Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The ConDem Hollow Men

While Slasher Cameron is on holiday George Osborne and Nick Clegg are on the charm offensive.

The cartoonists are having a field day with Clegg - a short-trousered school-boy sitting at his Daddie’s big desk, a budgie in a cage . . . Aren’t you reminded of the Spitting Image puppets of David Steele and David Owen . . . (If you haven’t seen them - look them up, it’ll be time well spent.) Self-serving Clegg deserves all the vitriolic ridicule that comes his way.

The joint ConDem messages from Clegg and Osborne are interesting in as much as they have so little substance.

Clegg is desperate to convince us that Society will be so much better after the ConDem financial butchery. He offers us the comfort that the cuts in the economic review aren’t just for this year but for five years . . . The fear that I find around me in many different sectors is not just short term then? To shift the metaphor - the sword of Damocles will be there, but swinging for at least five years. Some comfort!

Osborne’s arguments are just as hollow. He is following Cameron’s lead and still uttering promises with no back up, and policies which face both ways. He says that a fairer society will come from their health and education reforms; but omits to say how this will come about. He wants all young people to be given equal access to education - but seems unaware that the number of young people with good grades unable to get into university is rising.

He states that their welfare reforms with get people out of the trap of poverty and into work; but he declines to explain how the changes are to be afforded or how these people will get into work when employment starts to rise. Osborne hopes that the private sector will pick up many of the public sector jobs being lost; they’ll do this by reducing wages and increasing profits. Does Mr We’re-All-In-This-Together Osborne realise who’ll suffer in this one?

But then, I suppose, the ConDems can change the meanings of Equal and Fair; to change the language to fit the policies may be a cost effective way of being radical.

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