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Deep-down, there seems to be something in many of us that likes the idea of tightening our belts, going without and suffering now in order to reap the benefits later.
The generation that went through the last war still talks about the blitz spirit that led to people coming together and helping one another in the face of enemy bombing attacks. That, I think, is one reason why the Conservative Lib Dem coalition Government is having such a relatively easy time despite planning savage cuts for our public services, increasing VAT and cheating our pensioners by the sly technicality of linking pension increases not the retail price index, but to the consumer price index, which gives them less.
In fact, the budget deficit last year turned out to be £12 billion lower than even Alistair Darling predicted in his last budget. Ed Balls, one of the contenders for the Labour leadership, has suggested banking half of that and using the other £6 billion for a new stimulus for the economy.
That is undoubtedly one of the most sensible things I have heard since the general election, combining as it does thrift and the need to encourage new initiatives and ideas at the same time. Managing the economy is not a job for a political fundamentalist. It rather requires alertness to all that is going on around, sureness of touch and the ability to make split-second decisions – a bit like a Formula One racing driver actually!
Before very long people will wake up to the fact that Osborne is leading us into an abyss. That will be when the talk about cuts translates into redundancies, loss of services, and all of us, especially the least well-off, find our money goes less far we pay more VAT and more charges for services. Then we will see that we have no money to spend and boost the private sector. Our present leaders are as short on vision as they are strong on suffering – other people’s, of course. I hope that when I am proved right there will still be time to do something about it.