Nice too see you back Your Grace. I trust the retreat went well.
Austerity? As Professor Joad might have said before getting caught fare dodging ‘it depends what you mean by austerity’.
It was of course the last Labour Government under Gordon Brown, who when not knighting the likes of Phillip Green and Fred Goodwin, or opening Lehman Brothers new HQ in London was intent on deregulating the UK banking system.
Not unlike Dover District Council with its sure-fire investment portfolio in Commercial Property on borrowed money nothing could possibly go wrong.
Except it did leaving poor old Alistair Darling floundering around and ending up giving loans and guarantee commitments of over £1,000 billion to save the UK banking system and more importantly to save our mortgages and pension funds.
(Funny that the worldwide banking crisis which affected 'everyone' didn't include Canada? https://www.nber.org/digest/dec11/w17312.html)
Come the 2010 election and what was Labour offering?
Let’s quote Alistair Darling on the eve of the election, asked by the BBC how his plans compared with Thatcher's attempts to slim the size of the state, Darling replied: "They will be deeper and tougher – where we make the precise comparison I think is secondary to an acknowledgement that these reductions will be tough."
What did the IFS say? ‘hefty tax rises and Whitehall spending cuts of 25% were in prospect during the squeeze lasting until 2017’
Fortunately the nation voted Conservative and it did not have to be that way.
We now have record employment in the UK, people doing real jobs for real hours working for real wages (only 2.7% are on so called zero hours contracts – and most people on them actually want them).
We have taken 4 million of the lowest earners out of income tax altogether, and given 30million more workers a tax cut.
Youth unemployment is the second lowest in the EU at 11.5 % compared t0 20.4 % for example in France.
We have become a more equal society. The Gini-coefficient showing the spread of income between the richest and the poorest being at the lowest in over 20 years.
Meanwhile the highest earning 1% in the UK pay an estimated 28% of all income tax. That is the highest percentage ever, under any Government.
I also note that the Conservatives are continuing to worship at the National Religion – the National Health Service – by making votive offerings of yet another £20 billion – twice what Labour was offering at the last election.
(I sometimes seriously think that just as Prussia was described as “an army with a state attached”, historians of the future will describe the UK as “a health service with a state attached”).
What is not to like?
Personally I can’t think of a better country to be alive in at a better time in its history.
As Harold Macmillan said back in the Sixties ‘You’ve never had it so good’.
"You know, there really exist certain people to whom it is assigned, at their birth, to have all sorts of extraordinary things happen to them" Mikhail Lermontov