Now that the referendum is over, the issue of our EU membership cannot be swept under the carpet but has to be out in the open, and it needs to stay there. We have Labour, the Lib/Dems, the Greens, the Scottish Nationalists, and much of the Tory party that still wants to betray us and prevent us escaping from EU servitude, and so constant vigilance is needed, and Parliament must be put under pressure to lodge the Article 50 notice as soon as possible. We have seen Joe Public, for once, have his say in a referendum and now the buck is passed back to the politicians to implement the public will. This does not inspire any confidence in me, and I suspect that I am not alone in this. It looks as if the government is trying to keep us in the EU by prevarication, and we must not let up the pressure on those who claim to be our representatives.
The Government will be looking for other issues to take the focus off Brexit as they try to bury it, and most of the mainstream media will do their best to assist them. At the moment, the news is full of the terrorist attacks in Southern Germany and France, and Brexit seems to take a lower place in the pecking order of news stories. However, the one thing that none of the political parties ever mention is the national debt and this is a problem that is another elephant in the room and needs to be addressed without delay.
According to the UK Public Spending website our national debt now is about £1.6 trillion, and the amount of interest we will pay on that debt is going to be £46 billion this year, which is more than the defence budget. The debt, and so the interest we pay on it is due to rise in the years to come and this will just dig the hole we are in even deeper. Just to get things in perspective, one billion is a thousand million and one trillion is a million million. This means that, showing all the zeros, we owe £1.600,000,000,000 and we pay £46,000,000,000 in interest to service this debt. God help us if interest rates rise!
Leaving the EU is supposed to save us about £50,000,000 per day. This means that in 20 days that would amount to £1,000,000,000 (one billion), and therefore that would become £1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) in 20,000 days, and would become £1.600,000,000,000 (£1.6 trillion) in 32,000 days. 32,000 days is over 87 years, so if we used the EU dividend alone to pay off the national debt it would take over 87 years to do so, and this assumes that the debt doesn’t increase in this time. That is the size of the economic hole that we are in.
It seems that virtually all the political parties (except UKIP, hopefully!) are living in some sort of economic cloud cuckoo land, and pretend that this debt just doesn’t exist. The Tories want to go ahead with projects like the white elephant of the HS2 railway line, at a cost of many billions of pounds of borrowed money, and I recently heard Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith say that he would spend hundreds of billions of pounds on public infrastructure projects in order to bring back growth to the economy, yet he leaves unsaid the fact that we would have to borrow all this money, and it would eventually have to somehow be paid back, with interest.
I think we can disregard the Lib/Dems, the Greens, and the Scottish Nationalists as parties of government (they are away with the economic fairies anyway), but the two major parties, Tory and Labour, are both economically incontinent and cannot stop spending money that we don’t have. They seem to think that there is a magic money tree in the precincts of Westminster, and all they need to do is to shake this money tree a bit harder when they need capital. The big spenders this year will be pensions, health care and welfare, which will account for more than 50% of national expenditure. These “sacred cows” of public spending should be the ones that are looked at first, and this needs to happen pretty quickly for all our sakes.