Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Shooting Tory Fish in the Twitter Barrel - part 1

Luke Thomas begins a rolling series of posts in which he analyses tweets from Tory sources on a given topic, and shines some light on the reality that has been overlooked and sidestepped ...  

With the General Election just around the corner, it is increasingly important to challenge the political and economic narrative that has been so completely commandeered by the Tory Party (with the unswerving aid of the right-wing dominated press). Thankfully, the tweets of the Tory Press Office, the Conservative Party and various MPs are such a rich source of spin, obfuscation and downright untruths, that finding examples to unpick is a simple game.

So first off ...

The Prime Minister and the Tory Party have paid a great deal of lip-service to the idea of rebalancing the economy, firstly away from services, and secondly away from London and the South East. Indeed, in his first major speech after becoming Prime Minister, David Cameron said: 

Our economy has become more and more unbalanced, with our fortunes hitched to a few industries in one corner of the country, while we let other sectors like manufacturing slide.”
“… we will help to rebalance our economy, ensuring that success and prosperity are spread more evenly across regions and industries.” 

How has he done? Well on both counts his pledges have been an abject failure.


Services Well Served

Firstly, our economy is still heavily dependent on services – in fact more dependent than ever - while production and construction indices have been flat, have still not reached their pre-recession peak, and were clearly harmed by the austerity measures introduced in 2010.

Streets paved with gold

How about rebalancing our economy away from London and the South East? One way this can be measured is by looking at the gross-value added (GVA) to our economy in each region, and comparing them with the UK average to see which regions are contributing the most or least. If you compare the figures from 2009, a year before the Tories came into power, and those from 2013 (the latest data available), you see almost no change whatsoever. 

London and the South East still contribute the most to our economy, with London well ahead per person than any other region, and Cameron and the Tories have done nothing to change that. This isn’t in the least bit surprising in light of the sources of Tory Party funding, which comes largely from the financial sector that is so deeply entrenched in London, and the heartlands of Tory voters in the Home Counties.


A Divided Union

When you compare the GDP per inhabitant of the capital city of various countries to the other regions of those countries, one country clearly stands out – the UK. Indeed, the UK has both the richest, and poorest regions in Northern Europe.

This goes to show that the vast economic gulf between our regions has real consequences for the lives of the people of this supposedly United Kingdom. 

It was the depth of our reliance on the banking sector and services which meant that our recession was so severe, and Mr Cameron and his Party haven’t the slightest intention of changing anything any time soon. If they don’t, our shameful regional poverty will go unchanged, and we will almost certainly barrel headfirst into another crushing recession.


Another two of the Tory Party’s fish shot dead.

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