Sunday, 3 April 2011

Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

I'm going to be a dissenting voice today. It's okay to have a blog and give people my opinions, but realistically if I don't want this page to become a pro-Labourite Tory-bashing page, I have to present an alternative viewpoint where I see one.

Today, the point I will be considering is this: I frequently get upset by the half-truths and absolute garbage that is fed to the British people by such execrable rags as the Daily Express and the Daily Mail. However, it is reasonable to expect that the liberal press will take every opportunity to push forward their own agenda and it stands to reason that their tactics will be the same as those newspapers I mentioned before. By separating fact from conjecture on the anti-government side of the debate, we benefit from strengthening our arguments.

The story that prompted this thought process was written by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian and can be found here. I won't discuss the story at length, except to say that it focuses on the many ways in which projected growth in the economy has failed to meet expectations. However, if I blindly accept this as the truth, I am no better than those Daily Mail readers who accept that immigration is the cause of all the problems in the UK.

How does one person measure the true story of fiscal strength in the UK? Commodity prices have certainly increased, based on the increased price of my weekly shop. But inflation will do that, and we have become so used to inflation at ridiculously- low levels in the UK that this could just be part of the normal rise-and-fall of the economic cycle. Yes, consumer confidence certainly appears to be low and spending on luxury items has decreased. But is this just good sense on the part of the informed consumer, who responds warily to the word 'recession' by paying off debts rather than seeking to incur more?

There are many different viewpoints on the above and based on my experience of those so-called experts that you see on the television and read in the news, they are no better informed than most of the rest of us. This may not even be such a bad thing. More power to your elbow if you take the time to learn about your own crisis, because you are better prepared to deal with it when you are working from a position of genuine knowledge and understanding.

When the government first proposed cuts to public sector jobs, I was the first person on my feet opposing the move. Now, you can argue that public sector cuts are necessary or not, but the pertinent fact for me is that I am a public sector worker and my first instinct is to defend my job. David Cameron then said that people who had lost their jobs in the public sector would be easily re-employed as a result of the thousands of jobs that would be created by the private sector. Rubbish, scores of voices boomed, my own among them. I'm working from a gut instinct that the private sector is suffering terribly from the cuts in the same way that the public sector is. But how do I know? I see no evidence to suggest the economic growth that would be necessary for such job creation to begin, but how can I be sure which way the wind will blow tomorrow? Who would I work for if I didn't work for the public? Tesco? Would that even be such a bad thing? I might have more responsibility, earn more, make them a better supermarket for my being there.

So, there are simply too many unknowns, and watching George Osborne with his hand on the tiller of the HMS Future Prosperity, I am hoping that his view is clearer than mine. Sadly, I suspect that that is not the case. Gambling with your own future is fine, especially when if everything goes wrong, you will have millions in a trust fund to fall back on. For those of us who do not have such a safety net, we may become ever more reliant upon our quick wits and fate dealing us a good hand.

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