The Coalition government began its term of office with a clear policy focus, clearly defined aims and clearly defined methods. George Osborne will be judged as a success or as a failure by the UK’s ability to improve economic performance by reducing sovereign debt. To this end, cuts to welfare, to pensions and to benefits have been made, over objections from MPs and campaigners. To this end the major focus of the Osborne plan has been to reduce government spending so that the nation can pay its debts. To this end money has been poured into banks, to encourage them to lend and stimulate business, while the UK has seen the deficit fall by a quarter even as the flow of credit has failed to restimulate an economy headed for a triple-dip.
It’s no coincidence that the country’s woes remind those with long memories of the chaotic, strike-stricken and economically sluggish late 1970s. The last time Moody’s withdrew its stamp of approval, the AAA credit rating, was then; Britain has held the highest credit rating possible since 1978.