With all due respect, Duncan, isn’t there a bit of a taste of Sad Donkeyism here? Think about it: if the confidence fairy is so sensitive that the £6bn in-year cuts and a lot of rhetoric was enough to chase her off, perhaps it wouldn’t be so hard to reverse the effect. Either way it would surely be worth having a go.
Also, why should the impact of the cuts have to wait for implementation? If your underlying economic model has any role for expectations at all, people will be factoring them into their decisions already. Perhaps there’s an argument for trying to change them. (If the model doesn’t, then, well, we’re in a vulgar-Keynesian world and it’s time to give the magneto a shot of WD40.)
If you accept that the government’s policy is harmful, then it’s worth having less of it. This shouldn’t be controversial. Also, good luck with the David “Nice Cuts Dave” Miliband policy from a purely political perspective. How is this meant to make sense to the public? The Government’s policy is disastrously wrong - and the public knows it - but it’s also somehow right and it would be terribly unserious to be rude about it.
Forgive me for thinking that any private sector ad agency would fire you in a heartbeat for suggesting such a muddled, wet, and dull campaign. Nobody would ever take it for tight, sales-directed ad copy let alone gripping rhetoric or brilliant intellectual debate. It’s the sort of thing US Democrats would come up with.
Oliver “Max Rothbarth” Rivers, who’s also been sounding a bit sad donkey lately (he promised to convince me that if wages went up, the public would not just save the whole raise but so much more that the change would be net-contractionary), suggests that we relax the planning laws as a solution. Like Grant Shapps? I joke, but if it was that easy…the UK already has a lot of horrible buildings in the wrong places and that’s all “let the developers rip” guarantees. If the developers or their customers have any money.
Unfortunately, the only people who are investing at the moment are the BTL Brigade, our very own participatory vampire squid. Not only isn’t this conducive to wider public policy, it’s also unlikely that they have a great appetite for new construction after so many got burned on waterside flats.
You don’t need to believe me: ask Brickonomics. As they say, there ain’t nothing going on but the rent. And while all the wheels stand still, not many J-O-Bs either.
You can’t oppose the cuts without opposing the cuts. Panacea solutions via this or that deregulation are both implausible and indistinguishable from Coalition big society guff.