A blurred horizon

Dhaka,  Sun,  23 July 2017
Published : 17 May 2017, 19:34:36
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A blurred horizon

Mahmudur Rahman
In around three weeks or so, the United Kingdom's bemused voters will head for the hustings for the third time in fairly quick succession, thus time  to elect a new government. The bold decision by Ms. Theresa May to gather a larger majority through a snap mid-term election is generally seen as a correct one that should get her there. The stunning successes in the council elections that saw Labour lose ground, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) being decimated and Lib-Dems picking up their pieces will have encouraged the Conservative Party. The badly divided Labour Party is putting on a brave face and while the UKIP is crying foul in that the Tories have hijacked their agenda, they aren't likely to begrudge a Tory win on such a mandate.

But the 'leaked' Labour Party manifesto has come in for scrutiny though most have been dismissive of it as a utopian idea.  More funding in schools,  the national Health Service (NHS), building homes are three messages the voters have heard from the Tory government as late as the last election. And while the experts write-off the ability of Labour to turn votes around (a recent opinion poll show them straggling ), let it not be forgotten that the Brexit referendum, the last elections went totally against predictions and polls.  There are interesting changes to policy in the Labour Party manifesto that suggests Jeremy Corbin is forging a strategy that is decidedly unfamiliar but close to what voters want to hear. His declaration that the Trump administrations honeymoon is over and that Britain would no longer 'hold hands'is a major foreign policy statement as is 'the war on terror has failed'. The second statement important as it reflects Donald Trump's views on the subject. 

Mr. Corbyn has enough ammunition  to draw on. The promised savings on European Union (EU) costs, famously declared by Nigel Farage, the former head of UKIP and the money that the current Secretary of State, Boris Johnson promised would be ploughed back into the NHS has vanished in to thin air. Both men are now stumbling in their denials of such statements. The Tories have pumped for funding in to Grammar Schools rather than General education and continue to make painful cuts in health affecting doctor overtime and nurses pay. The upshot is a planned strike in the summer. Till now, a full economic analysis of what happens post Brexit just hasn't been agreed upon. The same economists that forecast doom and gloom if Brexit took place, have since changed their minds. There's little to suggest they won't do so again.

Small businesses that looked forward to better days once the cheaper competing firms and goods didn't find easy access to the UK, now fund themselves facing higher taxation that threatens their existence. In the middle of this is Labour's assertion that it would tax not only the super-rich but also the relatively well-off for the money's required to implement their manifesto. The second tier are in umbrage over the idea. As most citizens would say, they are already heavily taxed. But to think of progress without tax revenues is wishful thinking. Austerity is one way forward as is prudence in spending. But the main forte of a government -the bureaucracy are woefully devoid of ideas when it comes to cutting costs.

Automation and outsourcing was to have created jobs while reducing payroll costs of larger companies. The 'was to have' remains in the past tense and 'not achieved' category. The current owners of British Home Stores (BHS) have themselves gone bankrupt after buying BHS for just £1.0. John Lewis is to jettison 800 jobs that are to be outsourced. Customer service in-store at Marks & Spencer has suffered at the hands of belt-tightening. But perhaps  Greece out as the biggest example of what happens when taxation is not administered properly.

Tony Blair blew the cobwebs out of the Labour Party well enough. What he created was a bit of a monster. David Cameron's tightfistedness succeeded in creating a claustrophobic stagnancy. Ms. May is admired as one of the best Prime Minister's of recent time in the eight months or so she has been in power. Mr. Corbyn has moved on from being a maverick protestor to being catapulted into the hot seat.  Given that a million people signed up for a fresh referendum on Brexit, soon after it all dawned, there's an unsaid nervousness in the air. 

mahmudrahman@gmail.com

 
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