Jun 04

Remember the 90s? Fiscal responsibility, wealth, catchy pop that sold, junk artists paid millions, Labour, did I mention Labour and their cool leader with his prudent chancellor. We may never have had it so good. Continue reading »

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , ,

Dec 07

In a manner of speaking David Cameron has a great deal of leverage if European agreements are changed. They will need his or Britain’s approval. Continue reading »

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , ,

Jul 17

What is the best Govt we’ve had in my 46 year lifetime? Best 4 years of Chancellor and Prime Minister? The time when the economy was put on a path of stable growth for years after? The Govt the bequeath good finances to an incoming Govt? Continue reading »

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , ,

Jun 15

As with torture real depravity is not even bad compared to a footballer’s errant dick in popular culture. Thus in politics being indelicate is far worse than ordering multiple drone strikes knowing you will kill more civilians than any other group.  Continue reading »

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jan 30

When it comes to economics it does seem no matter how well voiced one is it’s hard to know what is right and we may choose our response on the basis of what we’d like to believe. Continue reading »

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sep 26

It’s quite conceivable that the Labour Party will soon be much more the party of the unelected and unelectable Prime Minister Gordon Brown than when he was in charge. A nightmare coalition of Balls as Chancellor and the word mangling clown Ed as Head Honcho. If Ed has a lick of sense he’ll send Balls to the Shadow Home berth where he can shout down like the bullying Berk’ he is when as happens to Home Secretaries something goes wrong on their watch – the best news for Labour is because of a pair of tits on his front row Cameron cannot sack Theresa May without looking Brownian in his hatred of women.

What really made me churn as Labour seems to hope the cuts can stop it from looking in a mirror is the lauding of 13 wasted years.

It could be a quarter a century and in a much reduced role that Britain’s public finances are in as good a shape as Ken Clarke left them when Brown decided he knew better around the turn of the century. As Harriet Harman the cerebrally challenged deputy leader blasted out the achievements of the Brown Govt a 10 year old boy would have been correct thinking I could do better at the cost of 100s of Billions. The fact is I could say buying an Aston Martin was an achievement but a pretty Pyrrhic one if I maxed my credit cards to do it and could not afford the repayments, insurance, tax and petrol!

Harman battled to sound like she believed a word she said. In a speech whose anti intellectualism was maybe a sop to the Daily Mail who hate her as she’s female. Her other “yes, but” inducing comment was that the recession  was not the fault of Labour. Yes, but the the high levels of debt in a boom that left us poorly placed to ride it out and we’ll be paying for it for years was. The fact that most of the weakest balance sheets in the major banking world were British was. That our banks were exposed to a sub prime crisis in the States was. That we are in the same boat as the US whose policies we copy was not mitigation.

Everything they supposedly achieved was built on debt, consumer and public. Built on debt. Growth through debt.

The worst part of it was this consumer and public debt binge left people working all hours and bitter. Resentful as their ridiculous feelings that they have lost something to Immigration shows. Immigration is an issue only in terms of how does this country counteract an aging population? Young immigrants?

Ed Miliband has to, if Labour are to ever be an effective Govt, admit their incompetence. Admit they need to build public services on something other than debt. He has to drop the likes of Woolas and Balls with their ranting stupid idiotic bigotry. He has to make the ultimate sacrifice and open his brother, Straw and Blair up to justice over their sanctioning of interviews where torture would almost certainly take place, this is against the law. He has to stop worrying what Newspapers think. He has to tell the truth about the ghettos they created many on racial lines. He has to tell the bigots and clowns why we need Immigration.

Most of all he has to cleanse the party of Brown and his influence.

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 17

The former Chancellor Alistair Darling today said that Labour’s lack of a credible plan to tackle the deficit cost them the election.

This undercuts two themes of Labour now who pretend that they have not ever been in Govt and have no 13 year track record of what they actually do. It removes the nonsense that cuts would not have been severe under Labour (Brown had guaranteed Darling would be Chancellor as the markets, Bank of England and populace would not stand for Balls or him in charge of what matters). It undermines the current view that our public and private debt is manageable.

The Labour supporting left need new clothes. My view is to come up with economics of how we can grow our economy and pay our way. For all the rhetoric no one seems able to answer a simple question “How can we grow our economy and close the Balance of Payments deficit that means we add £7Bn of external debt every month?”. Only George Osborne has raised this question, admittedly rhetorically, but as he said it makes no sense to borrow from China to pay China for goods.

The UK being outside the Euro does not have Germany to fund it and sell it goods as the Eurozone has – even then at some point does Germany own everyone else? China is doing this for the US for the foreseeable future. The UK has to pay its way at some point and whilst short term more growth may be preferable to a double dip of Osborne’s creation nonetheless long term we need more and will maybe not have the opportunity Brown had 10 years ago bequeathed by the maligned Major Clarke years to build public services and the UK economy.

Indeed aside from the Tories the only party who has a ‘positive’ view of the future is the Green’s. Whether their plans will work relies on whether we really can reduce Tax Evasion fundamentally. Certainly using credit checking agencies on the middle and upper classes might work better than on Dole frauds! Catch one generate millions. Catch a dole cheat and it costs as much as saved to do so.

Darling will of course get the full force of the one liners and Labour rhetoric but he’s probably one of the few whose opinions I accept as straight from the horses brain to mouth to me.

Something’s clearly wrong when we have 0.5% base rate and 3% plus inflation after a rapid deflation and the easy solutions of people standing for Labour leadership clearly make no sense.

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jul 06

It’s tempting to refer to Osbornism as Thatcherism revisited. Indeed so divisive is someone who won popularity and hated contests at the same time that both sides claim this as a positive for their position. The sad truth is that Thatcherism was 12 years of total incompetence. If re-structuring was achieved it was caused by North Sea Oil and latterly the lower pound, EU membership and the resultant inwards investment not to mention a world growth spurt.

Did selling off BA, BP and BT etc make them world class companies? No but commercial pressures certainly made them leaner and in BP’s case meaner and lower down. Still at least with the Gulf of Mexico fresh in our memories no could associate the now mostly US company with US corporate ethics with being British? No one would be that stupid and ill informed? Advertisers made a lot of money out of BT and BA certainly. In the end privatising has saved future generations from pensions and redundancy and forced difficult decisions on workers. You can quibble at the price the Govt got and whether the individual share owning boom it encouraged has done more for con-men than people’s wealth but really at worst it is no harm no foul.

Council Housing sell off. Selling off council housing is a disaster. It has created debt and a lending bubble. One of the real dangers of a house price crash is that the British have built huge personal debts  on assets in a bubble. That house prices are only sustained on for many near zero interest rates should be a warning to the current Govt about cutting too hard too soon. Many of the houses have been sold to people without the wealth to maintain them as well. Whilst some can take a paper profit and leave renovation to someone else many got left with negative equity and a crumbling house. Much of the reasoning against immigration when it is spelt out by barrack room boors like Warren Mitchell’s alter ego Ed Balls is around the lack of housing which has become a cover for an overall lack of housing – immigrants tend to have a very small foot print living in areas and with personal space few of us indigenous folk will do. Councils were forbidden to use the money to rebuild new council houses and created the housing shortage and asset bubble we have now. When Liverpool council alone defied this lunacy they were stripped of office. Far from liberating people it has led to debt and a plowing of whatever wealth people accrue into an asset bubble. Arguably it has contributed to problems in education and child delinquency as more and more couples both work to pay for even a small house.

Falklands. You can take it or leave but a competent Govt would have seen the Argies coming and scared them off. After all one sub sunk their battleship and could have taken out half their fleet. We are still involved in a turf war over resources and now have a stack of dogma and no go areas to prevent a sensible resolution. Certainly we can thank someone their bombs did not go off or the loss of life would have been more. One could argue relative to Iraq and Afghanistan this was a credible operation well run at minimal cost of lives and equipment. Indeed the conversion to Foundation Trust status by 1 health authority killed more Britains so by New Labour standards a roaring success.

The Economy. I’ll accept the economic landscape changed and had to change. Since we were not going to become a Socialist society a sort of Soviet plus state was unsustainable. However the economics of the 1980s were cretinous. What coherent policy has the £ go between $1.06 and $2.47 in the space of a few years? If Britain was able to survive it was because we had oil to sell. We were self sufficient in energy. We grew our own food. However it did not create the dynamic export industries that Osborne thinks will happen now.

To cope with the unemployment that her Govt created they decided to buy off some sections of the poor by putting them on incapacity benefit. Now Osborne and the Thatcher loving media try to present those people as spongers and shirkers. Again a short term answer of such staggering stupidity that New Labour must be gutted it was not their idea.

The Lawson Boom, The Poll Tax, Tracking the German Mark and other manifestly insane and poorly thought out policies I’ll leave you to think about.

Thatcher’s biggest successes dependent on your point of view were

  • Union Legislation achieved by branding the working classes of Britain as an enemy to be squashed and allowing us to be openly beaten up by Police – the legacy is a distaste of the Police that goes beyond just the working classes.
  • The most unequivocal success and one the Tory Party will not mention is the creation of the single European Market and the negotiation of the UK’s rebate. Things that Thatcher’s rhetoric imply she respectively opposed and won. The rebate the British failed to bite the arm off of what was actually on offer with Thatcher using harsh rhetoric to angrily demand what was already on offer!  On the Single European market she gave away 90% of what Right Tories complain about. In addition for all their anti Euro nonsense she tied us to the German Mark! Which resulted in Black Wednesday and the genuine event Tories can trumpet the stewardship of the Clarke Major Govt, truly the only competent one of my lifetime.

The point is not about Thatcherism but that Osborne must know that what Thatcher did has not made Britain dynamic. If anything we are in a worse position than then with Oil no longer significant, importing food, importing energy with massive personal debt. You can trace every thing except the Public Sector deficit to Thatcher and that is only because of the Clarke Major years. If people want to celebrate that as a success or repeat it than they are in denial.

In conclusion one hopes that George Osborne is serious about his economics and not a Thatcherite. She must be the most over rated Premier of my life time. The damage she did took from 1992 to 1999ish to sort out only for Brown Blair to squander that legacy in hubris and put us in a worse position with Public debt and the scars of Thatcherism still with us.

Make no mistake as backward and rigid as the UK economy 1980 was it had slack and scope all of which has been used up by the Thatcher and Blair/Brown Govts to no good end.

The Thatcherism party is over and the problems are still here to greater degrees.

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jul 01

Ken Clarke signaled the end, or hopefully the end, of the lunacy of one liner policy for the whole criminal justice system. That Prison does not work for all. That  short sentences for non violent or first offenders merely creates criminals and disrupts families. It’s pretty obvious.

Michael Howard’s sentence was fine in that burglars and many serial criminals are best locked up and for as long as is reasonable. However people who don’t pay maintenance and other social crimes really is 3 months inside not just self defeating?

Labour of course broke out the reactionary ‘soft on crime’. The party who effectively reduced beating a woman half to death to a caution to keep prison population down and ended up sending people home early from sentence to clear space for the result of their ignorant one liner rhetoric based policy are once again infantile and weak.

Labour have already reduced the purpose of this parliament not to come up with an agenda for Govt but a series of statements and pledges to get re-elected. We have Public Spending cuts far deeper than is strictly necessary even for stated Tory Policy and an opposition in Labour who refuse or cannot see their own failings. Who have no agenda beyond election.

Labour manage the great trick of opposing everything and nothing at the same time.

Basically if you voted Labour last time I have no idea what you voted for and why. Do you?

written by reaction \\ tags: , ,

Jun 22

There is some good news in the world the Greggs opposite where I type has closed. The benefits to this in terms of public health are probably not as good as one would like. I am sure it is because newer and cheaper forms of premature death are available to the Eastenders viewing types as well as the more discerning bad eaters. The point is almost everything comes with good and bad.

Thus George Osborne will start cuts and one can hope that they really do slash the NHS admin budget in half by culling Authority Managers and the internal market which has and kills 1000s every year. The pursuit of Foundation status alone has led to slaughter in some districts as financial controls at the bottom and greed at the top took hold. However savings come at a short term price of pay offs and re-organisation. The NHS is not up for cuts merely savings to subsidise the above inflation rise in the price of health goods.

Other areas are not as flabby as the NHS. They will represent a real choice. I am of the opinion that some cuts are necessary but except for redundancy should not fall on the wages and pensions of public sector workers who earn less than 20,000 a year or maybe as much as average wage.

Where I probably would be a lone voice on the left is that I am happy for the cuts long term. Darling can prattle about the sustainability and the need for less depth in cuts and he is right to an extent but personally I am happy if they go further. I take the Osborne view that our economy cannot keep growing on IOUs to China and the financial markets.

Darling and Labour’s credibility is dashed by the level of structural debt – the difference long term between what they spent and raised in taxes in even the good times.  This is manifest incompetence. It is also why their complaints about cuts have no credibility. It was a short term electoral device to spend money to create a dependent culture and then use the threat of losing that illicit spending to gerrymander votes. It was a giant Ponsi scheme that would have led us below Greece in a beggar thy neighbour world. As said before if the Govt was not so happy to delight in the rhetorical advantage it would and should be looking at prison for Messers Brown, Balls and Mandelson. Consider that a few thousand in expenses has led 3 MPs to court what about Billions of gerrymandering waste?

The problem I have is that the other reason our economy makes no sense and is biased to the South East and requires public sector jobs as a regional subsidy is of course the City of London. It’s wealth addition to the economy since 1990 was apparently wiped out in the last few years as the rest of us paid the debt. However it’s influence raises the currency and inflation not to mention creating a housing asset bubble in the South East. It stifles exports as we try to leech a percentage off transactions and money flows through the capital.

The point being if Osborne’s view is to fundamentally re-structure the economy and not to be Thatcher in the 80s stumbling from one economic incomptence to the next and genuinely make Britain pay and be sustainable in the long term I can support re-balancing to a degree. Even going further than is strictly called for.

It may impinge growth and cause a double dip but frankly so what? Growth as currently achieved is at the expense of the long term. It is based on asset bubbles so people feel wealthier as their house is worth more and other factors. With Europe deflating it would make no sense for the UK to keep reflating as aside from  more debt what would we achieve long term? The party has gone on so long (since 1991 arguably) that whilst we bid up prices of our houses in the UK and managed to avoid enjoying life it has to be paid for whether we enjoyed working 45 hours a week and never seeing our kids to stand still and go backwards or not.

Britain continues to rack up Balance of Payments deficits and Fiscal deficits even when the economy is growing. Does Osborne really feel there is some massive entrepreneurial flair that is going to come forth and fill that gap alone? Or is he like Thatcher hoping to rely the world picking up as in the sustained 80s boom? Or Brown in the 90s? Does he have any more solution or just pain and ideology?

The real reason I am in favour of this is that in some years time someone will have the opportunity to do what Brown should have done. Not just  spend money to produce rhetoric to produce votes but to make a sustainable difference in people’s lives.  Better still both opposition parties to that genuinely progressive alternative will be tainted by the cuts.

Here is the agenda for the next but 1 leader of the Labour  party to re-build the economy around a strong sustainable quality public sector not hung up on internal markets. To not have a Health Service we cling to like Flotsam from a sunken ship but one we can stand proud on.

Sadly Burnham, Balls, Miliband A and Miliband B have no agenda just rhetoric. Their opposition to the cuts will be Manna from Heaven for the Coalition. Quite why Labour have not made Darling leader as he is the only one effectively challenging the cuts and had already taken steps to come back from Brown’s folly land is beyond me.

Nonetheless the next but 1 Labour leader will have a chance and he will be able to thank Mr Osborne just as Brown was given a straight flush which he folded by Ken Clarke.

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,