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Cameron and Osborne could do worse than call in Brown and Darling for a private chat

Posted on 10 November 2011 | 6:11am

I was speaking at a dinner last night to businessmen and women who know a lot more about how the economy works than I do. So I was a bit alarmed to see how many were nodding along when I suggested that what was happening in the eurozone was, frankly, downright scary.

Most situations described as crises are not really crises at all. This one is. And though it has been developing for so long, and though it is now staring everyone in the face, there is still no real sense of how ‘world leaders’ and major economic players intend to deal with it.

Remember when Alistair Darling was accused of alarmism when he made some fairly dire predictions for Global Financial Crash 1. Alistair is not prone to overstatement, and he is right again today when he points out the failure to face up to the scale of what is happening. Say what you like about Gordon Brown, but nobody can deny that when GFC1 was upon us, he saw the severity of what was happening, and galvanised world leaders to take difficult and necessary decisions which stopped a bad situation getting worse.

By contrast, when the G20 gathered last week, they neither looked, sounded or felt like the twenty most powerful people in the world. On the contrary, they are being driven by events they appear unable to control or contain. Our own government appears to be as driven by the need to give itself political cover as by the real demands of the situation. ‘All Europe’s fault’ is merging with ‘all Labour’s fault’ as their main economic argument. But it is not a strategy.

There is not the slightest chance of this happening, but as David Cameron and George Osborne survey the economic scene, and the failure of the political and economic leadership of the world to grip it, they could do worse than call in Gordon and Alistair for a private chat over a cup of tea.

Alistair was right in his warnings of GFC1, and he is right in his criticisms over the handling of GFC2.

  • Jon Green 1967

    This is what I’d like to say about Gordon Brown: He jumped on Alastair Darling when he did make alarmist predictions as he himself is now known to have believed that the GFC would be over in six months. Also, their collective plan to bail out the banks sowed the seeds for today’s occupy protests. Poor old Alastair was then in the wrong place when the bust arrived following the boom that Gordon said would last an eternity.

  • Quite frankly, Alastair, they need to call me in.

    Because I understand how mass online discussion and social media can be used to generate open source and democratically consulted possible alternatives and that’s what’s needed here.

    Here’s an insight into just one aspect of this discipline:
    http://cyberrhetoricbyrebeccahanson.blogspot.com/2011/11/mozilla-festival-notes-on-cyberrhetoric.html

    There’s a lot more to it than that.  Obviously.

    I’m now following you on twitter as @cyberrhetoric:twitter if you want to know more.

  • Nick

    Your chronology of GFC1 seems a little muddled.

    Lehmans went bankrupt on 15 September 2008. The USA then spent the next few weeks bailing out various banks and financial institutions (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Washington Mutual, Wachovia) and creating TARP to support the rest of the financial system.

    Europe followed suit in October and bailed out parts of their financial systems. The UK was not at the forefront of any of these moves. RBS wasn’t part-nationalised until after most US and European banks were bailed out.

    The G20 economic summit, which Brown convened, didn’t then take place until April 2009. 

    The difficult decisions re GFC1 had already been taken by then. The G20 summit did co-ordinate fiscal stimulus across the G20 but I don’t think many countries think borrowing to spend on their own economies is a “difficult” decision.

    The major difference between today and the G20 meeting back in 2009 is that genuinely difficult and unpopular decisions have to be taken. 

  • Olli Issakainen

    We now know that the collapse of Lehman Brothers that triggered the financial crisis of 2008 was not an accident.
    According to the former CEO of Lehman Brothers unsubstaintiated rumours and illegal short selling were behind the collapse.
    Larry Elliott says that the Frankfurt Group now makes the real decisions in Europe. Lagarde, Merkel, Sarkozy, Mario Draghi, Barroso, Juncker, van Rompuy and Olli Rehn (a Finn).
    Mr Elliott writes that the emergence of the Frankfurt Group has turned back the democratic clock.
    The European Central Bank (ECB) also has immense power with unelected members on board. IMF, too.
    It is not just the democratic deficit. It is the fact that the European Union  austerity is only making the debt crisis worse.
    According to Keynes it is wrong for all countries to save at the same time. This kills the demand and growth, and thus the recovery.
    Gordon Brown has been now been proved right – and Ed Balls, too.
    They said that we must first wait until the recovery is on the track. Alistair Darling plan to halve the deficit in four years would also have done the trick without risking the recovery.
    But people in Britain wanted “change”.
    Now they will get it!
    Banks caused the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed. As I have shown above, this was done deliberately. The collapse of Lehman Brothers was not an accident.
    Governments had to bail out the banks, and now states across Europe are burdened with debt.
    But banks now demand austerity from governments. This only adds to debt mountain.
    A Finnish presidental candidate has now called for global currency. We will soon hear more calls for “global solutions”.
    Janet Daley stated in the Telegraph that there will be nowhere to run from the new world government. There is a new totalitarian theology. Globalism.
    Finland´s PM recently told the Finnish parliament that there will be New World Order in place in 2013. He is a member of the Bilderberg Group. (Most Finns that belong to the Bilderberg Group are said to be freemasons.)
    According to Andrew G. Marshall the debt crisis has been ENGINEERED by the elite to further CENTRALIZE power structures on a global scale.
    We have a totalitarian future under the globalists.
    Collectivism will be used as the method of social control. Global society will be socialist!
    European Union and euro are a quasi-religion to many people. We should not expect rational decisions from these people.
    I now expect a break-up of the eurozone with a smaller group of northern nations forming a United States of Europe.

    Ps. David Cameron called for austerity in the eurozone, so he is partly to blame for its problems. It is of no use for Messrs Cameron and Osborne to blame eurozone for Britain´s problems. Finland will grow about 3.5% this year because our government decided in 2008 not to cut a penny from public spending. Instead, we opted out for GROWTH and social cohesion, and are now doing well.  

  • Dave Simons

    Something stronger than a cup of tea would be required – maybe Scotch whisky laced with some truth drug. The Conservative leadership has shown only the crudest kind of short-term political opportunism since trouble began with Northern Rock in 2007. When things got really serious globally in 2008 they saw their main chance of getting back into power. If their advice had been followed in 2008 a nightmare scenario would have hit the High Streets, but they have never recanted on their ‘No Bail-Out’ policy of that time, nor have they faced much questioning about it subsequently. They are using the financial crisis as an excuse to carry out their own self-serving policies, and they and their ilk are doing rather well out of it – while the rest of the UK gets trashed. Henry VIII might have been envious.

  • MicheleB

    Although they’ve come round to blaming Europe as well as Labour for what is happening I doubt Osbo & Cam will seek true expertise.  It will seem a loss of face even though AD’s detailed question of a couple of weeks ago to Cam was full of genuine signals.

    This is still not really touching them or their families; their wealth is intact and being looked after, wherever there are likely to be losses there are possibilities for gains.

    It’s very hard to feel the helplessness of poverty and how it inhibits everything including spirit and just as hard to understand useless wealth.

    I believe Berlusconi has nine billion euros.  Nine thousand millions of euros or nearly eight thousand million pounds.

    Yet he’s a criminal, someone that has changed laws after he has been prosecuted and applied them retrospectively to escape justice, someone that has owned most of the Italian media so that info about him has been withheld and just the ‘fun-loving little devil’ characteristics have escaped.  His wealth has come from exploiting Italians.

    It really is all like some daft TV serial.

  • SG

    The only reason they would call in Brown for a chat was if they were intending on following the examples of Greece and Italy, because that’s where we were heading with him at the helm. Another fool who thought we could just continue to spend without considering the long term consequences.

  • Richard

    Their combined advice being, “visit Wonga.com!” We did for 13 years!

  • Gilliebc

    ‘they could do worse than call in Gordon and Alistair for a private chat….’

    I partly agree with that AC.  I rate Alistair Darling well.  He was right in his warnings of GFC1.  In fact he wasn’t afraid to go against the grain back then and voice his fears.  So good on him for that.  AD was a good C of the Ex. It was a shame he didn’t have longer in the job.

    I’m sorry to say that imho Gordon Brown lost all credibility when he sold off a hefty chunk of the nation’s gold, n.b. the nation’s gold, not his at a knock down price.  There is also other stuff out there on the internet from credible sources about GB which is very worrying and upsetting to put it mildly.

  • Chris lancashire

    Mr Darling performed exceedingly well during the last crisis – despite being hampered by his then boss. Since then he has made several well informed contributions to the economic debate and is worth listening to. In stark contrast to Mr Brown who has made zero contributions and, given his economic track record, is only worth listening to in order to do the opposite of anything he suggests.

  • Steveloraine

    This is a most telling statement, “Our own government appears to be as driven by the need to give itself political cover as by the real demands of the situation.” So, standing on the touchline hectoring the Eurozone is as close as they’ll get, particularly because their backbenchers want out of the whole Euro ‘federal’ experiment (as they see it) anyway.  

    As you suggest, this has got a whole lot more complex than most of us can easily follow or understand. For instance, much of the reporting in the UK majors on the problems of the Euro currency (which for some is a shorthand for Europe) created by delinquent national financial management, whether in the Euro or not. It so happens that, so far, the three countries requiring support have been in the Eurozone and this in some ways seems to insulate us becuase of our place outside of the Euro. Well, Italy is next, it is in the Eurozone but it’s GDP scale means failure will in all probability bring the Euro down (do we care?) but, critically, set off a whole load more consequences besides, both in and outside of Europe.

    (As an aside, I do get agitated by the constant reporting of how the “markets will not like this or that” when we know ‘the markets’ broadly consist of a small group of people from a particular societal strata who’s only interest appears to be their own, and short-term at that. Too powerful, too unaccountable and too secret).

    Which brings us back to GFC2 – Osborne and Cameron simply have so little to offer crises such as these, whether they are ‘allowed’ to by their backbench anti-Euro flat-earthers or not. At least GB and AD had some levers to pull (which in part is the reason why our national budget deficit ballooned, and not over-spending on public services, as the Coalition continues to lamely parrot). They also had a legitimate locus in dealing with the crisis – Cameron and Osborne do not have either that locus or the levers. For instance, on the anvil of their anti-public sector stance, they have hammered the ability of the public purse to respond to our own problems let alone those of partners; they are precluded by their internal political agenda as we know and, critically, appear to lack the imagination and gravitas to grip the matter in a collaborative fashion.

    These national realities ensure that what is about to happen in Europe will happen (the ‘markets’ will see to that), as we stand hectoring on the side-lines. The UK, having enjoyed the fruits of the runaway capitalist banking model for almost 20 years, might also be disproprotionately impacted by our economy’s continuing over-reliance on that busted model.

    Now might be the time to consider how much of your life savings you feel safe leaving in the British banking system…

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, Alastair – it’s not going to happen.  Cameron and Osborne will be more concerned about their private investments.  We definitely need a Brown-Darling combo right now, rather than the Captain Mainwaring-Corporal Jones combo we’ve got.

    Regrettable that the stagnation of the UK economy will now be blamed entirely on the euro-zone troubles.  I imagine this is Osborne’s get-out-of-jail card, at least for the moment.  What the Tories won’t be able to do is manage the consequences flowing from all this.  

  • Janiete

    Well maybe their ‘no bail-out’ policy will be put to the test again. They have already put £6bn into Ireland to protect our banks’ interest there. It is said that our banks also have approx. £42bn exposure to Italy, so if/when they default we will see what The Chuckle Brothers do about it! 

  • Gilliebc

    ‘Quite frankly, Alastair, they need to call me in’

    Rebecca, you cannot be serious!

    Well, you certainly don’t lack self-confidence.  I’ll give you that.

    The thing is Rebecca you just come across as a know it all.  Which is a shame really because for what it’s worth, I think you genuinely would like to be able to make a difference.  Whether it is on the subject of Palestine or the global economy!

    I don’t want to pour cold water on your obvious enthusiasm for on-line debate, but and it is a very big but, you do seem to be completely oblivious to the effing great elephant in the room. i.e. the system is totally weighted against you and others who seem to be getting an over-inflated sense of their/your own importance.

    Rebecca, until you find out/learn how the system really works and I don’t mean the official version, then you and the others are going to achieve nothing. 

    I am beginning to wonder R if you maybe a little unwell?  Take another look at your post and imagine it was written by another.  What conclusions would you reach, I wonder?  Look after yourself first and foremost.  The world can wait.

  • MicheleB

    It was paid against the debts that had been accrued during the preceding EIGHTEEN  bluddy years

    Saints preserve us from a re-run of a similar period and the zero investment in infrastructure meaning our schools and hospitals fell into deplorable states despite the wealth throughout the 80s.

  • AC interesting post, would agree AD worth a listen, but NEVER GB, at least AD has kept his finger on the pulse while being on the backbenches, how many debates has GB been too, as he done any interviews on the subject, since he saved the world the first time, lets be honest GB does not play well with others, that why he had no chance with the IMF job. Also lets recall if AD and GB did such a fantastic job the first time around, why are we here again!! Any solution seems just the lesser evil, one can postulate that the EU leaders will just muddle through and hope something turns UP, this could go on for months, GOD help me YEARS. Also on a sidebar issue, why don’t you get the people who did the Alan Clark comedy drama to do your diaries, the series didn’t hurt the memory of Alan Clark, in fact made him look good, just a thought, have you done any script writing, in the media you always have to have another selling asset, also when are the Iraq Diaries coming out.

  • Whatifwhatif

    Northern Rock collapsed in Sept ’07, the OP is saying GB and AD were warning the rest of the world from then.

  • MicheleB

    Do you seriously think GB could have said one single thing in the past 18m without it being described as nothing more than pique?

    Clegg gave Cam an enormous majority, something the country had denied him.  If Clegg really couldn’t face a period of hung Parliament, letting the Tories manage a minority Govt,  he should have chosen his supporters’ natural allies and gone with the other coalition possibility ….. totalling 315 seats against the Tories 306. 

    There has been very little chance of Labour beating ANY move by the Tories when the latter’s buying of Lib Dem seats gave them a total of 363 against 258 (nope, I’m not forgetting the miscellaneous 28 seats).

    A hung Parliament would have allowed every LD to vote with their conscience (rather than while chuckling about their front bench £££ add-ons).

    I for one am very pleased that Labour is giving this bunch of amateurs no chance at all of saying ill-will has been wished on them, it’s taken self-control from every one of them. 

    It’s hardly bearable to hear Clegg still claiming we should be in the Euro; who knows, perhaps he’s committing a kind of slow, discreet political hari kari?

  • MicheleB

    When are you on Live at the Apollo RH?

  • Dave Simons

    Gordon has written a book about the economic crisis which you seemed to have missed. Pop down to your local library and incidentally help it to stay open. Perhaps, like David Cameron and George Osborne, you think the banks should not have been bailed out in autumn 2008?

  • Dave Simons

    Yes agreed, though I still think the £6bn put into Ireland had something to do with a certain Chancellor having a future baronetcy there.

  • Libdem

    I think it would have been extremely difficult to agree a date with GB as he’s never around including in the HoC.

  • Libdem

    Good old GB also managed singlehandedly to virtually kill off final salary pension schemes. After his first great budget when he removed tax relief most final salary schemes closed to new members. New employees were ‘offered’ defined contribution schemes on far worse terms.
    This kind of opportunism in my opinion was a disgrace for the future pensioners but, as usual, it was all short-term gain!

  • Burnellfamily

    Nurse, Rebecca is out of bed again!

  • Chris lancashire

    So did Mr Darling – worth the read too.

  • MicheleB

    Final salary schemes have been killed off by growing awareness of our increased longevities (not to mention the scandal of poor performers promoted beyond their ability in their last few years of work if they were well-in enough with HR). 

    They were unaffordable and in exactly the same way we are yattering (nod to the absent Y-one) about public sector pensions being subsidised by taxpayers we should be hearing about the private sector’s similar situations …… eg: supermarket managers on FS pensions that will be subsidised by future shoppers. ….. and on, and on and so on.
    —————-

    People on lower incomes never had the choices that the double-bonus 80s pension plans offered to others.
    People on the low incomes that preceded Maastricht and minimum-wage had no choice at all and ended up subsidising those of us on much more.

    I know that ‘Ponzi’ isn’t the right word to use for those past pension plans but they were certainly bent.  I had one; who wouldn’t if they had spare income and all that was explained was the benefit (and not the source of the necessary subsidy)?  Contributions made before tax were immediately inherently worth much more than they’d have been post-tax, tax-free drawdowns at maturity were another ‘efficiency’ a.k.a. legal avoidance.

    Those tax losses had to be recouped from somewhere and the only possible source was other tax payers, those with less choice.   GB did the right thing.

    I hope you also remember Lloyds names, 18% mortgage interest rates and OMG .endownment mortgages………… yes?  We can bore each other and everyone else to death if you really really insist.

  • Janiete

    Yes, I’m sure you’re right there. Self interest (of Tories and backers) is also why Gideon immediately rubbished the notion of a bank transaction tax. Rees-Mogg even referred to the idea as ‘the work of the devil’! 

  • Magpie09

    ‘I understand how mass online discussion and social media
    can be used to generate open source and democratically consulted possible
    alternatives and that’s what’s needed here.’
    May I sensitively (and respectfully) suggest that this
    statement, quite frankly, is ludicrous: it could  effectively lead to the end of
    “democracy” as we know it, if every Tom, Dick and Harry (or every
    Sharon, Tracey, or Mary) had to
    substitute professionalism for some kind of middle ground consensus on every mortal
    thing in some kind of online orgy (in a free-for-all!).I may have misunderstood you and the point you’re trying to
    get across, and I apologise if I have. I would, however, seriously consider the
    guidance that both MicheleB and Gilliebc have kindly offered. I may be out of
    place in saying this but, they do in a funny-kind-of-a-way “police”
    the blog from time-to-time. I know they both have the occasional spectacular – a fall-out or a
    disagreement of some kind – but they do inevitably make it up. Both are
    “regulars”, and help provide some wonderful contributions along with
    many others who make this blog so engaging – and no doubt, Rebecca, there are
    many professionals within their chosen fields who contribute and reply to AC’s
    posts in order to impart the benefit of their knowledge and expertise.What I’m saying here is that I believe they mean well, and
    I, too, sense that you really do want to make a contribution. I’m a bit of a
    technophobe and can’t really stand the whole social media thing: no Facebook
    (yet…), Twitter or anything else – but this blog is political, social,
    cultural, you name it… Above all, some of the contributions are worth reading
    for themselves alone: Olli, for example, could form his own blog if he really
    wanted to do that, I’m sure of it – but I enjoy (and would much prefer) to continue
    reading the individual contributors here. This does not need analysing or
    developed further. It has happened naturally.On a personal note, and this is meant in the best possible way. I came to this site after reading the first Blair Years (extracts from AC’s Diaries) that led to my own political re-evaluation (post 2001) and my rejoining the Labour Party as a result (after struggling with the whole 2001 reaction). This reading and internal analysis, in part, came through the ‘time to change – let’s end mental health discrimination’ campaign, that has been a real contributing force for positive awareness (and without adding another meaningless, empty “double-signifier”, it has started the process for a “real change” of attitudes that will help to start the process for addressing, challenging and ultimately consigning to history, mental health discrimination and prejudice). I had a complete nervous/mental breakdown in the 90s – psychotic episodes, mania, clinical depression, OCDs, delusions of grandeur, and three bouts of illness, hospitalised (not exactly my own choice for a path to recovery) as a result – and believe me, it has taken considerable time to look back with some degree of understanding. I do not take ‘time to change’, and its campaign for granted: because mental health discrimination can be, and will continue to be, life threatening, if stigma and prejudice is not continually challenged. I would count one of my greatest successes in recent times as coming off lithium for the first time in thirteen years (with occasional relapses in controlled and measured circumstances for periods when I’ve struggled and lighter medication has been helpful – but I’m now off completely — only ever if, and when required). Its a full and active life now in many respects. As much as I feel that the future is there for the first time as a more “complete” person, I wouldn’t ask for my opinion when it comes to economics. Other than I have far less confidence in our own economy as I slowly watch it dwindling under the Tory assault of privatisation and cost cutting, more redundancies, increasing unemployment, as GB/AD’s initial recovery goes south like a lead balloon, and the Liberal Democrats and right wing media conduct their own assault on “Democratic” principles.As MicheleB stated earlier: ‘Clegg gave Cam an enormous majority, something the country had denied him. If Clegg really couldn’t face a period of hung Parliament, letting the Tories manage a minority Govt, he should have chosen his supporters’ natural allies and gone with the other coalition possibility’.Let us not forget that in a hurry… We also need a Labour Party to galvanise the electorate as to what is happening to the NHS and the Tories economic blundering. As has been pointed out, if this was a Labour Government we’d never here the end of it.
    May I sensitively (and respectfully) suggest that this
    statement, quite frankly, is ludicrous: it could  effectively lead to the end of
    “democracy” as we know it, if every Tom, Dick and Harry (or every
    Sharon, Tracey, or Mary) had to
    substitute professionalism for some kind of middle ground consensus on every mortal
    thing in some kind of online orgy (in a free-for-all!).
    I may have misunderstood you and the point you’re trying to
    get across, and I apologise if I have. I would, however, seriously consider the
    guidance that both MicheleB and Gilliebc have kindly offered. I may be out of
    place in saying this but, they do in a funny-kind-of-a-way “police”
    the blog from time-to-time. I know they both have the occasional spectacular – a fall-out or a
    disagreement of some kind – but they do inevitably make it up. Both are
    “regulars”, and help provide some wonderful contributions along with
    many others who make this blog so engaging – and no doubt, Rebecca, there are
    many professionals within their chosen fields who contribute and reply to AC’s
    posts in order to impart the benefit of their knowledge and expertise.
    What I’m saying here is that I believe they mean well, and
    I, too, sense that you really do want to make a contribution. I’m a bit of a
    technophobe and can’t really stand the whole social media thing: no Facebook
    (yet…), Twitter or anything else – but this blog is political, social,
    cultural, you name it… Above all, some of the contributions are worth reading
    for themselves alone: Olli, for example, could form his own blog if he really
    wanted to do that, I’m sure of it – but I enjoy (and would much prefer) to continue
    reading the individual contributors here. This does not need analysing or
    developed further. It has happened naturally.
    On a personal note, and this is meant in the best possible way. I came to this site after reading the first Blair Years (extracts from AC’s Diaries) that led to my own political re-evaluation (post 2001) and my rejoining the Labour Party as a result (after struggling with the whole 2001 reaction). This reading and internal analysis, in part, came through the ‘time to change – let’s end mental health discrimination’ campaign, that has been a real contributing force for positive awareness (and without adding another meaningless, empty “double-signifier”, it has started the process for a “real change” of attitudes that will help to start the process for addressing, challenging and ultimately consigning to history, mental health discrimination and prejudice).
    I had a complete nervous/mental breakdown in the 90s – psychotic episodes, mania, clinical depression, OCDs, delusions of grandeur, and three bouts of illness, hospitalised (not exactly my own choice for a path to recovery) as a result – and believe me, it has taken considerable time to look back with some degree of understanding. I do not take ‘time to change’, and its campaign for granted: because mental health discrimination can be, and will continue to be, life threatening, if stigma and prejudice is not continually challenged. I would count one of my greatest successes in recent times as coming off lithium for the first time in thirteen years (with occasional relapses in controlled and measured circumstances for periods when I’ve struggled and lighter medication has been helpful – but I’m now off completely — only ever if, and when required). Its a full and active life now in many respects. As much as I feel that the future is there for the first time as a more “complete” person, I wouldn’t ask for my opinion when it comes to economics. Other than I have far less confidence in our own economy as I slowly watch it dwindling under the Tory assault of privatisation and cost cutting, more redundancies, increasing unemployment, as GB/AD’s initial recovery goes south like a lead balloon, and the Liberal Democrats and right wing media conduct their own assault on “Democratic” principles.
    As MicheleB stated earlier: ‘Clegg gave Cam an enormous majority, something the country had denied him. If Clegg really couldn’t face a period of hung Parliament, letting the Tories manage a minority Govt, he should have chosen his supporters’ natural allies and gone with the other coalition possibility’.
    Let us not forget that in a hurry…
    We also need a Labour Party to galvanise the electorate as to what is happening to the NHS and the Tories economic blundering. As has been pointed out, if this was a Labour Government we’d never here the end of it.

  • Dave Simons

    I don’t think I was suggesting otherwise. I’m fully aware of the Darling book and recommend it. My local library has a copy.You seemed to be unaware of Brown’s book. At least, you said, ‘In stark contrast to Mr Brown who has made zero contributions’. You didn’t answer my last point.

  • Libdem

    I’ll let you bore everyone Michele as you seem pretty good at it!

    Well managed occupational final salary schemes were an excellent benefit for the future pensioners of the company; GB’s money-grab finished them off.

    I know you don’t like any criticism of GB et al but face the facts rather than digressing into ‘poor performers and HR’ drivel. 

  • Libdem

    Never mind Rebecca, I thought it was very interesting!

  • Live from my kitchen table while feeding kids with the other hand Michele. 

  • I’m fine than you for your concern Gillie 🙂  I just happen to be very at ease being unpopular when trying to make a point which I believe is extremely important.  Being very direct to the point of arrogance is one way to make people notice what you’re trying to say which is quite hard when you’ve got no cash and you’re busy being a mum in Cumbria. 
     
    The way in which democracy can and should be operating in times of change and crisis is changing.  I can see that really clearly because I’m deliberately pushing what can be done with mass online discussion while also reading the current analyses the impact of microbloggin and facebook.  Read the thread on Palestine and you’ll see what the system has as ‘thrown at me’ in just that one context and then you can assess whether I can handle it or not. Obviously I’m juggling a lot more than that one issue and have been for a long time.
     
    Some topics I can take on alone through cybermedia to generate the  collective experience and insight which is needed.  Europe I can’t – you’d need a team.  You have to run three conversations in parallel in multiple languages and participate in many discussions in order to generate a coherent alternative and that’s what’s needed here. You’d also need the economic expertise and systems of mapping insights.  It’s would be good to put Cameron’s cybermedia experts to some constructive work which would be of benefit to society for a change.  They might even get a taste for it. 

    What’s the point of me playing the shrinking violet Gillie – Conservative men don’t respond to them. They need to be dominated =)

  • Ehtch

    The problem with Cameron and Osborne, is that they have never had to rough it, at any level of society – either lived in a cardboard box, or being sent to Coventry by friends and political mates, as what happens in politics at times, as Churchill. They seem like the type of people that are like those army officers in that Sharpe series of books and tv episodes set during the early nineteenth Napolionic War – they’re just looking for something to make themselves look as what they are actually not, and to be able to chat and big themselves up over those dinner parties, especially to Lady so-an’-so, or Lord wots-is-name. Building up a line of bullshit and blagging, in other words, with nothing to really back it up.

  • MicheleB

    Are you denying that final salary pensions schemes, late-career promotions (oh well he’ll not be round long enough to do real harm) and double tax-relief (on contributions-in as well as on some drawings-out)  had been abused in private as well as public sector?  LOL

    There was (still is) inate unfairness in people that are well enough off to not need every penny they earn to be able to avoid tax on the spare.

    It was crazy and there’s no point anyone denying it.

  • MicheleB

    Don’t either boast or whinge about whatever choices you’ve made. 

  • MicheleB

    Thanks for the kind words Magpie – I’ll think of you as The Ameliorator from now on 😉

    Best wishes for your recovery.

  • Gilliebc

    Glad you are okay Rebecca.  I think I’m beginning to “get” you now!

    I’m not sure that ‘being direct to the point of arrogance’ is the way to go though, because it will inevitably put peoples backs up and they won’t listen to or read what you have to say.

    I used to be accused of being very direct in my younger days and they were right.  So I changed my approach markedly and with some success too.

    You don’t need to be a ‘shrinking violet’ either R.  I had to smile at the bit about Conservative men needing to be dominated.  I wouldn’t argue with that assumption, but there are women out there already who are paid to cater for that particular requirement!

    May I suggest you simply be yourself.  Use your enthusiasm and passion for a subject by all means and don’t be afraid to use your femininity also.
    It worked for Maggie, back in the day!

    I’ve read some of your posts actually both here and elsewhere and tbh I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve.  They are very “corporate speak”
    i.e. lots of trendy jargon-type words, but not a great deal of actual substance or direction.  It could be mistaken for lecturing, but about what exactly is anyone’s guess.

    I admire your determination though and sincerely wish you great success.
    Just a final thought, for what it’s worth, maybe you should concentrate your efforts on one issue at a time, until you get yourself established.

  • bah – posted about the substance and direction of the details as to how and why mass online discussion can enhance democracy but it hasn’t been published & I wasn’t able to keep a copy.  Oh well.

    I’ll try and write it up again this week and blog it then you can see if it makes any more sense to you.

    Thanks for all your advice Gillie but I do strongly suspect you haven’t quite got me yet.  The Thatcher comment was there to make you smile.  I’m not planning to invite myself into no 10 and take my whip.  I guess one thing to understand would be that I’m not trying to ‘get myself established’.  I’m trying to explore and make connections between subjects and issues.  If I have a point to make I feel is important I’ll make it so people can take it, probe it or leave it at will.  

    Michele (below) I’ve no idea why that advice was directed at me.  You bantered about where I might be and I put it in a context of where I am just for fun and pleasant banter.

    Happy armistice day to you all. 🙂

  • MicheleB

    I sometimes resist responding about annoyances, not often enough. 
    When people talk about the balls they’re juggling as if it’s not taken for granted that almost everybody has 23 in the air at once it’s niggling. 
    Niggles should be ignored, I should move on with a non-posted ‘Look at my palm’.

    Off topic ……..
    However, your (not arrogant?) assertion a while ago that TB is not up to his task and fails to understand the depth of the Palestinian problem showed what a newcomer you are to the whole thing. 
    That would not be something to blame a person about if they weren’t so cocky about assessing others’ more-subtle performance. 
    I enclose some links, note their originally-published dates, you could have some older ones or find them yourself. 
    YOU need to understand that Israelis and diaspora Jewish and non-Jewish people worldwide have to move / be moved along together about this. 
    You’re right that the internet will be part of the vehicle, you’re wrong to think you were the first to think of it, or fail to acknowledge the many people of all origins (much more affected by it than you or I) who’ve been on the case for decades. 

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/05/holdjewishvoices5

    http://ijvoices.wordpress.com/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/10/cracksinthewall

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/10/ijvanoblejewishinitiative

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/10/letathousandflowersbloom

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=122469

    http://www.petitiononline.com/sc12ijvc/petition.html

    http://ijvoices.wordpress.com/tag/petition/

    http://www.canpalnet-ottawa.org/IJV-Charger.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/independentjewishvoices

    http://www.masada2000.org/list-A.html

    Imagine the pain that members of IJV feel when they are called self-hating or disloyal for being fair-minded and all else that they attract )including violence). 

    Being off-topic I’ll leave it there.

  • Gilliebc

    Rebecca, if you strongly suspect that I haven’t quite got you yet, then obviously you are correct.  But surely you don’t see mass online discussion as an end in itself?

    I did get the Thatcher comment btw, hence my comment in reply!

    Rebecca, armistice day was on Friday, 11th November and neither Armistice Day nor Remembrance Sunday are cause for ‘happiness’
    many people would come down on you like a ton of bricks for that highly inappropriate comment.  I’ll just put it down to ignorance and leave it at that.

    Having said that I continue to wish you well.  But you do still have much to learn!  Haven’t we all.

  • Eeek – that last comment didn’t come out right.  Oh well. =/

  • Why don’t you come and join in the discussion on Linkedin Michele?

  • Sorry – just to clarify the concern I raised about what’s going on at the minute.

    I am very, very concerned regarding the sudden rapid rise in violence in the West Bank as detailed in the UN reports here.  I am also very concerned regarding the general lack of coverage of both this and issues arising in the summer in the western press. Thank you for your links which I appreciate.  It is good to see the effort the Guardian is putting in.

    I don’t think negotiating peace should be left to one person.  I think we need to look at the lack of coverage of issues in the press and I, personally, am particularly interested in exploring the way social media and mass online discussion can help get round the laws peventing free speech in Israel and the media bias in the US.

  • Here’s an attempt at that blog post I promised Gillie and anyone else who’s interested:
    http://cyberrhetoricbyrebeccahanson.blogspot.com/2011/11/mass-online-discussion-and-democracy.html
    All comments welcome.  I know it’s not properly referenced and illustrated with examples – that’s on my list of things to do.

    This might work as a link to the Palestine discussion for people who aren’t on linkedin but I’m not sure if it will or not.
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Why-would-should-Palestine-not-138801.S.71943433 

  • reaguns

    Alastair, you’re having a laugh yes? Gordon Brown and his Keynesian chums on the far side of the atlantic (Bush, Obama, Bernanke, Krugman etc) save some short term pain and guaranteed long term pain in “GFC1”. They prolonged this recession – you will find many economists who said that they think they have averted a crisis, but instead they have guaranteed a future sovereign debt crisis, and here we are. Look up Peter Schiff for starters. The same economists are predicting a currency crisis and hyperinflation next. There is more chance of Burnley winning the champions league than keynesians getting something right. Even Blair said Brown was wrong in using a keynesian ‘solution’. Only thing that could be said in Browns defence by those who think he is a great economist is that maybe he knew this would happend so he laid this trap for the next government. I think this gives him too much credit. Either way, he is either stupid or evil.

  • reaguns

    Alastair, you’re having a laugh yes? Gordon Brown and his Keynesian chums on the far side of the atlantic (Bush, Obama, Bernanke, Krugman etc) save some short term pain and guaranteed long term pain in “GFC1”. They prolonged this recession – you will find many economists who said that they think they have averted a crisis, but instead they have guaranteed a future sovereign debt crisis, and here we are. Look up Peter Schiff for starters. The same economists are predicting a currency crisis and hyperinflation next. There is more chance of Burnley winning the champions league than keynesians getting something right. Even Blair said Brown was wrong in using a keynesian ‘solution’. Only thing that could be said in Browns defence by those who think he is a great economist is that maybe he knew this would happend so he laid this trap for the next government. I think this gives him too much credit. Either way, he is either stupid or evil.