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Time for a Referendum on the Budget

Not only are the projected borrowing figures staggering to comprehend, but they are also surely immoral.  How can it be that any Government can condemn the population they purport to serve to a lifetime of debt in this way?  It should not be possible, in our constitution, for any party to set us on a path like this without having to seek a fresh mandate from the country.

I don’t believe anyone in the country elected a Government to borrow so much money and plunge us into abject poverty for a generation or more.  What we need is for some independent body to set out some alternative choices that don’t involve such a level of borrowing – setting out clearly what would need to be cut, from where, to avoid it.  After all, any household, or business, in the country would have to adjust their spending in the face of income reduction, as there is no way that any of us individually or corporately could just embark on such a borrowing binge to cover the difference.  We’ve all discovered what happens when we do that to a much smaller scale; what makes it justifiable at this level?  Where is the analysis of alternatives that would enable us to make an informed choice?

One thing we should be concerned about is that there is no way we’ll ever be able to repay this mountain of debt.  Few Governments down the centuries, and especially in modern times, have ever produced a budget surplus over its term, so what makes anyone think we’ll ever be able to repay these staggering amounts?  We are condemned to a life of paying upwards of £60 billion each year (more when interest rates increase) in interest alone.

And where is the money going to come from?  We are not alone in wanting to borrow huge sums of money – many other countries are going to raise their national debt over the coming years.  We will surely be competing with them for the (probably dwindling) amounts of money that investors (whoever they are) have available.  At these levels of borrowing, we shouldn’t take it for granted that the money will be forthcoming just because we ask for it.  What makes us think we’re going to be attractive enough to investors to place their money with us, rather than another country?  What’s the plan if we can’t raise it?

What this whole sorry episode tells us is that politicians are not fit to run the economy.  What we need now is to change the regime of financial management of the country.  There should be a central body, run by competent economists, that runs the economy along consensus-agreed lines.  This body should be charged with keeping to a set of rules that mean we don’t get into this type of mess in the future, and manages us now to get us out of the one we are in.  Governments should then be handed a budget with which they can implement their own visions of social policy, and the like.  Only by doing this will we stand a chance of keeping to the straight and narrow in the future.

In the meantime, the current budget should actually be pout to the popular vote.  The current House does not have the mandate to dig us this far in the doodoo.  If the only way this can be done is by way of a General Election, so be it.

Is there no means to which this can be forced on the Government?



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