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.


Failure to deliver

Major financial institutions have cited Deliveroo’s employment practices for its disastrous public share launch. Alice Martin and Tom Powdrill look at what went wrong and what it might mean for workers’ rights

What’s at stake for the left in Unite’s General Secretary election? An interview with Steve Turner and Sharon Graham

As the election of a new General Secretary for Britain's biggest trade union gets underway, Red Pepper speaks to left candidates Steve Turner and Sharon Graham.

Review – Paint Your Town Red: How Preston Took Back Control and Your Town Can Too

In this timely book, Matthew Brown and Rhian E. Jones explore new forms of democratic collectivism across the UK, writes Hilary Wainwright.


Where’s left in Cornwall?

Shifting Cornish landscapes have brought with them substantial social change writes Naomi Rescorla-Brown

Manchester skyline

Why planning is political

Andrea Sandor explores how community-led developments are putting democracy at the heart of the planning process

Bank Job directors Daniel and Hilary

Review – Bank Job

Jake Woodier reviews a new documentary film that brings heist aesthetics to a story of debt activism

Want to try Red Pepper before you take out a subscription? Sign up to our newsletter and read Issue 231 for free.