Broad Left Blogging


Taking a broader perspective…

I didn’t vote LibDem for this

The following article was cross-posted from the Hagley Road To Ladywood with the kind permission of Claude, who is a leftist blogger and translator from Birmingham. He blogs about media, culture and politics.

Axing hospitals, jobs, help for the unemployed, manufacturing projects and front line services: this cull is coming straight from the most ideological right-wing hymnsheet.
Commenting on cuts and “difficult budget decisions”, Deputy PM Nick Clegg said recently that his government would “not” do it “the way we did it in the 80s”. “We’re going to do this differently”, he remarked.

The acute observer, however, may have learnt the bitter way that, whatever the Lib Dem leader says, the exact opposite is true. In fact, his public declarations read in reverse should be coveted as the best way of predicting government policy.

And so, yesterday’s announcement that projects worth £2bn are getting axed (with another £8.5bn suspended) is a clear sign that, for all Clegg’s posturing, the 80s are actually back with a vengeance.

To quote Chris Dillow, “[W]hen Clegg says he’s going to do things differently from Thatcher, he’s right – he’ll cut overall spending by much more than she did”.

The significance of yesterday’s cuts is immense. It offers a clear glimpse of the ideological direction taken by the Con/Dem administration.

The Coalition are not cutting back on things such as council-funded festivals, public-funded anti-obesity ads or – even better – the salaries handed on a tray to the Chief Executives of Network Rail or the Royal Mail.

No. The axe is falling on public projects which were crucial in both the public and private sector. Cuts are going to affect job creation (mostly in the private sector), 21st century manufacturing, the health service and measures to help the unemployed.

Those include scrapping a much needed new hospital in the North-East and cutbacks on the Future Jobs Fund, a scheme that was created during the recession to help the long-term unemployed with jobs or training.

But probably even more significant was the massive blow dealt to manufacturing firm Sheffield Forgemasters.

Their £80 million loan would have created skilled jobs and stimulated the supply chain in low carbon power generation. It was a good investment both in terms of future green technology and long-term support of a specialised UK company with only one direct competitor in the field of heavy steel forgins and steel castings – in Japan. Other foreign companies will soon be vying to fill the gap.

Quite clearly this government is not interested in diversifying the economy away from the financial sector. They are repeating the short-termist mistakes that led us to the crisis in the first place. They are not interested in a forward-thinking manufacturing base and they have no plan for growth other than praying that their Ideological Hymnsheet may deliver the goods.

And the 11th Chapter, first epistle to the Free Marketeers, Verses 2-16 states clearly that the government shouldn’t invest in manufacturing and that mass unemployment is a price worth paying. Amen.


Filed under: Liberal Democrats, , , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Troy says:

    Why are we in this mess to start off with, is a better way to look at this…

    Hmm I wonder, would a left leaning party have anything to do with the reason why the cuts have to be made and to be made so deeply?

    The coalition is neither representative of either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties as individual parties, it is a collegiate 5 year joint coalition plan, which has its own aims and objectives and to some degree its own policy ideas. Some of the policy ideas are neither Conservative or Lib Dem, they are a go between.

    The schemes that Labour put in place during the recession cost us more than we would normally spend in a year, plummeting us into further debt and problems, knowing they would lose it seems they acted selfishly to create more of a problem for the next government rather than act in the national interest.

    It’s not about Public v Private, it’s about a joint relationship needing to be formed where it is possible and a balance between the two needs to be achieved. This balance was tipped off the scale at the excessive leftist Labour party, where the public sector was larger than was sustainable; it was not even in my opinion money well spent. They threw money at the NHS yet we saw minor results if any and yet more problems and bureaucratic unneeded tape.

    This new government is about efficiency and making the most of the money we have, by targeting and reallocating a pot of money that is essentially empty and dried out. The current government are not magicians, but they are pragmatists who will deal with this situation, unlike their predecessors who shied away.

    Can I just add the Labour government took office on a boom and surplus, created by a party prior to them to turn it into a huge deficit…

    The things you have listed are bad and saddening, but we would not have to take such painful excessive measures if the Labour party had better kept its books on balance. It seems to me they have done a great job at bending the figures over the years creating a problem and accumulating it, as is true in the recent report on how much worse the deficit is, than Labours worst case scenario predictions, despite holding all the figures right in front of them, dishonesty in the face of defeat even then.

    It is not that the government is not investing in manufacturing at all, it’s just not investing in out of date sectors anymore, where we are clearly beat and outmatched, by giants like China. We have to use our strengths on the e-market to our advantage and become the managers of the world market not its servants but its trend setters.

    One of the aims of the Lib Dem party talked about a wind farm project to tap into a new market for manufacturing. We are planning to implement this still in the coalition government. The initiative will create many jobs in rural and suburban areas seeing wind farm workshops set up in the north in particular. We will produce all of the components for wind turbines in the UK and then export them to initially Europe. Germany has currently just started this scheme itself, but we could actually undercut the Germans production and wage costs and do it at a more affordable rate for exportation of wind turbines. That is a green economy and that is going to happen, it’s also sustainable as we will be the only trained people in the turbines maintenance. The jobs for constructing the turbines will be offered exclusively to job centres in the non-specialist positions and a national training scheme will commence.

    If this is not enough to differentiate these needed cuts from Thatcher’s then you are overlooking the good aspects and policies, to try create new markets and with it new work.

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