Why has the debt problem been knocked off the front pages?
Is Nick Clegg driving the news agenda?
The Angel of the North cost £1m to construct, that is the amount of cash that Gordon Brown’s Labour government borrows on our behalf every 3 minutes 12 seconds, within 5 hours and 12 minutes you could build an Angel of solid silver at a cost of £97m! In one year you could build 1680 solid silver Angels and run out of major roads to site them next to, that’s because this government’s borrowing requirements amount to an eye watering £163 billion per annum, and that’s before we even begin to think about the accumulation of interest payments. Our national debt, with interest payments, is rising at a rate of £5,169 per second, £310,212 per minute, £18,607,306 per hour, £446,575,342 per day!
Yet for some odd reason, the fact that this government has been responsible for introducing 111 tax rises since 1997 and gathers in an additional £1 trillion of revenues, we are still left with a budget deficit of the same size as Greece, where the rest of the EU (us included) are having to bail them out and having to impose cuts in their public spending whether they like it or not! There is a good reason for that, Greece is in the Euro zone and their incapacity to run a sensible balanced economy will drag down the rest of the party unless they are brought to heel. The same would happen to Britain, I have no doubt, if we too had our currency in the Euro zone as Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats want.
Oh yes, back to that odd reason, why is it that this catastrophic mismanagement of our economy is not dominating the front pages of the newspapers or the lead stories on TV and radio news? Could it be that news and politics have become so dumbed down that they don’t think we would understand the story? Is that the reason why the only story with legs right now is about a hung Parliament, a situation which even Alex Salmond dumbs down to “balanced”?
Despite the fact that Labour appear to be stuck in third place in the polls I believe that Gordon Brown has been morally right to stick to his guns and talk about the economy over the past ten days, unfortunately because he created half of the mess he just doesn’t carry the credence or authority when it comes to asking for our permission to try and clean it up! David Cameron and the Conservatives have been right to to initially go on the attack on economic matters and to play their hands by declaring that it’s time to cut the spending NOW, and not wait until the debt spirals completely out of control, however he has allowed the Tory battle bus to wander off course in dealing with the rise of Nick Clegg!
Yes, the first and second Prime Ministerial debates have allowed Clegg and the Lib-Dems to dominate the news and the polls and yet, as we have seen, their economic policies are far from ideal and are very poorly thought through, low voltage Cable is really not the wise old sage that he would have us believe. The health of our national economy is in a critical condition, even with a change of government we face many many years of paying down the debt, reducing the size of public spending and the size of the state, reducing and removing waste and the quangocracy, we need to get to a position of a balanced budget not a “balanced Parliament”. i.e. Where tax receipts are the same as, or larger than, government spending. Only then can we feel positive about the conditions for growth and prosperity.
I am sure that only the Conservative Party offers the hope of tackling the debt mountain immediately after the general election, but they must put their position strongly and positively in the final eight days of the campaign. David Cameron must not allow himself to be diverted with any more talk about Calamity Clegg, the Lib-Dems, confusing coalitions, and murky back room deals, he needs to stick to his own agenda, show more anger about the past thirteen years, and more passion about the task ahead. He has a week to sway people with families who face their own struggles, a week to relate the family budget to the problems of the nation, no family in their right minds would continue piling up huge debts and spending beyond their means when the bailiffs are at the end of the street! One week to capture the votes that he needs most, and they are the current Labour seats of middle England and the north, it was not the wavering soft liberal vote that swept Margaret Thatcher and John Major into No. 10, it was the masses of hard working people who were let down by Labour who brought about those landslides.
Come this Thursday’s debate and I expect and hope that the Conservative leader will be let off the leash, unmanaged, and allowed to be himself, he is far better when he is unscripted and free flowing without notes, he needs the performance of his life (we know that he is capable he has done it often enough at the Despatch Box), his only change in tactic should be to train his guns only on Brown, he is the man who was responsible for getting us where we are, he is the one who should be answerable, not Clegg.
It’s the economy stupid, it always is, so why isn’t it at centre stage?