Planned Austerity and Devolution of Power – Dr Alf responds to Rodney Willett

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Here is the latest blog from Rodney Willett in a debate on Planned Austerity. It’s well worth a read. Check it out!

A Devonian’s Political Blog.

In case you have not been following the thread, Rodney asked me on Twitter to share my views on planned versus unplanned austerity. After some thought, I responded and John Gemini shared his views as well. Here are the links:

Planned austerity or unplanned austerity? – Rodney Willett – A response from Dr Alf

Planned austerity or unplanned austerity? – Rodney Willett – A response from John A Gelmini

It seems that Rodney and I differ on possible causes for the current mess but we agree on the broad solution, namely:

  • Strong leadership
  • Overarching vision
  • Coordinated and carefully analyzed strategy, and
  • Fully risked assessed, properly costed  and effectively managed delivery plans

Both Rodney, John and myself are agreed that David Cameron is probably unable to provide the required strength of leadership. Although not specifically debated, I sense that we are also agreed that the current leaders of the Labour and Liberal parties too are unlikely to provide the necessary leadership?

At this point, I believe that our views diverge.

Rodney favours devolution of power from the centre to overcome the current crisis.

On the other hand, after some reflection, I favour exactly the opposite course to Rodney – namely an  emergency concentration of  power at the centre, in the short to medium term, possibly under the political mandate of a national coalition, supported by the three major political parties: Conservative, Liberal and Labour.

I envision a UK national coalition that is prepared to seek the views of the British people in referendums and to be ready to possibly withdraw power from Europe, defining a new national strategy after proper consultation with the UK people.

It is only with enormous power at the UK’s centre that the gross inefficiencies and waste in UK Local Government and in the EU bureaucracies can effectively be reversed – I concede that some progress has been made in cutting waste in Central Government but it is lightweight, lacking passion. Once real reforms have been achieved (in local and central government, plus possibly the EU bureaucracy), I would expect a return to competitive politics. In summary, a wartime-type coalition is required.

In conclusion, I would argue that a leader is required who is prepared to fight from the front and unite the people behind a national unity government.

What do you think?

Please share your views, whether you agree, disagree or have a different perspective.

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The UK economic outlook: Managing the downside risks – John Gelmini

LONDON - OCTOBER 21:  A pigeon flies past a Jo...

LONDON – OCTOBER 21: A pigeon flies past a Job Centre sign in Westminster on October 21, 2010 in London, United Kingdom. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecasted that up to 490,000 jobs in the public sector could be lost in the next four years, after yesterdays spending review announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Mr Osborne has defended the UK spending cuts he announced yesterday after Labour and other critics claimed that slashing welfare and housing benefits would hit the poorest in society hardest. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

The other day I re-blogged the UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) monthly performance commentary. The absence of good economic news made me focus on the risks and their effective mitigation. I posed four open questions:

For me, here are some open questions:

  1. What are the downside risks for the year?
  2. What emergency actions should the Government take in risk mitigation?
  3. How will the Government achieve more rapid cuts in Public Spending because of the depressed Private Sector?
  4. Will this Government ever be brave enough to face up to the required transformation in the Public Sector, or will further cuts fall on front-line services?

I am now re-blogging the response that I received from John Gelmini:

The possible answers to the questions you posed are:

1) The economy continues to shrink, Greece and possibly another Eurozone country implodes financially and we bail it out before it happens.

We get embroiled in a wider war in the Middle East and are dragged into a conflict without the military resources to fight it but do so anyway on borrowed money.

Food price inflation due to the American drought and increased oil prices and fuel prices pushes more people into bankrupcy.

Credit is tightened by the banks.

Unemployment in all its forms stays high and the trade gap running at £5 billion gbp a month pushes us further into debt and as we drive less, Petroleum Revenue Tax revenues fail leaving too little money for the NHS

2) The UK is given a Credit Downgrade, so the Government is forced to act decisively

3) Taxes are cut, writing down allowances are made more generous, we start public works on a grand scale using Eastern European labour and people from the dole placed on compulsory Workfare.

A T.A.R.P. programme is initiated, the pace of outsourcing is increased, the Beecroft Reforms are enshrined into emergency law and public holidays are cut to 4 weeks maximum.

4) No

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