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New shadow cabinet must now defend better, attack better, and win the future better

Posted on 8 October 2011 | 10:10am

As Liam Fox and Chris Huhne were embarrassing themselves and the government last night, I won’t have been the only one to have liked the younger, more feminine look of the new shadow cabinet.

But I am sure Ed Miliband and his team understand – getting the new team together is the easy bit. Now they have to show they can do the three things required of an Opposition strategy – defend themselves, attack the other lot, and give a sense of what a Labour future would be like.

To take them one by one.

1. Defending themselves. That also means defending Labour’s record in government. The Tories have been trashing it as an act of strategy – on the economy and public services in particular on which, despite the crash, we have a terrific record to defend. Stop apologising for it, which plays into Tory hands, and start fighting for it. It is essential to winning back trust on the economy and everything that flows from that.

2. Attacking the other lot. They have an economic plan not working. They have health reforms which have united practitioners and public in opposition. They have school reforms the good bits of which were borrowed from us, the bad bits of which are taking the country back to good education for an elite not the many. The cops are offside with their police plans. They are divided on justice and prisons. They have given up on the environment. Because of stupid positions adopted opportunistically in opposition they are running out of airline capacity and their energy policy is a mess. Services left right and centre that help The Big Society (not mentioned in Cameron’s conference speech) actually mean something are being scrapped. Their defence secretary is an overambitious messer who is on the verge of causing a reshuffle. They are messing about on Europe, as per their DNA. The Prime Minister showed last week that beyond looking the part, he is clueless about how to solve the big problems of our time. They are sitting targets every one of them. So let’s find the energy and the oomph to hit them.

3. The future. Always the most important bit. But with a new team, and an election some way off, there is time. But there has to be a process clearly leading to the detailed policies to be put to the people next time. The detail is for then. The interesting ideas and arguments are for now.

Opposition is hard. You lack the huge support of a government machine. You can’t actually change people’s lives.

But you can think, talk, harry, campaign. And every night before they go to bed every member of the shadow cabinet should be thinking – what can I do tomorrow to defend us, attack them and show we get the future? Then they should sleep, get up and do it. Again and again, day after day, as a team, which reaches its peak just before the election is called.

Easier said than done, maybe. But doable nonetheless.

  • Jacquie R

    This sounds like a male, no-nonsense, footballers’ strategy, but I can see that it’s probably the correct one. However, on the question of defending, this is much easier to do once you have “apologized” for the parts that weren’t that great. I think the watershed for this was the party conference and I doubt that we will see much more hand wringing about the past.

    But, will the Blairites do their part and stop undermining Ed Miliband and his team? It’s hard to pass a bookshop or news stand without seeing some New Labour person having a go. You don’t do it, Alastair, so why must they?

    Let’s finally have a truce in the Labour Party please, and unite to create the type of opposition the country needs.

  • Excellent points Alastair, that every Labour supporter would probably agree with. The depressing thing for me is that the record of the last 12 months has started to convince me that Ed Miliband does not have the skills to do these things. Your arguments are clear. Cannot imagine these words coming from Ed. On Twitter this morning I see a tweet from David Miliband saying he is having breakfast next to the Nile. There are few really capable thinkers in the Labour Party. Why is one of the best sitting by the Nile, when we need him back in the UK producing solutions to our problems? We need leaders with ideas, experience, maturity, integrity, and the skills to convince  the public that they have believable solutions. Despite the ConDems making a complete mess of so much, Labour will not deserve to get into power unless they improve their game dramatically. I give Ed 3 months. He is trying but sadly I just don’t think he has it in him. If no dramatic change we need to identify a new leader. (Unfortunately there are very few to choose from at the moment!)

    • Olli Issakainen

      The support for Labour is now 41%. In 2010 general election it was 29.8%. In 2005 under Tony Blair 35.2%.
      So Ed is doing brilliantly. He has done all the right moves to tempt back C2 and Lib Dems voters to Labour.
      He apologized for the Iraq war and mistakes in the regulation of the banks. His brother would have never done so.
      He has now ditched the failed neoliberal paradigm which is essential to prevent capitalism from collapsing.
      He is playing long game. I give 3 months to David Cameron.
      Messrs Cameron and Osborne will now cause economic collapse in Britain no matter how good they look on TV. Britain will soon be back to the Stone Ages!
      Ed Miliband has thrown away the Clinton-Blair-Cameron rulebook, and rightly so.
      This told that you must campaign from the centre, reflect only prevailing dominant media and political attitudes and avoid references to left or right.
      And, of course, you had to look good on TV!
      Thatcher challenged the post-1950s consensus and won. Ed is doing the same to the bankrupt neoliberalism of last 30 years.
      He is creating a new centre. He does not apologize for being a social democrat.
      Ed stood against Murdoch. Now he is standing against the super-rich who run this world and own 80% of the wealth.
      We now need substance over style if we want to avoid total economic collapse.
      Ed Miliband has now offered a credible alternative on economy. People will vote for it.
      Labour will win under Ed Miliband! 

      • Janiete

        I think you’re right to say that we must campaign from the centre. In policy terms Ed is doing just that but at times the anti-Blair stance has been a bit too sharp. It risks alienating many members and floating voters. We have to be seen to embrace the good T Blair did, but also acknowledge Labour has to evolve to meet current challenges.

        Our spokesmen should be encouraged to defend our tremendous record and not allow our few mistakes to define us. All governments make mistakes, and we have apologised too much already.

        I sincerely hope Andy Burnham will shout about our record on the NHS. The tories are hugely vulnerable on this. Cameron knowingly lied about his intentions and we have to make sure everyone knows it. The public are currently fearful of the planned NHS changes but they still don’t realise what they mean.

        We will see damaging fragmentation of provision, far more rationing and inconsistent standards of care. A great deal of the public funding we direct towards health will be lost to private profit, much of which will go overseas. Opportunities for corruption will be immense and many services we take for granted will no longer be offered free of charge. There won’t even be any point complaining to your MP, as the Secretary of State will no longer be accountable for its failures.

        I expect GPs to lose their reputation as patients’ champion when the reality dawns on the public. Media influence and Tory spin won’t count for too much compared with personal experience.

        I think Cameron must be deeply under Lansley spell on this one, as his instinct for watching his back has failed. It hasn’t yet dawned on him that the public will never forgive him for wrecking this much loved national treasure.

        This will be Cameron’s Poll Tax, but far worse.

      • MicheleB

        “Ed Miliband has now offered a credible alternative on economy. ”

        I must have missed that.  Would you care to describe it Olli?

  • Ehtch

    oops, Fogerty link on youtube in full, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZhM75aGMg

  • The O’Neill

    Sound advice that I hope Ed and his team take. I thought Ed made a good speech at the conference and laid out the bare bones of a strategy. His problem is this – I have a work colleague who has absolutely no interest in politics other than voting once every 4/5 years in a General Election. He saw snippets of Ed’s speech and his only comment was, ‘he looks like a 5 year old in a suit’.

    And that’s it in a nutshell, he doesn’t look the part and I’m afraid in our politics that’s as important, or maybe even more important, than the substance of what you say. As you said last week, Alistair, there’s one thing that Cameron does well, and that is he looks like a Prime Minister.

    I think Ed is a genuine guy who has thought deeply about his politics and the direction he would like to take our country in. I agree with him on most of the things he has to say. But he has a brother sitting in the political wilderness who does look the part and would be a real challenge to Cameron. With a combination of their political brains and David’s leadership, I believe that we would have a winning team that would wipe that smug smile from Cameron’s face.

  • Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or
    household divided against itself will not stand.
    Labour’s unity, Tory division, Libdem internal disquiet and a dog’s dinner of a dodgy coalition all herald opportunity for Labour.
    This one term government has no plan for growth now or later, no vision rising higher than refuse reform and no credibility at beinng anything than regurgatated Thatcherism.
    Labour must not dwell in the shadows quietly or we will stay, as we did in the 1980’s as a spent force enabling Tory electoral success.
    We must shout louder at Tory twaddle.
    I.D.S spoke of  the Tories as being the party of the poor and got away with it.
    (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/10/06/iain-duncan-smith-says-tories-are-party-of-the-poor-115875-23469822/)
    Such monstruous nonsense effrontery must be exposed and is indicative of what we face.
    They might be young and new in the job but, as the baby Hercules, they can strangle the snakes, the polycephalous phonies, Cameron and Clegg.

    • George

      Shouting is all very well but having some concrete, meaningful policies would help too. Not being in power now is probably a good thing as let’s face it, there are a lot of things that need rectifying. There is plenty of opportunity for Labour to have a go but not with the Unions taking on the government at every turn. The majority of workers are not in unions and if they insist on ‘fighting’ as they’ve suggested then public will swing against them and Labour. Ed needs to ‘quieten’ them down or fall in line.

      • Gillian C.

        I’m sorry George, but if this government or anyone else thinks that the unions are going to back down and let their members pick-up the bills of the greedy casino playing bankers, by sacrificing their hard-earned pension pots, then they have another think coming.

        Thatcher largly succeeded in making “unions” a dirty word.  But, ultimately the unions are the only thing that the ordinary working man and woman have to stand-up for them in this hugely unequal society.

  • Ehtch

    Labour with Ed is doing alright. When in opposition you have got to wait for the current, seemingly bun, government to show their cards, But so far they have never shown a strong hand. Westminster is a game of chess, but the coalition has not evolved yet from a game of draughts. Oh yes. Chequers in another name.

  • Quinney

    Bang on as usual Ally. We have another 375 jobs to go at helicopter maker Agusta/Westland in Yeovil on top of those at Bombardier and BAE Systems.. This could have been avoided if Dr Fox had insisted that the Chinook helicopter order was made under licence over here as were the Apaches and Sea Kings. Dr Fox though prefers to buy “off the shelf” from the US, therefore no surprise that his “charity” is an anglo- american love in.

  • Dave Simons

    Looking no further back than Attlee, Churchill, Macmillan, Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, I’m not sure what exactly a prime minister does look like. Cameron makes me think more of a TV quizmaster, someone like Michael Miles, who used to host ‘Take Your Pick’ in the 1960s. Perhaps next time Cam mentions ‘The Big Society’ we, the audience, should all go “Whooooooooooooo!”

    • George

      ‘Attlee’ is a pretty far way back, do you actually remember him or are you working on movie footage? But I think you’ve actually got a good idea as in identify the PM with  tv personality.
      I’d have Thatcher as the ‘Wicked witch of the North’, Major as the vicar from ‘Dad’s Army’, Blair as Boycie from ‘Fools and Horses’, Brown as Father Jack from ‘Father Ted’ and Cameron as ‘Mrs Doyle’…based on he must be good at something, perhaps tea!

      • Robert

        Major Attlee?

        No – like many I was born just after the Tories came back after the Labour landslide of ’45.

        However Kenneth Harris’s biog of Clem is well worth reading.

        Makes clear Attlee worked in “The Big Society”, despite being a trained professional man – and he fought in WW1. None of the “You do the fighting while I do the talking” of Mr Cameron – Attlee was a rounded leader with equal measures of ruthlessness and guile.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Launching QE2 could be like launching Titanic.
    Is it a bird? Or an aeroplane? No, it is George Osborne´s original plan B which was for a while ditched because of high inflation.
    Quantitative easing (QE) is last resort measure to boost demand to fend off recession when interest rates are already at low level.
    QE involves electronically creating money which the Bank of England (BoE) uses to buy assets – usually government bonds known as gilts – from investors in financial markets.
    The BoE now believes that there is an emergency situation.
    Initial £200bn bout of QE started in 2009 is said to have boosted GDP by 1.5%.
    But QE can also add to inflation, and thus make demand problem even worse.
    The QE1 in the US led to speculation on commodities. It has been said that this led to the Arab Spring!
    QE2 now in Britain (£75bn) is hardly a vote of confidence in Mr Osborne´s abilities.
    In 2009 George Osborne himself stated that QE is the “last resort of desperate governments”.
    QE is monetary policy that increases the supply of money.
    Inflation will now rise to 5%.
    But the effect of QE may be different this time.
    The money can go abroad, or to the bonuses of investment bankers.
    MONETARISATION of the deficit usually ends in disaster.
    Cumulative total of QE (now £275bn) may reach £500bn or higher. Will it destroy the savings of the middle class?
    One of the best kept “secrets” in Britain is that the BoE (100% owned by government) owns 30% of Britain´s debt.
    So the government is paying interest on debt to itself!
    Mr Osborne never mentions this fact in public because if people knew about this, he would no longer be able to frighten them with “bankruptcy”.
    The launch of QE2 means that government´s economic policy has failed. The Tory-led government has been in power since 2010, yet it still does not have a plan for growth!
    When Labour left the office economy was growing at an annual rate of 4%. Now the growth has been ZERO for the past nine months.
    Mr Osborne has been blaming everything from weather to royal wedding for this. But do not believe him, one-off events always cancel each other.
    The real reason for zero growth is plan A. Mr Osborne should have waited until recovery was on track, and started cutting spending then.
    But he had a “clever idea”: let´s put politics before economics. His idea was to start cutting early so he could cut taxes before the next election and win it.
    Greece gave him an excuse for this. He lied about Britain´s public finances and blamed Labour overspending for the “mess” which was caused by banks and global financial crisis.
    His plan A has now totally failed as everone who know about economics could predict from the day one.
    Now there is 1930s style shortage of money.
    The BoE appears to believe that collapse in British banking sector is inevitable.
    The Treasury appears to prepare for Greek default and the eurozone banking sector collapse.
    If Britain´s banks do fail again, government cannot recapitalise them yet again.
    Mr Osborne claims that British banks are “liquid”, but he is not telling the truth.
    Moody´s just downgraded 12 UK banks and building societies. Mervyn King has stated that we now face the worst financial crisis ever.
    There could be a full-blown financial crisis within weeks.
    Mr Osborne had recently a chance to reform British banks, but he delayed the reform till 2019.
    After Slovakia votes on the European Financial Stability Facility, Greece can be thrown to the wolves. Portugal, Spain and Italy will collapse.
    British banks will take the second biggest hit from all this. But they are not ready to withstand this.
    Mr Osborne has killed the growth, recovery and confidence with his neoliberal plan A.
    But this is not enough. Next the banks will be in danger. After this no one will vote for the Tories for the next 50 years. 

    • George

      A touch of economy of truth here Olli! As you well know, the reason the banks have beed downgraded is because the government has withdrawn total cover from them. The government is doing what most people wanted i.e. covering the savers (the public) and not the investors (speculators). I think you’ll find that the UK’s banks will take much less of a hit than France or Germany when Greece is shown the door. Hence the ‘arguments’ between Sarkozy and Merkel about the solution.
      It’s every man for himself in the eurozone, what a wonderful example of ‘joint’ operations….NOT.

      • Janiete

        You may be right about markets recognising a change in attitude to the banks, but the change you refer to hasn’t been adopted yet has it?

        Hasn’t the separation of investment and savings banks, and therfore the ability to bail out one without the other, been put off until 2019. Or did I miss something? 

    • Gillian C.

      “One of the best kept “secrets” in Britain is that the BoE(100% owned by the government)……………”

      I don’t think that’s correct Olli.  Wikipedia has a piece on this subject. Part of it says this:

      “it was considered undesirable that the disclosure requirements should apply to certain categories of shareholders”

      The Bank of England is also protected by its Royal Charter Status and the Official Secrets Act.
      In other words we are not allowed to know who they are.  Some say that the Rothschilds and the Queen are major shareholders.  But the information is secret.  We are not allowed to know.

      Do you have good reason or evidence to support your believe that the BoE is owned by the government Olli?

  • MicheleB

    Very glad to see Chuka Umunna rising so quickly, always eloquent.  Hope he can get a lot done for Streatham.

  • MicheleB

    I’d like to know the difference between ‘the big society’ and a pig’s ear!

    One very important thing that Labour did early on (like 1999 or even earlier) was to bring voluntary groups in to local social services performance assessments and get them linked with professionals.  Ameuturism that nontheless needs/receives private funding can’t be left to its own devices and I wonder how much now is?

    I was amused to read last week that USA is one of the most charitable countries in the world (or even ‘the’).  Given that American tax returns simply ask for declarations re donations. with no need to provide receipts (and apparently most declare the maximum allowable) and that charities that need give no receipts therefore can’t be properly audited re their income, I reckon our Gift Aid system knocks spots off whichever system graded US as it did.

    • Dave Simons

      The Big Society is Big, Big, Big,
      but a poor pig”s ear just grows on a pig.

  • Ehtch

    Apart from Ireland being allowed to be teared to pieces by a Welsh rugger team this morning, their ladies have some seriously high cheekbones, encapsulating their usual glass blue eyes. Can cut my cheese.What were we talking about again? Oh yes – Ed is right on the right road.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh0VaOa1Hu0
    mmmmmm…

  • As the man who steered the last successful Labour leader to No10, this has to be sound advice for ALL Labour voters, members, activists, MPs and the shadow cabinet (have I left anyone out? – gotchya, still included).

    However, I suspect not everyone reads this blog (fools, silly fools) so the same message needs to be spoken loud and written large wherever it will be heard or read by the target audience.

    So please do so Alastair whenever and wherever you can and may all your commentators follow suit (those in a position to do so).

    Which is not a let-off for those of us who maybe feel less in the centre of the political machine. We all have families, colleagues, neighbours, friends and foes – dropping the odd pebble in the rippling pond never does any harms. Or, more fruitfully perhaps, the odd seed sown in fertile soil and you never can tell which seed will germinate in what type of soil!

    For instance…I know I am surrounded by unlistening Tories in my own birth family (happily, I brought my lads up right, on the left, that is) but I find telling friends about my politics a little easier. I think it all takes practice and speaking out about exactly how this Government’s policies are affecting my life and the lives of many other social groups in society, not to mention the future of many businesses – well, that I can wax lyrical about, whenever I feel the call.

    Little things make big changes.

    IMHO.

  • Rick Role

    “Opposition is hard.” Let’s go shopping!

  • Alastair your spot on about the Big Society. What a turkey.

    Labour’s front bench needs to land some punches + attack the Tories woeful education policy which seems to be modelled around a 1950’s St. Cakes private school. Every child matters [just so long as your in an Acad/FS]….it seems some matter a great deal more than others under Gove.

    There isn’t even a plan A. Our borrowing has increased since they have been in power.

    Clegg is a complete joke and I can’t see him remaining a Lib Dem longer than this parliament. He’ll defect to the Tories or get some european job.

    The whole coalition is begining to unravel and the biased tory press can’t suppress the reality for too much longer.

    I would like to see David Milliband return and lead this party as Ed just doesn’t convince the voters or natural Labour supporters that he can cut it at
    the highest level.

  • ambrosian

    Throughout my life people have been saying nobody will vote for the Tories/Labour for the next 20years/50 years/ever again [Delete as applicable].
    It has always proved to be nonsense.

    You say that inflation will rise to 5%. The Retail Price Index, which includes housing costs, is already showing inflation at 5.2%.
    Don’t help the Government by using the lower CPI inflation measure which they now use for uprating benefits and pensions, thus further impoverishing the poorest in society.

  • Ehtch

    Liam Fox, yah-yah-yah yeh. I am getting a bit a tiddly after with this mornings excekllent rugger events, so a song a song fur for my friends here, you larve me reallyn don’t you? HIC! only joking – I am as sober as an average catholic priest…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7IXXCG9rDU&feature=related

  • ambrosian

    The most important change was Andy Burnham replacing the ineffectual John Healey as Shadow Health Minister. Andy has been Secretary of State for Health, often shows genuine passion, seems to speak fluent human and is an Evertonian!
    It’s shameful that Labour has allowed LibDems like Shirley Williams in the Lords to make so much of the running in opposing the Health Bill.

    There have been so many NHS reorganisations without the public ever noticing any great difference when they use the service that I think most people assume the same will be true this time. The challenge for Labour is to make people aware that, as a Tory MP and GP said, this Bill is a ‘hand grenade thrown into the NHS’. More like an atomic bomb, actually.

    • Janiete

      Just posted a reply to Olli but found myself writing about NHS. Most shocking of all Tory (and LibDem) policies.

    • Janiete

      Just picked this up from Twitter, good detailed analysis of NHS train crash:

      http://martinmckeesblog.blogspot.com/

  • ambrosian

    Great analogy! Michael Miles had the same big, shiny, smooth face as Cameron. Like Cameron he could talk the talk but you wouldn’t have bought a used car from him. And I recall that in the gameshow the boxes to which Miles held the keys mostly contained ridiculous booby prizes, rather like the policies in a Tory manifesto. 

    • Janiete

      Michael Miles and Take Your Pick!!

      We’re showing our age. Probably why we have utter contempt for Tories as we’ve seen it all before! 

  • Gilliebc

    Excellent spot-on blog post Mr. Campbell.

    I don’t know how many others on this site noticed that Peter Oborne wrote a very good piece in the Telegraph last week in praise of Ed M’s speech at the Labour conference.  He highlighted the general thrust or theme of the speech which tbh I for one hadn’t picked-up on.

  • Ehtch

    There is something going on with internet traffic today. Think it is rugger world cup, to tell you the truth. Everything seems cut down and pants. Well, that is all I can explain it. Song for Liam Fox – you are remembered,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dgzn1JHhej8

  • Ehtch

    Liam Fox, the doc, comes across as an alright bloke. Yes, six o’clock, I am up to see Ozzies, Saffas, Kiwis and Argies batter themselves to almost death. Oz v. Wales in the final, I have been saying… Merlin-like…

  • Ehtch

    Liam Fox, Dr Liam Fox even.

    Anyway, remember the pre-decimilisation penny, with Brittania rules the waves on the abverse side from our kings/queens head or whatever it is called, anyway, that was Bodicca, from East Anglia, speaking welsh from year dot, when the Romans came, and, AHEM!, shook our hands. A great song of cultural long lost history of our simple isle, enjoy. History long lost? Not with me butt.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym9VOtYpKOY

  •  
    If the new shadow cabinet is going to be effective on health it
     should consider how John Healey led Labour’s health campaigning over
     the last year.  Healey’s forensic arguments were produced first in parliament but he worked hard behind the scenes to get clinicians and others to
     accept and use them.    The battle over the Bill has been between the
     NHS and the Government, not between Labour and the Government. Nobody trusts politicians but we all trust doctors. The results speak for
     themselves – the Health Bill is the first Government measure to be
     stopped in its tracks for many years. Labour has a 12 point lead on
     health and the  Government’s argument that everything is the fault of
     Gordon Brown does not wash on health. 
     

  • Dave Simons

    I don’t remember Attlee but yes I have seen movie footage. I was just trotting out PMs since a 1945 cut-off date. I’ll award tonight’s star prize to anyone who comes up with the one I missed out – a cruise on the Suez Canal!

  • George

    It’s the rating agencies rather than the market as such. The Bank of England was previously seen to be the lender of last resort, this will no longer be the case. So, any future Northern Rocks should be handled very differently.

    The proposals for 2019 have nothing to do with it.

  • George

    I understand ‘where’ you’re coming from but the unions are largely irrelevant outside the public services. The majority of the public will be affected in some way by whatever action the unions are planning and the majority of working people are not union members. The public I believe will sympathise with the pensions case but their sympathy won’t last forever. If the government sticks to its corner and the unions carry on ignoring public opinion then the sympathy will turn to anger. It will be anger at both of them but I suspect more of the anger will be heading in the unions’ direction.

  • Sue Marsh

    As ever, great sense from AC. I only hope they start to do it. Very glad to see AB back at Health. 

    Conference was terribly flat with no fight, no answers, no policies, no vigour. I really hope this mixes things up a bit. 

  • You right, Mr Campbell, our shadow cabinet before did not put enough pressure on gov policy. Rachel Reves and Hillary Benn are great talents.

  • Janiete

    Have you got a link with some details George? I must have missed the Gov/BofE announcement that they have ‘withdrawn total cover’ from our banks.

    Would like to read some details.

  • MicheleB

    BoE was nationalised post-WWII but was apparently made ‘public’ in order to be seen as independent of Govt.

    However, just how publicly/privately-owned it is or not is weird.

    If it’s really owned by capitalists we have them to thank (at least in the short term) for two rounds of  QE.

  • MicheleB

    What right has EM got to ‘apologise’ for the Iraq ‘war’? 
    He’s been zealous in his disownership of it and made a big song and dance at entering Parliament that he had always been anti.

    He’s remained silent on the achievement of it having ended decades of UN  sanctions, something that would never have otherwise happened and under which many more people had been dying every single month since the late 70s.

    There are other people that regretted the invasion, most prominently among them those that were busting those sanctions for profit (with expensive drugs and hardgoods but big fat zilch for the poor of Iraq).

  • George

    There’s no announcement by either the government or BoE but rather a ‘belief’ by the rating agencies that the coalition will not go as far as the previous government. As below:
    Moody’s said it believed that the UK government would be less likely to support some of its banks if they needed a bailout.But said that the downgrades did not “reflect a deterioration in the financial strength of the banking system or that of the government”.

  • Janiete

    Ah, so your assertions that ‘the government has withdrawn total cover from them’ and the BoE as lender of last resort ‘will no longer be the case’ are not accurate.

    As I said, they’ve detected a different attitude to banks. So far, though nothing concrete. If Barclays gets in big trouble next week, goverment will probably take the same action as last time.  

  • Gilliebc

    Exactly Michele.

    It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that Olli hasn’t answered my direct question to him about how he appears to “know” that the BoE is 100% owned by the government.  Because if this knowledge is protected by certain laws, then how exactly does he know this when no one else is allowed this particular information, I wonder.

    Maybe in addition to being an economic expert he is also a secret service agent of some sort?   that’s just idle speculation on my part Olli btw, if you should happen to read this 🙂

    I would just finally add Michele that in a so-called democratic and free country (lol) why is this information about who owns the BoE such a secret. 

  • MicheleB

    To  be fair I think Olli has just assumed BoE is Govt property, I must admit I thought until very recently that it was controlled by Govt if nothing else.

    I don’t think we know who the shareholders are of many privately-owned companies and doubt that any single body has the info … it’ll be handily scattered.

    Don’t really look at share prices but have heard bank shares have all lost loads of value recently and I doubt that BoE is open to any old share buyer!  It must be fully like all those private divisions of most banks that use the MO of the three wise monkeys and invest people’s money in tax havens places like IoM and Monte Carlo.

    I’m being utterly dopey!

  • George

    Do you really expect any government to overtly say ‘no, we won’t support any struggling bank’? Remember the Northern Rock run?
     The ratings agencies come to these conclusions after internal and external discussions and the point as I’ve had to painstakingly make for you and Olli is that the rating agency carries a damn site more weight than either you or me. Unless of course you have some ‘inside’ information.

    Your view re. Barclays and the government might well be valid, equally it might be invalid. Unless you provide proof as you demand of me then it’s no more than your view, is it?

  • Gilliebc

    I admit to being way out of my comfort zone on this particular subject, Michele.  But if I have understood it correctly, the info. I have picked-up on this subject on another site, if it is accurate, is that the BoE is akin to the “Fed” in the US.

    There is a story that when the then American President some years ago
    signed over control of the Federal Bank to the “bankers” he deeply regreted it and said he had sold out the American people.  I think it may have been Jefferson but I’m not sure.  I would have to check that.

    Apparently, according to experts on the subject of the BoE and the Fed. it is of the utmost importance.  If I remember rightly the film Zietgiest  explains it very well.

  • Gilliebc

    Further to my previous reply, only this time more accurate!

    It was President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 that signed the deal re. The Federal Reserve.

    Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are said to have understood “The Monster” and opposed it, many years before.

  • Re 3: This is a comment I posted on JR’s blog today regarding his concerns about the future of party conferences.  It’s not a party political offer.

    I think online mass discussion (discussion forums and blogs with discussion) will be the most effective form of consultation in the future. It’s natural that if people are engaged through this medium they will then want to meet the people they’ve been talking to if they are given the chance.I think the party which relaunches itself first with this in mind will speed ahead.I am happy to provide free advice and support to any interested party regarding issues such as the practicalities of managing behaviour on discussion forums and the mapping of emerging conversations and insights. Interested parties are invited to contact me through the contact details provided in this article:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/55142332/Exploring-Discussion-ForumsFor an inspirational insight into the rapidity with which insights and intelligence can develop through discussion forums please do consider looking at linkedin.com > TED : Ideas Worth Spreading (group) > Why would/ should Palestine not request to be permenant member for UNO? discussion which is taking place in a US based forum with over 130,000 members where you can see me using the skills I recommend in practice to make an impossible discussion function. Anyone interested in asking me for free advice on managing forums is welcome to contact me through the PM system on that discussion. Or you can contact me by requesting to join Math, Math Education, Math Culture which I manage on linkedin.

  • MicheleB

    It seems to be one of those things one wonders whether anybody knows for sure!
    There have been ramblings about the Bilderberg Group for years and Osborne and Mandy actually being in cahoots!  

    This chap Tejvan seems to contradict everything else I’ve read!

    http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/626/economics/who-owns-the-bank-of-england/

    In other words I’m no wiser 😉

  • Gilliebc

    Interesting link Michelle.

    I guess we will never know one way or the other for certain.

  • MicheleB

    I was on my way out when I did my last post Gbc and hadn’t quite read the link, hadn’t reached what it says BoE says about itself:…..

    ………………”The Bank is a public sector institution, wholly-owned by the government, but accountable to Parliament.”……………..

    so it would seem Olli was right all along and that the terminology ‘independent’ refers only to its freedom to set interest rates as it sees fit (hopefully in the national interest and with never any Govt pressure). 

  • Janiete

    Think we’ve reached that ‘have to agree to disagree’ stage. No point in further debate if you’re going to get irritable!

  • MicheleB

    Given the convoluted dialogue elsewhere on this thread between two self-confessed non-economists can I ask an open question of anyone/s with more nouse?

    BoE interest rate has been 0.5% since March ’09:
    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/decisions/decisions09.htm
    after dropping several times during the 6-8 months after the bank collapses.

    They must be able to/have to do this because of international trends
    http://www.fxstreet.com/fundamental/interest-rates-table/

    This in turn must have effects on IMF rates.

    Why, therefore, is this Govt (ooops I mean Cam’s ‘MY Govt’) claiming the credit for the low interest rates we are now ‘enjoying’ on our deficit loans? 

    Please, nobody start convos about India, China or Italy’s rates >    :-s

  • MicheleB

    Given the convoluted dialogue elsewhere on this thread between two self-confessed non-economists can I ask an open question of anyone/s with more nouse?

    BoE interest rate has been 0.5% since March ’09:
    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/decisions/decisions09.htm
    after dropping several times during the 6-8 months after the bank collapses.

    They must be able to/have to do this because of international trends
    http://www.fxstreet.com/fundamental/interest-rates-table/

    This in turn must have effects on IMF rates.

    Why, therefore, is this Govt (ooops I mean Cam’s ‘MY Govt’) claiming the credit for the low interest rates we are now ‘enjoying’ on our deficit loans? 

    Please, nobody start convos about India, China or Italy’s rates >    :-s