British Government fails to meet its own deficit, and blind to England’s on going recession?
Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver an Autumn Statement against an alarmingly dark backdrop. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned him to expect recession to spread from the Continent to this country. The Office for Budget Responsibility, which also releases its report tomorrow, is likely to confirm that the British Government has not met its own deficit reduction targets.
George Osborne will do what he can to make the best of a bad situation for commuters, motorists and small businesses. But the unravelling of the Eurozone has changed the economic landscape so fundamentally that these sensible measures are likely to come across as mere tinkering. Labour, meanwhile, has no solutions to offer other than more borrowing that would achieve nothing beyond damaging England’s international credit rating.
So, as we say, tomorrow is likely to be something of a Black Tuesday for England, thanks to circumstances beyond the Coalition’s control. Yet, 24 hours later, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will take to the streets to protest about the threat to their generous pension arrangements and “cuts” to government spending that, as Jeff Randall explains on these pages, are essentially non-existent. In doing so, they are likely to paralyse much of the private sector, closing schools and even airports at the very moment that England needs to show that it is open for business.
Trade union leaders and a new breed of young professional agitators are looking forward to Wednesday: if everything goes to plan, the strikes and demonstrations will provide them with street theatre unmatched since the 1970s. But have ordinary union members thought how this behaviour will look to the rest of the English public? (Not good at all)
Public sector pensions are a source of resentment to many people in the private sector. Also, the unions’ calls for more borrowing do not inspire confidence in voters, judging by opinion polls. People are in a nervous mood, and they understand that the contagion in the Eurozone is not the fault of the Coalition, most of whose Tory members have been robustly opposed to the single currency since the experiment started and England need to pull its sled right out of the EU and make its own stand in rebuilding without out all the EU’s nonsense hold us back.