IN NOT very surprising news, we are told that the ‘Bigger state looks here to stay after Covid’ by the print edition of the Times on Saturday. Who could have predicted such a thing, I ask myself?
We are told: ‘Public spending is £100billion higher than before the pandemic after Covid delivered a Second World War-style shock to the nation’s finances, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.’
When they say Covid, what they really mean are the political choices made after Covid came on the scene, especially lockdown and Test and Trace (costing a cool £37billion) to name just two incredibly expensive and disastrous policies. Covid is a disease: it cannot make any political decisions. It was the politicians, egged on by the mainstream media, who made all the disastrous policy decisions which will continue to cost the UK billions.
According to the Times, public spending is a concern. ‘From less than 39.6 per cent of GDP in 2019-20, spending spiked to 53.1 per cent at the height of the pandemic in 2020-21, but remains at 46.2 per cent.’
The Times (which from memory was hot for lockdown) now believes that all this public spending, the Big State, is in fact a problem. In their editorial we are told that Britain’s tax burden is ‘onerous and excessive.’ Is that so? You have only just noticed this, have you?
And when there was a Prime Minister in office who attempted to reduce the tax burden, remind me again what kind of treatment she got? Oh, Liz Truss was nearly, quite literally, run out of town.
Nonetheless, the Times is getting serious when the editorial continues, ‘The Conservatives may be far behind in the polls but it is the right thing in principle, and in putative policy, to plan how reduce this. It can only plausibly be achieved by scaling back the role of the state and hence the amount it spends.’
Further on, after trashing the Liz Truss plan to make tax cuts (it failed because it thought tax cuts would automatically pay for themselves without generating inflation), it says in its most serious voice: ‘The better route is to reform public services such that the state does less and the private sector more.’
This from the paper that loudly praised the massive expansion of the State getting involved in in the most private sphere of all: caring for children. The childcare expansion will cost at least £17.3billion over the next five years. The Times said of this particular expansion of the welfare state that ‘it was to be applauded’.
So you will have to excuse me if I fail to take it seriously when now, as an election looms, the Times calls for a reduction in the size of the State. I find this quite unbelievable. The Times must know there is absolutely zero appetite from the majority of the public for the State to do less.
The airwaves and the newspapers are full of people demanding that the State do more, ever more. As I have already said, the much-loved feminist revolution means the State must pick up the bill for the caring of children, and with an ageing population the demands on health and pension entitlements will only increase. The sexual revolution, which placed the sexual desires of adults over the needs of children, necessitated vast transfer payments to stop children of broken families falling into serious poverty. The Times, ever the socially liberal paper, cheered much of this on.
If things were bad before lockdown, now they are terrible. Not only did State spending explode but the public expectation of what the State can and should do also exploded. Not only must there be a socialised health system from cradle to grave but now the government must save you from the Grim Reaper.
Things really fell apart with the crazy idea that politicians, people like Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, could stop disease from spreading. The charade, from face masks to Captain Tom Moore was a huge exercise in mass delusion; a true example of the Emperor’s New Clothes.
If you just want it enough, if you just shovel enough billions to your mates for Test and Trace, if you just serve a scotch egg with a pint, you can make the whole thing go away. Surely you can see the most beautiful outfit the emperor is wearing?
Seriously, spare me. Spare me the Times editorial wishing for a small state. It’s not a demand you can just roll out for five minutes before an election when the rest of the time you have been extolling the virtues of ever greater State expansion and spending. The small state is dead. Killed, in part, by the Times.