Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Punch and Judy Show

According to the London, metro-centric, UK media Osborne's pre-budget announcement has been a 'political master piece' and left Balls and Labour flat footed, with nowhere to go in the run up to the May 2015 elections.  I am left stunned that not one commentator has pointed out that both Balls and Osborne are 'pissing into the wind' as they bash each other on their heads with their handbags at twenty paces in the 'Palace of Comedy' which is the UK Westminster Parliament.

Currently every UK macro-economic indicator is screaming out loud 'austerity has been a disaster' for the UK economy and the UK electorate. UK Trade deficit up, Sterling foreign exchange earnings down, UK Government borrowing up (again)to over three times the levels left by disastrous Labour, tax receipts to the UK Treasury down, UK average wage 10% below its 2010 purchasing value, UK economy propped up by London, the SE and Scotland with under 1% growth, UK manufacturing output down, retail sector discounting like mad, investment and savings moving off shore while 'saving the banks' (aka QE) has been shown to only have benefited the UK economy by 82p for every UK Taxpayer £1 where as infra-structure benefited the UK economy by £2.80 for every UK taxpayer £1 spent.

That the gruesome twosome can get away with such levels of hyperbole and hubris is not actually Balls or Osborne's fault, it is a lazy London based, metro-centric biased journalism, grown fat on regurgitating Westminster party press releases with out any fact checking or analysis or criticism. Journalism devoid of integrity, insight or intelligence as it operates wholly within the same 'chummy bubble' as the UK politicians it claims to be holding to account, trapped within its own insular view of the rest of the UK and the superiority of the 'London Elites' of which it sees itself as an integral part.

The UK economy is on its last legs, UK infrastructure is failing due to lack of investment, UK manufacturing is operating with both hands behind its back in a Gordian Knot of Westminster inspired red tape. Red tape Westminster likes to blame on the EU at every turn. What used to be known as 'Public Utilities' are beginning to collapse after years of under investment, asset and profit stripping to the point that London and the SE are about to reach the limits of the National Grid's ability to meet its needs for energy. Thames Water, amongst other English water companies are looking again at the plan to pump water via Kielder Water, through English rivers and canals from Scotland to the south to meet ever increasing demand on a limited resource. 

Reusable technologies with a short lead time are being ignored as UK taxpayer's money is thrown at a new nuclear build at Hinkley point which does not begin to deal with the real problems of the immediate shortage of generating capacity in England and its reliance on grid imports from Scotland, Southern Ireland and Western Europe. A 'key' project which is already suffering delays, engineering and investment problems before the initial ground work is even complete. While the level of subsidy being guaranteed by the UK Government to the generator per megawatt hour is being challenged in the UK and EU courts.

With oil and gas currently around $80 a barrel, the plan to 'frack' the UK daft is currently no longer economic viable nor will the gas turbine generators that were supposed to be built to make use of the 'fracked' methane or CBM / Syngas, yet still UK Government direct, indirect and tax subsidy for 'fracking' pours into the likes of Caudrilla -  in which Mr Osborne has a familial connection, if not a financial interest hidden in his 'blind' share portfolios.

All this and still I have not addressed the fiscal destruction of the UK's once globally admired health and welfare systems in the pursuit of neo-liberal driven, privatisation agendas driven by profit, yet more asset striping and service provision reduction in the name of efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Nor have I mentioned the RAF who have 102 Tornado aircraft but only have 10 fit to fly in a combat role, a Royal Navy with two carriers but with no suitable planes because the Tories sold the recently refurbished RN/RAF Harrier fleet off on the cheap to the US Marine Corps to 'save money'. Then there are the key ships required for the sub-surface defence of the carrier group as the type 26's are delayed a further two years. The reduction of the Army's capacity and manpower is just as critical but is less visible, as there are fewer big ticket items. Yet over £100 Billion can be found for a weapon system which is merely political 'willie waving' - the Trident replacement program - which will not protect 'British' interests in the current era of worldwide, small, localised, geurrilla style conflicts which need conventional equipment and boots on the ground. How does, 'ISIS we are going to 'nuke' Iraq if you do not get out', work?

This should not be about Ball vs Osborne point scoring: simply because there is no difference between their core economic politics and policies in any real sense as both are neo-liberal, austerity seekers. The growing discussion should be about a UK Parliamentary system which is no longer fit for purpose, is running the ordinary people of the UK into the ground and seeks to blame everyone and anyone but itself for the serious state of affairs the UK now finds itself in. In this, as much else to do with holding the Palace of Westminster to account, the UK National media in its 'London bubble' fails us all from Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands all the way to the Isle of Scilly off Cornwall

The UK Parliament is Punch, we the UK electorate are Judy and the abuse we are dolled out by Parliament is the normal story played out across beaches year on year - that's the way to do it!

Maybe it is time to say enough.

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