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@David_Cameron’s Animal Farm

“We’re tackling the deficit because we have to – not out of some ideological zeal. This is a government led by people with a practical desire to sort out this country’s problems, not by ideology.”

David Cameron 2010

Guess what? Philanthropist and amateur jockey David Cameron has made a startling discovery. He found some austerity down the back of his sofa and decided he liked it. Whereas he once thought it a necessary evil in order to strike at the demons of ‘that lot over there’, he now sees it as the panacea to all our ills.  What the world needs now isn’t love, sweet love, but “a leaner, more efficient state”, and he has the skewed stats and populist soundbites to prove it. This startling revelation about the need for more austerity was made at a lavish banquet in London’s Guildhall.


This was about “ideological zeal” from the beginning as I and many others have been saying for the last three years. The attacks on public services fit in perfectly with the neoliberal capitalist agenda of creating a ‘small state’ wherein the individual, in the Ayn Rand sense of the word, rules supreme, as long as they have the resources to do so…

But is this really the creation of a ‘leaner state’? Well, no. People still need all the services the state should provide but will increasingly have to rely on those services being provided by private companies such as Atos, G4S, Capita and Serco, all of whom have had ‘problems’ with fraud, delivering decent services, and paying the correct tax on their profits. The National Audit Office has estimated that half of the £187 bn spend on public services now goes to outsourcing companies – this means that half of the services provided to us are subject to profit and shareholders’ dividends. Looking at the NHS, two of the earliest ‘anicillaries’ to be outsourced were catering and cleaning which have become possibly the most criticized aspects of that organization. And why might this be? Outsourcing companies will make as ‘competitive’ a bid as they can in order to secure public funds and then cut services, wages and conditions to the bone in order to produce a profit. The same effect can also be seen where care services have been contracted out. In the meantime G4S and Serco stock has doubled while Capita’s value has increased by 140% as investors circle like vultures over assured government funding. Once a contract has been awarded the money is almost guaranteed as the litany of gaffs, goofs, failure to deliver and outright lies produced by outsourcing companies with little to no redress has proved. Oh, and ATOS and G4S paid no tax last year despite receiving billions from government.

Cameron talks about efficiency and yet his government wants to sell off the East Coast line rail franchise. This was renationalized in 2009 after National Express found they couldn’t make a profit despite the healthy government subsidies rail franchisees receive. Since then East Coast has become the best run inter city rail service in the UK, outperforming both Great Western and Virgin, and has returned almost £1bn to government coffers. Efficient, no? You wouldn’t think so from the way the service’s success has been downplayed by the government prior to sale, almost as if they were trying to hide something. The fact that Cameron wants to sell off the franchise gives the lie to his claims around ‘efficiency’.

There is not and never has been a need for austerity – it has been used as a smokescreen for the last thirty years of moving money from public to private hands and as a stick with which to beat public services and the people that use them. Attack hard, misinform and lead people to believe that services are failing and they’ll bend over as multinational corporations cherry pick the most profitable sectors to asset strip and plunder. It’s all one big lie.


“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  1. December 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Great post. Having just watched Animal Farm I was so struck by the similarities I posted this:

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