Thursday, 14 June 2012
The Mansion House Speech And Other Fairy Tales.
Benjamin Disraeli once boasted that, when he became Prime Minister, he had "reached the top of the greasy pole." Today George Osborne, in his Mansion House Speech, has boasted that under his stewardship Britain has manged to scramble to the top of a financial house of cards. Essentially he is claiming victory in his campaign to patch up the world financial system while Britain retains its preeminent position. How he has achieved this can be seen in the new child poverty figures. These show that child poverty has fallen by 2%. Wow, you might say. Unfortunately this doesn't mean that poverty has actually been reduced in Britain. Poverty is measured against the standard of median earnings and is merely a comparative figure not an absolute measurement. The Tories, in fact, have achieved this triumph by the simple expedient of reducing average earnings - by making all ordinary people poorer. Meanwhile the wealthiest 1% have continued to get richer while executive pay, despite ever-louder protests from shareholders and public alike, has continued to accelerate ever upwards. Greed in the financial lifeblood of the country is still rampant and has been encouraged by George Osborne with a massive tax cut to the wealthy in his budget and promises of more to come even while the rest of us still face deeper and deeper cuts to our services, rights and income. Many believed that, with the collapse of the world financial system, a revolution was under way. They were right. Unfortunately that revolution did not herald change but more of the same. The Tories answer to greed is more greed, their answer to growing inequality is to accelerate the process and their answer to the crisis in democracy is to weaken it even further.