An Interesting Question For Owen Jones – What Damn Austerity?


Owen Jones tells us that all of this stealing from the mouths of babes and sucklings is the result of austerity. The thing is, it’s very difficult to see that there has been any austerity – thus we’ll have to rather assume that there’s no stealing from babes and sucklings. Not that Young Owen’s going to agree of course but once more into the breach dear friends. For the headline to his latest:

How working-class children ended up paying for the financial crisis
Owen Jones

So, how did the kiddies end up paying?

From special educational needs funding to youth centres, post-crash cuts have wrought havoc in Britain’s poorest communities

Perhaps all the money got sent to the banks and there’s nothing left for the orphan mites? Except that didn’t happen. The share stakes in Lloyds and RBS are still looking a bit sick but the net loss there isn’t large. Certainly not more than a hours of government revenue. And that vast amount of money pumped into all the other banks? All paid back with interest – we taxpayers made a nice profit on that. Heck we even made a profit selling off Northern Rock’s loan book.

So, no, no one has been paying directly for the financial system., not in any volume. But, maybe there’s something else?

At the fag-end of the last Tory government in 1997, Britain was a creaking mess, with leaking school roofs and a crumbling health service. The Labour government’s consequent investment was necessary, albeit undermined by marketisation and privatisation. In ending a class war that has left Britain’s social infrastructure crumbling, the next Labour government will have to be far more radical in reversing the damage.

Well, no, not really. For, you see, we’re still at the level of government spending we had before the financial crisis.


Don’t forget, GDP is everything, so if we’re spending the same amount of everything then that’s a really good definition of spending the same amount, getting us out from real, nominal and cash budgets and all that. And we’re spending more than Labour did to do all that rebuild from the Tories arguable – no we don’t think so but so what – underspend of the 1990s.

Or, to put it another way. Phil Hammond’s average spending is more than Gordon Brown’s did as Chancellor.

What austerity?

Perhaps this is all being bought on tick though, bankrupting the future through borrowing?

Britain is on track this year for the highest tax burden since 1969-70, at 34.6 per cent, according to forecasts released by the Office for Budget Responsibility alongside last month’s budget.

Phil Hammond is taxing us all more than Gordon Brown did.

So, err, for Owen Jones. We’re paying more in tax, spending more than the Labour average, what damn austerity?

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Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan

Tim, are you trying to logically reason with the boy Jones?


Matt, are you trying to grammatical write a sentence?