Thursday, 18 April 2019

Jeremy Hunt's austerity bragging proves he always knew how bad it was

Tory austerity was always a massive con job designed to justify their pre-existing ideological obsession with transferring as much wealth as possible from the majority to the mega-rich minority.

Austerity is a con

The lessons of economic history are absolutely clear. If you want a quick economic recovery then invest in productive areas of the economy (housing, infrastructure, services ...), if you want a slow drawn out recovery go on a wanton ideological slash-fest, and if you want to really stymie the economy then coincide your slash-fest with a deliberate upwards redistribution of wealth from ordinary working people (who spend and create economic demand) to the mega-rich who are far more inclined to stash the additional wealth you hand them in tax haven hideaways.

Jeremy Hunt knows all of this. He knows that Tory austerity resulted in the slowest economic recovery in Centuries; he knows that Tory wage repression policies caused the longest real terms decline in UK workers' wages in decades; he knows that the Tories have spectacularly failed to deliver their promise of eliminating the budget deficit by 2015 (it's still not gone and it's 2019) he knows that unprecedented public service cuts have choked the NHS and severely damaged the education system; he knows that austerity cuts have vandalised the social safety net; he knows that the Tory 30% cut to the police budget has coincided with soaring violent crime; and he knows that austerity dogma has led to the impoverishment of millions, and the deaths of tens of thousands.

He also knows that the living standards collapse that these policies delivered are one of the main causes of the wave of public anger that drove the Brexit vote narrowly over the winning line in the 2016 EU referendum.

So when Jeremy Hunt praises the "genius" of David Cameron and George Osborne for imposing austerity without causing riots on the streets he's not saying that the policy of austerity, wage repression, public service cuts, infrastructure under-investment, and vandalism of the social safety net was "genius", he's saying that convincing the British public to believe in a package of radical hard-right policies that ruined their living standards, at the exact same time as the Tories were showering corporations and the mega-rich with lavish tax cuts and handouts.

The reality is quite different. Cameron and Osborne were hardly geniuses for pulling off such a damaging con on the British public, they just benefited from a shocking lack of opposition as they did it.

Lib-Dem collusion

The Liberal Democrats played a key role by switching from their warnings about the folly of excessive spending cuts before the 2010 General Election to enthusiastically backing every last Tory cut in order to hang onto their six figure ministerial salaries, their chauffeur-driven cars, and their temporary senses of self importance.

Mainstream media

The mainstream media openly colluded with Tory austerity dogma. Hardly surprising from the billionaire-owned propaganda rags like the Daily Mail, S*n, Times, Telegraph, Express, Spectator ... but a catastrophic failure on behalf of the supposedly "impartial" BBC.

Given that the BBC always love to create artificial "balance" by giving equal airtime to science-denial idiots and oil industry lobbyists to "balance" the debate on humanity's ongoing ruination of the environment, they abjectly failed to "balance" the economic debate with at least an equal number of sensible pro-investment voices on every panel to counter the ideologically driven austerity gibberish of the Tories.

Labour right-wingers

The Blairite right-wingers who controlled the shadow treasury under Ed Miliband were perhaps the worst offenders of all. They saw the mainstream media refusal to question austerity madness, and instead of redoubling their efforts to oppose this wanton Tory malice, they folded completely and decided to offer a sickly "austerity-lite" agenda at the 2015 General Election in the pathetic hope of converting a few thousand "soft Tory" voters in marginal constituencies.

What they didn't factor into their calculations was that for every "soft Tory" they won over by pathetically imitating Tory austerity fanaticism, they drove away dozens of natural Labour voters.

Failure of opposition

This abject failure of opposition across Westminster and the mainstream media left the UK in the frankly ridiculous situation where the mainstream media and all three of the Westminster establishment parties were all simultaneously pushing ruinous austerity dogma, while the only sustained opposition was coming from the widely ignored economics academics, the Green Party, the SNP in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales, and a small bunch of bloggers and independent media sites.

The Public

And the public don't get off without criticism either. Even if the political and mainstream media establishment abjectly failed in their duties to hold the Tories to account and offer alternatives to their malicious and destructive agenda, people could still have risen up in protest.

Since 2008 British workers have suffered an unprecedented 5% collapse in the value of their wages, while the French have seen a modest 6% increase in the same period. Who are the ones protesting in the streets every single weekend, and who are the ones who sit at home with their apathetic "keep calm and carry on" attitude in the face of relentless economic persecution by the wealthy policial establishment class?

Labour offering hope again

Now that Labour has moved decisively away from hard-right Tory austerity dogma things are better, but the damage austerity caused, and the Brexit chaos it unleashed can never be undone. Even if we reversed course tomorrow and began actually investing in our economy, and building our future economic potential, we're now 9 years and a catastrophic brexit mess behind where we would have been without austerity fanaticism.

Credit must be given to the small minority of Labour MPs who refused to jump on board the Tory austerity train when Blairites all around them were clamouring to actually drive it.

Credit also must be given to the Greens, SNP, and Plaid Cymru for opposing austerity all the time, even in the face of outright hostility from most of the the pro-austerity mainstream media.


Cameron and Osborne were opportunists to try such a destructive con job on the British people, but they weren't geniuses, they simply benefited from a near complete lack of political opposition, from the Lib-Dems who enabled them, the cowardly right-wing Labour idiots who imitated them instead of vehemently opposing them, the mainstream media who consistently failed to hold them to account for the economic crimes they were committing against the British people, and a frankly apathetic population who actually reelected the party that did this to them not once, but twice!

But at least we know that Hunt is well aware of the fact that austerity was so bad that it should have triggered 'riots in the streets'.

At least we know that the Tories were fully aware of how evil their agenda was at the time, but they did it anyway because their core ideology has always been to serve the interests of the wealthy establishment class (who completely bankroll their party) at the direct expense of everyone else in society, and they knew that they would probably get away with it due to the compliance of the Westminster establishment club, the complicity of the mainstream media hack pack, and the downright apathy of the British public.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



Anonymous said...

Thank God Trump got voted in and Ttip didnt go through. We could have kissed goodbye to the NHS otherwise.

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