Sunday, 22 November 2015

We voted for this

Will Hutton writes very powerfully about austerity in today's Guardian:

"To reduce the stock of the public debt to below 80% of GDP and not pay a penny more in income or property tax, let alone higher taxes on pollution, sugar, petrol or alcohol, is now our collective national purpose. Everything – from the courts to local authority swimming pools – is subordinate to that aim. [...] There is no economic or social argument to justify these arbitrary targets ..."
But towards the end of the piece, he asks: "Is this wanted, necessary or appropriate for these profoundly troubled times?"
Necessary or appropriate I'll leave aside, but wanted? Well yes, actually.
This is what we as a nation voted for in May's general election. Unlike the reorganisation of the NHS that David Cameron promised before the 2010 general election wouldn't happen, and unlike the cuts to child tax credits that David Cameron said this time around wouldn't happen, the Tories could not have been more upfront about their intention to cut deep and fast in the name of eliminating the national debt as soon as possible, and the nation duly awarded them a majority.
You or I might want libraries to stay open and a police force for all rather than just those who can afford to top it up, but more people wanted otherwise. So here we are.

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