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It’ll take more than the Queen’s popularity and the Olympics to help Tories shift the mood around them now

Posted on 31 May 2012 | 8:05am

A while back I remember reading an article in which, on the back of the Royal Wedding, a senior Tory was predicting that with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics to come, Britain was set for a wave of patriotism which would benefit his party.

Well the wave of patriotism is certainly upon us, but there is precious little sign of it delivering any benefit to the Tories. That prediction was made during the period when a rather soft glow of largely uncritical coverage surrounded the coalition. Since then the media have caught up with what many members of the public have thought for a long time.

I imagine that what the Tory in question was thinking that with Downton Abbey a current cultural icon, an old Etonian as Prime Minister and another as London Mayor, the country had re-accepted all the old values that New Labour challenged, and that the Tories would benefit from a more traditional outlook on life.

What they fail to realise is that the Monarchy, and particularly the Queen, are bucking the trends of negativity. She is doing so because at times of instability and insecurity, people look to those people and institutions which deliver and communicate a sense of stability and security. Even ardent Republicans must acknowledge she does that brilliantly.

The government meanwhile are major contributors to the insecurity and instability, which is impacting upon the economy, jobs and living standards, public services and those who work in them, and a private sector that is not growing as they said it would when they took the knife to the State.

Hats off to Jeremy Paxman by the way for sitting back and letting economist Paul Krugman give a brilliant economics lecture last night to a hopeless Tory MP and a venture capitalist. If you missed it, get onto iplayer.

And if you don’t read the Financial Times, enjoy this extract from today’s editorial … George Osborne won’t.

The paper says that ‘with Britain back in recession and the eurozone in crisis, the country needs its Chancellor to have a firm grip and a steady nerve and that Osborne is making rather a poor fist of both. …Things will only get tougher as austerity starts to bite. He must defend and explain policies better. And he needs to devise meaningful ways to ensure the flow of credit to businesses and to encourage more public investment spending.  Osborne’s silence has cost the Government. He must recover some of his old vim – and fast.’

Of course another reason why the Tories are less likely to make political capital from the Olympics is Jeremy Hunt, the Olympics minister, but something of a 2012 passenger as he devotes most of his time to defending the indefensible, namely his own continuing position at the Cabinet table.

So with David Cameron’s comms director facing perjury allegations, his own links to News International yet to come under forensic scrutiny, the economy faltering, a U-turn from a half-baked policy every day, virtually every group of public service professionals offside, Osborne’s star waning, Hunt in trouble, Warsi in trouble, and Tory strength in depth so weak that we are expected to take seriously the idea of Gove v Johnson as the next leadership election, it will take more than the Queen’s popularity and the joy of sport to dig them out of the hole.

  • Nick

    “He must defend and explain his policies better” !!.Is there a hint of agreement with his policies  Alistair ?.Surely not !.
    The hole the Tories are in is getting deeper by the day .Soon will be so deep the walls will cave in around them and they will have nowhere to go.

  • Ehtch

    Heard sales of pet corgi dogs has sky rocketed, if that is something.

  • Chris lancashire

    Typical Mr Campbell. Quotes the bits of the FT editorial he likes, misses out the bits he doesn’t. Here is the bit from today’s editorial he missed: “The central thrust of his economic policy is sound”.

  • Joey W

    I actually thought Krugman came across as arrogant and dismissive in that last segment. It was also ironic that he accused the others of being motivated by ideology, when it it quite clear he is doing the exact same thing.

    As a side note; it’s a shame that the word “ideology” has become an insult when used in a political context. It is surely preferable to have politicians’ decisions guided by their ideology, rather than by more transient reasons (such as populist & costly policies simply to get re-elected). Signpost vs weathercock, etc.

  • Michele

     I also saw the Newsnight conversation and thought that the writer must have wondered whether this (those two twerps) was the best that could be put up and that if so we are doomed.

    Osbo has just backtracked re charity/tax, he’s learning that competence is not something that he owns and he must be so wishing he could disappear.  That puts him with the majority for once.

  • Michele

    Are you mixing up ideology with idealism?

  • Michele

    Just heard wench Mensch defending Jez to the hilt.  She’s such a caricature that I wondered about cartoons and looked on Scarfe’s website. 

    Couldn’t find one but did find something being sold for £100 per copy on the Home page.  Surely there’s a difference between  an image of something so awful being produced for a newspaper and its being sold for private ownership (even if for a cause – which isn’t mentioned if so).

  • Dave Simons

    AC writes, ‘the Monarchy, and particularly the
    Queen, are bucking the trends of negativity. She is doing so because at
    times of instability and insecurity, people look to those people and
    institutions which deliver and communicate a sense of stability and
    security. Even ardent Republicans must acknowledge she does that

    As an ardent Republican I do acknowledge that the Firm is brilliant at self-preservation if not much else. Royalty non-plc certainly gives itself a sense of stability and security, but I doubt if it seriously rubs off on many other people. I’ve been impinged upon by this boring family and its army of toadies all my life and I resent it. I especially resent being made to feel like a dog-in-the-manger, party-pooper and victim of the deadly sin of Envy by a lot of stupid people who would in any day and age lavish ill-earned praise on any authority figure, whether monarch or fascist dictator. I’m baffled as to why people in one breath make a big thing about democracy, equality, merit and transparency and then in another breath organise street parties to celebrate wealth and power based on birth, inheritance, protocol, elitism, snobbery and secrecy. I’m not aware of any classless society on the face of the earth, but there are degrees of classlessness and when you visit places like the USA the difference is palpable straightaway. Bob Dylan once sang,

    ‘As I went out one  morning/ To breathe the air around Tom Paine’s’.

    Over the next few days I’d like to go to Norfolk and breathe the air around Tom Paine’s rather than Sandringham any time!

  • Mido

    What about publishing a budget the u turning like crazy is that sound?

  • reaguns

    For any newfound Krugman fans on here, make sure you research him a tiny bit before you go around agreeing with him. If you do you will find he is very big on free markets (more so than we have ever been in this country), globalisation, he has made the case against minimum wage and eviscerated the idea of a living wage.

    He is against farm subsidies, rent control and all sorts of “socialist” policies. Even a glance on wiki will confirm a lot of this, I don’t recommend that anyone suffers his columns as I have often done! (Well they can be fun too.)

    He has spoken against bank bailouts. He has named Gordon Brown as one of the architects of the “global” financial crisis.

    But don’t worry. He certainly wiped the floor with his “rivals” on newsnight, and he is a big voice in popular economics. But among economists, he doesn’t have too much credibility. He usually refuses to debate his rivals. Even other left wingers say that is very selective with evidence, always trying to build socio-political case, seldom an economics one.

    There are much better left wing economists out there: Dean Baker, Robert Schiller and a personal favourite Nouriel Roubini (Doctor Doom).

  • reaguns

    “We now have 2 years of experience here with austerity.” No we don’t. No we really really don’t.

    And when he said “The evidence says” I am quite sure that Andrew Neil would then pull up OECD figures and the like showing what the evidence really says, rather than the evidence gathered by Krugman.
    I doubt if we’ll see him on Andrew Neil’s show.

    Credit where its due though, you can only beat the opponent in front of you and Krugman certainly did last night, but then you are putting a nobel prize winning economist up against an MP and a venture capitalist, of course he will pound.

    Andrea Leadsom is one of the better informed MPs on such matters but for me it was a clear loss, as it always is, at the point where she said “We need to encourage more young people to start businesses.”
    Krugman just dismissed it saying “Most young people are never going to start businesses.” Absolutely right. Drives me crazy when I see these MPs or worse still the latest hot shot web entrepreneur on saying that. It would be like Didier Drogba coming on and telling us we should all play football. Yes we should have an environment that enables young people to start businesses, but to rely on such policies to solve unemployment is cuckoo.

  • Ehtch

    Hunt came over as a bit of a creepy creep today. Not big enough bags under his eyes, no sign of wrinkles on his forehead, and frankly just looked like a a life self-justifying self-righteous right shit. He made me bilious, and gag, almost made my tea come back up.

  • Graham

    Krugman made many incisive observations, but he summed up the core economic weakness, by stating the evidence gathered in the US, showing that businesses are reporting a lack of demand is the main problem. It is evident that austerity measures in the UK, are stifling demand, as well. 
    We are cutting the amount of disposable income in the working population, by slashing public sector jobs; when we should be holding off for the present, till the private sector have the confidence to expand, but until there is business confidence in No11, there will be a sluggish response to any potential recovery, among private firms. 

    (P.S. I recently spent time in hospital Alistair, where I was treated for Vasclitis – Wegener’s Granulomatosis – in ICU. I nearly died, but thank to the wonderful team of nurses and doctors, I am home again and improving every day.
     I was in Crosshouse Hospital for 6 weeks, before being transferred to a rehabilitation clinic. Can I just express my eternal thanks, to all the staff in ICU, and also the gang in Renal, ward 2F. They saved my life, then gave me the strength to live again. 
    We are fortunate to have the NHS, and such wonderfully skilled people; who gave me back to my family. 
    I will never forget them.)

  • Those outside the UK can watch it here:

  • reaguns

    Krugman says the Euro was a stupid idea, but that it should be saved.

    What people may not be aware of is that whilst in this country the right wingers were all against the euro and still are, and of course some lefties were as well such as Brown and Balls (to their credit) in America the right wingers were all for the euro. They saw it as a German controlled strong currency that would force the US to adopt more sound money policies, it would be like a new Gold standard. They still see it that way as far as I know. So anyone who would like to voice support for the Euro, remember you are singing from the same hymn sheet as Tea Party Right Wing Republicans!

    Krugman is much more of an idealogue, a sociologist and a politician than he is an economist, so you can almost guarantee if he was British he would be pro-Euro.

    Krugman also agrees with the British right wing that Greece should exit the euro, and that this will involve short term pain, but will also then lead to a recovery.

    Could anyone tell me, and I have asked this on other sites, why it is that American right wingers support the Euro and British right wingers are against it?

  • reaguns

    Two questions which I wonder if anyone can help me with:

    1. Does anyone know any good labour blogs/sites to talk about economics on?I like this one for politics, but realise I bore people when I talk economics, it’d be good to have a back and forth on that.

    2. Krugman is an American left winger, and is anti euro.British right wingers are usually anti euro too.But american right wingers are pro euro.

    Does anyone know why? What do non-politically motivated right wing economists say about the matter? (I realise there may be no such thing, its a bit of an oxymoron.) It seems to me that for reasons of political expediency, american right wingers want a euro but british right wingers don’t. Right wingers (arguably) should stand for sound money and for democracy. British right wingers sacrifice their sound money principles in order to break up the euro, american right wingers sacrifice their democratic principles in order to support it.

  • Anonymous

    Was watching a bit of Alastair at Leveson. I don’t mean this in a spin doctor type way, but in terms of communication, he really is the man. They talk about Blair, who is good, but some of Alastair’s answers were so clear and had such information in them stated so methodically and in a quite hard hitting way, that his normal answers came across better than I could do with a prepared speech. No hesitation, no humming and hahing, no repetition, just clarity.

  • mightymark

    I agree and I’m not sure that there really is a “patriotism” bonus for politicians – at last not these days. It is sometimes said that Harold WIlson benefited in 1966 from the World Cup matches through which England would ultimately get to and win the final, however the trend was in any case with Labour. Similarly with the claim made for the Falklands effect on Thatcher’s 1983 victory. Labour would have given her a better run for her money had they had the sense to elect Denis Healey as leader after Callaghan rather than the woeful Michael Foot. Again the Falklands at best emphasised a pre existing trend. Even a “patriotic” disaster like Suez doesn’t  seem to upset the trend as Eden’s successor Macmillan easilly won the subsequent election as 1950’s “never had it so good” prosperity kicked in.
    On Osborne’s U turns I think we need to be a bit careful in assuming they are disastrous. Sensible politicians junk policies that are liabilities wherever possible. Junking the poll tax didn’t harm Thatcher and that affected rather more people than pasties and caravans put together! Osborne will take a tumble inthe competence stakes for a while, but the betting must be that that will be forgotten by the election especially if – and it’s a big if – the ecomomy has recovered.
    Lasbour won’t be credible if it merely promises to reverse the cuts as there is consderable evidence that people see reducing the deficit as necessary. There is however a growing sense that the government’s is a one club policy that isn’t working. To be credible Labour needs to find the right balance between defict reduction ( and use that phrase rather than “austerity”) and imaginative polices that both get the ceconlmy growing again so that, growth can contribute to deficit reduction.

    Finally and apart from “the economy stupid” its the undertow of “misbehaviour” that does for governments these days – both Major’s and arguably Brown’s even if “unfairly” in the latter case it was politicians generally rather than just Labour ones at fault. Its the Warsis, Hunts and so on that Cameron needs to watch out for – not Osbornes caravaning U turn!

  • Anonymous

    I think that was the FT journalist talking.  I don’t think AC has tracked so far right that he would credit Osborne with any actual ideas.

  • Dave Simons

    The comedian Roy Hudd once did a marvellous send-up in which the Royal Family were moved out of various palaces and mansions and rehoused in a council house – ‘two up, two down, with a gravel path for the sentries’. The postman however had good reason not to be happy about the arrangement, ‘as these numerous corgis’ teeth marks will attest’.

  • Ehtch

    Where’s Olli these days?

    Come back Olli, you scandanavian, you are loved here, whatever visiting wums from the “otherside” say.

  • Libdem

    Can’t remember whether or not I’ve pointed this site out to you before, if I have sorry if not enjoy it….

    It’s not a ‘labour’ site but it’s really good!

  • Michele

    I reckon he’s the WUM and is very successful at it 🙂

  • Michele

     They might support the Euro for its effect on streamlining banking and marketing and profiteering and money trading and spreadsheets.

    They sure as heck don’t support the EU itself politically.

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, song for Olli, mmmm, bit of sex in it for me, at least,

    Tidy banging…. musically….

    Come back Olli, we miss you. Economics excellent thinking is quite thin here, since you left, to in your might mind say, let them be, maybe. : )

  • Michele

     I can understand the reason for your partial quote from the FT, this is the full sentence plus a little more from a Toxi columnist :
    ……………… “The central thrust of his economic policy is sound. It is the glue that
    binds the coalition together. Were doubts to set in, the government
    could unravel………”

    It seems to me that that little more, plus the other part-sentence quoted, is about about its being the ideology that has to be ‘proved’ rather than the economics so I understand the reason for your selective edit.


    I don’t support this U-turn, it’s succeeding at making govt look like a fiasco or a farce which is funny or frightening (dependent on the amount of coffee imbibed) but there was always something unsettling about some pre-tax charity donations.

    There must be a smugness about it, feeling in charge of the Universe, avoiding tax and all those expenditures one doesn’t agree with no matter societal need, sploshing money along to any organisation at all that has charity status, lots of it prestigious rather than about helping the many (as we expect govt spending to). 

    This woman has ‘given’ away £400m

    Most of what the majoity of us earn is a direct product of the society we grew up in and what it made of us and allowed us to do in the present. 
    It was crazy for the coalesced mess to try to block an income stream after all the other cuts it had made but what was ever wrong about Gift Aid being claimed AFTER giving from post-tax earnings? 

    It is up to OUR Govt to decide what really is a charity overseas and what it funds.

  • Dave Simons

    He’s working at the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland.

  • Michele

    From the Guardian feature I just linked, I’ve just re-read this from its author Andrew Anthony:
    ………………………. “On one side is the pragmatic case
    that says the very rich exist and therefore it’s best to encourage them
    to give to charity. The counter-argument is that the very rich should be
    more effectively taxed and the job of funding public institutions ought
    to be left to the elected government, not least because philanthropy
    tends to focus on high-status projects and neglect the local, marginal
    and experimental…………….. ”

    He says it much better than I did (except at the end I’d add the words ‘and political’).

  • Ehtch

    Have I posted Meredydd Evans yet Alastair? Might have done,

    Brilliant man.

  • Ehtch

    right heel nippers these welsh corgis tend to be, Dave……

  • Joey W

    No I am not. But those who use the phrase “political ideology” as an insult may well be.

    The point still stands; it is hypocritical of Krugman to imply that others’ views are wrong on the basis of them being shaped by ideology, when he himself is clearly in the same boat.

  • Michele

     Who would you want for Pres/HoS then DS and how would you ensure that your choice of that politico is not thwarted by their govt as Obama has so often been?

  • Ehtch

    reaguns, you must have missed the video I posted – information, information, we need information,

    Now I am not say anything special here, but if you fancy joining MI5 with me and become some sort of plastic James Bond, just give a shout. Be seeing you….  It will be fun.

  • Be careful what you wish for. The current Conservative government will not be able to salvage the economy. Don’t make it Labours problem by winning the next election. Then the blame will Labours fault, and what a blame it will be. Politics, you know.
    Des Currie 

  • Dougal

    yep, but FT editorial, many on the papers staff (Wolf especially) are in firm disagreement with Osbornes Expansionary Fiscal Contraction nonsense

  • Dougal

    erm, he specifically stated the other night (and has many times in the past in NYTimes column) that Gordon Brown was the first to act to save the financial system and should be credited for that.  He also praised GB;s decision for not joining the Euro.  Can’t remember if this was on Newsnight or the C4 News interview.

  • Dave Simons

    Come to think of it, what we need is a new national anthem. Perhaps we could have a competition on this blog? Maybe I’ll kickstart it.

    Three cheers for Thomas Paine!
    Cromwell come back again!
    Royalists frown.
    Fresh air blow through the land.
    Sack David Starkey and
    let’s all sing, hand in hand,
    “Off with that crown!”

    Ok – not great, but a try. Someone else could top it, I’m sure! Anyway, it’s better than John Lydon’s silly song about Jim Callaghan’s government being a fascist regime. Who knows, Neil Young might record it one day!

  • Michele

     LOL, there’s no wonder you’re such a conspiracy theorist and always ‘sound’ as if you’re posting from under a bedclothes tent.

  • Anonymous

    Seems Alastair only uploading comments once a day at the minute.

    Definitely echo those who want instant commenting function, would increase traffic on site, but see the case against too. Up to Alastair of course, though thought Digital Dan would advise him on the former option.

  • Michele

     That’s really easy to access, thanks.

    Devastating debate; when Jon Moulton repeats the mantra that more jobs will happen in the private sector when services move from the public/state, one wonders what he’s on and how much longer does he think it will take (even despite the giveaway terms they’ve been able to buy our services for).  We’re two years in to this …. when Moulton then talks about Estonia …. play for yourselves, he really does!

    Krugman seems a wonderful objective man (on more topics than this one too) who really keeps his head despite being faced
    with two clueless opposers, he obviously enjoyed the better challenge
    from Sarah Montague on Hardtalk. 

    As for allegations of ‘arrogant and dismissive’ somewhere along thread  …. grow up.

  • Michele

    Very good performance on HIGN4Y despite the constant and apparently omnipresent t*t there.

  • Michele

     He is also interested in more than economics.

    He doesn’t confine himself to comments about the West, much braver man than so many in ‘business theory’ .

  • Anonymous

    The short answer on the British side (not sure I can offer anything on the US) is that to understand most British political stances on Europe over time you have to look not at European but at British politics.

    if you start with the postwar era, pre Suez Britain thought itself still a super power and all parties were against joining the ECSC and EEC as beneath that status. Post Suez British pols sought a new role and most parties ended up supporting entry though it divided Gaitskellites like Roy Jenkins and William Rogers from their still very anti European mentor.

    The Powellites as little Englanders despised Europe almost as much as they did the USA (and perhaps the rest of the world too!)  and insofar as there are any left – Bill Cash perhaps? – have been fairly consistent, but note again their view is dictated more by their view of Britain (or rather England) than Europe.

    If Labour’s Social Democrats became Euro enthusiasts – splitting the Labour party over it in the 1980’s, the left has been shamelessly opportunistic in its stance. Labour having sought entry under Wilson, Labour, largely under the left’s behest, became markedly anti Europe post 1970 to take advantage of Heath’s growing unpopularity but changed its mind under Thatcher when, contrary to the Left’s old view of the EEC as merely “capitalist”, Europe offered an alternative anti Thatcherite philosophy at a time when there seemed no prospect of defeating her at home.The “red Rose” symbol adopted under Kinnock/Mandelson was of course the symbol of the European Socialists.

    Meanwhile most Conservatives conveniently forgot that it was under one of their own – Heath – that the UK had joined what became the EU and piled in behind Thatchers growing Euro “scepticism” – largely based on precisely what the left had ultimately found attractive about Europe – to take a postion that had elements of little Englandism but shorn of the anti Amercan component. Thatcher, as arguably the Tories’ most sucessful leader in the 20th C. had become, and arguably remains the Tory gold standard on the European issue and pro European Tories like Ken Clarke had to run very hard to keep up.

    Sorry for yet another potted history but I do think this is your answer.

  • Ehtch

    Damn, missed out again…..

  • Sigil – not Labour, strictly, but fascinating to me as non-economist.

  • Ehtch

    This isn’t him at the counter here?

    Like to see ladies from Europe enjoying themselves…, even though I wish I could join in to their party….. spit roast the other way around…..

  • Anonymous

    It was a very good performance from Alastair, and a very good one from Hislop too I thought. The other 3 were good too though quieter. The winner… the show itself, and its viewers, much better than usual. Better than last week’s with William Shatner, who Alastair thought would be a hard act to follow.

  • Michele

     The ‘ideology’ from the present govt is all about capital for its own sake.  
    Whatever its junior partners have pretended to believe in the past (about its usefulness for idealistic uses, investing in people, not simply being about more more and more money) has been successfully stifled.

    Having started out as a Labour supporter and candidate I think we’ll finally see Vince Cable reach simple Conservative branding before the next election.  What a hoot.

  • Ehtch

    translates from the welsh as dwarf dogs, also by the way Dave, lovely creatures. No wonder our Queen keeps them. Jezuz, this diamond jubilee is going to be taxing, on the mind, the beeb is stuffed full of it already, barking on about it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read your reply, boils down to those being for or against, being so for purely political reasons, never economic reasons. And the politics of one upmanship at that. I always remember Blair on Marr last year “The political case for the Euro was clear, its just the economics that [were difficult, or didn’t work or something]” which tickled me! Yeah Tony and I wanted to buy a ferrari, the case was clear its just the economics that didn’t work!

    I do believe that the Tories initially might have seen the EU as a way of forcing Britain to be a bit more capitalist than it would be if left to its own devices. And obviously in modern times right wingers hate it for the opposite reasons, though various lefties are complaining about capitalist policies being ‘forced’ upon them.

  • Anonymous

    I think “they” isn’t quite correct, as some support it politically, but some do not (Don Rumsfeld for example.) I started it by saying “all” which wasn’t quite true. Also think they have changed their opinion over time, in the name of American interests.

  • Anonymous

    I like watching Krugman but I don’t think many consider him to be objective. He picks his position, then gathers, moulds, selects the data that can help him make a case for it. Rather than the reverse process as an academic should do. The reason for his profile is that he has an NYT column and he is one of the most flamboyant neo-keynesians.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, in fact I think very little of his analysis is based on economics, which is good in some ways, not so good in others. He certainly has an opinion on more countries than the US or the West.

  • Anonymous

    Yes both true, I didn’t feel the need to state either as I knew people here would be aware of this side of his opinions, I just wanted to remind them of the other side, and he did blame Gordon Brown as one of the architects of the crash. You can credit Brown as an architect of the crash but also say he was one of the first to act.

  • Ehtch

    nuts presented welsh song, barking,

  • Janiete

    There are a lot more republicans out there than we are led to believe. I’m sick of the Jubilee thing already and it’s not started yet. On the national anthem, I’m with Billy Connolly:

  • Richard

    Great show, Al, yet another string to your bow.

    (Major surprise for Al was the format and the personnel on the show,Michele? )

    The banter and p. taking make it the great watch that HIGN4Y is. If you wrote your own script and jokes Al, we need more from you.

    Incidentally Prezza and AC have contributed greatly to two of the best shows in years. When Merton goes quiet he has been outshone by the Chair.


  • Libdem

    Nice try but don’t hold your breath on Neil Young!

  • Mark Wright

    The Queen over her 60 year reign has displayed what David Cameron’s government (they are so I’ll defined they can’t even really be called Tories anymore) has failed to deliver even in 2…consistency.

    What *is* the point of this government?

  • Dave Simons

    What’s all that got to do with the institution of monarchy? The monarchy is an undemocratic symbol of class, elitism, snobbery, protocol, privilege and inherited wealth. But it is just a symbol. When you talk about Presidents and Heads of State you are presumably talking about elected people who have some power based on democratic choice and subject to accountability and recall. That’s different. If they get thwarted by their governments that’s all part of the democratic process. It is an irrelevance to ask me which personality I would want for these roles, assuming these roles would be chosen in a democracy. It depends who stood for these supposed posts. You’re dragging a serious issue down to a personality contest. I must confess I am sick of hearing the same arguments remasticated in defense of the institution of monarchy, decade after decade, generation after generation, especially when, as in the current New Statesman, they are masticated by people who claim to be left-leaning. I’ll echo the words of Tony Harrison:
    ‘Between Charles I and II
    Britain had a chance she blew.
    Britain blew her biggest chance
    to be a grown-up girl like France’.
    (From ‘A Celebratory Ode on the Abdication of King Charles III’). 
    Incidentally, to refer to a previous post, I would certainly never forget the River Rother, but it rises in Derbyshire near Doe Lea, not in Yorkshire, where all the other rivers I mentioned rise. Also can I add for anyone who’s interested that William Hague’s accent is not typical of Rotherham – it sounds to me as an ex-Rotherhamer more like Bradford or Huddersfield!

  • reaguns

    If you want to see how Krugman distorts the picture, just read this:

    He’s all wrong on the metaphors by the way.

  • Ehtch

    Even if he is Michele, he gave good economic information, which we need, information, information, etc, and so on. : )

  • Ehtch

    I must learnt it, from way up. Brilliant fella.

  • Ehtch

    by hook or by crook

  • Joey W

    LOL! What a brilliantly ironic comment. 

  • Ehtch

    gwlad yn eifiron  eintiron i fi

    oh piss off will you english, you have no clue

  • Ehtch

    Row row your boat through eternal life,
    as if I could give a fuck through eternal strife.

    Thames? Give me a rest.

  • mightymark

    Saying Tony was wrong abut the Euro is a bit like hitting a wounded man when he’s down – i.e. Tony and the Euro.!

    I’m a fan of the man and was at least open minded on the Euro but I’m grateful now that we stayed out.

  • Michele

     I think WuMs are very valuable and it’s always a joy to see the sourpuss twerps that arrive in couples or threes to ‘about’ re Olli to each other.

    Re the ‘info’, no argument except about the ‘good’.  It’s facts and like any other stats it’s subject to interpretation and re-interpretation and yet more, ad infinitum ….. there will always be another way of reading things ….. proving the usefulness of the mode word ‘prism’ ……. everything can be looked at in so many ways, wide, narrow, at an angle blah blah. 

    I do worry about those impressed by the Dan Brown-inspired propaganda; don’t we have enough religion-inspired hatered around already?

  • Michele

     Oh dear oh dear oh dear, he’s ‘wrong’?
    You mean he has different opinions to yours? 

  • Michele

     By my second ‘they’ I’m referring to members of the public, the very many that think the whole of the world outside USA is ‘cahmie’ and biggest will stay on top (they didn’t foresee BRICS!).

    Hopefully USA will open up even more, there’s some g*d-awfulness.

  • Michele

    Thanks 🙂   I try my best.

  • Michele

     I don’t know which came first, the NYT column or the Nobel Prize, I could look it up but it hardly matters ….. either way I think your dismissive subjectiveness is hilarious.

  • Michele

    Isn’t GB being ‘first to act to save the financial system’ very different to him being included in ‘architects of the crash’?
    Is the latter a quote or your own?

    Were there any architects of the crash?
    Don’t architects do things on purpose?
    Wasn’t Bush’s appalling gormlessness on ‘The Lehman Weekend’ the reason (without misusing the word ‘architect’) for the crash?
    So many dreadful things that were averted or were not averted in their respective locations  on Friday afternoons!

  • Michele

     Sigh …. ‘what’s all that got to do with’?
    If there are more than two acceptable systems (ie: monarchy vs republic – let’s ignore communism eh?) can you enlighten me?

    Forget about exemplary Presidents (from among our motley likely candidates), forget about ‘personalities’ ….  name a country a state a nation where a President has been a long-term advantage.

    We have a lifetime HoS that has to support what our changing elected Govts plan to do (which should be what they were voted in to).  Our Govt is our way/route to change.

    USA has a head of state that is voted in on their promises but govts that have no need to support him/her …… it’s often the surefire recipe for very little happening (unless there happens to be the rare monolith of same party both houses).  They also have that yawn-y 2-yearly performance / beauty pageant / total waste of money and resources and time to pump Pres up or pump Pres down).

    Yes our HoL needs some sifting, yes it does improve a lot of legislation but I doubt many of them are driven by the monarch or are even nodding acquaintances these days.

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to not so much have a ‘job for life’ but to always be on duty, never be able to nip out without dolling up.  Always be subject to that photographer, always scrutinised and commented about. 

    Having lost someone in a RTA myself I could hardly believe how the public behaved at the time of Diana’s death.  However, I doubt many had themselves experienced it or knew what shock does to people.  It’s not so long ago since THE standard for mourning was curtains closed and implosion for a few days.
    24/7 scrutiny …. no thanks.

    Are you mixing up Hague with Clarkson btw?  Hague’s only ever claimed to be from Harrogate hasn’t he? 
    One of those north Yks people that thinks Torydom itself is aspirational :-s

  • Michele

    Just seen that the ‘Bit More’ version of HIGN4U is on tonight at 11pm, listed as 8/9 which I suppose means next week’s is the last of the present series.–series-43—episode-8

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, for me this goes into one of the better episodes over the years, Alastair joins the stars who have made my sort of top 10 list on HIGNFY, which would include Charles Kennedy, William Hague, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, John Prescott, Piers Morgan, off the top of my head.

    For me, though there have been good celebrities and comedians on there (I particularly enjoy David Mitchell and Victoria Coren) the real fun comes when there is a political heavyweight on there and when the humour, in both directions, is as biting as possible. This to me is more funny than just comedians making jokes, when there is a bit of political needle. And of course politicians themselves often have very sharp comedic wit.

    I do miss Angus Deayton though. Alexander Armstrong, Jo Brand, etc don’t really cut it… but I know someone who could make a decent fist of it on a permanent basis… how’s your schedule Alastair?

  • Anonymous

    I do think it is a shame that Healey was never the leader, he had a formidable command of economics and is one of the best regarded chancellors, and of course he had the wit for the HoC, just like John Smith PMQs would have put him in his element. I also think, and I’m struggling to find the right words here, that he would have been harder to portray as “weak” than were Foot and Kinnock.

    That said, I feel Foot was a man of substance, if not quite suited to 1980s politics perhaps, but I think if Foot had never been elected leader, Labour people today may wonder what might have been, just as I wonder what might have been had Tony Benn been leader.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, will keep an eye on that one, read a few articles but not enough to judge. Getting into arguments on the comments page should be the fun part of course!

  • Anonymous

    I must admit I did detect a bit of conspiracy theory in the first article I read (evil neocons executing their secret plan for Greece and Oil (is it cooking oil lol)) but will persevere with it for a bit, seems to cover some interesting topics.

    I forgot about the guardian of course, that is where I do most of my economics arguing!

  • Dave Simons

    Very funny – as I think Bill Wyman and Ringo would agree – but I think the words need changing more than the dreary melody, so in that sense I can’t agree with Billy. Yes I agree about the percentage of Republicans – I think some of these opinion polls must be conducted outside Buck House!

  • Anonymous

    Alastair – this blog is pointless in terms of comments at the current rate of update. Watch the responders / viewers drop if you don’t believe me. I prefer when people ignore me so that I can say I told you so.

  • Michele

     You ‘talk’ as if politics and economics are totally separate.
    I don’t see how they can be.

    New Labour is the best meld there has been. 
    It’s not about envy or resentment, it’s about levelling up, giving everyone a reason to  aspire, ambition that’s not just materialist. 

    The trouble with the sham and his espoused (and begrudging) admiration of NL is that he’s got his weighting wrong.  It’s not even difficult, there are only two ends of the scale.

    Soooo funny to see all the defence of the U-turns this weekend …. sneery Hislop’s description on HIGN4U ‘they listen to the public’ …..  ahhhh so that’s where the 179,409 signatories of Dr Chand’s e-petition went wrong, they should have shouted.

    Amazing that sham&osbo cave in about fatty greasy pasties but ignore real concerns about our health service. 
    Does that say lots about what they (in their bought-qualified way) believe the public really cares about?
    I don’t give a sod about hot smelly greasy  ‘food2go’ and don’t give a sod that the sloppy sods have caved in about sodding fake food.

    They just don’t sodding well get it.

  • Michele

     ………………  Britain blew her biggest chance to be a grown-up girl like France’………………….


  • Michele

     Being against something isn’t a good reason for wanting any old something else.

    Given the futility I’m facing elsewhere on thread with someone wanting a republic but unable to name one that is worth emulating (or able to name a worthy Presidential candidate for here) I just want to do a version of The Scream at y’all.

    It is dishonest and juvenile imhoo to voice simple objection to something without having the bones to suggest suitable replacements for immediate adoption in lieu of what’s to be kicked out.

    So ……. show your cards J or DS:
    – who would you want as Pres?
    – which countries have better systems than ours?
    No personalisation here …
    no stupid kick it all down with nowt to replace it  …
    ……….. put up or STFU pretending to be trendy.

    Gimme the alternative/s and you might convert me.

  • Ehtch

    Mmmm, this is not right to read. Lack of logistics planning, methinks. Link,

    Could rant about it, but I’ll leave it.

    By the way Alastair, just watched Scotland play Oz down under, at Newcastle, NSW. Scotland won 9-3. Quite a game – it was played in cyclone, wind and rain like anything off the Pacific.

  • Guest

    God Save The Queen!

  • Guest
  • Michele

    Have I missed him returning his CBE ?

  • mightymark

    “You’re dragging a serious issue down to a personality contest.”

    I think that unless you are talking about a political President a la France/USA that is exactly what the election of a merely figurehead head of State type president would be – think London Mayoral. As a pariliamentary democracy we simply don’t have the tradition of directly electing individuals to major postions and that is probably why people tend to think in terms of “personality” type presidents – Blair (I’d be happy but I suspect you wouldn’t) Alan Sugar, or maybe  a dual presidency by the Beckhams. Of course we could go all out for a major constitutional change and have a full blown French US type Presidency but no one I know seems to envisage that. Is that what you want?

    Also worth considering the House of Lords debate precedent here. Yes – we have (mainly) got rid of the hereditary element but turning it fully democratic isn’t so easy, as the whole thing opens all kinds of cans of worms. Frankly reform often seems too much bother for any real democratic advance it would entail and shifts attention from what anyone broadly left pf centre would regard as important issues. I  fear attempting to replace a hereditary monarch with an elected figurehead type president would become similarly bogged down.

  • Ehtch

    edit – where the heck did I get 9-3 from!?! 9-6 it was I should have said – another brain to finger fart again.

  • Dave Simons

    I have mentioned alternatives like Germany and France. I don’t need to mention any candidates for presidency. That’s a democratic choice, which a monarchy isn’t.

  • Anonymous

    No, wrong based on evidence, as well as logic. There are plenty of good leftish, rightish and centrist economists who agree with me on that.
    He is very politically biased and selective with his evidence.

    If you are interested, and I suspect you are not, you could look at two things:

    1. Common sense: Check out his babysitter theory.

    2. Check his words prior to, during, and after the crisis. He didn’t think government spending was a problem, he did mention that debt was a problem but his solution to that problem was of course… oh yes… more debt. He said we needed a TARP and stimulus programme, others said if we did that the next thing we’d have would be a sovereign debt crisis, he poo-pooed that idea but what do we have now? And his rivals say if we follow his prescription this time, we’ll have a currency crisis. Lets see.

    I know that I invested based on the recommendations of his rivals and, so far, that has been a profitable strategy.

  • Anonymous

    I was against it, but I could see the sense in some of the arguments for it. I wasn’t as certain in my predictions for it as many now claim to have been at the time.

  • Anonymous

    Take a left wing economist like Robert Schiller – barely opens his mouth without giving you all the evidence, and crucially he looks at all studies not just his own (Krugman uses his own rigged evidence mostly.)

    Look at Nouriel Roubini – clearly predicted this crash and the next one, unlike Krugman.

    There are others like George Soros and John Kay, but Schiller was totally vindicated against the “right wing” views of the likes of Alan Greenspan.

    I am not against Krugman because of his ideology, because he is leftist or Keynesian – its because of the way he selectively edits the “evidence” for his case. Keynes of course said “When the facts change, I change my opinion” with Krugman its more like “When the facts change, I mould the facts to suit my opinion.”

  • Anonymous

    You know Hislop is not a Tory, right? You know he said the politician whose ideas he admires most is Vince Cable?

    I think a political leader must make decisions for sociological reasons as well as economic ones, and for political reasons too unfortunately. I just don’t like it when they pass off a political or sociological policy as an economic one, or pretend it has no economic ill effects.

    I think you can look at the economic case separately, even if ultimately your decision has political and sociological factors influencing it. I suppose a blatant example would be paying benefits, or paying benefits to single mothers with a few kids. If we had pure capitalism, there would be no benefits, other than charity. Our GDP would almost certainly be higher. But very few of us beyond a few crazy fascists, eugenecists and anarcho-capitalists want such a society. For social and humanitarian reasons most of us believe people should be at least fed sheltered and clothed even if they cannot provide for themselves in a capitalist society.
    Most political parties probably also conclude that they will lose the votes of those people and many others if they do not provide this.

    But we don’t have to go a step further and pretend that we are doing it for economic reasons, that our gdp and productivity will rise because of these policies, or our unemployment will fall. They won’t. We just want to do it anyway.

  • Michele

    ofgs, accept that it’s about directing comms and that not enough blog holders TAKE responsibility for what appears.
    I would imagine that even the likes of Delingpole rue what happens under their own banner on the Toxi-site even if stuff can get pulled minutes/hours/days later so that the actual process of a whole thread is lost.  Certain slob-likes (naming no cough …..  Gilli …. splutter names) welcome the EDL thugs and might vvoice ‘kapow’ and ‘gotcha’ and punch the air as they read what’s been input and stays  ….. if they even bother. 
    I doubt AC holds back anything that he simply disagrees with but if you think freedom of speech is about unfettered publicity for any old racist sexist or lying or vicious crapola there is lots of it around …..

    BTW, people don’t stop responding because they have reached a state of having ‘been told’ and giving up or LOL been converted by you  …..  if that’s how you interpret anyone using ‘Ignore’ or just being busy with their veg bed all that you’re proving is that you’re not certain enough of your own opinions that you can accept others being as certain (and having the right to) theirs and knowing ‘what the hell with more hot air?’ or enjoying the state of ‘do I look like I give one’ or, more rudely, dilligaf 🙂

  • Anonymous

    This is Krugman’s analysis, not mine. He blames Brown for being an architect of the crash. Thats not a direct quote, but I remember the word architect was certainly used.
    He also praised him for acting to save the financial system. Isn’t it possible to be one of the first people to cause a problem, but also one of the first to act to save it? I have often made mistakes at work but also been the first one to attempt to fix my mistake, is it so different logically.

    And he certainly said “one of”, its not like he would say “Gordon Brown caused the crash.” The problem with Krugman is he is now saying “Oh if we had a recovery, I would become a deficit hawk, I would say we need higher interest rates, less debt, a smaller state – I just think we can’t do it now.” The problem is, just like Ed Balls, you can go back through his entire career without ever seeing a time that he says is right for reducing any of the above. They are not really Keynesians at all.

    I don’t think that Bush’s actions on the Lehman weekend caused the crash no, though like Brown he could have done things differently. Lets give Brown credit, he had his own plan, Bush was totally reliant on his finance team on that weekend, Bush hasn’t got a clue about such matters.
    I don’t think Brown “caused the crash” per se either. But they were all part of it. Along with Greenspan, Clinton and many others who either supported or did nothing about:
    1. government controlled artificially low interest policy (leading to large housing, credit and government spending bubbles.)
    2. forcing firms to lend to sub prime borrowers
    3. lack of regulation on derivatives
    4. moral hazard in the banking system

    I think without 4 the crash could never have happened. And I don’t blame Brown or Bush, this is beyond the remit of a president or pm in a way, because the entire economics, finance and political world had accepted the consensus that our banks should be set up as they are. Unreasonable to expect Brown/Bush or anyone else to see that or change it. I’d say that applies to 3 as well, despite the dog’s abuse Brown and others are now getting. There was not an academic consensus of sufficient weight against these systems.

    1, and 2 however were loudly and prolifically warned about and are entirely predictable throughout financial history. They must carry the can for that.

  • Anonymous

    I would have been a natural republican, but came to the conclusion long ago that:

    1. It doesn’t really matter very much.

    2. Lots of people seem to get a lot of fun from watching the Queen, the Royal Weddings and all the rest. I don’t think it does much harm. Why remove that pleasure from all the old dears and everyone else who enjoy watching it all?

    Therefore I feel banning the Royal Family would be like banning football or something. It would remove pleasure from those who currently get it, remove a bit of tourism revenue, for those in favour, without delivering any benefit to those against.

  • Michele

    So many republicans should be stand-ups!

    Yep, Germany must certainly have enjoyed the freedom that gave them Hitler as their chancellor / president for so long. 
    France …. another LOL.
    India – on its 4th generation since ’47 of one family in leadership with only a short and sad break, late 70s).  It’s popularly described as ‘the biggest democracy in the world’ yep …. if all that ‘democracy’ denotes is the ‘right’ to a vote (with little guardianship of how it happens on the ground).
    Pakistan …. only a few years past the latest assassination of another someone that lots of someones supported simply due to her being progeny of a past Pres.
    Burma/Myanmar …. someone incarcerated for decades because, as the daughter of the someone that ‘freed’ the country from colonisation she thought she had rights and knew what was best so the whole country has been penalised for decades due to scrappings about her and the faith in her simply due to the family name.

    Wherever HoS is a beauty pageant or subject to argument / voting / preferences there is short-termism.
    We have a HoS that has some type of privilege but has no power (except to guard our state constitution) and little freedom.  We have no tumult or undertainty about whether to replace them every 4/5yrs, they are simply there, doing what we require of them through our elected leaders. 

    FGS even Rod Liddle has come round to understanding it!!!  Whether you like the question or not, when it comes down to WHO would you choose NOW you have no answer so you’re simply blowing bubbles.  Change for change’s sake is great in some areas and some industries (without it I’d have a very boring career) but in human terms it’s not helpful to have Pres vs elected politicians.

  • Michele

     Yep, we had a democratic choice in May ’10. 
    We got someone with NO training for the job (which can surely be said about most Presidents but not about many UK monarchs).

    When the sham read what he did yesterday I wondered who was the comedy genius that had suggested/agreed he read those words.
    Surely someone set him up 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Er… that seems like quite a stretch of extrapolation from the post its in response to! I’ll reply anyway.

    I said elsewhere, I appreciate the reasons for not just letting everything appear, and I understand that Alastair does not have the infrastructure of the guardian or telegraph who can employ minions to moderate. I also appreciate its not easy to find time to read everything. I am now accepting the opinion on here that Alastair updates the blog himself and is his own moderator and therefore reads the post. If thats not the case then he needs to give his gopher a bit of a kick!

    I am just saying, that it is not as fun for commenters under that system and is a trade off for less traffic on the site. I presume that people such as Alastair are aware of such things, and address them if they feel the need. But I have been let down by such presumptions quite often.

    Who is talking about people not responding? My point was it takes ages for people to respond, including myself. Of course people not responding proves nothing, it neither means a “win” or a “loss” and I have done enough commenting now to know that no one ever changes a made up mind. Some people (me sometimes) go on to ask questions and expand their knowledge, in this mode people take on new opinions, but when arguing about things they already know about, few change their mind, myself included of course.

    I don’t think Alastair holds anything back. Perhaps if he gets trolls with nothing more to offer than “WMDs” and all that then he saves us the boredom, though I doubt if he would ban or suppress someone for making a structured argument even on that subject.

    Lastly, perhaps it looks like Alastair was taking it a bit easy for a few days on the blog which is why it only got updated once a day or every two days. Probably thats because he is a monarchist…

  • Dave Simons

     Please enlighten me as to what job you think our Royalty are trained for. Not government, surely?
    I may be misreading you but I get the impression that you think the Weimar Republic in 1920s and early 1930s Germany was a cause of the rise of Hitler and that if Germany had retained a monarchy it would have acted as a defense against Nazism. I’ve got a problem with that analysis – Edward VIII.
    I’m not sure why you need to go on a global tour of India,. Pakistan, Burma, etc to show that republics don’t work. Have I got to go traipsing round all the Middle Eastern monarchies who treat their ‘subjects’ abominably?
    The institution of monarchy was abolished in this country in 1649. It was restored in 1660, but a lot of people who brought it back had good cause to regret their action soon after. Over the next few decades after 1660 the monarchy had to be kicked into its present subservient role whilst retaining the semblance of being in control – ‘my government’ as Lizzie jokes every time she ‘opens’ parliament. I certainly want the monarchy abolished but only when a majority of UK citizens want it, and I accept that it’s a long way off at present.

  • Dave Simons

     I don’t think anyone’s suggesting banning the Royal Family. Banning suggests some kind of threat of resilience and restoration.I do however dream of a day (which I probably won’t see) when the monarch opens parliament with the line, based on solid public opinion, “My government will abolish the institution of monarchy”. At last we’ll all have grown up! Meanwhile, on with the silly tittle-tattle, the camera smiles, the waves, the corgis, the ill-earned praise, the grovelling pop stars, the toady historians and ‘investigative’ journalists, the soap-sudded celebrities….

  • Dave Simons

    ‘I can’t imagine what it must be like to not so much have a ‘job for
    life’ but to always be on duty, never be able to nip out without dolling
    up.  Always be subject to that photographer, always scrutinised and
    commented about.’
    The Royals have a choice which none of their ‘subjects’ has – they can continue being Royals or they can decide not to. If they decide to continue it’s probably because it’s a cushy number, and about the best they’re likely to get, given their dearth of talent (despite first class educations). What they call work a lot of her ‘subjects’ would call play – lifting glasses, being ‘head’ of this and that organisation (but never attending a single meeting), ‘opening’ this and that, sitting round a large table troughing, etc.
    As for Bill Hague, he’s from Rotherham – his dad had a soft drinks firm in Parkgate and I think little Willy grew up in Wentworth or somewhere like that. He went to Wath Comprehensive, but it might not have been a comprehensive when he started. I prefer not to think about Clarkson.

  • Michele

     Well hey, the people that didn’t vote for Hitler’s party must have been mighty sick to see what he brought to his country.
    Their descendants might just have to resent the suspicion of it for evermore …. even of Mrs Merkel’s efforts at unity nowadays (their being constantly interpreted as another way to take over Europe durrrrrr).

    We aren’t likely to change each other’s mind,  you have a dream or a wish or a ‘what if’ based on no reliable objective  idea or example of ever being possible for more than that one first  unusual person as Pres’s life.  As for the quips about the east, it’s called the world DS, examples we can look at to see how badly wrong things have gone for some that had a dream and preferred it over a known reality.

  • Michele

     Oh we’ve had ‘WMDs’ and ‘dossier’ and ‘Bliar’ and all the other crap; we even had some courtesy of The Sneer on Friday night!

    I wonder whether people like Scarfe, Steadman, The Sneer et al have ever applied their witty skills about people in their own empires, especially about their employers?  Surely absolutely surely they have the right to, just for fun?  Let’s see them describe their bosses!  As soon as.

    Unrelated to the above, more to do with Leveson …. I was thinking about those tapes of the early 90s (PC and Camilla).  Didn’t most assume at the time that they’d been bugged by the security services ….? 

  • Michele

     He has explained the POINT of debt, it is to be used, used creatively.  He has different priorities than you and he believes economics has to serve people, not vice versa.

    You believe in capitalism for its own sake, you don’t believe in the responsible version of it, yoou don’t believe in Govts investing in their people so you will never even want to respect someone like him.

    You go on and on about minimum wage being destructive ….. greedy profit margins are the real destructive ….. I posted recently about those retailers that are slicing their margins and still raking it in AND while not just paying minimum wage AND without exploiting those in supplier countries.

    I’ve not found that post, I’m having very trying (seen me snarl?) Bband ups and downs recently and perhaps I just couldn’;t get the flipping thing through.

  • Janiete

    Most of the time Michele, I am indifferent to the monarchy and I readily confess my thoughts on an alternative are far from clear. But every time we have a ‘let’s worship the royals’ love in, it makes me feel both angry and sad for the people of our country.

    It seems to me that the essence and heart of a nation is its people; their history, their stories, the reality of their lives. But the monarchist narrative has no place for them, they don’t matter except as subservient, adoring flag wavers. The problem is summed up very well in the words of our national anthem. Basically the Queen IS the nation; as long as she is OK, all is well.

    In a modern, democratic society, this is surely nonsense. The people should grant her the privilege of representing us, not the other way round. We invest far too much importance and money in the royal family. To me it is meaningless and pointless, on a par with modern day air-headed, celebrity obsession.
    But it seems we are struck with it for now. So, I like that the Queen has no real power and that her role is merely ceremonial. In fact, if we ever did switch to a presidential system, I would want to retain these aspects and ensure all political power stays within our parliamentary system.

    Perhaps a sensible interim compromise would be to add another box on the ballot paper at each general election, in which voters are asked to confirm their support for the monarch as our ceremonial head of state. Then it’s clear; all power rests ultimately with the people. And our national anthem should reflect that fundamental principle; our commitment to each other, a celebration of what we as a society have achieved, and what we want to achieve in the future, together.

  • Michele

     Must confess I’d not heard of Roubini, looked him up and this sounds very likely to be  true, from Business Week …….
    Michael Mandel noted in
    2006 that Roubini and other economists often make general predictions
    which could happen over multiyear periods……….

    Given NR’s long-time tag as Dr Doom  🙂

  • Michele

    Off topic reaguns but I thought you might like this :

    As to how much that £11Bn will be worth compared to the inflation that will have taken place in the meantime lalalalalalalalalalalalahhhhhhh

    Ooooooh but the lalalalala also explains why lending is sometimes worth doing for the sake of those living working and being taxed in the now …..
    Build things for us / them even if with loans because saving up to build them later might well cost more; interest vs inflation innit……
    They need Gypsy Rose Lee in Cabinet (oh if only for the return of GB or AD in drag?).

  • Anonymous

    I can’t remember who I thought bugged PC and Camilla at the time. Didn’t think it was right anyway, didn’t think it would be fair game on a normal person, or on them, and I was -rid-of-the-monarchy person at the time (I’m not anymore.) To be honest I don’t know who bugged PC and Camilla?

  • Anonymous

    That’s not true regarding my motives. I’m human so I could be wrong, even famous, harvard and oxbridge educated economists, presidents and prime ministers have been, so why not little old me. But my motives I believe are sound, I do not believe in capitalism for its own sake, I do believe that economics must serve the people. I also believe in democracy first, capitalism second, so when the people in a democracy feel they are not served by whatever version of capitalism they have, they should have the right to change it. In a democracy, it will be hard for a version of capitalism which does not serve the people to be maintained anyway.

    I believe that capitalism is the best way to distribute power and wealth to the weak and the poor, thats why I believe in it. Otherwise I would seek a different method to do so (and in some cases I do support distribution by other means.)

    The example you gave could not happen in a properly capitalist system, because if a firm is raking in all that profit, that means a rival can step in and do the same job at a lower profit and therefore lower price to the consumer. The governments job is only to ensure there are no barriers to entry, such as regulation. This is why big firms lobby the government for regulation, in order to keep competitors out, and this is cronyism. This creates monopoly when it should be the governments job to ensure that competition smashes monopolies, or to smash them itself where competition doesn’t (very rare.) Nothing new, its Adam Smith 101 (who Brown claims to be a fan of.)

    That solution will not address the low wage issue directly, but allowed to play out it will because it will mean that the wages people earn are worth more because they can get things so much cheaper. This is the example shown in America, steadily rising wages and productivity, steadily falling working hours (economics is not about creating work, it is about reducing work), steadily falling prices and steadily increasing standard of living. “Oh but America is different its not 3rd world.” Perhaps some of my ancestors who emigrated there in 19th century might disagree with that.

    The type of exploitation you are talking about – is supported by Krugman, he believes sweatshop jobs are better than no jobs, check him out. Krugman is no messiah.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like any of that stuff either, I would certainly reduce the opulence that the monarchy enjoy. I suspect they are one thing we spend public funds on that generate a bigger return than what we spend, though I would like a study to be done of that! And one of the olympics!

    I don’t like the waves, the corgis, the speeches, the pageants, the weddings, never watched any royal stuff, seldom read any of it. Even found Diana pretty annoying, there I said it. But I think that my dislike of it on scale of 1-10, 10 being most, is probably about 3, whereas those who like it probably reach 6 or 7. I can choose to avoid all of it if I want, therefore it doesn’t harm me but other people get enjoyment of it. To me its like boxing, I think those who want to do it and watch it should be allowed to, including myself, I don’t think others should be forced to take part, but I don’t think they should be allowed to stop me taking part.

    I suppose in relation to the royals, we should work out what percentage of tax we each pay and have an opt out! I’d opt out! Or we could just privatise the monarchy!

  • Dave Simons

    ‘We aren’t likely to change each other’s mind,  you have a dream or a
    wish or a ‘what if’ based on no reliable objective  idea or example of
    ever being possible for more than that one first  unusual person as
    Pres’s life.  As for the quips about the east, it’s called the world DS,
    examples we can look at to see how badly wrong things have gone for
    some that had a dream and preferred it over a known reality.’

    I’ve had to lift this quotation from Michele below to get some space for a reply. Can I say that I think Michele’s summary is absolutely stupid? France and Germany are two known realities that I’ve mentioned (and she hasn’t) – both republics. It might upset her gut patriotism but those countries have as much claim to civility as the UK, and some would argue more. What the hell is she talking about – ‘no reliable objective, idea or example of ever being possible, etc’? Has she ever been across the Channel?Those countries are on our doorstep – does she have to go hunting for lousy republics on the other side of the globe to bolster her feeble arguments?  We’re talking about real places, real people and real systems of government which some of us find better than our useless ‘Queen in Parliament’ set-up. It’s become obvious to me in this dialogue that arguments against the monarchy make her feel threatened – which is a shame because democracy is all about argument. Maybe she prefers the cosy safety of the known and familiar, even if the known and familiar is a load of crap.

  • Michele

     I don’t know of anything that Hislop is pro- about.  
    Perhaps admitting to being pro- something would impact on his future job prospects so it’s best not done …. keep all options open? 

    As to Vince Cable and the forever portrayals of him as Mr Clean, isn’t he the ultimate Mr Say What’s Popular Even if it’s Destructive?

    The production company that makes it lists some of my favourite comedies (one of them being Armstrong and Miller, I really don’t know how they get away with the dentist character ***blush***).

  • mightymark

    I agree about Healey. Foot was man of substance but it was intellectual and literary substance – not the political variety.

    Had Benn become leader? – two possible answers either it would have forced him to grow up or he would have split Labour more fundamentally and perhaps irrevocably than even Foot managed.

  • Ehtch

    Whoopsy daisy! End of match celebration gone wrong – two sore heeeds.

    Both required stitches, glasgie kiss style.

  • Ehtch

    There is a market, altruisically without these time consuming pop up ads, for blogged online video non-MTV djs, as long as they can accompany them with well interesting comments. Could be run on a wikipedia type donation lines, and no need for registration and log-ins and shit, again precious time consuming, and feedback with comments from followers.

    And a subsection to present well visited blogs, a subsection called Radio alsataircampbell for instance, with sidelinks to threads in the mainsite. Or something like that, may need skythought and all that bullshit.

    An alternative to having to actually visit youtube, and will give music to like minded people. Anyway, something like that, as long as the committee who does it is not too large for decisions.

    But I might be talking pants here, but there could be something in it, rather than having dedicated music blog sites.

  • Ehtch

    Another Swede I like is Emmon, still going strong, another that has healthily attacked the online age in the last half-dozen years or so and has the hang of it as an artist,

  • Ehtch

    more Emmon here, and no, I am just a fan, and no, no cut for me from whatever, and no, have no ambition to be an agent of such – I have enough trouble coping with myself, thanks,

    Looking forward to rugger tomorrow Alastair, starting with the kiwis/paddies at half eight morn, to argies/ities in the evening, Cymru/Oz and England/Saffa inbetween. It will be quite a marathon.

  • Michele

    Having had quite a bit to say about Queenie I feel the need to spill about Downton Abbey. 
    Rushed to see ‘Gosford Park’ because of H Mirren and the costumes but absolutely hated the storyline and atmosphere.
    A little while later its writer was on Question Time, didn’t take to him at all but thankfully the remote was working and he could be turned off.
    Downton Abbey has never been on screen in this household.

    Re Mrs Warsi (wasn’t the man still married when they wed and eventually divorced the preceding wife without informing her?).  I believe that his accompanying SW happened very shortly after her elevation to the  title.   There are many layers of user-dom in the whole situation, not least that of both Mrs Warsis.

  • Michele

    Hope you’ll play this on iPlayer DS  and enjoy NY singing the National Anthem about 30 mins in to this interview

    Titter 🙂

  • Michele

    Ooops, scrolled past this when leaving my other re your suggestion of alternative words to the NA.

    Address above to me chum and it might earn a reply.

    Without that courtesy, piddling infantile cheapo talking across and about makes me gip.

  • Michele

    Yes I took no notice at the time but looked up some summaries last week and it seems one or other of the MIs was being blamed.
    Wasn’t there also some suspicion of her butler?

    My speculation now is due to Leveson and whether it was all along private tecs in the pay of some media 🙁

  • Michele

     Buying from the third world is not all about ‘sweatshops’.
    It spreads work, business, wealth uplifts the third world, showing the benefit of education and training for their people, making cruel or backward govts realise their people can be their currency.

    Nothing else but trade will do that and it has been a quiet revolution during the past 40yrs.

    I don’t mind you providing a link as proof that Krugman approves of ‘sweatshops’ if you feel the need (bearing in mind they will need to be about more than the climates elsewhere).

  • Michele

     I just don’t take it all that seriously J! 
    It provides the reason for people to just get together if they need one to smile at strangers and have a good time,  gives inspiration and material for some creatives to do wonderful designs and displays, saves gorgeous items from the past to be  used and not smashed and spoiled and distributed who knows where……..
    I just can’t resent it.
    As I’ve said before I used to be anti-monarchy but when I saw inside all the republics that I have I just came round to appreciating what we have more (my Dad must be laughing his socks off on his cloud xxx).

    I’ve posted earlier about how
    little I appreciate all the in-between tiers but the revolting thing is how they exist in republics too …. as well as do hereditary successions.

    As to the idea re a tick box at election time yep …. as soon as voting becomes mandatory!

    Have a good weekend 🙂

  • Dave Simons

     Thanks Janiete – agree with you all the way!

  • Dave Simons

     A. E. Housman wrote in honour of another Jubilee:
    ‘Get you the sons your fathers got
    And God will save the Queen’.

    He was of course referring to soldiers who died in battle.

  • Michele

     Sigh ….. my angry reply is after reading his first few cowardly sentences.  Have now read the lot…….  I’ve worked and played in France and Germany, he shouldnm’t  jump to stupid conclusions, it makes him look stupid and wimpish.

  • Michele

     I found the article reaguns

    I agree with him (as well as celebrating that in the 15yrs since it was written things have improved such a lot).
    Given the first hand  knowledge you claimed a few weeks ago I don’t ‘get’ your ‘no messiah’.  Real messiahs need also to be pragmatists.

  • Ehtch

    but I am suppose I am up to offers myself from a jewish agent to help develop me.

    WHAAAART!! stereotype – arn’t we all, ey? schizer!

  • Ehtch

    as here, ripped off electronically yours, a site I regular visit, points to brilliant stuff to me and others, as their latest pointer to here,

  • Anonymous

    “Ooooooh but the lalalalala also explains why lending is sometimes worth doing for the sake of those living working and being taxed in the now ….. ”

    It doesn’t, but I can’t be arsed! I’ll just say that why a workers party supports the reduction in wages that inflation causes, I’ll never know. “Oh but we campaign for wage rises in line with inflation”. Well the wage rises are always just behind inflation, ie noone retrospectively pays you back for the years inflated prices you just paid for. And a lot of workers save. Does anyone increase the size of their bank balances by the rate of inflation? No.

    I’m surprised you missed the chance, taken by others, to slag off the government who have sold off northern rock at a loss (even Alastair would not try to spin this “but we’ll profit 15 years later” line.) I guess you still see it as a continuation of a Gordon Brown policy and therefore you want to defend it. However if David Cameron had bailed out a bank then sold it at a loss, we all know perfectly well what you and others would be saying, and it would be right in that case.

    But we can do things the way you suggest instead… in fact we already are… and thats why we’re in the shit.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe Benn would have divided the party yes, but then I would like the labour party to split in two, and I would like the conservative party to split in two as well.

    At the minute we have old labour and new labour, and a very large portion of labour’s voters would like more old labour policies.

    In the conservatives, we have the “dry” right wing thatcherites and the leftist cameronite “wets”.

    The theory goes that the voters want centrists, which is why we had the almost indecipherable centrist policies of brown, clegg and cameron at the last election.

    I’m not convinced, I reckon if the two main parties split up like that, then we’d have a left wing party, a right wing party, and 3 centrist parties. I reckon the left wing and the right wing party would smash the centrist parties in election. They would be so small that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg would have to join the same party where they belong.

    Something like the northern ireland situation would be seen I think, where the voters all left the centre for the extremes.

  • Anonymous

    Its true about economists in general, they might write a column one week which says “the government should be careful about doing blah 1, because it could lead to a financial crash” then next week write “if the government does blah 2, we could see a strong recovery” then when either of those things happen they refer back to their “prediction”. This is no better than when the sun claims a team is going to sign a different player every day all summer, then when 1 out of 60 predictions come true, they display their old headline the next day under the caption “You heard it here first”.

    There is also the phenomenon of “permabears” who predict recession their whole lives, and are obviously right sometimes, just as a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    However there is quite a well known (in economics) list of people who predicted the crash, which rules out those who were not specific, those who are perma-bears etc, basically sets out a lot of criteria to sort out who really predicted the crash. I am 99% certain Roubini is on it, 100% certain Krugman is not.

    Roubini was not a permabear, he was studying economies like Argentina which had crashed, trying to work out a pattern, and then identified the housing and credit bubble in the united states (these things are quantifiable) and said it would be next.

    Roubini worked for Bill Clinton.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a fan of Armstrong and Miller too – perhaps you are not entirely unschooled… (Kill Bill reference… only a joke.)

    Why does the dentist one make you blush, are you a dentist or something!

    I like the posh-yet-street-speaking airforce pilots – they is well funny blud 🙂

    Also love the “Those who can’t – teach!” ads mocking the ‘real’ ads (armstrong and miller version is more real.)

  • Ehtch

    south african total closed mind southern hemisphere refereeing TOTAL CUNT!!

    fucking indoor cunt, bastard, fucking bastard

    Yes, Wales lost. SA of a hoare was reffing, fucking strutting ‘king peacock from funny handshake club, department cunt saffa. CUNT!

  • Gilliebc

    Dave, as this comment was for M why didn’t you simply put ‘@ Michele’ at the beginning of the post. Or something similar.  Rhetorical question btw.  But maybe this would be something to bear in mind for future reference.  Clarity is important. Just a suggestion. 

  • Gilliebc

    Regarding the sub-debate on Monarchy v Rebublic.  Whichever system a country has in place, it makes little difference to the people because it is always the elite that are in charge.    

    The elite always get to choose and decide the leaders.  Both here and in the US and in most of the western world those in the top jobs are selected by the likes of the Freemasons, Skull & Bones, CFR, The Trilateral Commission, Bilderbeg.  All tie in with the Cecil Rhodes created Round Table.  

    The world is controlled by a relatively few people and barring another peasants revolt on an enormous scale, it always will be.  They the powers that be control everything.  They instigate wars, crash economies, create diseases and pandemics.     
    Control the MSM the Judiciary and our so called secret security services.  Many people are awakening to how controlled we are.  Not many as yet who visit this site!  But it is becoming so blindingly obvious now what’s going on that TPTB don’t even attempt to hide it so much any more. 

    I think the majority may finally wake up when they are asked/told to accept they must lay down their lives to ‘save the planet’  beginning with the sick and elderly.  The Dutch government are discussing plans for mobile units to ‘put down’ terminally sick people in their own homes if their own GP’s can’t or won’t do it.  In some cases loneliness and bereavement are to be classed as mental illnesses and will ‘qualify’ for euthanasia.

  • Michele

    Re the tweet iMac prob ….
    15mins apptmts 1:1 for free advice on any Apple item no matter where bought or how old, I’ve carted my geriatric first-version jelly bean iMac in before now…..  then sent it back in with a neighbour as I’m such an IT-phobe and couldn’t remember stuff.
    Free and fabulous training re their software in their lecture theatre.

  • Michele

     My goodness that’s a bit of a misrepresenation Gbc!  There just isn’t any point in winding stuff up so wildly!  If you were reading a journalist distorting stuff to that degree would you want them sacked?

  • Michele

     The info was placed as you had posted earlier that NR has been sold off without the bailout being paid back.

    It was not placed in any celebratory way, we are where we are, we know what we know and if we see an error or think it might be one and if it’s something upsetting and can be put right it should be …. before it gets lifted and copied and broadcast as so much on the net is presumed to be true.

    The uber macho stance you adopt, that NR etc should have been allowed to go bankrupt (by which you must have meant ON that day and the other banks ON theirs) I wish you had the guts to post the screenplay of what would have followed each …. 

    We could have been seeing a form of it now in Spain, maybe because they are in the Euro, maybe because they overvalued themselves before joining it, maybe because overseers did not ask them to correct their accounts …… whatever.  

    They will get their bail out, they will have to pay for it.  There is no point yattering about it still probably being paid back in decades and off the backs of those then working …… without it they probably wouldn’t be anyway.

    Nothing is static; bailout, interest, inflation, sums, rest of the world and what it’s doing, BRICs then BRICS, all the other parts of the developing world.  It all takes choices (and some guesses) and it’s the quality and motivation of the people making those decisions that dictates whether expenditure now will transpire to have been investment or waste. 
    Given your apparent dislike of people I’m glad you’re not among the deciders 🙂

  • Michele

    Talk sense for heaven’s sake.
    It just isn’t in human nature to even want to glide along as if on still waters.
    That’s just as well given the way the world changes ….. our responses need to too.

    Implosion isn’t sensible for a nation such as ours; we have to take the bad with the good and we have to acknowledge there has been some ‘good’ from our becoming world leading in banking.  I hated the idea of Canary Wharf but now !!!   Wow.

    I was at Greenwich yesterday …. the glorious Cutty Sark on one side, Canary Wharf just across the river, Observatory and its 1pm red ball just behind … Londinium  🙂 

  • Michele

    Ehtch 🙂

    Can’t re-find your post with the link to this article:

    The detailed info is disgusting, all the moreso after hearing some Tory woman or other defending it on radio a couple of days ago.

    It’s also quite worrying to think that these companies who’re being given fortunes by the coalesced mess are also going to be profiting from the Olympics.  Security?   LOL – they don’t seem to have much respect for even the word.

  • Michele

    Tsk …. son tells me that link doesn’t work for him

  • reaguns

    Don’t understand the point, but see nothing but kudos for those like Roubini, whether left or right, who identified the debt problems pre crisis.

    Whats the cutty sark like, did you go in? (Dear I hear.)

  • Michele

     In case you’ve not seen my link about Neil Simon, these are the lyrics he sings on his new album.  TiC?  Listen to the interview.

    God save our gracious Queen,Long live our noble Queen,God save The Queen

    Send her victorious,Happy and glorious,Long to reign over us:God save The Queen.

    O Lord, our God, arise,Scatter her enemies,And make them fall.Confound their politics,Frustrate their knavish tricks,On Thee our hopes we fix,God save us all.

    Thy choicest gifts in store,On her be pleased to pour;Long may she reign:May she defend our laws,And ever give us causeTo sing with heart and voiceGod save The Queen!

    I’d imagine that when we have kings the words change slightly and I don’t know whether NY’s (or anyone else’s) opinions would apply to any monarch we’ve had or will have.  I doubt PC will have an easy time.

  • reaguns

    I have posted the answer and the scenarios that could have played out before. So have many many others, with plenty of credibility. Its fine to disagree with their conclusions, but to be unaware of them means your research is incomplete and your opinions a bit less valid.

  • reaguns

    By asking for a link you imply you don’t think he said that, and don’t agree with him saying so. Boxing yourself in a touch. I don’t intend looking for the link, but it exists. Point is, because of what you think of him, him believing in sweatshops is fine to you whereas if Boris Johnson said “sweatshops are the way forward” you;d disagree. If you do agree with the concept then you agree that other regions of europe and the uk should cut their costs and work/trade their way out of trouble too.

  • reaguns

    Wish I’d read this before I replied to your other one! What first hand knowledge are you talking about?

  • Michele

    @ DS
    I’m sorry to still be finding this topic so diverting but I swear I’m being fed by others …. after looking up the lyrics of France and Germany (aaaagggghhhhh) I hope you like these two routines from Dylan Moran (I’ve not yet looked for the one about the English  …..  he might be doing it when I see him next month so I won’t )

  • Gilliebc

    Post in reply to Michele,  (which I lost half-way through and it didn’t go back in the right place)

    Good link M.  I hadn’t seen that piece before.     
    No I don’t believe I am misrepresenting not in the least.  It’s fair to say that I’m not constrained in the way that a MSM journo. would be and I’m not trying to frighten anyone either. Neither am I expecting anyone to believe just me. 
    People can check out for themselves about what I and others write.  It’s all out there on the http://WWW.  You tube is a good source.  But more importantly by cross checking thoroughly from many sources both official and ‘unofficial’ this stuff is verifiable.  Books of course are another good source.    
    This present government is quite content to appear incompetent.  It keeps us the little people distracted and preoccupied, arguing amongst ourselves while they get on with the main agenda i.e. the European Superstate as one zone in a One World Government with all that entails.  As set out in Agenda 21, depopulation on a massive scale and a return to serfdom for those who are left.   
    There are those of course who don’t want to know and for others it’s way beyond their comprehension.    Normal nice people cannot believe we are ruled by such conniving, ruthless and evil people.  As a bit of an old cynic,  I didn’t find it at all difficult to believe. My parents had told me a little about the illuminati when I was a teenager.  I didn’t believe them then.  But I do now!  You have an enquiring mind I suspect Michele.  Don’t you want to find out why this country and the wider world is being run in such a terrible way?  The wealthy elite rule the roost always have done and probably always will. It’s heartening that people are beginning to wake up.  But as for what we can do about it, I have no idea. 
    I forgot to mention the bankers in my previous post.  They are of course crucial to the plans ahead.        

    Also, people in the lower levels of Freemasonary etc.  
    have no idea of what goes on in the higher levels.   
    In many ways it’s beautifully simple and in other ways they flaunt what they’re up to by putting obvious clues out there.  So obvious that people don’t give them a second thought i.e. the imagery on the dollar bill, the statue of Liberty the street lay out in New York and other places.  They are taking the p*$$, big time.

  • Michele

     I need more sleep!
    This should have started re Neil YOUNG

  • Michele

     Given that they would have been ‘written’ when you were under the misunderstanding that NR had been sold off at a loss I don’t see how they can be worth tracing.

  • Gilliebc


    Furthermore, (as Etch says)  There is a really good audio tape on yt of JFK giving a speech on secrecy.  No wonder the poor bloke was assassinated, he made it clear he wasn’t going to collude with TPTB.  Most (not all) of the other presidents before Kennedy, but most definitely since have all been ‘placed men’ or puppets, dancing to the tune of the real rulers, the wealthy elite.  And there is very little if no difference in this country either. 

    There is a definate pyramid of power ruling the western world and greatly influencing most of the rest of the world too.  Some say the Jesuits are at the very top.  I don’t know tbh.  There are some obvious big players such as the Rothschilds, Rockerfellas, JP Mogan, the Wahlbergs, Cecil Rhodes, John Ruskin to name but a few.  There are other well known names too, but I’m sure you get the drift of it by now. 

    As I wrote before I don’t ask or expect others to believe ‘little ol’ me’  but if anyone is interested in who or what controls and runs things, it ain’t that difficult to find out these days. 
    They will be tightening-up and controlling the internet fairly soon.  But there will always be books, I hope.      

  • Michele

      That which you claimed of third world countries, what else?

  • Michele

    Your post starts by being re the Guardian link about voluntary assisted euthanasia in Holland and that’s what I’ve suggested you had misrepresented earlier.
    One can empathise completely with all opinions, who needs a rack and pinion?
    I can understand if you worry about coercion, people feeling pressured simply because methods exist, but we have to allow for people that don’t want their quality of life reduced by being kept alive when pain becomes uncontrollable ….. or even suffer the limitations of mobility or consciousness with ever-more pain relief.

    My mother chose NO pain, it didn’t matter to her what her survivors felt about it, she was also disgusted at the thought of what was happening inside. 
    Another woman on her ward chose differently. 
    ‘No pain’ is not the same as Holland’s voluntary euthanasia system which is apparently by injection so might be quite a sudden end of life?
    I’d imagine most people there leave it till quite late stage when they just can’t go on any more, either because of pain or the effects of its relief (crippling constipation is one) or because of depression over their diagnosis.

    Holland’s GPs have the right to not agree with someone asking for the needle at any stage of illness but as Holland also recognises the individual’s right to choose (while, I’m sure, hoping nobody is coerced or exploits the system for actual suicide) their health service has set up mobile units to go round doing the deed for people whose GPs refuse to. 
    That is not the same as their being ‘put down’ per your post.
    Being ‘put down’ is what happens to some animals, those we eat as well as those that are terminally ill or simply deserted and left to starve before ‘rescue’.

    I’ll agree it all sounds odd and very modern, Pegg & Wright could make a great film about it! 

    Re the Bilderbergers and Illuminati …… lalalalalalalahhhhhhh; they don’t scare me half as much as most religionists.

  • Michele

     Perhaps you need to read around before responding?
    Your description of what Krugman said was totally subjective (selectively edited).

    Perhaps if you had the choice of finding your lunch from a scrapheap OR working in a sweatshop (as a start to SOME = ANY work to pay for your choice of menu) you would not be so pseudo selective or precious.

    However, if you do give millions per year to the poor of the world directly (as opposed to buying what they produce) I’d acknowledge your right to be snotty about ANY job for those with very little choice …. on the way to their country developing ……… in hopes of it turning in to things many times better (as it has in many places and will continue to, via TRADE) .

    Pray spill re what gives you the claim to any moral high ground vs Krugman.

    It just doesn’t stack up against your proclamations against minimum pay for the developed world.

  • Ehtch

    oh dear… posted this five minutes after full-time, that is my only defence, and that I have a mouth like a potty at times… it’s my armed forces training see…

    : )

  • Ehtch

    And an interesting fact about blogs, for a successful one, is to get semi-followers, ones that follow commenters as well.

    Now I am not saying anyone follows me, I’d be the first to say they need their heads examined. But self-deprecation works too, I have found, with some….. chalk and cheese like….

  • Michele

     I asked for a link because I had presumed your ‘quote’ was recent.
    I knew you don’t give  many links so then I found it for you and reminded of the quote’s age.

  • Michele

     What is ‘almost indecipherable’ about the difference between Labour’s pre-election stated and Tory’s post-election plans? 

    Which choice gave a more detailed plan PRE election?

    The difference was debt reduction over 2 govts instead of one, ten years instead of five, longer but shallower, interest vs  inflation.  Sheeesh  …….

  • reaguns

    Its not a misunderstanding, they have not as yet returned the money they were given – that’s a loss.

    Don’t you remember the Tories, not only Osborne but people like John Redwood at the time saying how it was a good idea to return that bank to the private sector, even though it was at a loss. Don’t you think they would have tried if anything to spin it as not a loss, if that were possible to do with a straight face?

  • reaguns

    Don’t understand. I take it you don’t work for the communication wing Michele 🙂

  • reaguns

    What am I supposed to do, quote his entire works? if someone is being portrayed as saint, shouldn’t I select his sins to highlight?

    He wants to win debates, not help the poor.

    I agree with him about free trade and jobs in those countries though. But most people here usually don’t.

  • Anonymous

    Main point about Krugman. He knows that debt and spending cannot go on forever. He claims that he just wants more spending now, that can then be reined in when we have a recovery. One problem – you cannot find me any time in history when Krugman, or Ed Balls, was calling for less spending, even though we had the Reagan and Clinton booms. So he has no credibility.

  • Gilliebc

    Euthanasia is such a tricky subject.  A veritable minefield.  I don’t think anyone would want another human being to suffer a long and painful death.  As some others say ‘no one would let a dog suffer like that’ 

    Thinking about it on and off as I have today, I came to the conclusion that the old ‘unofficial’ system seemed to work alright for most people.  It worries me slightly that when things are legislated on, that power is ripe for abuse by those that are given the power. Give some people an inch and they will take a yard.

    Sorry to hear that your mum suffered in the way that she did.  I know from personal experience it’s a terrible thing to watch a loved one go that way.    

    Maybe the late comedian Bill Hicks was right when he said life is just a ride a fairground ride.

  • Michele

    Revolting to see Dave’s fave Louise Mensch, someone so new to Govt (but elevated almost as quickly as Mrs Warsi) badmouth GB this evening, accepting the vague words of trolls such as NI and Wail hacks’ tweets.

    We do know other details, such as info that the little boy’s illness was obtained illicitly

    How on earth can someone put on such a certain performance when they
    have no proof?  Does the habitual puckering up convince anyone else?

    What a human :-s

  • Michele

     So did the screenplay that you mentioned (the one that started with all the banks being allowed to collapse)  take account of the £11Bn that will be in hand by 2015 as well as the proceeds from the other sold = re-privatised banks?
    Feel free to link it if so.

    Very interesting debate on R4 yesterday between someone that sounded as if he might have rabies (pro-bank collapses) and someone not frothing at all who had constructive outlook about where we are because GB/AD were/are not rabid.
    I’ll link that for you when you’ve done your bit.

  • Anonymous

    This should have been an “exciting” day, but its been so predictable, the tory press all think Brown was terrible yesterday and Osborne imperious, and labour press all think the exact opposite. Where to get an objective assessment? I’m not necessarily objective myself but that is another reason it would be nice to have an objective paper to go to.

    I thought they both did fairly well, but they both opened themselves up to certain lines of attack.

    Still if some of the stuff Brown says is true and could be proved to be true that would certainly liven things up. As far as his child goes of course, that is beyond the pale, I know people are now saying well how come he still played ball with them after that, or tried to, but its an impossible position.

  • Anonymous

    Whats your interest vs inflation point? Neither plan to tackle either.

    They are arguing about thin strips of shared common ground – they both think we should reduce the deficit, but very very slowly.

    Perhaps before the election people tried to portray Osborne as a right winger (impossible with Cam) but thats kind of my point, people who portray Osborne as a swivel eyed right winger, or Brown as a loony leftist, are both blatantly wrong by any historical measure of right/left.

    Whereas Thatcher was clearly a right winger and Foot was clearly a left winger.

  • Michele

     I looks, after John Major’s evidence, that one man has lied about several situations that involve several different people.

    I don’t know whether that means he will be charged with perjury.

    I doubt Mensch will have the courtesy to apologise for her obsequious toadying yesterday.  Her lies (that’w what they ARE, being based on no actual first hand experience) expose her as no more than an obedient accessory.

    Yahoo  😉

  • Michele

     I looks, after John Major’s evidence, that one man has lied about several situations that involve several different people.

    I don’t know whether that means he will be charged with perjury.

    I doubt Mensch will have the courtesy to apologise for her obsequious toadying yesterday.  Her lies (that’w what they ARE, being based on no actual first hand experience) expose her as no more than an obedient accessory.

    Yahoo  😉

  • Michele


  • Michele

    You need to observe the ‘in reply to’ info.
         Your :
         I take it you don’t work for the communication wing Michele 🙂
         in response to my :
         That which you claimed of third world countries, what else?
         re your :
         What first hand knowledge are you talking about?

     ….. shows you don ‘t.

    I know it’s confusing that the boxes’ sequence becomes hard to decipher once we’ve gone from  timings being in hours to whole days ……. plus when there’s more than one reply in a cache the sequences get meaningless ….. what was I saying, are you bored, is the Earth round ?   😛

  • Anonymous

    Why would I rewrite, or link to mine or other “screenplays” about how non-bailed out banks would have played out – I did it before. Now if you had disagreed with me, fine, but instead you are now denying the existence of such a post. If you really want to read it, its a few blogs back. The funny thing is, you actually replied, I remember.

    Or you could always look at previous crises (oh yes, there were plenty) and look at the ones where banks were not bailed out. You don’t think I’d suggest a hypothesis, a pure theory, for such a grave occasion do you? No, I look at the evidence of when it has been done before. There are examples in US from 1850s onwards, or you can look at Iceland in modern times. And there are plenty more where they came from.

    You give a perfect example of the lack of objectivity. People who disagree with you are rabid, or swivel eyed or whatever. In the same way the American right think people who disagree with them are commies.

    Can’t sensible reasonable people disagree?

    Its like on newsnight when they say “And introducing Swivel Eyed Foam Flecked Right Wing Eurosceptic Joe Bloggs.”
    Ok I added the first two prhases but I’ve heard the last two a plenty.

    They never say “Introducing Far Left Sandal Wearing Europhile” to balance things up a bit. To them there are crazy eurosceptics and sensible europhiles. And they call it “news”. Fact and opinion?

    Just like there were only sensible Euro lovers in the old day, hard to track them down now as most are in the “sensible” asylum or enjoying a well earned period of silence.

  • Michele

     What could he do other than ‘play ball’? 
    Whether we like it or not we have to make allowance for people doing what they think is their job, even one that just involves shelving their own ethics and  ‘following orders’. 
    Forget their reaping the huge salaries the likes of Coulson and Rebekakaka were on!

    If someone claims that all they’re doing is passing on info because of the public’s ‘need to know’ … it might  seem more altruistic than sheer gossip. 
    It always seemed to me that due to GB’s eyesight problems the publicity about his little boy was about the genetics … implying something that was not worth reading.

    Had GB or Sarah pleaded for the info about Fraser to be withheld that could have been portrayed as embarrassment that could insult other families.
    We had a PM who was blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other, despite all that he was able to function in ways that confound me, I can’t grasp economics despite not being 75% blind …….. perhaps I’m too distracted by visuals that I can see (like some others?).

    I’m equally gobsmacked about the organisation at play at Leveson, did those huge neat tomes have to be prepared also in Braille?

    John Major has gone up hundreds of percent in my estimation today 🙂
    Oh gawd, I hope we don’t get Edwina surprising us all tomorrow too …… just as well I’m at the dentist followed by grumpy

  • reaguns

    Agree re the playing ball. Its like Tony/Alastair/Labour trying to make peace with Murdoch in 1997, its a hard decision with bad consequences either way (an excellent defence I heard Blair give on The Late Late Show in Ireland, from youtube.)

    What has Major done? Is it his honesty, or is there a scoop I missed?

  • reaguns

    As far as I know, unless my browser is different than most, its quite easy to follow the “in reply to” parts, the replies are tabbed in and also say “in reply to” I just don’t always understand what you mean.

  • Michele

     Oh look, butterflies !

  • Michele

     It’s surely something you’ve thought or speculated about before?

    A.   We can lend and spend (as in invest for the future), start using the item we invested in earlier than had we saved up.  We pay back the loan PLUS its interest (and most govts get better rates than you or I do on the high street).

    B.   We do NOT lend, we save up, we then spend (as in invest for the future), start using the item we saved up for much later than we’d be able to under A and find that inflation has ended up causing the item to cost more anyway, due to inflation and cost of materials, land, labour etc etc etc.

    Interest vs Inflation, OK?

    If you had children in run-down or too few  schools NOW or other family in need of NHS treatment NOW in the sort of buildings Labour inherited in ’97, which would you choose?
    I suspect you’d choose B but not for honest reasons.  I would choose A (I no longer have children in school or anyone in need of hospital treatment – we are all healthy and paying tax – it is not about oneself, it’s about conscience).

  • Michele

    ……………….    Re:  “Whether we like it or not we have to make allowance for people doing
    what they think is their job, even one that just involves shelving their
    own ethics and  ‘following orders’. “…………

    This relates to someone yesterday at Leveson who said that if his publisher had told him to support some outsider such as the Gargling Spotty Monsters party that’s what he would have done.

    I would imagine that Murdoch & Co are not very honourable about references ….. if many of their employees were to be poached by other companies anyway!  Wonder whether any will get out of the closet now John Major has exposed Murdoch as a perjurer.

  • Michele

     He’s stated that Murdoch told him that if he didn’t change tack re EU NI would withdraw support.

    Murdoch has said on oath that he has never asked a PM to do a thing.

  • Michele

     I don’t think it was anything like or to do with ‘making peace’.

    Murdoch’s papers were the only route by which to reach certain people.  I’ve often posted about my grandparents who wouldn’t touch a paper like the Mirror or Guardian, as self-employed people they thought that Torydom was more about independence and aspiration than Labour could ever be.

    People like them needed to know that this Labour party was more modern, horrible exploitative ridicule like that of Neil Kinnock had to stop.

    Reaching people like them had to be done and Murdoch’s empire was the only way to do so ….. slightly more decent than via the Wail?

  • reaguns

    Well, if we were running things my way there would be no inflation, and yes that is possible, so it would be a C option I’d need.

    However, taken your example under normal conditions, assuming we really need the schools or hospitals, I would choose (A) ie borrow and build them now. I would do the same for essential roads, or defence needs, or prisons etc.

    Assuming we were not in such a perilous position that one more school would cause the economy to tank into disaster (and we are some distance from that.)

    Again I don’t think that is the choice this government faces, it could make massive cuts without closing any schools or hospitals in fact it could build more.

    I would cut bureaucracy, not necessarily from the NHS etc but certainly from the tax and regulatory systems, the welfare and pension systems, all government IT systems. In my small experience in the area I could easily identify enough to half the deficit in that alone, and thats only in a few departments, quite sure that could be multiplied by 5-10 conservatively.

  • Michele

    Sigh …. again in summary…….

    You have gone on and on for months about the damaging effects of minimum wage in the developed world.
    I have asked you how sure you can be about that opinion and how much you know of places without minimum wage such as most of the third world.

    You claimed a lot of first hand knowledge (doesn’t that mean you’ve seen?) and listed loads of places in addition to Cuba (you’re the only person I know that regards Cuba as 3rd world except loonies impressed by ancient CIA bigotry).

    You then throw in a slur to help with your prejudice against Krugman, who said 15+yrs ago that ‘sweatshops’ could get people out of poverty and could be one route out of 3rd world-ism (given that not many individuals are willing to either :
    – pay top dollar for 3rd world CofO goods
    – give sufficient to charity
    – or want their govts to give sufficient aid
    to achieve it. 
    In the meantime, people were having to scavenge for what they could find on scrapheaps).
    It was a cheap shot imhoo.

    There aren’t single solutions to any problem in life or eternity that will be 100% effective during individuals’ lifetimes.
    If Krugman was pragmatic enough to admit that people earning cash (equating to choice), albeit in a sweatshop (there are less and less of them since he said so) is better than people finding stale mouldy crap in the world’s rubbish dumped on them it’s just not a decent opportunity for you to exploit to uphold your daft belief about minimum wage here.
    It’s easy to say ‘shut down any sweatshop’ as long as you back it up by stating willingness to subsidise without getting goods in return.

    Yes every one solution causes a new problem, that’s what Govts have to deal with and all the BRICS nations are now finding out about…….. including the responsibility to help those who’ve made less progress than themselves in the past couple of decades ……. watch 🙂

  • reaguns

    See, if I had a paper, I would slaughter anyone who was pro EU, but I’d do so openly and include all the facts about trade ie them selling us more than they buy, about being a net contributor, about lost productivity, about meeting EU regulations to ship stuff to non EU countries etc etc etc.

    But I’d admit it afterwards.

    This is important, I’d trust major before murdoch any day. I also heard andrew neil say murdoch was a liar, that he had asked blair for things.

    So, though I thought Gordon Brown looked very shifty when denying the “war” convo, this points toward murdoch being a more proven liar.

  • reaguns

    Michele I think that is conflating things unnecessarily?
    4 issues I see:
    1. Can someone have an opinion about a country without visiting it.
    2. Minimum wage
    3. Developing countries without minimum wage
    4. Sweatshops

    1. I have not visited every country, though I’ve visited a lot.

    2. Even Krugman and Dean Baker, both from the left, admit that minimum wage costs jobs.
    But you can still support a minimum wage for other reasons, Irwin Stelzer of the right does so. (Well respected economist, pal of murdoch, who was complimentary towards Blair, Brown, Balls, Miliband.)

    3. I don’t think that developing countries are in poor state because they have no minimum wage! If we introduce a minimum wage to them they’ll be fine will they? I know you are not implying that, but you are implying that I am saying the opposite.

    4. I agree with him on these, provided it is ‘voluntary’, or at least not forced at gunpoint/jailpoint. (I know that when hunger is the motivation it is not really voluntary, like our workfare argument.)

  • reaguns

    Nothing that could be used to convict anyone, but the way Brown kept saying “there is no evidence for that” made me think he was lying. He looked very awkward. Then again he is just one of those people with an awkward, shifty manner, always seems like he is playing a role, hiding info from you, hiding true feelings. This may all be wrong, he might just be one of those unfortunate people who comes across that way.

    Then again murdoch looked totally comfortable telling things that quite a few others have now said were lies.

    And Iain Martin (whose coverage AC commended on twitter today) has helpfully filled in when Hunt and Cameron have said “i cannot recall” he keeps saying “Well I can recall and you were there, you did say that, etc.”

  • Michele

    Sorry to go on about GB’s eyesight and risking sounding patronising or disablist.
    I think when we look at someone’s manner to assess their honesty we expect eye contact. 
    As he has not always been so deprived of sight as he is now I daresay GB knows how someone without focus can appear.
    I’m sure that would be why he might look down instead of ahead when talking, it’s more to do with any slight vanity rather than evasion. 

  • reaguns

    Good point actually, I never ever thought of that. Yes that is well worth taking into account as well.

    I don’t think it is patronising or disablist, I think it is fine to make allowances for people’s conditions, or to give them extra credit for things achieved in the face of above average difficulty.

  • Anonymous

    When my mother’s mother died, I suggested to change his bed mattress and bedding, when he stayed with us to recover, before he moved back afterwards, to get rid of the sweet smell of her to him. Raised eyebrows initially, but in a day or two, it became a good idea. He lived an extra five years, even though he was six years older than her.

    A plain smell at bedtime, without memories. But some clothes left in the wadrobe, when he feels, at times, but not nagging at him each night.