It looks like the current forecasts are for the UK to enter recession in the near future, and as things go, it’s going to be a very deep, very long one. It’s fair to say that this is very unlikely to be a good thing, and it will be used as an excuse by the government for further austerity measures, which in my view will only make things worse.
When a government spend money on services, that’s not the end of the story. Take the NHS as an example. The immediate benefit of funding it is obvious – a well-funded NHS means that people are generally healthier for longer, which can only be a good thing. However, those same pounds used to fund the NHS are then paid to staff and spent, meaning the effect of the payment is magnified. In essence, this is “trickle up” economics, a way to genuinely introduce capital into the system and have it move gradually to all strata of society. In other words, what the Tories claim to want to achieve, but this way actually works.
It’s impossible to completely attribute the coming economic woes to the Conservative party, but they have done very little to prepare for economic hardship, being much more focused on delivering short-term benefits to the wealthy. In my view, a responsible government should have been:
- Building a sovereign wealth fund that could take some of the burden from the population during times of downturn.
- Reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, particularly foreign-sourced ones.
- Increasing the housing stock so that interest rate increases wouldn’t be so crippling to so many people.
- Ensuring that during times of growth we were making good use of our resources to, for example, educate the next generation of skilled workers.
In my view, the Conservative governments of the last 12 years have wholly failed to meet any of these objectives, let alone all of them.
Would the opposition have done any better? Possibly, but Labour have already been in power a number of times in recent decades and have not left a stable country behind. What we need is a new approach, and that comes back to my favourite topic, namely Electoral Reform. More voices need to be involved at government level, and long-term compromise is essential to achieving the goals above, and Labour’s leadership is as yet officially opposed to proportional representation. Without this change, we are all-but guaranteed to have another Conservative government in future, and that will be another opportunity for them to squander the resources that our country has to hand.