This is getting quite boring, repeating over and over and over again that austerity measures are hurting rather than helping countries mired in recession. Q2 GDP growth figures came in for the UK economy at a shocking -0.7 per cent, far worse than predicted (the general consensus was a prediction of -0.2%) meaning that the economy has had three successive quarters of negative growth. Said leader of the opposition Ed Miliband:
We’re in deep recession as a country, I’m afraid because of this government’s economic project. I think that today marks the death knell for their economic plan.
I don’t see how you can have three quarters of negative growth and have an economy which is smaller than when you took over and see this as anything other than a failure.
It has been a failure and frankly, they should wake up to the fact it has been a failure.
David Branchflower in the New Statesman was more scathing:
The coalition government took over an economy that was growing and by its inept policies it has killed growth stone dead. In interviews today, the Chancellor claimed he was “relentlessly focused” on sorting the economy out in the same way (presumably as King Canute was also determined to keep the tide back?). This, as ever, was worthless drivel because it is clear to all that the government’s economic policy of austerity has failed and they have no clue what to do.
The problem with strict adherence to ideology is that it is incredibly difficult to accept being wrong. The unyielding faith in markets and deregulation is a immovable part of conservative ideology these days – and once that goes, there isn’t anything left really. Modern Tories are usually socially liberal, so reneging on free market capitalism would essentially make them Lib Dems, or worse yet, part of the Labour Party.
This really should be the end of austerity as economic policy in the UK as the evidence is now so overwhelming the Tories are beginning to look like creationists.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.