Coffee House

Who’ll tell the anti-austerity marchers that government spending is at a record high?

21 June 2014

9:14 PM

21 June 2014

9:14 PM

‘No cuts!’ said banners held at the march on Whitehall today. Well, the Treasury is listening. It has pushed state spending to £732 billion this year, up from £673 billion under the last year of the Labour government. So why the fuss? My guess: lefties like to march and call for the downfall of governments. It’s their way of enjoying the weather. It’s a nice day today, some of us have been out celebrating midsummer and those of an angry, leftie disposition have been doing some placard waving. Each to his own. But as the below graph shows, it’s rather hard to accuse this government of savage cuts:-

Russia Today has been very excited about the march, as you might expect, and interviewed Owen Jones about it (above). Now, I have some admiration for Jones (to the chagrin of most CoffeeHousers) and he was clever enough to avoid the austerity canard. I suspect he knows that Labour cut far more when it was in power. Even adjusting to real terms,  we see that it has taken George Osborne eight years to make the progress that Denis Healey made in one year.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 21.00.45

So in real terms, total state spending is being cut by under 4 per cent over eight years. Cruel, harsh cuts?

When interviewed by the Russians, Owen Jones wisely spoke about other things: the Living Wage, housing problems and cost of living, which is related to inflation, wages (and productivity) rather than government cuts. Jones speaks about flexible (or ‘zero hours’) contracts, but knows he can’t complain about unemployment which is dropping like a stone. And to his credit, he also mentioned he’s protesting against repression in Russia.

I suspect he knows that his fellow marchers have got their sums wrong, or perhaps that multi-millionaire types like Russell Brand never much cared about sums in the first place. Britain does have several economic problems, but austerity just isn’t one of them.

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Show comments
  • CB

    One thing Fraser Nelson did not comment on was the splurge of public spending under Labour. If I have money showered on me and then slightly less money is showered on me, I really can’t claim to be suffering from austerity. If growth in public spending had followed the 1971-2001 trend line, we would be spending roughly £500 billion, not the £716 billion spent in 2013/14.

  • Lina R

    Those complaining about cuts don’t actually know how much debt this government is racking up – but I don’t think they would care. You can’t rationalise with these people.

  • persiancat

    Russell Brand doesn’t vote, therefore he is not entitled to an opinion on austerity or any other government policy. Not listening, not interested. Brand, your opinions are irrelevant.

    • geoffmack

      Why should one comply with a system one disagrees with simply to be given credibility from a handful of people when expressing a view?

      I vote but nothing ever changes, the same narrow spectrum of views are represented yet the population as a whole does not consistently fit within that narrow range.

      Brands views are as valid as yours – and lets face it, more people hear him than you.

      • persiancat

        ‘and lets face it, more people hear him than you’ – you’re absolutely certain of this are you ?

        • geoffmack

          Certain? No.

          Confident that the statement is probably accurate? Yes.

          As for your other post, i’m a bit embarrassed for you.

      • persiancat

        …..’yet the population as a whole does not consistently fit within that narrow range’ – probably why people are voting UKIP then !
        Brand insults the memory of those who sacrificed so much in two world wars. Emily Pankhurst must be spinning in her grave.

  • JoeThorpe1963

    He should be locked up in Egypt with the other media porkie news generators

  • phil davis

    Looks like a fairly well-heeled crowd, how many people on that march were actually in “poverty”?

    The next time a march like this happens it’d be nice to have someone run around with a mic asking everyone how much they earn.

  • Reconstruct

    Thoughtful Speccie readers should lay off Owen Jones, because he is clearly smart and quite possibly doing a job of national importance. What that job might be is unclear, but I’m glad he’s getting close to Russia Today. Carry on the good work, Owen.

  • S&A

    ‘Russia Today has been very excited about the march, as you might expect, and interviewed Owen Jones about it (above)’.

    So Jones decides to be a useful idiot for RT: the official mouthpiece of a regime that has decided that his Russian counterparts are to be persecuted by law and by mob.

  • coalitionkid

    Jones is the biggest capitalist of them all – he’s a self-made man that’s just playing a game

  • jesseventura2

    Jones is a little pervert whose disturbed face tells us he is taking it rather than giving it?
    Obviously not welcome in Russia ?

  • GraveDave

    Yeah, the Tories have only got to keep up being ‘soft ‘ for another year.

  • Plums Deify

    Who’ll tell Fraser Nelson’s readers that he is a disingenuous hack?

    Here’s a question: How come the very same article shows 1) no fall in government spending in fig 1 in the year 1976/77 and yet in the very next figure 2) a fall in government spending of 3.9% in 1976/77?

    Answer: Fraser has chosen to present the first chart in nominal terms in order to allow himself this eye-catching headline. But of course *once inflation is taking into account*, Fraser himself concedes that “in real terms, total state spending is being cut by under 4 per cent over eight years.”

    So, there is austerity after all, and the People’s Assembly *Against Austerity* is therefore a perfectly reasonable response from those who don’t agree that “Britain does have several economic problems, but austerity just isn’t one of them.”

    • Call me TC

      I think the article is quite clear. Headlines are just meant to grab your attention. Your hysterical response is uncalled for.

      • Plums Deify

        The article is far from clear. The impression that there is no austerity is given in the headline and the chart that opens the article. This is a deliberate attempt to mislead. Why show the chart in nominal terms at all otherwise?

        Bear in mind that the Prime Minister himself was reprimanded by the ONS for doing the same thing over NHS spending. If the PM is a naughty boy for playing fast and loose with the figures, there’s no reason not to hold a journo to the same standard.

  • Call me TC

    Up to 40% of London’s population is supposed to be non-white. There was one black face out of dozens on that video. The anti-austerity crowd are ‘hideously white’.

    • ARDNASSAC

      Your last 7 letters were superfluous!

  • Call me TC

    I didn’t hear Jones complain about repression in Russia. Nelson needs to explain that to which he refers.

  • Anita Bellows

    1) mismanagement: what is the cost of Universal Credit with only 6500 claimants (out of 8 millions expected). The Economic calculated that it would take about 600 years before rolling it out to the whole of UK
    2) mismanagement. More and more appeals against the bedroom tax are won
    2) Cuts are falling disproportionally on the poorest, disabled, unemployed etc.
    3) The myth of the fall in unemployment. The majority of new jobs are in self-employment. 1,5 million people are on the Work Programme and don’t count anymore as unemployed. At the end of the 2 years, 2/3 of them go back to the Job centre
    4) Mismanagement and statistics manipulation: DWP has found 1 million disabled people fit for work but the claimant count is just 100,000 lower than it was in 2008 and is going up again. There has been over 1 million appeals and 560,000 overturned decisions in claimant’s favour

    • Call me TC

      What’s the ILF?

    • Call me TC

      The bedroom tax and even the welfare cap are bad policies because they’re difficult to administer and harder to sell, given the actual savings they’re projected to make. If the government really wanted to make sweeping savings in expenditure, it would cut all public salaries by, say, 5%. Cancelling Trident would be another idea.

      • Anita Bellows

        And I think helping disabled people into work is a good idea, for those who can. But not cutting their benefits when the jobs for them are not there and as long as the employers are not too keen to hire them.
        Also, a lot of people on JSA face huge difficulties, and sanctions are not getting them closer to a job, on the contrary. To pretend there is no austerity when disabled people can and are being hit by as much as 6 cuts is just not looking at the right place. Unemployed and disabled people are not organised like workers with their unions. They have been voiceless until now, and very few journalists have been prepared to look at what is happening to them.

        • Call me TC

          Successive governments have been happy to park hundreds of thousands of older unemployable workers onto sickness benefit (now recast as the ESA) and allow a concomitant rise in DLA.

          • Anita Bellows

            I am not disagreeing with this. But the assumption from Tories and Labour was that 1 million disabled people were able to work. They just discovered it was not true and it is costing them/us a fortune.

            • Call me TC

              It was cheaper just having them on the dole.

              • Anita Bellows

                Yes, but that looks bad when you pretend that unemployment is down. There is still a revolving door between JSA and ESA, but disabled people are paying a heavy price for this

                • Call me TC

                  The problem is that unemployment was always high, but that the idea that the state, and not the family, should be the main means of support, is new. And it’s unsustainable.

                • Anita Bellows

                  You are talking about nice middle class families who can afford to support their kids. We supported my older son with his girlfriend for 1 1/2 year when he was unemployed. Not everybody can afford this, and not every family is a happy one.

                • Call me TC

                  Think of all the poor countries in the world. How do people survive in those countries without a cradle to grave welfare state? They either work or they’re supported by extended families. I often wonder how many people are supported by your average African Premiership footballer.

                • Anita Bellows

                  I can tell you: I am an ex aid worker, worked during the Ethiopian famine, Rwanda etc. People just die, in their thousands from avoidable illnesses, malnutrition etc. And yes, they have extended families, but if you cannot afford food, you become malnourished and vulnerable to illnesses and you die, however caring your family might be.

                • Call me TC

                  Africa’s population is rising faster than anywhere in the world. The possibility of mass starvation isn’t much of an argument against government austerity.

                • Anita Bellows

                  I did not mention Africa first. What I am saying is the myth of extending families in Africa has its limitation. You can’t give what you don’t have

                • Call me TC

                  Our government is borrowing over £100 billion a year to meet current expenditures, so you certainly can give what you don’t have. For the present…

                • Blindsideflanker

                  “I can tell you: I am an ex aid worker,”

                  Which explains how you come to think that the state is a money gusher, that doesn’t have to be earned.

                • Anita Bellows

                  What has the state to do with this?

            • allymax bruce

              Anita, you’re right; but there’s more. Iain Duncan-Smith, (IDS), and his DWP, & ATOS, all ‘assess’ a person’s ‘degree of incapacity’; thus deeming the person is ‘eligable to work to some degree’; even if that degree is insignificant!
              As such, people that were ‘signed-off sick’, by their own personal doctor and given a ‘sick-line’, are now deemed to ‘operate within the DWP mandates to a non-sick person’s degree of 100% ‘eligability’. In other words, a person with cancer is deemed to be just as eligable to jump through all IDS DWP degenerating & undignified form-filling job-searching hoops, as a perfectly fit person.
              IDS is mad.

    • GraveDave

      And all that processing and paperwork and extra staff has to be paid for. Just so the new guys can look like they’re getting tough on the ‘shirkers and malingerers’ and general benefit takers. But really the whole thing was never about saving money. They admitted as such. So what was it about then – other than spite.

  • Laveen Ladharam

    Even if you told them, would they take it on board?

    One should never let facts get in the way of a good left-wing narrative.

  • Call me TC

    The problem with this piece is that by looking at overall spending, it neglects that the cuts won’t be distributed equally across all sections of government. Given, as mentioned, that the cost of servicing the National Debt will be rising prohibitively (add to that PFI liabilities of $150 billion), and that some departments are having their budgets effectively ringfenced, the cuts will be much more acute in some areas.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Is there such a thing as a numerate leftie?

  • Jan Vertiginous

    If it isn’t adjusted for inflation it is meaningless in this context and does nothing to support the author’s point.

    • Call me TC

      Even adjusted for inflation, population rise and economic growth, the government share of national income has risen hugely.

  • Call me TC

    National debt repayments currently total about £50 billion. It’ll be about £70 billion by 2020. There’s going to be a perverse enjoyment in seeing the current political class having to explain the continuing economic malaise.

    • Blindsideflanker

      One of the few things Labour said that I couldn’t disagree with when they called the massive interest payments on our national debt the politics of failure.

      • Call me TC

        By that measure, New Labour were the greatest failures this country ever enjoyed.

      • ARDNASSAC

        They were not massive compared with what Osborne inherited. Something like 15% if adjusted as a proportion of GNP. The other massive debts were inherited from Healey in 1979. Also in 1997 there was a recurring budget surplus and debt was rapidly reducing.

  • Jan Vertiginous

    So there was practically no state spending whatsoever from 1956 throughout the 60’s when we funded the NHS, massive public house building, free higher education, nationalised rail, water and power? Ok. If you say so.

    • Call me TC

      We call that inflation.

      • Jan Vertiginous

        So if it is not adjusted for inflation it is completely meaningless isn’t it?

      • Jan Vertiginous

        If it isn’t adjusted for inflation it is meaningless.

      • Jan Vertiginous

        If it is not adjusted for inflation it is meaningless in this context and does nothing to support the author’s point.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Plus there’s the increase in population to consider: more people = more tax revenue + more people to spend it on. So a per capita figure – corrected for inflation – might be a better measure. Anyone care to have a go at that?

  • Frank

    I do wish that Osborne would set out the information showing just what economies he has achieved (government department by department). Perhaps a journalist might care to help?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …do you know any?

  • Blindsideflanker

    Who’ll tell the anti-austerity marchers that government spending is at a record high?

    Well it won’t be George Osborne. In our faux politics which is argued out between PPE Graduates, there is no incentive to tell the truth. The left can have all their anti austerity marches, winding up their client state to keep them on side, and the Cameron Conservatives are happy to be incorrectly accused of implementing austerity, for having never intellectually argued the case for a smaller state, and not having the wherewithall to implement it, they are happy to be accuse of something they haven’t done.

  • HookesLaw

    My inflation calculator says that £673 million in 2010 amounts to £753 million now.

    The website UK Public Spending says that spending was £58.5 billion in 1976 and £61.9 billion in 1977. In 1978 it was £71.9. Not much sign of any cuts in expenditure there.

    In 1976 debt was £56.6 billion, by 1978 it was 79.2 billion. Not much sign of any cuts in expediture there either.

    The IMF of course gave Britain a $3.9 billion loan in 1976. We are hardly in that state today.

    • Wessex Man

      now listen here hooky babe you are tota zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Denis_Cooper

    For genuine austerity, visit one of the distressed eurozone states where the national government could no longer get the national central bank to print more money for it to spend and instead had to make genuine, and drastic, cuts.

    Unlike the comparatively mild austerity here, where first Darling and then Osborne got the Bank of England to create more money, £375 billion in total, and pass it across to the Treasury through the gilts market.

    As Fraser Nelson himself noted on May 6th 2009:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2009/05/the-alarming-trends-surrounding-quantitative-easing/

    “The Bank of England today confirmed that less than 1% of the £44.5bn it has printed has gone to buy company loans – it had indicated that as much as a third of the £150bn pool would go to companies. Instead, it is a mechanism to help the government issue the £240bn of gilts it’s issuing this year. Why is this important? Because if the markets think QE is actually a way of one department of the government printing money for the other departments to spend (a la Weimar Germany), then confidence in the currency collapses. And right now, it looks very much like the Bank of England’s asset purchase programme is a device to buy state debt, masquerading as an attempt to target inflation.”

    But thereafter remained silent on the subject, for unfathomable reasons.

    • HookesLaw

      Has confidence in the currency collapsed?
      Where is inflation?

      • Denis_Cooper

        You should really ask Fraser Nelson whether confidence in the currency collapsed, as it was his assertion in May 2009 that this was a risk created by the Bank creating new money for the government to spend. In fact in terms of its external value against other currencies QE in this country tended to increase the value of sterling. However in terms of its internal purchasing power, extrapolating from the most recent Bank of England study of the inflationary effects of the first £200 billion of QE the full £375 billion will have added something like 7.5% to CPI over the past five years, over and above the 2% pa target. So a policy which was originally advertised as being necessary to avert deflation has actually resulted in significant excess inflation, and that of course is one reason why Labour, who initiated QE, can now opportunistically complain about the “cost of living crisis” to which it has contributed.

        • Call me TC

          Deflation is the bogeyman. Falling prices would be a bad thing?

        • HookesLaw

          So thats confidence in the currency has not collapsed then.
          Why should I ask Nelson when its you for some reason are quoting these remarks for some strange purpose of your own. It seems to me if those remarkes turned out garbage then your argument falls as well.

          • Denis_Cooper

            Fraser Nelson was wrong on that; a lot of people expected the same thing but in fact it didn’t happen, maybe because other major countries were doing much the same thing. What did happen is that Darling and then your very own Osborne together induced the Bank of England to create £375 billion of new money not primarily for the stated purpose of warding off deflation but instead to make sure that the government could pay its bills, just as Fraser Nelson noted in that article, and that has had the effect of adding about 7.5% extra to CPI over and above the 2% pa target. And, yes, that is the Osborne who once said “Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed”, but then went on to do some more of it himself.

            • HookesLaw

              So why has inflation remained pretty low and now falling and why has the currency been stable and now risen if all thats happened is ‘printing money’.
              You don’t know. Does anybody? The point is you are spouting on about something you are clueless about in order to vent your prejudice.
              One by product of QE has been the long term depression of interest rates and that has surely and undoubtably underpinned the economy after a shocking heart attack.
              QE is not a solution – it merely buys time to correct the imbalances in the economy.

              • Denis_Cooper

                “So why has inflation remained pretty low”

                It hasn’t, until recently it has been well above target, and cumulatively that has amounted to about a 6% loss of purchasing power over and above the 2% pa target.

                Are you saying that you didn’t notice that? Everybody else did, but you didn’t?

                Just answer one simple question, and “yes” or “no” will suffice: do you agree with Osborne’s statement that “Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed”?

                • HookesLaw

                  It was above target but it was above target before. Have you ever heard of world commodity prices?
                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23070728
                  ‘Is the global boom in commodity prices finally over?’

                  We have come through QE with inflation falling, unemployment falling , employment rising and growth rising. And now the pound rising.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  You seem blissfully unaware that the Bank of England has studied the matter and concluded that the first £200 billion of QE added about 4.2% to CPI, nothing at all to do with world commodity prices, just another excuse from you:

                  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/10773681/QE-has-boosted-UK-growth-by-3pc-says-Martin-Weale.html

                  Extrapolating from that to the full £375 billion of QE, including the £175 billion arranged by Osborne, gives an estimate of the extra consumer price increases due to QE
                  alone of over 7%.

                  Now answer the question: do you or do you not agree with Osborne that “Printing money is the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed”?

                • ARDNASSAC

                  I tend to agree with the statement but unfortunately for your argument Osborne was in opposition and was referring to the management of the economy at that time. It is a like the opposition saying that the big devaluation around 1967 was a sign of failure. Yes it was because the Gov had been in office for 3 years. But if the opposition had taken over in 1968 would it have been practical to reverse it? Of course not. Not a perfect analogy but you get my drift I am sure.

                • ARDNASSAC

                  I don’t think it’s significant anymore what Osborne said about failure and printing money. He actually said it in 2009 when in opposition and was probably right because he was referring to recent (pre 2009) management of the economy. But once started on that course, reversing it and applying alternatives might have been catastrophic after May 2010. Had Osborne been in control of the Treasury when he said it that would be a different matter but too much water had flowed through the bridge in the meantime by the time he took office.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Hang on, when Osborne took office there had been £200 billion of QE. Far from any attempt to reverse that, he added another £175 billion.

                • ARDNASSAC

                  Won’t argue with that. But all other policies had failed by the time he took office and the QE ball had started rolling. Other actions he took protected sterling; Darling may have failed to pursue those actions. Osborne never said he would discontinue QE if he became CE as the point of failure had already passed by then.

  • Fergus Pickering

    True, so true, Kittty. Is owen Jones a transexual? Have you any info on this. Should he and Tristram Hunt marry?

    • Kitty MLB

      If Owen Jones lived in another time he would have had one
      of those ‘love that dare not speak its name’ flings with Noel
      Coward.But now in more enlightened times men can become transexuals and have ‘Rose Petal’ moments with
      other men.
      Owen Jones is pre op, and obviously play the role of the
      woman when he marries. But I thought Tristram Hunt was
      betrothed to Telemachus?
      Cannot keep up with all these tales of life, love, betrayal and
      gender changing.

  • Bob-B

    Do people like Jones not know about the Stalinist associations of the term ‘People’s Assembly’?

    ‘The term People’s Parliaments or People’s Assemblies was used in 1940
    for puppet legislatures put together after rigged show elections in
    Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to legitimize the occupation by the
    Soviet Union.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Parliament

    ‘Immediately after entering Poland’s territory, the Soviet army helped
    to set up “provisional administrations” in the cities and “peasant
    committees” in the villages in order to organize one-list elections to
    the People’s Assembly of Western Ukraine.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_annexation_of_Western_Ukraine,_1939%E2%80%9340

    You would think that these people could do better than plagiarising Stalinism.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Er, they are not plagiarising Stalinism but attempting to re-animate it. Every “revolution” has had a rabble-rousing firebrand like Jones prancing about at its core and every one of them has ended in murder and misery for the masses.

      Like Herpes the red infection lies deep and hidden in the strata of our society, occasionally breaking out to reveal itself and its dark desires. It has gained remarkable traction since 1989, enabling its proponents to slither more overtly into all walks of life including the Labour party, where it was never far from the surface anyway.

    • telemachus

      You forget that the majority of the Russian people lauded Joe Stalin as the hero of the Great Patriotic war
      The people were by and large equal
      As to do the Polish colony they did better than Kenya

      • Wessex Man

        You sick liar liar pants on fire!

      • Call me TC

        Equally poor and frightened, yes.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        And yet it is estimated that he was responsible for the death of 20 million of his fellow citizens. What a hero.

      • Bob-B

        The Russian people were never asked for their opinion of Joe Stalin.

  • jazz606

    It’s depressing living in a country where an a$$h0le like Own Jones is taken seriously.

    • telemachus

      He brings a refreshing narrative to the right wing dominated media
      We laud him

      • Kitty MLB

        Right Wing dominated Media? Here ?
        Owen Jones is about as refreshing as the depression of the 1930s
        A period both he and Milipede would like to take us back to.
        Oh and Owen Jones is as refreshing as one of Ed Miliband’s
        very stale quotes.

        • telemachus

          Remember 73% of news comes from the BBC, chaired by Tory Patten and shortly to be supplanted by Coe, both well known ex Socialist MP’s

          • Colonel Mustard

            You are lying again. Patten, who is a cod-socialist wet anyway, does not chair the BBC and never has. He resigned as Chairman of the BBC Trust in May this year. It is infinitely debatable how much influence the Trust has over the political direction of BBC programming. If the Trust is Tory and attempts to influence the politics of the BBC in that direction it fails spectacularly.

          • Andy

            Glad you support breaking up the BBC monopoly.

          • Wessex Man

            liar liar pants on fir Patten was never a Tory!

      • Wessex Man

        liar liar pants on fire!

      • Wessex Man

        liar liar pants on fire!

      • Inverted Meniscus

        No he brings a lot of socialist nutter propaganda.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Taken seriously be the media and thrust upon us. I doubt that he is taken seriously by the populace as a whole.

  • Kitty MLB

    So much for the cutting too far and too fast.
    Lefties with their caterwauling deceit have has their way far too long.

    • southerner

      So much for the socialist Camerloons taking the “difficult decisions”. They have ducked them all.

  • Mc

    Funny thing is that these anti-austerity marchers will only stop marching until they achieve their socialist paradise – because that’s when they’ll be shot for being “counter-revolutionary running dogs”.

  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    This protest is clearly Union orchestrated. I’m amazed that wasn’t the focus of the story….. but i guess shoddy journalism is all you’ll find at the Spectator these days.

  • dado_trunking

    776,543,210,987 – what a number!
    Cannot wait for the interim manager at the Bank of Can-do-nada-land to drool over his latest piece of forward guidance and working out the interest payments on that. Work, plebs, work harder – you are paying that off, no one else will.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …is that the number of sockpuppets you have running about, lad?

  • victor67

    Yes Fraser the world is rosey in Tory land. The food banks are politically motivated. Child poverty is about parental choice and the unemployed poor are now the working poor.
    The injustice of austerity is that it makes the poor pay for the mistakes of the bankers.

    • ARDNASSAC

      Mistakes of the bankers? It was not their fault that the balance sheets of the UK banks grew 3 fold in the 5 years from 2002. Like to guess whose (credit bubble) economic policies were at fault?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Where are these poor children of which you speak? Where are the shoeless little waifs beging for a crust? Are the Streets of Liverpool full of them? Like Doubting Thoas I need to SEE them. Pictures, Grauniad, please. It’s like Boris searching for Piccaninnies.

      • Kitty MLB

        Where are the children indeed, these poor benighted little sooty faced
        waifs. Have they already been stuffed up the large chimneys of
        wealthy bankers, kindly made wealthy by Labour.
        Oh Fergus, how we lived the life of riley during the golden era of labour
        and then afterwards that note saying there is no money left.
        And yet has Victor said,’ the injustice or austerity’ ?

      • Sinceyouask

        Sadly, the poverty of such children is of spirit, ambition and prospects. No less important than the earlier physical deprivation, and made worse by the political class’s unwillingness, particularly on what used to be called the left, to see that their preferred strategies of increased welfare dependency and lower educational standards is making things worse for the most vulnerable.

        • Fergus Pickering

          The left, self-regarding and narcissistic, always make things worse. They meddle importantly with mechanisms they do not remotely understand like the fly on the wheel that thinks it makes it go.

    • Kitty MLB

      Victor, if you want to see austerity, and children in boxes, and people only
      able to eat donated food. Without a benefits system and people sleeping
      in tents because they cannot afford to keep their homes. Well
      Greece a couple of years ago would have been an eye opener, if you had visited.
      But no you prefer your little tugging at the heart strings fantasy about how
      terrible life is here. Even Milipede as realised the message of eternal gloom
      isn’t working ..Yet just for you, Oh where are my tissues..I am heartbroken.

      • Alexsandr

        the left keep on about poverty because they use relative povery as their measure. But by definition you will always have some poorer than other so relative poverty is a silly measure. What you need to measure is absolute poverty where people dont have the means to survive.

      • victor67

        The Daily Mail and Murdoch rags have done a good job on you. The question is in a country as wealthy as ours are you comfortable with families who have to feed their children while they go hungry, The kids cannot afford school uniforms or the regular trips provided by schools. Not life threatening but from a child’s eye view such experiences are internalised negatively about who you are and who your family is.
        Poverty causes Psychic wounds and this and previous Governments policies directly increase poverty. Research shows that as people wealth increases so does their sense of self entitlement( I deserve all the benefits and good fortune that has come my way) and their compassion and empathy for those less fortunate decreases. “Its their own fault” Thatcher was a good example of this.
        The right wing press feed us a daily diet of this narrative and it is ironic that we have very wealthy people telling other wealthy people to tell the middle class to blame the poor people for the countries ills. Aparatchik’s like Nelson are the Josef Goebbels of neo-liberalism.
        Even IBS much heralded welfare reforms have been botched and have not achieved their targets but the lies and spin keep coming.

        • Wessex Man

          you are one sick piece of socialist rubbish arn’t you “Aparatchicks like Nelson are the Josef Goebbels of neo-liberalism.”

          Your words could have easily have been spouted by Arthur Scargill or Red Robbo, you pathetic remnant from a bygone age.

        • fubar_saunders

          oh give it a rest Victor. More over-emotional self loathing, post colonial, middle class liberal bollocks.

          If you cant afford kids, then dont have the shagging things. End of.

        • ARDNASSAC

          Who is IBS?

        • Colonel Mustard

          “…but the lies and spin keep coming.”

          Well stop commenting then.

  • Colin

    I suppose ‘austerity’ is nothing more than an abstract concept for the lower investment class as gathered here. Perhaps a nice land value tax and a micro tax on share trading, could offset all that horrid spending on the proles!

  • alabenn

    The Tories have only themselves to blame, they let the perception of drastic cuts take hold, they even colluded with newspaper and media outlets in spreading these lies.
    They have, along with the other two parties been part and parcel to this deception, why would the Tories do this, did they think it made them look good or tough, did they think it was sensible to let the other two parties make them look insensitive.
    Even if they start to say cuts what cuts during the election campaign, it might be good tactics but it looks seedy and it will not wash.
    The whole rotten lot in the three main parties are clueless and deceit ridden, it really is time for change, and it would not matter if their replacements were naïve and just as incompetent, at least they would be doing it in the countries interest, not for their own or European Union.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh rubbish, this is the responsibility of the ‘Ghost of Tony Blair’ who said
      all politicians should be in touch and understand peoples pain.
      George Osborne wanted to cut more but had the entire leftie controlled leftie
      establishment plus the coalition partners breathing down his neck.
      There has been nothing but gerrymandering from the very beginning and
      considering the United Kingdom was on the verge of bankruptcy he has done
      very well. We are one of the fastest growing economies.
      But yes I know…Yawn !

      • telemachus

        But we could be doing better if he had not choked off capital investment in 2010

        • Alexsandr

          go to london and look at the big holes in the ground where they are making crossrail. Or to Reading. Or the Coventry where they are putting in a flyover for the a46/a45 junction. or to there the M1 and M6 diverge- looks like capex there too. that looks like capital investment to me

      • southerner

        Osborne is part of the “leftie controlled leftie establishment”.

      • Wessex Man

        Yes we all know about the deputy Prime Minister and Vince Cable suverting where they can but the Tories in the partnership considerably outnumber them and should have called their bluff on msny occasions!

      • CraigET

        We are the fastest growing economy by GDP, which is only an estimate of transactions i.e buying and selling. Even it’s inventor, the economist Simon Kuznets, discredited GDP as an accurate gauge of a healthy economy. I suspect the reason GDP is used so widely by politicians is that you can create asset bubbles, like the current housing bubble, by simply printing money at the BoE and injecting that money into securities – like Mortgage Backed Securities – to produce GDP growth, without true economic growth taking place.

  • Roger Hudson

    The first graph doesn’t show a dip in 76-77, so did state spending still go up that year?
    To cut you just have to do less, jobsworths will always make extra complications to justify spending and their jobs.
    Real deep cuts in taxation will drive the size of the state down.

    • HookesLaw

      My reading tells me that overall about 1 third of the then tightening of the deficit was in tax rises.
      Initially Healey was slated to cut 1 billion in spending and raised 1 billion in taxes (employers NI)

      The actual figuires as shown on the UK Public spending site do not bear out Nelson’s claims of draconian cuts compared with now. In 1976 defence spending was £7.3 billion in 1978 it was £9.5 billion. Work that out as a % increse compared to defence spending in 2011 of £45 billion and £44.4 billion in 2012.
      Education Spending in 2011 was £91.5 billion. In 2012 it was £86.9 billion. Between 1976 1977 and 1978 education spending went up.

      Mr Nelsons figures do not add up. When you look what you see in relative terms is this govt getting a grip on spending.

  • Hello

    “He complains about zero hours contracts, but can’t complain about unemployment which – as he knows – is dropping like a stone”

    That’s why the march had to be at the weekend: gone are the days when you could organise this sort of thing for a Tuesday afternoon.

    • GnosticBrian

      Has Owen taken Ed Balls to task for employing so many of his staff on zero hours contracts?

      • Alexsandr

        why can someone see that not everyone on a zero hours is being exploited? I believe they quite suit some people, and people using managed service companies are all on zero hours and I don’t believe they have a problem. Usual lazy lefties not doing their research properly.

  • Inverted Meniscus

    The cuts of 1976/77 were undertaken at the behest of the IMF as a condition to Britsin’s loan as opposed to a rational decision by the incompetent Healey.

    • HookesLaw

      In the end not all the loan was taken up – and the projected deficit was not as big as projected. The Treasury got its sums wrong. What did for Healey and the govt was Healey having to turn round at Heathrow and rush back to the Treasury.

  • Paul Scott

    someone tell the silly reporter from RT that “in real terms” is a technical term in economics, and means after adjusting for inflation. It should NOT be thrown into general conversation in a meaningless way, as she does. Poor journalism.

  • southerner

    Indeed. The MSM have singularly failed to report that Osborne has completely ducked austerity as well as ignoring tax cutting, slashing the client state, bonfiring the quangoes etc. Of course that would require a conservative government and there are none to be found amongst the socialist Camerloon set.

    • ARDNASSAC

      There hasn’t been a Conservative government since 1997. There isn’t one now because it cannot command a majority in the Commons as it hasn’t enough MPs. Further cuts to benefits etc. wanted by Osborne were stifled by the coalition partners.

      • southerner

        No – there isn’t one now because the Conservative party is led by socialist loons. And there’s not a shred of evidence for your last sentence.

        • ARDNASSAC

          You clearly don’t follow what goes on in Parliament. If you were to Google something like ‘ Clegg/LibDems boast/claim to have protected people against harsher Tory welfare cuts’ you would very many shreds of evidence. But let’s face it, you just don’t want to know.

          • southerner

            And boasts / claims / newspaper headlines are evidence I take it? Haven’t you got any homework to be getting on with? School in the morning.

            • ARDNASSAC

              I am referring to formally quoted articles from parliament. Also Clegg boasted it live on his weekly phone in.
              You need better attention from your care worker; obviously another example of wasted welfare expenditure.

              • southerner

                Why do all the socialist nutters like you always sit next to me on the train?

        • HookesLaw

          Spouting garbage hardly helps your argument – such as it is.

          • southerner

            Yes well conservative policies are of course “garbage” to you and the Camerloons.

            • HookesLaw

              Of course, Conservative policies are not garbage. They are very sound. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have gone from the public sector for instance with many more slated to go in the future. the recent budget and financial statement shows that the govt – the tory end to it – plans to keep bearing down on public spending.

              As ever you rant without meaning. No doubt your fellow nutjobs lap it up but thats hardly a recommendation.

              • southerner

                Do please stop cutting and pasting from CCHQ press office releases and try and think for yourself. Thinking is so important.

  • HJ777

    I find it amusing that Owen Jones is described as a ‘journalist’. Since when?

    • swatnan

      Jones is a bona fide journalist who writes regularly for the Grauniad.

      • Last Man Standing

        So not a journalist then, an activist or a liar.

        • telemachus

          As an illustration of his journalistic brilliance just a couple of days ago

          *

          That the NHS has just been declared the world’s best healthcare system by the Washington-based Commonwealth Fund should be a matter of national pride. But the institution is in mortal danger. The free market crusaders who first took power in the late 1970s have long regarded NHS as an aberration. It is an irritating example of a service run on the basis of social need, rather than private profit – and, even worse, it is loved for it. As long as the NHS exists, it serves as a defiant reminder that there is an alternative to the neoliberal project.

          No wonder it is under constant assault. Nick Seddon is the former deputy director of rightwing thinktank Reform; before that, he was head of communications at Circle Partnerships, which boasts of being “Europe’s largest healthcare partnership”. Reform is an outfit funded by private healthcare firms such as Bupa Healthcare, the General Healthcare Group and BMI Healthcare. Seddon has backed charging to see a GP, NHS budget cuts and the sacking of frontline staff. Last year, he became David Cameron’s health adviser.

          • chudsmania

            This is his brilliance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSC3RMstJl8 . Complete nut job who wouldnt know a days work if it smacked him in the throat.

            • telemachus

              I thought it was a brilliant emphasis of where the Cabinet are at financially, even if the details require tweaking

              • Wessex Man

                well a slimy liar like you would take a line like that wouldn’t you?

          • Wessex Man

            Slimy liar slimy liar pants on fire!

          • HJ777

            The Commonwealth Fund said nothing of the sort.

            It freely admits that it doesn’t look at outcomes or at any objectively comparable data.

            If you really want to look at in-depth analysis, look at the OECD (which declared the NHS to be one of the least cost-efficient systems in the world) or EHCI which consistently rates the NHS as poor compared to the systems in other European countries.

          • ARDNASSAC

            You are so naive to be taken in by this. The ‘fund’ is a leftwing thinktank. The real test of our NHS is why no other relevant state has tried to copy it. Could it be because even in 2010 after years of mega funding we were next to bottom of the European league in cancer survival rates? And there are some very backward countries in Europe! There are plenty of other examples too.

            Turning to your other (weak) point, even Sweden now charges for Doctor appointments.

            You are clearly one of these people who learn by reading articles from your political bedmates rather than your own research. If this wasn’t enough to indicate that your are extremely gullible then your defence (in another comment) of the bigot Y A-Brown certainly capped it.

            • Tom M

              I agree with your post and sentiments but it isn’t true that others haven’t copied the NHS model. At least Spain and Italy’s health services are free at the point of delivery and paid for through taxation.

              • ARDNASSAC

                Obviously in a brief note it is difficult cover all points particularly when one is familiar with the other party’s mentality. By ‘copy’ I meant a single massive employer and the virtual exclusion of the private sector. Even the US had (before Obama care) had free point of entry healthcare if you were old and poor. I don’t have a problem with the free at point of entry principle either but most of our neighbours have a compulsory top up scheme which enhances funding. When I was being treated for cancer I was amazed at my NHS booklet referring to the more advanced treatments being available in Europe because of the level of research arising from private funding. Also free at point of entry applies to most european countries in practice because you have your card (eg. in France, carte vitale) which you present to the reception. This tells them which system pays for you. My main beef is about people like Jones who refer to those who attempt to improve a system that clearly isn’t working as well as most other countries as fascists or with similar abuse. If you suggest a slight change in the NHS to a process that exists in say Belgium, you are faced with a retort that includes the worst of the US system. My reference to Sweden was not necessarily a recommendation, it was simply saying that a country with a great track record on welfare has taken some tough decisions. Private medicine is an accepted fact of life in major countries who have better treatment for all

                • Tom M

                  I agree with all of that wholeheartedly. I live in France and have seen what a well run health service can offer.
                  When I was back in the UK a few weeks ago (first time in a long time) I shocked some friends by saying I would be concerned if during my stay I had to visit an NHS hospital with a health problem. You see it differently from the outside looking in.
                  The differences between the NHS and France are too great to list in such a short space. Remember the French system started the same month and year as the NHS so why such glaring differences? And it most definitely it is not in the difference of capital funding. Such differences as there are would not make the NHS comparable to that of France.
                  As you say a large part of the French system is privately run and operated. The French population only see this a a difference between a “hospital” (state money) and a “clinic” (private money). No ideological hang ups here (that from the country that prides itself as being one step away from revolution if things aren’t seen to work).
                  I tend towards the view that we in the UK cannot run large organisations like the NHS. We don’t have the right management attitudes.
                  I’m old enough to know that the NHS has been in some crisis or another all of my life. I fear that, if after all this time, this is our best result then we are not good enough.

                • ARDNASSAC

                  It is amazing that after the money that was put into the NHS, every problem was still down to funding according to the usual suspects. As you live in France, you will recall over the years that the UK was often referred to as the type of Anglo Saxon market economy that (some of) the French don’t want. Can you imagine the riots if ever a Tory manifesto included an NHS that asked for cash or card (cv) at the point of entry; widespread toll roads; high charges at national museums; changed the funding of BBC to advertising; a soc. security system that was largely contributory (according to the mayor of Sangatte that is why asylum seekers queue up there to get to the UK). On that last point, there must be something in what the mayor said; why else would you risk your life to cling on to a lorry and leave behind such great food and weather (most of the time).

            • HookesLaw

              We have a health service we call it the Nationl Health Service. Funded by taxes and universal in scope.

              The French helathcare system is one of universal care funded by a government imposed tax – in this case a compulsory ‘insurance’ scheme and also by contributions from employers. The system is managed by the government and is currently in deficit- presumably made up by the government.

              Such differences as there are and there are some are hardly earth shatteringly different.

              • ARDNASSAC

                There are no big differences with France but a bigger private sector there has a funding and skills benefit for the state sector. Also funding from insurance takes the burden off the state in times of cutbacks. My main point was private sector involvement is more widely accepted everywhere than here. Everytime improvements are suggested here there are yells of privatisation. I want a better NHS. Remember I was replying to an Owen Jones worshiper. His ideal would be to abolish what little there is of a private sector. There is no surviving model for this anywhere and there is a very good reason why that is so

            • telemachus

              I certainly learn from reading articles of others
              Those who do not are insufferably arrogant

              • ARDNASSAC

                You don’t show it and you cannot possibly be referring to me Mr Pompous.

          • wycombewanderer

            “a US-based foundation, compared the health systems of 11 wealthy
            countries and found the UK scored highly on caring for people with
            long-term conditions but poorly on keeping people alive.”

            Neither you nor Jones mention the last sentence when referring to this report I wonder why?

            Keeping people alive obviously doesn’t appear in your list of priorities!

          • obbo12

            How about mentioning that Owen Jones’s think tank is paid for unite the union and under house commons rules he counts as a lobbyist.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          And someone who needs to learn some History. Not sure why he gets so much coverage. Just spouts unintelligent nonsense.

          • Kitty MLB

            Its also quite extraordinary but Owen Jones thinks this
            country would be better off if the trade unions had more control. He really is a very silly boy.

            • Tom M

              “boy” being the appropriate word.

              • jesseventura2

                Or still thinking about it?

        • fubar_saunders

          which otherwise goes under the banner of “columnist”. Someone who is paid to write about things they know f**k al about. Regardless of their political stripe.

      • Fraser Nelson

        as much of a journalist as i am….

        • LadyDingDong

          Be careful Fraser. A real journalist would never leave an open goal like you just have. I have known more real journalists than most including some really great editors so don’t get me started please.

          • telemachus

            Really?
            Hetherington, Preston, Rusbridger?

            • Wessex Man

              go away you slimy liar.

        • tastemylogos

          aaaaw Fraser. Is there a nicer dude in journalism than you and your comrade, Stanley? Seriously man. You’re the only posh boys I have ever gown to like.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          ….just a bit more left….

      • HJ777

        He’s a left wing campaigner and a polemicist.

        Journalists should seek to report facts and events for others to judge. He just selects or invents his own to support his views and has no interest in reporting anything that might contradict them.

        Point me to one ‘report’ by Jones that isn’t just giving his opinion. When did he ever report on anything?

        • colchar

          So a columnist, all of whom do what you have described, isn’t a journalist?

          • HJ777

            I didn’t say that.

            You can be both both but Jones isn’t both. He has no record as a journalist whatsoever.

            • hugo761

              I think self publicist just about covers it.
              .

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Nice to see you’ve finally figured this out, laddie. It was rather nauseating to read your empty cheerleading for your Camerloonian heroes’ “austerity”, speaking of those who “don’t much care about facts in the first place”. I guess even you have figured this out now. And it’s ironic you’re now belittling others over that very thing.

    • Robert B

      To be fair, he’s written several times about this over the years, Meldrew, old fella.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        To be fair, he was a blathering Camerluvvie propagandist when it mattered, old fruit.

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