Where Angles Fear to Tread

March 29, 2010

If the economy is this basketball…

Filed under: UK Politics — Obtuse Angle @ 7:23 pm

As we all wait with bated breath for the democratic innovation that is Ask the Chancellors, we can look forward to a depressing attempt by both main parties to produce the impression of clear multi-hued water where there is little more than a muddy ditch. Argument by tenuous analogy is often much like sideways the particulate harmonium[1], at least this is a simile with no Pestonesque ‘mullering’, so here goes…

Guiding the economy out of the mess we find ourselves in is much like piloting a spacecraft to a successful re-entry (I told you this was tenuous). If we come in with our borrowing too steep, the economy will simultaniously implode and explode in a great burny fireball of unsustainable economic melty death. Conversely, if we pull up too sharply, we’ll bounce off the atmosphere into the slow icy doom of prolonged stagnation.

While both Darling and Osborne are loudly emphasising different possible failures, both are perfectly aware of the fine line they tread, and their positions are honestly not that far apart. For all the Tory bluster of quicker, deeper cuts, and Labour’s cries of woe at the prospect of the elimination of projects such as SureStart(TM), neither Boy George or the Eyebrows of the Exchequer are actually suggesting an insane shift in either direction. That’s not to say there’s no difference at all between the two, nut the choice is going to be more on methodology than raw totals.

It’s clear that the Conservative proposal is to dump cash back into the economy by general cuts (lower CT, restricting the NI rise, etc), while Labour goes for targeting their relief at specific industries they consider will best serve the country (or, if you’re a cynic, their voter base). There’s a genuine difference of philosophy here that isn’t being discussed and ought to be, but is being overshadowed by the total cuts nonsense.

And what will Vince ‘the Power’ Cable do in the debate? Probably sit back and say sensible things the other’s can’t get away with, and try not to look *too* smug.

[1]i.e. it doesn’t make a  great deal of sense

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