It feels a bit like the moment in a horror film when the evil creature who has been lurking in the background creating unseen carnage suddenly exposes itself in its full terrifying goriness to us the petrified onlooker.
That’s how it feels today. Because today, the Coalition Government has reached a new and awful low.
First there is the publication of figures showing that our economy shrunk for the second quarter in a row – this time by 0.2% – we are now officially in recession.
Second, there is the clear evidence that a Minister of State, Jeremy Hunt, has acted in a partial and biased way in his dealings with the News International’s bid to take over BskyB, which has precipitated a woeful response from both Mr Hunt and the Prime Minister as they have sought to mount the lamest of defences.
Both of these events follow an awful month in which the government have been seen to be incompetent and massively out of touch with the needs and aspirations of the people they are governing.
We, on these pages are not surprised. Indeed, one of the reasons we started this blog was because we feared that this government would be driven by Thatcherite ideology and culture which would see economic decay and a diminution in the ability of the state to deliver good public services. We’ve been proved right. The decision by Osborne et al to pursue a programme of rapid and deep cuts in public expenditure, without a strong enough private sector and without a compliant and efficient banking system has put our economy back into recession.
Today, at PMQ’s the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that the recession was caused by the weakness of our European counterparts and Labour’s profligacy, he also seemed to suggest that it was unavoidable and that we shouldn’t really be worried. His performance was shambolic and his words were breathtaking in their naive stupidity – it was, as Nadine Dorries would have said, arrogant and out of touch.
The recession could have been avoided. When the Coalition took office we had economic growth and we were coming out of recession. By putting into place fiscal and economic measures that they did, it was clear that the fragile post-recession growth that we were then enjoying would be removed in an instant – and so it has come to pass.
And, yes, it does matter – in a capitalist system, recession means unemployment and lack of investment and less revenue for government – it hits the weakest and poorest and illest and oldest in the most profound way. It is a state of affairs to be avoided, yet, this government have blundered their way into a double-dip recession as they have pursued their economic ideology and view of the world.
The Jeremy Hunt affair is indicative of this view – it has become increasingly clear that the Tories, upon gaining office, decided that it was now time for them, and their ilk, to start to enjoy the trappings of power having been denied it for thirteen years. We can see that in the brazen budget, we can see that in David Cameron’s cash for access, and we can see that in Jeremy Hunt’s pathetic attempt to justify his close relationship with News International by whining that Labour started it first.
The monster that is the Tory party has now clearly emerged from the shadows and now, in the grand tradition of horror films, someone has to shoot it.