The Tories maintain their veneer of economic “competence”.

People think the Tories are good for the economy. A look at the empirical evidence of a lost decade due to a failed austerity project, a Brexit so mismanaged the ramifications are yet to be felt, and a record of putting ideology before livelihoods is not the record of a strong economic performance by our supposed “natural party of governance”.

The thing here is that the Tories have been our natural party of governance because they’re seen as fiscally prudent, and that appeals to people. Undoing those perceptions and widening the debate is how to remove them from the pedestal they’ve enjoyed perching on for the best chunk of the last 80 years with notable exceptions.

The ideas about a household being ran in the same way as the British state are appealing, they resonate with the public’s strong sense of fairness and hard work, but the hitch is they couldn’t be more fiscally illiterate. Anyone with a view of economics (and most people are busy putting food on the table) can deduce the fact that this is a very politically biased lie that’s been fostered upon us, not an economic certainty.

The question this poses, and one that’s been asked by various progressive thinkers over the course of the 24 hours since the Spending Review, is how do we get this across to people and prevent the deficit hawks from robbing us of another decade of growth and another decade of missing living standard rises?

It’s a multifaceted and mindbogglingly tricky question, and it may well be won by the right, with the likes of the supposedly impartial BBC spouting its talking points, but there is cause to hope that the British public want the well off to pay for this crisis, and are comfortable with an investment driven model.

We can’t win on the prudence framing; we have to go with fairness. Why should public sector workers get frozen pay when billionaires have expanded their wealth? Why should people sleep on the street as we make cuts to vital services, while offshore tax havens isolate wealth made off of the backs of our workers?

The arguments can be made, and a coherent case is there; it’s up to us to get out there in our communities, and make that change happen, shift those attitudes, and deprive the right of narrative hegemony.



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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.