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Cameron facing in confusing (not to mention hypocritical) directions. Needs Plan B

Posted on 20 May 2012 | 10:05am

I am confused. David Cameron is arguing for austerity at home. But blaming Angela Merkel for damaging the eurozone through her commitment to … er … austerity.

I am also confused … because the Tories who fear a United States of Europe will end civilisation as we know it now appear to be urging a course of action on the eurozone crisis which logically ends in a … United States of Europe.

I am also a little anxious. Because I just caught Alistair Darling on the TV suggesting we were on the brink of catastrophe. The last time he was right. And this time he says it is more serious.

Meanwhile George Osborne, who was talking days earlier of focusing 100 percent on the economy, pops up to shake hands with medal-collecting Chelsea players, wink at Roman Abramovich, and leave millions of football fans, not to mention citizens worried about the economy, thinking not LOL but WTF is he doing there?

As to what he should be doing with his time, the answer is working on Plan B. because Plan A isn’t working. And for all the finger-pointing at Germany and France, unlike Britain they have avoided double dip recession.

On taking office, the Tories let their political strategy – blame Labour and say we were like Greece – take precedence over their economic strategy. Now they have a new political strategy – blame Europe – but still no economic strategy beyond the one they criticise the Germans for. Confusing indeed. And hypocritical.

Meanwhile I thought I would add here the Observer editorial from today. Definitely worth a read.

The economic conditions through which Britain is living reflect a disgraceful abdication of responsibility by a government that has consigned millions of lives to unnecessary and avoidable hardship and great anxiety about their future prospects. It is simply wrong to blame this on the economic tsunami sweeping through Europe. Clearly a break-up of the euro would hit the UK hard and add greatly to the peril we face. But that has not happened yet and might still be avoided. What is clear is that Britain confronts this risk from a position of great weakness in substantial measure because of the economic strategy being pursued by the coalition government, whose leaders shamelessly blame an event that has not occurred for their mistakes. The true problem is that the framework in which economic policy is cast is 100% wrong.

At the heart of this calamitous strategy is a wholesale misdiagnosis of how the market economy functions and a complete failure to understand why the financial crisis took place, the profundity of its impact and its implications for policy. For a generation, business and finance, cheered on by US neoconservatives and free market fundamentalists, have argued that the less capitalism is governed, regulated and shaped by the state, the better it works. Markets do everything best – managing business and systemic risk, innovating, investing, organising executive reward – without the intervention of the supposed dead hand of the state and without any acknowledgement of wider social obligations.

The lesson of the financial crisis is that this is complete hokum that serves the political and personal interests of the very rich. It has been an intellectual carapace to permit the creation of dynastic personal fortunes while dismantling the social contract that underpins the lives of millions. Yet it has been this flyblown thinking that has informed British monetary, fiscal and financial policy for the last two years – uniting the governor of the Bank of England with the equally bewildered George Osborne. Both are at sea.

The lesson of the financial crisis is unambiguous. Risk – the existence of incalculable unknowns – cannot be handled by markets alone. It has to be socialised by the state, otherwise we encounter chronically low levels of investment and innovation, along with periodic systemic crises, the core message of John Maynard Keynes. For 20 years, the titans of high finance assured governments, central banks and regulators that no longer did they have to worry their bureaucratic heads over systemic risk in finance, the issue that had created financial crises regularly in the past.

The genius innovators of finance, informed by Nobel prize-winning free market economists, had created new financial instruments that worked so effectively distributing risk around the financial system that banks could grow their balance sheets to hitherto unheard of levels, underwritten with ever-less capital.

It was dangerous nonsense, but it did serve to make those at the top of finance very, very rich. When the crisis broke in 2008, banks across the world were hugely overstretched. The new instruments supposed to make them safe did not, unless governments stepped in to underwrite them. This was a problem across the west, but nowhere more so than in Britain. In 2008, our banks had grown their balance sheets to more than five times our annual GDP – proportionally 10 times larger than banks had been from the 1870s to the 1970s. Worse, this was supported by less capital.

Dismantling a position that has taken a generation to build was obviously going to take at least a decade. Worse, the task was superimposed on another calamitous mistake originating from the same mindset. Britain had vastly overinvested in the business sectors that benefited from rocketing and unsustainable credit growth – retailing, catering, leisure, housing and housing improvements – and not in those that sold goods and services abroad.

This had been made worse by the chronic overvaluation of sterling. Britain, with a large international financial sector but committed to allowing its exchange rate to float, had created an economic doomsday machine. The banks sucked in money from abroad, buoying up the unmanaged pound and hollowing out productive parts of the economy and diverting resources to the unproductive.

Thus in 2010, it was obvious that recovery from the deepest recession since the 30s was going to be exceptionally difficult. Banks had simultaneously to retrench, but also to lend to sectors they had neglected for 30 years. Britain had to rediscover the capacity to innovate and invest in a way it had not done for decades. And the severity of the recession had created a public sector deficit of 10% of GDP, which would have to be lowered.

However, Britain’s stock of public debt was modest, giving an intelligent government flexibility in how quickly it lowered the deficit. Britain had a private debt crisis, not a public debt crisis. The intellectual lesson was clear – states, business and society are interdependent; risk has to be socialised.

Instead, the government has done the exact opposite. It has abandoned the scope to manage the economy intelligently and pursued a scorched earth policy of trying to eliminate the structural deficit in four years. It claims that the lowest interest rates for 300 years demonstrate its credibility: rather, they prove the depth of Britain’s problems. It has refused to put the public balance sheet behind new bank lending, which might relieve the financial system of risk it is in no position to take, but which it must take to lift the economy off the rocks.

The same principle needs to be extended to our infrastructure. By any international standard, we lack adequate roads, bridges, houses, railways, reservoirs, drainage systems and much more. Efforts to stimulate innovation and investment lack conviction and any serious resource. Instead, Mr Osborne hopes that the private sector will seamlessly move into areas from which it has been “crowded out” by the public sector, without recognising the interdependency between public and private, business and social at the heart of a good capitalism.

We have seen two years of torched economic forecasts – and this unbalanced, stricken economy has yet to be hit by the bulk of the spending cuts. There is still no serious new framework in which innovative businesses can be built and financed. The Lib Dems are threatened with extinction as a national party, proper reward for complicity in such epic mistakes. The Tories should be no less concerned. Their capacity to exist outside the gilded constituencies of London and the south-east is under threat. In democracies, the neglected can hit back and hit back they will.

  • ambrosian

    As though watching Chelsea win after a dismal performance and seeing Terry hold the cup aloft wasn’t bad enough, we then had to suffer the sight of a grinning Osborne shaking hands with the players.
    The Bilderberg Group are probably to blame. 🙂

  • reaguns

    One hand of this government doesn’t know what the other hand is doing eh – Osborne is schmoozing Abramovich, whilst Cameron is bad mouthing John Terry to Merkel. Well I suppose he couldn’t say “Well I didn’t think what he said was that bad, I mean compared to what we used to say in the Bullingdon club about the… er… oh hi Barack, didn’t see you there.”

    I read in the paper that Cameron is an Aston Villa fan. Yeah and Tony Blair is a Newcastle fan, Gordon Brown likes the arctic monkeys, William Hague drinks 14 pints and they all love pasties. Give me strength!

  • reaguns

    Anyone see Alastair Darling on Marr today? Anyone agree with me that Labour would be a much more formidable outfit if he was the shadow chancellor rather than Ed Balls?

    I can see why David Miliband takes a back seat for now, its with the party interests at heart. But I think Alan Johnson, Alastair Darling, Tony Blair and, to be fair, Ken Livingstone coming back could start to make it look like men against boys.

  • Gilliebc

    I reckon that is spot on AC.  Both what you wrote and also the piece from Observer. 

    Either Cameron Osborne and co. are the most incompetent inept two-faced government this country has ever had the misfortune to have or they are simply carrying out the directives and orders of the really ruling wealthy elite.  As Cam & Os are both members of the wealthy elite themselves, my bet would be firmly on the latter option.  Even life-long Tory supporters are deserting the party in droves. 

    All (well nearly all) the Labour party need to do come the next general election is to promise the electorate an in/out referendum on the EU and they would be guaranteed a landslide victory.  I’ve written this before some time ago and I’m pleased now to hear that this is being considered by Labour.   I understand the Tories are also considering it too!  It’s in Labour’s interests to get in first on this one.

  • Anonymous

    Osborne and Cameron are klutzes.  They seem to imagine that if we see or read about them ‘chillaxing’ that we will like them more.  But they seem to have got the timing a little wrong.  

  • reaguns

    Question. If George W Bush was a British MP, where would he rank? Lets say if he had his brains, or lack of them, and courage (or foolhardiness) but was the member of parliament for… I suppose Yorkshire would be the closest match? And he’d probably be Labour, right?

    Where would he rank? I think we can agree he wouldn’t be as smart as Miliband or Cameron, but also that he is not as stupid as people say, and way more up on events than the vast majority of British MPs who don’t know debt from deficit, or who go on daily politics and guess that Tories have cut by 10% (its 1%).

  • Anonymous

    Spending a busy day reading the papers I noticed Martin Ivens on page 19 of The Sunday Times(spending £2.10 towards Rupert’s legal fees)where an unnamed former cabinet minster-accepting Mr Ivens integrity that he does actually exist-is quoted as saying “Labour riding high is a disaster” then goes on about comfort blankets etc etc.
    Now I wonder if you may be able to think with your previous experience who this individual might be.Whoever it is must also believe that riding low -in the polls, presumably,-is a state of constant bliss.
    Although he usually uses the Telegraph these days, my money is on Charles Clarke who actually thinks,as reported in said DT,he should have been PM.I make him even money favourite.
    Fancy a bet?

  • Ehtch

    Alistair Darling is right, we are on the edge of a precipice, and Western Europe will fall into it soon. It does not look good. Anyway, Cameron will just blame it on feckless parents, as he seemed to hint last week.

    Yes, bring out your doom merchants, they are finally right, it looks. Ah well, it will be interesting future history to live through, that’s something anyway – we will be like old codgers with our war stories about it in the future, with having to take barrow fulls of money down the supermarket just to buy a loaf of bread. Bring back the barter system it will soon be.

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, to be constructive rather than doom spreading, we need to invest in manufacturing and construction fast in this country. With construction, the technical experience gained in contracts in this country leads to sucessfully obtaining overseas contracts. Industry too – how many people can name overseas plants of Britsh companies, apart from mineral mining or petrochemical? Even British Leyland from state-owned days had manufacturing plants through proxy in Italy and Spain, but that went out the window due to lack of investment and of course stupid management-workers-government relations leading to chaos.

    Have always thought the British worker has his heart in the right place, but they don’t like being taken the piss of.

  • Libdem

    I might even consider voting Labour if they ‘promised’ an EU referendum. The only doubt for me is ‘can we believe any of the 3 main parties?’.

  • Why don’t we have a totally new approach? 1.Bring in full reserve banking; 2. Prevent banks from printing money as this should be the role of Government; 3. Introduce Land Tax. 4. Convert the nationalised bank into a Investment bank to support Infracture Projects and lend ( to promote) small businesses.

  • Michele

     Labour talking about a referendum is in the context of proving once and for all (that’s what it says on the can)
    ,,,,, that we DO want to / and see the sense of staying in.

    Smarmy KC was on R4 today trying to infer Labour want a ‘No’ and are being opportunist but it came over as utterly PotKettleBlack.

  • reaguns

    Can’t see it ever happening Gilliebc. If there is on instrument that the rich and powerful international elite love – its the EU!

    Cameron has acted his entire career out of desperation to avoid an EU referendum, he has pulled out all the stops to placate the electorate and his party’s libertarian wing (the authoritarian wing obviously loves the EU.)

    A proud labour once had the strongest anti-EU credentials but people like Blair, Mandelson and Clegg then realised that failure in domestic politics needn’t mean failure in international politics and EU presidential and commissionary fat cat roles beckon.

    I think the next EU president should be Michel Platini! When Italian clubs were buying the european cup, that was fine. Then when spanish clubs started buying it, that was fine too. But now that english clubs have bought it, thats not fine any more, all of a sudden we need a level playing field.

  • Michele

    So true ……………..

    “The Lib Dems are threatened with extinction as a national party, proper reward for complicity in such epic mistakes”

    ……. but no less than what’s been earned / is deserved.
    What a stupid waste.

  • Michele

    Margaret Beckett and David Davis both on very good form :

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01hw3z9

  • reaguns

    A little sweetie for everyone, pertaining to one of my recent posts on Alistair Darling, and many of my recent posts on Andrew Neil.

    Watching an interview from 2010 Andrew Neil said to Alistair Darling, regarding his (and Brown’s) actions in the financial crisis:

    “And I think history will largely be on your side on this, that the actions that your government took stopped an inevitable recession turning into a great depression and… as I say I think the verdict of history will probably side with you on that.”

  • Michele

     Why do you rate Dubbya with Yorkshire?
    Why do you seem to regard it as an amorphous blob?
    Why do you think he’d be Labour if an MP?
    Why do you think he’s better than someone that you deem doesn’t know debt from deficit durrrrrrrr …..

    Is There a French Word for “Faux Pas”?

    ‘The problem with the French,’ Bush confided to Blair,
    ‘is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.’Truth or myth?

  • Ehtch

    Osbourne and Cameron are spare parts in UK political history.

  • Ehtch

    Osborne and Cameron are spare parts in UK political history.

  • Dave Simons

    I’ve often said “The proof of the pudding is birth in Yorkshire”. I should know – I was born in Yorkshire. Yorkshire’s a big county which, I’m told, is God’s county, so in that sense I suppose George W. Bush might well feel at home. But it’s probably the  only sense. There have traditionally been three Yorkshires, North, East and West – no South, you notice, don’t want any southerners rahnd ‘ere. That changed when the former Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire was born, based on the four conurbations of Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham (my former home town) and Doncaster. Sheffielders often talk about Rotherhamers in a similar way to the way you talk about Yorkshire and Texas. It’s all good blason populaire and usually, but not always, good fun.
    But to get back to your question while I (munch, munch) finnish off my Bilderburgher and plan my next ‘olli day’, I think George W. Bush would make a very good British MP for either Old Sarum or Dunwich. And he’d be true-blue Tory, of the Baroness Warsi type, but without the affectations of a Yorkshire accent.

  • ambrosian

    Agreed, but Brown never said he liked the Arctic Monkeys. That was a press distortion of his reply to a question about them.
    And Cameron “supports” Aston Villa because his uncle Sir William Dugdale used to be their Chairman………the kind of reason that we all choose a team to support  🙂

  • Libdem

    Subtle difference in our buying the cup, we haven’t, as far as I’m aware, bribed the referees!

  • reaguns

    Really? I thought I read the “transcript” so to speak and it sounded pretty bad!

    Gosh Cameron is such an oik, supporting a team his uncle chaired – can’t he support a team daddy bought him like the rest of us?

  • reaguns

    He just doesn’t “seem” like a Tory to me, I know he might believe in low taxes and helping out the establishment but… perhaps its a new money versus old money thing. Its probably based on nothing more than the accent, though a lot of people asky why Dubya is the only Bush with a strong Texas accent.
    If a Tory, I think his closest match would be Jeremy Clarkson, whom I find infinitely more likeable than Cameron, Osborne, Hunt, Hammond etc.

  • reaguns

    “Why do you rate Dubbya with Yorkshire?” Because he has a Texas, country, normal accent, the closest match of which I could think was Yorkshire, and he is a say-what-he-thinks type of guy. Not as good an option as it sounds when you think the things he does mind.

    “Why do you seem to regard it as an amorphous blob?” Just going along with the TV stereotypes, not got too much local knowledge, lived nearby but never in.

    “Why do you think he’d be Labour if an MP?” In personality if not policy, he seems more like a man-of-the-people, Dennis Skinner type than one of those priveleged toffie-nosed chinless you-know-whats who are typical tories, ie cameron, osborne, hunt, hammond.

    “Why do you think he’s better than someone that you deem doesn’t know debt from deficit durrrrrrrr ….. ” I don’t think you need to be the new John Maynard Keynes to be an MP, and I don’t think you need an advanced knowledge of economics unless you are PM or Chancellor, but I think you need a basic level of economics, which for me would certainly include being able to distinguish debt from deficit. Whether people like it or not, Dubya’s economics understanding is way beyond this.

    From what I’ve read, I find it very easy to believe that Dubya did say the French thing.

    Basically, I could never vote Tory, or openly admit to it, and hold my head up in a spit and sawdust pub in the UK because of the posh, upper class twit associations. Whereas, if I was American, I don’t think it would be so embarrassing to vote for George Bush Sr, John McCain, and even Dubya.

    Basically, no matter how thick he is (and I think Dubya is smarter than the average Brit MP, but thicker than any of our prime ministers) I would be less embarrassed to vote for George W Bush than for Cameron or Osborne!

  • Gilliebc

    That is the problem Libdem, I personally don’t believe or trust any of the 3 main parties anymore on this issue.  But perhaps more importantly they don’t trust the electorate to deliver what they consider would be the correct answer.  How I wish Labour would return to their previous eurosceptic position of 30 or 40 years ago – I can’t see it happening though.

  • Gilliebc

    So would I be right in thinking that you are in favour of this country remaining in the EU then Michele?

  • Gilliebc

    I can’t see it happening either reaguns, for the reason you state.  For me, and it has to be said many others too remaining in this accursed totalitarian/undemocratic Union is akin to the very old saying of rearranging the proverbial deckchairs on the doomed Titanic/Olympic. 

    The 3 main parties imo no longer care about the future of this country.  They all have their sights set on a much bigger prize!  That’s not to say that there are quite a few individuals in the 2 main parties and maybe even a few in the LibDem party who want to put our country first. 

    There were rumours a few months back that the Eurosceptics would leave the main parties and come together to form a ‘Peoples Party’ that raised the hopes of us Eurosceptics for a while – but nothing seems to have come of it.  They are up against powerful party machines though who would probably stoop to dirty tricks to stop them leaving the party/s.

  • Michele

     Yes

  • Michele

     In which case send him to one of their constituencies and not to a place where he might be in any of my previous ones.
    He’s right wing, he’d fit right in despite being ‘republican’.

  • Michele

     Ooops, if I’d seen yours I’d not have bothered with mine … GMTA

    I’m ex-Rotherham area too  !!

  • Michele

     I’m sure he’s not got his awful accent for any pseudo down home and grits (twits?) associations, it’ll be far more to do with ‘impressive’ assumptions new associates would make about oil wealth.

  • reaguns

    Fair enough, I don’t really want to discuss which party or county he would represent, I just wondered where people think he would rate in terms of calibre within parliament.

    Most of us think he wouldn’t have a chance at PMQs for instance, but I reckon he might be in the top 20 percentile of british MPs in terms of ability, but not top 10 percentile.

    I guess Alastair probably knows the answer! I’ve heard him and Blair defend George Bush’s intelligence and personality on Irish tv, but he has to do this out of courtesy, Alastair is probably reading this thinking “Bush is thick as champ! As is that Reaguns!”

  • Michele

     There has apparently been a PP set up three times in the UK Gbc, I’ve not looked at the baseis of the first two as they’re so long ago but the most recent use of the name is not very pleasant-sounding at all … an off-shoot of the BNP 🙁

    The name’s also been used worldwide for all sorts of assorted disconnected purposes and claims but it’s about as misused as the word ‘socialism’ which some still claim to have been  the main philosophy of the Nazis durrrrr.

  • Libdem

    I must admit I am now quite anti the EU but fully expect all of the main parties to carry on as ‘normal’. I still haven’t seen any of them actually do a cost/benefit justification; consequently, I tend to believe they can’t.

  • Libdem

    I think you might well enjoy a pint or three with Ken Clarke lol!

  • Dave Simons

    30 or 40 years ago is 1982 and 1972. I think during both those periods Labour was ambivalent. In 1972 Wilson found it politically expedient to be worried about the terms of entry into the Common Market but he’d been wooing Charles De Gaulle with George Brown in hopes of the green light just a few years earlier. Then in 1975 Labour held a referendum on entry in which we, the electorate, voted for. In  1982 Roy Jenkins had left Labour and formed the SDP so I suppose he took some pro-Europeans with him, but I can’t remember Labour being solidly anti-Europe at that time – correct me if I’m wrong. I think we have had and continue to have a lot of benefits from membership which should not be forgotten just because Europe is going through a bad time at present.

  • Dave Simons

     There is a European Parliament to which we elect MEPs. A totalitarian/undemocratic Union would look a bit different.

  • Dave Simons

    The Tory Party, like the aristocracy it represents so well, has long been kept alive by new money and new blood. That’s where the Warsis come in – without their relative energy and hunger for fame and fortune the ‘open elite’ would have died out from incest decades ago. How man British male aristocrats have been bankrolled into sustainabilty by marriage to the daughters of American plutocrats.

  • Dave Simons

     We’ll maybe have to revise the way we talk to each other in future!

  • reaguns

    And we’ve elected eurosceptics to it, how’s that working out for us?

    Agree its not totalitarian, but there is certainly a democracy problem with it, because there is no demos, and that was even before they put technocrats in to run Greece and Italy, or ran the Irish budget through the Bundestag.

    I would have been in favour of the possible mythical european union, of a democratic, diverse and autonomous nations having a free trade and military alliance to rival America, Russia and China.

    But the undemocratic, anti-trade, homogenous, unarmed reality is not desirable to me.

  • reaguns

    I am sure you have heard this before but the nazis were socialists. The vast majority of socialists abhor nazism as much as anyone else, but nazis were socialist. Hitler was a catholic too, doesn’t mean catholics are bad because he was.

  • reaguns

    Are you sure? As we have imported foreigners into our game (something I am very pleased about as I remember the game before they came) we have imported the top class behaviour associated with them, ie fitness, diet, drinking less, occasionally passing to a guy in the same shirt, diving and I would have thought bribery?! 

  • reaguns

    Totally agreed Gilliebc. Also one thing I dislike about Tony Blair and indeed Alastair more than anything, is that they are part of a party that was once strongly eurosceptic, especially real labour / old labour as opposed to new labour – old labour were eurosceptic because they believe the EU was bad news for the ordinary british workers who they represented. Now maybe they were right, or maybe they were wrong, but for Blair and AC to then pretend that in the modern era anyone who held this view was a swivel eyed racist, was one of the most appalling, though successful, pieces of spin ever.

  • reaguns

    I think in the 70s and early 80s labour were very much eurosceptic. They certainly always had a strong Eurosceptic wing, one of the reasons I have never had anything but admiration for Tony Benn, possibly my favourite British politician ever, despite the fact that I believe in free markets and he doesn’t. He is one of the greatest democrats we have ever seen.

  • Gilliebc

    Funny you should mention Hitler being a Roman Catholic.  I was reading just last night how Hitler and the Nazi party was funded and set-up by the RC church.  Given that organisation’s attitude to Hitler and the Nazis, it wouldn’t surpise me if that indeed was the case.  I’m sure the average RC person is probably blissfully unaware of this though?

  • Gilliebc

    I think you’re spot-on with that comment Dave.        
    I would (tentatively) suggest that the Labour Party also have been following the Tories down that route, so to speak, with the advent of New Labour.  I know Labour had to ‘play the game’ in order to stand a chance of being elected, but it does seem nowadays that they are enjoying that aspect of it a bit too much.  Labour can’t really claim to be socialist anymore in all honesty, can they?    
    Tbh I’m not sure out and out socialism is a good idea anyway i.e. the idea of that is that we all live equally miserable lives (lol)  I read that recently and it did strike a cord.  

    Ultimately and imho there appears to be very little choice now between the 2 main parties.  They are but two branches of the same tree. We have in effect a one party state.  Perhaps a slight difference is that Labour take a little longer to inflict hardships on the poorest in society and at the risk of repeating myself Labour nowadays certainly do not represent the ordinary working man or woman.  I’m fed-up with the lot of them tbh – the whole ‘system’ stinks.

  • Gilliebc

    Too true reaguns, too true.
          
    It also annoys me that those of us who don’t buy into the scam of AGW are called flat-earthers and other derogatory names. That’s how they the PTB try to rule, by belittling those with a different opinion. 

    However that battle for them is lost anyway.  AGW has been clearly exposed by science to be a money making scam with no credible evidence to back it up.  One scientist even had the gall to say that man made climate change deniers were suffering from a mental illness and should be ‘treated’ for it.  That goes to show how far the PTB will go to try and force people into complying and accepting the unbelievable and totally untrue. 

    With other methods that have long been suppressed the world’s population could have been enjoying relatively inexpensive electricity for about a century or more now.  But that would ‘never do’ would it to deprive the corps. and cartels of ways to fleece the population! 

  • Libdem

    Course I’m not sure but on the other hand do you have anything other than suspicion?

    Can’t stand the diving by the way!

  • Anonymous

    I suspect I probably would. I saw a Question Time with him and Jack Straw, and another with him and John Prescott. Though I wouldn’t agree much with either of the three I suspect, their decency came through on both occasions (Clarke defended Prescott on one of the shows, and Straw defended Clarke on another.)

  • Anonymous

    Well I was taught by nuns once upon a time, anyone in similar position should have no problems whatsoever believing it lol!

  • Anonymous

    No I use football as my time to abandon logic or evidence! Ok some might say thats not the only time! Not a fan of the diving myself, not a fan of the removal of tackling in general, but all in all I think the foreign coaches like Wenger and Mourinho have improved the game in England, and the foreign players definitely have, ie Cantona, Ronaldo, Bergkamp, Henry, Drogba, and if you admire the other side of the game Mascherano, Stam, Makalele, Vieira.

  • Anonymous

    I am still torn on AGW. It does seem that 80% of scientists think its real. But I certainly agree with the folks who are suspicious that all the “solutions” for it seem to involve global government and marxism. It seems there is no problem that can present to them to which the solution is not global marxism! I’d rather live on a slightly warmer planet than on a marxist planet.

    Yes anyone who doubts AGW is denounced by the liberal twitterati as deluded and insane, but then again so was anyone who didn’t think AIDS was going to wipe out half the population of Britain in the 80s. Turns out it takes more than “appeals to authority” to invent mass death by aids, and the same will probably be true of agw. If I could be spared nuclear war and disease, I’d take my chances with AGW.

  • Dave Simons

     I think we’ve touched on this argument recently but it all depends on your definition of socialism. If socialism is big state and top-down bureaucracy then National Socialism fits, as does Stalinism. Both are however travesties of most definitions of socialism which were their diametrical opposites. The emphasis was on equal opportunity for individual development, and this was based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. National Socialism was fundamentally opposed to ideas of ‘fair shares for everyone’, as a lot of Jews, gypsies, Slavs and homosexuals would agree. Because people call themselves ‘socialist’ it doesn’t necessarily mean they are.

  • Anonymous

    They most definitely can’t in purely financial terms at least. The EU sells us more than we sell to it, and we are a net contributor, without it we’d be richer.

  • Ehtch

    BL too in Belgium, Denmark, Australia and no doubt other countries. Good pdf of the plant they set up in Australia in circa. 1960 here. All went for a burton due to management incompetence and unimagination in this country. The Tory’s were only interested in american owned Ford and GM, and couldn’t give two hoots of BL.
    http://mk1-performance-conversions.co.uk/pdf/bmc_aus.pdf

    BMC was the previous name of BL, before they it became full state owned, I think, with extra british car companies. It has quite a complex history post-WWII until demise as Austin-Rover 15 odd years ago, to say the least. Including all the nonsense until 2005, privately owned.

  • reaguns

    Yes I agree.

  • Michele

     ofgs stop being so simplistic.

    I know that crap about the abbreviation from the full name
    Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei to Nazi  appears again and again on US forums and even leads some of their members to claim that it means all socialists or lefists or democrats are nazis of one grade or another but fgs were you not edeucated in a sane country?

    Nazis were right wing nationalists, please don’t pretend anything else is believable and don’t pretend either that the so-much prettier ‘People’s Party’ are anything else under the cosmetics.

  • Michele

     He was born in to a Catholic family but does that make him a Catholic?
    I was born to parents from C&P families, am I therefore presumed religious or even christian?

    2500+ Catholic priests were killed at Dachau.
    Should we all be more careful what we put on the net ?

  • Michele

     
    So is it true that tha’ can allus tell a Yorkshireman but tha’ can’t tell ‘im much?

  • reaguns

    In economic terms, the Nazis were socialists. In fact they were fascists, and fascism is a form of socialism. Its a form that I’m sure we all find abhorrent, but socialism properly defined means government control of the means of production. There is not much difference between Nazism is Stalinism in practice, though there is in theory.

    Calling them socialists is no more incongruent than calling them right wingers. Socially they are far right yes, but in economic and democratic terms they are anything but right wing, right wingers believe in individual freedom and liberty, nazis not so much.

    In the sense that most “sane” people from sane countries understand of course they have nothing to do with socialist or right wing politics, they are nothing but brutal, totalitarian murders.

    I agree with what Dave says in this same cache.

  • Dave Simons

    I don’t believe this ‘Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee’ about Labour and Conservative. During the period 1997 to 2010 I was never once threatened with redundancy, but I was after 2010 and before 1997. A lot of Labour’s progressive measures get so taken-for-granted. Would the Tories ever have given free access to computers in public libraries, freedom to roam on private grouse moors, the minimum wage, the National Bus Pass for pensioners and a whole tranch of other things? Not on your life! Take one of those things – free access to computers in public libraries, the People’s Network. I can tell you from first-hand experience that most users of this service that I encounter show no gratitude or appreciation, not just to the Labour Party, but to the people operating the service. Some of them will walk into a library which has ‘n’ computers at which ‘n’ other people are working and they will be completely baffled and angry when told that they will have to wait until one of the ‘n’ people who has booked onto a computer has finished. The depth of ignorance and selfishness that I encounter often leaves me open-mouthed, and I wonder how people get through their days!
    Incidentally socialism was never about people living equally miserable lives – that’s just ‘Daily Mail’-style crap based on equating places like the former Soviet Union with socialism.

  • Michele

    Returning to the most appropriate old thread ….. I heard Mr Papandreou at the beginning of this week describing the only way out of Greece’s present problems as being ‘bonds’.
    Had no idea what he was talking about.

    Have subsequently heard information about how Eurobonds could help Greece out of their current problems while only costing us all about half a penny per household ….
    NB: not half a ‘pence’ durrrrrrrrrrr.
    So how do we feel about this?
    I’ve got a spare half penny.

    Do I feel like donating it to save Greece (and the EU)?
    Do I think that Greece is less to blame in all this than were the IMF in AD2000? 
    Yep (I’ve wondered for ages about where the heck they were at the time of assessing parities …. drachma to euro and just who to blame).

    Yep, let’s rescue Greece so we can all keep island -hopping and let’s look at the IMP fgs.  Authoritative?  If only.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2001/jan/01/emu.theeuro

  • Michele

     Good grief do you EVER think outside the money?

    You’re like all those Americans living in a vast country that is actually a continent and with little concept of the nuance between languages and that translations can only be efficient/literal/true to a point.

    The party did not start with the programme that Hitler brought to it decades later and the shame (or even the spin) that those opposed to socialism put on it.

  • reaguns

    If I believed half a penny from me could save Greece of course I’d do it, in fact I would be willing to go considerably farther! But I think Eurobonds would be a terrible solution, they would encourage Greece (and others) to do more of the bad things that got them in trouble, and discourage Germany from doing the things that keep herself and others afloat.

    The eurobond plan would be a basic misunderstanding of human nature.

  • reaguns

    Nice one, that’s what I’ve found on this board lol. No, great saying though. I wondered if it could be adapted for elsewhere, but it just wouldn’t sound the same.

  • reaguns

    I feel as if I’ve been under redundancy threat ever since 1996, even though I’ve worked in a few different firms and industries since then, I also never experienced this “boom”, good times, and party (workwise) that everyone talks about. Credit crunch was business as usual for me. Maybe I’m just a jinx!

    I have read a fair bit of economics and I feel there are economic solutions to most things, even though some are politically impossible, but I don’t know how to create steady, long-term, productive jobs for people.

  • Michele

    No comment about the IMF?

    There is no way that this huge pickle has nothing to do with Greece’s historic (and doubtless continuing) cash economy and tax avoidance. 

    How could such a country’s accounts have been strong enough to get them in to the Euro? 
    It Must be Fallible!

  • Dave Simons

     I protest! I’m always eager to weigh each counter contribution in the balance pan of my open mind. I think it’s called dire log. If you’ve found different, er, reaguns, all I can do is offer a pint of Black Sheep and put it on my tab – well, would if it were possible through electronic media.

  • Dave Simons

     Well frankly Michele I’m sunwhacked!
    That’s Swale, Ure, Nidd, Wharfe, Aire, Calder, Don.

  • reaguns

    Well goes without saying I have contempt for every moron who supported Greece, or anyone else, entering the Euro. I’d toss the lot of them in jail, in fact toss them in a greek jail, I’d rather send money to pay the greek prison wardens than in a bailout. But all the press and politicians who supported the euro are to blame as well as the IMF. In fact even Goldman Sachs, though perhaps the most criminal of all the actors involved, at least they probably knew it was daft but are unscrupulous and were happy to bank their fee.

    The thing is all this same scum is still determined to save the euro no matter what hardship it inflicts on greeks, irish, spanish and whoever else. And they have the cheek to accuse others of letting ideology come before reality???!!! Couldn’t make it up. Death to the Euro, long live the free currencies of Europe.

  • reaguns

    I mentioned economic, democratic and social definitions of right wing, so that is only 33% money.

    Got to think about money. If you want to fight nazis you’ve got to be able to buy the bullets to shoot them with.

  • Michele

     How could you forget the River Rother? 

  • Anonymous

    How stalinist.

  • Anonymous

    Plan B = Plan Bankruptcy.

    Same as Plan A.

    I doubt anyone will get close to the real government debt, because they have left off all those pensions. Not a debt, because the plan is to default. If you aren’t going to pay them, its not a debt according to the Treasury.

    So if you have a state pension – tough
    If you have a state second pension – tough
    In you have a public sector pension – tough.
    ….

  • Anonymous

    We went over the cliff ages ago.

    Government debts. Look at them. Not the published lies, but the real debt.

    You do want your state pension don’t you? Hunt that down in the books.

    PS. Good luck, its not published