Friday, March 26, 2010

Get out of the corner and start to lead... please?

Something is really bugging me this morning so please humour me for a moment. Greece is really screwed economically right? Mountains of spiraling debt, structural deficits through the roof etc and it's just agreed a deal with France, Germany and the IMF to get itself out of the immense hole its in.

Now, whilst Britain's economy is not quite where Greece's is yet it is, nonetheless, in the proverbial. Putting aside any party political positioning, it is a pretty much agreed upon reality that things are not good, we are, like Greece in a bit of a hole (albeit not quite as deep) and things need to be sorted.

Now, imagine for a second that Greece, when negotiating the help they are going to receive, had said to IMF etc "thanks for the help, just so you know, we're going to ring fence and quite possibly increase the amount of money we want to give away to other countries". The response would no doubt be something along the lines of "are you taking the piss?"

Now, after that little imaginary games let shoot north across continental Europe and cross the channel back to this sceptered isle. Both the Tories and Labour have essentially said just that minus the bail-out bit. They've stood up and said, in no uncertain terms,
"You know what, we're in the shit, we're in debt up to our eyeballs and that debt is not exactly going to go anywhere soon, but we're going to carry on giving the money we don't have away to other countries
Look, I understand that during an election campaign the Tories really don't want to gift Labour with the ability to call them evil bastards. However, let's be serious for a moment. No one other than the most dyed-in-the-wool socialist who's not going to vote for them anyway is going to think less of any politician who says "charity begins at home".

Turning around and saying "you know what, we're in a bit of strife ourselves at the moment, and we really can't afford to do this right now" is not going to be a vote loser. If, on a personal level, you have £1000 in your bank account and you need every penny of it to pay the bills, no normal person would say "I'm still going to give £100 to charity".

It doesn't mean you don't care, it just means you're deferring it until you can afford it.

The Tories need some backbone on this, they need to stop letting the fear of Labour calling them nasty dictate their thinking. The things that matter to the electorate are the things at home that touch their lives directly, tell them you're going to cut NHS services they'll care; tell them you're going to cut the amount money we give to other countries until we're out of the shit and they won't. Fact.

Cameron and Osborne need to get themselves out of the corner that Labour have backed them into. Only rats get stuck in corners. Leaders lead.

Note: Rant over

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