Week 11: Villain – George Osborne

by Jackie_South on March 14, 2016

Tory_cuts_villainThis week, for the third week running, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wins our award for being the greatest villain of the last seven days

Our regular Villain of the Week award is beginning to feel a bit like the naughty school kid who keeps on having to visit the headteacher’s office. “All right, Osborne. What have you been sent to see me about this time? Being horrible to the disabled kid? Nicking the poor girl’s dinner money?”

This time, it is a bit of both, with the added sting that the money ends up in the pockets of the rich kids in class. This last week has been full of stomach-churning messages of further cuts to disability benefits in response to bad economic news.

It all feels like the next turn of the Osborne Ratchet: first, there is the economic bad news leading to deeper cuts, then better news resulting in tax cuts for the rich and investment in pet projects, then more bad news leaving to further cuts (but not reductions in the tax cuts or pet projects). Each turn reduces the welfare state still further whilst leaving the money in the pockets of the better off.

The last week has been full of messaging that the state of the economy means that this week’s budget will see still further cuts. Somehow, we are both being told how economically successful we are compared to the rest of the developed world and that we are doing so badly that our only hope is further evisceration of the public sector.

Of course, if any of what Osborne told us actually worked, the deficit would no longer exist. There is no budgetary target that Osborne has set himself in his first seven budgets that he has managed to meet, and we can predict with some certainty that he will miss those he imposes on himself this week in his eighth.

It is all a façade that has now worn paper thin.

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