The British public have seemingly accepted the inevitability of the Coalition-government's ambitious fiscal consolidation plan despite the fact that it may harm many. In this context of general acquiescence, many existing accounts appeal to elites: notably, how the narration of a Debt Crisis has rendered the ‘age of austerity’ as both a logical and common-sense response to the UK ‘living beyond its means’ in the pre-crisis years. Utilising the notion that elite-driven crisis narratives must resonate with the ‘mood of the times’, this paper analyses non-elite crisis narratives. Specifically, it looks at how homeowners from middle-class neighbourhoods justify fiscal consolidation – drawing on a series of focus group interviews to do so. It is argued that the shared popular wisdom and experiences are extrapolated from the personal to make sense of the state level – but in a way that tends to legitimise spending cuts. A key aspect to this mood of the times, it is argued, is the notion that the British public are, as one participant put it, ‘reaping what we sowed’.
|Journal||New Political Economy|
|Early online date||13 Jan 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
- financial crisis
- everyday politics
- economic ideas