Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank God For Mandy

On a morning when unemployment soared to a 14 year high, we listened to Mandy being interviewed by Evan Davis on BBC R4 Today. It reminded Tyler precisely why he must bust his gut to get Dave and co elected next May.

Yes, we do want Dave et al to be far more radical on public sector reform. And yes, we do think they should be much more ambitious on rolling back Big Government, tougher on crime, more focused on controlling immigration, etc etc etc.

But compared to another five years under the slithery Commissar Mendacity, Dave is offering the way, the truth, and the light.

There's something deeply unsettling about a man who can be quite so brazenly deceitful as Mandy. I mean, they all lie - we understand that - but only Mandy seems to thrive on it. The very act of lying seems to nourish him - he positively grows as the slings and arrows of outrageous truth bounce off his reptilian scales.

This morning poor Evan did his best to confront him with The Facts - the huge black hole in the public finances, the obvious reality that any future government will need to cut savagely, etc etc. But The Facts just fuelled His Lordship's dark powers:

"My dear Evan, your puny weapons cannot harm me. Soon I will be more powerful than you can possibly imagine. I am the Master now."

One issue that came up was the oft repeated claim that Labour's reflationary policies have saved 500,000 jobs - jobs that would have been lost had the evil Tories been in power. Davis did immediately challenge the second half of that claim, and he also pointed out that much of the reflation is down to the Bank of England's monetary policy not fiscal action by the government, but Mandy just pressed on regardless.

As it happens, this claim is something I've been meaning to look into anyway. So I've done some digging.

As far as I can see, the claim first surfaced in Brown's interview with the Times on 26 June. He said:

“That means we will return to growth more quickly and we will probably have saved up to 500,000 jobs that would otherwise have been lost. People will see we have made a difference to the path of the recession.”

Later at a press conference on 22 July, he turned up the gas:

"If we had not intervened and acted decisively, at least another 500,000 jobs would have been lost in this recession."

Needless to say, in Mandy's hands the claim has become even more grandiose. He now claims there would have been:

“...far in excess of 500,000 more jobs lost in the recession had it not been for the government and the Bank of England’s intervention.”

So in six weeks we've slithered all the way from "up to", to "at least", to "far in excess of".

But where did the half-million figure come from in the first place?

According to Mandy, it was the Treasury.

Is that even slightly true? All we can find on the HMT website is the following sentence in the Budget Report:

"5.23 Action the Government has taken from the 2008 Pre-Budget Report onwards has already had a critical impact in supporting employment. In addition to the fiscal stimulus and support for Jobcentre Plus, the January Employment Summit announced a further £500 million package, offering support for up to 500,000 jobseekers."

Could that be the original source of the figure? A pie-in-the-sky aspiration tossed out at one of those famous "summits"?

In the absence of some proper chapter and verse, we reckon that is precisely where the figure came from. It is complete and utter vapourware.

But as we say, at least this has served to remind us all why these corrupt black-hearted people must be thrown out.

They must join the swelling ranks of the unemployed they have done so much to create.

PS One question that arises from today's dreadful unemployment numbers is why the increase in the number of registered Jobseekers is so much less than the increase in the number of unemployed? There are now an estimated 2.43m unemployed, compared to "only" 1.58m registered and claiming Jobseekers Allowance. The answer of course is that many of the newly unemployed know that the JobCentres cannot help them. The experience of our acqaintances who've lost jobs is that JobCentres can help you fill in your benefit claim, but are next to useless in terms of finding a new job. You are much better saving your time to do your own job search. All you will get at a Job Centre is depression.

Update 13.8.09 - The Telegraph reports that the Treasury has disowned Mandy's employment claim (see here).

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