Others have already proffered more complex analysis of the Osborne Budget that I can. Few however can be more angry than I about what it will mean for large numbers of our fellow citizens. You may be equally as appalled as me, but you probably couldn’t be even more furious still.
Today’s Guardian brings it all home in a way which really hurts: case studies of support swept away from many for whom a few pounds here and there can really be a life-saver – people with disabilities, tiny children, struggling parents, unemployed teenagers. As Amelia Gentleman says in her report:
Most [of the cut programmes] are unglamorous, obscure, unfeted projects, staffed by employees who are not very well paid, but hugely committed to what they do.
Yet a majority of voters have given this week’s budget a cautious welcome despite plunging consumer confidence, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. Antagonism to the cuts remains muted, and some voters still want to see more radical economic surgery. The invisible folk of today’s Guardian report continue to be just that – unseen and powerless.
The real-life impacts of the ConDem budget have it appears yet to be understood. George Osborne’s budget choices are about to produce the very ‘Broken Society’ which he and his Tory colleagues claimed to see under the previous Labour administration.
Like many other current observers, I am not, I hope, entirely daft.
I resent very much indeed the suggestion that everything Labour did was profligate and financially ill-considered. (Shame on Caroline Lucas, in my opinion, for seeming to reinforce that view in her article today about green issues; why antagonise potential fellow travellers unnecessarily?) But regrettably there is still serious work to be done on the Left to challenge this trite, glib and shallow rationale for fiscal austerity.
Of course times have changed, and of course we all know that hard financial decisions must be made; but that’s an analysis, not a strategy.
And as ever the Tory-led government, in cahoots with extraordinarily tummy-tickled LibDem co-ministers, has taken the route least compassionate and most direct to serve their interest. Why bother with people who have no voice, when there are others, such as car drivers, who are much more likely to make their views heard, noisily?
Opinion but not operation is the standard mode for the ConDems. Not our problem if services for the vulnerable go pear-shaped. It’s up to your council / local volunteers / social entrepreneurs or anyone else to do something about, not us.
The sheer dishonesty of this position makes me seethe. The crudely blatant, knowing deception, the unrelenting pursuit of de-governance at all costs which is inherent in the ConDem’s abdication of responsibility for any and everything, still takes my breath away.
It is possible, despite the challenges of stringent budgeting, to manage humanely the vulnerability of the least powerful, and even sometimes to help them move from that vulnerability to greater strength.
To manage things properly would take genuine operational skill (a sadly lacking commodity in the current administration); and it would also take longer than the Chancellor wants. But his preference for speed is focused solely on imposing the small state before the electorate can prevent this – not in any sense at all a reason for the rest of us to dash headlong over the precipice.
The Tories, with astonishingly dishonourable complicity from the LibDems, are creating the very broken society which they claimed they wanted to mend. That wilful destruction is what the March for the Alternative tomorrow, and HM Opposition every single day, must focus on, coldly and steadfastly.
Somehow LibDem MPs have to be shamed into backing off, persuaded to cross the floor at Westminster before Messrs Cameron and Osborne finally achieve the destruction of the state which they so covet.
In the short time to hand, that’s the only way to stop this grim assault on the decent body civic and politic.