Thursday, 3 November 2011

Boom or Bust - Polly Toynbee

Last night I went to see Polly Toynbee speak about the book she co-wrote with David Walker called The Verdict: Did Labour Change Britain. It was an Off The Shelf event at Sheffield Hallam University. The book is in my estimation a fair analysis of the Labour years. Her score for their performance in those years was 6/10 my own was nearer on reflection is 8/10. However, in reality she spoke very little about the book (most unusual for an author) and more about how this coalition are tackling the economy.

She spoke about Osborne flying in the face of Keynesian theory and that she feels that the cuts won't work. That the strategy is resulting in job losses and thus producing less tax revenue. That people are scared of spending and as a consequence the demand for goods and services are declining and so more jobs will be  lost. That the strategy was sold on the back of we're all in this together but that it is intrinsically untrue because the poor are paying more as the cuts bite and the rich are unaffected. Bob Diamond the CEO Barclay's for example was paid a bonus of 6 million and paid around £30K in tax. In the words of the old song it's the rich what gets the pleasure and the poor that gets the blame!

I think it would be fair to say the audience was mainly left wing and so I guess she was preaching to the converted. I wouldn't say Toynbee is the most inspiring speaker I've heard but when it came to the question and answer section at the end she really came into her own. She is clearly erudite but also in touch with the ordinary man and woman. The discussion was lively and it made for an enjoyable evening. Me and OH still are talking about it!

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