Tuesday, 5 October 2010

I Just Wonder...

If shipping UK jobs abroad really saved any money?

I mean the total cost to the country as a whole of losing all that tax revenue, of all of that money bleeding abroad rather than staying here in the UK, of paying those millions to stay idle.

I just wonder if, when you work it all out, the cost isn't that much different: that flat screen TV might be cheaper now, but just look how much tax you're having to pay; how much North Sea Oil revenue was frittered away on paying dole money rather than invested to support future generations; how big a debt mountain has been created trying to keep that previous standard of living?

Three decades or more of decline will take a long time to repair. Before we can even begin to repair the damage, we need to recognise what caused it. We can mediate its effects in the short term by making the cuts we're seeing proposed now, but we also have to recognise that as a country, we can't return to the largesse of the eighties.

We simply don't have the economy to support it. North Sea Oil is declining, we are cut off from preferrential rates from our colonies by EU legislation, our manufacturing base has gone abroad and financial services, the vaunted engine of capitalism is so nomadic that if we started to demand it pay its fair share of supporting the country, it would simply flit abroad overnight.

I've said for years now that the course our country charted for the past 30 years has been straight towards the rocks. No amount of tinkering in the form of expenditure reductions will change that fact. To use a popular management-speak phrase, we have reached a new paradigm: one where we simply cannot afford to live as we did back in the sixties.

We cannot be the world's Policeman, we cannot afford the expensive nuclear deterrent we currently have, we cannot afford to import increasingly costly energy from abroad to bolster up our dwindling North Sea supplies.

What would I do? I would be radical. I would force a change of pace for the whole country. I would start to look at what is good for the country as a whole and not what is good for corporations or the political elite.

Charity begins at home so the very first thing I'd do is cut foreign aid completely. Until we have money to spare, we can't afford it. Let China use their cash reserves to buy influence around the globe. Global glory is an extravagance we cannot afford.

Review the cost to the UK of the EU. How much is it really costing us to be in it? I bet its costing us more in revenue than we ever get back from it.

Scrap Trident and look at cheaper alternatives, preferrably designed and manufactured in the UK.

The list goes on, but the future policy must start to address the failings of past decades, review our role in the world and start to govern on that basis.

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