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Tories’ pre-election fantasising comes back to haunt them

Osborne Liar LiarNorthern powerhouse deflates into Northern power-cut. It was so hurriedly propagated by Osborne before the election as portraying the government as dynamic innovators of English devolution, but none of the details had been properly worked through, including the required transport infrastructure as we now know. So the election gimmick, if not evaporated, has dimmed at least to the long haul. Just 7 weeks after the election when the Tories boasted of the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian times, the grand 5-year £38.5bn plan has collapsed, with the government trying to dump the blame on Network Rail. The Tories are all the more culpable since they still vaunted their grandiose plans in their election manifesto though Network Rail admitted “very early on last year” that the 5-year plan would be ‘incredibly difficult to deliver’.

This is classic Osbornism: announce vainglorious plans and then fail to deliver. If this latest debacle were unique, it might be understood as a single foolish and reckless commitment. But it’s part of a pattern. In 2010 in his first budget Osborne promised to eliminate the budget deficit by 2015. In fact it hardly reduced at all and has ended up this year at an almighty £90bn. Now he’s promised to eliminate it by 2018-19, but he hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of achieving that.

Again, just before the election when panic set in about the swift descent of the NHS into bankruptcy, Osborne suddenly pulled another rabbit out of the hat by promising £8bn for the health service, but with no knowledge of where the money might come from. Even if he did know, the total black hole in the NHS budget amounts to £30bn by 2020; so where is the other £22bn to come from? Osborne’s answer: greater efficiencies in service delivery – a fantasied delusion if ever there was one when the NHS is already stretched to the limit.

Then Osborne keeps preaching about the UK’s fastest growth rate of any major industrialised nation. That too has collapsed: the latest quarterly growth rate was just 0.3%, an annual rate of only 1.25%, slower even than the Eurozone. Next he will announce in his budget on 8 July that the £30bn cut in public expenditure he’s now going to impose on the British people will come from £12bn benefit cuts (we’ve never been told where those are going to come from, either), £13bn in public expenditure cuts, and £5bn from reducing tax avoidance/evasion. The last item is a typical Osborne trick: it sounds good, but he’s promised exactly the same several times before and it has never yielded more than marginal sums of money.

The latest Tory cop-outs come from Cameron. He’s now proposing to call the EU referendum before any of his targeted EU reforms are in place (a classic Tory post-dated cheque), and even more delusional, he’s expecting employers to raise low wages to avoid payment of in-work benefits. With a prime minister like that, who needs magic?


  1. swatantra says:

    That much heralded Northern Power House seems to have run out of steam, it seems. Makes you wonder how Britain ever managed to lead the Industrial Revolution. If it hadn’t been for the subjugated labour on the backs of the colonials on zero hour bonded labour contracts big Cities like London Liverpool and Bristol would have been mere backwaters. These days we can’t even rely on the East European cheap labour to forge the rebirth of retains industrial past.

  2. Verity says:

    Rather than mock the Tory’s inflated optimism or fraudulent claims is it not a more important question to ask why the Labour establishment are incapable of coming up with some inspiring or ambitious initiative of their own (just one) on anything at all in the UK. They look like do not know what they want. There can be no better illustration than the absurd Labour establishment position on the EU. I think they want reform but it is completely unspecified and in any case the outcome of the reform discussions will be accepted. The ‘overlords’ seem satisfied in being tied up in endless horse trading committees to achieve what democratic socialist should demand of a UK parliament without the compromises to international financial/corporatist interests. If Labour is at rock bottom we need to await the Labour pro EU referendum effect of increasing working class awareness of the financial and corporatist interests that the FIFA style cabals serve. This is sometimes referred to as being at the ‘top table’. It is troubling that some of Labour EU’s supporters parrot things like, “It brought us the working time directive” (or some other relatively minor gains) as if we were incapable of political campaigns in the UK parliament to achieve the same or more. Unfortunately so many Labour establishment careers are now dependent upon being at the ‘top table’ that it is difficult for them to see beyond a delusional belief in a good days debate amounting to relative trivia in the lives of hundreds of thousands of their constituents. I wonder could such an integration be one of the reasons why few if any of them come up with any optimist and ambitious initiatives for change but wallow so well on Tory ‘deceit’.

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