Britain For Sale: Consequences of Continued Austerity

During my walks to and from school in Beijing I frequently listen to LBC, topics of conversation tend to revolve around politics and austerity of some sort (I can see the eyes of friends rolling as I type). Yesterday the conversations sparked an internal one and my conclusions on David Cameron’s austerity measures made me slightly more worried than I was previously, if that’s possible: Cameron and Osborne’s austerity measures is putting Britain up for sale.

From what I understand of the current budget (and I am no economist) the government is attempting to borrow less, spend less and raise more revenue by closing tax loop holes and selling assets. It’s the selling assets that have me worried. Selling of council homes with right to buy, selling the Post Office and selling or privatizing other assets has raised money in the short-term. This is great in the short-term because it helps put Britain back in the black. It also allows the current government to rightly say yes, we have reduced the deficit and the economy is growing.

The problem arises when the government needs to raise a lot of money very quickly. Perhaps in the event of a war, another financial crash, a health or ecological epidemic. The quickest way to raise money is to sell assets. It works for the everyday person who needs to pawn a piece of jewelry to pay rent this month or a government that needs to pay for things in an emergency. If Cameron continues to sell off Britain’s assets, we will have nothing to prop us up and tide us over if we ever need it. It’s more important than ever, just as Britain is getting back on its feet, to retain any assets we may have because the slightest thing can undo the work years of austerity have done, whether you think it’s good or bad.

If another crash was to happen, it’s happened before and will happen again, what is the conservative government going to sell to ensure people don’t lose their savings or pensions? Will they sell of more hospitals, will they decide dentistry is no longer covered under the NHS, will they decide to sell all council homes to private landlords and hope rent doesn’t shoot up, will they cut back police and firefighters? It’s starting to get a little too close to comfort. When we do not have anything to sell off, and there is an emergency, Britain’s story won’t be too far of Greece’s asking Europe for help. With Britain’s anti- Europe rhetoric lately, I’m sure that will go down well.

Yes, Labor spent and borrowed more than they probably should have. Labor was not as careful as they could have been. The current government however, would not be able to sort out the British Economy as fast or as well as they have done if Labor didn’t leave behind assets like the Post Office and council homes. So blame Labor for getting us in to debt of course, but thank Labor for leaving us a nice pot of industries and property to sell off like Admirals Arch!

I see it like this: the government was told it has cancer in one leg and panicked. Government aggressively attacked the cancer with various treatments like welfare cuts and austerity etc. This affected the rest of the body, slowing down, making it poorly. Now the tumor has shrunk the government has decided to amputate both legs to stop the cancer spreading and it could work. But what happens now when country is left with no legs, demoralized and handicapped. The problem with this method there is no guarantee the cancer will not come back in a different form. Perhaps if a less aggressive method is used, and only amputate one leg, we could get by on a prosthetic and slowly regain strength and innovate ways to make the prosthetic better. It might take a little longer but at least the whole body in the long run would not be as affected and can lead a somewhat normal life. It’s understandable why one might decide to amputate both legs but you can’t run before you can walk and if you have no legs, you can’t walk at all. That is what I believe the government is trying to do and why, if we’re not careful, the country could end up in a similar situation to Greece.

I firmly believe now, as Britain crawls its way out of recession, it’s time to start investing back in Britain and building more Council homes as well as schools and hospitals to ensure we have a safety net to fall back on in later years. By continuing austerity and not investing back in Britain, Cameron and Osborne are only setting us up to fall, even harder, the next time something big happens. 2008 wasn’t the first time banks and markets crashed and it certainly will not be the last.

Is there something else you think Cameron and Osborne could be doing to help Britain or do I have it utterly wrong? Tell me what you think should be happening below and your thoughts on the current government.

Over and Out!


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