Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What we do now...

As Fraser Nelson points out, the global markets view of the UK's creditworthiness is now the same as its view of RBS's. Dire. Unless something happens (and in fairness I cannot think of what that something might be) the UK will lose its AAA rating - which happened to Spain today. This makes everything worse for everyone of us - as the cost of debt rises and this wretched Governments only answer to our problems is debt.

In the short term though, we need to look hard at how we manage ourselves and accept the fact that we have a public sector and consumer protection-culture that we cannot infact afford. Only by harsh action can we downsize the non-productive so that it can be supported by the productive.

What does this mean? It means awfully hard choices, and some easy ones:

- we cannot afford any flagship IT programmes, be they NHS, ID cards, anything;
- we cannot afford public sector pensions - the schemes must be closed down now;
- we cannot afford any quangos, including some of the 'good' ones like visitbritain - close 'em;
- we cannot afford to pay any EU-levied fines;
- we cannot afford to meet 'green' targets;
- we cannot afford beefed up health and safety and sadly equality laws;
- we cannot afford the minimum wage;
- we cannot afford the HIPS tax on house sales;
- we cannot afford new legislation in the exception of emergencies;
- we cannot afford so large a civil service;
- we cannot afford so many MPs;
- we cannot afford a 'supreme court';
- we cannot afford the costs of the human rights act;
- we cannot afford the London Mayorality;
- we cannot afford present levels of NHS spend;

In short, we cannot afford many of the 'advances' of the last 10 years, and none from the last 3 years - they will have to be undone. Like house prices, the economics they were predicated on didn't exist.

Only a massive shrinking of the state can shorten this recession by reducing the amount of money taken for unproductive purposes - though it will cause a rise in unemployment in the immediate term. This is a critical time - for siren voices on the left will start talking about the unique opportunity to deliver a re-ordering of society. If they win, and we increase the unproductive, then we really are in the world of Atlas Shrugged.

Labour ran in 1992 and 1997 on the slogan '24 hours to save the NHS', the Tories need to start to campaign for a general election on the slogan '6 months to save the UK'.

My fear - that Brown hangs on til 2010
My question - who is John Galt?

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