|Volume 47 Number 6, March 25, 2017||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
Philip Hammond presented a Budget on March 8, which soon began to unravel revealing disunity on the government benches. In fact, this reflects that besides its character of being vindictive and suffused with pandering to class privilege, as an attempt at managing the economy it was illogical, incoherent and based on anachronistic conceptions which are incapable of dealing with an economy based on serving the needs of society.
Where was the input of concerned people or informed opinion on how to promote social progress and an economy with a thriving manufacturing base making use of social wealth to serve the people's needs? There is no pretence at science. There was just the anti-conscious promotion of "austerity" only months after Hammond had declared he would be moving away from an austerity programme.
The Budget flew in the face of the facts of economic life. There was talk of the deficit being down, but government debt being still too high. The rich thrive on government debt, but it is not leading to any reverse in the destruction of manufacturing, or of the creators of social wealth being excluded from decision-making. Cut-backs in investment in public services in the interests of privatisation and the claims of the monopolies are causing a desperate crisis in health and social care, education and public services as a whole. In short, it was a wilful ignoring of the economic and social crisis.
It is as if the government has given up on a functioning economy and can only see the economy as a means to enrich the privileged few, in which the Chancellor "does not have much room for manoeuvre". "Government Members know that we can achieve rising living standards and deliver investment in our vital public services only if we have a strong economy and sustainable public finances," said the Chancellor. It shows the government is a fierce enemy of the working people moving towards control of anything in Britain. There is no other logic to the Budget. It is an insult to anything that remotely relates to a science of economics, let alone to the recognition of the origin and development of social wealth. It is only dedicated to an anti-social direction to the economy.
If this were not the case, then there would be some recognition of an economic plan and programme. But there is no attempt at a plan. Budget day is like a game of Westminster charades, full of demagogy. The reality is a dictatorship of the rich and powerful, in which "balancing the books" is itself a fraud. It serves no useful purpose in managing the economy. The whole anachronistic taxation system, which puts the burden on working people and denies the role of workers as the creators of value, of social wealth, should be scrapped and the working class discuss how to start afresh. Philip Hammond's attempt at a Budget underlines that the working class must use its own independent thinking and programme to change the direction of the economy and bring science, planning and the human factor to bear.