When a tree begins to rot its surface remains impeccable as its insides crumble under the deterioration of disease. Likewise, in the midst of the UK general election all seems well: both parties promise a financially strong future for the UK.
Yet the rotting has started, and its inception began with the national referendum decision that took place a year ago. Like the unknown guest at the feast, no one is engaged to talk about it, preferring instead to offer rosy pictures of increased NHS and school funding. But the rot is there, and as the tree eventually falls, so too will the UK’s economy.
The ‘Brexit’ vote has unleashed a troublesome beast for whoever sits in Number 10. Its very nature is driven by lies and fed by uncertainty. According to economic analysis by The Financial Times, Brexit is set to deal a devastating blow to the UK economy.
This will ensue, due to two of Brexit’s most deadly entailments, inflation and uncertainty. On the macroeconomic level, rising inflation will be shattering, causing lower household incomes and wages. The latest RPI figure for inflation offered by the Office for National Statistics is at a sharply increased 3.5 per cent. With average wage growth at 2.1 per cent, most families have already seen a 1.4 per cent decrease in their incomes in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Indeed, further economic analysis by Sky News suggests that whoever is elected to Downing Street will have to preside over net income cuts for almost all social classes.
According to the report, the Conservatives will preside over a nine per cent fall in income for the poorest, three per cent for those on middle incomes and finally a one per cent increase for the richest. It makes one question Theresa May’s demand for a “fairer society”. Under Labour the poorest would have seen a seven per cent fall in income, a two per cent fall for middle income earners and a three per cent fall for the richest. Again, this makes one question Jeremy Corbyn’s demands “for the many, not the few.” These sobering statistics adequately explain why economic debate had been so absent from the general election campaigns.
The parties know that the rot has started and none dare to bring it to the surface. The Liberal Democrats and Greens are the two parties who have come closest to such a move, but in return they have been ritualistically shouted down by the mainstream press and government as naysayers, unpatriotic heretics. This comes despite the support from over 120 prominent economists. Evidence-based reason and logical policies have been ejected from the rhetoric in order to reap rewards from preying on popular sentiment. It is perhaps irrational. But sadly that is how rot manifests, and though appearances are poor, it’s even worse below.