I’m feeling just mildly more optimistic about the attack on tax havens in the last day or so; not wildly, I stress, just a little more. The same cannot be true of the economy, or the political climate. About that I am deeply distressed. There is a horrible feeling that the agony of the recession is going to give rise to no real change in the UK economy, or that of the world at large.
Bonuses are not going to be capped in the UK.
A deeply unattractive Guernsey based company with a management structure that stinks of artifice designed to avoid tax, suggesting a corporate governance ethic that considers self interest of the directors before the interest of 2.5 million pension and life assurance customers, has bought Friends’ Provident, a venerable old Quaker based investment institution. I’m especially sad as I was a founder member of the Quakers and Business Group.
Unemployment has risen to 2.4 million today – an increase of 220,000 in a month, with youth unemployment predicted at 1 million by the autumn.
George Osborne says he’s going to increase productivity in the civil service – which is a straightforward euphemism for cutting lots of jobs.
The government is pumping £50 billion more into quantitative easing without making sure it is used to create jobs – and not just a stock exchange boom that will precede another bust (which I think is inevitable for the FTSE).
The Audit Commission is telling local authorities they have not done “enough to prepare their communities for the fallout from the recession and face a surge in social problems such as addiction, alcoholism and domestic violence”.
And I’ll tell you: I think they’re right.
Two years into the credit crisis (which began on 9 August 2007) it seems like so long as the bankers and private equity scavenges are happy so are Labour and the Tories.
Meanwhile the people of Britain are being massively short-sold and it will get worse. It looks horribly like we’re going to have a W recession to me: a drop, a false rise, and another drop before we get out of this.
Everything the Tories are doing will make the second drop catastrophically bigger than the first, and it will last much longer too.
I’m profoundly worried. Real people are going to suffer badly. The Audit Commission have, for once, got something right when saying that.
And it makes me very angry, because this is unnecessary. We could be using this moment for radical transformation. And we’re wasting it trying to put Humpty Dumpty back on the wall, but he’s broken and nothing will change that. But neither New Labour or the Tories have noticed, or are turning wilful blind eyes. Which is bad news for us all.