In a recent edition the self-appointed sole UKIP councillor on HDC, Mr Arthur, presented an interesting analysis of the state of the economy under the stewardship of the Conservative-led Coalition.
He emphasised the Chancellor’s failure to meet the targets he set for the reduction of both the current account deficit and the overall National Debt,and pointed out that, on Mr Osborne’s own figures in the Autumn Statement, National Debt would go on rising until 2019, when it would be £723 billion above the figure inherited from the Brown government.
This would be despite all the further cuts in public services and welfare planned for the next four years.
He concluded that, ‘We have no reason to believe that the Chancellor would do any better with another term of office’. From this, the elector might reasonably ask whether Mr Arthur’s own party had a more coherent and convincing range of economic policies.
Yet he failed to indicate what these might be. Subsequently,having been granted a half-page article in the New Year’s Day edition, he had a further opportunity to convince us. But what did we get? An article headed, ‘Let’s return to democratic government for the people’, perhaps somewhat ironic, given that, he, himself, had been elected as a Conservative councillor, not as the UKIP member he subsequently declared himself to be. Nevertheless,what democratic and economic revisions and potential solutions did he propose?
There was an initial homily on Greece, but no clear lessons drawn for the UK. Many people and parties have floated suggestions for reviving the UK’s troubled democratic processes.
What did we get from Mr Arthur? Nothing that I could discern.
He did, however, return to economic policy, and rightly asserted that we could avoid continued austerity only by either 1) reducing overheads (Government expenditure), 2)increasing national income, 3)raising taxes - or by a combination of all three. We might well agree, but, once again, which does he and UKIP favour?
He quotes the Taxpayers’ Alliance’s suggestion that ‘the Budget deficit could be eliminated at a stroke if over £100 billion pa of government waste could be stopped’,but doesn’t go on to suggest what waste that might be, and in which ministry budgets.
Similarly, he suggests that ‘big savings could also be found from the restructuring of local government,and reducing the number of highly paid executives and many thousands of councillors’. How much might that save?
This lack of even an outline plan to restore democracy and overcome austerity, seems to reflect what we already know about UKIP’s ‘offer’ to the electorate. Much rhetoric, readiness to find and blame scapegoats, and a lack of integrated, costed policies and proposals.
Perhaps Mr Arthur could be offered another column to address this lack of credibility?