I hate to be a pessimist, but I am really not looking forward to 7 May. And if you are reading this, I guess you too will be worried. My downbeat view about the general election is not because I think ‘my’ party isn’t going to be first past the finishing post. I don’t have a party. I have doubts, instead.
No, it’s nothing to do with any vested interest I have in the Ed-Dave-Nick-Nige-Nicola-etc show. It’s the fact that this election will be the biggest exercise in eyewash for many years. For none of the political leaders has the courage to tell the UK electorate just how structurally deep the problems we all face really are. And none of them has the imagination to put forward a realistic way of tackling the core problem that we as a nation face. That problem, in essence, is that we want our cake and eat it. We all want, in other words, a first class welfare state (health, education, social security, pensions et al) but we don’t want to pay – or think we cannot afford to pay – the taxes that would fund it.
Can’t pay, won’t pay
Two-thirds of state spending currently goes on the welfare state. If we are to sustain the current level of welfare state provisions, then the conventional answer by all our political parties is to say to the electorate that one of two things – or a mix of the two – has to happen: taxes must rise, or cuts must be made to other parts of the national budget.
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