Let us now take Osborne apart

You have to hand it to Osborne, he’s managed to manufacture an entirely false story about the economy and get it accepted as the official narrative explaining what’s happened.   First he has tried to make out after 2010 that the financial crash in 2008-9 occurred because the Labour government splurged on spending.   But this is flatly denied by three sources: one is the IMF report of 2011 which calculated that of the 37% increase in UK public debt from 2007-11, only 2% was due to an increase in public spending (overwhelmingly it was due to loss of revenues due to the deep international recession and to support for the stricken banking sector).   Second, the UK budgetary record shows that the Thatcher-Major governments consistently ran up larger deficits than the Blair-Brown governments.  The third source is himself: Osborne certainly did not think Labour had messed up since he confirmed in September 2007 that he would match Brown’s spending plans and that “under a Conservative government there will be real increases in spending on public services year after year”!

Second, that didn’t stop him saying in 2010 that Britain was in danger of going the way of Greece and that austerity was the only way to avoid a British sovereign debt crisis and to keep the markets happy.  This was an outrageous canard (as Osborne himself well knew) since Greece was locked into a single currency system with fixed interest and exchange rates which could not be unilaterally altered whilst the UK had its own currency and its own ‘lender of last resort’ central bank to backstop its bond issues.

Then Osborne manufactured another lie, that government spending was ‘crowding out’ more efficient private sector spending and thus damaging recovery, so the deficit had to be targeted by a programme of austerity.   This is the opposite of the truth: in a slump increased government spending doesn’t take resources from the private sector, it brings into use resources that are idle.   Osborne then concocted a political narrative out of a ragbag of falsehoods- linking folklore economics (‘the government can’t spend money it hasn’t got’) to the politics of blame (‘cleaning up the mess left by Labour’) to the politics of fear (the Greek bogey) to a make-believe economic theory (‘reducing the deficit is a necessary condition for sustained recovery’).   So how did Osborne get away with these blatant lies and pretences?    Partly because his pronouncements chimed with the dominant market fundamentalist ideology serving the interests of the economic-financial elite, and partly because Labour lamentably failed to contest Osborne’s gallimaufry of falsehoods with a true commanding narrative of its own.

Labour even allowed Osborne to make the shaky recovery brought about in 2013 by the easing of austerity (i.e. an acknowledgement of the failure of his own policies) into the rhetorical puff that the UK was growing faster than any country in Europe, so austerity works!   Letting him get away with it again and again has enabled Osborne to turn his disastrous economic record as, almost unbelievably, a political triumph.


8 thoughts on “Let us now take Osborne apart

  1. with his mate carney they blinded you all with their incorrect figures but two dodgy people one in charge of the country the othe the bank well and truely pulled the wool over the eyes of the people yet they sold off silver ware to their mates whilst openning up the door to dodgy compaines whose only goal is to get has much monies out of that tax pot has they can fraudulently yet they still award them more yes its criminals now running britain who should all be taking to that court called the hague and asked why they committed the crimes against their own people yet sadly they get off scot free which they shouldnt has they with your help to allow em to cull the stock through benifit denial jeff3

  2. But why on earth has the Labour Party not been pressing this message for the last 5 years, instead of acquiescing in the superstitious nonsense about the deficit being a massive problem?

    It is because of this failure to articulate an alternative that the media presents one false narrative, that it’s all about the deficit. A bit late in the day to try and change the tune.

  3. Bill Mitchell describes very well in an interview what Osbourn’s duplicity is all about. Well not his duplicity exactly, but the duplicity of all elite and bank serving neoliberals.

    The neoliberals talk in euphemisms, and Bill Mitchell states here that neoliberals hate having government intervene in the economy through deficit spending. He states here that they do not want “government spending unless it is delivering rents to them.” Listen at 2.20 mins.

    This is so true – the evidence is clear, stark, and undeniable. The bailouts, the rail subsidy, housing benefit, private health companies given contracts, help to buy, PFI, tax cuts and the collusion with avoidance and evasion, this deficit spending all goes to the rentier.
    Deficit spending cuts are all aimed at the poor. It is clear that it is not the deficit that upsets the neoliberals – the only problem is where it is spent.

    This when understood, explains Osbourn’s duplicity, I believe.

  4. ” Labour lamentably failed to contest Osborne’s gallimaufry of falsehoods with a true commanding narrative of its own.”

    So nice to hear a Labour politician say this – but why was this allowed to happen? The command of the narrative over the last 5 years has been labours biggest enemy, with a Tory government cutting harder than any other – with such hardship placed on the poor and a failing NHS we have to ask ourselves why isn’t Labour lined up for a landslide victory?

    The failure to at least combat the narrative is in part to blame I feel.

  5. He states here that they do not want “government spending unless it is delivering rents to them.”

    That pretty much sums up American economic and foreign policy for the last 200 years, (now coming to the UK.) as exemplified by things such as TTIP in a single sentence.

    My own problems and those of perhaps 3-6 million other unemployed people like me who are in exactly the same boat are rather more immediate and a lot closer to home:

    I think that it’s probably worth taking the time and trouble to recount the issues, (huge and serious,) that I’ve had with Positive Steps over the last 2 years as an example of a much wider problem.

    Positive Steps are a private service provider, sub contracted to Avanta, purportedly to provide help and support to long term unemployed people, (such as myself,) and to assist them in finding work but being run essentially as a racket by their chief executive, self styled social entrepreneur and all round skid mark, a man called Tim Mitchel.

    But to recapitulate briefly, some years ago following a previous admission to hospital for more surgery, my wife, who is disabled and despite fighting a losing battle against her conditions finally had to give up work for good. Her most recent admission to Hospital following a what was probably a botched medical procedure, required 2 emergency operations and left her with extensive damage to her hip where the deep wound she sustained then needed to be dressed daily by the district nurses, (or me,) for well over 8 months afterwards, it was touch and go whether she’d ever be able to walk again properly after that, it still is.

    All in all it took me about 2 years to get into a position where it was finally going to practical, sensible and safe for me to be able to return to work again.

    Unfortunately, (though compounded by other reasons as well,) this corresponded with the bottom falling out of the jobs market and although I had some very useful help, (elective,) from a number of genuinely helpful and professional organisations it was still an uphill struggle and after 2 years I was placed with Positive Steps, (on the Government’s flagship Work Program,) where I was promised that I would then get access to additional training, funding and other support not previously available to me.

    In practice this turned out to be just yet more opportunities to have my CV, interview technique and covering letters reviewed yet again and some absolutely pitiful, (lets not forget cheap,) training of such poor quality and low standard it that was neither suitable, appropriate nor useful to me and was being offered simply a sop.

    So I complained, loudly and articulately.

    Positive Step’s 3 stage internal complaints process is unduly long winded and seems intended to make anyone complaining about them lose the will to live, basically consists of asking their afore mentioned, chief executive and human skid mark, Tim Mitchel, if he thinks he’s doing a good job with an entirely predicable outcome.

    After that and still completely dissatisfied, I then had to similarly complete another 3 stage complaint to Avanta, (who couldn’t have cared less,) who then spoke directly to Mr Mitchel and accepted his own generous assessment of himself and his organisation, (plus some pious cant and some vague and shabby promises about giving me more help,) completely uncritically and I still was no better off.

    I also asked if, in view of their utter lack of support I could be transferred to a different service provider, but again a typically, this request was also rejected.

    2 years later I have now completed my period with Positive Steps from whom I can say and with complete honesty that I have received no help or support whatsoever and despite getting an encouraging number of generally pretty positive interviews and much help and encouragement from outside the work program, I am still out of work, back to the job centre and into, “enhanced measures.”

    In fact I am now in a much worse position than I was 2 years ago when I entered the Work Program and instead of getting the help and support that I was promised, I have essentially been, “parked up,” on the off on the off chance that I would somehow manage to find employment anyway and that a cheque would drop through their door without them ever having had to do anything to justify it.


  6. It won’t make any difference which party people vote for as they have all agreed for austerity to continue after the election. I fear a grand coalition being formed which preaches austerity for everyone except themselves while they socially & financially destroy the UK following George Osborne’s austerity policy which hasn’t balanced the budget deficit but it has doubled the national debt.

  7. David Mortimer-

    You’re largely correct, what is, (deliberately,) confusing people are the use of the terms neo-libral and austerity; for Globalisation or American Free Trade, Open Door, (for American business,) , capitalism which historically had an utterly appalling track record even before the US got into it’s current state of social, economic and political desperation and near collapse.

    There is an excellent book written by former president of Jamaica, Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery, by Michael Manley (ISBN: 9780906495988) which describes much the same political, economic and social processes being inflicted on Jamaica, by American agencies, as are now coming to the UK.

    Also ask the Greeks about, The Greek military junta of 1967–74, commonly known as the Regime of the Colonels or in Greece simply The Junta, once again and typically backed by the US.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *