Monday, 14 September 2009

A Long, Hard Winter Ahead

The hot air may be copious and the fervour close to boiling point, but the prospects are of a long, hard winter of discontent.

There must be an election by June next year, that cannot be avoided, unless Mandelson deposes Brown and instigates some kind of Putin-esque review of our Constitution that would allow for another unelected official leading the country this time without a General Election. Perish the thought - I hope.

The mastermind himself is expected to rally the country to the Labour cause in the next few days with a stirring speech to some expensive and unnecessary Think Tank that he could have written himself which will warn of hard choices ahead and that all Labour spending commitments are to be reviewed. It comes hot on the heels of the emergency measures which brought forward spending schemes in the face of the economic crisis and now that we have blown more money than a Premier League team owner has in bailing a slim minority of super-rich people out, we can now look forward to having a more frugal future because of it.

Interestingly, Mandelson himself, in a massive volte face on the last 12 years of Labour governing, has said that they can no longer solve problems by 'Throwing money at them'. If only Labour had thought of that before wasting so much money without thinking things through on health, education and defence to name but a few, but the biggest waste has been the bank bailout itself where no one will ever know exactly how much was required to solve the issues - they just kept throwing billion after billion in a frenzy of pure guesswork, with zero accountability to the poor fools who had to stump up for the bill.

It will be Labour's enduring legacy - the biggest spenders of money on record and so little to show for it.

Spending cuts are necessary without doubt. This year's deficit alone will be £175bn and we are forecast to have a National Debt of well over £1 trillion by 2014, and that's just on last month's projections by Alistair Darling who has been having a terrible problem with his calculator of late. We can expect around 10% cut off the budget in short order and that means many services will be hit.

In retaliation, the TUC has already issued stern warnings that it does not share the Labour view and will fight any cuts in services, particularly if it leads to more unemployment. In fact, by the TUC's estimates, if Labour get their way, unemployment will rise to a staggering 4m and we are already back at the heights of unemployment last seen at the end of the last Conservative Government.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives themselves are keen to start at the top. They have a vision which is quite appetising - less Politicians, less spending on bureaucracy and fewer layers of fat administrators on magnificent pension plans. However, as always with the Conservatives, it is short on detail and put together by a few former public school swots who keep shouting 'I know, I know!' with new zany idea. Meanwhile, school sneak, George Osbourne, stalks the room looking for those not paying attention with a length of Bunsen burner hose. The policies just reek of half-arsed schoolroom projects which just have a nice thought but are probably totally unmanageable let alone unachievable.

What it all points to is that we are going to have an unpleasant Winter of party warmongering with soundbites probably even lobbed into the Queen's Speech while the TUC continue to threaten and spit with venomous possibilities of strikes which can only make matters worse - but you cannot preach logic to a Trade Union. Their only recourse is to chuck their toys out of their prams and go on strike which is equivalent to taking a scalpel to your nose in order to spite your face.

Bah, humbug. With talk of a 'false dawn' in the housing markets and 'double dips' on the recession, I just hope that we have some decent Bond Films on over Christmas because I really could do without nauseous comments by Mandelson, Brown, Cameron and Osbourne spoiling my holidays.

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