The austerity story is the dominant political narrative in Britain today.
According to an important new report by Nef, it shapes how most of us think and talk about the economy and has convinced most of the country of the need for huge public spending cuts and presents a coherent vision for the kind of society we should live in.
Nef’s report debunk myth after myth, pulling apart the framings of the Coalition’s shibboleths such as ‘dangerous debt, ‘Britain is broke’, ‘austerity is a necessary evil’, ‘big bad Government’, ‘welfare is a drug’, ‘strivers and skivers’ and ‘Labours mess’.
The report then starts to tell a new story, a new narrative for our times based on new frames like ‘Casino economy’, ‘big bad banks’, ‘big guys little guys’, ‘jobs gap’, ‘time for renewal’ and ‘the austerity is a smokescreen’.
Challenging progressives, Nef conclude by saying “The battle for the economic narrative will be won with stories, not statistics. It is time the opponents of austerity tell a story of their own. To win, they will need to do more than find their frames, they will need to be more coordinated, responsive to public opinion and find more credible messengers.”