I accept that my view may be regarded as left wing politically (though to some of the critics Genghis Khan would have seemed at best a soppy liberal), but I offer here a number of facts, says Simon Sweetman.
I do this because facts seem to be in short supply, with a recent survey showing that most people in this country have wildly inaccurate ideas about such things as the number of immigrants, who welfare payments go to, and various other obsessions of the tabloid press. Many of these false beliefs seem to be shared by those who read my blogs. It may be that the Royal Statistical Society is a communist front organisation, but I doubt it.
To pick one at random, capping housing benefit is expected to raise one-fifth of what is raised by stopping child benefit for the better off. Oh, and of new “jobs created” since 2011, half are “self-employed”, and you know what that means as well as I do: If the paper that comes through my door is evidence, there are more self-employed gardeners in this town than there are gardens.
And what you do find is that on every issue that people worry about they see the national “problem” to be far worse than the “local” one; the difference being between the local issues which they can see for themselves what is happening and the national ones where they believe what the papers and the politicians tell them.
But here are some more facts:
the financial crisis of 2008 was not caused by Gordon Brown. It was caused by the recklessness of banks, originally American banks
the Labour government’s failure here was not to regulate the banking sector sufficiently, but bear in mind that the other parties were howling at the time for further deregulation and no country (except possibly Norway) came out of this with any credit
Over the last 20 years all the gains from economic growth have accrued to the rich. Average earners, and more especially low earners, have not seen any increase in their real income levels at all (in the USA this process started rather earlier). This would seem to suggest that taxation needs to be directed to that part of the population rather than to the ordinary worker (and more than 90% of claims to housing benefit are made by people in work, not on benefits)
The UK economy is starting to recover (as they do in a kind of spontaneous remission) but more slowly than almost anywhere else, and the recovery is in low wage jobs, many of them part time.