Category Archives: austerity

Dalrymple’s Dictionary of Debased Modern English



This word, Dalrymple writes, is in Europe today used

to denote attempts by governments to align more closely (not absolutely) their expenses with their incomes. It would be as accurate to call a rich miser profligate with his money if he bought a loaf of bread.

Using the right terminology, says Dalrymple, would not settle the question of whether attempts to balance the government budget were economically wise or foolish, but

a proper discussion can hardly begin while spending only 3% or 4% more than one’s income rather than, say, 8% or 10% is regarded as some kind of sadomasochistic or penitential asceticism.

All terminology is flawed, no doubt, but

some terms are more flawed than others—and some amount to full-blown and highly motivated lies.

The Lancet in the old days

Dalrymple enjoys Simenon’s 1960 novel Maigret et les Vieillards, which opens with the commissioner having dinner with his friends Dr and Mrs Pardon. The doctor remarks that the Lancet, ‘the austere English medical journal’, has mentioned the great police detective. Dalrymple asks: ‘Would anyone use the word “austere” to describe the journal now?’

I hug the masses. I feel their pain

Competitive compassionate gesturing — and calls for taxpayers’ cash and property

The Grenfell Tower fire, writes Dalrymple,

could not have come at a better time for Jeremy Corbyn.

Dalrymple notes that while the Labour leader is

a natural hugger of potential voters, Theresa May is not. And what establishes the depths of a person’s compassion for victims more indisputably than a hug?

Corbyn, indeed,

senses that he is but a compassionate gesture or two away from occupying No.10.

Time for some good old Leninist expropriation

This Marxist says that he is angry at what happened, which he links to

what is known as fiscal austerity—that is, when government spends only 108% of tax revenue, instead of the much higher percentage that he favours.

Of course, Corbyn

skated over the part played by the public sector in the tragedy.

House of cards

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 07.45.57Britain’s fragile, debt-ridden economy

British socialists are determined to

put an end to government ‘austerity’—that is, the policy of reducing the budget deficit from 10 percent of GDP to 5 percent, which has taken seven years to accomplish.

The British

live by the grace and favour of foreign lenders content to buy the country’s bonds at low interest rates.

However, lenders’ confidence that Britain is, to a degree, a haven

could easily change. The country would then have to earn its current standard of living, which it is in poor shape to do; and a sharp decline could lead to social unrest, leading to a further collapse of confidence.