Thursday, 23 August 2012

What did George Osborne do to the Telegraph?

Back from hols and reading the newspapers for the first time in a while, I am struck by the Telegraph's constant attack on Government economic policy.

This is after all traditionally a Tory newspaper and a very conservative one too. Yet day after day they are printing strong attacks on the current Government policy. Mr Osborne must have been most rude at some dinner party or other to the Barclay brothers.  Most of the alternatives suggested come under the headings of:

1 - they are already trying this, but should do more
2 - Raise the deficit and hope it all turns out ok
3 - Do something different, something must be done

Kate Barker today is a classic of the weeks articles, QE not quite right, Banking reform not quite right. Nothing about real change.

None have made the blindingly obvious link between the recession, government spending and taxes. Taxes are very high, high enough to hold back demand substantially or for people to go to major lengths to avoid it (I note how very many people have suddenly become self-employed, I have a hunch this is not all down to not being able to get jobs, but partly down to realising you can halve your tax bill this way or do less work for the same money).

Alas with so few cuts to ongoing major expenditures like Welfare and the NHS and other services, but instead to capital spend, the deficit remains a mill around the Country's neck with politicians dreaming up yet more ways to raise taxes to feed the monster.

A quick end to the recession is probably impossible with such a weak global outlook, dreams of an export led boom are fantasy too as a slowing China will dump huge excess capacity on the world shortly.

The original plan was said to be 80% cuts and 20% tax rises - we need a new one, 120% cuts and 20% tax cuts. Sadly, we are not going to get this and so instead watch the debts grow and the economy shrink for a good while yet. Then when Ed Milliband gets in watch the debts grow faster and the economy stagnate.


Budgie said...

Why has the Torygraph taken against Osborne?

Because he is worse than Alistair Darling? 39 direoffI agree though it's fishy. Perhaps Cameron is manoeuvering against him?

As for the "Tory-led Coalition's" failure: it was obvious from the start that they did not have the competence to make Govt depts efficient (a very difficult thing to do), and were not prepared to axe whole depts. Result - as Micawber said - Misery.

Budgie said...

"39 direoff"? Oops.

Jan said...

Maybe right wing Tories are plotting too.

I agree they need to shut down whole departments and accelerate the quango operation. Percentage cuts across the board are not doing it quick enough.

Nick Drew said...

I was going to ask - what did George Osborne do for any of us ? The most positive answer is: his first budget satisfied the markets. Not a small achievement.

But, as commented at the time, von Moltke (the Elder) cautions that early dispositions, if badly-made, are exceptionally difficult to correct later on

Osborne hasn't been flexible or clever enough to realise that for some time the markets would have been very happy to hear a modified plan

a very basic failing of military commanders is to fall into the lazy trap of assuming an initial disposition will be just fine, for too long

it is pure laziness - what is the chance of the initial stance being perfect, indefinitely ? even Marlborough and Wellington, brilliant strategists, were happy to finesse their positions as the battle developed

but Osborne is, as I feared, just a student-politico "strategist": win that next little encounter, tweak that nose ...

as Budgie says: they did not have the competence

Demetrius said...

My brief encounter with Osborne suggested to me that he was relatively normal. Which may not be a good thing in an abnormal world and in politics where most of them are raving loonies.. We might remember Labour's scorched earth policy together with the modern version of The Tragedy Of The Commons. Probably, he is out of his depth, but then everybody else is.

Electro-Kevin said...

Nick - I'm pretty convinced the BBC had a lot to do with market satisfaction.

Banking on about how severe austerity measures were all the while expenditure was going up.

I wish the Tories had gone in hard and fast at the beginning. The country would have been behind them and they could have blamed Labour a lot more easily.

Electro-Kevin said...

*banging* not banking.

Anonymous said...

For a brilliant strategist, it's odd that Gideon didn't see the opportunity to go to the Country after the Wiberals lost the AV vote and Labour were still in the doldrums.

The Tory's going to the hustings asking for a proper mandate would have avoided the wasted years of trying to govern with crypto-Marxists like Cable threatening to resign over anything that looked like Tory policy

Defo. be a 1-term administration now.

Anonymous said...

I've been close enough to one of the 'bonfire of the quangos' to have my eyebrows singed.

I can assure readers that it was indeed a boon-dogle for the usual management consultants and the 'old boy network'. A fair number of the useless (and indeed corrupt) have left on early retirement with index linked pensions. The remaining staff have watched two years of dither, morale is rock bottom and anyone with ability has resigned.

gsd said...

Well, his last budget certainly generated a lot of headlines. Unfortunately, most of them contained words like "Granny", "Pasty" & "U-Turn". The only good thing I can remember was the 45p top-tax rate (not that it effects me directly!), but even that was mis-handled, and ended up looking like a rich bloke just helping out himself/buddies.

I imagine that along with the deficit reduction failure, this made/makes him look like a liability to the Tories & that the paper is trying to get him "reshuffled".

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Osborne is useless. Perhaps that's why the Telegraph has taken against him. Where are the cuts? Where is the austerity? Govt spending is too high, taxes are too high and there has been no attempt at tax reform.

He needs to go. Redwood for chancellor. He might be a Vulcan but he knows what he's about.

idle said...

@E-K 3.06pm:

I wish I was *banging*, not banking