Balancing the Books
Arguing for the Big State to solve Climate Change
After three decades of believing that the country can sustain a huge public debt, some credit must be given to the Conservative Liberal-Democrat Coalition for accepting that the public books must become more balanced.
The economic outlook is that, while steep inflation is likely, real productivity and wealth generation in the United Kingdom are unlikely to re-appear. Revenues from North Sea Natural Gas and Oil are long gone. Our national financial position would be broken if the Common Agricultural Policy were ditched tomorrow. The responsible thing, the right thing, is to make sure that the public budget is not tainted with debt. The State and its essential functions must survive.
Offloading assets from the books, whilst not helping with the overall balance of payments, does minimise risk to the future management of the State’s accounts. Outsourcing public services makes eminent sense, as nobody in Government office wants to have the State burdened by enormous pension obligations, or unshakeable employment costs.
It’s easy to understand this “small state” mentality. What is not so easy to understand is how the ConDems are prepared to sacrifice ordinary social securities in order to secure the economic condition of the Government.
What is the real function of the State if not to serve the people ? And how can the State serve the people if there is no common fund that’s generally accessible ? How do we get education for all done with limited central financing, grants and bursaries ? How do we guarantee dignity in care for the elderly and infirm without a large publicly employed workforce ? Are we permitted to justify cutting off the ropes of the safety net for the poor, the children and the vulnerable in order to protect the health of the State pocketbook ?
I think that all political thinkers who value social provision should consider where they pitch their tent. Do they advocate the building up of a Big State that can provide for those who cannot provide for themselves ? Can we build a platform on the idea of the Common Good of taxation and public sector jobs ? Do we want to undercut deprivation by building masses of zero carbon new social housing ? Do we want to preserve the systems of public health and education with adequate funding and staffing ? Do we want to continue to train people, particularly for new technical green jobs ?
Are you a community-minded person ? Will you declare yourself in favour of a truly socialist State ? Are you in favour of re-nationalising energy, water and transport in order to implement the low carbon energy revolution through the most efficient means – centralised publicly funded employment, public ownership of energy, and social provision of insulation ?
Why does the ConDem “Green Deal” smell so bad ? What has crawled into the Energy Bill, died and rotted ? Is it purely compromise ? Or is it the inability of a privatised energy industry to be capable of making the infrastructure and plant changes to de-carbonise the UK ?