Air is being punched triumphantly all over Conservative Central Office. The Chancellor has delivered his gospel, which, as you remember, means good news.
The gospel according to George promises salvation in this world. It signposts a path to said salvation and takes the first giant strides in the right direction. That is the consensus, or at least the consensus as it is portrayed by Tory press releases. Doomsayers have been proved wrong, scream party spokesmen. The future is bright, the future is blue.
Like most propaganda, this economic gospel cannot stand up even to cursory analysis, never mind scrutiny. Not to cut too fine a point, it is a lie. That is not to say they fiddle the released figures, though the way they handle their own expenses, not to mention rail tickets, suggests that such sleight of hand is not beyond many of them. It is not the figures they fiddle, it is the inference.
For what the figures really show is that the government has learned next to nothing about the crisis and is doing even less. But judge for yourself.
According to the Office for National Statistics, borrowing fell to £12.8 billion in September, from £13.5 billion in the same month last year. That was enough for George to wipe his brow, heave a sigh of relief and deliver a contortionist slap on his own back. His borrowing forecast for this year is holding up well.
Let us forget for the moment that any borrowing at all means we are still living beyond our means, which is what got us in trouble in the first place. Let us just remind ourselves that the forecast was £122 billion. Assuming George realises that a year has twelve months, his September borrowing multiplied by twelve must come up to £122 billion, or as near as damn. Yet the display on my trusted calculator shows 153.6 billion, which is the real product of this multiplication. In other words, George is about 25 percent over target.
He is thus adding staggering amounts to our £1.07 trillion debt, but doing it slightly more slowly than he could have done. This throws some new light on his much-vaunted austerity that has drawn so much hysterical derision in our left-thinking media. George’s audacious plans to cut a further £10 billion out of what is euphemistically called ‘the social protection’ budget are being depicted as yet another proof of Tory heartlessness. Meanwhile the Tories insist the plans bear testimony to their decisiveness and economic sagacity.
To a less biased observer £10 billion seems trivial when compared to the £207-billion size of the social budget. Such cosmetic nips will do, in broad terms, nothing to solve our problems. In fact they will exacerbate them by giving Labour a good chance of winning the next election and predictably making matters even worse.
Another source of George’s pride, a miniscule drop in unemployment, is not even worth talking about. All HMG has to do to make such statistics look palatable is redefine unemployment. In this instance, somebody who does the odd temporary job is regarded as being employed for all statistical purposes, which is a half-lie. The only meaningful statistic would be the percentage of net tax payers, those who put more into the Treasury than they take out.
These data are not available for Great Britain at large, but they are available for Scotland. Out of her population of about five million, 2,590,000 pay taxes. But only 160,000 of those are net taxpayers, which suddenly makes the prospect of Scottish independence much less daunting for England. Alas, economists believe that proportionally the situation in England is not much better. I for one would be interested to see such information, but George is staunchly reticent on the subject.
The economy is in the doldrums, and it is a tragic mistake to think that George’s PR palliatives are going to pull it out. This government has already added £100 billion to the suicidal national debt accumulated by Labour. As proportion of GDP, our national debt stands at 67.9 percent, which will rise to 99.6 percent by 2015. For anyone wishing to paint by numbers a picture of disaster, these would be the numbers. When we pay more to service the national debt than for defence, any pretence at being a major country must be abandoned.
No path to salvation has been charted in the gospel of George the Borrower. The essential first step on such a path would be to throw out every fundamental assumption and start from scratch. One such assumption is that the public purse should pay for private indolence. It is obscene that young able-bodied people should sponge on the Exchequer even though they are perfectly capable of supporting themselves.
There is a difference between incapacity and freeloading. Those suffering from the former must be helped; those practising the latter must be cut off. You would be amazed how quickly they would develop a responsible attitude to life.
Granted, neither our schools nor usually their own abilities have equipped them for cerebral jobs. But there are many others, those that now mostly go to immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Every chap putting up the scaffolding in my area is either Polish or Russian. Arriving here without speaking a word of English, they yet begin to support themselves after a few days. Some of them will stay on building sites for life, but many will not. For instance I know one Polish girl who first cleaned people’s houses for a year or two while studying to be a nurse. She is now doing well, and every time I bump into her at my local Sainsbury’s she looks like any other middleclass woman.
Launching our own freeloaders on such a career path would enable George to cut the ‘social protection’ budget by half, not by a measly half of one percent. And it would have incalculable social and demographic benefits as well. But of course neither our spivocrats nor their flock want this.
For the former, reducing government expenditure would mean relinquishing much of their own power, which is contrary to their genetic makeup and every aspiration. And the latter have been so corrupted by 60-odd years of socialist propaganda that they would never vote for a party trying to do the right things, in the only way they can be done. The voting masses would much rather elect a gang of Marxist class warriors with learning difficulties who would do their level best to turn Britain into a contiguous shanty town.
Those who do not desire such an outcome can weep and wail and gnash their teeth, but that is roughly all they can do. They have no party looking after their interests, nor even a forum through which they can voice their concerns in any meaningful way. All they have is George, a false prophet pretending to be the fifth evangelist.