Sunday, 10 June 2012

"Mea culpa?"

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has written a letter to The Sunday Telegraph today. In it he says, "Our recovery - already facing powerful headwinds from high oil prices and the debt burden left behind by the boom years - is being killed off by the crisis on our doorstep." The response from Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, was predictable"It's deeply complacent and out of touch for George Osborne to blame Europe for a double-dip recession made in Downing Street. He will fool nobody with these increasingly desperate excuses."

Déjà entendu? Don't you remember the Labour Government saying our economic woes were all the fault of the American sub-prime market and the bankers? It's really not our fault, they said. Of course the Tory Opposition repeatedly asserted that the deficit was actually the result of the government's irresponsible stewarding of public finances. Of course it was their fault, they told us.

Life's not that simple. It's not black and white. No wonder so many people feel like Mercutio, dying because of the ancient feud between the Montagues and Capulets - "a plague o' both your houses"! If the consequences weren't so serious for the people in the middle, we might write it off as "Punch and Judy politics". However there are casualties - from the young unemployed with little prospect of finding a job, to the genuine disabled facing cuts in their support. And of course there's the cost of people's faith (and interest) in politics.

This coming week our political leaders will be in the spotlight in front of Lord Justice Leveson. I don't suppose the modus operandi of their politics will be focused on. Perhaps Her Majesty might have a word, when she has a chance after her strenuous week. She might remind them of the New Testament reading from her St Paul's service on Tuesday which was read by the Prime Minister: "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." Did she choose it deliberately? I wonder.

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