That’s the stark economic message which Martin Ivens says it will be no fun telling voters in his column in the Sunday Times today.
"To seal its deal with voters, the
opposition will have to convince them it has a plan to deal with this mess. Tory public service reforms and a programme to usher in a new economy that
isn’t so reliant on financial services are comparatively easy sells. The
voters are open to ideas. The hard bit for the opposition is to tell us
that, whoever wins the next election and possibly the one after that, is
going to have to tackle a mountain of debt. Public spending will have to
fall and financial discipline will be of Miss Whiplash severity.
"As one close to David Cameron points out, nobody, least of all the
politicians, can get their heads around the vast amounts of money now
sloshing about. People are losing sight of the sums spent by government:
millions are small change, billions are hurled about like confetti."
"Some in Tory high command think they can get away with telling
the voters “it’s all Gordon’s fault”. Oppositions can win elections this
way, but to hold on to office in gloomy conditions will require a coherent
programme of strong, even if limited, government. Perhaps some admissions of
fault wouldn’t go amiss either — if only to show up Gordon. Cameron has done much to shed the Tory image of being the nasty party. Now the
Conservative leader must relate the failures of the old capitalism to his
vision of the way ahead."
It is certainly necessary that the electorate understand the scale of
the economic mess likely to be bequeathed to a Conservative Government
in fourteen months’ time.
And just as important is the need on the part of David Cameron, George Osborne et al to manage people’s expectations
as to what a first term Cameron premiership will be able to achieve to turn things around.
I’m not an economist, but I sense that there is not going to be an immediate quick-fix solution to the nation’s econonic woes and that we could be in for a difficult few years.