Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Conservative Candidates for the Premiership: One Duck, Two Ducks, Three Ducks, Four…

The candidates running to become the next prime minister are, to say the least, lacklustre . They are bereft of creative thought: there is not an original idea between them! The record goes around and around, but like a malfunctioning gramophone record, it is stuck in circa 1980! Clearly, they are stuck on stupid! And as an American with a colourful turn of phrase once told me: You can’t fix stupid!

Now let me get a few things straight here: I am no left-winger. And I am no anti-Conservative either. Indeed, I was raised in a Conservative-voting home. The ‘S’ word was a dirty word chez nous. Maggie was a big hit in my home, too. As indeed she was with me personally.

However, in retrospect, I am not blind to her failings. She did a lot of good things for our nation; but she made some fundamental mistakes, too. In short, she was a human being; and human beings err.

To admit this is not an attack on a remarkable lady; and nor is it an attack on the remarkable lady’s accomplishments It is merely my trying to be reasonable in my assessment of the lady and her accomplishments. It is not the hallmark of a mature person to assess someone’s accomplishments only through rose-tinted spectacles; indeed, it is childlike to do so.

Margaret Thatcher stood for small government and low taxation. Those ideas were right for the time. After all, we had lived through a protracted period of socialism; and as a result of that, the country wasn’t working. In fact, in many sectors of the economy, it had come grinding to a halt.

However, just because Thatcher’s medicine was right for the economy in the Eighties, it doesn’t mean that the same medicine is right for the economy today. Today, our economy is ailing, but for very different reasons.

The gap between the superrich and ordinary folk hasn’t been as great as it is today since the ‘Gilded Age’.
Gilded Age: “The unequal distribution of wealth remained high during this period. From 1860 to 1900, the wealthiest 2% of American households owned more than a third of the nation's wealth, while the top 10% owned roughly three-quarters of it. The bottom 40% had no wealth at all. In terms of property, the wealthiest 1% owned 51%, while the bottom 44% claimed 1.1%.” [Source: Wikipedia]
Today, we are in a similar situation regarding wealth distribution. A few people own billions at the same time as millions of parents are unable to put food on the table for their children! To add insult to injury, the billionaire class pay little or no taxes; indeed, many of them hide their wealth offshore to avoid paying any taxes at all. And that goes for many in the Conservative Party itself. In fact, more especially people in the Conservative Party. Moreover, these contenders running for the premiership want to lower taxes for them still further.

Lowering taxes sounds like a sensible and grand plan – until one starts unpicking it.

This is what lower taxes means: Lower taxes means smaller government. Smaller government translates into spending less—far less—on hospitals and the building of new ones, on the NHS in general, on schools and other educational establishments, on roads and infrastructure, and in general on all projects in the public sector. But very importantly, it will mean lower taxes for corporations and the superrich, the groups of people who are awash with cash anyway.

Is this the medicine we truly need for our economy at the moment? Think about it! Think long and hard about it!

Further, I heard at least one of the contenders talking about ‘trickle-down economics. That theory has been well and truly debunked. In fact, it is poppycock. It just doesn’t happen that way. Indeed, it would be more accurate to call it ‘trickle-up economics’, because such policies end up making the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

We have come out of the biggest and the most successful single market in the world, The Single Market, a market of 500 million + consumers. And Tories have the nerve to call themselves the business-friendly party! Go figure!

Most of these candidates are sharpening their swords for a trade war with the European Union. How stupid are these people? How stupid can anyone be?

It is we who stupidly decided to exit the European Union; we were not asked to leave. Indeed, Brexit was the last thing that the EU wanted. But many in the Conservative Party did Putin’s bidding for him. The Kremlin’s tentacles have tightened its grip on Westminster, I fear; especially among the Conservatives.

On the doorstep of Number 10 during BoJo’s resignation speech, if indeed that it can be called, he spoke of a sparkling and bright future for the UK in the years to come if Conservative policies are followed. Such twaddle! I have lived long enough to realise that the UK will never be anything other than what it is: a struggling country trying to make its way in the world. Why do I say this? Because there is a continual fight between the left and the right, each side thinking that it has a monopoly on the truth. Fact is, neither side does.

For the UK economy to become super successful, both sides need to work together for the common good. A properly-functioning economy should, after all, work for all, not just for the select few.

There is nothing wrong with enabling people to become very rich; in fact, such an economy is to be encouraged and applauded. However, the less fortunate in society also need to be helped to improve their lot in life. But this cannot be done without a good education system and a good healthcare system, both free at the point of delivery.

Oh, and another very important thing: We cannot hope to have a hugely successful economy based on the service industry alone. One of Maggie’s biggest mistakes was her decimation of industry. But the fact remains that Germany has not made the same mistake. Germany has a very strong manufacturing sector. Who makes some of the best cars in the world? The Germans. Who makes some of the best white goods in the world? The Germans. And who looks after its workers better than we do? The Germans.

Perhaps, dear Conservatives, there is a lesson to be learnt in these facts. The truth can often be hard to swallow, just like a bitter pill is. But swallowing the pill and cogitating over some harsh realities is the road to self-improvement.

The best medicine for this economy would be to reverse Brexit. But if a full reversal cannot be executed, a second-best solution would be to re-join the Single Market. You know it makes sense to do so!

© Mark Alexander
July 13, 2022