Saturday, 18 December 2010

Why the 'big three' parties are all wrong on the cuts biting in Brighton right here, right now

Why cuts are the wrong cure from False Economy on Vimeo.

Here's a great video from the great campaign group False Economy.

It uses that old campaigning trick - getting diasabled people and children to tug a few heartstrings - but it does so in a way that illuminates, rather than clouds, the logic behind the message: that cutting public services is neither morally right nor likely to be effective.

The list of economic experts who have reached this conclusion is almost getting too long to list (makes a change from the time before the crash, which hardly any of the so-called experts saw coming!) - my favourite starting points are Herman Daly, Joseph Stiglitz and former Bank of England Monetary Policy committee member David Blanchflower. Most of the economic thinking undelying their position comes from John Maynard Keynes. Anyway, there are loads of really good links on False Economy's website if you want to dive into the economics behind what they are saying.

We are already seeing the implications of the cuts bite here in Brighton.

Bright Start Nursery is under threat of closure, 16-18 year-olds in their city are set to lose their Education Maintenance Allowance, University fees are set to treble, over 1,000 police officers and staff are for the chop, police stations are reducing their 'opening hours', homeslessness and unemployment, especially among the city's younger people, is rising, train fares are set to rise at mnore than double the rate of inflation, spending on social care for the most elderly is to be slashed in the name of 'personalisastion', NHS services are being farmed out to private firms who can deliver them more cheaply by employing fewer nurses... and all this is happening here in Brighton.

I could go on, but I won't, for now: I think my point is clear. This isn't about abstract thought, this is about poeple's lives, here and now. And it's a bloody disgrace.

What saddens me most is that all the 'big three' political parties agree. Yes, there are some arguments between  Labour and the Tories about the speed and the depth of the cuts programme, but they all agree that the cuts are necessary, and with the basic principle that 'we are all in this together' - that recipients of public services (mainly the poorest) and public sector employees (mainly women) must bear the brunt of the problems caused mainly by the banking sector - and Labour's failure to properly regulate it in the first place.

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