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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Electioneering into Depression

The current General Election campaigns seem to have been running for a long time. "Strong and stable" has become a national joke; and the more earnest Mr Corbyn shows himself to be, the less convincing he is as a possible national leader. UKIP shows no capability to recover from the terminal condition in which the Brexit decision plunged them; and the LibDems have absolutely nothing to offer.

The Tories' over-emphasis on Mrs May is a very high risk strategy, and if their chances of loosing the election were at all significant it could be ruinous. She has utterly failed to show her hand on the vital questions that must be negotiated with the European Union, to an extent that causes millions to doubt that she has any ideas at all. We can expect that very shortly after the new government takes office the inevitable leaks from the negotiations will display the weakness of the government's intellectual grasp of the task in hand.

Meanwhile, the extreme economic weakness of the United Kingdom is openly to be seen: even during the election campaign. The current government dos not even try to pretend that the NHS is adequately funded, relative to the demands falling upon it and the capabilities of modern medicine. Even more bizarre, according to some government researchers, most schools are 'overfunded', and the May campaign does not offer any increase in the education budget. It is clear that the Conservatives, when elected by a surprisingly small plurality of votes, will press on with austerity; and that there will thus be no significant attempt to lift the economy into a new era of growth supported by state spending.

Labour's plans are dismissed as 'unaffordable' both by the rabid press and by relatively balanced commentators: the implementation of any significant proportion of them would massively strain the national finances to an extent that would deter investment in industry and commerce and would thus reduce the capability of the system to bear increasing taxation.

Donald Trump is daily proving the lack of maturity that will blight his entire  presidency; but there can be no doubt that he was sound in expressing his gut feeling that a chauvinistic, mercantilist economic policy would bring jobs and growth into the US economy. This is happening as a result of companies making their own decisions, in the context of Federal government policy. Whether Trump stays or goes, his impact is unstoppable.  Britain needs a similar mindset shift. The country that made the first, most significant industrial revolution; the country that pulled itself together after Dunkirk well enough to share with the Americans in the invasion and occupation of western Europe - while supplying the Russian war machine on a mighty scale - can change the world again: and it must do so.  To become a moldering  museum off the shore of the EU is not acceptable and is certainly not affordable.

May, Corbyn and the others do not have a scrap of understanding of the big issue between them. That is why the election will be a depressing experience for all of them: and for all of us.

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