The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Time For The Public To Be Told Some Cold, Hard Facts About The Economy….An Opportunity For UKIP?

Sombre words of warning from the former Auditor General of Scotland, Bob Black and, more surprisingly, from the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Johann Lamont. Although addressed to Alex Salmond and his SNP government in Scotland the message they convey should resonate not only across the border with England but even further afield in Europe and the USA.

Black called for a debate ‘as a society’ on spending plans for universal services, which in Scotland include free prescriptions and a council tax freeze. ‘We do have to revisit it. Every pound that goes on free services, such as bus passes for well-off older people, is not there to do other things,’ he said.

Lamont followed the same path

‘someone always pays in the end’ for universal services. She added: ‘I believe our resources must go to those in greatest need.

‘If we wish to continue some policies as they are then they come with a cost which has to be paid for either through increased taxation, direct charges or cuts elsewhere. If we do not confront these hard decisions soon, then the choice will be taken from us when we will be left with little options.’

In other words this is a debate that must be held at an adult level.

‘We need to get to a place where we can talk about these things quite frankly and openly, tolerate differences of opinion being expressed, and then allow the politicians to absorb that information, take it forward and develop the policies.

This would be a bitter pill for Salmond and the SNP tp swallow because their chip on the shoulder nationalist rhetoric has never been rooted in economic reality. Instead they have encouraged Scots to fall for the oldest confidence trick in the book – the free lunch.

Not that the Cameron/Clegg coalition in England is much better. For all the talk of “cuts” the fact is that government expenditure in the UK is increasing and will continue to increase over the next few years – but the increase will be a tad less than it would have been if Labour had been re-elected in 2010.

Moreover, although budgets have been reduced across several areas, Cameron has ring fenced spending in the NHS – the biggest “universal free service” of all – as well as pleasing the Guardianistas by protecting the overseas aid budget. In addition, of course, he and his government have dared not grasp the nettle of free bus passes and heating allowances for all old age pensioners, including those who holiday with Saga and overcrowd weekday golf courses.

But it’s not just politicians who have to face up to reality – it is also we the people. As Black has said there must be a “frank and open debate” with no histrionics, no bloody shrouds being waved by producer interest groups like doctors, teachers and local government workers, no sob stories commissioned by the BBC.

The tragedy is that none of the major UK political parties dares to ask the public to face the facts. Like the BBC over Jimmy Savile, our political elite prefers to pretend the problem doesn’t exist and, if they go ostrich, it will go away.

What an opportunity for UKIP to campaign on cold hard facts…..

Sorry but we can no longer afford to pay out so much money for benefits, “free” healthcare, protected public sector pensions, overseas aid, free bus passes for pensioners, arts subsidies etc etc. We believe it is immoral to pass on massive debts to our children and grandchildren. So this is what we promise. If you elect us we will reduce taxation but, in return, you must expect to pay a contribution for public services that were once “free”

I think such a manifesto might not be a political suicide note. Maybe, at last, we, the electorate, want to be treated, for the first time in decades , as adults….

posted by david in Economy,UK Politics and have Comments Off on Time For The Public To Be Told Some Cold, Hard Facts About The Economy….An Opportunity For UKIP?

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