Maybe its just me, what with me having a brain injury and everything or possibly the fact that I’m a demented wrongcock or even that I’m just the sort of warped individual who finds irony in what most would accept is a far from ironic situation. Or is it fact that I lived through the 1980’s and whole Mrs. Thatcher era of firm government and so can’t but help find some grim pleasure in all of this. What comes around and all that. Yes, I’m sure its that.
The catastrophic economic situation that the Tories have plunged this country into didn’t happen overnight. This has been has been years, decades in the making. Not that it was a desire for Mrs.Thatcher to bring about the current chaos, but rather the wholly inevitable result of a belief in the infallibility of the markets, that their ruthless profit based logic was a welcome panacea to what she saw as the failure of the state.
Essentially, the markets were impartial actors, with no interest in social policy and were thus best placed to determine the direction the country should take. According to right-wing economic polices (and I’m massively simplifying here), should the markets take fright at some aspect of economic policy a government was pursuing, they would react accordingly. You know, by doing exactly the sort of thing we’re seeing now, and although this isn’t as dire as Black Wednesday, its dire enough. The value of the £ falling, making government borrowing on the bonds markets more expensive. Interest rates going up. Billions spent trying to fix things resulting in probable tax rises and public sector spending cuts.
For many years the Tories endlessly trotted out the lie that the financial sector was an industry in which UK plc should be proud. They cut regulations, claiming it increased competitiveness in the markets. Labour either believed this or believed the markets did, because when they came to power in the late ’90’s things continued apace. The markets were left alone, despite scandal after scandal. The global financial crisis and the ensuing bailout didn’t stop some in the markets making eye-watering sums while everyone else suffered. The film ‘The Big Short’ explains how and why, but essentially some people bet things were going to turn out the way they did. Richie Sunak knows all about this. He set up his own investing firm so he could better get his nose in the trough.
Anyway now we find ourselves in the middle of shitshow that the markets have created. The markets which we were constantly assured were impartial, which would never do what they’re doing and dictating who or what political choices are open to us. I writes ‘us’knowing full well that ‘us’ has a very narrow definition indeed. If we’re ‘lucky’ about 160,000 Conservative members and if we’re really ‘lucky’ a new PM could be elected by 357 Conservative MP’s before ‘Eastenders’ on Monday night.
Obscenely the only way we can get out of this economic maelstrom is by placating and pandering to those very same markets and the 357 know this better than anyone. Possibly because some of them they hope to work for them soon.
It’s as ironic as Boris’s Johnson becoming our next PM