After two years of embarrassing U-turns, astronomical lending and a dire GDP, George Osborne has become a caricature at which we direct our venomous economic vitriol. He is lampooned in the media for his public-schoolboy past, boozy Bullingdon Club binges, and a curse of a middle name. But does our Chancellor deserve such treatment for his role in this omnishambolic Government?
Yes frankly, he does, as it is he who approaches such topics as growth stimulus and the enforcement of Corporate Tax laws with the snide demeanour of a man who cares not. It’s somewhat satisfying to heckle Osborne for his continual shortcomings; and pleasing further still to know that despite his arrogant aura, he will feel at least a little discomfort at the hands of the baying press.
It’s human nature. When we feel wronged, we vent our frustrations. Unfortunately though we’ve been aiming our anger in the wrong direction. We’ve allowed Osborne to become the fall guy for an entire ideology for which he is not entirely responsible.
The austere measures he’s imposing are the first steps towards the fiscal Conservative’s Holy Grail: a smaller state. This model is not new, over the last few decades it has become the hallmark of modern Toryism, which seems more passionate about capital gain than social tradition and responsibility, the very foundations on which the political theory was built. The roots of the small state lie in Thatchernomics and an ignorant belief in the glaring fallacy of Private Sector efficiency. The notion that any enterprise should be for-profit is now generally accepted by the Right and is considered as a key instrument in enabling self-determination. Such is the popularity of the small state concept among Conservatives, they have decided to set the UK on a trajectory which will not be compromised until the ideology becomes reality.
This week, the ONS announced that British GDP had shrunk by 0.7%, making this the worst recession for over half a century. Internationally acclaimed economists, such as Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, are laying out in black and white how austerity does not inspire growth, but how spending does. Still the coalition government does not listen, their ears plugged to all that is Keynesian and dare I say, right.
This ignorance to plain facts is not the fault of Osborne alone. He is merely the mouthpiece of what is becoming a nasty and remorseless Government for whom the needs of the few outweigh those of the many. We should question the motivations of our Government as a whole and not just the man who acts as a shield for his fellow advocates of car-crash economics. It’s time to leave behind the humorous distractions invited by Gideon and his irking grin and instead channel our energies into a coherent public rejection of destructive ideology.