Blogs Coffee House

George Osborne’s combination of austerity and social libertarianism is repellent

15 November 2012

10:24 AM

15 November 2012

10:24 AM

George Osborne’s spirited bid in The Times (£) earlier this week  to appropriate the Obama victory for the Tories is a curious mirror image of the Labour Party’s arguments to the same effect. Both ignore the reality that the US is the US, not us, and Obama is Obama; formulas for election success aren’t a peel-off/stick-on tattoo, to be transferred between one body politic and another.

But the article was interesting for what it told us about the Chancellor himself, quite apart from a slightly nerdy obsession with American elections. The fifth and decisive point in his piece was all about how social liberalism plus fiscal conservatism was the key to electoral success. As far as Mr Osborne is concerned, if you make the case for spending cuts plus abortion and gay marriage, well bingo, you’ve got the women voters in the bag and success is yours. As he observed, ‘I wouldn’t change the abortion laws and I strongly support gay marriage on principle.’ Well, foetuses don’t vote; feminists do. Though probably not much for George Osborne.

I’m a woman voter myself and that combination of hardcore austerity and social libertarianism is about as repellent a combination as I can think of. It doesn’t, may I say, take away from the overall impression conveyed by the Chancellor which was mercilessly summed up by Nadine Dorries – yes, yes, I know – when she said he was one of two ‘posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.’ It’s Lord Snooty crossed with the social outlook of Harriet Harman. Especially as the abortion laws that George Osborne supports include the provision for abortion up to birth for foetuses with a serious deformity – cleft palate say. The number of late abortions isn’t small: over a couple of hundred every year.


The thing is, Mr Osborne is onto a loser with this one. He’s chasing after gay voters and feminist voters, but by and large, the people who define themselves primarily as gays or feminists – as opposed to incidental gays or feminists –  are not going to vote Tory. Ever. They may be pushed even to vote LibDem next time.

The only constituency that’s really going to be galvanised by the Chancellor’s display of his liberal conscience is conservative Conservatives. And the effect on them is entirely negative. I spoke to one elderly Tory the other day who said that after the party came out for gay marriage,  he’d still – holding his nose – be paying his subscription but he wouldn’t be giving them anything extra or lifting a finger for them come the election. And there are any number of others who feel that their noses, to adapt a famous phrase, are being rubbed in diversity. It may be pushing it to suggest, as the Daily Mail did in a trenchant report on Mr Osborne’s article, that the Tories could lose a million votes through its support for gay marriage but there are certainly going to be losses as well as gains and the losses may outweigh the gains.

It’s one thing to support these things on principle, as Mr Osborne says he does with gay marriage, but quite another to advance this programme as a cynical electoral calculation. And that’s precisely what he does in his piece. But if people are repelled as well as attracted by gay marriage – not just homophobes but people who feel that marriage has an inherent heterosexual character – then the calculation may simply backfire.

All the Chancellor has done has reinforced his unfitness ever to lead the Tory party because he’s so out of touch with so many of its basic instincts, chiefly those of the church-going, socially-engaged, parish-council sort of Tory. And it follows his telling and unpopular decision to tax child benefit for those earning over £50,000 a year which similarly alienated many in the party who are opposed a) to taxes that fall hardest on families with one earner rather than two and b) complex, means-related tax.

And it was a bit of a nerve for him to quote in his conclusion Margaret Thatcher in her introduction to the 1979 election manifesto: ‘The heart of politics is not political theory, it is people and how they want to live their lives.’ Someone, somewhere, ask Margaret Thatcher just what her view is of gay marriage. And then let the Chancellor know what she says.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • OldSlaughter

    “hardcore austerity”

    If you cannot be honest why bother to write? Oh I think I just got the answer.

  • dangleberries

    Such a vapid piece of hack shit, I’m ashamed to have even read it.

    • OldSlaughter

      Beat me to it

  • Leandro Fernandes

    The math is simple, London wins vote, not Corby

    Conservative Party got almost 20 years out of power, shows very well that the conservative electorate is weak, and they need to make inroads in the liberal electorate. If not Liberal Democrats would have lost again in 2010.

    The defeat in 2015 is virtually certain, For nearly 20 years, we are out of government, where’s the conservative electorate?

    Let me tell you a truth, the Labour Electorate is greater than ours.

  • truthmonkey

    What is an incidental gay, or indeed feminist? Drivel.

  • Robert_Eve

    Nothing wrong with austerity.

    When is it going to start?

    • Daniel Maris

      Are you a CEO? It’s never going to start for you. For the rest of us it started around 2007.

  • HJ777

    Melanie McDonagh: “I’m a woman voter myself and that combination of hardcore austerity and social libertarianism is about as repellent a combination as I can think of.”

    Osborne didn’t refer to “hardcore austerity” and certainly isn’t implementing anything of the sort (spending has increased under his chancellorship and is planned to be cut only very modestly (about 4%) in real terms – still increasing in cash terms, over this parliament). He talked about “fiscal conservatism” – which I take to mean balancing the books.

  • commentator

    I have no problem with gay marriage (which we already have in all but name) but it will win the Tories no votes. In fact it will probably lose them some votes. I can only assume that the splenetic bile-ridden posts from HooksLaw come from one of Gideon’s Goons: Clare Perry MP or Matthew Hancock for example. Let’s face it: calling someone a bigot or a homophobe in 2012 is just meaningless abuse……like calling someone a witch or a heretic in 1612.
    As for abortion, the US debate on abortion now seems to have been totally hijacked by extremists from both parties. In the Republican Party, we have those who would even deny rape victims a right of abortion while the Democrats are run by the Termination Taleban (chief mullahs the Obamessiah and Michelle Antoinette).

  • Daniel Maris

    Let’s nail a few lies:

    1. “Obama enjoyed a landslide victory over Romney.” He didn’t. Romney (hardly the most dynamic of candidates) nearly won it – lost only by just over 1% of the popular vote. Another random event (an anti-Sandy) and he would have won it.

    2. “To oppose gay marriage is to be homophobic.” That makes no more sense than saying to support a separate paralympics event is to be anti-disabled. It is perfectly reasonable to decide that marriage is – as it has been throughout history – a union of man and woman, principally and prospectively for the purposes of procreation. There is nothing homophobic about such a statement.

    3. “The Daily Mail is a crap newspaper.” I think you would have to read it before you can make that statement and if you do you will find that much of it is very well written, certainly as well written as the broadsheets. Yes ,it contains some wild, whacky and untrue stuff – but the same could be said about the Guardian. The Daily Mail is also highly successful and is turning itself into an international general newspaper, possibly the first one on the planet, which will be interesting if nothing else.

  • Troika21

    The then nascent gay movement had the left whispering in its ear the whole time – ‘we can make them like you’ promising to pass laws forcing people to be free, and pocketed the lot and took them for a ride.

    It could have been different – that it is no-ones business who you love, and the state should not interfere, a gay movement growing up to believe that the state is not the answer. Wishful thinking I suppose.

    Either way, ‘elderly Tory voters’ like the one in the article are not the way forward. Yes it might cost in the short term, but will pay off later. I’ve met people who refuse to vote Tory because they were single mothers under Major and demonised because of it, that was almost 20 years ago. I doubt Osborne is thinking that far ahead, but he’s planing for the future.

  • 2trueblue

    Melaine, when you take a vacuous quote from N Dorries, (please note the quote not the individual) that Osbourne did not know the price of a pint of milk, get a life. I warrant that if you did a spot survey in the street you might be surprised that a lot of people who do not do the shopping do not know the price of milk and a lot of other things on our daily shopping baskets.

    He is expressing his opinion which you think he should not have done. I do not agree with either but not because I am a woman but because I am interested in the areas.


    I think that the whole ‘modernisation’ strategy was a mistake. Implicit in the views of Daniel Hannan is that you have to offer the electorate competence and commitment to fighting their corner. Is there anyone who does not look back on Dave’s husky ride with amusement or contempt? Simon Heffer has always said that he is a ‘PR spiv’. I think that’s groosly unfair but it has a kernel of truth.

    • TomTom

      It doesn’t really matter – this is all kabuki theatre – what is coming will make them all irrelevant

  • Anthony Constable

    The electoral situation is one thing. It will direct tactics at the micro level. What is more important in politics is that you stand up for what is right and what you believe in. In many ways it is the way in which the polls and perceived electoral situation have dominated policy which has led to the disillusionment that everyone seems so bored of mentioning (but has not gone away). Politicians afraid of putting their head above the parapet and show they stand for something they feel as right above the historical weight of political habit.Our politics is stale, this move by Osborne has shaken things up a bit and caused one segment of society to think again about the Conservative party, and they can only be a good thing. Whatever the (I suspect) small cost to the party.

  • James Peron

    The “combination of hardcore austerity and social libertarianism [being] about as repellent a combination as [you] can think of,” is not surprising. After all, it is, by definition, limited by one’s ability to think. This opinion piece exhibited no such ability.

    Apparently this author, a term that implies responsibility, not ability, thinks the only reason to support social freedom is to win gay and feminist votes. It may also be the right thing to do, if one believes in individual rights. And she neglects the fact that many independent voters support precisely these positions. Of course, she prefers a survey of one elderly Tory voter to make her point.

    • Coffeehousewall

      She could ask me as well. I am not elderly and I will not vote for the Conservative Party again as it presently stands. I know many other equally not elderly conservatives who will not vote for the Conservative Party.

      • HooksLaw

        So you are looking forward to Ed Miliband in govt are you and Ed Balls as Chancellor.
        We can see where the brains went in your family.

  • eeore

    So the way forward is massive election fraud, promotion of torture and the right to kill anyone who disagrees with you, and when you are down in the polls have a storm hit a population centre and then move the refugees into camps that for years you have denied exist?

  • Fergus Pickering

    How old is this woman McDonagh? Since I’ve never heard of her I have no idea. She’s talking out of her arse of course. Some old people have a problem with gay marriage. They are doubtless sincere old numpties, but the important thing is that they are old and they don’t feel strongly ENOUGH about it to not vote Tory. She has some idea that young people never vote Tory, but if that were true then the Tories would never be elected. Listen McDonagh, and listen good. Gay marriage is a vote WINNER. The young when you get beyond the crazed skinhead fraternity are overwhelmingly for it. And it will happen, don’t doubt it. With a name like that the McDonagh could be a Catholic of course. That would explain it. Catholics are best ignored. Let us ignore her.

    • HooksLaw

      Happy to find I agree with you. On reflection I find this article to be one of the most repugnant I have ever read in the Speccy. It speaks volumes for either the neswpaper’s generosity or stupidity.

    • TomTom

      Conservatives finding a vote winner ? You jest – they have not been elected to form a Government for over 20 years……….and probably will never form one alone again

    • Noa

      You do an awful lot of verbose ignoring for an anti-catholic bigot.

      Would you care to back up your argument that gay marriage is a vote winner by providing some supporting evidence or are we just supposed to accept your opinion because you con sider it better than someone else’s?

  • David

    An exercise in refusing to get the blindingly obvious point from Melanie? George Osborne’s argument, which was well made, is that elections are not won from extremes and parties’ policies should reflect the day to day experiences of the people they seek to represent. Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me. The US electorate didn’t reject the Republicans because they weren’t right wing or socially conservative enough and similarly if the Conservative party were to go in the next election with a manifesto that seeks to take this country back to a vision of the 1950s that people like Melanie
    McDonagh yearn for, I’m willing to bet it will be Ed Milliband waving to crowds
    from Downing Street the next morning. But then some people are never happier when
    moaning that things aren’t as good as they used to be.

    • TomTom

      The Us has seen huge surges in Smith & Wesson sales in recent years with an upsurge after the election. Osborne should repeal restrictions on gun ownership here so people can protect their liberties

  • justathought

    It is obvious that views on gay marriage are evolving as Archbishop Welby said the other day when he pledged a re-think on the issue.
    I doubt that Osborne was aiming his comments at gays but at a wider younger and more tolerant audience closer to the center of the political spectrum. Also I would agree with the premise that Obama did himself no harm stating his acceptance of liberal values.

    • TomTom

      Obama is the sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood………

  • TomTom

    Osborne is really peculiar but then again he is a mummy’s boy and Felicity Alexandra Loxton-Peacock was probably not in touch with daily reality having been born to Clarisse Loxton Peacock who was herself born in Budapest, Hungary on 7th May
    1924 and initially educated in Budapest but completed her
    secondary education in Bristol after moving to the UK.

    So I can see why George is somewhat adrift of most Britons and struggles to understand where he fits in the world. He has clearly found the wrong path – and the fact that a whole generation of men in their 50s did not enter politics 25 years ago is what left the way open for ill-informed schoolboys with no life experience

    • HooksLaw

      What a pathetic line of argument – calling someone a mothers boy.
      What a thick jerk you are. Laughable. I think its you who have been too long away from the teat.

      • TomTom

        You of course are still in utero….please Trevor don’t come out….the world doesn’t want you

    • 2trueblue

      And what is your take on the Millibands?

      • TomTom

        The same but they had a different mother Dobra Jenta Kozak born to wealthy parents in Warsaw – so much the same really……out of touch.

        • 2trueblue

          Tea with Benn from the nursery, hardly living in poverty.

    • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

      You’re the sort of voter who would vote for Prescott as PM if given the chance.

  • George_Arseborne

    Why is Osborne moving into a territory that he has no clue about? they promise tax break for married couples in the last manifesto, we are still waiting for that to be delivered. Take note this will never happen. It was all empty rhetoric from useless lots like Osborne and Cameron.Now he is talking about gay marriage. He is not a social liberal just like the rest of the Party ask Chris Grayling.

    Well the Economy is now difficult for him to handle and is now jumping from one social policies to another like headless chicken.

    • TomTom

      Now he is talking about gay marriage……………..I await an announcement any day now…

  • Archimedes

    The problem is that the Conservatives seem intent on using a rhetoric that suggests that they are more in favour of gay marriage than they are in favour of the bog-standard variety, and the problem with that is that conservative voters don’t actually take much notice of the policy itself, and instead worry about the directional damage that the rhetoric will do. The non-conservative voter also naturally detects that the policy does not gel with their perception of conservative attitudes, and so they naturally assume that it is a lie.

    They botched this one, because they forgot to actually reconcile the policy with conservatism – beyond, of course, Cameron’s sickening attempt to suggest that he is in favour of gay marriage because he is a conservative, which had something of the opposite effect of cheapening conservatism.

    • HooksLaw

      Conservatives are tolerant. To suggest otherwise cheapens it. Socialists are totalitarian.

      • Archimedes

        Cameron wasn’t talking about tolerance, he was saying that he was in favour of gay marriage because he believed in the family structure. That is a perversion of the family structure, and it is anathema to conservatism. It’s a cheapening of the argument that seeks to preserve the family structure, and actively undermines it.

        • TomTom

          Cameron believes in………….and there we have the problem !

      • the viceroy’s gin

        And just what exactly do you know about conservatism, droopy?

        • HooksLaw

          Matey boy I have been a conservative for over 50 years and I know what it is truly about. And its not about some nut job fantasy world.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            So you know nothing then, eh droopy?

            Question asked and answered.

      • Amergin Selby

        Trite and basically very inaccurate generalisation. Your level of discussion is plumetting. I am disappointed.

  • James Randall

    This is the sort of moaning, whining, repellent article that would be more at home in the Daily Mail.

    • James Peron

      James: I would agree with you, though to be truly Daily Mail material it would need random spelling errors and salacious gossip—just the sort of thing Puritans thrive on.

      • TomTom

        If Puritans thrived on spelling errors they would be enjoying a revival worthy of Commonwealth England in the current dystopia

    • Troika21

      Hear, hear

  • muchTooButch

    I think you are a little to quick to right off the pink vote to Labour and the Lib Dems, I may be rare but I am economically conservative and socially liberal. I support the Chancellor’s view, and I am gay.

    • will_um

      Yes. I can’t be too sure, but I am confident that you and I, as gays, are more privy to the political persuasions of the gay community than Melanie. Most of my gay friends are economically conservative and socially liberal, and are now much more likely to vote Tory given the Chancellor’s sentiment. Perhaps the author should reconsider talking on behalf of a community she knows so little about.

      • Archimedes

        Well, I’m sure that Osborne will be delighted. There’s one catch, of course – you chaps already voted Conservative, and those that didn’t were a pretty small minority: ergo gay marriage has nothing to do with gays. It’s all about everyone else, and rebranding the Tories as socially liberal. What better way to do that then push through one of the most contentious policies with a sledge hammer, followed by a somersault, an outstretching of both arms and “Ta-da!”.

        So, you see, George wasn’t really trying to woo you with this policy – he was trying to woo other people: a bit like the way some chaps take to playing with children in order to impress the object of their affection.

        • muchTooButch

          Perhaps. But I think will_um and I may be part of the electorate that have wanted to vote Tory for many years, but haven’t quite forgiven past anti-gay action. We may be early aisle crossers in this group, but many need more to be persuaded that the modernisation project is more than just platitudes and the parties views really have changed. I think there are more votes here than you think.

    • HooksLaw

      Indeed – unfortunately to the nut jobs you don’t count since you live in the real world. Heaven forbid the real world should intrude on them.

  • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

    This article is not very good and not worthy of the speccie.

    • Vulture

      plainlyAu contraire spudhead. This is an excellent article and hits the correct nails on the head time after time.

      Austerity plus wanky liberalism is electorally repellent? Check.

      Guardianista ista Social liberals are never going to vote Tory? Check.

      Osbore is (deliberatley?) pissing off conservative Tories ( and therefore losing their votes) . Check.

      US & UK elections are utterly different and to compare them as Osborne has done is idiotic. Check.

      Just tell me which of these propositions is wrong?

      What Melanie was far too polite to mention is that Osborne personally is a smirking, sneering rich twat who is about as attractive to voters as Abu Quatada.

      • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

        It is you who comes across as a smirking sneering twat.

        • Vulture

          Perhaps.But I’m not running the country into the ground with it. But which of MM’s propositions is wrong? You still haven’t answered that.

          • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

            I don’t fundamentally disagree that the Conservatives’ electoral policies are weak and just don’t hit the spot most of the time, I agree that going after Guardian voters is utterly loathsome because it contributes to having a duopolistic party system where all parties squabble over who is the most moderate…

            I just think the article is poor, it’s not interestingly written, it’s not well structured and it just tails off at the end. I think this burdensome, overdone emphasis on what could be termed “he said she said” “did he didn’t he” tribalistic gossip is just not a good read.

            To be blunt, it is just shallow.

            • Vulture

              OK fair enough – and thanx for responding so reasonably.

              But MM is just a journalist. Whereas GO thinks he’s running the economy. And the worry is that his analysis is as shallow as hers.
              Well, that’s what I think anyway. But what do I know? I’m just a sneering, smirking twat. ( though not quite as rich as Osbers).

              • telemachus

                But what do I know? I’m just a sneering, smirking twat.

      • HooksLaw

        You are a turd. Wanky liberalism? What a shite you are. Since when was being a decent human being either wanky or liberal?

        Your clear psychological problems are showing through. Crawl back under your miserable stone.

        The US elections clearly show that pandering to bigots like you, pandering to people whose psychosis traps them in fantasy land, walking of into an extreme right wing sunset, is no way to win an election.

        You and your ignorance have been exposed over in America so we should not be surprised at your blind blinkered ostrich like, repellent, response.

        • Vulture

          Dear Oh Dear, Trevor. Talk about physician heal thyself! I fear that your intemperate language and repetetive abuse reveals your own psychological state all too clearly.

          I prescribe an aspirin and a good long look at Roget’s thesaurus to increase your word power.

          Yes, ‘wanky liberalism’ because it is professed not from Osborne’s principle or belief but simply from a cynical attempt to appeal to the Gay vote.

          An attempt, that as many have pointed out, is doomed to failure.
          I suggest you look at the Polls ans ask yourself if you really think that the two and a half Guardianistas attracted by Osborne will remotely compensate for the millions he is alienating. The numbers are on Guido Fawkes if you can bestir yourself to look.
          Corby will show you who is really walking into the electoral sunset.

          • HooksLaw

            I proscribe a chisel to prise the chip off your shoulder. You offer nothing but howling at the moon.

            You fall flat on your face in your pathetic attempts at defence – you say ‘…not from Osborne’s principle or belief but simply from a cynical attempt…’. You simply put out your prejudice.

            You have no notion that what you say is true and in fact the likelihood is that it is not.

            But having poured out your preconception you cannot argue on rights or wrongs or on policy so you just attack the man to keep you self justified.

            What Osborne has said is in fact no different to what Pickles said on QT quite some time ago.
            The US elections show us all clearly where your stupid extremism would lead.

            • TomTom

              The US Election shows nothing largely because Obama has pursued a completely DIFFERENT economic policy from Osborne and will raise the Debt Ceiling yet again. Obama has pursued the economic policy favoured by Ed Balls……and Romney claimed to be different

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Romney claimed nothing, actually.

                He never separated himself from Obama as regards fiscal policy.

                The US election and Romney far more resembles the Cameroons than anything. It presages the Cameroons’ defeat, most likely.

            • Vulture

              Just as I thought. You are not interested in rational refutations. Just more spittle-flecked abuse.

              If you went to Guido Fawkes as I suggested you would see that the polling organisation Com Res has written to Cameron rejecting his mendacious attempt to claim that Gay Marriage is a proven vote winner. It will actually lose votes – lots of them. Dave, as usual, was lying.

              I have no prejudices personally on the issue – I don’t object to Gay marriage. But I do object to Dave and George pandering to the Guardianistas who will never vote Tory. It is both dishonest and politically stupid as it alienates their own voter base to no purpose.

              I’m not really interested in US elections either – except that I’m sure that it wasn’t Obaba’s social liberalism wot won it. The US is a far more conservative and religious country than us. The election I’m interested in is the one today in Corby – you know, the seat vacated by Dave’s babe Louise Mensch. The one the Tories are going to get thrashed in.

              I won’t call you a stupid repetitious old plonker because that would be unkind and I don’t want to descend to your level of inanity.

              • HooksLaw

                Abuse inanity?? You are the one to come out with ‘wanker’ – pathetic.

                You again shoot yourself in the foot. Its OK for you to like gay marriage but terrible for Osborne to support it. Laughable.
                Personally I do not like the idea of ‘marriage’, but can see the point of civil partnerships which is a very similar level of commitment..
                But as Pickles said, one is so very near the other that it hardly matters, certainly not to the point of staining your party’s reputation.

      • Sodastream

        Vulture you’re wrong on all counts.

        Austerity: as oppose to what? more spending? Ed Balls? are you in favour of crippling debt addiction?

        Liberalism: as oppose to what? most non-conservative voters see Conservatives as heartless, unempathetic, and out of touch. You want illiberalism? do you think hang’em and fire’em is going to convert anyone in the centre?

        Social liberals voting Tory? frankly yes, not the hard core Guardian readers but anyone who understands that more debt won’t work, and wants a party that stands up for hard working people of all classes viz most of the new intake of young Tory MPs.

        Pissing off conservative Tories? ok check

        Losing their vote? no. they’ll hold their nose and vote, do they really want Labour? UKIP maybe? but not if the party give us the referendum which they will when they don’t need the libdems any more i.e. just before the next election

        UK/US different, yes, but not so much, plenty to be learnt

        This article is an immature ad hominem squeal from someone who can’t handle the inevitability of gay marriage and is too ignorant to understand the necessity of austerity. i.e. nowhere close to the demographic he’s targetting and thus probably not qualified to opine on the likely effectiveness of his position.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Nearly anything is worthy of the Speccie, my friend. Monkeys banging away at keyboards rivals much of the typical Speccie teenager’s offerings.

      This one is bang on. The Cameroons are offering up fake austerity coupled with a full leftist agenda, and the writer merely points that out.

      When offered the choice between a leftist and a leftist, expect the electorate to choose a leftist every time.

    • Leandro Fernandes

      You’re right, the last general election, if. a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, would have another Labour government. The voters we need to win the majority are not in Corby, he is in London, Leeds

      The conservative electorate is weak. We are almost 20 years under Labour regime, and lost several local elections, and today govern without majority, so I wonder cade the strength of conservative voters?

      U.S. is different from the UK, social conservatives here have no chance

  • andagain

    the people who define themselves primarily as gays or feminists – as
    opposed to incidental gays or feminists – are not going to vote Tory.

    Perhaps he is thinking of trying to get the “incidental gays or feminists” to vote Tory.

    There is a view that you a party that wants to be reelected should concentrate on the floating voters, after all.

  • LB

    And you have no clue about the mess in government.

    For example, all that creative accounting to hide the extent of government debts. You really have to look to find where they have hidden the numbers.

    It’s not even the case of the odd bill slipping down the back of a sofa, its outright fraud.

    eg. Page. 4

    How much debt has the government got for the state pension?

    4,700 bn. Tax revenues, 570 bn. And to make it worse, they have fiddled that debt down by picking the discount rate that makes it smaller.

    Your share of all the debts, is around 250,000 pounds. Same as someone on 26K a year. They can never pay that off, as it goes up with inflation.

    So your solution? Carry on spending. We can screw the children.

    • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

      Unfunded pension liabilities are 320% of GDP. You don’t hear that on the 6 o’clock news do you.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Why would the Cameroons broadcast that they’re lying about the pension liabilities?

        They won’t.

        They’ll find some other grounds to argue matters, and stir the pot. Like gay marriage, for example. Because if they actually had to explain their fiscal profligacy and incompetence, they’d be turned out today. So it’s distractions and obfuscations.

        Pretty classic methods. It’s Jew-baiting in reverse, when you really look at it. It’s distraction as political tool.

    • HooksLaw

      The future entitlement of state pension is not related to government income. Its fatuous to say it is. These pension liabilities are not things the government are actually spending now, nor do they reflect borrowing from the past which has to be repaid in the future.

      Moreover if all this money were withdrawn from the economy now (or had been in the past) then the economy and ourselves would be much poorer and that in turn would lead to inabilities to pay for borrowings.
      The govt of course guarantees lots of things, its currently guaranteeing 500 billion of mortgage securities. Its currently guaranteeing against future floods, earthquakes and tsunamis (should they happen).

      As the ONS say,
      ‘ public sector obligations fall into a spectrum ranging from clearly measurable and time-bound liabilities through to remote and unquantifiable contingent obligations’
      ‘Government pension obligations, because of their more contingent nature, and the extent to which they are extremely sensitive to discount rate assumptions, should not be simply added to public sector debt’

      The govt are in fact raising the retirement age.