Today, George Osborne set out the most austere budget the country has seen in 30 years. Here’s hoping it was a sham—that the government is misleading the country and the world about the scale of the cuts it is about to implement. If he’s as smart as he thinks he is, Osborne will have decided on a course of dishonesty in the national interest.
The danger of a violent fiscal tightening has been well-flagged by the Labour party and by economists like David Blanchflower: by cutting too far, too fast, the government risks tipping the country into a second recession, one that will see long-term unemployment rise, causing lasting damage to our social fabric.
Maybe, say supporters of austerity, but look at the alternative. If we don’t administer our own medicine, the markets may take it upon themselves to do it for us, and the markets aren’t renowned for their sensitivity to social justice. The key thing is to send a signal to the world about Britain’s determination not to let its debt get out of control, as Greece did. Only then can we be sure of staving off collapse.