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Austerity in the UK

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, November 2nd, 2010 - 63 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, uk politics - Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now, but what with Paul Henry and The Hobbit there hasn’t seemed like room. Now international news is likely to be dominated by the fallout from the American mid-term elections for a bit, so now or never.

Pity the people of the UK. Decades of neoliberal economics haven’t worked there any better than anywhere else in the world. The UK has hollowed out its real economy, and over invested in parasitic “financial services”. The last “Labour” government didn’t have a Michael Cullen being cautious for a decade, so the UK entered the financial crisis over-committed and under-prepared. They spent billions of taxpayers’ money bailing out banks that are “too big to fail” (more! more! cry the banks). Now the UK is now facing the bill.

The new Tory / LibDem government is embarking on a program of vicious cuts to public spending. This account is typical:

Spending review axe falls on the poor

Ceorge Osborne claims sweeping cuts will take the country back from the brink of bankruptcy

George Osborne drove his axe deep into the heart of the British state today, with a range of sweeping cuts to welfare, higher education, social housing, policing and local government that he claims will draw the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Outlining his long-awaited comprehensive spending review, which will cut £81bn from government spending, Osborne vowed to restore “sanity to our public finances and stability to our economy”. Perhaps the most striking of the new cuts announced was a package of £7bn in extra welfare cuts on top of the £11bn already made in the last budget.

No need to quote too much more, but here are some headlines:

But it’s not all doom and gloom! No no no, I wouldn’t want you to get that idea. Some folk are doing just fine: “UK boardroom pay leaps 55% in a year”. And internationally for example: “Goldman earmarks $17b for self-congratulation”. The ultra-rich are like cockroaches, no matter what kind of crisis is going on around them they always make out just fine…

63 comments on “Austerity in the UK ”

  1. Vicky32 1

    I spoke to my penfriend in the UK on Sunday night about this amongst other things. He is angry! He and his wife are pensioners, but they have a son with severe disabilities (indeed my friend has a new and severe disability himself, due to medical misadventure…) Their housing is secure but that’s about all!
    Deb

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    And even though the UK has been sharing the same wealth of North Sea oil as ‘socialist’ Norway all these years, the UK is in the dunny while Norway is sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund*.

    It seems these ‘socialists’ really have their shizzle together when it comes to managing economic assets for the betterment of their countries. Righties/centre righties like Thatcher, Blair, Brown? Not so much.

    *That’s equivalent to US$105K for every man, woman and child in Norway.

    • Rob 2.1

      I wish we had the economic policies of Norway lol. One day I plan to visit there to find out first hand just how they run things as they do. It is incredible.

    • john 2.2

      Colonial Viper, I agree 100%. The Wretched Thatcher blew North Sea Oil Wealth following the NeoLiberal garbage ideology of the US. Now the ordinary Brit is going to pay Big Time! What a bunch of toffee nosed (Public schooled bent) gits the current governing bunch are. Gawd ‘Elp the Poor Poms!

  3. Rob 3

    The Austerity measures in the UK disgusted me. They also made me want privatisation for once. On their cuts calculator I saw that selling 10% of their roading to private companies would be 50% more than they are cutting this year from all the services. Realised I really am not that attached to the idea of governments owning roads because of what a poor investment they are becoming.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    The cost of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq this financial year has soared to more than £4.5bn, an annual increase of more than 50%, figures released yesterday reveal.

    That was from a Feb 2009 news story. War costs have only accumulated since then.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/13/afghanistan-iraq-bill-british-military

    So as Dwight D Eisenhower said, war in its final analysis represents a theft from citizens who are left hungry and who are not fed, who are left cold and are not clothed.

    Its awful that big banks and war interests have drained the public purse and ordinary people are left to rot. What the hell is wrong with these political ‘leaders’.

    • Vicky32 4.1

      Absolutely true CV! War is theft, amongst other things…
      Deb

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        have a listen to him.

        This is what US Republicans used to sound like. Some of them.

    • James Stephenson 4.2

      Norway vs UK is hardly an apt comparison. They’ve had pretty much the same revenues from North Sea Oil but Norway has only 5m population versus 60m. Ferchrissakes they’ve only got one real city, Bergen at #2 isn’t even as big as Christchurch. Have you ever travelled there? Thanks to their own little inflationary micro-climate it’s eyewateringly expensive.

      Their biggest advantage though, was the sensible decision to stay out of the EU. Britain’s contribution to which will be nigh on £6bn this year.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Yeah your points are fair enough. The two countries are vaslty different in size, but I bet the Chancellor of the Exchequer would love to be sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund right this very minute. And £15-20B from the Iraqi/Afghanistan wars would’ve been nice too.

        I’ve got no actual idea about the costs/benefits of joining the EU but it does not look like its done the UK many favours. However I know that UK/Irish businesses did get lots of cheap immigrant labour out of it. (Not saying that was a net benefit for their wider societies though)

      • KJT 4.2.2

        Thats funny. We are continually being told by those who want more cheap labour that a small population is a disadvantage.

      • Rob 4.2.3

        Doesn’t that mean they should both have a $500bn fund but the UK have more people to share it between rather than a huge mountain of debt? Being a larger country doesn’t justify you spending all of your revenue.

    • Bill 4.3

      Defence spending has steadily declined as a %age of gdp in the UK from 9% in 1953-54 to 2.6% in 2010-11.

      Here’s the link

      Anti-spam BUTTONS Indeed

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Between this and whatever hellish alchemy the teabag infested cadaver of the once Grand Old Party come up with, we should have some empirical evidence, in time for our elections, of what slashing demand does to an already stagnant economy.

  6. Bill 6

    Looks to me like there is something very suspect going on in the UK.

    The Guardian published a chart of total public spending as a %age of gdp going back to the late 40’s.

    As a %age of gdp, total public spending was as high during most of the Thatcher years as it was under Brown. And debt interest levels are sitting at 3% of gdp…one of the lowest levels in over 50 years.

    Can’t see where the bankruptcy claim factors in.
    What am I missing?

    edit Oh, social security spending, surely a measure of general immiseration is pretty damned high. So hit the poor that market dynamics brought into being because…?

    • George.com 6.1

      What are you missing?

      Hmmm, a massive global economic slump which was caused by under regulated markets imploding and neo-liberal policy prescriptions reaching their used by date?

      That is, expenditure premised on the neo-liberal free market house of cards economy continued, whereas the house of cards economy collapsed.

      Had the house of cards economy continued then there would not be a massive deficit, although the day of reckoning would have come sooner or later.

  7. Jeremy Harris 7

    I read about 4% cuts… Not exactly welfare state armageddeon…

    • Bill 7.1

      18 billion from a total of 156.15 billion = 11.5% (approx)

      • Jeremy Harris 7.1.1

        The cuts are spread over the next five years and are a £83 billion reduction compared to the Gordon Brown budget. What does that mean? Well it is actually only a £28 billion reduction in real terms (taking into account inflation). From a total budget of £697 billion, it is a reduction of only 4%.

        The total budget in pegged to inflation while the cuts are not from my understanding… Given their deficits and that many of the cuts are aimed at benefits enjoyed by the middle class it doesn’t seem too outlandish… Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          link?

        • KJT 7.1.1.2

          They could. Tax the banks who caused the problem.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1

            I hear Vodafone owes 900 million quid in taxes they have been given leave to delay paying back to the UK Govt. Nice to be a fat cat corporate huh.

            Also we are looking at 490,000 layoffs. That’s 10% of the public sector workforce. That is not a 4% cut, that is just spin Jeremy.

        • Rob 7.1.1.3

          Whoever said that was being quite dishonest. It doesn’t make the cut smaller to have a delayed implementation system.

          As others pointed out also a few billion are crucial depending where you cut them from.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4

          Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

          Dumb question: Why?

          Why extend unemployment queues now, when they are already so long? When there are no jobs out there for people who get laid off? Why not wait to cut back once the UK is out of recession and there are jobs for people to go to? Why not spread the cuts out over more years to give people time to adjust and for the private sector to bounce back?

          This is disaster capitalism from a Tory Government.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.4.1

            I think Labour would’ve done much the same, had they won.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4.1.1

              In the sense of general direction perhaps, but bear in mind that the Tories have increased Labour’s planned budget cuts by around 30%, and are implementing them faster.

              Anyhows Ed Milliband has his chance to differentiate Labour now.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Jeremy, the welfare state will still be there in the UK. But the destruction of Government capability and increasing of unemployment lines should not be underestimated.

      UK Govt slashing 25% from most departmental budgets

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7847238/Budget-2010-Whitehall-departments-braced-for-25-per-cent-cuts.html

      UK city council budgets to be cut by 25%, some 30%

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2010/oct/28/cuts-worse-deprived-areas

      490,000 public job losses expected

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/22/spending-cuts-labour-urban-areas

      And the banks still have their Get out of Jail Free card

      • Bill 7.2.1

        Hmm. Na. Surely not.

        Public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away. Public bodies whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed. What the two lists suggest is that the economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. The government’s programme of cuts looks like a classic example of disaster capitalism: using a crisis to re-shape the economy in the interests of business.

        George Monbiot

    • Bunji 7.3

      In graphics.

      I think you missed a zero Jeremy – departments other than health and international aid were all told to look at cuts of up to 40%, with an average aim of 25% across the entire budget. In the end local govt was the biggest cut at >35% (watch those rates rise… and tenants pay in the UK) – but there are some eye-watering cuts in there.

      In the BMJ there’s a good editorial – an excerpt:

      Welfare spending took the biggest hit: to already announced savings of £11bn ({euro}13bn, $17bn) another £7bn was added, to come “mainly from making working-age benefits for poorer households stingier” (The Economist 2010, 23 Oct). “Was it fair that children should emerge as the prime losers?” asks Polly Toynbee in our online debate over the fairness of the cuts (doi, doi). In every income group families with school age children lose the highest proportion of their income (6.7%, compared with pensioners losing 2.9% and the childless 2.3%). Women will also lose out disproportionately. “Of the £16bn cut from benefits by the treasury, £11bn is being taken from women’s handbags and only £5bn from men’s wallets,” Toynbee writes. Low earning mothers will lose £1500 worth of childcare credits a year, forcing many on the minimum wage to give up work.

      Clare Bambra dissects the government’s changes to incapacity benefits (doi). Its underlying intention, via various ruses, is “to move all the current 2.6 million recipients of incapacity related benefits on to other benefits.” As she points out, many of the claimants have been out of the labour market and dependent on low value state benefits for a long time: “they did not benefit from the economic boom, but the coalition government seems determined that they will bear the brunt of the bust.”

      • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1

        How could I have missed a zero if I say 4% and Bill a fellow socialist (he must be to quote Monbiot) is saying 11.5%..?

        • Colonial Viper 7.3.1.1

          Wheres the reference for your 4% figure?

          There are plenty of business stories quoting 25% budget cuts in Whitehall, and 30% or higher cuts by city councils.

          Anyhows it is way more than 4% unless you are saying 4% of UK GDP, which would make the cuts a truly massive sum.

            • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Yip, that’s where I read it…

              Surely this can’t be too hard to figure out, the amount in Brown’s budget, the amount in the new budget, the projected inflation rate…

              • Colonial Viper

                ffs you took that number off some dude’s blog?

                490,000 added to the unemployment queues and 25% slashed off departmental budgets reported in REAL news sources not good enough for you?

                • Jeremy Harris

                  I didn’t know we where presenting university essays here CV…

                  Am I under some false impression that we are having something more serious than a coffee room chat..? Am I being graded for a Bachelor in Socialist Studies..?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Jeremy you are Right Wing which is fine and dandy, so why not at least quote something with credbility like the Financial Times or the WSJ?

                    Instead of pitting the numbers of some random blogger who’s come up with his own budgetary formula against The Guardian, The Telegraph, Aunty Beeb,…

                    Anyways I thought we were having a serious discussion about a serious topic affecting millions of people, not why the All Blacks lost their last match.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I simply mentioned I’d read 4% and then quoted where I read it, I didn’t really want to go in depth on this issue…

                      There seems to be confusion as to the total amount, Bill’s 11.5% looks right if the total is divided by the cuts, there will be an inflationary effect, Rob makes a good point about fixed interest… I think the cuts are not over the top when the situation is considered…

                      I don’t see how the Tories/Lib Dems are responsible for Council cuts unless they run their rating system very different to ours…

                  • Rob

                    Generally if you are going to post something not a mainstream media source it needs to provide its own evidence/the numbers working it out. Unfortunately the blog you cited is not the type to do that it merely stated they had done calculations to say it was 4% and provided no evidence themselves. i.e. your reference had no backing and so the person could just me making shit up. In this case they weren’t making shit up I don’t think but they got the way “real terms” applies the wrong way around. They took the fact that the budget will increase according to inflation to mean that the cuts will be less severe. Inflation is a measure of the currency losing value meaning a budget which increases for inflation (as it is claimed the UK budget does I had never heard this before today) remains stationary in real terms rather than increases. Thus the 4% figure is wrong. Well not so much wrong as completely useless in dollar terms the budget will increase due to inflation but the value of the budget will decrease.

                    Here our budgets are not aligned with inflation and thus constantly decrease in real terms every year in many areas regardless of which party is in government although less departments suffer from it under Labour usually.

            • Bill 7.3.1.1.1.2

              Cheers Rob.

              Jeremy. You claim a fact based on….ah fuck, never mind. Bye.

              • Jeremy Harris

                I didn’t claim a fact I stated I read a statistic…

                If I had said definitively the cuts are 4% you’d be right…

        • Bill 7.3.1.2

          Jeremy.

          Still waiting for that link. Meanwhile. The 11.5% I calculated came from the link I provided (The Guardian). They are using figures and calculations provided by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and provide links to their raw data.

          The BBC links that Bunji used are using Treasury figures.

          Stephanie Flanders BBC Economics Editor points out that

          The Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that the entire package of tax and benefit changes coming into force by 2014-15 is clearly regressive, including the tax increases put in train by Labour.

          The Treasury analysis for the spending review document, which suggests otherwise, excludes a third of the benefit changes planned by the government and does not go up to 2014-15 The changes excluded by this are clearly regressive – they have the greatest effect, relative to income, on people at the lower end of the income scale.

  8. Rob 8

    Can I also point out the 11.5% figure is also not that helpful. I feel the more important thing to look at is how much public spending is cut not how much the budget is, the budget includes repaying debt which cannot be altered and provides no services now. The fact that the government spends lots of money does not necessarily make it a good one, that it is spending it in important areas is what makes it good.

    The average government department faces cuts around 20% according to the guardian/heritage and this is after certain departments like the NHS and the Ministry of Defence are isolated to be given only small cuts. As Viper points out some of these in key areas are massive, there is also redistribution at the same time as these cuts going on with some things not being cut at all or increased while others are left to languish.

    • Bill 8.1

      As I asked here

      • Rob 8.1.1

        Oh right I only skimmed that comment. You may also want to look at the fact that there were some capital expenditures in those years and sales of state assets to pay for things or privatisation of services which leaves more money for the government to spend on other things. Battleships cost a lot of money and they used to love them.

  9. My source for 4% is this:

    http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/allister-heath/there-was-no-other-choice-%E2%80%93-now-george-osborne-must-hold-his-nerve

    Which is actually 3.3%. Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

    However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_completereport.pdf

    The problem with journalists is that too many don’t understand that £1 today is worth more than £1 4 years from now, so the idea of “real terms” value eludes them (bless).

    The report goes line by line to every department. At one end of the spectrum is 37% real increase in internationla development, at the other is 33% reduction in the local government communities grant. Health is rising by 1.3% in real terms. Education cut 3.4% in real terms. Work and pensions (welfare) rises 2.3% in real terms. Capital budgets were cut further, but any painting of this as vicious is pure propaganda. The welfare cuts are about removing child benefit from the top 15% of income earners (heaven forbid), capping total welfare to be received by any family at the average wage, plus capping housing allowances so that people can no longer afford to rent homes at more than £1600 a month (so housing beneficiaries could live better than the average family, and landlords could also milk this). In other words, welfare is being cut from those on above average incomes and those who are gaining more in benefits that those on average incomes.

    The real story is that overall spending is increasing in nominal terms, in real terms the drop is modest. Of course the unspoken story is that Labour wanted to make 50% of the same cuts over that period (without protecting health or international aid), but wont say what it would have cut (naturally).

    Given the tax increases that have been (the new 50% top tax rate introduced by Labour and not being discontinued) and the increase in VAT to 20% (which tends to fall on middle income households, as food is exempt, and energy is at a far lower rate), then it is hard to say that this is some serious neo-liberal slash and burn.

    • Rob 9.1

      From Dictionary.com

      Real (Economics) (prenominal) Economics (of prices, incomes, wages, etc.) considered in terms of purchasing power rather than nominal currency value

      1b today is not worth more in a few years it is worth less. The only way it could be worth more is if you are planning on having several % of deflation. You will need more than 1b to buy today’s services worth of 1b dollars.

      When looking at government spending you subtract inflation from the total not from the cut (i.e. the cuts can only get bigger unless you expect deflation).

      You are taking the dollar amount and then applying the calculations to turn a figure in real terms into the dollar amount to it. If you do as you seem to describe.

      What they appear to be doing is looking at government spending as a % of GDP completely unrelated to either the dollar or real terms value. This doesn’t measure whether it is a % increase or decrease in the amount in the budget. It simply says how much of their income they are spending. If your income reduces 20% and you spend 20% less on stuff it doesn’t mean you didn’t spend any less it means you had less income.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

      Oh I see. You’re with the club of Pain Deniers

      The New Statesman also has your game down pat:

      The pain deniers haven’t got their sums wrong. Public spending will rise from £637.3bn in 2010/11 to £711.4bn in 2014/15. But the claim that the cuts are mythical is only achieved by the old trick of measuring public spending in cash terms, rather than as a percentage of GDP.

      As Will Straw has argued, the latter is by far the more sensible measure. At times of economic expansion, it is only reasonable to assume that some of the proceeds of growth will go towards improving public services. In addition, public-sector inflation is usually higher than the average growth in prices.

      Here’s an amazing idea, instead of trying to slice and dice the numbers in a way that no one else is with the object of minimising their impact, look at all the Whitehall departments having to find 25% to slice off their operating budgets *this year*. Look at the estimates of 490,000 to 1,000,000 job losses which are coming down the pike over the next 4 years.

      Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

      This is a 6% drop from current spending levels. It represents tens of billions of pounds no longer being spent on jobs, on benefits for the poor, and on services that everyone uses.

      People in the lowest socioeconomic sectors are going to be hardest hit by some of the most regressive cut backs ever considered. 3/4 of sickness beneficiaries (or their equivalent of) are simply going to be reclassed as fit for work. Somehow, with a stroke of a pen. But as usual the human and societal collateral damage is OK because as I have been reading, the Tory Right in the UK think that even more damage should be done while Cameron has the chance, and he is being too soft in his goals to reorder British society.

      And meanwhile, all the bankers still have their ‘get out of jail free’ cards.

      Personally I blame Blair and Brown for giving this frakin’ lot the look in at Whitehall.

  10. A 10

    Friends tell me that British universities may well be charging upwards of 6000 pounds a year in fees (through loans, but there you go).

    That’s crazy even for vocational degrees.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Yep, most uni fees in the UK are set to double. No problem if you come from a rich family though.

  11. john 11

    Yes and millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is cutting Corporation tax further! Oh bye the way! He’s also let off Vodafone from paying a 6,000,000,000 Pounds tax bill they owe without explanation. This has generated protests at Vodafone’s stores throughout the UK,but here in Oxford Street.
    When you combine this with the bank bailouts the cream crim rich class are looking out for themselves not the ordinary Pom! This is a brilliant clip a must watch:
    http://keithpp.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/vodafone-6-billion-unpaid-tax-bill/

    There is 12 billion corporate tax evasion in UK yearly

    • Bill 11.1

      But John, in feudal Europe, did the landowner pay much in the way of tithe,levy or tax? I don’t think they did.

      And so the argument would run that it’s preposterous to expect corporations to pay any taxes under corporate feudalism…or put another way, Caesar would pay unto Caesar why?

    • john 11.2

      Comments from the UK,they’re at the coal face!

      The UK is now a country of the rich
      The poor shall pay for the decadent sins of the rich and be told that they are scroungers and lazy
      the media will support this lie as there is no truth in the media.
      we are back to the elite and the slaves and this is just the beginning !

      Funny how its allways across the pond that they look for ideas
      Funny how they never look to Germany or Norway or any other nation that looks after the vunerable
      Noooooooooo just the land of chain gangs soup kitchens …food stamps ..and children living in trailers with no healthcare and tea party nut jobs screaming at an old man with Parkinsons disease
      USA is a broken society …suttre its got Nukes and a Big empire
      but shit …so was Rome and we all know how Glorious but Brutal that was
      Thing is why ask a load of Yanks how they punish the sick and poor and humiliate them ? not enough brain cells old chaps?

      USA has a broken underclass living in cars tents and millions destitute ……….and you want copy their ideas?

      The point of the workhouses back in the day was to make them so terrible that people would do anything rather than have to go to one. And yet they were still full of people. My point is that making life more shit for the unemployed has never yet been proven to motivate and energise them. Often quite the opposite.

      Its actualy a Govt that has declared ….economic Civil war on its own citizenry
      Tea Party versus the poor and vunerable
      Come back Oliver Cromwell ….the Toffs are at it again

      George Osborne

      Chancellor of the exchequer George Gideon Oliver Osborne is filthy rich, but we don’t really know how filthy. He is one of only a handful of upper crust millionaires invited to join C Hoare & Co, the oldest secret bank in Britain—and the most elite.
      Osborne, heir to the baronetcy of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon, County Waterford, has a mortgage on his £2 million London home with the 338‑year old bank.
      This didn’t stop him “flipping” his expense claims and avoiding capital gains tax on a London house. Osborne’s personal wealth is discretely hidden from view at Hoare & Co.
      We do know he has around £4 million as the beneficiary of a trust fund that owns a 15 percent stake in Osborne & Little, the wallpaper company co-founded by his father.
      Some details of the Axeman’s personal wealth.
      He won’t be too worried about losing child benefit

      • Bill 11.2.1

        C Hoare and Co…wonder how they pronounce that. Any bets on the ‘e’ not being silent?

        Anyway. According to wikipedia, the CEO is A Hoare….founded by Sir Dick Hoare…I’ll stop now.

    • john 11.3

      Further link discussing God Father Osbourne’s Mafia heist with Vodafone at the expense of the British People he is supposed to represent:
      http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=22936

      Shades of the Hobbit deal here? In my opinion I think what’s happening in the UK is going to lead to social disintegration with negative stats soaring skywards because the economy can’t grow out of this due to North Sea Oil gone and World Peak Oil. So the rich are girding themselves with wealth transfer to themselves and pulling up the ladder to their ivory towers leaving the masses below to their Dickensian poverty, probably been happening most of British History, although in the past the poorer AG labourers had the beauty of the countryside to comfort them especially in Summer, but now the UK is a hugely over urbanised featureless aspalt desert, hard to get a natural high there! And no cheap scrumpy in the pub available either.

      • john 11.3.1

        John Pilger writes with withering contempt for the UK’s current shallow money feeder so called government, which is totally possessed by the US garbage ideology of NeoLiberalism and is destroying what’s left of the UK’s Social Democratic society. Refer link:

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26743.htm

        “Born of the “never again” spirit of 1945, social democracy in Britain has surrendered to an extreme political cult of money worship. This reached its apogee when £1 trillion of public money was handed unconditionally to corrupt banks by a Labour government whose leader, Gordon Brown, had previously described “financiers” as the nation’s “great example” and his personal “inspiration”. ”

        ” the Blair gang, assisted by venal MPs, finished Thatcher’s work and built the foundation of the present “coalition”. This is led by a former PR man for an asset stripper and by a bagman who will inherit his knighthood and the tax-avoided fortune of his father, the 17th Baronet of Ballentaylor. David Cameron and George Osborne are essentially fossilised spivs who, in colonial times, would have been sent by their daddies to claim foreign terrain and plunder. ”

        “Today, they are claiming 21st century Britain and imposing their vicious, antique ideology, albeit served as economic snake oil. Their designs have nothing to do with a “deficit crisis”. A deficit of 10 per cent is not remotely a crisis. When Britain was officially bankrupt at the end of the second world war, the government built its greatest public institutions, such as the National Health Service and the great arts edifices of London’s South Bank.”

  12. Jeremy Harris 12

    The post title: Austerity in The UK, would make a good sex pistols song…

  13. Jeremy Harris 13

    I think the Sex Pistols were disbanded before I was born, but some things are too classic to fade away…

    • lprent 13.1

      More like fell apart, and not a moment too soon in my opinion. Rocky (my neice) had the same opinion about the SP and inflicted them on me when she was doing year 11 under my supervision. In self defense I gave her access to my music archives with the likes of Patti Smith, The Clash, early Cure, Placebo, etc. In fact anyone that knew how to play their instruments was allowed on the sound system. That excluded the sex pistols.

      • Bored 13.1.1

        I remember the Pistols coming through like a rush of fresh air into a world of pompous up itself rock, truly liberating, then gone. Musically dire in retrospect, but Lydons lyrics (Johnny Rotten) truly inspired. His words definitely stand the test of time for those who are dissaffected.

        God save the queen
        We mean it man
        And there is no future
        In England’s dreaming

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future,
        No future for me

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future
        For you

        Could have been written for todays UK.

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