Just caught sight of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on TV trying rather unsuccessfully to maintain that the George Osborne package was ‘progressive’, followed by a man in the City saying that it was a dreadful day for the public, but a great day for the government.
Needless to say, in keeping with the media’s treatment of men in suits in shiny financial centres, the man in the suit in this particular shiny financial centre was not really pressed on this observation. It is worth however taking a closer look at what he said – dreadful for public, good for government.
Dreadful for the public because the jobs and services on which lower and middle income families depend were being chopped left, right and centre, and there will be many many devils in the detail still to come; good for the government because the men in the suits in the shiny financial centres who did so much to bring about the financial calamity which has led to the debt crisis which has led to the cuts pronounced that it was tough enough. Something a bit odd about the causes of the problem being deemed to be expert commentators on the attemped cure.
Despite the talk of a bank levy, the origins of this crisis are pretty much lost now, not least because of the coalition’s impressive self-brainwashing that everything was Labour’s fault, which has had some success in framing the media coverage.
But the reason Mr Pickles looked uncomfortable is because he will be feeling uncomfortable; because he knows that the people who are going to be hit the hardest are those at the bottom end, while those at the top will do fine, and the ones who caused the crisis in the first place are laughing all the way from the bank. When it was suggested to Mr Pickles that the Insitute of Fiscal Studies’ early analysis showed this to be a regressive rather than progressive move, he blathered on about how the government would do its own analysis. Silly me for thinking they might have done that already.