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Is Nick Clegg already playing Prescott to Dave and George’s TB-GB?

Posted on 6 March 2012 | 7:03am

I got in last night to catch sight of Nick Clegg talking about child benefit on the news. Now I didn’t see the start of the report, but if I read the words and body language right, I thought that rather than agitating as the Lib Dem leader in advance of the Budget, he was speaking up for the Prime Minister in an argument with the Chancellor.

So not for the first time I went to bed reflecting on Tony and Gordon, and the times John Prescott had to shuttle between them to resolve differences. And there we were thinking Dave and George were blood brothers.

Steve Hilton gone, Dave and George arguing, Nick trying to keep the peace, Teresa and Ken at each other. There’s something sad about it all happening so soon …

Ps – apologies for comments being posted which have not been published in last couple of days. Something technical, being fixed.

  • Anonymous

    You read it perfectly well.

  • Nothing short of what I expected    …..    But not so soon.

  • Libdem

    Have you started doing ‘tongue in cheek’ or standup comedy Alastair? As cabinet government disappeared under Emperor Tone, it’s all gone t*ts up and following on, the Coalition has been neither one thing nor the other.
    Cameron has tried to be too ‘nice’ a la Blair and Clegg has turned out no better; they have achieved very little so far except buggered up the defence budget and now made a complete hash of the original Labour reforms.

    But there’s nothing sad about a sackful of politicians, including Labour, carrying on in ruining the country.

  • Richard

    Leaders of two parties do not agree on everything. Shock Horror!
    TB and GB were supposed to be in the same party. Subtle difference.

    Here again, Al, all cuts bad, Labour good. Why do you not encourage Red Leader to come out in favour of some policies and develop a Labour alternative to what is going on? The public, recognising that cuts are necessary, are still supporting the Conservatives in the polls.

    You should be advocating progressive taxation, not defending tax credits and child benefits for people earning twice the national average wage. That is what the public cannot stomach; riding all horses at the same time is getting you nowhere. The public can see straight through it. The current row over child benefit, effecting people earning £43k plus effects 1.5 million people. Thus the other 30 million with children uneffected are there to be impressed by the fairness of the approach.

    By being all things to all people you are going nowhere.

     

    .

  • Olli Issakainen

    Ahead of the Budget George Osborne has stated that Britain has no money left and this is – surprise surprise – all Labour´s fault.
    News flash for the chancellor: Britain has its own currency and can print as much money as it wants.
    It is not possible for Britain to run out of money!
    According to Mr Osborne all money was blown away during the good days. Is this true?
    Before Oct 2008 Mr Osborne promised to match Labour´s spending plans. He saw nothing wrong with the public spending then.
    The cyclically-adjusted current budget deficit in 2007 was less than £10bn, just 0.6% of GDP.
    On this same measure the deficit between 1997-98 and 2007-08 averaged precisely ZERO! In line with the target of George Osborne for 2015-16.
    Current spending relative to GDP in 2007-08 was little different from 1996-97.
    Recession caused by financial crisis caused by banks led to big deficit and high levels of debt.
    Public sector net borrowing averaged 2.7% of GDP between 2002-03 and 2007-08. This is not overspending.
    All talk of Labour´s “fiscal profligacy” is 24-carat rubbish. It was reasonable to borrow within means on low interest in order to invest.
    UK debt ratio in 2007-08 was 36.5% of GDP – well below the Maastricht treaty reference level of 60%.
    The deficit was also below the treaty level of 3%.
    Current spending in 2007 was only 37.8% of GDP. Spending averaged 37.2% under Blair/Brown era.
    Under Thatcher/Major it was 39.2%!
    Total spending in 2007-08 was only 41.1%. Spending averaged 43.5% under Thatcher/Major. 40.0% under Blair/Brown!
    So Messrs Osborne and Cameron have been rewriting history. And they continue to do so.
    Labour can win back its credibility on economy simply by telling the truth.

  • The Tories have not changed at all – the Fibdems are just tools being used as such. Their supporters must loathe the chameleon Clegg who is such a true blue blood brother of Bullingdon boy Dave.
    Government lose through division – Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. So the coalition must tumble from within. Nadine Dorres et al are doing Labour’s work. As is the poor luckless Lempit from the shadowlands.
    Tim Montgomrie, Conservativehome, shows how the Tories plan to procede and how they view the Tories keep the Libdems close to heel, cat toying with mouse, and how they are to be used in the context of the next election and beyond.
    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/majority_conservatism/2012/03/the-conservative-hq-plan-to-win-36-seats-from-labour-and-14-from-the-liberal-democrats.html

  • Chris lancashire

    A lot of us go to bed thinking of Tony and Gordon – it’s called a nightmare.

    As for Dave and George arguing “so soon”, well it’s better than right from the off.

    Keep trying to stir it Mr Campbell.

  • Chris lancashire

    George Osborne is quite wrong that there’s no money left – it’s actually minus (in round figures) £1 trillion.

  • Ehtch

    Getting rid of an unified child benefit to what is proposed is madness. A fixed qualifying income level for all the country doesn’t make sense, since the economics of the south-east of England is at a different level to the north-east of England, with many variations in living costs. Easier to have a set level all across the board – no hang on, that is the system now, isn’t it, he says. Wonder what the administration costs would be for what is suggested?

  • Michele

    Utterly bizarre. 

     “………………….But there’s nothing sad about a sackful of politicians, including Labour, carrying on in ruining the country………….”

  • Michele

    I can barely believe Dave’s cliff-edge apparent turnabout re the £43k child benefit matter.
    Has he really only just spotted the wrong-footedness of it?  I daresay he never needs to look at his own payslips so doesn’t quaite grasp deductions.
    For someone claiming to believe in families (but whose own had six aides at home …. sheesh … during the year pre-office) there was only one possible ‘advantage’ to the idea that was put forward (that being both parents out and earning and to just avoid the benefit cut-off vs one parent out and copping it ….. employment figures)
    .
    He can’t reach reality, it’s something that’s beyond him, just like Letwin (of whom Eton must be so proud – I jest).

  • Anonymous

    Ah ok, so the mighty Olli, the pied piper of the AC board, is no such thing.

    Your figures are nonsense. Total distorted nonsense.

    More importantly however you have lost all respect and credibility with this line:
    “News flash for the chancellor: Britain has its own currency and can print as much money as it wants.It is not possible for Britain to run out of money!”
    Yes it can print money but only be devaluing the money that is already there. It can create more notes but no more value. It can reduce our debt by doing so – but only by reducing our savings and wages at the same time.

    Brainwashed dogmatic partisan readers take note:
    In Greece, people are going crazy because they plan to reduce the minimum wage by 22%. Imagine if we did that here! WE DID!
    Using inflation (ie printing money, Olli’s solution) Labour and the Tories have reduced minimum wage by approximately 25-30% since the start of the crisis.

    Oh we still get the same amount of pounds sure – but they deliberately devalued those pounds by 25-30%.

    Once again I say: It must be great to govern stupid people.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see what Boy George and Call Me Dave disagree about?

    Cameron has always been a centrist. Osborne talked some tough right wing rhetoric in opposition about quantitative easing and flat taxes – but in government he has been very centrist, not much between him and Brown or Darling. He talked about making quicker cuts than them and reducing the deficit faster – but he has not made those cuts and certainly hasn’t reduced the deficit.

    So I think there is not much to disagree on really between Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Darling and Brown. Ed might be slightly left of them and Blair slightly right, but there is not much in it.

    Obama has actually made more cuts in America, he has reduced public spending ie there has been a net decrease (not a slowing of the increase which is all we’ve managed) and they are seeing a small recovery now.

  • Libdem

    Oh for goodness sake reaguns, you know he’s the ‘darling’ (sorry for the pun) of the AC blog; this is financial nonsense of the highest order but there are still plenty of people who ‘like’ it can you believe.

  • Libdem

    Forgot….you don’t do irony!

  • Libdem

    Don’t you think child benefit should be stopped for richer households? Don’t know what the amount should be but it is really objectionable that millionaires can receive this benefit.

  • unnecessary.

  • Michele

     You skipped over the second paragraph then?

    Going ‘Tra la laaaaaaa I can’t see round these blinkers’ while doing so?

  • Anonymous

    What you say seems to be borne out by other reports.  

    It’s a mess, of course.  And as someone pointed out, the Steve Hiltons of this world don’t take ‘sabbaticals’ when their masters are actually in government…  

    Glad a few people managed to ambush Lansley at the Royal Free Hospital yesterday.  It was very cold waiting outside but a few determined people found him.

  • Michele

     Oh the prancing and dancing one yurrrrrr, how lucky are we to have it to behold?

    What one Govt does re its own economy is not by itself bound to achieve what is hoped it will, it is aided or impeded by what other Govts do for their own sakes.

    Can you calm down and pretend you’re not in a wellie-throwing competition?

  • Anonymous

    I must admit when I first heard this I thought it was a good idea – giving tax credit to someone getting 40k is mad I thought.

    I now see loads of people who believe in progressive taxation at other times rallying against this.

    I have heard others saying its reverse eugenics, ie having the economic incentives we currently have for poor people to have children, but then putting in disincentives for richer or middle class to have kids.

    I think this credit, as with all others, should be universal, non means tested – which means a simpler system. Then if we ever get the simple systems working well we can think about complex ones.

  • Olli Issakainen

    As always, I am using official figures from the Treasury and ONS.

  • Ehtch

    It is the near borderline cases that would take a great deal of work to sort out. Take second marrage people for example, with children, who give financial support to the children and wife/husband of the first marriage? And they say they want to slim down the civil service. Or will it be put out to private tender, or some quango set up to administer it, what with the experieces of the disaster that was student loans and that child maintenance thingy when they were set up. It took years for them to iron out the bugs how they were run. Keep it the same I say.

    And it is voluntary to claim it, isn’t it? So with those with bucket fulls of wealth, I suppose we have got to leave it to their shame whether they claim it. I suppose some use it to help with school fees, in a little way, you could say, while others rely on it to put food on the table.

    Anyway, it will be old age pensions that will be next if this goes through, possibly or probably.

  • ronnie

    What a shamefully biased and easy ride the BBC is giving the leaked Cable letter. 
    Within about an hour they were headlining the bulletins ‘Cable calls for RBS to be broken up’ – blatantly deflecting attention from the policy accusations.
    As far as I can see there was only one Labour comment allowed on BBC radio last night and none at all this morning (at least on 5 Live). All the people asked for comments were LibDems or Tories!
    And while I’m at it – no BBC coverage of Gove’s emails that I can see.
    It’s time they got over the Gilligan thing – they never got used to the fact that they were wrong and shown to be wrong.
    Nobody wants favouritism – just fair and unbiased reporting. Labour has not had that for at least a decade.

  • Michele

     

    Oh but I do pet xxx

  • Michele

     Ironic sigh.
    The post’s point could have been
    laid out better (especially if I had
    the fortune-telling ability to know
    the eventual layout it would have
    on appearing).
    Here, specially for you in hopes
    the lineage will prevail xxx

    “……..there was only one
    possible ‘advantage’ to the idea
    that was put forward
    (that [idea]
    being both parents out and earning
    and to just avoid the benefit
    cut-off
    vs one parent out and copping it]
     ……….. employment figures) ……….”

    Richer households? 
    Are you suggesting there should be none or just suggesting I should resent them? 
    Dream on.

  • Anonymous

    “Your figures are nonsense. Total distorted nonsense.”
    That is not an argument. Please elucidate.

  • reaguns

    Its the way you used the figures to deliberately distort the true picture. Two examples:

    You have used figures averaged out over a term. Can everyone do that? If that was the case Thatcher’s employment figures could be made to look quite respectable – but wouldn’t that distort from the true picture, ie the time when there were 3.6 million unemployed?

    Or the debt figures – you are either being stupid or disingenious, and I don’t think (yet) that you are stupid (though based on anything you say on inflation that might change) but you say our debt was 60% of GDP – only if you believe certain types of debt being measured in certain ways, I’m sure if the Rothschilds were pulling off similar tricks you’d quite rightly have something to say about it. For example under those same measurements we are now told our national debt is just over 1 trillion now – however if you measure other things like unfunded liabilities our national debt is closer to 4.5 trillion.

    Even all of this pales into insignificance compared with your money printing comments though. Olli supports debauching and reducing minimum wage, as do Gordon Brown and David Cameron (who both did it).

    If I was playing politics on question time, or acting like Olli I’d stop here. But I won’t I will be honest, I believe in reducing minimum wage too, and in fact abolishing it – but I would be honest about it, rather than reducing it in a sleakit manner using inflation.

    If people understood inflation, there would be riots about nothing else.

  • reaguns

    Michele you have two recent obsessions, one is saying that I am angry / upset etc – what makes you think I am angry whilst enjoying a voluntary pastime of studying and commenting on political and economic matters?

    The other linked one is responding to a structured detailed argument with a simple throwaway comment or two. In some ways I welcome this, in the main people in this country prefer to overcomplicate simple things – but it will be noted and used against you the next time we are discussing simple things like reducing violence in schools and town centres.

  • Roblehood

    tories endlessly blame labour for the past. why does ed let them get away with it. answer by saying that labour cannot be blamed for the current immorality of tory policy throwing out the poor for the sake of a room and protecting those in mansions

  • Alwyn Roberts

    Sorry Chris,
                        But the real nightmare was when the tories under Thatcher were in power!!

  • Ehtch

    Re. Remploy today – not announce in parliament by that Coalition minister, can’t remember her name. Most factories proportionally are lost in Wales. They don’t like us, the tories that is, and us Welsh that is, and LibDems by proxy that is. I am tempted to use that cee word again, but I feel quite self-restraining today, no straight-jacket required Phil Collins, since anyway, we are going for the Grand Slam in rugger, our Italian friends this weekend. AND no, they are not going to let us win, honest…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17288762
    France the following week, in Cardiff – think they will like us win the Grand Slam to shove it in the faces of our english, harumph, cousins. Has the Sarkocy-Cameron handshake happened yet?

  • Janiete

    Well said Ronnie. The BBC is appalling at the moment. The 10pm BBC1 News on Wednesday had a report on American primaries, comments made by Nicolas Sarkozy in relation to the French election and a piece about the genetics of gorillas! There was absolutely no mention of the NHS bill protests in London.

    When Labour return to power I think we need to look again at the BBC Charter and investigate why it is not being adhered to.

  • Janiete

    This is insulting Reaguns, to Ollie and to others. By all means argue your point but don’t resort to Flashman tactics.

  • Janiete

    And under George Osborne it’s getting worse!

  • vicky

    How pray tell had Cameron tried to be nice? I am intreged!  when asked a question he results to bullying and slagging off whoever asked said question,  He constantly uses the same phrase “we are in this together” what a drag!, dont he know how to say anything else?  He has closed everything down useful that would help young, old or disabled get jobs, tried to prevent “not so well off” from getting any kind of legal help when either sacked unfairly, their benefit is stopped or dropped, how is that any where on this planet the meaning of “we are in this together”?  Please enlighten me! if your not a millionaire, own two or three properties, and a bully at private school then to Cameron you may as well ot exist.

  • Ehtch

    post this if you want Alastair, could be a drum call, but it is becoming like it, I feel.

    Since the greater proportion of armed forces people are away from the SE of England, and what the Scots want more distance from Westminster, no matter that pathetic BBC are trying to keep their gin and tonic friends happy, via wives of them, anyone thinks we could have a serious armed revolution in this coutry in, say, the next few years?

    It was quite surprising to some on last summers riots that it was unified, no matter the usual matters that the media spill out, skin and race and shit that they normally spill. Think there are underground movements that are going on now as we speak, and the Libs are the main to blame, since going into coalition with the Tory twats, via that mole Clegg.

    Anyway, in conclusion, you might be worried about the unions this summer, but it will be disparate elements that will fuck this London Olympics up, and I can see it will. A Tory Olympics with Coe and Co – your setting yourself up here Boris.

    I told you you should have left them alone in St Paul’s all through the Olympics.They could have been a tourist attraction, unlike Tiearnaman Square. Christ, this London Olympics is going to be a disaster for my Britain, you stupid stupid Eton complete clowns.

    God help us in August – it will be a total disaster, logistically and advert for UK and all that spinning shit. A song about it, in my words,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsnMWE__LCU

    fuck you Whitehall, all my love from Wales, as if. Remploy!

  • Ehtch

    Copper plate from Swansea, coal from the ground there, copper ore from Anglesey saved the british navy and empire, before going nowhere, not often said, you english c$£ts, in your history books, SE english twats, how far have we have to suffer these fools us being polite? The french are in no description are looking to invade us, so let’s us go back to time wotsit computer settings. You can’t fool us anymore SE england, disgusted from Tunbridge Wells, and your non-existent hop fields these days. Sad load of shite. No empire no nothing, and still trying to suck money in from child benefits to pay for your Wimbledon and Henley and Ascot tickets, you civil service and the rest of you.

    In other words, grow up SE of England – you know who you are for fuck sakes. Let this Olympic year so you can realise how dysfunctional you are in the UK, let alone poor England.

  • Ehtch

    Jour de Fête, Jacques Tati post-war La France, 1949, new again horse et cart, postmon á la bicyclette, qui? A must film DVD collectione,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfcpwf3w6bU

    and stuff…

  • Libdem

    Answer the question and stop changing the point when it doesn’t suit your argument.

  • Libdem

    Why not reduce the taxes and cancel the benefits, it’s another example of giving us our own money back to keep us sweet.

    Borderline cases are always the problem when you fall on the ‘wrong’ side of the line; that’s life, you can’t have it all ways.

  • Dave Simons

     Would you like to live on less than the minimum wage? You wouldn’t be doing much for businesses by not having much to spend, though you would be helping the one business you work for by increasing its profits, which could be used for reinvestment, charity or shareholders lifestyles, whichever its controllers prefer, usually more of the latter than the former. You’re right about printing money though.

  • Anonymous

    They are extremely, unbelieveably, pro EU though. If I could stand on their necks, thats what I’d make them change. I’d link their budget to EU, every time our EU payments, or IMF bailout cash or whatever went up, I’d give a corresponding cut to BBC salaries. See how long they’re europhile then.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t be bothered to look it up but look at the figures that every paper reports from the Guardian to the Telegraph, or go to the official pages and see how Olli has been selective.
    Look at what I said below.

    However don’t let any of that distract from my main criticism – about printing money.

  • Anonymous

    That’s the point Dave. I happen to believe in the argument put forward by most economists including the left wing ones, that having a minimum wage or too high a minimum wage creates unemployment. It has positive aspects too but I believe this negative one outweighs them.

    Now I know that at present in this country, most people do not agree with me. If I were a politician I should have the right to make the case against minimum wage, but its a democracy and the people should have a right to vote for minimum wage and at this point I believe they would do that.

    What is wrong is reducing the minimum wage (as well as everything else) in a stealthy manner using inflation and this is what has happened.

    As to whether I would like to live on minimum wage, I have lived on less, but of course I’d rather have more. What I will say is I’d rather have minimum wage and pay no tax, as have minimum wage, tax and tax credits. The guardian is full of people thanking the government for subsidising workers using tax credits – in reality the workers are subsidising the tax credits with the tax. Either people are stupid or Goebbels (Tory and Labour versions) have been really successful.

  • Anonymous

    This I agree with. Has anyone read this on the torygraph, I think its quite interesting though I’m not sure I agree with it. It claims that Obama and Blair are both to the right of Cameron and Osborne:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/walterellis/100142115/there-is-no-proper-left-in-american-politics-even-obama-is-more-right-wing-than-cameron/

  • Anonymous

    What do you mean by flashman tactics Janiete? Why, when Olli paints a deliberately distorting picture to us readers, am I insulting for pointing it out but he is not insulting for doing so?

    On the other hand if you agree with Olli and disagree with me, please weigh in with your reasons why. What do you think about printing money (which enriches the government and banks whilst impoverishing the rest of us ie minimum wage earners, pensioners etc.)

  • Anonymous

    I only responded to the “Wellie Throwing”. If you are accusing me of prancing and dancing rather than a serious refutation of anything I have said, then I’m probably correct.

    As for what one govt or another does and the results – printing money always has the same results.

  • Anonymous

    Two great sections on the today’s daily politics which I think would make an interesting iplayer rewatch for some readers here.

    First of all they talked about the German Mittelstrand, ie the success of their medium sized manufacturing businesses. Ed Miliband and his advisors are supposedly very interested in following this model. The left wing case has been made, ie partnerships, safety net for unemployed, government working with businesses to keep workers on in downturns, daily politics made the right wing case today (panel seemed unbalanced, no labour or lib dems) and talked about the supply side reforms made by Schroeder but adhered to by everyone else. Lower tax for lower paid workers, changing of unfair dismissal law etc.Also mentioned (but didn’t explicitly state) that under Tony Blair UK’s employment record was much better than Germany’s but this has now been reversed.Education and apprenticeships also discussed.

    Other interesting segment was about the credit rating agencies – I missed what the event was but David Ruffley (who supports Alastairs call for a financial inquiry) and Jesse Norman were laying in to the bosses of credit ratings agencies moodys and S&P, asking them for data on how many of their triple As turned out to be junk and calling them clueless.Panellists made the point that these rating agencies make money out of creating business so they are under pressure to rate things too highly (contrary to what the EU would have us believe.)However John McFall did say we would be better to have more competition and that a UK and an EU credit ratings agency would be welcome, that the big two have an effective duopoly at present.

  • Libdem

    Ok Vicky, how about you tell us what he should be doing…given that there’s not a huge amount of spare cash sitting in the drawer…remember Liam Byrne?

  • Michele

    Titter, now who’s not getting an irony NewBlue  and using a hackneyed always-been boring and has-been petty and simple-minded kneejerkism re Byrne’s note?

    Or perhaps you just daren’t disagree with your namesakes’ and their bosses’ reactions?

  • Michele

     I have NO objection to universal benefits, does that suit you?  Benefits that ALL taxpayers receive and especially those that encourage people to have children.

    Do you understand about sliding scales or is that a truly stupid question (for assuming there could possibly be a ‘yes’ in reply)?

    I do, however, have reservations about benefits that have to be applied for because they are in short supply and akin to rationed.  I’m thinking along the lines of the one that Cameron applied for (and received) from his North Ken council while he lived in a neighbourhood bordering one of London’s poorest central areas.  Joan Ruddock was called an ‘opportunist’ yesterday when she talked about recent further cuts to those benefits.  I don’t know what brought about the accusation, we already knows why the multi-millionaire applied for his share …… he was ‘testing’ the quality of K&C’s social services.

    I’m also unhappy about some of the specific labelled funding that has stayed in place but is not ringfenced ….. durrrrrr.

  • Janiete

    What do I mean by Flashman tactics? Those practised by Cameron every week at PMQs, when instead of engaging with the issues raised he insults his opponents. Your sarcastic use of ‘the mighty Olli, the pied piper of the AC board’ and ‘you have lost all respect and credibility’ is in my opinion fairly insulting, as were your references to ‘brainwashed dogmatic partisan readers’ and ‘it must be great to govern stupid people’. Not the first time I’ve noticed you referring to people who don’t share your viewpoint as stupid, by the way, and it’s unnecessary.
     
    Olli did not mislead anyone, he merely pointed out the silliness of Osborne’s statements, using factual data to support his arguments. He didn’t discuss the merits or disadvantages of printing money but I’m sure he is quite able to do so should the need arise. I’m also sure regular readers of this blog understand the impact of inflation. Believe it or not, we are not stupid and don’t really need you to spell out the latest lesson from your economics primer!

  • Ehtch

    Easy answer to your suggestion LibDem – not fair, not everyone has children to look after.

  • Ehtch

    Blimey, got on my soapbox at speaker’s corner in Hyde Park a bit last night, ranting. But I am worried for this year in blighty, in my small way. Hope my self-believed paranoical powers of observation are totally wrong. It could be a sticky wicket old boy.

  • Libdem

    Perhaps you should lay off the ginger wine, you might then be coherent…titter…

  • Libdem

    Being objective brings out your good side Michele, you should try it more often.

  • Michele

     Oh don’t be a spoilsport Janiete; I found the green-eyed exchanges about Olli’s Likes hilarious.  😉

  • Michele

     
    Titter tittler at the miaowing green-eyed lass 😡

  • Michele

     I really don’t remember saying you were angry or upset.  I do get fed up to the back teeth of your tuff act.

    We cannot live down to the extent you keep ‘recommending’, I do wonder whether you have ever been to a third world country and seen life for those with the minimum amount of Govt, low earnings, no tax, no records, probably not even a birth cert.  Go ….. move; see how much you would really like it.

  • Michele

    Most of us had heard of several rating agencies but not of S&P till a year or so ago. 

    According to this programme
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01cjwvh

    (available to repeat) that might be down to them having been fined a few years ago for taking backhanders gulp oooooops oh I say I meant commission from people they’d awarded nonsensical top ratings. 

  • Anonymous

    Might give that a listen. There are certainly “incentives” given to the credit ratings agencies. I don’t know how much blatant backhanders go on, but the fact is if they give good ratings they get more business and if they get more business they get more profits and higher wages.

    I suppose in a way they are like estate agents – the person buying the house cannot trust them, their job is to increase sales and prices.

    There are other industries too where in theory bribery is not allowed but there are many other ways to do it like inviting people to conferences in 5 star hotels in Hawaii and so forth.

  • Anonymous

    As long as you keep “liking” me Michele I’ll be happy 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps you make some good points about my tone, at least in relation Olli (others don’t seem above this tone on the blog but anyway.)

    His facts are distorted, as I say I could say Margaret Thatcher was a wonderful prime minister because average unemployment was (whatever it was) and growth was (whatever it was) but that would be a distorted way of using those facts would it not? This is what criticise Olli for.

    Perhaps stupid is a bit strong but ignorant and uninformed is a correct thing to say about most of our population (let alone this board) or more people would understand inflation. It is plainly true that people do not understand inflation, otherwise as I’ve said people would have the same reaction to 5% inflation as they would to a 5% cut in minimum wage – and you and I both know thats not true.

    Just as you know its been many a sad year since I started on economics “primers” lol. I take it you were deliberately trying to be funny by slagging off my tone and then saying ” don’t really need you to spell out the latest lesson from your economics primer!”

  • Anonymous

    Well something like that. I have spent quite a bit of time in countries with minimum amounts of government, in fact I have been in probably the three countries with the lowest amount of government in the world – Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. All 3 are fantastic! Much better than the UK by miles!

    I am not dogmatic I quite liked Germany and the Netherlands as well, and I am pretty certain I would love Denmark and Sweden too. I won’t pretend that their model cannot be pretty successful, but neither should you pretend that small government countries cannot be.

    Oh and there is a big country with less government than us that seems to have done quite well over the years called America. Certainly it seems to be the preferred choice for poor people to move to over the years wherever they come from.

    What is “tuf” or “ard” about my stance – surely a “tuf” or “ard” stance would be to say this stuff doesn’t matter. If I said I believe people should be allowed to have guns (and I haven’t yet) would you consider that being “ard”? I’d consider it being weak, or recognising weakness and seeking to help the weak.

  • Michele

     flashman tactics is talking ABOUT instead of TO.
    It’s dead simple, it’s simple manners.

    It’s talking about and across people and not to them, it’s inviting others to change a 1on1 to a gangbang.

    Grow up.

  • Libdem

    Ehtch, reducing the tax is fair to everyone who pays tax; it’s only unfair to non-taxpayers.

  • Michele

    It’s very very common and very common on t’net to accuse someone that disagrees with you and with how you operate with such a slur.
    Coupled with your very very common behaviour elsewhere, talking across and about instead of to Olli, you are living down to all expectations (as well as to your label).

  • Anonymous

    P.s. When I talk about “living down” as you put it, this is not the result I’m after, I’m talking about driving down prices – which will increase everyone’s standard of living. This has been the result everytime its been tried.

  • Anonymous

    Well… maybe… in my defence though I’ve gotten used to commenting on Olli’s posts as though he weren’t there because he never seemed to engage in discussions after posting, he would just post and run.

    He has made a few replies in the last week or two in fairness.

    I do enjoy his posts and enjoy the general discussion on the blog, I enjoy it either way but my preference would be for it to be civil from me and others. I think I’m far from the only or worst offender though.

  • Michele

    Small Govt combined with Third World was the question (or assumption, now proved true).

  • Michele

    Perhaps you need to stop judging others and think about your own activity here, it’s usually personal, about posters rather than posts.

    Your cowardly behaviour re Olli, posting about his factual info to a third party instead of posting to him as  yourself, trying to rope in others, it’s quite dirty (but then you do have that label to live down).

  • Michele

     I’m more than happy to see the boring performance of the primaries and other presidential elections J. 
    The yawningly long beauty pageants that go on every two years in US (followed by the thwarting of the elected person anyway) and the spectacle of those other countries with elected heads of state that get to pick/choose their govts  are the best recommendation for us sticking with our own HoS system despite its obvious drawbacks.

  • Anonymous

    In case its not evident I believe in small government, not no government or anarchy.

    I believe in armed forces, law and order, and yes, as stated many times here, in the welfare (not workfare) state and in the NHS.

    There is plenty we could trim within and without those things.