As I stare down the barrel of the economic collapse caused by austerity policies of this Government, it does not take long to realise that the next election is going to be fought on the lines of which party is perceived to have the competence to rescue the country’s economy.
Cameron and Osborne are definitely paying the price for their recent economic incompetence. The problem for me though is that according to a recent YouGov poll, 35% of the public still hold the last Labour Government solely responsible for the cuts, 27% the current Government and 28% both.
This leads me to speculate that despite successive quarterly economic downturns, voters still perceive Labour as “spendaholics”, and only a catastrophic economic meltdown would change this perception. What does Labour need to do to gain the confidence of Britons that they are competent in rescuing and managing the economy, not just in the short term, but in the long term?
Voters simply remain indifferent to the slash and burn policy being implemented by this Tory led Coalition Government within which their Lib-Dem partners appear to be mere spectators. Labour needs to convince the electorate that while the short term policy would require some spending in order to stimulate the economy, the long term gain would be that only a vibrant economy coupled with restrained austerity will finally pay the dividend on the county’s deficit.
The alternative would be to continue to blindly walk into the abyss of austerity which is simply unsustainable in its intended aim. Our beloved NHS is being pillaged and privatised where recruitment firms known to donate to Tories are supplying costly temps while they sack experienced permanent staff.
Meanwhile, council tax benefit will be abolished and passed on to local authorities from April 2013, replaced with a grant which only covers 90 per cent of the bill, a cut on working age adults of up to 20 per cent. The introduction of the Welfare Reform Act means this government is unashamedly and indiscriminately capping benefits, banishing the vulnerable forever to the ghettos beyond the outer fringes of our great cities.