Sunday, December 09, 2012

Perhaps people's memories are not that short ...

Voters are often assumed to have short memories. This does many people an injustice.

I don't want to add to the childish point scoring about why Britain's economy is in such a difficult condition. No government or party can afford to be complacent about the pain which most people in this country are suffering and whether there is more that could be done to move Britian faster onto the path of recovery so that we can start to relieve that suffering, and rebuild public finances.

However, let's be realistic - it's going to take many years to repay the debts which have been built up, and are continuing to mount, as a result of the huge defecits which this country has been running since the middle of the last decade. No government, of whatever party, is going to be able to throw money around on the scale that people came to expect in the first decade of the 21st century.

One of the few good signs is that a lot of people clearly understand this.

A Yougov survey at the beginning of December asked respondents who is mainly responsible for the spending cuts. Their answers were:

1)  The last Labour government - 37%
2)  The present Con/LD coalition government - 26%
3)  Both - 24%
4)  Neither - 6%
5)  Don't know - 7%

The present government inherited a situation where the national debt had doubled to £1.2 trillion, which meant that the government had - and still has - to spend more on INTEREST PAYMENTS on that debt than on schools. The government was spending four pounds for every three pounds coming in.

That was a totally unsustainable situation. If nothing had been done we would by now be where Greece and Spain are. As it is, the efforts which have been made have cut the deficit by a quarter, but much more, sadly, needs to be done.

And, again sadly, there is absolutely no way that a deficit of the size we had, or indeed the 25% smaller defecit we still have, can be brought down to sustainable levels without a great deal of pain.

There are no good answers to dealing with this kind of mess, only bad answers and worse ones and whoever had been in power after the last election would have had to do deeply unpopular things.

Anyone who does not recognise all these things cannot be part of the solution to Britain's problems but is part of the problem.

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