Watching coverage at the weekend of Ed Miliband’s speech and the associated march, one could be forgiven for thinking the Government’s cuts programme was as unpopular as the Iraq war. In fact the latest ICM poll has 57% supporting the Coalition on the idea that cuts are necessary and 29% suggesting the cuts aren’t going far enough. Public support for the idea that the cuts are going too far is dropping off. Given the media’s consistent scaremongering and misrepresentation of the scale of the cuts, these numbers are remarkable.
The launch last week of Channel 4’s Cutsmap for people to tell stories of how cuts are affecting them in their region is a perfect example of only telling one side of the story. Where is the corresponding map showing where the debt was racked up over years of government overspending? Or the map that shows where the children, who will be paying that debt back, live? The BBC has failed to report even-handedly about the true situation of Britain’s finances; constantly using slanted language designed to pitch savings in government expenditure as cuts and present these cuts as taking money out of the economy.
The Coalition hasn’t helped itself. They’ve been sucked into the debate in the terms the media has presented it. But the fact remains that all the cuts programme does, is get public spending back to 2007 levels – 45% of GDP is still a huge proportion and means this Parliament will have continued to add to the national debt, which is (including pensions liabilities) somewhere close to £5 trillion.
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