The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Cuts, Cuts, Cuts

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 11, 2009 @ 17:22

Who Has The Finest Pair? (I'm talking about scissors, Obama!)

Who Has The Finest Pair? (I'm talking about scissors, Obama!)

In case you’ve been asleep through boredom at all recent Prime Minister’s Questions, the political rhetoric is all full of who will be the nastiest public spending cutter at the moment. Labour say the Tories want to shave 10% off various government budgets. The Tories say Labour are planning cuts but Gordon Brown won’t admit to them. The Lib Dems are saying they want cuts, but nobody really gives a fig. Meanwhile, the Civil Service is allegedly preparing for up to 20% cuts in the wake of an election.

In other words, there appears, at last, to be a consensus that current levels of spending are unsustainable. We are entering into extremely uncertain times as a result of that. One can imagine how the public sector unions are going to respond if there are talks of massive job cuts – but I don’t think it will come to that. The axe will fall – but without a doubt after the next election when a new government is at its most legitimate and virile; confident that its recent backing in the polls will give it the power to squelch all opposition.

Of course, we all know the Conservatives are going to win next time, either big or small – but it will be a victory. I think their boldness will very much depend on the size of their majority and alleged “mandate”.  But either way, I genuinely don’t believe the Conservatives will be able to unravel the huge depths of Whitehall bureaucracy at the stroke of a pen. I very much expect some token abolitions which attack the voiceless in society: perhaps SureStart is in trouble, as would be any funding for youth projects, or prison rehabilitation. But nothing so initially inflammatory that would cause all the unions to unite in a campaign to damage Cameron before he’s even begun. No – he is far too clever for that.

He knows that his victory will be played out in the long run. One election win will very probably lead to another – unless Tory tinkering happens to seriously damage the economy. That gives him at least eight years to put his agenda into place.

But what of Labour? What if, by some miracle, they pull this one out of the fire? Well, Alistair Darling has gone on record contradicting Brown to some degree, saying he will outline his cuts before the next election.

In all honesty, he had no choice. But if even Labour are now admitting the state will need to be snipped, it gives the Conservatives plenty of cover for their arguments. It’s going to make a cost-cutting, job-cutting mandate at the next election even harder to protest against when the new government tries to put its agenda in place.

There appears to be no two-ways about it.

The public sector is about to get the shock of a lifetime.


One Response to “Cuts, Cuts, Cuts”

  1. […] truth, I’m probably deeply unsure myself, having argued in the past that we do need to make mega cuts in budgets all over the place, before then saying that those very cuts would do serious […]

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