Thursday, March 17, 2011
The public sector jobs massacre has begun with gusto, taking place twice as fast as was predicted. Rightwing mythology has it that the cuts are necessary because of Labour's reckless spending. The state has become bloated, choking the life out of the private sector. Cutting spending, privatising and currying favour with the City will spark off a new wave of dynamism from which all will profit. Negative growth in the last quarter? That's because of "the snow".
But the TUC's latest figures on the distribution of unemployment in the UK – which has now climbed to its highest level since 1994 – send a subtly different message. They show that joblessness in Labour constituencies is on average twice that in Tory constituencies. The extremes are telling. The Tory seat of Stratford-upon-Avon has only one jobseeker for every job. The core Labour constituency of Glasgow North West has 41.7 people chasing every job. The message, conveyed in the usual euphemisms about being "out of touch", is that the Tories are the party of the shires, warriors for their class who never have to see the misery they create. And the TUC is right. After all these years, and all these spin cycles, the Tories are still a party of wealth.