Editorial with Nick Roberts
A political pet peeve of mine is an inclination towards believing that conservative, capitalist or “fiscally prudent” beliefs are inherently more logical than leftist, social, policies.
The idea that financial and compassionate plans have to be opposite sides of the spectrum to one another seems completely illogical to me, and yet is massively perpetuated as an idea both in the UK – and occasionally here in the Falklands.
It’s been shown in various studies that people in better personal circumstances, with better healthcare, better access to high quality housing, good educations, clean and green spaces, and various other similar factors, work harder; get more done; and in turn benefit the economy in the long term. Of course if we continue further along that line then we start to see profits take a hit, and then we stray into an ideological debate on whether profit and a “free” market, or granting every person a good quality of living regardless of their value to the economy is more important. Perhaps you can imagine my view by how I pose that question.
In any case, I welcome the more social budget principles that have been agreed in the most recent SFC [see front & 3].
The last budget principles were laden with phrases like “encourage economic development,” and “invest in long-term financial sustainability of the Falkland Islands whilst managing variable income levels.”
I don’t disagree with either of those, but the addition of terms like “enhance quality of life and support improvements to our nation’s health, education and well-being,” and “to be just and fair in our budget decisions and also seek to address social and income inequality in our society” make a massive difference in how financial decisions are considered. I think it’s well summarised by simply adding “and social” into what would be an otherwise typical budget principle of: “To prioritise critical infrastructure investment to support sustainable social and economic development.”
Are we aiming to grow the economy just for the sake of it, or is the purpose of a thriving economy supporting the people who contribute to its growth?
I wrote previously about my belief that workers, not senior executives, making the wealth for the economy. That can’t be the case if the workers aren’t supported by our system – if you need a reason for people being supported other than a basic right to dignity.