FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
There is a serious debate happening today in The Houses of Parliament, it is the second reading of the Bill concerning same-sex marriage. For the record, I am an atheist. I state this now because of the religious fervour this Bill has generated. It has also raised questions and anger from non religious and non-Christian Faiths. Why, though is Cameron pushing this issue?
Concerns: – What is He Hiding?
My argument is with Mr Cameron who, in my opinion, has taken a contentious issue and used it for political gain. Without reference to the Conservative Party manifesto or The Queen’s Speech, he has steamrolled this Bill into The House of Commons. We live in a Christian Country, The Queen is the Head of the Anglican Church and the basis of our law making stemmed from the Holy Bible.
Therefore, it seems odd to me that the Prime Minister, who purports to be a devout Christian, treads all over his Faith in order to score points with this Bill. It begs the question; ‘what is he trying to hide’ and, why throw a Bill about same sex marriage into the fray now? My answer is in two parts, the economy and Tory hopes of re election being the first part.The second part concerns the Welfare State.
The United Kingdom recorded a trade deficit of 3466 GBP Million in November of 2012.
Balance of Trade in the United Kingdom is reported by the UK Office for National Statistics. Historically, from 1955 until 2012, the United Kingdom Balance of Trade averaged -1195.09 GBP Million reaching an all time high of 2946 GBP Million in March of 1981 and a record low of -6067 GBP Million in August of 2005. Since 1998, U.K. runs consistent trade deficit mainly due to increase in demand of consumer goods, decline in manufacturing and deterioration in oil and gas production. In recent years, U.K. has run the biggest trade deficits with Norway, Germany, China, Hong Kong and Netherlands. The biggest trade surpluses were recorded with United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
Seasonally adjusted, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £3.5 billion in November, compared with a deficit of £3.7 billion in October.
There was a deficit of £9.2 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.7 billion on services.Excluding oil and erratic items, the deficit on trade in goods was £22.3 billion in the three months to November. This was £0.9 billion less than the preceding three months and £1.4 billion less than the deficit in the three months to November 2011.
Export prices (excluding oil and erratics) fell by 0.9% in the latest three months; import prices fell by 0.7% in the same period.
To top it all, despite “The Olympic Effect”, the economy flat lined in 2012 and the last fiscal quarter revealed a shrinkage of 0.3%. There is even rumour that the UK could lose its triple A credit rating. “So what?” You say. Put simply, Jack goes to the bank (Jack has a triple A credit rating) and asks to borrow £1000.00. The bank readily agrees and sets an interest payment on the loan of 5%. Fred goes to the same bank for the same amount but his credit rating is only A. After much discussion about Fred’s finances and promises from Fred that he will adjust his lifestyle to accommodate his poor credit rating, the bank agree to lend him £1000.00. However, the interest rate imposed on Fred is a whopping 16%.
If you think that is bad, check out the interest rate imposed on the Greeks after the last EU bail out!
The worry is that Osborne is concentrating on politics rather than the economy. In other words he is putting Party before the country.
To quote Jonathan Freedland who wrote an article in the Guardian on the 25 Jan 13:
“Osborne spotted an ideological opening. During the years of plenty, he and Cameron had committed themselves to match Labour’s spending levels (worth remembering that when they next allege Labour profligacy). Once the crash came, and realising that one should never let a good crisis go to waste, they saw their chance to return to the more ideologically comfortable terrain of the small state. Except this time they could say they were slashing the state in the name of necessary austerity, rather than Thatcherite dogma.
Osborne saw another advantage. His original plan called for total eradication of the deficit within five years, a deliberate desire to over-achieve that was, again, motivated chiefly by politics rather than economics: he aimed to store up enough cash to fund a series of pre-election tax cuts just in time for 2015. The country would go through the shock therapy of accelerated austerity, not because it was in the national interest, but so that Osborne could deliver a Tory majority.”
My second point, the Welfare State. No one in his right mind believes that the country can afford the Welfare State. Every £5 that is spent costs £1 and the cost to the tax payer for the daily welfare bill is £600 million, that does not include the cost of health care. It is predicted that the DWP budget is likely to crash through the £200 billion barrier for the first time in 2012-13. Do we blame the “welfare scroungers”, those poor unfortunates who have never known what a days work feels like? Do we blame the wealthy middle class who still claim any benefit that they can because, “it is my right!” Do we blame the thirteen years under Labour rule when “spend, spend, spend”, seemed to be the norm.
Actually, it is all of those things. However, Government must take the largest portion of the blame for not tackling the problem correctly. Worse, successive Governments have been dishonest with the Public about the Welfare State. You cannot keep giving at an unsustainable rate and expect all to be well. For example, if you have £100.00 in the bank and you withdraw £10.00 every day; on day eleven you will have no money left to withdraw. We pay into the Welfare system through National Insurance but we do not pay enough. We will never be able to pay enough, the world has changed but the Welfare system hasn’t.
Enter Iain Duncan Smith. He understands that the Welfare State in its present form cannot possibly deliver to the Public. He is also hampered by the EU and its directive that Nationals from EU Member States are entitled to receive funds from the British Welfare State. Typically though, he does not say ‘wait a minute this is not sustainable’, like a good Tory he attacks the easiest targets; the weak, the old and the infirm. He starts at the bottom of the ladder instead of the top.
We need to start again. Rewrite the whole Welfare Plan, it is the only way to give future generations a fair chance. Like you, I know that this will not happen. Instead Duncan Smith will force the out of work into non jobs, increase the pensionable age to eighty, severely curtail Disability Living Allowance so that only those who cannot physically move or those with severe mental issues will be the only allowable recipients.
So, what are they hiding? In my opinion it is the true state of the economy and I believe that figures out soon will verify that. Secondly, Cameron wants to virtually close down the Welfare State in order to align us with the EU. This will make integration so much easier for him and/or future Labour Governments. Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, all have shown more interest in the EU than in their own Country. Again, I expect announcements on further Welfare reform before the next Election.
Same Sex Marriage will pass through the House, I have no doubt but I still believe that this Government and Cameron in particular are using it as a smokescreen. If, God forbid, he serves another Term he is hoping that the UK will be so much like Europe that people will not care whether we are in or out. Therefore when he eventually gets around to giving the fabled “referendum”, apathy will give him the answer he desires.