Ignore promises of profligacy or face the tragic consequences.

If the impending general election is to be won on a race to spend between Conservatives and Labour, I will be voting Liberal.

I am not for austerity, but nor am I for the kind of recklessness that we will be hearing from the Conservatives in Manchester today. In previous years I have been to Manchester and Birmingham to the Conservative Party Conference but that was when I was lobbying for a better pension system to ears that were open.

All I hear from the current party is a distressing cry of survival. Last year, we were urged to back May, this year Johnson – too more different characters it would be hard to find. Last year we backed Prudence and Phil Hammond’s fiscal rules, this year we will be asked for the fiscal rulebook to be torn up so that Sajid Javid’s spending plans can be included in a forthcoming manifesto pledge.

Any party members prepared to flip-flop from one to another has at best an elastic moral compass , at worst- a complete lack of integrity.

A good reason to ignore proposed economic policy

Many will think that the extravagance of the Brexit debate means that the gloves are off in domestic policy. They are wrong. Britain is the place it is because of democracy, not populism.

Labour’s plan to scrap Universal Credit and indeed the DWP are as wrong as the Conservatives’ plan to scrap its adherence to prudence (something quite different to austerity).

This is yet more populism at the expense of developing policy.

Pragmatic leadership

What this country needs is pragmatic leadership which develops the policies inherited from previous Governments rather than swinging the country wildly from side to side.

We have quite enough to deal with as we negotiate our relationship with the European Union.

Rather than make foolish promises that cannot and will not be met, can we please have sensible manifestos of policies that make sense not just of the future, but of the past.

We need pragmatic leadership which is consensual not divisive, democratic not populist and mindful of the long-term interests of the people who vote.


The tragic consequences.

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Shakespeare’s Coriolanus – populism, elitism and democracy

It is a pity there is no current production of Coriolanus to go to in London. Shakespeare understood the competing powers of populism and democracy and from a perspective of 400 years, this play offers some insight into what is happening in the UK this autumn.

It concludes in tragedy resulting from reckless pursuit of principle over pragmatism. We have much we could learn from it.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, age wage, pensions, poetry, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ignore promises of profligacy or face the tragic consequences.

  1. John Mather says:

    Follow the money. Why would the party of business and the wealthy deliberately damage and short change their supporters? To leave without a treaty is not the end but the start of endless negotiations on trade. So who benefits and who is shorting sterling? The wolf of Downing Street ?

  2. Eugen N says:

    Henry, I think that before commenting on Government expenditure, it would be good to read Ray Dalio book on big financial crises and Richard Koo’s book The escape from the balance sheet recession and the QE trap.

    Dalio uses the words ‘pushing on a string’ and Koo ‘the QE trap’. Only once you understand these concept (both refer to the same thing), you would be able to comment on Government plans to spend more. Sajid’s increasing spending plans are … just too ‘Conservatives’!!!

    Between the two, I would always choose the Labour’s spending plans at this moment. I do not agree with all (pay for long term care is one of them), but a £75 billion increase is just about right on what we need.

    Both Dalio and Koo speak about ‘helicopter money’ (handouts) to help people return to spending. We shall not forget, someone spending is someone else income! Both speak about redistribution from ‘the have’ to ‘the have nots’. This is the only ways now to go back to a healthy 3% per annum GDP increase.

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