Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Gleaner 'Leftist' jab is garbage

Published:Friday | July 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM


The writers of the Gleaner editorials (29 & 30/6/15), in support of the Government, may think it good debating tactics to paint critics of the Government's no-or-low-growth stance as former 1970s "Left rump" seeking to completely reverse the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal. But as discerning readers will have observed, this is a total falsification of the criticisms and will gain The Gleaner no commendation.

The critics are arguing for moderating the extreme demands of the IMF, slowing the pace, not for a total rollback. They're arguing for the inclusion of growth and social responsibility. Debt at 100 per cent of GDP by 2020 may sound like a divine tablet from Mount IMF. But a year later - or earlier through growth - could do just as well.

By no stretch of any imagination can banker Aubyn Hill, who for months has been steadfast in his critique of the Government/IMF no-growth position, be located on the Left. Nor can Professor Hubert Devonish of the West Indies Group of University Teachers. Nor can the manufacturers seeking some tax reduction. Nor those arguing for the inclusion of housing efforts as a way to grow the economy. There is no Greek Tsipras here.

If The Gleaner is going to talk about "Leftist rump" and "unmuzzled ox", for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the history of the 1970s, one must recall all the mistakes of the 1970s. They are not limited to those of the Michael Manley regime or his supporters. The mistakes included the 'Rightist' (and political) extremism of certain media and of the IMF.

Furthermore, it does not appear that all the lessons of the '70s have been learned, especially that excessively harsh measures can bring equally unwelcome reactions. The growth from nine to 18 per cent in two years of those willing to consider a violent overthrow of our democracy (LAPOP 2014 survey) should not be ignored. Nor should the three murders served up daily without fail.