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Banker warns of economic meltdown

Posted on 15 September 2011 | 7:09am

Someone very kindly sent me an advance copy of ‘A Life Too Short,’ which tells the story of German goalkeeper Robert Enke, who ended his own life after years of struggling with depression.

It is not out until the end of the month, so I won’t say too much, other than the fact that having started to read it on the flight out to Kosovo on Monday, I was really looking forward to a good long read on the Budapest-London leg of the flight home. It is a very sad story, and a very good book.

However, my chances of getting stuck in were somewhat limited by the fact that the man in the seat next to me greeted me with a very warm and friendly ‘hello Mr Campbell,’ and went on to devote the entire flight to fairly intense conversation. Being a lot more polite than you might imagine – well, some of the time – I only managed about ten pages of the book, did a bit of work on a speech I am making about mental health in Cambridge today, and chatted away.

My neighbour was a banker, but very interested in, and well informed about, politics, and by the end of the flight I felt I had been through a gentle but lengthy q and a session. All the usual stuff – what was Gordon like, did I still see Tony, what was Bush like, will Obama win, will Sarkozy, were there any Tories I admired, low points, high points, what was I up to those days … ???

When we got onto me asking him questions, I learned he was a Tory voter, worked all over the world, had kids in very expensive schools (but his wife, a teacher, agreed with a lot of what my partner Fiona said about education), thought the economic situation was even worse than people were saying, there was going to be a Second GFC (global financial crisis) and GFC2 would be worse than GFC1.

He thought the euro would collapse, Europe would turn in on each other and before too long there would be a referendum on leaving the European Union. Big stuff. He thought the UK spending cuts were playing at the margins, and that far deeper austerity may be down the track. But he thought that David Cameron and George Osborne were out of their depth and didn’t understand the scale of the eurozone problem, or the impact it was going to have on the UK. He was not a fan of Ed Miliband or Ed Balls but said the claim that Osborne lacked a strategy for growth was spot on. Yesterday’s jobless figures, he believed, confirmed that.

So what should we be doing, I asked? ‘Fasten your seat belt,’ he said.

After a couple of hours of economic woe, returning to Robert Enke was something of a relief.

  • Ian Eastwood.

    Then Swiss bank UBS have been hit by £2bn ‘rogue trade’. Two of France’s largest banks have a credit rating downgrade by Moody’s. On a lighter note the ‘Fonz’ get honorary OBE for dyslexia work.

  • Olli Issakainen

    American sociologist and world-systems analyst Immanuel Wallerstein wrote in Foreign Policy that we not recovering from recession.
    The whole system is falling down!
    Capitalism can destroy itself by shifting income and wealth from labour to capital.
    The coalition´s neoliberal agenda is the most radical social revolution in decades.
    We are living the end of debt-fuelled boom, the banking crisis of 2007-10.
    Neoliberal economic model that has dominated global capitalism is bankrupt.
    Thatcherism and New Labour contributed to this project.
    Neoliberalism is grounded in the free individual. State is bad thing. Welfare state is the enemy of freedom. State must never regulate free-market economy.
    Corporate and private interest must prevail.
    The neoliberal narrative says that the welfare state should not intervene in economy, redistribute wealth, universalise life chances, attack unemployment or protect the vulnerable.
    The banking crisis gave the coalition an alibi to launch a social revolution. They convinced themselves that deep cuts were needed to satisfy the bond markets.
    But as the rightwing economist Milton Friedman said, the crisis could be used to produce real change.
    Messrs Osborne, Gove and company are driven by ideology, not economics. They believe in creative destruction.
    We are now heading for a second global financial crisis thanks to neoliberalism and banks.
    We have a two-part economy in this world.
    The real economy and the casino economy.
    Wealth has been deliberately extracted from the real economy. The share of real wages in GDP has fallen from 58% in 1980 to 53% now.
    The result has been underinvestment and enforced borrowing. And short-termism.
    It is now time to get the casino capitalism back under control. But fear of markets has prevented our leaders to seek for alternatives even though the stupidity of the current macroeconomic stance should be easy for everyone to see.
    Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers the global economy is not recovering. Fiscal hawks wrongly think that public spending is the problem.
    There is inability to rein in finance.
    Conditions are worsening for ordinary citizens. Basic Keynesian macroeconomics has been forgotten.
    The 2011 Unctad report says that fiscal tightening is likely to be self-defeating. It will reduce growth and revenues.
    So we need a change in policy and restructuring of the financial system. We need bigger role for public and co-operative institutions.
    Western financial institutions have created conditions of too much private debt and varying forms of financial bets. And too little of bank capital.
    Banks have an army of lobbyists. Bankers are ruling the world instead of politicians.
    Moody´s, S & P and Fitch credit rating agencies are superpowers dictating policy to national governments.
    Banks have so much power because only banks, not entrepreneurs, can create wealth.
    Ralph Miliband claimed that Labour was incapable of articulating radical political demands and providing a serious challenge to capitalist power structures.
    Ed Miliband must now show that his father was wrong.
    In 1983 Michael Foot advocated nationalisation of banks. It might be a good idea now to nationalise at least one bank.
    Britain cannot afford another banking crisis.
    Ringfencing is a solution. Investment banks must be separated from retail banks. Full separation is the best way.
    Banks are now “too big to fail”. There must be a size cap.
    £456.33bn has now been pledged to the banks. In cash terms the UK has so far spent £123.93bn.
    In 2010 the City accounted for 50.8% of all Conservative party donations (£11.4m). The City has donated total of £42.76m since 2005. Many Tory MPs have made their money in the City.
    No wonder the City can do what it wants!
    But society and banks have different aims. Banks do not care about the common good.
    To stablise the world economy we need to a different relationship between government and the marketplace. New international financial regulations will not eliminate speculation that has brought the entire system on the brink of collapse.
    Karl Polanyi repudiated both market liberalism and state socialism. He said that placing state and market in opposition was wrong.
    The market needs the state, and the state needs market.
    Polanyi´s vision offers an alternative economy to neoliberalism of right and left.
    Elected governments should restrict the free flow of capital and regulate economic activity.
    Markets are not self-regulating. They require political direction.
    Global capitalism has had capacity for surving and re-inveting itself. But we are now heading for second Great Depression without a map.
    Italy will cause a crash in Europe. After that a new international monetary system and one-world government await us.

  • Changes to the Spanish constitution to enable a cap, enormous regional cuts and educational storms due to cuts will swing November’s early election. The French and Italian examples are clear, Belgium – as ever – has no government to face their problems and Greece…. well.
    So, unfortunately, the Euro  connundrum is becoming more and more like the call of the Generals in WW1 – just one more push, one more attempt to overcome and more cannon fodder. Namely the poor, the young whose educational and employment prospects have been blighted and the vulnerable of all ages.
    It is easy to sound so pessimistic but the storm is immense and is close.

  • MicheleB

    Lots of commentary from economists and bankers at the mo is in shaky voices.

    The ‘painting by numbers’ MO is typified by the simplistic ‘1 in 1 out’ (durrrrrrr) dictat from Cameron about new legislation. 

  • Wow…a return to the banking/finance questions that go over my head but straight to my heart…never to be openly commented upon as I know I don’t understand the intricacies well enough. Except that anyone can tell what a c&c* up the condemnation is making…the only thing they are good at is looking daft.

    Oh, it’s good to be back.

    Now then, what would I do if I met you, Alastair (not that I am ever likely to be seated next to you as I don’t fly – had a memory loss thingy way back and don’t fly now because of it).

    So, I think I’d tell you I was me who comments on your blog…I think I would compliment you on your writing style…ask after your health, possibly the book you were reading, and then I hope I’d shut up and read my own book, possibly make the odd polite pieces of conversation as the journey progressed (we’d have to be on a train and you’d have to be sitting close to the wheelchair place).

    As I said, very unlikely!

    Oh yes, we might bump into each other at Stamford Bridge but not until Everton, certainly not this Sunday, and you’ll probably be elsewhere worshipping other idols in cool gear kicking the a&s* out of a single ball that everyone wants to get into the back of the onion bag.

    Front row, West stand! v Everton!

  • I’m hearing some deeply worrying things too.  I used to teach at a Catholic school and while I am not in favour of  there were things about it which made great sense.

    One was that prayers were often said for those in positions of leadership.  It helped us shift our perspective from our everyday noticing of what they were doing wrong to thinking about the challenges and stresses they face.

  • ambrosian

    You constantly disappoint us with these anecdotes. Malcolm Tucker would have told that gentleman to “tell someone who gives a f***” and returned to his book. I don’t really want you to be more polite than I might imagine but that probably reflects more badly on me than on you.

    Yesterday Cameron gave you a rather odd name check at PMQs. He seemed to be comparing you to an allegedly criminal LibDem donor. I think it was meant to be a joke, albeit a typically weak and desperate one which didn’t even raise a laugh from the toadies behind him. But my God, their obsession with you shows no signs of fading.

    Talking of Cameron, there has just been an interesting juxtaposition of items on the News Channel. As Cameron was touring a hospital in Tripoli to great acclaim, new figures were released showing a considerable rise in waiting lists in our own NHS. It may not be long before the only hospitals that Cameron dare visit will be in Libya.

  • Chris lancashire

    Cameron and Osborne may be well out of their depth. Fortunately they aren’t drowning like Gordon. I’m staggered that you have the effrontery to even comment on the country’s economic situation given the mess that Labour left. 

  • MicheleB

    The namecheck did come out of the blue didn’t it?  Following on from the off-colour ‘joke’ about poor Ms Dorries last week I’m getting more and more convinced about the impossibility of our situation with this snake as PM.

    I know I’m always blathering on at others about the wrongness, nastiness of guessing about people’s motives and broadcasting those guesses but REALLY I am quite sure a lot of VG value investing/buying is going on through certain people’s stockbrokers at the moment.

  • MicheleB

    It’s not likely that the UK is going to go the same way as Finland Olli and I’m not sure, in truth, whether everyone would want it to.

    We are a mixed economy, like it or not.  We have different ‘challenges’ (that’s such a polite word to describe problems isn’t it? ….. as is ‘issues’).

    Most of Europe received financial aid from USA post-WWII.  I know from posting on a US forum for some time some time ago that there is still a lot of resentment about how Europe spent what they still see as their taxes.  They have a lot more angry stuff to say about UK and France than I’ve ever seen about Scandinavia !!

    Finland received massive amounts, some of it apparently in secret,
    their/your being one of the closest countries needed as a bulwark
    against USSR.

    UK received a loan that took 30+ years but was paid back.

  • Gilliebc

    Rebecca, I don’t for one moment dismiss the power of prayer.  But prayers for those in positions of leadership is a waste of time imo, since 99% of them are working for the “other” side.  By their works/deeds you will know them, is the phrase that springs to my mind.

  • Gilliebc

    Rebecca, I don’t for one moment dismiss the power of prayer.  But prayers for those in positions of leadership is a waste of time imo, since 99% of them are working for the “other” side.  By their works/deeds you will know them, is the phrase that springs to my mind.

  • Gilliebc

    I don’t think you are sounding pessimistic Duncan.  Many people including me share your fears.  As someone wrote on another site only yesterday, “humanity is entering uncharted waters”  However, I think we can all try to enjoy the here and now as best we can, take one day at a time and various other platitudes including hope or pray for a miracle!

    It’s a beautiful day here in Devon, hope it’s likewise wherever you are 🙂

  • Gilliebc

    I don’t think you are sounding pessimistic Duncan.  Many people including me share your fears.  As someone wrote on another site only yesterday, “humanity is entering uncharted waters”  However, I think we can all try to enjoy the here and now as best we can, take one day at a time and various other platitudes including hope or pray for a miracle!

    It’s a beautiful day here in Devon, hope it’s likewise wherever you are 🙂

  • Gilliebc

    I rather liked AC’s anecdote ambrosian.  It never ceases to amaze me how most of the general public treat well known people.  i.e. like public property!  Personally, I just wouln’t have the nerve.  So AC in the unlikey event you find me seated next to you in a plane or train you will never even know and you would have an undisturbed journey. 

    I liked the remainder of your post btw ambrosian.

  • Gilliebc

    I rather liked AC’s anecdote ambrosian.  It never ceases to amaze me how most of the general public treat well known people.  i.e. like public property!  Personally, I just wouln’t have the nerve.  So AC in the unlikey event you find me seated next to you in a plane or train you will never even know and you would have an undisturbed journey. 

    I liked the remainder of your post btw ambrosian.

  • sorry typo:
    not in favour of the use of state education to segregate society on religious or ethnic grounds

    I am in favour of local faith groups being encouraged to be involved in schools (with obvious boundaries) because I have seen how much some students and teachers benefit from having the opportunity to explore faith, spirituality and religion and from what they and the people who belong to such communities offer them.

    Anyway – back on topic… 

    It’s going to be interesting to have our economic fate in the hands of the Chinese….

  • sorry typo:
    not in favour of the use of state education to segregate society on religious or ethnic grounds

    I am in favour of local faith groups being encouraged to be involved in schools (with obvious boundaries) because I have seen how much some students and teachers benefit from having the opportunity to explore faith, spirituality and religion and from what they and the people who belong to such communities offer them.

    Anyway – back on topic… 

    It’s going to be interesting to have our economic fate in the hands of the Chinese….

  • MicheleB

    Ooooh the mists need to clear CL.

    Think back ….. doo dee dooo deee dooo dah ….. USA, all the world’s banks, Lehman, Northern Rock, dooo deee dooooo dee doooooodahhhh Dubbya doing nowt.

    If you’re not feeling clearer-headed,  try sitting down to type.

    Even though I dooooh know what a billion is and do realise that £120m per day equates to £43.3bn of them per year I still don’t ‘get’ the oft-trotted out statement about £120m per day.  Even after a year, even though we know the loans were at the most beneficial rate ever.  Show your qualifications to diss Brown and Darling.  WTH ever EVER talks about their interest per day/week/month etc as if it’s not something that goes down and if one keeps paying that amount anyway one is eating in to the capital that more quickly?
    I’m not an economist but I sure as heck know you have no handle on such things  🙂

  • MicheleB

    Ooooh the mists need to clear CL.

    Think back ….. doo dee dooo deee dooo dah ….. USA, all the world’s banks, Lehman, Northern Rock, dooo deee dooooo dee doooooodahhhh Dubbya doing nowt.

    If you’re not feeling clearer-headed,  try sitting down to type.

    Even though I dooooh know what a billion is and do realise that £120m per day equates to £43.3bn of them per year I still don’t ‘get’ the oft-trotted out statement about £120m per day.  Even after a year, even though we know the loans were at the most beneficial rate ever.  Show your qualifications to diss Brown and Darling.  WTH ever EVER talks about their interest per day/week/month etc as if it’s not something that goes down and if one keeps paying that amount anyway one is eating in to the capital that more quickly?
    I’m not an economist but I sure as heck know you have no handle on such things  🙂

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but what you say doesn’t stack up.  Osborne has spent a long time spinning about the previous government and its legacy.  He is quick to blame the general economic environment for his own lack of success, however.  The unemployment figures this week are extremely serious – if you think things are going well, or even just OK, I’d encourage you to think again.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but what you say doesn’t stack up.  Osborne has spent a long time spinning about the previous government and its legacy.  He is quick to blame the general economic environment for his own lack of success, however.  The unemployment figures this week are extremely serious – if you think things are going well, or even just OK, I’d encourage you to think again.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Banks have so much power because only banks, not entrepreneurs, can create wealth.’
    Excuse me, Olli, but banks don’t ‘create’ any wealth. Wealth is created by people getting out of bed every morning and usually humping gross matter from point A to point B for about eight hours or more. Banks play casino games with the wealth thus created. Entrepreneurs manage the process of wealth creation by others, usually in such a way as ‘to get a fat bit for themselves’, to quote the anonymous balled, ‘McCafferay’. Let’s get that straight. When the true wealth creators down tools the entire house of cards collapses. Bankers, in their suits and ties, lobby governments to bring in the water cannons and night sticks. Entrepreneurs, in their suits and their ties, make terribly reasonable statements about ‘competitiveness’ and ‘holding the country to ransom’. All this is old hat nineteenth century stuff. The big problem, now as in a century ago, is why do we all take it? The answer is because we don’t put forward a credible and realistic alternative. My answer is – let’s stop parroting old slogans and let’s roll up our sleeves and start again. We have to articulate a new way forward, and we won’t do that by propagating apocalyptic horror stories and regurgitating failed prescriptions.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Banks have so much power because only banks, not entrepreneurs, can create wealth.’
    Excuse me, Olli, but banks don’t ‘create’ any wealth. Wealth is created by people getting out of bed every morning and usually humping gross matter from point A to point B for about eight hours or more. Banks play casino games with the wealth thus created. Entrepreneurs manage the process of wealth creation by others, usually in such a way as ‘to get a fat bit for themselves’, to quote the anonymous balled, ‘McCafferay’. Let’s get that straight. When the true wealth creators down tools the entire house of cards collapses. Bankers, in their suits and ties, lobby governments to bring in the water cannons and night sticks. Entrepreneurs, in their suits and their ties, make terribly reasonable statements about ‘competitiveness’ and ‘holding the country to ransom’. All this is old hat nineteenth century stuff. The big problem, now as in a century ago, is why do we all take it? The answer is because we don’t put forward a credible and realistic alternative. My answer is – let’s stop parroting old slogans and let’s roll up our sleeves and start again. We have to articulate a new way forward, and we won’t do that by propagating apocalyptic horror stories and regurgitating failed prescriptions.

  • Dave Simons

    Even you must have noticed that when Labour is in office the global financial crisis is a product of its policies, whereas when the Tories are (effectively) in office, the global financial crisis is the cause of all our economic ills and nothing to do with Tory economic policies. Gordon Brown was certainly not out of his depth in 2008, but I entirely agree with you that Osborne and Cameron are in 2011, though they personally, and their ilk, are some way from drowning, and not even waving (with thanks to Stevie Smith). ‘The mess that Labour left’ is getting a bit tedious, Chris, and a bit stupid, don’t you think?

  • Dave Simons

    Even you must have noticed that when Labour is in office the global financial crisis is a product of its policies, whereas when the Tories are (effectively) in office, the global financial crisis is the cause of all our economic ills and nothing to do with Tory economic policies. Gordon Brown was certainly not out of his depth in 2008, but I entirely agree with you that Osborne and Cameron are in 2011, though they personally, and their ilk, are some way from drowning, and not even waving (with thanks to Stevie Smith). ‘The mess that Labour left’ is getting a bit tedious, Chris, and a bit stupid, don’t you think?

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Typical Catholic’, is my response. Let’s all touch our forelocks to these wonderful careerists who we allow to step over our backs and climb into positions of power and authority. The only reservation I have is that these people are usually more narrow, more boring and more stupid than the rest of us, and I can testify that from decades of bitter experience. Why do we suffer them? I work with people who seriously believe that position in a hierarchy reflects intelligence and ability. Absolutely no truth in that! Ability to grovel, creep, back-stab – yes. No – if we want to offer prayers let’s pray for ourselves and our apparent reluctance or inability to challenge the opportunists who worm their way into positions of leadership. As for challenges and stresses, ask any front line staff about them – they’re better qualified to answer.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Typical Catholic’, is my response. Let’s all touch our forelocks to these wonderful careerists who we allow to step over our backs and climb into positions of power and authority. The only reservation I have is that these people are usually more narrow, more boring and more stupid than the rest of us, and I can testify that from decades of bitter experience. Why do we suffer them? I work with people who seriously believe that position in a hierarchy reflects intelligence and ability. Absolutely no truth in that! Ability to grovel, creep, back-stab – yes. No – if we want to offer prayers let’s pray for ourselves and our apparent reluctance or inability to challenge the opportunists who worm their way into positions of leadership. As for challenges and stresses, ask any front line staff about them – they’re better qualified to answer.

  • I think your banker just might be right AC, the Central banks today in essence are bailing out the banks again!! The PIIGS are still there as a problem, Greece is conning both the EU and the IMF with its cuts, the only thing keeping Italy going is the ECB. If the tea bags do hit the fan the present cuts by the Coalition will look like happy our, at least Ed Balls has said sorry for the Labour economic record, will you say sorry for leaving us with GB, the structural financial mess pre banking collapse, that TB didn’t get rid of GB when he had the chance, you have been very quite so far on the Alistair Darling book, that really puts the political knife in to GB. I leave out Iraq as I supported the invasion, if not the failure for after invasion planning, as for Afghanistan know one ever gets that right, by the way when is the final volume of your great diaries out, also do we get an extra that covers the Brown years after your left.

  • I think your banker just might be right AC, the Central banks today in essence are bailing out the banks again!! The PIIGS are still there as a problem, Greece is conning both the EU and the IMF with its cuts, the only thing keeping Italy going is the ECB. If the tea bags do hit the fan the present cuts by the Coalition will look like happy our, at least Ed Balls has said sorry for the Labour economic record, will you say sorry for leaving us with GB, the structural financial mess pre banking collapse, that TB didn’t get rid of GB when he had the chance, you have been very quite so far on the Alistair Darling book, that really puts the political knife in to GB. I leave out Iraq as I supported the invasion, if not the failure for after invasion planning, as for Afghanistan know one ever gets that right, by the way when is the final volume of your great diaries out, also do we get an extra that covers the Brown years after your left.

  • Taking each day one at a time is what I have been doing for many years…less stress, less regret and more optimism greets your day!

    It has been gorgeous weather here too – planning to whisper:bbq:whisper tomorrow evening so expect anything!

  • Joerg N.

    Please read the Enke-book, but not during short flights – you may loose the line for your following dates!
    regards from Germany

  • Fastening your seatbelt won’t work on an an economic plane in the air with one wing missing. I would suggest you don’t fly for a while.

    Des Currie

  • MicheleB

    I don’t think Olli is actually saying that banks create wealth DS, it’s a nuance thing.

    Whether we like it or not banks can, by their charges and their restrictions and their capacity to control who gets a loan and who doesn’t, have an effect on what wealth does get made.

    Olli, many of our banks are effectively nationalised (or at least part-owned by Govt).  What’s very weird …. and probably even needs looking into (I’m a suspicious soul) …. is why there is no Govt representation on their boards, even after 2/3yrs of their cavalier behaviour while indebted to the public!

    WTH are their share prices are being allowed to go through the floor and just who is benefitting from it?  There are as sure as heck some that will be doing very nicely eventually and they, sure as heck, are people that can afford a long-term position .

  • You may see society as being ‘them and us’ Gillie.  I don’t.  I’m not interested in taking sides.  

  • Does everyone here understand the positive things that recessions bring?  Do you want me to draft a blog post which looks on the bright side for you Alastair and you can post it if you like?

    I gather the dark side is more your thing…. 🙁     🙂

    If you don’t want it I’ll try and put on on my own blog but no-one reads that.  Better get on and do a summary of ‘who we would actually give schools more freedom if it wasn’t all about making money’ first though.

    http://mathseducationandallthat.blogspot.com/

  • Chris lancashire

    Dave, I was addressing the organ grinder.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Whether we like it or not banks can, by their charges and their
    restrictions and their capacity to control who gets a loan and who
    doesn’t, have an effect on what wealth does get made.’

    Yes of course banks have a huge effect on what wealth gets made, but they don’t actually create wealth themselves. What Olli said was: ‘Banks have so much power because only banks, not entrepreneurs, can create wealth.’ If it’s a nuance thing I can’t see it.

  • GJ

    I’m amazed at some of the inconsistencies, and naivety, people have about who has caused the financial mess. Firstly, it wasn’t New Labour, or Gordon Brown, or Alistair Darling; it was the fast and loose behavior of cowboys working in the city and the banks.

    The world economy was on the road to recovery, before Mr Osbourne set about wrecking it. I’m not saying he’s wrecking it intently, but he is seriously misguided and out of his depth. He has the misplaced ideology that cuts to public services means deficit reduction, when in reality, only economic growth can bring this , at a sustainable level. 

    The biggest damage done was to business confidence, and consumer confidence, which has created a trend of retrenchment in both business and consumer. 

    Months ago, Gordon Brown warned that the second phase of recovery was not being taken care of, the potential crisis within the EU, and we have been sleepwalking into this situation. Without real economic leadership, it will fail to improve. Had there been any sense of the urgency required, to act as one over Europe, then Brown would have been placed at the head of the IMF. 

    I think we have to take what Alistair Darling says in his memoirs, with a very large pinch of salt, as feelings are still raw. Perhaps he should have held fire, like others are choosing to do, and reflect when the passage of time has allowed wisdom space to come to the fore. As AD has indicated, a diary only gives you the immediate feelings, at the time. There are others who are yet to speak, and we will hopefully get a more balanced and measured assessment, of the last days of New Labour. 

    How things might have been, had the Labour Party closed ranks, earlier than the eleventh hour, when too many bridges had been burned. We might have had sustainable growth, which was happening at the time of the election; lower borrowing, which was happening at the time of the election, and economic leadership on the international stage, which we had under the last government. 

  • Anonymous

    feel free to post here as lomg comment?

  • Gilliebc

    Lol Rebecca.  One day soon you will have to take a side.  If you don’t they will do it for you.

  • Gilliebc

    In other words Chris lancashire, you are unable to address the valid points made by Dave S.

  • Chris lancashire

    Not unable, just didn’t think the fatuous remarks required a response. But since you ask I will; Dave’s first sentence is quite ridiculous – nowhere in my original remark did I credit all the world’s ills to Brown (a lot of this country’s can be traced to many of his bad decisions) and nowhere do I suggest the Coalition’s economic strategy couldn’t be better. My main criticism of Brown is he ran a £50bn annual defecit in times of boom, fuelled a cheap credit inspired housing bubble and didn’t have clue about Bank regulation typified by his giving Fred Goodwin a knighthood! As for the present lot, they lack a growth strategy, persist in overtaxing and haven’t really yet tackled the defecit. That alright for you?

    Now, the real reason I post on Mr Campbell’s blog is not to annoy Dave – although I clearly do – it is to remind the blogger (I use the term advisedly) that not everyone is gullible enough to swallow his spin. Take this story – all built on sitting next to “a banker” – for all we know it could have been a Barclay’s Bank cashier or Kweku Adebole. So really, the whole story doesn’t count for much. Or take the next blog post – “millions” to be disenfranchised by those evil Tories – absolute rot built on nothing.

    I apologise for being so dismissive of poor old Dave, but as you can see, i really wasn’t talking to him.

  • I dunno Gillie.  I always hated the art of debating because it was about turning the exploration of an idea into something which was about winning or losing.

    And it doesn’t have to be. 

    I love the art of exploring ideas on discussion forums because it doesn’t have to be like that at all.  You say something because you think there’s something more to be said.  You don’t know where it’s going and you never know what anyone else is going to say next.  You rapidly expand your horizons and your level of insight deepens in unexpected and energising bursts.

    Here’s a bit more on that –
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/55142332/Exploring-Discussion-Forums

    Personally I’m focusing on developing systems of democracy which conform much more to wiki’s definition than ours does and which could, interestingly enough, work well with any form of government with highly intelligent and benevolant leaderships which are not afraid of reform. 

    I think I’ll just be me Gillie.  It’s worked so far.  It makes my kids (and me) laugh.

    Thanks for putting up with me interloping.

    as salaam alaikum

  • Thanks for the invite Alastair.
     
    It’s the mums at my son’s primary school who are inspiring me.  They’re all reaching the stage where they’re ready to return to work but can’t get any.  I think because we know what it’s like not to work/function here they’re getting straight down to the business of getting organised.  They’re determined to focus on activities which will support the school and the community, will raise some funds and will, most importantly we well know, mean that we continuously meet in a super-low cost way and talk a lot and work together to support each other.
     
    People’s experiences of recession are not necessarily negative if it’s a point when they move from behaving in a individualistic way or with a narrow focus to behaving in a way which is more sensitive to the community and environment around them.  
     
    Of course that’s often not visible for quite a while for those who are going through the shock of losing their jobs and the sudden change in status and functionality which goes with that.   It’s easier for us mums who haven’t such a dramatic change and are kept functioning and meeting each other by our children.  And it’s easier for my community because we’ve been there so totally so recently that we know we’ll survive.  But in the long term a significant proportion of people do come out the other side of tough times as better and happier people.

  • MicheleB

    wow, what pretentious wannabe piggishness 
    .

  • I’m just remembering the head of that schools with a big sigh.

    He was a quite and dedicated man who did an excellent job which enabled us to do really good jobs too.  We were so lucky to have him. 

    Pre-careerist heads age Dave. 

  • Dave Simons

    Far from being ridiculous my first sentence is a fact which has been well-documented in much recent press coverage. I didn’t, on the above post,  say that you credited all the world’s ills to Gordon Brown – perhaps you were referring to a previous post – but you do give the impression sometimes of someone who doesn’t actually read what is said.
    ‘Poor old Dave’ is sorry to hear that you weren’t talking to him. Since you use the adjective ‘fatuous’, I’ll ask you is anything more fatuous than posting on a public blog and expecting your post to be aimed at, and responded to by, one person only – in this case Alastair Campbell? If you want to have a private conversation with Alastair there are ways of doing it without using this site.

  • Have replied but it’s appeared about about 3 posts up from here.
    ???

  • My other passion (which I think will make a difference to the way this depression is experienced compared with the 1980s) is discussion forums.

    One of their biggest benefits is that they allow people who are suddenly socially isolated to plug into highly stimulating and contructive professional discussion groups. 

    Instead of being stuck all along you can start exploring your dreams of other things with like minded and intelligent individuals, seeing where they go and allowing some to fall while others appear all for free from the comfort of your nice warm local library.  Unless Cameron shuts them down of course.

    And while we’re on libraries, a big thumbs up from me for story sacks for young kids.  Great stuff!

    About 3 times as many people at the HSA meeting today as normal.  Hard to hear what people were saying as everyone was so enthusiastic and talked so much.  Good cake too.

  • Gilliebc

    I think you make many interesting, good and encouraging points in both your posts Rebecca. But, sadly there’s a big elephant in the room. Far be it from me to discourage or even possibly depress anyone. But as I understand it you are  Roman Catholic?  I am also a Christian though not RC, I have no real issues with RC’s or any other Christian organisation. So no doubt you are familiar with the concepts of good and evil. At the risk of sounding like a nutter, I firmly believe, because of strong evidence, that the world and our way of life is under very serious threat from the evil ruling elite now as it’s never been before.  Please see my post today (20/9) and also the post of Olli I.  Life is about to become even more challenging!  That’s what I meant the other day about taking sides. i.e. good v evil.  Incidently, I don’t spend all my time worrying or even thinking about what may be about to happen.  I just carry on as normal taking one day at a time enjoying and helping my family particularly my two little grandchildren, living one day at a time as the bible advises.  I’ve paraphrased a bit.  I just think that people need to be aware that’s all.

  • Did you think the teachers at RC schools are RC Gillie?

    I think you’re overestimating the number of RC secondary maths teachers there are in the UK…  and quite how Catholic most Catholics are.

    That’s a no I’m not Roman Catholic by the way.

    I’m not in to taking sides and I don’t find the idea of the evil ruling elite particularly useful.  Such a label tends to obscure detailed realities.