Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Do we love Big Brother?

Under the headline “George Osborne plans biggest public spending cuts for 30 years,” the Telegraph proclaims “A new era of austerity would be ushered in by a Conservative victory . . . .”

“A new era of austerity?” What does this mean? I reached for my copy of Chamber’s 20th Century Dictionary (yes, I know I’m behind the times). The definition of ‘austere’ begins “sour and astringent: harsh: severe: stern: grave.” Hmmm. This new era doesn’t sound like much fun.

Only then, in the dictionary, do we come to the phrase “severe in self discipline.” Well, perhaps that is what the Telegraph meant. But they didn’t say “A new era of fiscal self-discipline.” They said “A new era of austerity.”

So the not-so-subliminal message is that low public (i.e. government) spending makes for makes for an era of harshness, sourness, and severity. Which means that high government spending makes for pleasantness, sweetness and light. Government spending is something that everybody loves.

Well, that seems to be the assumption of the Telegraph’s writers anyway. They don’t seem to have considered the idea that if we keep our own money and make our own decisions about how it is spent, then life will might be just as pleasant - possibly even moreso.

So there it is. Only the government knows how to spend money in a way that will bring joy, plenty, and luxury. Only state spending makes life pleasant and enjoyable. Big Brother knows best. We love Big Brother.

1 comment:

JonnyN said...

I think private spending is likely to lend itself pretty well to austerity as well given the tax rises that we're likely to need to help cover the deficit.