As official GDP data showed Britain flirting with a 'triple dip recession', we take yet another look at whether we are really 'all in this together'.
For this post our focus is on how the Tory party's policy of 'austerity' is reflected in the unemployment rates in parliamentary constituencies around the country. Data from a report by the House of Commons Library, released in January 2013, shows that vast swathes of the country have low unemployment. Austerity is not so hard if you have a job. A wage freeze is far less austere than moving from a salary to the dole. So with all the vast swathes of low unemployment, where is the high unemployment and who is actually paying the price of austerity?
The data in this report reveals the unemployment rates in each parliamentary constituency. This shows just 10 Tory MPs and 4 Lib-Dem MPs have unemployment rates higher than 5%. While the unemployment rate is higher than 5% in 137 Labour MPs' constituencies.
(In the graph above,for example, the 11th Tory constituency has an unemployment rate of 4.8%)
The talk of 'one nation' being 'in it together', combined with the reality that the debts of the country are being paid by those with the least, piles injury on insult.
Claims that our financial services industry gave Britain a special economic boost, deserving massive pay&bonuses, even more massive subsidy, and inane regulation, are simply not true.
Comparing the GDPs of France, Italy, and Germany (who did not proudly boast a bloated financial sector) with the UK shows that far from the Financial Services industry powering Britain ahead of our competitors, we just meandered along with the rest of them until disaster came.
What our dependence on banks meant, together with the hollowing out of our other industries, was that when the crash came we crashed faster and further and harder.
In truth 'austerity' is a wealth protection scheme, designed to avoid those who took wealth out during the reckless boom having to put it back during the ensuing crisis. Austerity means those who necked the champagne don't have to pick up the tab.
This policy of austerity is being inflicted by the Conservative party, who failed to win the last election having gained the votes of less than one in four registered voters. (The maths: Conservative party took 36.1% of votes cast. Turnout in 2010 was 65.1% of voters. Conservatives took 0.361 x 0.651 = 23.5% of registered voters, less than one in four).
The government survives because of the support of the Liberal-Democrats. If the Lib-Dems walk away then the government falls and an election will follow:
|2010 UK Parliament Election Results http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parliament2010UK.svg|
Sadly, far from withdrawing support the Lib-Dems have played Mr.Christian to the Tory Captain Bligh of "Mutiny on the Bounty" legend (much maligned though Bligh was). "Mr.Christian" Lib-Dem ministers are sent out to apply austerity to the backs of ripped-off Britons, leaving their Tory masters in their cabins plotting their courses. With the stern earnestness of men on the verge of a panic attack Lib-Dems push austerity on television, radio, and all other public platforms. Their best defence for posterity will be that they didn't understand what they were saying. After all, they never expected to be in the front seat let alone the driving seat. They should take this rare opportunity in power to note they are not only by the steering wheel, but also the handbrake.
David Cameron does not have the power to dissolve Parliament even if he wanted to. The Queen has too much sense to use the power she has to dissolve Parliament. The only person who has what it takes to precipitate a new election is Nick Clegg.
Clegg certainly has the look of Mr.Christian about him. Of course, ejecting Captain Bligh didn't end well for the historical Mr.Christian either. While Bligh continued on with promotion, honours, and a governor's mansion.
|Vice Admiral Bligh|