Political Animal


December 05, 2012 4:59 PM Austerity Forever, British Style

By Ed Kilgore

You can say this about conservatives in the United Kingdom: they are a lot more upfront about the unhappy impact of their policies, per this report from the New York Times’ Julia Werdigier and Steven Castle:

Britons, many already weary of government austerity budgets that some economists blame for impeding the country’s recovery, are going to have to wait even longer for relief.
The architect of the austerity program, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, told Parliament on Wednesday that the government had missed one of its self-imposed debt-cutting targets and would have to extend the belt-tightening into 2018, a year longer than previously promised.
Although Mr. Osborne maintained that the debt reduction plan was still on track, his presentation drew heckling and laughter from some opposition lawmakers, particularly after he argued that new tax measures would show that “we’re all in this together.”

These announcements involving regularly delayed relief from austerity are reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s famous play, Waiting for Godot, which features endless variations on this conversation between two characters:

ESTRAGON: He should be here. VLADIMIR: He didn’t say for sure he’d come. ESTRAGON: And if he doesn’t come? VLADIMIR: We’ll come back tomorrow. ESTRAGON: And then the day after tomorrow. VLADIMIR: Possibly.

Perhaps austerity will end the day after tomorrow—or after the elections currently scheduled for 2015.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Anonymous on December 05, 2012 5:35 PM:

    the stubborn insanity of the tory party is hard to understand; the willingness of the liberal democrats to destroy themselves by remaining yoked to such insane policies in a coalition government is beyond comprehension.

  • sjw on December 05, 2012 6:34 PM:

    And Keynes was a Brit, no less! It's as if he and economic science did not exist.

  • Bobby Goren on December 06, 2012 5:29 AM:

    Carry on ... Stiff upper lip ... and all that ...

    AC/DC "Stiff Upper Lip"


  • Bobby Goren on December 06, 2012 5:59 AM:

    What...me worry?

    "The Millionaire U.K Cabinet: David Cameronís Cabinet Dominated By U.K Millionaires"

    George Osborne: With more than £4.6 million, George Osborne has been given the role of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and is said to be youngest appointment for the role of Chancellor in the nationís history. Mr. Osborne currently holds a £2 million stake in his fatherís company, Osborne & Little and also owns a £2million family home in the Notting Hill region.

    David Cameron: The Prime Minister of Britain, who also takes care of the First Lord of Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service portfolios comes from a long line of wealthy British citizens. Mr. Cameron and his wife have both known to own significant property assets and their London home itself is valued at £2.7million. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cameron are also said to be the sole heirs of their parentís vast fortunes, amounting to a whopping £30 million.

    David Laws: One of the youngest corporate retirees, Mr. Laws serves as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and is known to have taken retirement from work at a tender age of 28. David Laws owns a house in France and a £400,000 cottage in Somerset and this brilliant individual is valued at an estimated range between £1 million to £2 million.

    Nick Clegg: The Deputy Prime Minister of Britain, Nick Clegg has so far been valued at £1.9 million and is known to own several international property portfolio, that themselves are estimated to be in millions of pounds. In the U.K, Mr Clegg owns a £1.5 million house in Putney and a constituency house in Sheffield.

    Sir George Young: Given the with the responsibility of Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal, Sir George Young owns a family home in Penton Mewsey worth £650,000, along with a £500,000 flat in London, bringing his grand total wealth to £1 million.

    Iain Duncan Smith: Married to Betsy, the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe, Iain Duncan Smith is the current Secretary of State for Work & Pensions. Mr. Duncan lives in a house worth £1 million given to him by his father in law.