Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cuts, spending and more complete bollocks from Brown

Oh God not again! That is all I could think last night when I had a brief flick around the channels and saw some crap about a big public spending versus cuts row. The "not again" as not because of the so-called "dividing line" but because of the rank bullshit that was yet again emanating from the mouth of the Government that essentially takes everyone for fool by playing with figures.

It started during PMQs with Brown denying what his own Chancellor's budget says by reeling off a list of increasing number and shouting about how he was leading a Government that was going to increase public spending over the next few years, whilst the evil Tories were going to cut by 10%, inevitably leading to disingenuous theorising of school closures etc etc.

Sadly, this sort of crap politicking is what the general public have to put up with as "debate" these days. We had it in 2005 as well when, using figures based on money we didn't even have, and by adding up over a period of five years, it turned into a Tory spending cut of £20bn £35bn.

The reality of the situation of course was that the Tories were saying they would increase spending each year just not as fast as Labour, and thus the shortfall between the two projected figures was portrayed as a cut. It was pathetic then, and this time, with a slight twist it remains pathetic.

This time round it's once again about figures and money over a period that we don't even have yet. This time round though we have a big thing called national debt and interest added in, not to mention inflation on prices. What Brown is doing is taking everyone for idiots when he says,
Public spending this year is £621 billion; it rises next year to £672 billion—that is this financial year. It then rises to £702 billion, then to £717 billion, then to £738 billion and then to £758 billion. Those are public spending rises.
Yes, the figures on spending are rising, but there is something important that hidden by the figures called "real terms".

Just because the bottom line figure is increasing you have to ask yourself, where is it being spent? In the case of Brown's figures, he increasing the figure in order to cover the increased borrowing debt interest. Throw on top that a pound will buy you less each year, and you can quite easily have a cut in spending per department whilst making it look, in the bottom line cash figure terms, that you have increased your spending. Here's the Government's real figures.

The most hilarious thing though is that the figures, Tories, Labour etc, are all pie in the sky anyway. They're based on an "all things being equal" assumption about the state of things after April 2011 - although at least the Tories are being honest about it. That's 21 months away, and lets be fair, on past performance Gordon Brown's projections are worthless anyway.

If you don't believe or want to accept that and still think he was the "Iron Chancellor" then I draw new readers attention to the graph below which old readers may remember. This plots what Brown predicted the level and path of debt would be in his Budget against what actually happened. The dotted line is the direction he said debt was heading in the coming years, whilst the solid line shows the true path of debt based on his own figure for the given year.

Click Image for larger Version

Brown consistently did the opposite of what he said he was going to do year on year, either deliberately or because he's just stupid. So when he stands up in Parliament and rattles off projected figures, they should be taken with a pinch of salt anyway.

The Svengali sleight of hand trick may have worked once, but it simply doesn't wash anymore. Of course, this won't stop Brown trying to make the so-called "dividing line" one that is a complete pile of tosh. Nothing beats a good bit of tub thumping and screaming about comparing two sets of projected figures and extrapolating the closure of schools from it.

The dividing line at the next election is not one of spending versus cuts. Both parties are saying they will cut spending, that is a fact. The dividing line is actually a choice between the following,

"you know what guys, we're pretty fucked, and just like you in your every day life, we're going to need to get the finances under control by cutting back on some things we may have got used too. The figures we have are the figures we have to work with, lets hope it all goes well."

"you know what guys, everything is just peachy, we're all going to be fine and we wouldn't dream of cutting anything like the baby eating hospital closing bastards over there, just don't do the maths or actually read our figures alright? Leave it all to us little ones. Trust us, this mess isn't of our making you know."
The worst thing is about all this is that it is so rare for anyone to actually challenge Brown on what he says. I dream of the day when someone in the audience of something like Question Time calls him on his bullshit. Sadly though we all know what will happen, everything will be deflected as politically motivated if you don't agree with him.

Fraser Nelson tried to take him on, and whilst he did nail him, just look at the way Brown responds. Look at the guarded smile when the figures that he knows are true are presented to him. Look at his body language. He doesn't like it and that because he knows he's spouting complete bullshit.

At a time when politics is held within complete contempt and trust is at its lowest anti-political edge, can it really be that one side is actively going around and actually lying to everyone in the hope that they won't notice?

Spending figures image from Conservative Home. Graph generated by Croydonian on commission by me.


Barnacle Bill said...

Unfortunately the Conservatives have allowed NuLabor to get the "Ten Per Cent" tag out into the media unchallenged as shown on Ch4's news last night.
From now and until the eve of the next General Election it should be no more Mr. Nice guy from the Torys, but call Broon a liar to his face at every opportunity.

David said...

Normally I'd agree, but Today this morning actually accepted the Conservative position and pointed out that the figures they were using were actually government ones. I think it won't work for Brown this time.

Anonymous said...

Brown is completely incapable of telling the truth. I've seen that look before, my brother, a compulsive liar, does that "face" every time he spins a yarn

Mark M said...

That projections chart is why I love the internet. In days gone by chancellors could just rattle off figures they wanted, safe in the knowledge that no-one would remember them by the following year.

Could we please show David Cameron that chart, for use next time Gordon tries to predict anything?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does Brown mouth the word 'f**k' when he realises who is asking him the question in that video?...

Unsworth said...

Nice analysis and summary.

Lola said...

I really think the tide is turning on the essential bit of this debate. The essential bit is not cuts/no cuts but government spending good/government not spending bad.

People are not stupid. They know that Brown has been a hopeless PM and Chancellor and they know that there is epic waste in government spending. No-one I ask about this from any walk of life thinks anything else.

What they do find hard to understand is the connection between their take home pay and the money Brown spends. They still seem to think of it as someone elses tax money being spent. But when a lucid explanation is given they now listen and learn. Well, except Labour Tribalists of course who reckon that if you taxed 'the rich' at 80% there would be plenty of money, but as we now know that they, the tribalists, form about 15% of the electorate they're not a problem.

The low taxer/small staters can now move this argument on. There is no need to be worried with the closed hospitals/dead babies nonsense. The door is open for Dave & Co. to simply say:

"Brown has blown all the money he took from you since 1997 and spent very badly on the wrong. There's no more left. Taxing you more will destroy more jobs because you're own spending will have to go down.

The State is consuming massive amounts of tax revenue and to compound the problem it is epically badly run. That is no criticism of the many hard working and capable people employed in the State sector, they have been as badly let down by Brown and his idiotic policies as everybody else. It is clear that this epic mismanagement is going to have to be sorted out, something Brown will never do as that would be an immediate admission of his failure. And sorting this out will require massive cuts in public spending or massive rises in tax and massive cuts in your own spending.

Do you or do you not want massive tax rises to give the Government more money to spend badly?

Vote us in and we'll set to to sort out this mess and we will make some promises, with one caveat.

We'll promise that we'll do our very best to make sure that health care is a priority, and the same with education.

We won't cut Defence if at all possible, as the primary duty of Government is national security. To keep the basic essential level of services that we all agree is necessary to shelter the vulnerable, we will need some very creative thinking as to their funding and delivery, and as we are only a few blokes in London with no monopoly on wisdom, we will welcome ideas from anyone who has a way for doing more for less. The door is open to you for your ideas and proposals.

We will also make sure that Sterling is run on strict and sound principles, you need and deserve a trustworthy currency. No more printing money. The banks will be sorted.

The caveat? We have not yet seen the books. If the horrors are even worse than we can currently discover, all bets and promises are off." Love All Non New Labourites.

wv = terse !