Monday, 5 October 2015

The Cat is out of the bag: Austerity is not to cut the deficit.

So, the cat is out of the bag and it was Mr Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary who let it out at a fringe meeting of the Tory Party conference today.  Cuts in benefits to the working poor are not to help draw down the deficit but to 'teach the poor a cultural' lesson. They must work harder.

The cat of course has never really been in the bag.  Austerity has had little to do with economics but a lot to do with political ideology and a cultural attitude to the poorest.  It began on day one of the previous Tory/LibDem coalition with the narrative of good 'workers' and bad 'scroungers' with the implication that those receiving benefits are the 'undeserving' poor; work-shy scroungers. This has been the narrative now given greater emphasis with the Tories freed from any Liberal Democrat constraint.  They are now rampant.  The nasty party is back.  It is the sequel to Thatcher.

So what is it that Mr Hunt has said.  What he said is that cuts in working tax credits are justified not simply to cut the deficit by to force those in work to work harder.  The implication is that the poorest working people are poor because they are less hard working than other workers. It is their own fault that they are poor.  If only they could be jolted out of this habit then all would be well.

The narrative has a purpose. It is to so brand the poor as lazy and undeserving so that the rest of Britain will turn a blind eye to the savage cuts to the poorest.  The poor are being made to pay for the bankers greed.  It is all the fault of the poor.

The rich created models for making money out of money, rather than out of real production, and when it all went wrong the poor have been made to suffer.  But it is worse.

Cut in NHS funding and social care has led to a crisis in the NHS. Once more we have lengthening waiting lists and times.  GPs are being induced not to refer cancer patients. This is the greatest indictment of the government.  The NHS is in a critical condition with 2/3 of NHS trusts in deficit.

Labour left an NHS in good condition.  The Tories have systematically starved it of funding and brought it to its knees.

The Prime Minister continues to insist that cuts in working tax credits will not leave hard working people poorer.  He does so in the face of expert advice that it will.  The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says it will.  The government ploughs on regardless driving more families into poverty. Sadly the political truth is that it isn't the votes of the poorest that determine elections.

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