Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Tory disease: short-termism

John McDonnell is wisely concentrating on the OECD`s "criticism of Britain`s weak productivity", and how the organisation stressed the need for more "infrastructure investment,  increased research spending and improved training". This highlights the sharp contrast  with Tory policies, which almost all are based on short-termism, and which have caused immeasurable problems, not only for the country`s economy, but for most of its long-suffering people.
      Labour needs to emphasise how successive governments have failed to think clearly about their health and social care p[olicies, and their short-termism has led to the present crises, and to obvious, but apparently unforeseen, problems. Did no-one see that cutting council grants would bring about quality reductions in public services? Was no-one in government able to predict recruitment crises in nursing and teaching, through over-work and a pay freeze, or that tax reductions for the rich would not lead to increased inequality and decreased revenue for the Treasury? Selling weapons to the Saudis would bring in revenue, but the longer-term effects of the weapons on human targets, let alone on the government`s ethical standing, clearly mattered not a jot.
     Britain`s current productivity problems have been caused by government-endorsed short-termism in business, with companies focussing more on immediate profits, shareholder dividends, and obscene pay and bonuses for bosses, rather than on improving productivity with longer-term investment in technology and training. Of course, companies concentrating on such policies should be the only ones considered for government contracts.

      With the effects of such short-termism now coming home to roost, is it any wonder principled politicians, with plans to transform the way our society is managed, are on target to win the next election? Being able to manage joined-up thinking is always handy when in government, and Labour being immune from  the Tory disease that is short-termism is something that needs publicising!

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