Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Monday, March 14, 2005

Alas, A Budget!

If any event in the British political calender reminded one of the symbiosis between big business and big government then the budget does. Favours are done backs are scratched tax breaks given and ordinary citizen is left with crumbs from the technocratic table. 'New' Labour perhaps more than the Conservatives is deeply enmeshed in the welfare-industrial complex with its espousal of PFI, PPP and other corporatist profiteering monstrosities.

The budget will of course reflect this unstated, yet implicitly accepted narrative on the economy, the idea that There Is No Alternative. Neo-liberal ideological assumptions are taken as a given and any uppity lefties who squeak about it have(in the Blairites eyes) not got their pips arranged correctly and are indulging in that most heinous thing to Blair..'pointless protest'. After all Brown is trying to translate the language of European Social Democracy into a pseudo free-marketese Chicago dialect. A heroic enterprise but one doomed to failure in the long run due to still unresolved structural weaknesses in Britain's economy(low productivity, poor vocational skills, a reliance on the housing market for economic stimulus, high personal debt load) along with all the usual problems of over-accumulation and need to recycle those pesky surpluses...

The businessman to 'New' Labour is the epitome of 'modernity' and pragmatism only doing what works and doing so with supreme efficiency. Indeed 'New' Labour's deification of the businessman reaches Soviet heights of hagiography and surely it can be only a matter of time before Blair awards in true Stakhanovite style one of these businessmen the Order of Brown for increases in his productivity quota of 'entrepreneurialism'. Poor public sector workers will then be encouraged to match these daring feats of 'private' sector magic for the party and the greater glory of 'New' Labour. Much like the Italian Futurists worshipped the speed, noise and velocity of warfare for it's aesthetic qualities. 'New' Labour makes a similar mistake to the Futurists concentrating on the epiphenomena of the state capitalist marketplace to the exclusion of the corrupt compromised reality.

The budget itself will be last act of Brown prior to the election so will be structured to win 'New' Labour the election and give the Chancellor a chance to claim the crown himself. While the Tories cannot win the election the number of seats they acquire could set in motion the ambitions of Brown and trigger an early leadership challenge to Blair. As ever economics is politics carried on by other means and the Budget reflects a personal feud, a personal vision and a potential future be careful what you wish for Mr Brown as you might just get it!