Skip to main content

Big guns fire only blanks

Our new expert commentator, leading economist Charlotte-Anne Schreiber, was in the TV audience Monday evening to hear the debate between Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable. She was not impressed. Here is her report for the Land Value Taxation Campaign.

The much-heralded clash of the Titans showed that the three contestants for the worst job in government had only blanks to fire at the electorate. There was nothing of substance and replies to audience questions proved only to demonstrate that there was no pot of gold buried in the ruins of the economy.

If this was a job interview, it is clear that the post needs to be re-advertised. In his final summary Alistair Darling said that the people want the government on its side. This was a golden opportunity for George Osborne to quip, “The people want government off their backs, not on their side,” but it was lost.

The ‘debate’ proved nothing more than a merry-go-round of mantra repetition where enlightenment leading to Economic Nirvana was nothing but a pipe dream. Sworn enemies indulged in polite backslapping with only the occasional back stab.

What worried me most was the total lack of substance and complete absence of any practical policies. This was self-delusion on a grand scale where no candidate was fit to take the challenge of dealing with the debt or lifting the economy out of recession.

All three contestants said there would have to be cuts. Some public services must be ring fenced. Waste would be scrapped. And the bankers’ gravy train would be held up and robbed. And, of course, difficult decisions would have to be taken. A statement of the obvious if ever there was one.

The most difficult decision of all for the audience and electorate is clearly which party to vote for in the coming election. On last night’s performance the show isn’t over until the fat lady comes up with a better libretto and sings a more dynamic song.