At the end of its first, ignominious year, Help to Buy results are available for analysis. The Sun headline is Kylie marries former jailbird in no that’s not right, the real write-bite is this: 2.5% of all mortgages have used the scheme, and the adopters are young and downmarket wannabes north of London who live predominantly in Labour constituencies. The very folks who don’t normally vote Conservative. Just fancy that.
It’s a bribe – and always was. But it can’t change these realities – flicking across the financial sections this morning, we see that:
* Global imbalances are being exacerbated by the oil-price drop. (But it’s not being reflected in retail prices)
* Infrastructure projects have arrived too late to save the Western economies (So much for monetarism)
* The UK housing market has passed its Zenith and looks set to crash (Thank you, Help to Buy…another bribe goes wrong)
* Britain’s financial services sector has booming profits back up to pre-crash levels. (But the rest of the services sector went into reverse, so now the UK dependence on the City is even greater. And after pre-crash, of course, came crash….)
* UBS is to be fined €6.3bn following the discovery of its help to French tax evaders, and a history of irresponsible lending has resulted in the FCA forcing Wonga to write off £220m in bad debts. (Clearly, banking sector reform is working well)
* Austerity has been an utter disaster for the eurozone. (Aber war es gut für Geli und Wolfie)
It’s a sorry picture, but we must learn to love all of it, for Big Boris says we must…and water-cannon shall verily be our reward if we kick up a fuss. But even Germany is now getting a boomerang in the back of the neck. They had a boom, now they Gottaboomerung.
This is because while Berlin is selling mountains of gold-plated Mercs to the Chinese elite, the pauperisation of Europe’s perceived Üntermenschen by Brussels-am-Berlin means they’re socially and economically falling apart…and thus aren’t buying anything. It is what one might call the neoliberal flaw writ large: just don’t hold your breath waiting for any UK or American economist (beyond Stiglitz) to point this out.
But fear not, because France has the answer. Finance Minister Muscovi says that Europe must focus on growth, and the way to do this is for France to be forgiven for its huge deficit, which isn’t getting any better.
“Why be small when you can be big?” said Pinocchio, “For say, don’t you know dat ah see’d a Elephant fly?”
It’s still a Walt Disney world, folks.