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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A poisoned chalice

A Labour activist tells me that a Tory victory will be a poisoned chalice, as the sheer depth and severity of the cuts in public expenditure will guarantee an immediate return to the wilderness and result in them losing the next election.

I think that is a triumph of hope over past experience.

In 1979 Thatcher came in to an economic climate that was as bad - if not worse - than that facing Cameron (for it will be his victory) on Friday and she imposed horrendous cuts and structural change on an economy that was resistant and almost non-compliant.

Cameron has the advantage that everyone knows that the cuts will be coming, they just don't know how and where.

If you want a feel for how these cuts will affect us all, just look at the Western Isles Health Board budget deficit and the steps that they have taken to bridge the gap.

These are the kind of cuts that the public sector will be facing, and serious steps will have to be taken to live within their means. The deficit and the prospect of future cuts is why Little Teddies nursery is closing, and why we are losing some 'temporary' posts and why some staff are not getting permanent contracts. But at least the Health Board is facing up to the problem, rather than pretending it can be ignored and hoping that the money will appear magically to fill a gap.

That is the attitude of both the Council and the Scottish Government, and both are in for a very nasty shock after the emergency budget in June.

It is how these inevitable deep cuts are implemented, and how they are presented that will determine the outcome of the Scottish Parliamentary elections next year. Are these Tory cuts or SNP cuts?

Remember that Thatcher was re-elected and re-elected because the voters liked a strong leader who took decisions and implemented them, even if they caused great pain. Those who fought the cuts were the losers, as they were marginalised and made themselves unelectable for nearly 20 years.

And when Tony Blair rode to the rescue of Labour, he did so by adopting Thatcher's political ground, making the kind of policies Cameron will have to adopt an accepted part of political life.

The opposition will have to tread very carefully in the coming years if they want to rebuild their positions; and the LibDems will have to work hard to maintain what could be an electoral high-water mark for them.

We are going to see change, whether we like it or not, and the new political landscape is going to be most interesting for us highly biased observers.


Anonymous said...

Surely the thought of a Cameron led Britain sends shivers down the spine of all sensible thinking people? No shipping line with a responsible sense of duty towards its passengers would replace an experienced Master and crew with an immature, inexperienced and terrifyingly egotistical team in the teeth of a mighty and unavoidable global storm. Tomorrow, the electorate of the Western Isles has the opportunity to vote responsibly by electing Donald J Macsween as their next MP consequently securing Gordon Brown's position as Prime Minister. The election of these men to office will not stop a cut in future public spending budgets, but it will guarantee a mature and responsible approach which will at least minimise the worst effects for the most vulnerable in our society. With Labour we have some chance of survival - with the SNP/Tories we're sunk!

Anonymous said...

Angus, I think you're wrong about this. Of the many ways in which the world is different, 30 years on, one is that there is no substantial difference in policy between the parties. Labour is no longer red so the swing from one to the other is easily done. The cuts will hurt and we'll shuffle back and forth in dissatisfaction for a while.

Also running a Thatcher-type govt sounds like a fairly poisoned chalice to me, especially if the worst MPs privileges and "opportunities" are curbed (so the perks aren't what they were).