‘There is no money’ – this is the message blasted across the Chamber by Ministers every time an Opposition MP (and increasingly, some Coalition backbenchers) condemn a decision to cut a project in their constituency. And to some extent, this is true. The public finances could not grow indefinitely and, given the banking crisis and the global recession, huge deficits followed. Had Labour won the 2010 General Election, there would still have been cuts – deep cuts – though not as severe or immediate as the Coalition’s plans.
Now there are whole shovel-fulls of wrong in this first paragraph that should be put in the context they so thoroughly deserve. First off let's deal with the spending "cuts" - these are not actually cuts but a decision by our new coalition overlords not to endorse an unfunded spending plan put in place before the election by the previous overlords in a contrived bit of scorched-earthing; a veritable "vote for us or this puppy gets it" ploy - now that we didn't vote for them they are saying "well will you look at all those dead puppies surrounding the new overlords collective feet? Terrible". Then lets look at the "backbench revolt" at cuts in their constituency - Gwynne appears to be shocked at the concept of pork-barrel politics as if this is the first time a Laborious politician has ever heard of this; I wonder what would happen if we explained what gerrymandering and electoral fraud where? Then the biggy; the ongoing NuLaborious canard that the crunch was "nowt to do with us init; dem stinking Yanks and Tory donors working in the city" ploy. That's certainly one potential excuse - it was someone else's fault - here's what my reading of the event make me think happened:
1. Greenspan artificially lowered interest rates after the last recession to encourage credit agencies to lend; Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, both federally sponsored institutions, inflated the mortgage market and encourage home-ownerism- combined with the Community Reinvestment Act, pushed through by far-left groups (to which Obama was a junior member) to enable poor people to get access to loans they could never dream of paying back, generated a stream of toxic debt, re-polished, packaged and sold worldwide.
2. Brown as Chancellor "raid private pensions"; dividends are taxed to pay for his already unsustainable public sector jobs boom which alter private investors behaviour encouraging the "buy-to-let" market to inflate overnight, driving up house prices in an incredibly over-regulated and controlled system where new builds are made ridiculously difficult. At one point the amount of money being "earned" by bricks and mortar overtakes normal wages; Labour nod through lower interest rates to encourage banks to lend more in credit and mortgage amounts.
3. Eventually the number of defaults reaches critical mass and the investment vehicles they are folded into falter; overnight the bubble burst taking with it Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac as well as several major investment banks, mass nationalisation of much of the industry (or part nationalisation); Brown, now the British PM despite facing no popular vote in this country, who panics, seeing the banks most exposed and liable to fold are in in key labour strongholds, bails out the worst hit, thus validating the fears of moral hazard and enslaving future generations with debts as big as they were left post-WW2. "Quantitative easing" is used to inject further cash into the banking industry by buying back bonds from them with freshly printed money.
4. Mass unemployment in the private sector is masked by disingenuous spending splurge in public sector so Brown can debate Cambo in parliament that he is not destroying jobs through all his other asinine laws. Ongoing debate between multimillionaire public school boys does nothing for my daughter, her newly unemployed father agonising over how the house will be paid for, let alone her food.
But no Gwynne your probably right: was dem damn yanks dat dunn it.
However, for Building Schools for the Future, this wasn’t the case. Gove tried to use the mantra that the money wasn’t there, only to be shot down by his own Permanent Secretary who confirmed that Ed Balls was correct to say that full Treasury approval had been given to BSF. The money was there.
No Andrew I think you misunderstand what is meant by the "there's no money left" mantra; it is not a case of what NuLabour placemen have said you can use the coffers for, or that brown removed the purse strings altogether and hid them; there are no coffers - you didn't plan the costs you just stuck them on; dead puppies remember?
We are currently borrowing £1 in 4 we spend hence spending should be cut just to stop us haemorrhaging more money on debt repayment by somewhere considerably higher than this; ask my credit card manager if you don't understand this.
And if the money was there, it must still be there.
Now call me a cynic but I’ve not yet seen Gove scurrying up Downing Street with his bags of treasure wishing to please his master in Number Ten. So has this all been a cunning ploy to generate a slush fund of capital money for Gove’s ‘Free Schools’ plan? I suspect it might be.
Again: see above- the reason you haven't seen this treasure is because it doesn't exist; it is unfunded.
You see, apart from a small number of middle-class mavericks who may be quite happy to have their Tarquin (apologies if any readers are called Traquin) educated above a shop or in an industrial unit rather than mixing with ordinary kids in the Comp down the road, most parents are not going to buy into that. They want their children taught with the best facilities too, and for ‘Free Schools’ to work, they need to be in shiny new buildings.
Your right Gwynny, because middle class parent definitely don't have Tarquin's (like the class envy poke BTW; very old Labour) best interests at heart; and as for the patent nonsense about the need for "shiny new buildings" it is that kind of nonsense that has got us in so much trouble; besides, if advocates of free school actually agree with him they will accommodate the changes necessary and build his "shiny new buildings", for that is the power of the markets.
The real concern is that this whole policy will be at the expense of the majority of children.
No... 1 in 5 children with functional illiteracy, classrooms out of control, highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe is at the expense of our children.
It cannot be cost effective to create extra capacity in the schooling system when there is just no need for it. And nor can Local Authorities effectively plan for the future when, if parents don’t like a sound strategic decision, they can just declare UDI!
I have very real doubts that this free market approach to schooling will work. I also have very real concerns that in these financially tight years ahead, it will waste public funds on a scale rarely seen; and in the process, will have denied our children of that best start in life that Building Schools for the Future promised so many.
At last we start to see the real reason why they are scared witless at this; the vast client scale and fifth column of teachers unions will no longer be able to sit cosily by while parents demand the bare minimum in vain; schools will have to offer the education the parents or see them walk their cheque to someone who will.
Of course this is overlooking the mindset of Gwynne et al; that this money is not the parents money to be wasted on things like an education they know will cater best to their children- it is for the state to spend, and politicos to waste on whatever flavour-of-the-month educational or social theory is gripping the left by the nipples.