Saturday, 2 April 2011

Why Polly Toynbee is wrong.

As much as I enjoyed reading Polly Toynbee's article; "If the Facts Change - it's OK to Change your Mind." in the Guardian yesterday, I have to disagree with the implications behind it.

In this article she suggested that 'chancellor' George Osborne should change course in his economic policy because the economy is clearly tanking and his current economic policy is clearly not working. She suggested that there is nothing wrong with changing your mind and that Osborne needs to think seriously about doing this in order to save the economy from a deep recession.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the basis upon which she makes this assumption. In my opinion Osborne is not at all concerned with maintaining economic performance and capability in the British economy, or avoiding economic catastrophe. He is concerned with destroying as much public provision. He wants to close as many libraries, as many Sure Start centres, universities, schools, hospitals, citizens advice bureaux, etc as he can possibly get away with. The economic crisis is just an excuse.

I have always maintained that the Tories don't have policies, they have excuses. Cameron has ruthlessly used the economic crisis manufactured by his friends in the City of London to force policies on the British people that they would not otherwise countenance. Their entire manifesto has been designed around cuts and it is the excuse for the systematic reduction in opportunities for the young with the removal of EMAs, the slashing of funds for schools, the £9000 a year barrier to higher education for students. They want to destroy the NHS and the destruction of public services and the removal of opportunities for those who are not wealthy is the main aim of Tory policy. It is what they want, that is their raison d'etre.

However, they know that they would never be able to implement policies like these unless they have an excuse to do so. This is clear from the farce over student fees for universities; the introduction of fees of £27000 for a degree will actualy mean a cost to the taxpayer of £1billion before the next election. Given that the Tory-led government has said it wants to "cut the deficit" by half before then, it is clear that their cuts to universities will not save any money, they will just result in the reduction of educational opportunities for ordinary people and further economic damage to the country.

So, to admit that the current economic policy isn't working and to change course would mean abandoning the central aim of the most important (for them) element of policy. I suspect that they would rather see mass unemployment, bankruptcies and people being made homeless in their hundreds of thousands than stop their take-down of public services. There is a reason they will not change course, and that is that they would effectively be abandoning any hope of having any, even slightly credible excuse to slash and burn public services, privatise to death the NHS and schools, and impose their narrow ideological doctrines of selfishness and bleak unrestrained capitalist dystopia.

1 comment:

  1. There's more to this. If Osbourne is in fact sincere, and a true believer in Neo-Liberal economic theory, he won't stop cutting; the theory goes that if the economy isn't growing stronger then that's because the cuts are not hard or deep enough. If anything, his response to a deepening economic crisis will be to do exactly what he has been doing, only more so.