Doom? Gloom? Why don't we all cheer up and get on with it?
Thatcher once told a journalist to “cheer up” when they questioned news that employment had increased. Today’s press and politicians should do likewise to set a positive tone for growth and enterprise
Margaret Thatcher once told a journalist to “cheer up” when they questioned news that employment had increased. Today’s press and politicians would do well to take that advice and set a positive tone for growth, employment and enterprise.
With the Chancellor due to give his Autumn Statement, there seems to be a lot of concentration on doom and gloom: cuts, crisis, borrowing and debt, all wrapped in a peculiar Anglo-Saxon blanket of worry about the future.
Of course it is true that the UK, the Eurozone and elsewhere have record amounts of debt – and there needs to be action plans to deal with this. But what about the positives? With more small businesses being set up and more jobs in the private sector being created more employers are able to hire in the UK and this capacity will only increase further with reductions in business red tape.
Yet it seems every time you open up a newspaper or turn on the television you see something negative. Doom and gloom; it’s what both the OccupyLSX movement and the Labour Party have been fostering recently with slogans such as “end wealth” and phrases that focus on government cuts.
The Government has tried, more recently, to set a positive tone. The Conservative Party Conference slogan of “Leadership for a better Britain” matched by the launch of initiatives such as the “Enterprise Zones” showed desire and direction. Nevertheless, only too often have the words such as “cuts” and “austerity” come to mind and to print.
This is partly the politicians and partly the media’s fault as phrases like “government cuts” and “austerity Britain” have been favoured and relay a negative tone. How about “taxpayer savings” and “shrewd Britain” as alternatives?
Further, how about focusing on employment rather than unemployment? Recently, it was reported that the job market was to experience a “slow and painful contraction”. In the public sector, sure. But it’d be negligent and overtly pessimistic to overlook jobs created in the private sector.
We do need to recognise the problems - and recognise some have. The Centre for Policy Studies recently published a report by six Conservative Members of Parliament entitled “Growth, Growth, Growth: New ideas for growth and prosperity in the 21st century” and follows previous publications from the Centre’s Ryan Bourne focused on giving the economy an “adrenaline boost” that both recognised the problems and proposed solutions.
Also, as reflected in a piece in yesterday’s Independent, other think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute (ASI), the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) and the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) have also come up with constructive and positive ways (and language) to promote growth.
Ideas to “create a truly massive economic boom within a year” (JP Floru, ASI), “make tax simpler and more transparent” (Matthew Sinclair, TPA) and introducing “deregulatory measures” (Ruth Porter, IEA) strike at the heart of an entrepreneurial Britain that many want to realise.
So when Osborne gives his Autumn Statement he should take note of these plans and approaches. He has already laid out the problems facing the country but now he needs to continue to propose solutions in a positive tone.
That might just cheer up his colleagues, the press and, maybe, everyone else.
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