No, Mr Osborne, it’s not party time yet

Whilst official figures show that the economic depression has ended, we need to be mindful of what the headlines have not mentioned – much damage has been done by the government’s austerity measures, such as the cuts and closures to our public services, and the wasteful and costly privatisations. The economic downturn may be temporary but it seems that the cuts and the consequences are permanent.
Growing poverty reflects a large-scale economic failure, regardless of the pitifully thin distillation of Tory evidence of “recovery” and “growth” which is mostly localised to a handful of millionaires. Poverty is about the loss of much more than money. Poverty entails indignity and humiliation and exclusion. For a so-called first world democracy to treat its most vulnerable citizens so callously ought to be a source of utter shame. Austerity is an attempt to disguise the fact that the Tories are not “paying down the debt” as claimed: they are “raising more money for the rich” At the expense of the tax-paying poor
We now have such frank inequalities, with increasing affluence and prosperity for a few, and increasing poverty and disenfranchisement of many reflects a political party that is FAR from democratic, serving the needs of no-one, fulfilling the wants and doing the bidding of a wealthy, influential elite. That isn’t an “achievement” to be jubilant about.
This excellent article was posted originally by  in Coppola Comment
It seems the UK is something of a poster child for economic recovery. The ONS reports that GDP has grown by 0.8% in Q2 and by 3.1% since Q2 2013. This is a pretty solid performance. And it’s an important milestone, too: the UK’s GDP is now back to its pre-crisis peak.


And the UK has become one of the few bright spots in the IMF’s generally gloomy forecast for world growth. Upgrading the UK’s growth forecast to 3.2% by the end of the year, the IMF said that the UK would maintain its position as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Predictably, the Coalition government and its supporters claimed this as success. George Osborne tweeted that the IMF’s upgrade showed his economic plans were working:

 · Jul 24

IMF upgrades UK growth by more than any other major economy. Further evidence that our is working.

And Matthew Holehouse,  political correspondent of The Telegraph, describes the IMF’s upgrade as “a vindication of George Osborne’s economic plan”.

This frankly is stretching things WAY too far. This chart from Ben Chu of the Independent places the UK’s economic performance in its G7 context:


How on earth is the second slowest recovery in the G7 “vindication” of George Osborne’s policies? And it’s not just because the UK had a very deep recession, either. Japan – yes, you know, that country we like to think is in an eternal slump – had a deeper contraction but has recovered faster despite the tsunami and Fukushima disaster. And Germany, whose contraction was nearly as deep as the UK’s, exceeded its 2008 GDP peak in Q1 2011.

In fact this chart shows clearly the derailing of the UK’s recovery in 2010 just after the Coalition came to power. Note that this is BEFORE the Eurozone crisis hit in 2011: the Eurozone crisis must have affected the UK economy, but it isn’t a sufficient explanation. I’ve also argued that high energy prices explain quite a bit of the evident slowdown from late 2010 onwards.

But it is hard not to conclude, as Simon Wren-Lewis and others do, that fiscal austerity delayed the UK’s recovery. Far from a vindication of the Coalition’s policies, the fact that the UK is only just back to its 2008 peak after four years of Osbornomics is quite an indictment. Whatever the reason, Osborne has actually presided over the slowest recovery since the Second World War:

And it is also far too soon to celebrate recovery. There is still a long way to go: wages are still falling in real terms, business investment is still weak and the UK’s external position is poor. GDP may be back to its pre-crisis peak, but GDP per capita is still some distance below (thanks to FT Alphaville for this chart):

Best keep the lid on the bubbly for a bit longer.

Related reading:

Tory dogma and hypocrisy: the “big state”, bureaucracy, austerity and “freedom” 

Britain’s long, weird recovery in 13 charts – FT Alphaville

The Great Debt Lie and the Myth of the Structural Deficit

Austerity, socio-economic entropy and being conservative with the truth

“The mess we inherited” – some facts with which to fight the Tory Big Lies – Alister Campbell

10001887913_f8b7888cbe_oMany thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent memes.

15 thoughts on “No, Mr Osborne, it’s not party time yet

  1. Pretty graphs aren’t they?
    Yet they prove only one thing, we haven’t got a clue what’s really happening and never will be told the truth.
    Should I also be “shocked” to read that the government are apparently lying to us?
    No, not really, it’s a fact of life that politics is the biggest lie in town.
    I’m just amazed that people actually believe the B.S. that comes out of the politicians mouths.

    The rich will get richer and the poor will continue to be shafted.
    That’s about the truth of it. Always been like that, always will be.
    There is some hope though, well maybe not hope, but a solution being engineered to world debt.

    Some “learned” people are now openly talking about the US engineering a war with Russia to “divert attention” from the debt problems of the world. When you think about it, it makes good sense too.
    A few crowd pleasers thrown around, millions die, and debt will – – – I wonder what, does it matter?
    As for the UK’s GDP and the national debt? Will anyone give a s### about them after that event?
    See, it’s a simple fix isn’t it. Blow everything up, problem solved.
    Coming to a nation near you, just as soon as the rich have been evacuated and their wealth stashed somewhere safe.


  2. Kitty you have been selective with the way you present the graphs – could you redraw then from the point that the Tories took over so we can judge their relative performance? What would the international comparison show then? (I think it might not give you the answer you want) Why do you blame “bankers” for our problems when Labour was in power and politicians when the Tories are in power.


    1. “could you redraw then from the point that the Tories took over so we can judge their relative performance?” I cried laughing at that one…um… what do you think “relative performance” actually means?

      I blame bankers because it’s an undisputed fact that it was the behaviour of bankers that caused a GLOBAL recession, which would have happened no matter which party was in Office. And it was Thatcher that deregulated the banks. Though Gordon Brown did say that he should have been assertive and regulated – the tories voted against it though, and guess what? They STILL haven’t regulated the banks.

      By 2010 we were out of recession in the UK, however, the coalition austerity measures damaged the economy again.

      So yes, since 2010, it has been politicians. We have a national recession under every tory government – Thatcher, Major,- because of how they impose limits on public spending, raise the cost of living, and impoverish people by redistributing public funds to private bank accounts, whilst asset stripping public services, and removing essential welfare support, and employment pay protections.

      We lost our triple A credit rating – Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s & Fitch’s – under this government, not the last one. You can request a “graph redraw” all you like but facts are facts. 🙂

      You ought to read this, as it catalogues Tory lies and official rebukes from the ONS and the OBR – the first listed are those regarding the economy.


  3. Reblogged this on TheCritique Archives and commented:
    Britain’s economic ‘recovery’ is the second slowest in all of the G7, and performance is still far behind the likes of Canada and the USA.

    Look at Britain’s performance from 2010 to early-2013. It practically flatlines for that entire period – the first three years of Austerity.

    The economy only started to move upwards when the Government announced the schedule for its “Help-To-Buy” scheme, a scheme that drove up house prices, and made lending with houses as collateral more appealing to banks. So lending started to increase again, which meant that there was more money in circulation once more, and so sales began to improve.

    And the Help-To-Buy is a Government spending program – the *antithesis* of an Austerity program.

    Austerity doesn’t work. Government investment does. But the Tories will never admit that the only positive economic policy they have implemented is an investment, rather than a cut. (This is not to say it’s a good policy. It isn’t as it only re-stimulated the economy by using still *more* private debt, which is likely to increase long-term hardship for borrowers still further, and that will cause another crash in the not-too-distant future, but at least it has woken things up a bit.)


  4. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Agree with both Frances and Kitty. Nothing yet to crow about but they will however the long-term damage done in closure of public services and the long-term effects of poverty especially on children and the disabled is very grim.


  5. I would never, ever trust a tory with my grandchild’s piggy bank – you only have to look at what they have done to this country to see that tories equal one thing – money, people with lots of money, more money and so it goes on. To the detriment of all other citizens of this country, the 1% take, take and take some more from those who actually keep them supplied with money. The people who actually work for these parasites are needed, the rich are not – after all, if the workers stop working, then the money stops coming in and the rich lose out, not the workers and this should be shown by the whole country just laying down tools etc. and stop working.


  6. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Kitty also adds here critique to the claims that Britain has just left the recession. She shows that this may be the case, but the result has been a massive increase in poverty, with wealth confined to the very few. Public services have been decimated by the cuts. This is not a vindication of Osbo’s policies, as the Telegraph wants us to believe. Indeed, growth has been actively delayed because of them. It’s no mystery why the Telegraph has trumpeted Osbo’s policies as a success either. The weirdo Barclay twins’ malign organ is so extremely Conservative that Private Eye nicknamed it ‘the Torygraph’. It is aimed at and read by the same bankers and financiers, who started the crisis, and who stand to gain from the impoverishment of the people below them.


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