Photo by Mark Power
What happened here is rather simple. Osborne and his gang created a mini housing bubble which benefitted a very specific subclass of our society, a class which Marx once described as the rentier class. This was part of a wider strategy the core aim of which is to facilitate the transfer of our wealth to a tiny group of multi billionaires, typically non-doms. This mini bubble, as Osborne himself once called it, was created thanks to the low interest rates and the lack of housing.
In his critique of Keegan’s book “Mr. Osborne’s economic experiment” Sir Nicholas Macpherson, an elephant of a mandarin, playfully attempts to demolish Keegan’s Keynesian case against what Osborne calls “fiscal consolidation”*, and for public (state) investment, by saying that “it is not the Treasury’s job to support the Bavarian car industry”. Even sirs should be allowed to talk like greengrocers, but what Macpherson is doing here is to deliberately ignore a whole chapter of Keegan’s book, the one where he suggests that there isn’t enough housing and that rather than diverting inflationary money to the German carmakers we could instead stimulate the economy with large housing projects; projects which would in turn generate jobs in this country. Keegan goes on to say that the current boom is based on nothing sound; it’s based on the increase of the value of property, which adds nothing to the economy. Furthermore, Keegan observes in his book that our productivity has not increased in the slightest, something we could have addressed with public spending (state funded projects) among other things.
But to fully understand the cynical strategy of Osborne and his gang you have to consider that this increase in the value of property for a large, albeit silent, part of our society, who most likely voted for the Tories, came about not just as, but because the "underclass" and the people at the lower end are increasingly poorer and unable to feed themselves; because they are been despised and actively targeted and marginalised. Meanwhile the home owning middle classes, the shy tories, know perfectly well that only they can benefit from this boom. The rest of the society and, even worse, the future generations are called in to foot the bill for this cynical and despicable act of self interest.
It is because of this knowledge on their part; that their Ranger Rovers, their Barossa wines and holidays in the Maldives come straight out of the pockets of the many, and are in fact shackling the future generations, that these tories are not just shy, but really really scared. And that’s the "genius" of Osborne, that he has handed a little pile of cash to the most frightened and pathetic elements of the so called middle class. In every conceivable way this windfall comes with strings attached, and an expiry date.
Putting aside Osborne’s antipathy and hatred for his fellow humans, and looking at it in terms of politics, these are the politics of class warfare. They are the politics of exclusion and tension and misery, and as such either they won’t last, or they will. In the light of yesterday’s elections I think it is important that we stop addressing “the politicians” and expect change to come from “them”. I think that if we are to survive as a civilised society it is quite important and urgent that we find other ways of changing the system and resisting barbarity. One could argue that the reason Labour did so badly, apart from its unfortunate ex leader Mr. Milliband, is precisely due to the fact that they did not dare spell this fundamental truth. Whether the Great British public would consider a change in its stance following a hypothetical admission by Labour, a mea culpa, will most likely remain unanswered. What we do know for certain, however, is that swallowing the deficit myth and paying lip service to the shy tories did not, and could not, help the Labour party.
As I’ve said somewhere else, the Tories are better at been Tories. We are here and here we'll be.
* Mainly the increase in VAT which affects more the poor and the people on income.