Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Change your ways

There were two first’s today. Francois Hollande was sworn in as president of France, and Plaid Cymru’s new leader, Leanne Wood took her first press conference since becoming leader.
The similarities don’t end there. Both called today for an end to austerity. Both called for economic growth. 
Mr Hollande called for "a compromise" over the German-led focus on austerity as the way out of the eurozone crisis. Ms Wood called for all the “progressives” to get together to press for a growth programme.
A similarity of approach, but one has the power that comes with office to make the difference. 

The other one can try to mobilise the "left." Conferences, taking to the streets? The how is a bit vague. 
In his first presidential speech, Mr Hollande said he wished to deliver a "message of confidence".
The new president summarised the problems facing France as "huge debt, weak growth, reduced competitiveness, and a Europe that is struggling to emerge from a crisis".
Well, if that is how he sees the problems facing France the same analysis could be applied to the UK writ large. 
The economy in the UK has flat lined for some time. Consequently unemployment is disturbingly high in the UK has a whole and in Wales in particular. 
The divide as to how the two government’s intend to tackle the problems is wider than the channel that separates the two states. 
Whilst Mr Hollande said he wanted other European leaders to sign a pact that "ties the necessary reduction of deficit to the indispensable stimulation of the economy".
This side of the channel it’s still business as usual. The Queen’s speech summarised economic policy as still being to give priority to ‘deficit reduction.’ In other words more austerity.
So not only do we continue with a policy that is hitting the poor hard but also the middle classes or as young Ed Miliband  describes them “the squeezed middle.” Sounds a bit like my waist line.
The austerity itself has kept the economy depressed and the lack of tax revenue has meant that the approach has not even reduced the deficit. So on all fronts our dear Chancellor has failed.
And as his party’s strategist he hasn’t even read the runes rightly. His budget giving a bung to the rich at a time even when shareholders are revolting against obscene high pay packages was widely seen to have been a major mistake. Indeed the whole budget was seen to have backfired. 
The voters response was a very large raspberry in the form of the local election results. This mainly underlines a similar message to that seen throughout Europe that voters will punish all regimes who’s economic strategy is “austerity.” Indeed in the last year austerity programmes have done for eight leader in Europe. 
So beware Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg. The latest opinion polls predict a similar fate here. 
The latest You Gov Poll for Sun indicate Labour 45% Con 31% UKIP 8% Lib Dem 7%. and a similar pattern in the Ipsos Mori/Standard Lab 43% Con 33% Lib Dem 9%
This will be the last blog for a while whilst I’m off for a week’s holiday. A much needed boost to the Spanish economy.


  1. John Broughton15 May 2012 at 17:55

    WAG's policies [or lack of] have helped drive unemployment up in Wales; abolition of WDA to name just one.

    Leanne Wood's "policy" ideas would make matters worse.

  2. WAG being the Labour party of course