To judge by readers’ letters, the election is well and truly underway.
How on earth will we survive the next six weeks? I see that there are already political posters around Lewes, including one very large one opposite a well-known watering hole.
“A Recovering Economy”, it reads, “Don’t Let Labour Wreck”, accompanied by a suitably tacky image. Readers of a certain age may well remember a very similar slogan used in the 1959 election: “Life’s Better Under the Tories; Don’t Let Labour Ruin It”. ‘Note that word “Under”’, as one wag of the day put it. Oh well, I’m all in favour of recycling.
I hold no brief for Labour, but I think that to put the blame for the 2007-8 crisis and subsequent austerity wholly on the last government’s mismanagement is either disingenuous or deliberately misleading.
Certainly Labour spent billions, but it had to in order to keep the banks and the rest of the economy working. Labour’s mistake (which it has not yet accepted) was naively to believe that the economic and financial system, with its all-powerful, free-dealing, international corporations, that emerged from the Reagan-Thatcher era, had magically solved all our woes.
The Liberal Democrats are equally to blame for buying in to the post 2010 narrative of the inevitability of a policy of austerity, which places the burden on those least responsible for the crisis while letting the real culprits off scot-free. So far from saying “Sorry, we won’t do it again”, the latter are pressing ahead with the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP which (UKIP should note) is a greater threat to our economic and political freedom than the EU ever was or will be.
What we need from our politicians is an honest account of the problems we face, and a realistic vision for addressing them.
Sadly, none of the parties mentioned above come anywhere near offering this.