Sunday, 11 April 2010

Cigarette Paper of Difference

Well here we are then, Sunday 11 April 2010 and in the mist of a general election campaign. The question posed is which capitalist party will be running slave ship UK after the 6 May poll?

The vote has been described as one of the most unpredictable for many years, with a hung parliament considered likely. Gordon Brown has sought or resorted to play on voters’ fears over Britain’s economic future, stating that he was a steady pair of hands to guide the country through its financial troubles. He claimed that he was “one of a team” of experienced politicians, adding that Britain’s economic recovery should not be endangered by a vote for the Conservatives.

Labour’s differences with the Conservatives are only ones of scheduling. At the present moment Brown counsels continued government spending in the short term to guard against a so-called “double dip” recession.
But with a budget deficit of close to 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Labour has committed itself to reducing the gap by 50 percent in the lifetime of the next parliament, which will call for deep spending cuts. Although it has sought to keep such plans under wraps until after the election, estimates suggest that a spending reduction of this magnitude would require departmental budget cuts of between 10 and 20 percent over the next four years.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are seeking to disguise the inevitable programme of cuts to which both parties are committed too.

Conservative leader David Cameron claims to stand for the “great ignored” in British society, the law abiding taxpayer. The attempt to repackage differently his party as more “compassionate” and “caring” has been a never-ending theme of Cameron’s leadership. In the last days he has centred on the message of a “modern” Conservative party, which could offer voters “hope, optimism and change.”

George Osborne, the prospective chancellor in a Tory administration, denounced a Labour plan to increase national insurance contributions by 1 percent from employers, saying spending cuts should be favoured over tax hikes.

Similar views were expressed in a letter signed by business leaders, and now I’ve lost count of how many more support them along with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), previously viewed as sympathetic to New Labour. I suppose you could say that the Tories are back on track as the favoured party of capitalism.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), in a report released to coincide with the start of the election campaign, urged that any incoming government shift the burden of state debt away from business and onto the backs of low-paid workers by increasing the levels of indirect taxation.

So what we have in fact is two different ways of cutting the deficit and government debt that will amount to the same thing, we the workers will pay for the mess of the capitalist system, proving that a cigarette paper stands between Labour and the Conservatives.

In any hung parliament, the Liberal Democrats could be called upon to enter a coalition with one of the main parties to secure a majority. Apart from several minor reforms to parliament and the call for abandoning the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the Liberals are virtually indistinguishable from Labour and the Conservatives, with party leader Nick Clegg calling for “savage cuts.”

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