Sep 22

Darling said they did not get rid of Head Banker Mervyn King because there was no one else. This is of course pure Labour rhetoric, cowardice and their defining quality can kicking.  Continue reading »

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Jul 30

Thought I’d frame the economic debate that is not happening in this country in a few paragraphs. What I do know about this so far is that matters of economic policy are discussed in the same way the spin doctors discuss everything else with slogans and rhetoric. The news media is complicit by using politicians for this back and forth where any viewers choose who they want to agree with and discussion and consensus are for the birds.

The Labour position is fluid but essentially ranges from the Cuts are too deep to a Ballsian ‘Please Vote For Me’  position of we’d have almost no cuts. Nonetheless essentially it’s a growth maximisation strategy. They will wax lyrical about the 30s and failed deflation policies and as Johann Hari today the Irish experience Osborne was once so fond of quoting. They will not address how our economy ever returns to paying its way because just because the Govt deficit is reduced to nothing over 11 years under the plans. For me growth = imports = debt as we have weak manufacturing. They do make a strong point that the economy may dip again under Govt policy.

My critque of Labour is this Britain does have a lot of advantages with debt but what if we avoid a double dip and then there is a recession in 5 years and we have a mountain of debt and a still large deficit (as there will be). It’s a policy for me that assumes the Brownian world of debt fueled public and private growth and the Housing asset bubble was desirable and can be continued again for another 11 years. To me without a computer model and expert advice it appears to offer no long term answer. It tackles none of the structural questions and whether there is anything to be gained by the UK re-flating when our main market, Europe, is deflating?

To me with the house price bubble and loss of pension rights ordinary people were not benefiting from the Labour growth and whilst some public services did improve they did not tax to make that sustainable.  It’s doubtful with Labour’s strategy that a position of 0.5% interest rates would be sustainable not that it helps anyone except those with tracker mortgages and the banks. Labour need a new answer but have valid critique of the Govt.

The Govt policy is unspoken and one wonders if many of the Lib Dems understand it! It’s to re-structure the economy as a more private sector based economy with a smaller state – one that does not build debt through trade. To do this they have set about reducing Govt budgets outside Health and Education by 25% – or at least that’s the leader maybe to settle a bit below this when people object. Given Health and Education are being re-structured on moronic ideological grounds, not sense, they will be getting deep cuts in reality. Cameron is pimping us with easy to swallow opinions for the Turks and Indians to understand whilst crapping on smaller states like Israel and Pakistan to boost trade it seems.

The idea is that in addition to direct savings the cuts pay medium term by reducing our interest rates and debt interest payments.  It raises the risks of a double dip recession because the laid off public sector workers and reduced Govt spending will drag the economy. Plus the financial markets who like people to suffer pain it seems have kept the currency up in support, making the plan for the private sector to fill the space with an export led renaissance harder to fulfill!

In summary I agree with the Tory view that long term we need to balance our economy better. To export as much as we import. I also agree Brown should have spent less or taxed more. I agree that the parallels with Ireland are false because the structure of our fiscal debt plus the UK’s interest rate and currency are in our control.

However there seems no economic justification for policies that are anti environment as bus services etc get cut. Anti poor as deep cuts inevitably are – without the brutal and naked contempt for poor children shown by the mendacious and incompetent Michael Gove. It befuddles me that VAT is considered a better tax to raise than Income Tax no doubt because although poor people pay more they notice it less starkly than when it comes from their pay packet. It does not tackle care for the elderly which will clearly suffer as NHS and councils are deprived of revenue. It’s a policy that takes a long term view that might even be flawed of one measure the Govt deficit and ignores the real problems facing us of the Environment, care of the Elderly and getting the under class into society.

So is this is the great debate or did Newsnight waste breath on whether Clegg and Cameron told lies in negotiation as everyone does in negotiation last night? Why with such a long term and important decisions facing the country are public sector broadcasters exploring every inch of Raoul Moat’s life but allowed the economy to be covered by the trading of rhetoric by Govt and Opposition.

I want to know more.  For me I don’t know which side is closer but the answer is definitely somewhere in between and without Health and Education restructuring thrown in for good measure.

It’s a logical fallacy for the Tories to claim that as Brown was wrong this is right.

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May 31

In the end you cannot force through public spending cuts on people having broken the rules yourself. You cannot force through higher taxes having broken the rules.

It does not matter that you could have legitimately claimed more within the rules. Or that you paid back everything claimed even though you were only breaking the rules for the last 2 years.

Sadly for all of us taxes and cuts are coming.

Weak people like the Labour Party leaders who have inflicted this on us will squeal crocodile tears for the poor into their chopped onion hankies. Ed Balls will try the child’s fantasy that the 6 Bn of cuts this year might be the cause of a double dip recession – the real truth is the cause is that the economy cannot structurally support any growth without incurring more debt thanks to 8 years of moronic economic management by Balls organ grinder the savant Brown.

The alternatives given a Marxist revolution looks a way off is that we become what Greece would if it were not a small country in the Euro – hint no one’s bailing out the UK. Already Danish companies are threatening not to supply vital drugs as they are a) owed money b) some clown thought he could reduce the price by 25% overnight without negotiating with the supplier. Think of that next time we refuse to pay for some supposedly vital new drug on the NHS! A poorer Britain unable to buy medicines that are proven and necessary to work!

Time for everyone to grow up. Instead the opposition on both wings will use the peccadilloes and mistakes of individuals to justify opposition to what is necessary.

I say don’t get angry at Laws, Osborne, Cameron, Clegg, Cable, Clarke, et al blame Brown and the people who voted in enough numbers for a Labour Party to complicate parliament. A Labour Party complicit in a foreign policy that saw 15 more innocents slaughtered today – no doubt the Israelies as the UK/US coalition does will call them insurgents and terrorists with Obama’s private blessing but that is another blog.

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May 10

In a move that happened far too late for everyone Gordon Brown ended his career as a front line politician today.

I’ll sum up his personal achievements in his 13 years at the centre of Govt.

  • The minimum wage which was the price of  all that union support but cold comfort farm is better than nothing.
  • Freeing Bank of England from some political control. Image the mess Brown would have made last 3 years without Bank putting on the hand brake.
  • Tax credits to make the work unemployment balance better but arguably a subsidy to low wage employers.

All his successes have the following in common they are stroke of a pen. They did not require the incompetent Govt to act.

His failures, I’ll stick to the big ones.

  • PFI which provided rates of return to City fat cats of 30%. When the PFI was incorrectly priced the provider went bust and the Govt had to pick up the cost anyway so it was a waste of money. Indeed the kind of off balance sheet gerrymandering Brown accused the banks of.
  • Borrowing. There is no reason for the credit crunch causing us to be little more than 1 step ahead of Greece. Germany and others are not in the deep trouble we are. Worse with all this borrowing and PFI we got no return in terms of genuine reform or efficiency.

Essentially though the one theme through all his years in power is the total lack of an agenda – he waited 11 years to become PM and re-classify Marijuana and get rid of the Super Casinos plan!

Changes have been piecemeal and almost everything has been the creation of rhetorical devices to hang their opponents on. Such that you have a series of commitments that Brown can trumpet and make opponents promise to retain at a time when austerity is on the agenda.

Thus as sad and anti intellectual as it sounds the moronic commitments to a giant pudding of MOD, Health, Schools, Transport and other spending ‘needs’ to be protected even though it’s been done in the most wasteful, ridiculous and moronic way. He kept spending money we don’t have to accuse his opponents at an election of taking things away! Some people fell for that one! Thought Labour would defend this spending they should never have done.

If as a result of his bumbling down the line the IMF ends up dictating our economic policy you will know who to blame. Don’t be an idiot and blame the Tories or the Lib Dems or anyone else.

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Apr 27

Standard and Poor have brought the guillotine down on any Greek pretension that they have any say in their economy by reducing their debt status to junk bonds. One feels for Greek workers but unless they are planning or willing or able to junk Capitalism they have no choice. Time for the Greeks to grow up and take the medicine.

What really showed Greece up was that the EU and IMF agree a rescue fund and the weak willed Greek Prime Minister sees an easy way out by just grabbing this money and don’t do what is required as though the markets would just swallow that – make their problems everyone else’s problems. If anyone bails them out now they are burning money that is in short supply in the world at present.

For me double dip be damned the British need to decide to cut early. We do not want to be caught in a Tsunami of bad debt next year with Japan, and the rest of the PIIGS nations in a race to the bottom. Plus as we are not in the Euro there will be no queue of people to bail us out. In a world that could be deflating around us even the growth dependent cuts planned may not be enough anyway.

Like Greece we are not dumping capitalism anytime soon so any other policy is roulette. The reality in the modern world is this you either behave or have your ball taken away from you. Greece has had its taken away and the only way to get it back is to be serious about living within their means.

This is one policy that I kinda back the Tories on because to cut sooner creates market confidence and is not a hostage to fortune. We don’t know what the world will be like in a year’s time and I’d rather not find out how a nation running huge untackled deficits with low market confidence lasts in a Globalised Capitalist world.

Sadly this could develop in a race to the bottom.

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Mar 24

In the same way that stating a sane opinion about recreational drugs or even prescribed drugs will get you shouted down. It does seem anyone sane who suggests that spending cuts should start at the big spenders like Health runs the risk of Opprobrium.

The Health service under New Labour has been well funded and people paid a lot more for the same work –  in Doctor’s cases less work. Yet we still have the mass slaughter of mis-prescribing which only makes the news if it involves a foreign doctor especially if he is an ethnic minority. For all the money spent cleaning has not been improved making a mockery of all the extra money and obfuscational lexicon of Trusts and Foundation Hospitals. C-Diff and MRSA should be virtual history.

Even if we cannot reduce the health budget we should be looking to get it to deliver better. If that means ripping up the innumerable bureaucratic bodies of middle class managers who seem to improve nothing but their salary then so be it. Ring fencing anything merely ensconces the lazy and flatulent structures and will inevitably lead to front line services suffering at the expense of huge salaries, pensions and pay off to the incompetent and non essential. As we see with corporates the first target to cut is the lowest paid and productive workers terms and conditions which would be a mistake in the many dirty Hospitals.

Another source of saving would be to re-negotiate the PFI contracts which guarantee returns of up to and beyond a ludicrous 30% to Brown’s money-men friends in the City. Maybe this is legally impossible but leverage can always be found by asking for the letter of contracts and threats of greater inspection.

A free service which has spent a fortune on IT should not need the hundreds of bureaucratic bodies and authorities it has. It’s an arcane bag of things not part of a developed structure or even an evolved one. More a non structure caused by the continual meddling, re-organising and gimmick cult of New Labour i.e. Foundation status, Trusts, ad nauseum…

We need a new deal on health. That doctors will provide more for their vastly increased salaries and not out-source to questionable foreign locums flying in for the day.

Most of all 13 years after it was an obvious priority we want the hospitals cleaned. Now.

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