Clueless Cameron u-turns on the economy – again
The Tories have backed off proposals to appeal to the frothy mouthed party loyalists and funders. They’ve decided not to drive the economy back into a recession in the first year of their government. They’re not going to cut public spending. So, Bright Green has its first victory. Or that’s what I’d like to think.
Sadly, I suspect it’s more the slow realisation that people had rumbled their plans to bankrupt the country, than the influence of this blog that has forced the u-turn.
More importantly, though, it shows just how clueless these people are on the economy. While Brown’s claim to have ended boom and bust could not have been more emphatically disproved, Cameron and Osborne seem even more clueless. They (and the back room boys, Letwin and Hammond) have now made a series of u-turns on the economy. And they’re not even responsible for running the country.
First of all they were going to stick to Labour spending plans, then they were going to cut the deficit, not the NHS, now they’re not even going to cut the deficit. All of this while using the time-honoured tradition of “predict trouble, cause trouble, then say ‘I told you so’” to constantly talk the economy down. If they change their mind this often in opposition, what’s going to happen when their words and actions have a direct impact on the markets?
Added to this is the Conservative impulse to return to the unregulated, market driven ideology of neo-liberalism that caused the economic collapse in the first place. The likelihood is that whatever solutions they do come up with will be the wrong ones. Dan Hannan’s proposed dismemberment of the NHS is one that comes to mind.
The extraordinary aspect of all of this is that Cameron is likely to win the election on the back of huge disappointment at Labour’s handling of the economy. There’s no way that the Conservatives will be any better – certainly not if they can’t make their mind up.
Barack Obama’s current battle for popularity suggests that Cameron will struggle. The two are almost incomparable. Obama is a genuine statesman. Cameron is a public relations man. I find it hard to believe that people will take Cameron that seriously. He’ll be especially vulnerable if he gets it badly wrong on the economy – and it’s not as if that hasn’t happened before.
I’ve often thought this is the problem with a two party system. If there is an orthodoxy like the growth-at-all costs pursued by Labour and Conservatives, it’s very difficult to elect a real alternative.
The baffling element of all of this is that it seems like many of the people who will vote Conservative neither want a government that is led by David Cameron, nor one whose policy priority is the economic equivalent of a crash diet. There is a real need for smaller parties to make their voice heard more clearly. The Green New Deal offered a wide range of economic alternatives. We must push these ideas, and with them the relevance of fresh takes on the economy.