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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Budget Day: Blues and News

There was no surprise in Philip Hammond's first Budget yesterday. He followed the irrational obsession - that was planted into Tory thinking by his predecessor - that the deficit on the budget must be eradicated [by an ever-receding future date] regardless of the social cost of the devices that may be employed to effect it.

This depressing truth was foreshadowed by a brilliant cartoon by Brookes in the Times, which showed a naked Hammond playing AUSTERITY [on a Hammond Organ, obviously] on a bleak upland meadow with just a few sheep to keep him company.

The implications of that pathetic performance were pointed out in yesterday's Evening Standard by the brilliant Anthony Hilton. If the achievement of a 'high rate of growth' by the British economy is so wonderful, why are public and social services still being cut? Why are most people worse off, in real terms, than they were in 2007?

The answer is that the statistical entity that has been chosen as a criterion for the success of government policy, the 'growth' of the economy, is operationally meaningless in this day and age. 'Growth' is seen as a sign of success, while productivity is stagnant. Find Hilton's column on line.

Meanwhile, on the same day, it was announced that George Osborne - the author of the disaster - is to be paid some £600,000 a year for four days a month 'work' for a major international Fund Manager: as the old song put it "It's the rich what gets the money, and the poor that takes the blame!"

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