Jeremy Hardy thinks… about the economy

'Osborne looks like a man who can’t believe his luck'

May 31, 2014 · 2 min read

Of course the economy is recovering, it always does. It will go wrong again, and then it will recover again. I’m talking statistics, obviously; not people’s lives, which don’t always recover.

The Tories have stimulated the economy, while pretending not to, but even so, at the time of writing, the figures are shinier than many expected. Osborne looks like a man who can’t believe his luck. A short while ago, Labour spokespeople muttered darkly about a triple-dip recession, as though they weren’t hoping for one.

They hoped that the Tory attack on living standards would so smother demand that business would get no orders. In its 21st-century form, demand management theory comes down to this: people will buy any old crap if you bung them a few quid to do any old job. Not radical stuff but still a little risqué for many Tories, who’ve never really come to terms with the existence of wages. Osborne, however, is himself a closet quasi-Keynesian, knowing that capitalism will always have to be rescued by government.

Labour’s hope now is that inflation outpaces wages so they can keep saying, ‘Cost of Living Crisis’. And if inequality grows, they can say ‘One Nation Labour’ a lot, as though it’s the party’s name, which it isn’t, any more than New Labour was. Then there’s ‘We got it wrong on immigration’, which translates as ‘Don’t worry, we’ve gone right off foreigners. We trusted them not to come here and the bastards did. Sorry.’

They might do better if they apologised for the faith they’ve placed in the market. They didn’t cause the banking crisis, but they had an almighty crush on the people who did.


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