The Prime Minister’s favourite phrase is that we are in a global race. It’s not a phrase I would have chosen myself, as images like this can bring in irrelevant or misleading thoughts to people’s minds. However, his phrase does get across two very important truths which do have a big bearing on our situation. I support the intentions behind the use of the saying.
The phrase reminds us that if we want to carry on enjoying the first world living standards we are used to, we have to compete successfully in the global marketplace. It reminds us that the world does not owe us a living. There is no global social security system to top up our incomes to the levels we want. We have to earn our lifestyle in an increasingly competitive world market.
The message is usually tempered by more positive and helpful messages, and needs to be. If we are all in this race, people need reassurance that the government will be on their side and will help them to win it. The purpose behind policies to promote better schools and better training is to equip more of us to find productive employment at better salaries so we have a better lifestyle. The idea behind welfare reform is to ensure people who cannot get jobs are looked after, whilst there is a better incentive for the many who are capable of work to get a job and contribute to producing the output the nation needs to earn its living standards.
The Prime Minister has been especially active in helping the business community to export. He has led the way in showing the opportunities in the large Asian markets, at a time when the UK’s traditional goods markets in Euroland have been under pressure from falling demand. He wishes to get across the need for the UK to widen its base of goods and services for sale, and widen its markets abroad so we tap into the faster growing emerging economies.
The problem remains that the UK’s ability to compete properly in this global race, particularly in the production of goods, is being impaired by high energy and other costs imposed by the EU government as well as by domestic policies adopted in the previous decade. The UK is also having to battle against heavy handed but unsuccessful EU regulation of services pushing more of the UK’s success story in global markets offshore from the EU.
The UK also suffers from the political attacks of those who dislike any success. Now the economy is recovering critics are out and about condemning the rise of London, disliking the recovery of financial and business services, and objecting to any house price rises.