From the TUC

Does Cameron actually get it about austerity?

18 Jan 2013, by in Economics

I’m not making this up. In leaked/released versions of ‘the speech that never was’ (due to have been given in Amsterdam later this morning), British Prime Minister David Cameron is alleged to have been ready to say:

“People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced  austerity…”

This may of course just be a moment of crystal clear self-awareness. He doesn’t appear to be saying that such enforced austerity is wrong or avoidable And indeed he is also reported as having been going to say:

“There is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf. And this is being intensified by the very solutions required to resolve the economic problems,”

But either way, it’s astounding that he recognises the way people feel about his austerity measures, even if he also seems to be passing the buck for them to Brussels.

As you were though. He is still reported as calling on Europe to get ‘more competitive’, code for deregulation, which is rich given the facts in the TUC’s latest press release comparing working time and productivity in Britain and the Netherlands. And the strategy we all assumed was going to be unveiled- demanding powers back with menaces, and dangling a referendum like a carrot in front of europhobes and like a sharpened axe over the heads of British business and workers – sadly still is.