a depression by any other name: so what is anyone doing about it?

News that the British economy has now entered a dreaded “double-dip recession” is being greeted with surprise from the government, when it ought really to have surprised no-one. That the government’s own dismal failure is immediately reworked into the justification for imposing more ‘austerity measures’ and more quickly, is, again, something we might all have expected.

David Cameron apparently said that the figures were “very, very disappointing”, whilst adding only that the government would stick with its plans and do “everything we can” to generate growth.1 Everything, that is, aside from tackling the real cause of what is actually a worldwide economic depression, by, for instance, re-regulating our own financial markets and also criminally investigating the banks that are responsible for the crisis. And everything except for making significant investments in infrastructure projects and government services that would actually generate useful jobs at union wages.

Austerity isn’t simply cruel, from a national perspective it is suicidal. Just ask the Greeks… or the Italians, or the Irish, or the Spanish, or for that matter, the Argentinians and the Chileans.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the figures were “catastrophic” and asked Mr Cameron what his excuse was.

“This is a recession made by him and the chancellor in Downing Street. It is his catastrophic economic policy that has landed us back in recession,” Mr Miliband said.

From the same BBC news article.

Fair enough, but where are Labour’s alternatives? During the last general election, the choice was between hardcore austerity meted out by the Torys, or softcore austerity from New Labour. How about no austerity! How about closing down the offshore tax-havens and thereby forcing the major corporations to stump up for the deficit. I don’t hear you, Mr Miliband.

The people are very slowly getting wind of what is really going on here. They increasingly see that the bankers have far too much power and influence over our elected representatives. Indeed, Goldman Sacks have blown their cover completely with the dictatorial appointments of Lucas Papademos and Mario Monti in Greece and Italy respectively, not to mention the more recent appointment of Mario Draghi as President of the European Central Bank (ECB). Yet there remains an almost total political vacuum in this country, with no mainstream party prepared even to question, let alone challenge, the steady ‘technocratic’ takeover of our societies.

So I see every reason to repeat an earlier plea for the urgent formation of a new political party. The party I envisage stands for human rights and social justice. It stands for the people and against the established elite. It says defiantly that enough is enough.


Economist Michael Hudson spoke about the reasons for the deepening financial crisis on yesterday’s Keiser Report on Russia Today.

In the interview with Max Keiser [part 2 of the show: 13 mins], he explains why the bailouts have failed and, in their current form, must continue to fail. He also points out how there are plenty of alternatives for solving this crisis other than the deathly hammer of ‘austerity’.


Here is a previous post, written last summer, which breaks down why ‘austerity measures’ will fail to rescue the economy, whilst presenting a few ideas for alternative measures that would genuinely help to turn the country around.

1 According to a BBC news article entitled “UK economy in double-dip recession”, published on April 25, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17836624


Filed under austerity measures, Britain

2 responses to “a depression by any other name: so what is anyone doing about it?

  1. Pete

    They say we’re all in this together, the question is ‘would we be in the same situation under labour’. The problem with tory attitudes to so called austerity measures is that they hit those who it hurts most like public sector teachers, the elderly pensioner on state pensions and students. The same measures would not have been applied under labour. The tories under Cameron are exactly like Thatcher in the eighties in that they reward wealth but not hard work or integrity. They hate people who do things they believe in, such as teachers, they reward bankers because they have the money. Labour wouldn’t have cut public services and the NHS and instead they would have done more to encourage growth by getting more out of our existing industry and services.


  2. I agree with you on all points except for one: ‘the same measures would not have been applied under labour’. Unfortunately, the same measures were already being put in effect by the previous Labour government, and now, under Miliband, Labour remains committed to imposing a programme of ‘austerity’. So we have three parties who all agreed broadly about the need for ‘austerity’ and, additionally, support the continued sell-off of the public sector into private hands. The debate is only really about the speed of the implementation of the ‘austerity’ programme and the rate of privatisation.
    Even as the economy stagnates under the poison of ‘austerity measures’, the Labour party is resolute in its support of further cuts, although it says that such ‘necessary cuts’ should be happening more slowly. And yet millions of people, many of whom (like myself) would traditionally be Labour supporters, have another demand: stop all of this now, before the country is ruined. So why aren’t Labour listening to this growing popular outrage?
    George Galloway won the seat in Bradford because so many people are completely fed up with all of the main parties. If Labour under Miliband would simply change course and begin to offer the public a better alternative they might start winning a few supporters of their own.
    You’ll probably say that I haven’t addressed your bigger point that labour wouldn’t so directly attack the teachers and so forth, which is possibly true. But still the general drift is the same. They’re all singing from the same neoliberal hymn-sheet, which simply isn’t good enough. Labour can only undermine the Tories effectively once it stops playing them at the same game. At present they are totally ineffective in opposition and I have little reason to believe they’d be any better as a government.


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