Tomorrow HMG will unveil the recovery scheme to end all recovery schemes, the National Infrastructure Plan. I suggest adding another modifier to reflect its essence more accurately.
The Plan provides for the construction and reconstruction of many roads and railways, which by itself is good. But that’s the only good part. For only £5 billion of the the Plan’s £30 billion budget will be derived from cuts in public spending. The rest will be looted from our pension funds, or else come from China’s largesse. To use either source of financing isn’t so much ill-advised as downright criminal.
Starting from the end, the world’s biggest communist tyranny isn’t much given to charitable impulses. Nor does it pursue strictly economic objectives. As with any other communist state, its economy is but a means to a ghastly political end. Add the two together, and it becomes clear that the Chinese tyrants will demand a steep price for their munificence. Since the price can’t be financial by definition (we are skint, to use a technical term), it has to be political: Britain’s support for, or at least neutrality to, whatever China wishes to undertake, which can only be nasty. The underlying message is that HMG will do anything for self-perpetuation — an ugly pot of message to sell our soul for.
Yet another raid on our already depleted pension funds is yet another outrage. Here the purpose is two-fold: one declared, the other real. The first is getting the money to build all those lovely things, which is the minor part. The second, major part is to reduce our independence from the state, driving us deeper into its clutches. Our inept spivocracy must realise that only those wholly dependent upon it are likely to vote it in. Hence it’ll swell the public sector and the dependent underclass until the whole society explodes. What does it matter, as long as their jobs here or in the EUSSR are secure?
The stratagem of using giant construction projects as a way out of economic mess lacks even novelty appeal. It was first used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to get America out of depression. Millions of youngsters were made to toil for $1 a day to pave the government’s way towards having more control over the economy in perpetuity. FDR used the Great Depression as a road to more socialism, and therefore a drastic increase in the state’s size and power. Another, somewhat more radical, socialist got the message, and Nazi Germany embarked on its own construction projects. A network of autobahns crisscrossed the country; trains began to run on time. However, as both socialists discovered to the world’s detriment, such giant, publicly financed schemes couldn’t by themselves pull their countries out of the economic morass. It took a war to do that. Auschwitz and Coventry, Dresden and Hiroshima, Stalingrad and El Alamein — 50 million dead, all told. And then the trains began to run on time again.
Historical parallels are crying out — is anyone listening? Coupled with the West’s brinkmanship in the Middle East, our governments’ methods of improving the economy are fraught with dangers that may be somewhat worse than the routing of our pension funds.
The only way a government can affect the economy positively is by affecting it negatively — by not extorting ruinous taxes, not spending more than it earns, not regulating businesses into bankruptcy, not providing education that doesn’t educate, not tying our future to that of another giant socialist project, the EUSSR. Leave positive actions to us, Messrs Cameron and Osborne. We may not all understand the difference between Lang Lang and Glenn Gould, but we do know how to make a living. If you let us.
I hope none of this sounds too alarmist. But, if there was one thing Marx was right about, it’s that history repeats itself. And reruns tend to be worse than the originals.