Who runs Britain?
I’ve said this several times with relation to the LDI crisis, but we don’t set policy to please the markets , we set policy because it’s right for Britain.
The Autumn Statement on Thursday is likely to see us readopt the austerity measures of the last decade and this may include overt or covert tax rises (freezing of limits being the covert method). Austerity is being mooted as being through the restriction of inflation linking on pensions and benefits and real cuts in Government spending , most notably on public sector pay.
If you want a reasonable analysis on what’s on its way, the FT is probably your best bet.
It will be a sorry reflection of how low our national self-esteem has dropped, if we measure the success of the Autumn Statement by their impact on key measures, our currency and our borrowing rate.
If we have handed over the keys to the financiers, and they are the people who pull the levers within the Conservative party (Jeremy Hunt is exceptional among recent chancellors for not being a hedge fund manager), then the budget should be presented from the London Stock Exchange or worse still, by Teams the key players (Blackstone etc).
But we haven’t, this November budget will be delivered to the people of Great Britain , through a properly televised parliament and the budget will be companied by a statement from the Office of Budget Responsibility that it has been fact-checked by an independent body.
And the budget will only meet the approval of those it is delivered to , if they accept it. Rishi Sunak needs to remember that if he does not carry people with him, no matter the attitude of the markets to his measures, he will face a country that could well become dysfunctional – if not ungovernable.
Because people will organise themselves and strike, will resist attacks on their standard of living (especially when they considered themselves unfairly targeted) and as happened in countries in Southern Europe after the financial crash, the social contract between people and Government will change.
The appeal to accept austerity as “market driven” is particularly difficult for Britain as it enters its 13th year of Conservative Government. Over this time, Britain’s economic standing has deteriorated casting doubt on Conservative claims to be the party of fiscal rectitude. The arguments will persist is that we are not just being run by the finance industry but we are being run-down by them!
I write from Cyprus – where I will be this week. It allows me a healthy perspective!