Following on from David’s speech on Sunday, and, the resulting commentary in the daily papers and media today, it appears that the mood-music for cuts and higher taxes was well and truly set. Also, in that one speech, the ethos of spend less and take more was embedded in the minds of all of those who need to know.
So much so, that one can imagine if a Labour Minister ever spits the dreaded word usually more at home on a film set than in politics, ‘CUT’, at a Tory, the general public will collectively shout ‘yeah, and about time too’.
Yesterday, David exorcised our ghost. We have spent eight years in fear of being labelled as secret ‘cutters’; and Labour have well and truly exploited that fear. They knew well in the past that all they had to do was push a few Ministers onto Newsnight and the Today programme, accuse us of ‘cutting the very vital public services the sick, poor and needy’ depended on, and we would back down right away.
They were good at it. We did back away, whilst all the time knowing that this day would come. The day when the country was in such a desperate economic mess that it would be impossible to balk at the medicine that we needed the country to swallow.
Previous shadow chancellors have always known that today would come.
I remember Oliver Letwin instructing us all at a team meeting, to go away and figure out an analogy that we could persuade the media to show interest in, which would explain the dreadful scenario of the bubble bursting, without using the word bubble.
But the media didn’t want to know. Oliver was talking about the future and the media are only ever interested in today.
Today is here. I’m with Boris on the 50p tax band. I still believe we should cut, not raise taxes and cut public services to the core.
We have a responsibility to keep people well, educated and safe, and the rest should go. At least until the day when the bailiffs bring back the cupboard, and George has had time to stock it up again.
Then, and only then, and only if service provision can be sustained, should we embark upon the luxury of spending to please, rather than spending in order to survive?
A radical seismic shift is required in the psyche of the entire population.
Which public services should a government provide? Would a severe cut back to core services now, enable us to rethink, and refashion, the kind of society in which we live?
For example, instead of government funding being channelled to many of the bizarre quangos and organisations it is spent on at present, maybe we could consider the option, once we had cut back and revenue receipts began to increase, of providing free home nursing care for the elderly; or a reasonable allowance for carers, who wish to look after their own relatives. Thus providing a service far more valuable than a quango; whilst at the same time, reducing the cost to the NHS, which in itself meets the criteria of sustainable spending.
In addition, we could target and focus spending towards voluntary and faith-based organisations, which are prepared to work in some of the more deprived societies, and make a difference in terms of outcomes for some of our poorest children.
I hope David develops and expands his ‘cutting’ rhetoric. If we are dramatic and severe enough in cutting peripheral provision, then we stand a realistic chance of addressing the huge problems, which are slowly destroying society today, at some time in the future.
Maybe when this happens, we will live in a society of which we can be proud. One which cares for its weak, and once again provides world class services, of which to be proud. A Conservative Government, which will have hopefully been in power for some time, will be able to stand back, take a breather, and say ‘it’s a wrap’.