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The Tories seem to dislike everyone who works in public service – apart from ‘independent’ Mervyn King

Posted on 17 May 2012 | 7:05am

So I went out for a run yesterday, over the Heath to the opticians to get my glasses tightened. Only en route it is my chest that is tightening – asthma bad this time of year – and I end up walking part of the way.

Up by the tube station, a woman stops me and says proudly ‘I have just joined your Party.’ She is a pensioner. She has had her DLA cut despite worsening eyesight. She says that is not the reason for her decision late in life to join a party for which she has always voted but never thought to support more actively. ‘I cannot stand the way they are attacking everyone all the time’ she said.

I ran down towards Belsize Park but was walking again by the time I got to Pond St. There I was stopped by a man in his 30s, jobless, and in a rage about William Hague’s Tebbitesque suggestion that we don’t work hard enough. ‘I would love to work,’ he said. ‘But I cant find a job.’

I see that a senior civil servant, Ian Watmore, has resigned and reports suggest this was in part because of constant ministerial attack on the civil service. You may remember that last week they were briefing about getting rid of 90percent of them.

But this goes right across the public service. It is not just about the cuts. It is about the fact that ministers spend so much time attacking those who work for them. So Michael Gove has it in for teachers (unless he is singing the praises of those in private schools.) Andrew Lansley appears to see NHS staff as part of the problem not the solution. And as the Home Secretary found yesterday, the police feel undervalued and beleaguered.

Meanwhile Iain Duncan Smith carries on as though anyone on benefit is a scrounger and George Osborne thinks anyone who gives large sums to charity is a tex dodger. As Cameron lashed around in all directions yesterday I realised it is not just that they blame anyone but themselves. They don’t like anyone but themselves.

There is one big exception to all this in the public service arena. Step forward Bank of England Governor Mervyn King. I remember back in those crazy five days after the last election when in his calls with Gordon Brown King seemed to be itching to get him out of the door. Since when Osborne must have run out of fingers to count the times that King has come to his political aid.

Among the most scandalous and least commented upon was his expression of support for Osborne’s strategy on the eve of the local elections. My God can you imagine the outcry if Eddie George had done the reverse?And then yesterday as Cameron sets out to blame the eurozone for the double dip recession they said would never happen, up pops Merv to echo the PM.

They must love him. Of course the eurozone crisis is real. But perhaps Cameron, 0sborne and King can explain why Germany and France, despite the crisis, have avoided another recession and why the US is performing better than we are. Answer – because plan A is not working and they are too arrogant (copyright Nadine Dorries) to admit it. So all they can do is blame. Blame Labour. Blame Europe. Blame public sector workers. Blame welfare recipients. Blame business. And now Merv is blaming the Queen, warning that the extra bank holiday for the Jubilee will hit growth. Talk about getting excuses in early  Perhaps she can raise this with him the next time they’re in the Royal Box at Wimbledon together. Merv is a regular.

One of the best things we did was make the Bank of England independent. One of the worst things Mervyn King is doing is undermining that sense of independence by comments that in their echoing of a political strategy are either naive, inept or politically motivated. Not qualities you want in a Bank Governor at times like this.

  • Mark Wright

    So the Tories finally admit it *wasn’t* Labour’s fault for ‘creating this mess’ after all. No, it was *our* fault for just not working hard enough. Silly old us, eh? We’ve only got ourselves to blame. Oh well, only three more years and we can vote ourselves out at the next election.

    I doubt the Tories will again be giving the Great British Public ‘An Invitation To Join The British Government.’ now they know how lazy we all are. Although it appears that that invitation has been extended to one person, however. A Mr M King, c/o BofE.

  • Why do people like Mervyn always bemoan the costs of a day off, but fail to consider the days work everyone did for free on February 29th this year. What was the gain to the economy on that day?

  • It’s the old Tory ploy of divide and rule.Gove is the least mysterious in this – he’s fairly binary: Free schools good, state schools bad. The rest try to nuance their messages but it boils down to the same old tories, looking after their own while the hoi poloi fight amongst themselves.

  • Colm_costello

    “One of the best things we did was make the Bank of England independent”
    It was the only good thing you did, but at the same time you took powers to supervise banks away from them and gave it to the FSA.
    Bad idea.
    Also, cameron didn’t say there would never be a double dip. You are confusing him with Brown who said Labour ended boom and bust.
    The first part of that was true, the second part false.
    As far as your upset at Labour being blamed, I understand why that would upset you.
    No one likes to be blamed, least of all for the huge mess Labour left behind again.
    Remember Liam Byrnes comment when you lost the election, “there’s no money left”.
    Suck it up Alistair.
    Looking forward to reading your book. Your diaries were excellent 

  • reaguns

    Certainly hard to argue with Alastairs analysis of this one.

    Only thing to add is that I’m fairly sure both Browns and Camerons policies were supported by King and vice versa. I don’t think Balls and co are against him either. Only the Tory right (thatcher, redwood, carswell) seem to be against. And now Alastair too.

    Definitely mad to blame eurozone for recession when France and Germany not in recession! Does this mean if we get a recovery we give credit to eurozone and not cam?

  • reaguns

    To Michele regarding a post a few blogs back about “speaking a different language.” I don’t see everything in terms of financial value. But isn’t it good practice to state the predicted positive or negative consequences of a particular policy before deciding whether or not to do. There are some things worth doing even if they have a negative impact on GDP.

    But we should be aware of where this is the case and not pretend every policy is good for growth, or needs to be.

    So I think we always need to speak economic language, even if we later translate it to sociological or socio economic language

  • Francismaud

    Dear Shibley

    I really do think that the government is playing on the dark side. Thats why Cameron and Osbourne have both taken part in Bilderberg. Bilderberg is of global importance, and is now advocating Rubio with Romney.

    Even without the terrifying importance of Bilderberg, this government has managed to pass three bills which will damage the fabric of society. They did these in a way which was reprehensible, with welfare reform bill, legal aid bill and health and social care bill.

    The really sad thing is that this was so unncessary. Its motivated entirely by greed and money, the grim fact is that in a recession the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Using the media the government has launched a cynical campaign of propoganda against disabled people. The welfare reform bill went through a scandalous process in the house of lords and was eventually forced through in its ugliness with financial privilege. The legal aid bill followed it closely, which was also cynically planned to fraudulently attack disabled people. The Health and Social Care Bill which is like a ‘hand grenade thrown into the NHS’ was also conducted with brutal suppression of sense, and was accompanied by a risk register which is yet unpublished.

    But now this is done, we are left with an aftermath which no politician has been able to forsee. The reason is that no MP is disabled and on benefits, being told to find a job which does not exist. Make no bones about it Shibley, after the olympics the country will go down disgustingly. First 500000 disabled people will be cut off support. With nowhere to turn to they will turn to the NHS. With no drugs, no homes, no future, there will be acts of desperation. People with mental health issues will set fire to themselves in public places. The NHS will fail.

    Politicians will be scratching their heads wondering how this happened, because all over UK people will be angry and desperate. All because a handful of crypto fascist super toffs have done a hatchet job on UK.


  • Anonymous

    Excellent piece as usual, Mr. C. We in the public sector are just getting battered day by day by this government. I’m just hoping the electorate wake up to it before there’s none of us left!

  • Janiete

    ‘The mess Labour left behind’ is a 24 carat lie. All in the Labour Party know it, intelligent, informed comentators in the media know it and even the Government knows it. For political reasons of course, pro-Tory anti-Labour voices want to keep it going and seem quite happy to continue to deceive the public.
    Debt as a proportion of GDP was lower before the crash than Labour inherited in 1997 and lower than Major inherited from Thatcher. The Tory front bench are on record supporting Labour’s spending plans at the time and committed themselves to matching it. Far from objecting to inadequate regulation Tories consistently argued for WEAKER regulation of our financial systems. I wonder how much worse it would have been had such incompetents been in the driving seat.
    The ONLY reason for the large debt and deficit is the banking crisis and the decision Labour took to bail out the banks. I’ve yet to hear a sensible commentator or any Goverment MP say we were wrong to finance the banks when the crisis hit. Ironically Osborne and Cameron are now urging Eurozone countries to do what is necessary to resolve their crisis i.e pump money into the system to stop the rot.
    I wonder if there are parties in power in Europe, who look at the ease with which the Tories have perverted the truth here, and are reluctant to do what has to be done for fear of being similarly villified for short-term political gain? Cameron and Osborne are utter hypocrites for peddling this persistent lie when they know it to be completely false.

  • Anonymous

    King has become so predictable.  He should be chased out of town by a baying mob.

    You are right, the Tories do hate everybody but themselves.  To that extent they are quite kinky, I think.

    It’s quite obvious that Cameron is now firmly on the eurosceptic bandwagon, more than before.  He’s hoping to hide the decline of the country’s economy behind the current messiness of Europe.  If the public fuses the problems of the euro zone with its domestic woes he will be quite happy.  But as someone pointed out, the cuts have barely had a chance to get going yet.  

    I laughed a lot when I read the various lectures Cameron has chosen to given François Hollande, never having met the man.  Well you’ve got to, haven’t you?

  • Ehtch

    They do not like it, the Torys, the numskulls they are, when you get a modern first world county, you get a large civil service. Maybe these tory politicians need to return to school what a modern country’s civil service actually do. I know what they do, get the basics done to run a fucking first world country, health and collecting bins and all that, and a clip round the ear ‘ole of problem people, as the cops do.

  • Cynic

    ‘They don’t like anyone except themselves’. They’re Tories. Of course they’re tribal, intellectually incestuous and baffled by anyone not driven by acquisitiveness and an overwhelming sense of their own importance and worth. You knew that……didn’t you…….?

  • Michele

    Sigh …. here we go again.
    Read the facts

    and get used to the idea that facts are being lied about.

    Further, ‘hard nut’ Laws has been being used like a lapdog throughout the life of the coalesced mess; never moreso than on that early day he sat in the back seat of a car  with conveniently highlighted words on opened pages visible to long lenses.  The tactic was so embarrassingly obvious when – just a few days later – the situation was deemed improved by mess’s actions.

  • Trevorsmith

    I can never understand why Labour has allowed the Tories since the General Election to get away  with blaming the Labour Government for the economic crisis in 2008-9.  and the need for a four year austerity programme with no growth element.
    Now apparently the double dip recession is the fault of the Eurozone (after all it has long  stopped snowing) and the `Government  is laying in advance  the blame for further lack of growth in the UK  onto the lack of action on the indebted economies of Greece,Spain.Italy and Ireland

  • Dave Simons

     What about the gains of a day off – like chilling out and enjoying yourself, possibly even spending what you wouldn’t have spent otherwise and helping to keep someone in business? I find the ‘debate’ about bank holidays very amusing and indicative of woolly thinking in government and business circles. As I’ve posted before, back in 1993 there were some Tories who were trying to abolish the May Day bank holiday because, allegedly, there were too many bank holidays bunched closely together – Easter, May Day and Spring Bank. That argument was self-destroyed a year ago with the compulsory extra bank holiday at the same period for the Royal Wedding, and this year it’s been self-destroyed yet again with the compulsory extra for the Diamond Jubilee. May Day bank holiday is here to stay, and now the organised labour-hating Tories will never be able to abolish it – and quite right too! Let’s continue to celebrate our everyday abilities and organisation with a day off. At least we’re celebrating something real, instead of the perpetuation of this silly, outdated institution of monarchy in which birth and inheritance count and merit doesn’t. Countries like France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the USA are no worse off for not having a monarchy and it’s about time we stopped elaborating a lot of pseudo-mystical twaddle to keep it, and allowed its present incumbents to be liberated from its silly constrictions. Do I envy them? NO, NO, NO! Give me a life anytime!

  • Nicksmegghead

    “I can never understand why Labour has allowed the Tories since the General Election to get away  with blaming the Labour Government for the economic crisis in 2008-9.”

    … because all the media including BBC news on both TV and radio, and some of the editors of the Guardian are controlled by the Tories.  

  • Ehtch

    totally off topic, but you know this Baron Cohen film that is coming out Alastair? Anyway, this Jeffries bloke on The Guardian that made an article of it kept deleting my posts, jokes never worse than Cohen’s. So I threatened him with you, since we are, well, sort of mates, but then I brought out the trump card if that was not good enough, your misses Fiona. Ladies tend to be better in bitchy battles, I find. Gos knows if I have spooked him or not, otherwise I will send the welsh taffia massive up in a transit van with some glamorgan cricket bats to adjust him. NOOO, only joking. The name EhtchTaff might have got him to think he is above me, in Islington. Anyway, I said peace. Good joke about Rebekah Brooks I posted there though. So god knows what the problem was with the rest of my jokes. Eggshells got deleted, as in it became a bigotted habit for him.

  • Ehtch

    MI5 at their games? Under Tory instruction?

    These type of things always do. Can’t trust the torys what they get up to. They are slimey disgusts, and would do any low thing to modify how we live to give them a sense of control in disorder. Think they are behind it. Let us see if we will see that they will find these ghostly “metal thieves”. If a fuss is made of it, no doubt they will stich and frame someone. Cynical? I lived through these lot in the 1980’s, and I have true stories of people being put into prison corruptly politically, as last year riots. The sentences were totally out of proportion, and a disgrace.

    These torys are true bastards.

  • Michele

     The context was your opinion that Govt should not give financial support to art galleries or those artists that you don’t favour :-s  < again. For a writer there's a linear structure, print, through which to spread their thoughts on life, their work can be printed/published/accessed easily. An artist that makes works that have to be viewed can't spread their thoughts/philosopy so efficiently but that's no reason to stifle their work (which is the result of not supporting them).  People receiving subsistence-level grants post-MA (or BA) will likely be producing work for decades that will cause many  open-minded people that view it to think.  It's just about life and society being about more than accounts.

  • reaguns

    Like to change my hard to argue from earlier, either drink was talking or someone got hold of my pc! Germany has lots of growth… and lots of austerity. France does not have a recession, therefore that must be down to lovely Hollande? Er no, Sarkozy has been the leader responsible.

    And most of all the US, I again make the point that no one on this blog has ever answered, that no Labour or indeed Conservative MP has ever answered, no newspaper, and the one that Andrew Neil has used to hit every Labour guest over the head without reply for weeks on end:

    How can austerity be deemed to have failed and stimulus deemed to have worked, when it is America who has been running more austerity under Obama and getting more growth? Obama has had an overall cut in government spending way more than we have – Cameron is the Keynesian compared to him.

  • reaguns

    To Michele: I am not sure about this carrying on conversations across blogs, but 2 blogs ago you brought up the cuba discussion from many blogs before that, so for reasons of space and likelihood of being read I’m carrying it on here.

    I hope you are now satisfied that having been to every country in asia and other countries in south and central america, but not africa, I can speak of the third world.
    However this premise is false: I would prefer to say that just because someone has never been to the third world, does not stop them having an opinion on the third world.
    This will be noted however so that the next time you spout on whatever I can tell you “What do you know, you’ve never been.”

    As usual I don’t necessarily need arguments and logic, I just need to use the other person’s own logic.

    So for starters I hereby declare that Michele shouldn’t ever talk about the US armed forces – after all she has never been a grunt, nor ever set foot in the pentagon, therefore what does she know?

    Also, from now on any surgeons who want to treat cancer, will have to have had cancer themselves, otherwise what the hell would they know?


    Back to the main topic. You tried to draw a false link between my belief in capitalism and small government, with the third world, of low and falling prices. Wrong on so many levels. First of all, if they had low and falling prices, they’d be fine. It is countries who have rising prices (Greece, Zimbabwe) who struggle. Second, it is small government, a government that does its main job: Law and order and defence, that we want. Not anarchy, not no government, not a government that does everything but its main job. Very few african or third world governments meet this criteria.
    Third, I’ll humour your asian question: In Malaysia there is far less crime. There are far less drugs. The reason: They kill drug dealers, just as we should, and when you go to a jail in malaysia once, you never want to go back a second time. Food is dirt cheap and jobs are plentiful. China has many many things we could copy, though many things we would not want to copy: there is nothing that says we have to copy 100% of any system.

    Fourth, and most importantly, a capitalist, small government society, will see lowest and falling prices yet simultaneously see immense and rising standards of living – but if you want to check this, check the country that experienced this, not some third world strawman. Check the United States Of America, as it rose to leapfrog Britain and Germany and become the biggest economy on earth, helping more poor people than have ever been helped by any other nation in history, and building the basis by which it could preserve freedom in the world.

  • Michele

     I can’t believe that these vast amounts of metal are going to scrap dealers for wads of cash. 
    It just doesn’t seem feasible.

    Good to hear that some companies have managed to fit cameras at last but a  lot of local churches that had new roof leading fitted in the past decade are now finding that’s been stripped off.

    A lot of this stolen metal is leaving the country the same night at the bottom of truck trailers, undeclared and undetectable.

  • Michele

     OMG do you need some Kwells?

    You have spouted continuously about your lack of belief in minimum pay for the UK (as pertains in so much of 3rd world) and your preference for people to be paid as little as possible so products will be sold for as little as possible. 
    LOLLLLLL  … do you REALLY think that is how selling prices are decided? 
    Do you think there is a moral code that retailers share that only a certain multiplier will be used on the cost price and that that rule is rigorously controlled, adhered to?

    IF you have experience of all the 3rd world countries you have visited and have seen the results of people being as lowly-paid as they’re forced to accept ie: owt instead of nowt  (leaving them with inability to afford birth control, decent housing, utilities etc, casual labour sleeping under rags under trees at the side of the site they happen to be working on so they can nowadays ping their minimum wages back to their family in the village) can you really mean it is how we should structure employment here? 
    Don’t be so ignorant.

    Re the ‘complaint’ about spreading convos across threads I simply reminded you of your allegation that Cuba is a 3rd world country.  It is not. 
    In the few aspects that it might compare to some countries that are I would blame the US’s 50yr trade embargo, something that after quite a lot of back and forth you studiously ignored.  Hence the reminder, you’re handy at chucking around Big.Idea recommendations and criticisms, less handy about taking it to the Real.Idea and the detail it involves.

  • Michele

     The USA is a couple of hundred years old.
    It was able to start, build from scratch, basing its institutions on what they had seen elsewhere and avoid the mistakes and copy the succes.  This of course was
    – after buying the land from Indians for a few feathers
    – with nothing to knock down before re-building could take place.

    They occupied their very own quarter of the globe, being almost unassailable by foreigners till ….. hmmmmmm  ….. 70yrs ago?  Quite unlike our island.

    The new emigres found gold, they didn’t consider sharing it …. or did they?

    Ditto with oil, even that in the Gulf of Mexico has not been shared with the indigenous people that had already been  shoved down in to the driest most arid and unproductive part of the continent.

    Please don’t think for a moment that this idea is any more suitable for economies-based comparison with our situation than the gormless one elsewhere.

  • fam4th

    Well said Alistair.  But I have to concede that for Mervyn to warn the country that ‘the extra bank holiday for the Jubilee will hit growth’ is highly creditable given his allegiances.  Let’s hope he starts a trend of honesty about monarchy. 
    Let it be understood that this forthcoming jubilee is a wonderful way for the Windsors to secure their way of life at our expense, (and I’m not only talking money here).  It worked for the Tudors and it will work for the Windsors, unless people with a voice speak honestly and critically (and I don’t mean just negatively).

  • Libdem

    Mentioning my manners is rich coming from you Michelle but there we go, you live down to your standards as normal.

  • Janiete

    The issue that you and Andrew Neil keep banging on about is a narrow, mis-leading point that doesn’t take account of the detail behind the headline. The argument that actual public spending cuts so far have been small and therefore are not the cause of the downturn in our economy, or that decisions made by the Government haven’t led to the double-dip recession is nonsense. 
    The coalition came into office exaggerating our financial difficulties for political and idealogical reasons. They stated an intention to cut the deficit by 2015 and warned of extreme difficulties to come. Thousands of companies and millions of people got the message and battened down the hatches, leading to a loss of demand and investment.

    Thousands of public sector workers have lost their jobs and many planned public sector projects have been cancelled, including the BSF programme which had been keeping the building sector afloat after the crisis hit. In the early stages of such a fundamental shift in direction, total costs won’t drop significantly as redundancy, restructuring, renegotiation and winding down costs are inevitably incurred.

    Public spending has increased to cope with the rise in unemployment benefit, higher tax credits and housing support for people who have lost jobs and for those who have had to cut down their working hours. Add to this the drop in tax take from higher unemployment and the fall in demand (aggravated by the VAT increase) and it becomes clearer that in effect the Government has moved much of our public spending from the productive to the pointless.

    As we sink deeper and deeper into this downward spiral, if we are lucky, someone in this Goverment, and maybe even AN, will acknowledged that it isn’t just the total amount of public spending that matters, it’s what you spend it on.

  • Janiete

    I’m not having much luck with my posts lately. This was a reply to Reaguns, but seems to have got lost.

  • reaguns

    There is some truth to what you say but some falsehoods as well.
    First of all, the statement about the debt in comparison with Major and Thatcher contains one slight problem: the debt (and deficit) was way too high under them as well!

    And if you think no sensible commentator or government MP has said we shouldn’t have bailed out the banks, then I’m afraid you are either blinkered or brainwashed. There have been labour and tory MPs who spoke against this, likewise in America, and there are plenty of economists of both left and right who say we shouldn’t have done so. And even those who approved of the bailout almost uniformly say that we should have punished the bankers who caused this, either by fining them, jailing them, or making them lose their jobs, ie the punishment they would have got if Gordon Brown had not saved them. They also say we should have had bank reform. Left as is, we will have more crashes, because the banks know when they gamble and win they get rich, when they lose we bail them out.

    However I’ll accept your point of view if you can answer me this question, you won’t be able to and don’t feel bad when you can’t because no one else can answer it truthfully and positively either: If the deficit level was fine before the crash, and if it was only bailing out the banks that sent it to the astronomical level it reached in the year of the crash – then why was it at an astronomical level the following year (and every year since) as well? We didn’t bail out the banks those years, why didn’t it go back down?

  • reaguns

    Fine I want to draw, oh and while I’m at it I want to write as well. Obviously my skills aren’t good enough and no one would willingly pay to read what I write, or look at my drawings. So I should get the government to force people to pay to fund me instead?!

    Writers get funded because people are willing to buy their books, papers, columns etc. It should be the same for art. We in theory live in a democracy, well I want the right to vote against funding art and I’m sure in such a vote my side would win by more than 90%.

    Not enough people like enough art enough. I have this conversation all the time.

    “We shouldn’t fund art.”
    “Yes we should.”
    “Because people like it.”
    “No they don’t.”
    “How can you say that.”
    “I don’t, they do. By not buying art. By not paying to go to galleries and so on. They like premiership football, x factor and rupert murdoch newspapers – but not art. If they did they’d be willing to pay for it.”
    “Is it all about money.”
    “No its about what people like. And people vote for and pay for what they like. They don’t vote or pay for art.”

    So I am anti arts funding for democratic reasons.

  • reaguns

    Absolutely daft. I read ALL the economists. You will find no support for this ridiculous idea. Resources and land matter nowhere near as much as you state, or USA would be nowhere near the richest country in the world. Russia, Germany, Britain, most middle eastern countries for a start would be richer what with their land, oil, people, market access. Political and economic freedom are the reasons why America got rich, nothing else.

    Taking the land from Indians was awful, and I support the idea of reimbursement both for this to the Indians, and to the blacks for slavery. Such a right winger aren’t I, or should that be uber-rightist.

    Unassailable by foreigners?! What?! If that was true there wouldn’t have been any Americans in the first place, duh!

    Building on the success of others and avoiding their mistakes – absolutely! Why don’t others do this?

    It is always important to compare countries, and all countries can be compared unfavourably to America, even places like Sweden and Denmark remember are only Sweden and Denmark because of America, otherwise they would be Western Russia.

  • reaguns

    “LOLLLLLL  … do you REALLY think that is how selling prices are decided?  ”

    We are talking economics, and you are trying to LOL at me? Even given what you have just written?

    How do you think selling prices are decided? Surely you know even from the labour/keynesian paradigm they are decided based on demand… ie based on what people can pay.

    But to put it more simply, businesses will always be trying to sell things for the highest price they can get. This is what they should be doing. As long as we have competition, and the government should make sure we always do, then the different sellers will have to compete to lower costs and prices. This is absolutely what happened in America, for over a hundred years, and indeed in every competitive industry, look at electronic goods, look at clothes. Only government supported industries have rising prices.

    Read an economics primer Michele, or read a labour person or supporter who knows a bit about economics, they do exist. Its boring discussing such simple topics with you. Did we have third world conditions when prices were falling, when there was no minimum wage? No.

  • reaguns

    “The argument that actual public spending cuts so far have been small and therefore are not the cause of the downturn in our economy, or that decisions made by the Government haven’t led to the double-dip recession is nonsense. ”

    How in God’s name can it possibly be nonsense?! The argument Andrew Neil keeps putting is, how can you say the recession or stagnation is caused by austerity when we haven’t had any yet. That was labours former argument and is still their argument to softer interviewers. The argument about confidence may or may not be true, but they only make it because their other argument has been exposed as categorically untrue.

    Again you have a couple of good points – You can argue that it matters what we spend money on (hence Obama can claim to have had a stimulus because he spent on a couple of things, but overall he has had no macroeconomi keynesian stimulus.)
    It can be argued about productive versus pointless spending. However any spending we do that is based on debt: is pointless, and will ultimately cost more than any benefit we get from it.

    On that: Did anyone see Ken Livingstone on Have I Got News For You tonight? If he had made the points as Mayor, loudly, that he made tonight and meant them – I’d have voted for him. Tonight he said essentially that the Euro was a stupid idea (and that he warned of this in the Socialist Economic Bulletin) and he also said that you shouldn’t pay for things with debt, you should pay as you go. This was indeed the opinion of the old socialists, moreso than the capitalists. If only it were still their opinion.

  • Dave Simons

     Thanks for the news clip. I’ve read Maudlin’s 1964 comment elsewhere – history of the Tories or something – and it was a less polite variant of the BBC’s report. But it’s obviously what outgoing Chancellors say to incoming Chancellors as a joke, so to see it continually trotted out as a serious criticism of Liam Byrnes displays either incredible naivety or a bit of barrel-scraping for something to throw at Labour. I’m sure Laws saw it as the in-joke it was but, being an incorrigible opportunist, like a lot of LIbDem leaders, he perhaps thought he’d use it to cover up the fact that the LibDems were more or less behind Labour on its economic policies before the General Election made them all turn their coats and join the Tories.

  • Michele

     Growl ……
    ping their minimum wages

    should read MINIscule

  • Michele

    Re May being booed at the Police conference I was amazed by Kelvin MacKenzie on QT and Diane Abbott on This Week saying the treatment was especially bad because of May’s gender ….. whaaaat?

    Good grief.

  • Michele

     Cache?  Relevance?  Place?

    Mine is a post to a Tory politician, stop the klingon LD/Cons behaviour fgs.

    If you’re on a bonus scheme and report back to Nick’s skivvy, excuse my lack of prior knowledge.

  • Libdem

    It’s evident that you’ve either been talking directly to Laws re. Byrnes or this is perhaps wishful thinking; which is it? Surely the point of it was not that Liam Byrne said it but rather that it was true.

    Which would you have preferred post the Election, Labour coalition with the LibDems or a Tory government?

  • Michele

     Stuff your ‘duh’-y pretence that you don’t know what was meant.
    Definitely assailable by foreigners pre-USA-hood, hence as you say the
    Pilgrims’ success.  Hence also the people that had moved up from Mexico and planted all those orchards and groves that still exist there.   Those Mexicans got chased out didn’t they?  So much for FCFS.

    I always titter when contemporary Americans yatter on about the British
    being colonialists and the maltreatment from the mad king.
    Unassailable by possible-enemies (proven by their not being seriously touchable till Pearl Harbour, so confident of their un-reachability that it was hardly even defended.  WTH do you suppose they were so staggered?).

    Please do not treat me as an ignoramus about commerce and capitalism reaguns, simply because I find your (usual) preaching about lowest-possible pay followed by lowest-possible SPs laughable (I notice btw that somewhere today you’ve switched to congratulating sellers that do use highest poss SPs).  You’re getting in a muddle.

  • Michele

     Nope, you’re against arts funding because you’re pretending philistine-ism and that society doesn’t need it (it’s quite plain you enjoy pretending not to want to be part of an enhanced society but then you get all wobbly with suspicions you’re being picked on). 
    Your pretence is part of your butch act innit.

    Types of art are changing and people are not ‘given’ arts funding post-education. 
    They have to apply, they have to show examples of their previous work or craft, they have to prove their ability and the philosophy underlying what they want to make.
    They have to earn it – before they start work on the art.

    There is more than one type of maker and there is more than one type of art and writing is included in my definition, just as is a defence of T Emin.
    You’ve joshed about her bed, you pretend ignorance about why she used to ‘value’ herself in only a sex-object way.  I doubt you know a thing about her thoughts or about her exquisite embroideries (I’m also sure you don’t give one anyway).

  • Michele

     ………………………. How do you think selling prices are decided? Surely you know even from
    the labour/keynesian paradigm they are decided based on demand… ie
    based on what people can pay…………………

    You know this do you?
    You’ve bought and sold things for a business have you?
    You’ve experienced results being assessed against turnover vs margin vs markdown have you?

  • Janiete

    I think your problem Reaguns, is that your understanding of what is being said by Labour politicians is limited to paraphrased quotes in the popular media. Nothing about the confidence argument is a surprise to me and I’m sure that Ken Livingstone didn’t say anything on HIGNFY that he hasn’t said many times. Perhaps you should stop limiting your reading to the Torygraph.

  • Michele

    …………………. “Did we have third world conditions when prices were falling, when there was no minimum wage? No “……………..

    Nope but we depended (and still do) on people that have
    we aren’t even a full century away from third world conditions being an actuality in Britain itself.  If nobody in your family has apprised back, buy yourself some differently categorised books.

  • Janiete

    In an ideal world, no government or household would incur debt, but unfortunately life isn’t like that. We borrow when we have to, for schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure projects, and households borrow to buy homes. In making these decisions we have regard to our income and prospects for the future and if we are sensible, apply some limits and don’t overstretch ourselves.

    EU guidance on deficits is that they should not be more than 3% of GDP. Prior to the crash the UK’s deficit was within this limit. Robert Chote (before he became a Government employee) acknowledged that our borrowing before the banking crisis was mainly to fund infrastructure initiatives which would bear fruit in the future. He drew a comparison with borrowing in the Thatcher and Major years which merely funded the failure of high unemployment.

    Anyone who borrows, governments or individuals, runs the risk of unexpected events causing financial difficulties. Unplanned additional borrowing and a reduction in income will require significant adjustments, and usually involve restructing re-payments over a longer period. Often, how quickly the debt is repaid will determine quality of life in the meantime, and this is the basis of the main political argument playing out now between the parties.

    I think your argument is different. You seem to take the view that no one should borrow, ever. Your ideal society is one where everyone observes ‘pure’ original Adam Smith type capitalist principles, and we all live within our means. Sounds great, let me know if you find any such society and I’ll go and live there.

    But for now I live in the real, imperfect world. We are where we are. The question is do we attempt to reduce the deficit at breakneck speed, disregarding the misery it will inflict on millions of people and risking a more serious downward economic spiral. Or do we slow the pace, preserve a decent society for our people and carefully spend on projects which will instill confidence and grow our way out of our problems. I know which side of the argument I’m on, do you? 

  • Michele

     Yes and the latest, present opportunist is surprise surprise a Tory politician of some kind.

  • Michele

     ……………..” The argument Andrew Neil keeps putting is, how can you say the
    recession or stagnation is caused by austerity when we haven’t had any

    Perhaps when he first said it was true; trouble is that (as you say) he KEEPS saying it.
    Broken record time?
    Cuts have definitely started to take effect, the fear of yet more to come must be driving their victims to panic. 

    We know how badly some people have been affected already, 4XS you’ve even been driven to exploit words such as ‘nazism’ and ‘slavery’ (melodramatic misuse and insulting twerpism imhoo).
    How you can keep switching track in your constant search for things to disagree with is mind-boggling.

    Are the cuts not affecting you or even anyone you know of yet?  Do you not know of someone that’s had 100 care workers from one of the new ‘private’ companies in the past few months?   I wonder if such a ploy is designed to make a person lose the will to live when treated as an object, something just to move.
    Did you see the TV documentary played a couple of weeks ago re Fiona Phillips’s search for a care home for her mother?

  • Michele

     Error, the TV documentary I mentioned was about her father.

  • Michele

     If you click on your head icon Janiete I think you’ll find it’s on, just not where apparently intended 🙂

  • Ehtch

    Yes, lead off church rooves is the old classic, as well as their copper lightning conductors.

    What gets me is no one is found to do these ghostly crimes. It is as if the media is doing it to fill their papers with such stories.

    The other one these days is manhole covers, or should I say personhole covers, these days, Michele… : )

  • Michele

     Didn’t bother opening and reading the link did you?

    Care to open these two?

    They relate to my quote of last week about a US healthcare professional who was over here early ’10 observing NHS practices and he mentioned in a discussion programme I heard that his co’s hospitals in US paid 14 times what the NHS’s bulk buying enabled for UK. 
    Turns out, per the info in the two articles that Tennessee pays even more.
    You ‘doubted’ my truth.
    Still, my rebuttal is only from the Wail.

  • Michele

    The link is there, it is an article published at the time.

    FGS are you blinkered or scared of links? 

    Rest assured it won’t transport you to some nasty virus, its domain is the Beeb, safe as houses.  Live a little.

  • Dave Simons

    As a point of information could you let me know which Labour MPs opposed the bail-out of the banks in 2008? I’m not doubting that there were some, but I would like to know who they were.

  • Dave Simons

    Three cheers! In an ideal society we’d all live within our means, but we’d never be able to forward-plan much, would we? It would be a very slow-moving, unprogressive society. It wouldn’t be like the late 1940s and early 1950s where we were very strapped for cash and in dreadful debt, but we – Labour and Tory governments – nevertheless moved forward with spending on the Welfare State. Maybe it was the sobering effect of six years of total war, and let’s hope a forgetful generation doesn’t have to go through something like that again before it gets some sense knocked into it.

  • Dave Simons

    I don’t think Laws is stupid and I don’t need to talk to him directly to confirm that. Perhaps he – or his advisors – read this blog, in which case I challenge him to answer for himself.  As for the truth of what Byrnes said, of course it was, as it usually has been whichever government was outgoing, but especially after the global financial crisis of 2008. And of course it would have been preferable to have a Labour coalition with the duplicitous Lib Dems rather than what we effectively have, a Tory government. Is that ever not the case? What have Tory governments ever done but keep the rich rich and rip off the not-so-rich – answer me that, you groveller!

  • reaguns

    I was surprised by that too. I also could have sworn I heard Kelvin McKenzie say a couple of surprising and sensible things apart from that, though I have no recollection what they were so I probably imagined or misheard them.

    But yeah I thought the first person to mention the gender thing would get shot down. Presumably if you disagree with a home secretary cutting your pension, strongly enough to have a right go at them, the gender of the home secretary will hardly ease the pain, just as the miners I’m sure hated Thatcher no less for being a woman.

  • reaguns

    I don’t limit my reading to the torygraph, I read the guardian more, and I debate a lot more on the guardian. I would read the Times and the FT too if they were free.

    Ken Livingstone spoke against debt, he spoke for pay as you go, the opposite of the current labour line, and indeed of the usual tory line (or rather tory action.)

    So if the confidence argument was not a surprise to you, why has it only recently been adopted, and even then only on shows where the interviewers are wise to the austerity lie?

  • reaguns

    What have I switched track on? You don’t need to answer that because I haven’t.

    The point made by Neil and accepted by Balls is talking about macroeconimic stimulus versus austerity.

    Its not saying that certain services and what not have not been cut, nor denying or cheapening the suffering of those affected.

    But the point about macroeconomic austerity is that if you have an overall cut in public sector spending, then you should see an increase in private sector investment and jobs. Thats the theory anyway, and up until recently it could not be tested in the UK because we did not have overall cuts, we had overall stimulus. However we have now finally seen a small cut, and if this keeps pace or increases, but there is no job or gdp growth, then people will be able to blame austerity for (overall) problems.

    Yes I did see the Fiona Philips documentary – I feel like I saw two, though it may be because I saw a couple of interviews with her about it. I must admit cuts, austerity, stimulus or otherwise didn’t come into my thinking during that, only retribution. I would have a few of those carers shot.

  • reaguns

    US has geopolitical advantages but it was not unassailable. The fact of the matter is that in the end the British and the French did not deem it valuable enough to fight an all out war over, or they would have taken/kept control. They were more interested in other places such as the Caribbean.

    And had Germany defeated Britain and Russia (which they very nearly did) America would have fallen too. U-boats, destroyers and transports would have encircled and invaded US, don’t forget they were weaker than Britain, Russia, France etc in those days – no match for the Germans.

    Likewise but for the robust approach to defence, the Soviet Union would have found them very “assailable”.

    US had no geopolitical advantage that Mexico, Canada or Brazil did not have. If any of them had followed the system of the founding fathers rather than the US, then it would have been them who got the growth. It was and is the sublime political and economic system that made America great. If Russia or China or Germany had such a system, it could have been them instead.

    I don’t treat you like an ignoramous except when you make daft statements like you did in the post below.

  • reaguns

    Oh don’t worry my family, on both my mother and fathers side are all too aware of the conditions in britain (and ireland) back in the day – as are our extended family in America, who didn’t leave to watch the superbowl if you know what I mean. Soup bowl would be more like it.

    We do not, and need not, depend on anyone else being in third world conditions. In fact by your own narrow definition I’ll think you find we receive nothing from the “third” world.

    However if we were to buy stuff cheap from them, as long as it was free trade and not forced, then that would benefit them and us. But it is not necessary.

  • reaguns

    Yes I’ve bought and sold things for a business and been involved in setting prices. This is small picture. Big picture we all try to sell for the maximum price we can – but in reality we have to work out if we will put customers off by overcharging in the short term, and we have to be competitive in pricing against our competitors. Within those parameters we charge as much as we can. Just as when I go for employment, I try to get the highest wages I possibly can negotiate, but because there is competition in my industry, I can only get a certain amount because otherwise the company will employ someone else cheaper.

    This is really simple stuff.

    Do your company not try to charge the highest price they can get (over time.)
    Do you not try to get the highest wages available?

  • reaguns

    Point 1: As I predicted, you didn’t answer my question.

  • reaguns

    Borrowing for infrastructure and capital investment is one thing, by far the majority of our borrowing is for consumption, spending.

    Much of labour (and many lib dems, and quite a few tories) believe in Keynesian economics – the problem was that Keynes believed you should run surpluses in the booms so that you could borrow in the busts, and at a far lower level than anything that was seen in the 1970s, or is being seen now! Most “Keynesians” are nothing of the sort!

    You could argue for Keynesian stimulus in Thatchers time – debt was low enough that during her first recession it was a reasonable position to take that there could have been some borrowing and stimulus to get people into work, it probably wouldn’t have had too much effect on interest rates and growth. But our situation now is way different than that. Any more borrowing and stimulus and we are in deep trouble. All the parties recognise this.

    I do not believe people or countries should not borrow ever. If a person needs to borrow to buy a car to drive to work, or a computer for work, or some tools, that they will use to make money with later – thats a sensible thing to do. If they borrow to buy a flatscreen tv, thats daft.
    If a country borrows to buy capital goods which will enhance productivity, that can be good under certain circumstances if managed well. These are not those circumstances.

    I do not have the figures here (if you do feel free to share them) and don’t fancy trawling to get them but I am damn sure our deficit has not been 3% or near it for a very long time. Our deficit did not even double between the year before the financial crisis and the year after and it ended up at 11/12% so obviously it was never at 3%.

    Our borrowing before the financial crisis was absolutely not anywhere near mainly for infrastructure, they are a fraction of our spending. Gordon Brown started calling a lot of spending “investment”, which doesn’t change the fact that what economists call spending and investment hasn’t changed. But even under his definition there was far more spending than investment. Thats not to say spending is all bad. When we are paying for pensions and so on that is good, though a better system would be to invest for pensions. But to employ half a million non-nhs extra civil servants was not investment. Neither was the half million nhs staff added, though these at least did something useful.

    As for which side of the argument I am on, you paint is as if I have either the choice of your side or the evil side! But I believe the borrowing route is the evil side! Believe it or not, I am not evil! I may be many things (no need to list them lol) but I am not evil. If I thought something else was better for the people I would argue for it. I believe more borrowing will cause more problems for more people in the long run. But sensible people can disagree on what to cut and how fast to cut it, that I accept.

  • reaguns

    Ok I’m just ignoring the cryptic bits from now on, when you want to say something to me spit it out, if you want me to understand it.

    “you pretend ignorance about why she used to ‘value’ herself in only a sex-object way. ” Are you sure this was me? I am sure I would pretend ignorance as I don’t know what you are talking about. All I know is that Tracy Emin gets called an artist, even though she never draws or sculpts anything. She is not Leonardo, Michelangelo or Monet is she, and yes that’s me out of examples, oh oh oh or Van Gogh!

    My only point is that I do not want to pay for art – I would rather that money was either back in my pocket, or put into the police, the NHS, something that government has business in, I would rather it was given to a homeless drunk. In fact why don’t we give the money to the homeless, take a picture of one of them and call it “the unmade drunk” stick it in a gallery beside Emin’s ‘art’ and everyone will be happy.

  • Libdem

    I’ll accept your claim of clairvoyance or fantasy or make believe, call it what you will.

    Perhaps if your esteemed leader had been a bit more humble, you’ll never know, we might even have jumped into bed with you Dave.

    The thought is enough to make the cream curdle!

  • Libdem

    Yes, I’ve noticed you have a propensity for responding to each and every observation. Then produce some link to the Vancouver Sun or equally obscure site as if they are the sole representatives of the ‘truth’ as you put it.
    Rather than simply posting links you should try reading them first for relevance.

  • Mike Allen

    As a soon to be defunct Quango employee about to be made redundant, my organisation has been on the wrong end of “mis information” by the Govt,. It is clear that there is a policy of blame and targeting so that any disagreement with plans to do x or y are swept aside, especially within the badly informed lap dogs of the media (well parts of) The funny thing now is seeing the Daily Mail on Cameron’s case – whilst in no way compensating for the loss of an effective and value organisation, there is a certain satisfaction on the fire being returned by the papers who have been used as tools of the Govt!

  • Mel

    Yes, this characterises the Government full well, but, unfortunately, blaming has replaced the ‘stiff upper lip’ as a national characteristic. It creeped across from the litigious US.

  • Michele

     Sure, let’s exploit some homeless drunk and call it art.  I’m glad other people are less callow.

    Tracey Emin had the right to use the ‘material’ of her life (as it used to be) as no more than she felt worth for some years after having been raped as a child.  It’s called content, train of thought, philosophy, self-analysis, self-value (little of the latter till the cartharsis had drained her) and is what we need if we hope for art to be more than pretty pictures. 

    I don’t know whether T Emin will ever really have left that past behind her but am content that she felt the right to illustrate it.  Others wrote books about their abuse, which enabled yet others to realise they weren’t ‘alone’ with their backgrounds. 

    Nobody at all is forced to look at what she or they produced (but my word, haven’t the publishers and booksellers done well – not to mention all those employed?).  I’ve not read any of those books, a spell of work when I first started travelling less shocked me to my core about how many abusive families there are.

    As to whatever early grants she had just post-RCA I’m sure it’s all been more than repaid in tax (and provided employment for the craftspeople she employs now, along with students on placement). 

    The prices put on her works are the decisions of collectors and entrepreneurs that stage events named ‘Sensation’ and the like, I don’t know what their tax arrangements are.

    I’m surprised if you really don’t ‘get’ the necessity of something to
    disagree with before most of us are equipped to make up our minds / own

    It’s all getting quite tedious reaguns, you’ve claimed to support Labour (which uses/relies on responsible capitalism when in power) but post recommending the most exploitative type.  You then drag in words that just are not suitable to describe workfare.

    You like twisting tenses, when I post that we DEPEND on imports from the third world it is present tense.  When you respond that we don’t need to you are taking things in to the abstract despite it being about the money. 

    We (and that includes you) DO presently and definitely RELY on third world exploitation for our quality of life as it is.

  • Michele

     The trouble is reaguns that your first sentence describes so much of what you post in the early hours.

    It’s not believable that you’re enjoying the benefits you espouse as being advantageous about raw capitalism, imhoo you’d have a lot less to say about workfare if so.  You’ve listed about every country in the world as one you’ve been able to observe up close, but had nothing to say about their situations.  Which is the wind up?

    If raw capitalism’s not been kind to you, imagine its effects on those with less, here and elsewhere, who have no safety net at all to avoid being exploited.

    Despite wanting levelling up for the third world I do try to make sure that whatever I buy that’s made mostly from chemicals is made under EU safety regulations.  Today I saw toothpaste a neighbour bought from 99p Stores, made in / imported from Thailand.  It was a double pack @ 99p. 
    With that sort of price presumably still providing a profit do we believe that what we buy that’s EU-made is rip-off or isn’t ripping off its maker’s workers and do we speculate how much of that 99p item’s end-cost price is transport and importation costs?  Do you wonder whereabouts, if anywhere, tax is paid on the full SP?

  • Michele

     I’m sorry if the ‘propensity’ you describe is strange to you …. I’ve noticed your own is the opposite (opinion rather than proof).

    Back to stage 1?  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a programme I’d heard where a US health professional commented that his colleagues pay 14 times what the NHS pay for a US-made item related to pacemakers.
    You implied (or claimed?) that I was lying.
    The first of my two links is from a US health advice site and this is a C&P re what Americans (or their insurers) are charged for their pacemaker ops :
    ” ……….. The heart failure pacemakers range in cost from $35,000 to over $45,000.
    The additional cost of the procedure with associated medical care
    varies greatly depending on the place that the person receives the
    pacemaker. In an outpatient setting, where the procedure is done on the
    same day of discharge or the day prior to discharge, the average cost is
    over $2,000 plus (insert: plus) the cost of the pacemaker.
    However, in the inpatient
    setting, where you are admitted to the hospital, the average cost is
    over $60,000 plus the cost of the pacemaker.”…….

    The second link is info about the same operation’s costs to OUR NHS as it USED to be:
    ” ……. The procedure costs the NHS about £4,200. This comprises
    the £2,000 cost of the average pacemaker, £1,500 for
    the services of the four-strong medical team and £700 for the
    overnight hospital stay”

    Do you think that with YOUR namesake’s help and the buying-in to our NHS by American companies our NHS costs will stay this way?
    Do you seriously think Lansley’s wife’s ‘graduated’ lobbying trainees will stand a chance against the new owners of so many of our local ‘investors’?

    Dream on, and realise that although I actually dislike the use of ‘pet’ I just lurve the fact that it annoys you pet.  What a word to want to ‘own’ for the exclusive use of  norf easterners LOL.

    Links have a use, they mean every single post does not have to require endless scrolling, they’re wider instead of forever narrowning ….. pet xxx

  • Michele

     Are you schizophrenic?
    The use of ‘we’ implies approval of playing nookie with ‘Call ‘im Ernie’ …. … a couple of weeks ago it was tearful posts about ‘we’re finished’.

  • Michele

    I decided to look up the etymwotsit and found :
    ” …..also man-hole, “hole through which a person may pass,” 1793, from man (n.) + hole (n.). ……”
    so it’s about mankind which I don’t mind being counted within  😉

  • reaguns

    I didn’t know she had been raped as a child, and if thats the case, perhaps its inconsistent of me but I can’t begrudge any success, fame, wealth, happiness she has found in light of that.

    It doesn’t make me think we should fund art, I will never want any money I earn in an office, or moreso in factories, to be taken off me at gunpoint (which is what tax is or I wouldn’t pay it) to give to someone to draw pictures, write books, or take pictures of their beds. That can and should be handled most democratically by the market.

    On the other hand, if we were to pay more tax, or use more tax, to fund for example services and help for rape victims, and other victims of unfortunate circumstances, that I’d be in favour of.

    The people that Emin has reached in the free sense, ie in books, events and work for sale – I’m fine with that. I think I tried to separate the two things on an earlier blog. I’m not a fan of Emin’s work and don’t consider it art, but others do and thats fine. But I don’t want to fund the art I don’t like, nor the art I do like.

    I, and many of the economists I read, absolutely do not agree that we depend on the third world. If all our third world importers closed down tomorrow, what would happen? (Assuming they closed down not just to us but to Germany, USA etc as well.)

    Do you know anything about the CAP? This is the most anti-third world policy on the books, as well as anti-small farmer and pro landowner. No better candidate for free market reform.

    I do not claim to blindly support labour. I would never fall into the trap that all parties want in all states, be it DUP/Sinn Fein with catholic protestants, Democrats in US with the ethnic minority vote, or Tories and Labour want here with client contituencies whose votes they can rely on no matter what, this is where control begins and is devastating for democracy. I want both of the bastards to know they have to earn my vote each year, I will never be “tribal” anything as Alastair calls it.
    All my positions are taken with helping the poor and weak in mind, and to hell with the rich. These are not always obvious. I don’t always think labour’s ideas are right for this, even if they are often right for fooling people into voting for them – but I do feel this is why Labour exists so it seems to me that labour people could more easily persuaded that markets can help the poor, than tories who do not have this intention.

  • reaguns

    I just remembered the sensible thing McKenzie said – he welcomed the positive news about british car production by saying that there was never a problem with british workers, but with british management practice. Once the japanes and others started operating our factories quality and production went up straight away.

  • reaguns

    I can’t remember Dave but there definitely were some – remember seeing them on Daily Politics.

    Surely it must stick in a Labour man’s craw to hand money over to protect bankers salaries and bonuses, some may say it does but on balance they thought it was still necessary, but there were some who did not.

    There was also a lot of dissent in the wider labour mediasphere as well. I am certain that there were many against who wouldn’t say so due to party/whip pressures, which is an unfortunate part of our politics.

    I must admit that if I’d known, or even suspected that bailout voices would take over in Labour, I’ve have made more of a mental note of the dissenters. As it was, I thought the Tories would all be pro-banker and it was Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell who opposed the bailout.

  • reaguns

    Its not a comparable situation though Dave. Plainly it was right to do so at that time, there was a far smaller welfare state (obviously), less chance of funds leaking abroad or to the rich, more need for infrastructure and perhaps most importantly – Britain was much more of a force, was always likely to grow as one of the most powerful countries on earth with no risk of default, and therefore without the interest rate nightmare that would happen now.

  • Michele

     Oh good g*d are you incapable of understanding the usefulness of links to not screw up the blog’s capacity?

    Treasury chief’s note to successor: There’s no money

    New Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws has
    revealed his predecessor left him a note reading: “I’m afraid there is
    no money.”
    Mr Laws, speaking alongside Chancellor George
    Osborne, said he opened the note expecting some advice only to find it
    was “slightly less helpful”.
    Liam Byrne, his predecessor, said he had just been using a phrase that all chief secretaries got used to.
    He said it would not be long before Mr Laws was using it with his colleagues.
    Laws – the Liberal Democrat MP who has become chief secretary to the
    Treasury in the new coalition government – revealed the note Mr Byrne
    had “very nicely” left him – as he and Mr Osborne took part in their
    first joint press conference since the general election.

    Dear Chi

    “When I arrived at my desk on the very first day as chief secretary, I
    found a letter from the previous chief secretary to give me some
    advice, I assumed, on how I conduct myself over the months ahead.
    when I opened it, it was a one-sentence letter which simply said ‘Dear
    chief secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left,’ which
    was honest but slightly less helpful advice than I had been expecting,”
    he said.
    Treasury sources said the letter, dated 6 April – the
    day Gordon Brown called the general election – actually read: “Dear
    chief secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good
    luck! Liam.”
    It has similarities to the note reportedly left by
    the Conservative Reggie Maudling to Labour’s Jim Callaghan when he
    became chancellor in 1964, which said: “Sorry to leave it in such a
    Mr Byrne was reported as having said the letter was meant
    as a joke. But he told the BBC he was just using the language that
    everyone in that job used eventually.
    “It’s a phrase that chief
    secretaries do have to get used to using I’m afraid. Chief secretaries
    do have to be tough, they are the unpopular ones in government. I’m sure
    it won’t be too long before Mr Laws is using it with his colleagues.”

    Sounds to me as if Laws was only disappointed that the note was not what he’d anticipated; imagine the cynical fun he’d have manufactured from that if it had been.
    Stop using exploitative crap LD; try to pretend you’re a better person than the LDs that mis-used their voters’ belief in them (and so far largely only for their own financial gain.)

  • Michele

     “…..However if we were to buy stuff cheap from them, as long as it was free
    trade and not forced, then that would benefit them and us. But it is not

    I’ll re-use the phrase ‘owt or nowt’ …. this time in relation to orders we might or might not place (last time it was about people working in systems where there is no minimum pay and ‘like it or lump it’ is the MO when there are millions that WILL take it, no matter how little, from the queue behind). 
    Seems to me we could easily be back in such a cut-throat world of work.

  • Janiete

    I’m surprised you need an answer to your question, but I think you’ll find it in the following Guardian piece:

    I have also checked the figures I quoted for the deficit and can confirm the OECD reported a deficit of 2.8% for the UK in 2007 (the last full year prior to the crash):

    It might be worth reflecting on why someone as interested and knowledgeable on economic matters as yourself, would not already be in possession of these facts. Could it be that mainstream commentators like Andrew Neil and Peter Oborne, or others writing in the Telegraph or reporting on the BBC were being rather economical with the truth? Care to speculate why they would do such a thing?

  • reaguns

    I don’t keep all facts like that stored accurately in my head, the internet have them if I need them! But there is one fact I do keep, more in a minute.

    Neither of those things answer my question. Also remember there are many different economic statistics that can be “spun” in different ways, but here is a fact:

    The question was how did the bailout take us to an 11% deficit, and keep us up in the 10/9% range after that, if it was only the bank bailout that caused the deficit? We bailed out the banks, to the tune I believe of about 75-80 billion? And the deficit went to 155 billion as a result. And has stayed up and around that level. (How does that sit with the 2.8% to 5% to 11% figures as shown in your OECD link is another question.) But the main question is the one at the end of my first message to you, ie how can the bank bailout be blamed for the deficit when the deficit has stayed high long after the bank bailout figures are taken out?

  • Michele

    Please get past the idea that KL’s economics policies were anything to do with his losing the mayoral vote despite everyone knowing for the past 4yrs that the present (as in re-installed) occupant was/is useless.  Make that USELESS.

    Ken was scuppered by a very powerful lobby that branded him as an anti-Semite that had offended their  branch of the race while accusng him of trying to exploit another.  Sad to see the Guardian allowing itself to be so exploited as it was throughout our Spring.

  • reaguns

    Props for your research though… have you taken more of an interest in this stuff, or have I just never noticed you knew some of this stuff before?

  • reaguns

    Well, I suppose you could make a case that we shouldn’t trade with any countries that don’t have a welfare system, that don’t make dole payments. Would never work if only Britain did it, but if you got Eurozone, or G8/G20 to agree it would pressurise countries – then you would know there is a minimum, they’d have to pay enough wages to attract whatever workers were working for them.

    Dangerous road to go down though. Lots of pros and cons.

    My preference would be to abandon the CAP. This is the policy that is making rich European farmers richer (some of whom I know personally), keeps poor farmers here poor, and makes african farmers starve. If I could change one policy in the world, ie in the non-dictatory parts of the world, it would be the CAP. It’ll never happen though, Labour love the EU and the Tories rely on the rich farmers.

  • Michele

     You (make that you) reckon that Gordon Brown should have been humble?  Humble?

    Ye gods.  He made an offer that acknowledged that the electorate had not come to a conclusive result. 

    He saw it for what it was, messily endorsing a left-leaning choice.

    Clegg demanded that despite that, HIS (lol) requirement was for GB to go (as a pre-requisite of him getting in to bed with Labour instead of the Tories).  We are all paying the price for his stupid fetid arrogance.  Heck …. perhaps he’d read and been puffed up by the media hype about himself and Miriam in the few days early May ’10?  Silly ****er (take your pick).

  • reaguns

    Ok Michele McNulty / Freud you can leave the investigations to the pros!
    “Reaguns doesn’t like raw capitalism [not sure where you got that one], doesn’t like workfare… and stays up till all hours of the morning… and posts a lot on here… therefore… he must be some kind of poor unemployed scrounger! Eureka!”

    No, not quite eureka… I’m afraid your analysis shares more in common with the modern Greeks than with Archimedes!

    I was going to say I’m enjoying the benefits of raw capitalism alright thank you very much, but then I live in Britain where we’ve never once crossed the rubicon in my lifetime into a state of affairs that could be called capitalism! We have always been more than 50% socialist. I have never troubled the welfare state apart from a month between jobs as it happens, unless you count the years I spent working on the IT systems for it! We all did rather well out of that, but it would be very very wrong to say we did well out of capitalism! That was socialist nanny state corporatism at its very finest! Really it shows what integrity I have that I despise Gordon Brown despite all the lining of my pockets that he did with his ridiculously over complicated bullshit systems!

    I oppose workfare because I’m a libertarian. There are plenty of other reasons too, but that is the main one. It has many many disadvantages, as we will all find out, but even if they were all advantages, I’d still be against it. The state should never be allowed to force anyone to labour except criminals. But we will be treating our unemployed worse than we treat our criminals, which is insane (but then you knew that Freud lol.)

    So which first sentence are you talking about? (Your post is off the cache.)

    As for the tax thing, if you offer me a product that has paid tax and one that hasn’t, I’ll buy the one that hasn’t. They’ll be passing on the saving to me, and helping to keep the size of the state down, good work.

  • Dave Simons

    People didn’t think like that at the time. Old Quinton Hogg was saying “If we don’t give people reform they will give us social revolution”. Nobody expected the long boom of the second half of the 1950s through to the early 1970s – they were expecting another recession. And the British Empire was falling apart. The Welfare State was born, not because we could afford it – we were massively indebted – but because we had the collective will and, based on a decade of slump and six years of total war, a determination not to go back to the bad old days. I agree that in that sense the situation is not comparable – we’ve just spent three decades demolishing that kind of collective will.

  • Gayle Court

    I’ve just had a conversation with a young guy (I guess he was probably about 28-30) working for Thames Water  while he checked out a meter installation.  I told him I’d just been made redundant so was cutting costs.

    He responded by saying, “It’s terrible for people my age out there you know.  I’ve only got a little flat, I work all week and by the end of it, all my money’s just  gone on living.  I never used to pay much attention to that sort of thing but I’ve started watching programmes like Question Time. I listen to these people from posh schools saying how tax is being cut for the richest people. They should be helping all of us out here not them. We didn’t cause this downturn. It makes me so angry.”

    He told me he was going to vote Labour at the next election.I don’t think the Left has recognised yet that there’ s a generation of young people under 30-32 who grew up under a Labour government for 13 years and until after May 2010 had no idea what it is like to live under a Conservative led administration.  Now they are finding out. A 27yr old graduate recently told me when we discussing the Coalition’s plans for the NHS that: “People are beginning to realise what they have lost” , (meaning the last Labour government).

    Under 32’s are frustrated and angered by the injustice of the economic policies and mindset of the Coalition and it seems, becoming politicised. 

  • Michele

     Why ignore that the bail-outs were always intended as loans and that they have allowed some influence INto banks now (hence the pressure that the coalesced mess are able to put about bonus and pay and interest and then – LOL – talk about how tough they’re being).
    Would Call me Ernie, Osbo and Dannyboy be able to make the demands they are boasting about so much now if UK  banks had been allowed to go to the wall 4yrs ago?  In fact there wouldn’t even be a Danny or Vincie to be prancing around about it …. had collapses happened it would doubtless have been followed by a Tory landslide (based on Labour  being spiteful anti-bankers in such circs).
    Just how would the worst off have endured the nightmare that Greeks are experiencing now – even those (or perhaps especially those) that paid their tax and other dues?

    Was pleased to hear RBS have in fact recently paid back the last of their ’08 millions of pounds rescue  …. not so pleased to hear they are now being absorbed in to Santander (though still having full UK protection for any savings some might still have).

  • Michele

     In view of what J’s just posted I wonder just how active broadcast companies are in checking for verbal errors and in ensuring corrections are placed in the way the Press does?

    Still, just as the Press have put their corrections in among the recipe pages rather than Pg1, one can imagine the broadcaster’s ‘Errata’ slots being around 4am (rather than as the first items of soonest subsequent episodes).

  • Michele

    Fabulous info in the Guardian link J.

  • reaguns

    I don’t think Ken lost based on economics. Even for someone like me with a bit of an interest in such things, there were more important things than economics for London, like crime, and there is practically nothing the mayor can do on economics, its not like a US state governor.

    For most people, it probably came down to personality, attacks about personal tax and so on, I don’t actually think the Jewish thing was a major factor, though that is not based on much evidence.

  • Libdem

    Michelle, you really are a ‘charming’ piece of work aren’t you…don’t bother answering we already know.

  • reaguns

    Michele, I don’t deny that a lot of smart people, including a broad coalition of US/UK politicians, left and right politicians, and economists supported the bailouts, and I am not calling you daft for agreeing with them.

    But there are some smart, accomplished and respectable US/UK, left/right, economists/politicians who disagreed with them.

    I do wish you would acknowledge at least one part of my argument, which is that buying a ‘say’ in the pay of RBS officials was not an ‘advantage’ compared to no bailout, because with no bailout those same executives would be getting paid far less, and in many cases nothing at all. The bailout was not the tough stance on banker pay. No bailout was the tough stance. Or if you want a centrist, but tough, approach then it is Reagan’s bailout and jail-in approach! Something which Alastair and Gillian Tett appeared to endorse on This Week, remember?

    You can still disagree with everything else, you can believe it would have been armageddon with no bailout and so on, but it is not fair to say that the way to have influence over bankers pay, presumably in a downward direction, was to bail them out.

    Are you quite sure that RBS has paid back its bailout money, or is near to doing so? I’d like to see the facts on that one, but a very positive development it would be, and indeed some vindication of the bailouters if it ever happens. (I would still think the bailouts were bad, due to the next crisis that they have set us up for.)

    Its hard to tell how the election would have went had there been no bailout. There was going to be pain either way, I’m sure the tories could have spun it either way to say labour did wrong. I do think however that had our debt/deficit been in better shape in the previous 10 years, labour could have taken either course and won.

  • Michele

     No I cannot agree with you that Govt having acquired a say in how banks behave is anything but a good thing.
    No I cannot agree with you that the banks should have been allowed to collapse.
    We are a group of countries off-coast of another group and we are not independent of any of them and their problems.
    It’s possible that if Dubbya had the brains he should have to be a national President he would not have let Lehmans go and the snowball would have been much less serious.

    I have been concerned about RBS being bought by Santander if it had not repaid its loans to Govt, I heard on radio at the weekend that they’d repaid the last tranche. 

  • Michele

     Click on your head icon, see to (or at) whom most of your ‘input’ is dribbled.

    Patient heal thyself.

  • Michele

     I have suggested nothing like not trading with countries that have no systems for their societies.  How the hell would they ever afford one?  Jeeeez.

    It would be UTTERLY stupid and shouldn’t even allow the sanctimonious people who would suggest such a silly idea to  feel good.

    There has to be trade for everyone’s sake, it’s how we trade and the examples we set that are all that is worthwhile.  Stop buying from poorer countries?  LOL yeah, that’ll help a bunch.

  • reaguns

    I’m not saying you can’t disagree with me on all those things, you are in good company of course, merely saying that having a bailout was not the only way to have an influence on bankers pay – no bailout would have meant bankers pay much lower than it is now.

    Its quite reasonable to say that you oppose the bailout anyway, that for other reasons you think it had to be done, that you still have a say this way and so on, but not reasonable to say that is the only way to have a tough influence on bankers pay.

  • Lev mooney