While Theresa May is busy trying to convince us all that austerity is over the view from America is not so rosy.
The New York Times can see plainly what the Tory government (and so much of the British media) cannot see: austerity is killing communities the length and breadth of the land.
In a visit to Prescott in Lancashire a few months ago their reporter only had to write down what they found to lay the austerity programme bare:
'A walk through this modest town in the northwest of England amounts to a tour of the casualties of Britain’s age of austerity.
The old library building has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home. The leisure centre has been razed, eliminating the public swimming pool. The local museum has receded into town history. The police station has been shuttered.'
And the little that is left the local council is ready to take the axe to: 'as the local government desperately seeks to turn assets into cash, Browns Field, a lush park in the centre of town, may be doomed, too. At a meeting in November, the council included it on a list of 17 parks to sell to developers'. And that's a Labour council.
The borough that contains Prescott has seen its budget cut roughly in half in the last eight years. And the New York Times is clear what this has meant for the country as a whole:
'A wave of austerity has yielded a country that has grown accustomed to living with less, even as many measures of social well-being — crime rates, opioid addiction, infant mortality, childhood poverty and homelessness — point to a deteriorating quality of life.'
And from an American point of view austerity has 'refashioned British society, making it less like the rest of Western Europe, with its generous social safety nets and egalitarian ethos, and more like the United States, where millions lack health care and job loss can set off a precipitous plunge in fortunes.'
That might still be an exaggeration. Our job is to make sure it doesn't ever happen. Indeed its our job to rebuild the welfare state for the 21st