We should be rejoicing that in George Osborne we have by far the best chancellor of the exchequer for over a decade, even if that is a long way from being a compliment, so disastrous were his predecessors. Recently he was at the Davos summit and he made some extremely obvious statements. However a lot of people are so dumb and misinformed that it is probably good that he does this.
Firstly he said that the unions are “the forces of stagnation”. This is what is called a British understatement, the unions, alongside socialism, have done more harm to Britain than anything else in recorded history, including the two world wars. The unions have destroyed great swathes of British manufacturing, have cost millions of jobs and have made everybody a lot poorer, especially their members. Ask any former British Leyland employee for proof of this.
How the unions work is to appeal to a very simple human emotion, greed. They promise their members more money and the members are stupid enough to do what they are told to get that money, which means industrial action or the threat of it. But what this does is to make their employer less competitive and so threaten the union members’ jobs. To add insult to injury the unions then implement whole rafts of restrictive practices that further hamper productivity and thus make the demise of the employer even more likely. We have seen this time after time. Coal, steel, ship building, car manufacture and many more sectors of our economy devastated by the unions with many millions of jobs lost.
When an employer is public owned and/or a monopoly the unions can get away with this. It just means everyone in the country suffers with higher prices and higher taxes. This is one reason why de-nationalisation was so brilliant, it hammered the unions and increased productivity. There is still plenty that can be de-nationalised and this government should do it.
What the unions should do, if they lived in the real world, is to sit down with management and work out how to increase productivity, so that the employer is more competitive and makes more profit. That way the employees jobs are more secure and they can enjoy a part of the productivity improvement as increased pay. Everyone wins.
Secondly George Osborne said there would be “financial turmoil” if we abandoned the spending cuts and tax rises. Once again glaringly obvious, but not to Balls and Miliband, but this is hardly surprising because they were part of the team that got us into this mess. It was their lack of prudence, profligate spending and discredited policies that made the current austerity inevitable.
Remember that even with the spending cuts and tax rises we are still borrowing massively as a country and will continue to do so for some time. If we tried to implement Labour’s silly ideas we would need to borrow so much more that nobody would lend it to us. In fact the markets would see that we lacked the discipline to ever pay our loans back and there would be financial melt down. Like Greece but on a far, far bigger scale.
But still Labour persist. Balls has even had the temerity to tell the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, that he is wrong when he says “the right course has been set and it is important we maintain it”. Anyone with an ounce of sense can easily see that it is Balls that is wrong here.
So if George Osborne is reading this, here is a message: Keep on stating the obvious because a lot of people don’t realise what is going on and how things work.