The following headlines, all from the last week, were listed,
apparently without irony, on the state-owned BBC website under the title “UK
Economy: the Recovery”...
– UK Economic Growth Slows
– UK Borrowing Hits Record
– UK Unemployment Increases
– UK Inflation Rate Rises
In previous years, any single one of those statistics
released just before polling day would be decisive, but the four of them
together are barely being mentioned.
None of the main parties is talking seriously about the perilous
state of the British economy. We look in vain for a strategy to reduce the
deficit, for an understanding that cutting the red tape that is paralysing
business could unleash the power of private enterprise, and for a
simplification of taxes that would actually increase the public revenue. All we
get is a selection of gimmicks, most of them involving yet more bureaucracy and
yet more expenditure, dreamt up specifically for the election campaign by the
There is no hint of a real choice between alternative
directions like that offered to the American people in 2008. The British are
being offered different shades of the same colour.
The contributors to this blog will vote on 6 May because we
believe it is our civic duty to vote. However dire the state of British
democracy may be, democracy is still better than the alternative. Yet we will
vote with absolutely no hope that our votes with change things for the better.