Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Sometimes, it's all so predictable...the Budget has been touted for weeks in advance as 'tough'.  Before the election the Institute for Fiscal Studies costed all manifestoes and confirmed that all parties would have to make deep spending cuts to balance the books - cuts which none of them were willing to spell out before May 6th.  So far, only half of the equation is known to us ie the welfare cuts and tax rises.  The real pain will come when the spending review is concluded in the Autumn and it becomes clear where the axe will fall, given that Health and DFID are protected. 

I think we all know that things have got to change.  The private sector is no longer large enough to pay for the public services we currently enjoy, so the balance needs to be re-set.   Everyone of every political stripe recognises this and their response to the Budget yesterday, I think we saw the same old, disingenuous posturing from all of the opposition parties (secretly probably relieved not to have to deliver this budget).    

I'm reminded of something James Meek wrote in the London Review of Books a couple of weeks ago about the conspiracy "which prevails in modern Western democracies between voters and the governments they elect: we, the voters will get to blame you for problems that are actually ours, and in return we will allow you, the government, to pretend that you are steering the country, like a helmsman steering a ship when you can't."

Meanwhile, so much for 'new politics'.  As James Meek concluded, democracy needs reinvention and with so much else going on, how likely is that to happen?  On the other hand, can we afford for it not to ? 

These and other troublesome issues make BM sigh.

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