We do not subscribe to the idea espoused by all three main parties nationally, that it is unrestrained public expenditure that was responsible for the crash in 2008. It was not. It was the casino mentality of the financial sector. Other countries, particularly the Nordic ones, have a significantly larger fraction of the economy in the public sector – are they in a worse state than us?; do they have the ever-increasing income inequalities that we have?; are they less happy than us? In any case, even if the Government’s austerity measures reduce the level of public debt (they haven’t done so yet) it is only on the basis of encouraging the public to spend its savings, i.e. to increase private debt. The government’s model is the United States – ‘private wealth and public squalor’.
We believe that well-regulated public services are a sign of civilised society. Privatisations and private finance initiatives are a recipe for a carpet-bagging, piratical society. We should profoundly mistrust the motives of those who argue for them. Who made the money out of the Royal Mail sell-off?
The three political parties all seem to start from the assumption that it is a good thing to cut expenditure. For us, however, when library, public transport, health and care services come under threat we should always start by assuming there is unlikely to be a good reason for it and thoroughly examine the claims being made. The greatest contribution to the civilisation of our society was made by the Labour Government after the war, with the creation of the NHS and the Welfare State. We were able to do this when we were bankrupted by war – surely we can do better now that we are supposedly so much richer.