Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

French Could Show Us How to Behave

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

French Could Show Us How to Behave

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BYRNE

SO now we have the ConLib cuts, imposed, it has to be said, in the face of feeble opposition from Labour as led by Millidee who has singularly failed to confront them head on and name them for what they are.

What do they mean for us here in the North East? First, remember that they are in economic terms a disaster. They run completely in the face of Keynesian good sense as the world moves towards not so much recession as depression.

Second, let us be clear that the attempts by the coalition to blame all this solely on the last Labour government's overspending are, for want of a better word, lies.

The crisis in the UK's public finances stems from the global financial crisis, not from spending on services. Of course Labour, and that economic idiot Brown in particular, are in part to blame since they praised the City to the skies, deregulated to a considerable degree, and engaged in imbecilic activities like PFI.

The point is though that the Tories and Orange Liberals in opposition were all for this - their only criticism was that it didn't go far enough.

Third, let us recognise that the UK actually has rather a strong position in relation to its debt in marked contrast to, say, Greece. Assertions to the contrary are part of a PR campaign directed at making the cuts seem inevitable.

So why are we having them? Because the ConLib coalition is intent on dismantling those aspects of the post-war settlement which make Britain a social democratic state with high levels of public spending on health, welfare and education.

Thatcher got rid of the industrial base of social democracy, of strong industrial unions and of most of industry itself. Cameron and Clegg are here to finish the job.

We in the North East are going to be hit particularly hard because we have a very large public sector and the rest of the region's economy depends to a very considerable degree on spending in that sector and from the salaries, wages and benefits of those who derive their income from it. …

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