In the current economic climate we are all having to make savings to keep up with the many bills which each household is facing. On a national level, the Government is taking action to address the £1.1 trillion black hole which represents the legacy that my Party inherited form the former Labour Government after 13 years.
However, such is the extent of our public sector net debt that we are still adding around £120 billion each year in the form of an annual budget deficit. Despite necessary cuts in Government Departments, not only is our nation’s bank account in overdraft each and every month, but we are also calling up our bank manager to increase it on a regular basis.
Now other political parties talk about ‘austerity’ and suggest that this is all unnecessary; that we can develop an alternative route to strong economic growth. Whilst I have no doubt that they are sincere in their convictions, I cannot subscribe to the Keynesian model which Ed Miliband picked up at university and through his years in the public sector working for the likes of Gordon Brown.
The idea that we can simply spend our way out of economic difficulty holds no sway for me. It reminds me of watching Labour politicians stand up at the dispatch box between 1997 and 2010 and talk about ‘investment’. It made me angry because I knew that this was not investment of any kind, it was high public spending which was borrowed, or as many of us remember, outrageously financed by selling off our nation’s gold reserves at the bottom of the market – what do you expect when you tell the proverbial Gordon Gekko of our intention to sell the day before!
Now we have the Labour Party showing its true colours once again. Ed Miliband talks about ‘short term borrowing’ to finance his extortionate spending commitments which will supposedly pay for themselves across the ‘medium term’ should Labour ever be in charge and in Government again. I have got some news for you Ed; we are still waiting on this return on our ‘investment’ from the end of the 1990’s! Whilst on the subject of Ed Miliband, the next time he visits our lovely City he should look at the top of the Hill – there is a Cathedral and hence I hope the local Labour Party point out to our visitor from Doncaster that we are a City not a town!
The Labour Leader visited Lincoln ahead of last week’s election results, which saw us lose some of our valuable Councillors who have put in a tremendous amount of effort and time during their terms to make their communities a better place to live in. As is often the case with local elections, they bore the brunt of the electorate’s ire – the c.25% who voted – and unfortunately took the opportunity to register a protest against central Government.
However, rather than opposing deficit reduction (as evidenced by the relatively few number of gains for Labour), voters were concerned that Westminster politicians, or at least those in power, have moved away from traditional conservative values. The reluctance to provide for an earlier EU referendum and the side-lining of religious beliefs when the Coalition introduced plans for same-sex marriages illustrate this shift; and I hope that the Leader of my Party, the Prime Minister, and those around him, recognise the need to return to our core values and our wide range of supporters – we are proudly a ‘broad-church’ Party. I for one will continue to raise these issues when he meets with me and other representatives of the 1922 Committee Executive and at the other opportunities that present themselves.
I am not going to suggest for one moment that the path to economic recovery is going to be easy and the Conservative Party is certainly not going to try and sell you a quick fix like the other political parties; however I am going to promise the people in my constituency and the City of Lincoln that we can come out of this economic situation if we stay the course, and maintain our commitment to balance our nation’s finances – with our Party showing it’s own true colours once again, doing the best it can for our Country.