George Osborne is the weak link in the Conservative party hierarchy. He’s unpopular with the public – which was highlighted when he was booed at the Paralympics and Star Wars premiere – and he appears increasingly unpopular with his own Conservative MPs. Here are five reasons he could be the person that brings the Tories down:
1.George Osborne forced to ‘climb down’ on Short money proposals
Osborne announced in his spending review that he would start cutting the finance that opposition parties receive by 19%. This was seen by George Eaton of the New Statesman as a way to “weaken the opposition and reduce accountability”. In December, Eaton declared that many Conservative MPs were against Osborne’s undemocratic proposals. David Davis described the cuts to Short money as: “the wrong thing to do”.
Now, Osborne has been forced to backtrack due to the likely Tory rebellion. As the Political Editor of the Sun, normally supportive of the Conservative party pointed out, Osborne is “not having a great winter”. If he continues to upset his own MPs, he could be in trouble.
Govt announces "formal consultation" on Short Money's 19% cuts. Another climb down enforced on George Osborne. Not having a great winter.
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) February 11, 2016
2. He has created more debt than every Labour government in history
It isn’t just his unpopularity internally which may prove challenging for him. He is also failing in his duty as Chancellor, he claims that he is paying down the debt. But he isn’t.
The evidence here comes from Another Angry Voice, the blog cites statistics showing that the Labour governments that coincided with huge financial crises, Ramsay MacDonald in 1929-1931 and the Blair-Brown government of 1997-2010, saw an increase in debt of around 11-12%. While every other Labour government has reduced the debt.
However, under Osborne, the national debt grew by 26.9% of GDP between 2010 and 2015. This equates to £24,000 per every single individual in the UK. Despite the rhetoric that the economy is safe in his hands, it really isn’t. His deficit reduction plan is “far, far slower” than Labour’s would have been, admitted Fraser Nelson of the Spectator, through gritted teeth.
3. Punishing the poor and giving to the rich
Despite his austerity measures failing to reduce the debt, he continues to persevere. His austerity measures have impacted upon people in a number of ways. Here are a couple of examples:
- Children are now going hungry and freezing at school due to the impacts of the ‘bedroom tax’.
- Disabled people have faced the brunt of many of his measures including the work capability assessment (WCA) which decides whether a disabled person (or someone who has a long-term illness) who is a recipient of benefits, should remain on welfare or have their support cut and be forced into work. A report has shown that the WCA was the likely cause of 590 suicides and 279,000 cases of mental illness.
Nor has it stopped Osborne doing deals with corporations like Google, so they only have to pay the equivalent of less than 3% corporation tax while small businesses have to pay a much higher rate of 20%.
It’s clear to see whose interests he has at heart and some of those who voted Conservative at the last election must now be kicking themselves.
4. Sold off more assets than any other Chancellor
This means he will exceed the combined privatization of Margaret Thatcher’s most prominent Chancellors, Geoffrey Howe (1979-1983) and Nigel Lawson (1983-9) which was the equivalent of £55.8bn in today’s money. This was done over a decade. But Osborne will have gone even further by selling £57.7bn in just six years, and he has the rest of this five-year parliament to continue his plans.
However, Osborne’s fire sale of public assets has been terrible for the UK’s economy. Northern Rock, Royal Mail (which was making UK taxpayers a profit), and RBS have all been sold at a loss enabling large corporations and hedge funds to snap them up for next to nothing.
5. And he wants to do this with OUR NHS
The Conservative party has made sure that the NHS will be sold-off. Clearly, David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are also responsible for these actions. But it looks as though Osborne will ensure that the greatest public asset the UK has, the NHS, will be sold off as quickly as possible.
This means that the NHS could soon be replaced by a US-style system, where you receive health care only if you can afford the extortionate fees. Many firms from the US are seeking to buy these NHS services in order to profit from the Conservative party’s desire to see the NHS destroyed.
Osborne’s ideological desire to ensure everything that taxpayers own will be gifted to private firms sums up his Chancellorship. He is now upsetting his own MPs; he is failing to meet his own targets, creating a mountain of debt in the process. He is selling off all the ‘family silver’ at a huge loss, including our NHS.
He and his party may come to regret all of this.
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Featured image via Flickr.
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