Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Think of the future...

A guest post by Annabelle Fuller of Rally against Debt

When did wanting private enterprise and individual responsibility become a radical view point in this country? Remember that advert which stated that 'no one in Italy grows up wanting to be a train driver'? Surely no one really grows up wanting to be a civil servant or a council administrator?

Yet from the constant wave of noise ever since these so called 'cuts' were announced you would have thought that reining back the public sector was akin to the slaughter of kittens rather than the first step in regaining sensible economic policies.

We are in a situation in the UK where the public sector is bigger than the private sector. Where the growth and jobs part of the economy has been overtaken by the bit which spends our money on, for the most part, things we don't really want and don't do particularly well.

Maybe it's the result of 13 years of a Labour government or maybe it started before that but in this day and age the general public seem to believe that we need the government to do everything for us.

Oh; we moan that they don't listen, that we don't trust politicians, that our taxes are wasted on things we don't care about but when the dreaded 'c' word is mentioned do we support it?

A poll in the Guardian showed that indeed, most people in this country did support the cuts and 29 per cent of people wanted them to go further. But are these wishes a long term aim or are they a reaction to the realisation that our economy has been mismanaged to the extent that we are up the proverbial creek without the required apparatus? Do we want these cuts to continue when, or if, we get back on a solid footing?

For me, that's the basis of these economic arguments and as such we've yet to see a debate on it. For me, it's simple. I don't want these cuts to end here and I don't want to see the public sector grow fat again in a few years time.

That's why, when I saw a tweet from my friend Harry Aldridge proposing a response to the economically retarded and quite incorrectly named 'March for the Alternative' I decided to see if I could do something about it. It may have only been a Facebook event and a reasonably catchy name but the response online and amongst the right wing and libertarian groups was considerable considering that a glance at the national newspapers would make one think that there was no other side to the argument.

As it turned out, I was pleased with the Rally Against Debt. An embryonic movement with little money and no full time staff, no union slush fund, event planners and significantly, no one fighting for 'visible' effects of government spending such as their own job or benefit and still we managed to make our voice heard.

It was a great story for the media, of course. Us 'radicals' gathering in Westminster to clamour for the days when we can have a Chancellor who realise that Keynesian economic theories are not only useless but pretty dangerous. A request for the state to step out of running our lives for us and to free the private sector to do what it needs to do: grow.

There were no placards bearing Laffer Curves I'll grant you, but this was still a rally based on economics rather than politics. A rally based on being selfless and thinking of the future rather than our immediate self interest. A rally based on the understanding that we need a strong private sector.

It's a message that we cannot afford to ignore, though I say it myself, and as such we cannot just congratulate ourselves on a few hundred people gathering and getting some good press coverage. We must build on it and keep going. And keep growing. Because all evidence points to our views still being marginalised and the general population still feeling the need for government stabilisers on their life cycles.

So keep supporting Rally Against Debt. We need to grow and we need more activites to send the message that we are not going away and we are not prepared to let this country become some mimic of soviet times with huge percentages of GDP being spent by the state.

I don't know about you, but I'm rather good at spending my monthly salary. Too good, my parents would suggest. And I'd rather be able to afford my own house, have decent health care and lovely shoes than see my money go on endless layers of bureaucracy and unnecessary attempts by government to interfere in the marginal propensity to consume. I can consume very well on my own, thank you. And so, I think, can you. If you let yourself.

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