Thursday, October 21, 2010

CSR special: overview

The Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday was pretty much what we expected. Only the Kitten Torturing Budget and the Chinese Burn Department were left relatively unscathed - although under the KTB reforms civil servants will now have to supply their own waterboarding boards, as an efficiency saving.

In the words of Private Frasier: "We're all doomed". But there's a silver lining to the mushroom cloud... oh no there isn't that was the flash of a second nuclear explosion creating a second mushroom cloud, my mistake.

For me we have a budget that will end up costing us money, rather than saving it. The half million public sector workers who will lose their jobs, and the estimated half million more of private sector workers who'll follow as a result will lead to a social catastrophe.

It's worth remembering of course that the Thatcher government came in promising to tackle the welfare bill and despite putting her best demons on the job the welfare bill rose and rose year on year. That's because the Tories work under a false assumption - that the welfare bill is so high because of horrible, lazy people claiming stuff instead of having the good grace to go into the study with a pearl handled revolver.

The welfare bill rose because of mass unemployment, a lesson they could learn today. I'm wondering whether we're going to see the Liberals and their Tory friends going into the 2015 election having destroyed millions of lives AND having failed to cut the deficit because they'd spectacularly failed to reduce welfare payments despite behaving like utter shits to claimants and the disabled.

In this sense the CSR could well end up not just being a failure in terms of social justice and equality (which it certainly is) it may also be a failure in Osbourne's own terms. It's one thing to say that you'll cut the welfare bill by eight billion quid, it's quite another to see that happen at the same time as laying off hundreds of thousands of people who were doing productive jobs.

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