit chaos is guilty of spreading Tory propaganda.

It pains me to see people who seem to get that austerity is a bad thing using this atrocious TINA argument to fear-monger about Brexit causing even more austerity, because use of this argument demonstrates that they've completely failed to understand what is actually wrong about austerity.

Austerity is wrong because it's an ideological choice, not a necessity.

Austerity is wrong because wantonly cutting productive areas of the economy at a time of economic crisis, as if all spending is essentially just waste, is not a logical common sense solution, it's economic vandalism.

Austerity is wrong, and anyone making out that it's an inevitable reaction to economic crises, no matter what their motivation, is guilty of spreading the exact same hard-right Tory propaganda these slash-merchants used to justify it in the first place.

They're so confused that they're trying to oppose Brexit, but they're actually guilty of pushing the very same propaganda that justified the devastating austerity years which caused the Brexit vote in the first place!


So don't be a Tory propagandist, and never imply that austerity is inevitable because that's exactly what the Tories want people to believe.


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Austerity is a tool to rob our pockets..the nutter's fell for the gimmick and shouldn't be aloud to vote again. believing we are broke is stupid there is billions of pounds offshore, I believe it's fallacy and a conn trick, we can find plenty of money for bomb's..wake up..