Monday, 14 June 2010

Listening to the cuckoo sing

There is  tradition in parts of Wales that when you hear the cuckoo sing for the first time each year if you shake some coins in either your pocket or purse prosperity will come your way. So my advice to you dear reader is to go out and listen for the bird before George Osborne gets on his feet to deliver his first budget.
But you may say we've already had one budget in April why do we need another so soon? A fair question, why indeed?
Its because the strategy of the new government is totally different to that of Mr Brown's government.
Alistair Darling's approach was to tackle the problem gradually. His biggest worry was to through the country back into recession by acting in haste on the debt. Indeed the strategy had the backing of the Liberal Democrats especially their economic 'guru' Vince Cable.
But he, like his party has changed his tune. That's what power does!
Now the most important thing, according to the coalition, is to rush in and deal with the problem immediately. And the strategy? Firstly, to start to cut public expenditure. We've had a taste of this already from the unfortunate David Law, and we'll have more in the Autumn when his successor starts on the comprehensive spending review.
But now the other side of the coin, the Budget. As George Osborne has made it clear for some time, an urgent budget is required to increase and improve the public accounts.
He is eager to get more of us to cut back on our personal debt and make us more careful and less profligate. As the Bank of England is independent of the Treasury its not possible to change our behaviour by using interest rates. It is therefore necessary to deal with the problem directly. How?
Take the money straight from our pockets. VAT will  certainly go up. Some benefits will be frozen and some will vanish all together. There will be less money redistributed than previously.
What ever the details of the Budget, the public will ask but one question, is it fair? Will the burden of the situation the country finds itself in be shared equally amongst us all? There is a suspicion that the Conservative government will look after their friends, the rich and privileged, and it will be the rest of us that will bear the cost. We'll see.
What is certain, it is at the start of a term of office that a government will take the most unpopular decisions. So we can expect a rather tough three years.
So we live in hope that the cuckoo sings in the next week or so.

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