In 2010 the Tories took over governance of this country. The new Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was greeted in his office with a note left on his desk by the previous Chief Secretary to the Treasury , Liam Byrne, which basically told him there was no money left. It could be argued that this is always the result of a period of socialism and the redistribution of wealth practiced by the Labour party.
Coupled with the financial crash started in 2008 by the failure to regulate the banks, the Tories had a battle on their hands. Margaret Thatcher when taking over from a disaster of a Labour party in 1979 undertook the onerous task then, of getting public spending under control.
David Cameron and Osborne undertook to balance the books and tackle the massive deficit by imposing austerity on the country. They sold this under the clever banner of “we are in it together”.
This austerity has now lasted until the present day with the current Prime Minister only just announcing a week before the autumn budget in November that Austerity is over. A surprise announcement which shocked everyone, not that anyone believes this is the case for a millisecond.
Why is the austerity over, all of a sudden, you may ask – nothing to do with the real proposition of the need for a snap general election in the wake of a disastrous Brexit deal of course. Buttering up the populace in the guise that they, the Tories are to be trusted with the economic and financial management of the country … Am I being too cynical? Time will tell.
What is disturbing, and the question I ask myself is, just how far would the Tories have gone with austerity had there been no threat to their power from Brexit? Given the fact that the unemployment rate is at an all time low, growth of GDP is on target to meet their targets, which looks good, and living wages are rising beyond inflation. The Tories would, but for Brexit, have had the confidence to go to whichever extremes they thought fit, proper and right.
With 320,000 homeless people, 128,000 children living homeless in temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&B`s, the Police force in the greatest ever danger of a precipitous fall off a cliff, the armed services, unable by weakness of manpower to protect the country against an invasion, it is easy to see and easy to guess just how far they would be prepared to go. Lets not forget though that the Tories magically found £1 billion to buy the support of the DUP in a ‘confidence and supply agreement’ to keep them in power. They must also have £39 billion in the bank as they have promised this to the EU for our divorce.
Other sums that spring to mind are the cheque signed by Osborne for £3 million to the Chinese for a football coaching programme. £9 million found to send each household a leaflet virtually ordering the peoples of the nation to vote remain in the referendum. £100 billion and rising for the vanity project that is HS2. They also maintain 0.7% of our total GNP for overseas aid which accounts to about £14 billion a year.
I could go on, and people reading this I am sure could add into the mix all sorts of expenditure that they are aware of. My point being, the austerity they have subjected us to for the last eight years has been over the top, cruel and indefensible but was not employed when it suited them.
So – how far would they have gone, how far will they still go? It could be argued that they wish to return us to Dickensian times whereby the wealthy are the only ones who could afford a privatised NHS. Landlords would have and to a certain extent do have carte blanche to charge whatever they can get for sub-standard housing and crammed-over crowded lodgings. The crime rate, particularly violent crime, is at unprecedented highs and has led to the emergence of `private` police forces in the south. This is a clear steer that would lead you to believe that the wealthy are the only ones afforded, via their own pocket any safety and protection going forward.
Some reading this will possibly think I have had too much to drink. But I assure you, with the current state of the country and the real deprivation being felt (no, I am not a socialist!) this comparison to Dickensian England is not too far a leap to make.
The Tories, for me, have taken a step back from the actual cliff that was there – total and true austerity – to save themselves in any forthcoming election. It also may have been a `on the hoof`, spur-of-the-moment declaration by Theresa May who is under immense pressure. We will have to await her memoires to find out.
As we are finding out with Brexit and the capitulations made, especially over Gibraltar, the current Tory party and in particular the leader, a woman, just do not care.