Samuel Brittan joins the doubters
Here is Samuel Brittan in today’s FT:
The trick of the British establishment is to turn discussion from “whether to” into “how to” questions. The media debate is on which government services to cut or on the balance between spending cuts and tax increases. Once the discussion has been channelled into these trenches the establishment has won. The real argument, however, should be on whether we need unparalleled fiscal austerity or not.
David Cameron and George Osborne are behaving like owners of a whelk stall rather than economic managers of a nation with its own currency.
We could live with an old-time religion Conservative Budget if the rest of the world stayed with sensible demand management. The real harm is that the British government has tipped the balance in favour of ill-timed financial austerity at gatherings such as the Group of 20. Even then there is some hope that the more pragmatic German and French leaders may make their austerity a matter of words more than deeds. And all is not lost so long as the Obama administration and China’s leaders stick to quasi-Keynesian policies.