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  1. Politics
2 October 2009

Which is it, Dave? Jobs or the debt?

Cameron's economic illiteracy exposed again

By Mehdi Hasan

The Tory leader, David Cameron, has (surprise, surprise) done an interview with his new (old?) friends at the Murdoch-owned Sun.

Interestingly, he says he recognises the urgent need to tackle rising joblessness:

“We have to start with that appalling scourge of unemployment. We’re now facing a situation where we have one in five young people out of work. We’re getting back towards that terrible number of three million unemployed.”

Mr Cameron pledged “big, bold and radical plans” to get people back to work.

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He says: “I understand, if you leave people unemployed, and short-term unemployment becomes long-term, then it becomes a lifetime of unemployment. It’s a waste of a life. I must stop it happening.”

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But in the very next breath, according to the Sun’s political editor, George Pascoe-Watson, Cameron returns to his comfort zone:

He also vows to be “straight” with people about the deficit — “the most difficult issue facing the party”. Mr Cameron says: “We are going to confront it. Gordon Brown completely failed to do this. You cannot deal with it just by cutting waste. This is going to require a great national effort.

“The people will have to come together under strong national leadership and come out the other side with a strong economy and we will be living within our means and we can start getting people’s taxes down again.”

Sorry, Dave, no matter how you spin it or sugarcoat it, it is impossible — impossible! — to cut the deficit, cut spending and cut taxes, too, and then also cut unemployment. Especially in a recession. You cannot have your Notting Hill cake and eat it.

The Sun interview confirms, once again, that Cameronomics is fantasy economics. It is the height of economic illiteracy and innumeracy — and it could, according to the New Statesman’s economics columnist, Professor David “Danny” Blanchflower, result in “five million unemployed or more”.

On a side note, here is the most nauseating, not to mention depressing, part of the interview, in which Cameron joins a long line of British, American and Australian politicians in bowing down to the Murdoch media empire, offering the following encomium to the Sun:

“I was delighted when the Sun backed the Conservative Party.

“The Sun is an important national newspaper. You have millions of readers.”

I think I feel my lunch coming up . . .