A little history first. In the 1990-1, we had a recession in the UK. It was pretty bad, and it was the first one to seriously affect white-collar workers and middle management rather than just the manual trades.
The John Major government, through the genius of Norman Lamont had the job of seeing us through this period, and it was from these two giants that the following phrases came:
“If it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working”
“Unemployment is a price worth paying” (for low inflation)
As a result of their careful stewardship, the 1990s recession took us years to recover from. You can see how compassionate they were about the effects of their policies.
So to today, and have the Conservatives changed? It appears not. While the government is taking action to reduce the threat of recession and to help those affected (rescuing banks, extending lines of credit so that they can lend, reducing VAT, increasing income tax allowances and tax credits, restricting repossessions, assisting small businesses with their tax bills, investing in public services etc etc etc…), all the Conservatives can do is to oppose.
Take our local Tory councillor-blogger Duncan Crow. He’s quick to tell us that everything is the fault of Gordon Brown, but a little reticent to actually come up with any concrete proposals. It’s easy to sit around pronouncing doom and gloom, and using the benefit of hindsight, but surely our ‘natural rulers’ have some actual ideas for how to best deal with the current economic situation.
What is it that the Tories would actually be doing now, if they were in power? Doing nothing didn’t work very well last time, but I seen very little, other than to say whatever the government does is either bad or would have no effect.
For example, when the government announces a cut in VAT by 2.5%, the Tories tell us that it’s insignificant. Yet when they think that VAT may have been going up by 1% it would have been a disaster. Surely it would have less of an effect, being a smaller change, but I don’t suppose such logic comes into play when you are on a mission to oppose the government at all costs