There has been much fully justified criticism of bankers, MPs and journalists whose recent misdeeds to many indicate moral decline. Undoubtedly also the extravagances of footballers and the constantly photographed and reported world of celebrities – and what they wear, where they travel, where they eat , where and what they buy – has added to the materialistic spirit of the age.
But there is something else that defines this age very markedly. It is the very actions of Government in much of the Western world. The accumulation of unsustainable debts and deficits is symptomatic of the failure of politicians to take responsibility for their actions. Because of the short-term pursuit of votes, every young person has now been bequeathed an appalling and long lasting financial legacy.
The ever expanding unaffordable social and employment protection which Governments have introduced has been brought into the sharpest possible focus by the seismic events impacting the global economy, with all its unwelcome social and economic consequences. It is the wanton and deliberate overspending by the State which represents the highest form of moral disconnection. And nowhere more so then in the United Kingdom where fiscal incontinence reigned supreme.
Our own economy is anaemic, in common with France, Germany and the United States. The global tilt from West to East has simply further underlined the fragile nature of Western economies, where competitiveness has been eroded so inexorably. The burden of debt which has been bequeathed does not involve billions of pounds of abstraction but the actual living standards, hopes and aspirations of us all. This is real life flesh and blood drama – and it is not fiction. Ask any young person fruitlessly seeking a job all over Europe.
Governments have perpetrated a gigantic lie. Surely it is the core role of Governments to speak the truth about a country’s finances, and act accordingly– and many have failed to do so. It is an abdication of moral responsibility and this failure to reject the something for nothing mentality has led to incalculable damage. Yet so completely has this condition seeped into the DNA of some British politicians that they still continue to demand ever more spending and borrowing. David Cameron is overseeing essential reforms in education and welfare. George Osborne admirably sees off the endless demands of well funded pressure groups for more. They are trying to break this destructive addiction to fiscal profligacy.
Their task is herculean but the challenge they face is ultimately about the very remoralisation of the political process. Above all others, exorbitant spending of non-existent money has been the highest form of moral abdication in our national life.