A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Pruning the wrong branch?

There seems to be no bottom to the pit of hypocrisy that this new Labour leadership wallows in. And Prime Minister Gordon Brown is the wallower-in-chief where brazen hypocrisy and doublespeak are concerned, even down to delivering utterly conflicting and contradictory messages in the same day, sometimes even in the same speech. Yesterday was no exception. Mr Brown announced the Budget date as March 24, virtually confirming a May election. And in a television interview he said that the next election would be a "decisive" one, with voters facing a choice between "moving forward" to greater prosperity and job security with Labour or a "free-for-all" under the Tories, with higher unemployment and cuts in services. Well, we can't see a lot of hope for greater prosperity and job security coming out of the rest of the speech and, as for avoiding higher unemployment and cuts in services, we can only weep. Because, along with all the windbaggery, Mr Brown started the ball rolling on dramatic cuts in public expenditure on a scale equal to any Tory plans.

He claimed that he had "a contract between the government and the British people" to impose swingeing cuts in public spending - although no-one in this newspaper's offices can remember signing up to it. The Prime Minister started the attack on public expenditure by announcing a freeze on the pay of senior staff in the Civil Service, the military, the judiciary, senior managers in the health service and the pay of GPs and dentists. He overrode the Senior Salaries Review Body recommendations on anything that wasn't a total freeze, and insisted that it must apply across the board. He made a lot of a freeze on ministerial salaries as an example, but he didn't, of course, mention the 1.5 per cent rise just awarded to MPs. Ludicrously, the Prime Minister also stressed that, while the worst of the recession was over, the economic recovery remained "fragile" and could be undermined if spending cuts were pushed through too quickly. Just how many ways does Mr Brown think that he can have it?

He can't, surely, believe that we will all applaud him for his toughness and fairness because he's started hacking back the public sector from the top, when his government has just sat back supinely and accepted the publicly owned RBS bank shelling out £1.3 billion in bonuses to its top gamblers? And when even the other publicly owned bank, Northern Rock, is finding £13 million in bonuses for its admittedly poorly paid staff, to lash out at the public sector is inappropriate, to say the least. Even those banks still privately owned have been reliant for their success on government guarantee schemes and have raked in billions in windfall profits from the banking crisis. But there's no sign of them paying for the crisis that they created. Instead, the public sector sits there as a prime target and, as everyone knows but few in government will acknowledge, especially Mr Brown, wage cuts that start at the top will ripple down through the scale. But that's Mr Hypocrite Brown. "Broadband Britain can be a world leader, so too can creative Britain, biotech Britain, Nobel prize-winning science Britain, Olympic Britain and high-speed rail Britain," said Mr Brown in the same speech.

But what about the stripped-down Britain that Mr Brown is creating? Can it survive a hacked-back public sector and live without the social infrastructure that he is demolishing? Of course it can't. And without that infrastructure, all of Mr Brown's bullshit Britains remain just so much hot air. We know now that the private sector just can't hack it without going bust. So why not admit it and get on with the task of building a Britain that can survive and prosper without the gamblers of the private sector, who manifestly can't do the job?

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