A fascinating example of the coalition’s cut-nose-to-spite-face approach emerges from Yorkshire, the county of my birth.
‘A long weekend in Yorkshire’ has just won the best marketing campaign, against some very stiff competition, in the World Travel Awards.
The campaign itself, and now the impact from this success, has and will continue to lead to more people travelling to, and spending money in, Yorkshire, helping to create more jobs in an undervalued sector of the economy, namely tourism.
But where does the coalition come in? It comes in at the point where you see where the money for the winning campaign, put together by an agency called Welcome to Yorkshire, came from … namely Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency being axed next March.
I have some experience of Yorkshire Forward and they are deservedly seen as one of the best among a pretty good bunch. This is but the latest tangible success they can point to. Tourism in Yorkshire is reckoned to be worth over £6bn. The campaign was followed by a 22 per cent rise in visitors, compared with 12 per cent for the whole of the UK. Not all of that will be down to the campaign, but some of it is. Not all of the campaign’s success will be down to the RDA, but some of it is.
Some of the government cuts may be needed. But cutting those services which lead to increased revenues really does look a bit silly.
I see the Guardian has started up a cutswatch site. I hope they are tracking these nose/face/spite situations too, not just the straightforward vandalism of libraries, parks, care services, museums, advice centres, school buildings, hospitals, police on the beat and personal photographers for the PM … oh sorry, we’re not cutting those, we’re INVESTING in them …
So where would Labour cut Mr Campbell? Or wouldn’t it? Until Labour sets out a financial strategy all this carping is just that.
“Some of the government cuts may be needed…..” Please tell us which ones are needed and cost your savings. We are all dying to hear your answer, and not just your brickbats: Please, please, the Moribund Labour floor is yours!
The coalition´s cuts are ideological aiming at smaller state. They are also permanent, and their aim is to restructure the economy.
The Big Idea is to dismantle the postwar social democratic welfare state – something even Thatcher did not dare to do.
Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek are behind these ideas.
For the Tories the role of state is to create conditions for private sector growth. They started the financialisation of economy and hegemony of neoliberalism. They damaged manufacturing and exports.
Now the Tories want to finish the Thatcher revolution. They try to blame Labour for the “mess” caused by bankers, traders, credit-raters and economists. But in reality New Labour´s spending levels never rose above those of the Major administration until the financial crisis.
Timothy Garton Ash wrote in the Guardian that Britain did not have to make such cuts. Public spending will now be only 40% of GDP. The cuts are a big economic gamble.
The UK economy grew 0.8% in three months to September. Construction sector made up almost a third of growth in GDP. But the outlook is less optimistic.
The Bank of England has already spent £200bn on UK government bonds. Will a new round of quantitative easing be necessary?
George Osborne believes that the economy will grow at average annual rate of 2.5% over next five years. He also says that the private sector will create 2.5 million new jobs.
But there is a funding gap in the financial system. Banks need to refinance £750bn to £800bn by year 2012. And the banks are now putting safety first above national interest.
Britain´s debt service is currently £42bn or 3% of GDP. 80% of public borrowing is from domestic market. British bonds are an asset. £34bn is paid to holders per annum in Britain. Remaining 20% are held by government departments or owed to foreigners.
Hundreds of billions have been poured to the banks. But the banks are only paying a small bank levy in return. Big bonuses are back, and chief executives of FTSE 100 companies enjoyed a 55% rise in earning last year.
Britain has dropped to a lower trend growth line because of recession caused by the banking crisis. About 10% of annual potential GDP has been lost for ever. The value of lost output is vastly greater than the cost of public debt.
Britain has its own currency and has the power to print money. George Osborne should understand that governments can only go bust if they have incurred debts in another currency. And that strong social safety net is essential to sound economic management.
C+R. My own view is and others may disagree, is that what we offered at the last GE was comprehensively rejected, consequently, and just like the Tories all through the last 5 years of Labour, we don’t have to divulge anything, it’s entirely up to you lot now to present your policies and for us to consider, amend or oppose as and when you reveal them. That’s the job of the opposition.
And as you so famously used to chant…. ‘we will present our own ideas in the run up to the next election so why would we give away our thinking now for you to pinch?’….
You do your job, stop whining, and we’ll do ours.
It’s senseneless to cut budgets which could lead to increased revenue. Where I now live, tourism from abroad is crucial for the local economy. If any of those tourists choose another destination in another countries, we all lose out.
Forgive the deviation, Alastair, but you Tweeted yesterday that you were about to attend a life celebration for Michael Foot. I was hoping you’d tell us about it and give me an excuse to add my bit – but I will anyway, if that’s ok….
I used to live in Michael Foot’s neck of the woods and for many, many years he was a familiar sight on the Heath or in South End Green, often struggling with his walking stick, often chatting to people who came up to him. There was absolutely no side to him and he was a very popular member of the community and fequenter of the 24 bus!
Most of the media set out to destroy him from the start. It was his politics they really disagreed with but what they went for was his appearance. This was the way to ridicule and undermine him and it certainly succeeded. It was also completely irrelevant – although I would argue that Michael Foot’s sartorial indifference was an admirable quality. It demonstrated a value system that put compassion, commitment and intellect at the top of his priorities, and vanity at the very bottom.
It still makes my blood boil when I remember the outrageous and shallow personal attacks in the right-wing media but we shouldn’t forget them. They happen with even more frequency today, and they are as politically and morally dangerous as they are personally offensive.
Very good analysis, Olli. The trouble is, so few people understand economics, or want to. George Osborne doesn’t understand economics (as you point out) and he actively exploits other people’s ignorance about it to push his destructive cuts agenda.
Osborne is something of a plastic paddy (nothing wrong with that in itself), and seemed to regard Ireland’s austerity measures as the way to go. Ireland, as we know (and I have relatives there who are really up against it) is now totally scuppered. For anyone with a modicum of rationality, that would be ringing very loud alarm bells. But evidently not for cloth-eared half-wit Georgie boy.
First of all I have to say that I’m not as well informed on facts and figures in the way that some others are who comment on this site. But there are some things I can comment on without doing any research. This ConDem Government are going to tear this country to pieces if they are able to get their way. What is really worrying is the fact that the Labour Party now seem hell-bent on ripping into each other instead of forming a credible and effective Opposition. It’s all too reminiscent of how the Tories behaved in the years after New Labour came to power in 1997. (happy days!) If Labour cannot or will not pull themselves together and do their job of Opposition properly then I really fear for the future, which is beginning to look bleaker by the day.
I didn’t vote for the ConDem government. They haven’t got a huge majority in the House, so come on Labour do what you’re supposed to be doing and oppose by fair means or foul i.e. twist the arms (metaphorically speaking) of some of the more unconvinced Tories and the appalling Lib Dems who will probably do anything now just to keep their seats at the next election. Please don’t let the ConDems ruin all of New Labours great achievements in schools and hospitals to name just two. I think the present Government are likely to get away with their intended policies if Labour allow them to keep on blaming them for being entirely respnsible for the huge debt the country is in and also for Labour again allowing them to overstate the size of the debt. I do know it is massive, but I think I’m correct in saying that it is not as large comparitively as the debt we found ourselves in after WW11
A bit hypocritical of Rusbridger and the Guardianistas as they supported the LidScums in May.
As a footnote I entirely agree with you that Cameron’s personal photographer is a waste of money and should have been stopped by the Civil Service.
However, it’s a bit rich to read in today’s FT that you “fought hard to have a personal snapper when he (Tony Blair) was PM”.
Nice double standards Mr Campbell.