Wednesday 22 October 2008

Playing the game

I suppose that it is inevitable that the Government always tries to take the credit when the economy is going well, and blames world conditions when things are not going so well. I can't remember a government of either complexion in London which didn't try the same tactic, and Gordon Brown is no exception.

Equally inevitably, the Opposition always tries to paint the good news as something which would have happened in spite of the government's action (or even better as the result of their work when they last had a turn in government), and the bad news as the direct result of government action - or inaction.

It's all a bit of a game really. The players seem to enjoy it, but I'm not sure that it is terribly helpful in terms of addressing the real issues. The truth, as ever, gets lost somewhere in between.

Certainly there are some things which affect the economic cycle which are completely out of the hands of government. Given that simple fact, it is a complete nonsense for any government (or opposition) to claim that it can exercise complete control over the economy. It is entirely fair to point out, however, particularly in relation to the recent events in the financial markets, that governments of both parties have made deliberate choices to reduce the amount of control and regulation which they can actually exercise.

On the specific question of the financial crisis, Cameron is right to point out that Brown has not done enough to re-regulate the markets; but that is more than a little disingenuous when what it really amounts to is a criticism that Brown and Labour have not done enough to reverse the silly policies of the Tory years. (And it would sound a great deal less dishonest if his party wasn't financed to a significant extent from the profits of irresponsible and unregulated markets).

There are things that governments can do, however. And on this score, both Labour and the Tories have shown a serious lack of imagination. Adam Price has set out a number of interesting suggestions for actions which can be taken. I'm biased – of course. But this is the sort of imaginative thinking which we need if we are not only to get through the current crisis, but also tackle the essential job of growing the Welsh economy for the longer term. And, as I've noted before, we should all want that, whether or not we believe that Wales should be taking more responsibility for her own future.

1 comment:

Rhetoric Innes said...

I've noted Adams points. lowering 2% base rate is what is need initially..

Local govt should also start acting now.. since repossessions are inevitable. Dis-used council prop's should be made ready. Employ more staff if necessary.
In burry Port there is a sizeable amount of available prop's that need a little tidying up...somewhere to live for unfortunate people who are made homeless. Thinking ahead thats the thing but its not really in Local govt's portfolio to think like this..? Maybe Jocelyn Davies
should give the nod