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Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Framing the economy. The austerity messages

The New Economics Foundation has published a paper 'Framing the Economy: the austerity story'. They have analyised the messages the coalition uses to sell austerity economics and how effective it has been. Then they look at the various responses and how effective they are. Finally they suggest some new approaches.

Here is their suggestion of another story about Britain to show the process that opponents of austerity must begin if they want to reframe how we see the economy.

"Our economy has become a casino.

Britain used to be a country where people invented and made things. Then we decided the easy money was in money. We let the City of London grow larger and larger until it dwarfed the rest of the economy.

We felt like we were getting richer, when in fact bankers were making high stakes bets, taking big risks in order to make huge profits. Then the banks gambled everything and lost. The financial system crashed.

We were given no choice: we had to use public money to bail out the banks or risk our economy collapsing. Now, five years on, bankers have gone back to business as usual, taking lavish bonuses while the rest of us pick up the bill for their recklessness.

But that’s not all that’s wrong with our economy. We live in a country where there the rich and powerful play by their own set of rules, while the rest of us struggle to get by. Where there are people who want to work but cannot find a job, and many that do work who don’t take home enough to pay the bills. Instead of things getting better, for us and our children, we’re running to stand still.

We can’t trust the Coalition to tackle this. They’re on the side of the people who fund them: big companies and wealthy bankers. The financial crisis gave them a chance to do what they’ve always wanted to do: sack nurses, close fire stations and cut benefits to disabled people.

Our economy is down but not out. We need to focus on rebuilding what we had and investing in a better future. We will need to make big changes to create an economy that makes things other than debt. It will not be easy or quick. We need to invest in old industries like manufacturing, as well as new ones like green industries and new technologies. And we need to invest in the people of Britain.

Because we are the ones who can rebuild the country in the years to come."

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