Friday, 31 October 2008

The New Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Peter Mandelson was never going to cut it as an electoral prospect after twice being asked to leave the cabinet; and, with New Labour losing Glasgow East, there is no parachute. There is only conferment of 'honour' by 'the Crown'. Equally, David Miliband of the wilting banana was never going to be able to oust the Brownian faction from their trough. Blair walked rather too high a tight rope over what is formally allowed even by our permissive laws and rules - not a comeback kid. And Brown was disadvantaged in so many ways it isn't worth making a list.

Even our cowed electorate intended to balk at another change of government without the intervening courtesy of a general election. What to do to maintain permanent, post-democratic power?

Putting Brown back among his tractor production statistics and his keepers was the only solution to maintaining the permanent power of the administrated state. He could not be left doing his 'turn' in front of the entire electorate. So Brown was returned to his comfort zone of dead numbers, elaborated lying data, and allowed to keep the baubles of title as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister of 'Britain', to keep Downing Street (though an open plan at No 12 rather than the real thing), Chequers, his new computer in Kirkcaldy, and gun-toting killers for his spouse. In return he ceded the executive powers of the United Kingdom to Peter. After all, it is his 'turn' now.

Days since his ennoblement (such feudal powers, so recently renewed under New Labour in our British Constitution) the corrupt maw of our new Leader Mandelson has engulfed the powers of the Foreign Secretary, and taken over the direction of the Treasury with a willing automaton workhorse. That leaves, of the once the great offices of state, the Home office, currently under the direction of a comprehensive school domestic science teacher.

Would you rather... be governed by a banana-waver, a bogey-eater and a cookery teacher. Or an Andreotti wannabe with a power complex and a corruption problem?

Would You Rather...

have a cash injection from a foreign sovereign wealth fund?

Or answer to an emotionally challenged, tax-grabbing freakshow pretending to high office?

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Losing the Brightest and the Best

Oppressive and undemocratic states generate defence mechanisms in the populations they oppress. One of the worst aspects of the New Labour regime, which ceased to be democratically legitimate when Blair was ousted by the Brown faction and unelected leadership imposed, has been the seeking of safe havens for earnings and wealth and for means to hide financial and economic transactions and status.

Disagreement on the state's claims are the stuff of politics, and these are from-time-immemorial activities. But it was the post-War Labour governments that energised the determination to disengage from state surveillance of wealth and activity. The demands embodied in the Brownian notion of the proper role of the state have encouraged and consolidated a complete alternative culture. Tax havens provide cover and protection from the ever more aggressive, and ever more permanent authoritarian state.

In the United Kingdom we have reached the point where the very concept of ownership and property rights is being called into question for much of the population. Our incomes are not so much taxed as destroyed at source. And every necessity of life carries a further burden. The levels of state intrusion into our private lives have become intolerable as regime employees try to consolidate their living standards and future pension incomes and, in the case of the more unpleasant of them, further their ideological aims.

The rest of us, from corporations to private individuals, are building our alternative worlds. And probably one of the worst effects has been to strengthen the growth of means for giant companies and corporations to avoid paying their fair share to some of the poorest countries on earth. Many of us would willingly make a fair contribution to a small state run by democratic governance, but as a result of the awful bullying people had to put up with from Labour in the sixties and seventies and New Labour for the last decade, we have opted out.

That opt out has extended into many aspects of civic life and attitudes, much to the detriment of the civility of our society. Many have left all together; many, many more expend most of their social energies not in co-operating with others, but in protecting their own.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

London Paris (Rome?) Berlin

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has been asked to go to Paris, at short notice, to speak to the President of the European Union Sarkozy later today. Mr Sarkozy will see the Prime Minister at his private residence, not at the official residence of the French Presidency.

Yesterday the pound fell to its lowest level in six years and the New Labour regime was forced to abandon its fiscal rules restricting debt, centrepiece of Brown's decade as chancellor of the Exchequer under Mr Blair. An emergency cut in UK interest rates by the pseudo-independent Bank of England, another victim of Brown's chancellor years when his tripartite deregulation of finance and banking stripped it of its powers to regulate financial behaviour, is imminent.

Over the last weekend Mr Brown has spoken several times by phone to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the International Monetary Fund managing director. He has now to meet German Chancellor Merkel the day after tomorrow.

Replacing the UK government’s fiscal rules and substituting public borrowing (much of which is wholly governed by European Union regulation) to accommodate the financial crisis and economic recession will cause debt to balloon to £120 billion in three years.

The credit insurance group Coface today downgraded Britain's ratings from ’A1’ to ’A2’. The collapse of sterling makes it abundantly clear that the United Kingdom is one of the worst-placed economies in the advanced capitalist world to cope with this major recession. Although Brown led the opposition to any transparency or reasonable regulation of financial behaviour to the point of intransigence, hectoring and berating our more prudent European partners throughout his far too many years in office, it seems they are willing at least to listen to any proposals for what is to be done about the UK economy and its currency.

The Lisbon Treaty Could Be Irrelevant

France wants to continue holding the European Union presidency beyond the end of its six month term. Next up for the office is the Czech Republic, and then Sweden, neither of which are members of the eurozone. While they would run most of the activities the rotating presidency undertakes, (not negligible, as President Sarkozy's success in negotiating a resolution to the Russia/Georgia conflict shows), the eurozone countries would have a formal recognition of their closer alliance and interest. The two speed Europe would be openly acknowledged as extant, rather than presented as a Lisbon Treaty substitute for the future.

The eurozone countries have acted as a core group for a long time but the current levels of co-ordination demanded by coping with Europe's financial problems and now economic recession require more institutionalised arrangements. The ad hoc pressures and contortions France had to go through to agree to Brown's pleas to be allowed into a eurozone summit and be permitted to speak were not truthfully reported in the press, instead the 'saviour of the world as we know it' narrative was sung in the anglosphere. And what the eurozone governments have done is very different from what our Leader is fiddling with in the poor United Kingdom.

Wolfgang Münchau, in the Financial Times, gives a fine analysis of the factors pushing Mrs Merkel to accept the importance of eurozone-wide economic governance - something strongly resisted by Germany. The political significance of a permanent eurozone president chosen from within an inner core of member states, and the effective as well as formal powers of such an office, the relations that would need to be defined with the larger Union's six-month president, and the relations of such a permanent president with the financial administrations of member-states both within and outside the eurozone, is enormous.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Russia Redux

Attacking Russia is no longer flavour of the month - it never was wise, as Georgia's regime discovered - but the silly pronouncements of David Miliband, our Foreign Secretary (you remember David Miliband, of course you do) that improving relations with Russia must be put on hold both for the European Union and for the United Kingdom after the vigorous exchange of views between Russia and Georgia, seem to have fallen on stony ground.

Lord Mandelson is in Moscow on an official New Labour regime visit 'aimed at improving trading relations between Russia and the UK.' (BBC). He may find the Germans very much at home, providing technical know-how, machine tools, organisational structures and general manufacturing input for all those lovely raw materials and large markets. Still, the United Kingdom isn't in a position to offer any of that so perhaps he intends to provide something else - how to win friends and influence people?

And high-ranking US military and their Russian counterparts were in Finland a few days ago, having discussions on matters of mutual interest.

Global Crisis Fatigue

The scary stuff in all the papers has been going on for so long it's hard to care any more. It's even harder to grasp these gigantic numbers. Another day, another hundred billion or, for the lesser failings, thirty or forty. A single thousand million pounds is neither here nor there, doesn't even get a look in.

Who cares if banks and institutions won't lend, or might suffer a run, there's so much money lying about we seem to be wading through swamps of the stuff. And all this gloom about contracting European central economies is not borne out by casual observation or anecdotal report. Germany purrs on in spotless splendour; Russia, at least the big, western cities, is a building site, and further east whole sectors of the former soviet economies are being revived and part-finished gargantuan projects of realised socialism brought on stream. The Italians continue their trench warfare against the despoliation of their towns and countryside and coasts by the usual developer suspects. Paris is looking particularly fine, as is the south of France and, no doubt, most places in between.

Manicured fields and vineyards stretch to the horizon, a picture from every window; getting in to see David, or for a gallop past the Uffizi's glories is as time-consuming as ever and the queues for lesser-known pleasures snake for hour-consuming lengths.

It seems the New Labour regime and its conceited Leader are as irrelevant to the things that matter as they are oppressive to those who don't matter much.

Kick down kiss up was ever their way of being.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Dripping Poison

Never mind aluminium tariffs, what exactly, word by word, did Peter Mandelson say to George Osborne about Gordon Brown? And what did he want from doing it?

If he wanted Brown's downfall to be given a further push then whatever he said that would help in that widely supported and popular objective should be given to the rest of us to help in the collective effort.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Andarsene all'Inglese

'... As Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson cut tariffs on imports of aluminium into the EU which benefited Mr Deripaska's company Rusal – one of the world's largest manufacturers of aluminium – to the tune of tens of millions of pounds.
Under the European Union's "access to documents" regulations, upheld in the EU courts last year, the Commission should make public details of meetings between Commissioners, their officials and lobbyists.
Repeated requests by The Sunday Telegraph for details of meetings between Lord Mandelson and Mr Deripaska, under the EU's transparency "1049 rule", have been flatly refused.' (Telegraph).

Why would the European Commission have any interest in not being wholly open about Mandelson's conduct of his office of Trade Commissioner, when every aspect of his work there has been beyond reproach?

He did leave office almost overnight - from the announcement he would be rejoining New Labour's regime, to being in London full time and taking up his new job. That was unusual. There was a lot of remarking that he and Brown had been discussing it for much longer, but poor President Barroso got told late one evening, reportedly, and then Mandelson was gone. Senior civil servants don't usually up and off like that; they serve out their contract, their term, and are decorously replaced.

In such circumstances it might be expected that all requests for information and for transparency might be welcomed and expedited.

Friday, 24 October 2008


'It is right'
'It is right and proper'
'The Government has made it clear'
'The Government is committed'
'The Government's insistence'
'We voice our concern'
'Highly regarded'
'Decisive action'
'Wide consultation'
'New measures of democratic response'

and, of course,
'Global' and
'Global response'
What is whistling to what dogs? And, as Norman Tebbit remarked:

'Lie with dogs, get fleas'.

Another Day Another Lie

Alistair Darling: “What about the depositors you’ve got who’ve got deposits in London branches?

Árni Mathiesen: “We have the [deposit] insurance fund according to the Directive and how that works is explained in this letter (to the UK) and the pledge of support from the government to the fund.”

AD: “So the entitlements the people have which I think is about £16,000, they will be paid that?”

ÁM: “Well, I hope that will be the case. I cannot state that or guarantee that now but we are certainly working to solve this issue. This is something we really don’t want to have hanging over us.”

Mr Darling told BBC Radio on October 8: “The Icelandic government, believe it or not, have told me yesterday they have no intention of honouring their obligations here.”

The Financial Times has published this transcript of Darling and the Icelandic Finance Minister, Árni Mathiesen, discussing the UK deposits in Icelandic banks on 7 October.

The deliberate misrepresentation of what had been said and determined driving of panic by the UK led to further collapse of Icelandic banks. Some people lie to further an end, others lie to self-dramatize, unable to contain their self-importance. The reprehensible regime our unfortunate country suffers under displays all the characteristics of the self-aggrandising liar.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

And It's One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?

"The Prime Minister is negligent in his duties to this House in respect of not coming here on a regular basis to make a statement about the war in Afghanistan.

"British troops are engaged every day in situations of great danger, there is a constantly shifting strategic scene that General Petraeus has recently been here to discuss these matters with the Prime Minister. Nato is at odds with each other.

"This is a very dangerous situation and the Prime Minister should come to this House regularly as have all former Prime Ministers when Britain has been at war to account for the actions of the Government in the administrations of the war." Nicholas Soames in the House of Commons.

Sarah Brown and Her Party's Threatening Behaviour

Looking as if she had been dragged through a hedge backwards Sarah Brown went canvassing in a former mining village yesterday. The most telling part of the outing was the behaviour of Labour party minders. They manhandled and shoved anyone, reporters or interested bystanders who tried to ask a canvasser in an important by-election what the party she was canvassing for had to offer.

"I want you guys on the green," ordered the man from the Labour Party. "There will be six or seven guys with guns who will keep you away from her. You may be shot and then it won't be my problem." (Scotsman).

The Leader has used the Terrorism laws inappropriately again it seems. Perhaps they could be used to make his wife do something about her hair.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Lord Mandelson's Amour Propre

Lord Mandelson takes himself terribly seriously. It seems most of the rest of the world does not. Certainly it is recognised that he can be useful, and destructive. But what he sees himself as is much more than that. Unfortunately Mr Osborne has acted unthinkingly to display what he saw Mandelson as when he met him in the summer at a friend's - present, but not on any kind of terms of privacy or within the inviolable discretions of friendship.

The aggression displayed over Osborne's chatting about a gossipy lunch is a measure of the difference in status awarded to Mandelson by Mr Osborne and the status Mandelson had awarded himself.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

It's Not Maynard Keynes , It's Michael Kalecki

Modern macro economics foundations rest on Keynes and Kalecki. Both believed that employment was determined by aggregate demand and not in the labour market. Both looked at investment as the prime mover in the macro economy. Neither expected low interest rates to promote investment, although for different reasons. Keynes because he expected people to prefer the liquidity of cash to the risks of productive investment, Kalecki because he thought investment would be affected only by long-run interest rates, which are much harder to influence.

Today both wold have advocated an expansionary fiscal policy. The similarity ends there. Kalecki, the communist son of a bankrupted Polish textile entrepreneur would have wanted investment in industrial equipment, and an industrial policy, not just any government expenditure. Keynes, the upper class English don, the futures market gambler who died rich but ruined himself several times on the way, could not have cared less what money was spent on as long as it activated a multiplier effect throughout the economy. Keynes would have ridden the storm and taken the consequences without expecting or offering relief for failure.

Kalecki would have centred on the redistributive effects of the storm and tried to control the elements. Even in a capitalist economy he would have wanted to have his hands on the levers of economic guidance, would have veered towards planning.

Keynes would have concerted reflation world wide, through the IMF, but he died and his IMF was denatured and became an instrument of deflation. Not what we want right now. Unlike Keynes, Kalecki had no experience of the global economy that Maynard had helped to shape, and might well have approved of British jobs for British workers. We are still in the hands of Polish immigrants and of dead economists.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Cancel the Debt

Housing used as a tax-free profit-maker has ended in tears. If taxation policy had been in the hands of a sane chancellor none of this disaster would have occurred. Now we have people deeply indebted for assets which, to all intents and purposes, are worth nothing. People owe tens of thousands of pounds on mortgages that stretch as much as 30 years into their future and yet are not secure even in their tenancy of their horrible house.

No-one wants much of the housing in undesirable areas, in poor condition, in deserts of collapsed economies. The only purpose of these houses now is to provide shelter for those left holding them when the music stopped. Putting people out of worthless houses is an outrageous response to managing debt.

There are various responses to dealing with all this debt - banks being given government bonds for the part the mortgagee can't manage to be recovered when the good times roll again. But there are settlements where the good times will never roll again, that should be abandoned, as was reported by think tanks and hurriedly repudiated. The central issue is that at the moment some people are tied to 25 years of repayments for a worthless asset. And those are certainly the poorest, the least well-informed, the vulnerable to whom a duty of care is owed by the rest of us, even if we don't care for their life styles or values.

New Labour, and particularly its iron chancellor has presided over a regime that has preyed upon the most vulnerable in the interests of others getting filthy rich. For banks to hold an unfettered interest in financially next to worthless assets and pour encourager les autres, families are made to suffer for no benefit to any other part of society. Here the state could act, as the state, and properly as the state.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Slouching Along

Che Guevara argued that to build socialism it is necessary first to build socialist consciousness. In England the building of New Labour consciousness has gone on apace, beginning in the university and intellectual world and working steadily on through schools, through media and, once in power, through investment in the client base and the Third Sector of quangos, 'charities', and research centres and think tanks.

There is no need of a conspiracy theory, of secret cabals guiding chosen careers, of puppet masters working in global hierarchies. Culture goes where the money is. Money does the trick. Money and a profoundly human, deep structure networking capacity, a built-in mechanism to cluster with like minds until a critical mass is reached and able to operate in society using formal levers of power and explicitly required conformities to confer greater strength to the various kinds or aspects of the mindset required.

New Labour has induced its mindset, its consciousness, in every level of our society, and it comes to its full flowering in the House of Commons next week. A three line whip - the ugly goad 'do as you are told or be stripped of your privileges' which is now invariably present throughout our society in case the consciousness should falter in the face of guilt for what we are doing, will ensure the passing of the bill that enables, funds, encourages, glories in the creation of hybrids who will be "destroyed" before their existence becomes a large enough challenge, even to their creators, to give pause.

A further horror has been embodied in this bill, added late to avoid any Parliamentary, let alone public discussion: that 'donations' from their own bodies, to facilitate hybrid supply, from those unable to give informed consent will be assumed to have received consent.

The people in church are singing the Alleluiah as I write this. Their beliefs are not mine; their God embodies what I do not accept. But their Faith has enabled my secular culture which is part of theirs, and theirs of mine, to resist and deny the moral evil that is engulfing England's culture.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The War that Dare not Speak its Name

The United Nations mandate that gives a fig leaf of cover to the presence of US and UK troops in Iraq expires at Christmas. After that armed foreigners become an illegal, criminal element on Iraqi soil, even by the standards adopted by the Westminster parliament and the New Labour Executive.

The current regime is trying to close the book on the attack upon Iraq as Blair's war in which Brown was in no way involved. Well, it's true he refused to pay for arms and equipment, there's lots of evidence of that in the graveyards and the hospitals. So he wasn't involved in funding, rather he was deeply, primarily responsible for lack of funding. And other than that, by his own assertion, his role in New Labour was and is central; it is the basis of his claim to occupy legitimately the office of Prime Minister. Nothing, he has boasted, was decided in New Labour's years of government, without his input and assent.

Truths that can be associated with Brown are few and usually disgraceful. One of them, true indeed to form, is his persistent, settled loathing for the armed forces of the United Kingdom and the values they represent. Because of Brown's choices, soldiers have been left to die.

And now, the remnants of the invasion force in Iraq are hutched at Basra airport waiting to be an appendix of whatever deal can be made between the Iraqi government and the United States. Or even whatever deal they can make for themselves, as they have had to do once already to get some of their number out of the city of Basra at all, and survive in their abandonment, once the elected Prime Minister had been driven out of office, by the government that sent them there.

The Stop the War Coalition must be organising right now against any attempt at a return with honour. The families destroyed by loss are ready equally to deny any of the usual disgraceful grandstanding by the man who failed their soldier sons and daughters so deliberately and abysmally.

The New Labour regime will want to move on. If we move on in this we deserve the State we will be in.

Government by Consent

Nationalising the banks in the United Kingdom has been presented as a magnificent success for our Leader. To further this there has been a determined pretence that what has been done in Europe to recapitalise the banking system is the same as what is being attempted in the UK. Nothing could be further from the truth, not least in the political implications that are resulting from governments standing ready to assist if needed. In the UK the element of coercion on some banks to admit government into their running is a paramount characteristic, coupled with a determination to retain powers within the banks forced into accepting government aid. In Europe there is no coercion and every encouragement to return any taxpayers' input accepted fast, so that banks and governments can retire to their respective spheres as soon as possible.

The political attitude displayed by our regime is now underlined further by the pressure to nationalise parts of the building industry, and use labour that is being shed to build social housing, that is coming from the governing party. This is being presented as a return to keynesian economic practice.

“I think he [Mr Brown] has got an appetite for this. He is attempting to minimise the impact on everyone else from banking lunacy and he’ll be looking for anything practical. It is back to Keynes, spending money in a way that creates useful wealth.” Calls are being made to 'legislate to enable reserve powers over infrastructure such as rail or property. The powers could involve “stakeholdings, recapitalisation and other matters”, (Cruddas, Dobson, Hain, Mitchell et al., reported in the Financial Times.)

There is nothing of Keynes in all this, and a great deal of state corporatism.

We have suffered already the ejection of our elected Prime Minister and the imposition of a usurper. We have suffered the imposition of ministers dismissed twice from the government shoe-horned back into office by the exercise of Executive power over part of our legislature. We have been forced to accept the ratification by the Executive of a treaty conceding the sovereignty of the United Kingdom to another power when the former government was elected on the promise of a vote on that treaty.

A programme of taking a permanent position in major UK banking institutions, and extending that model of government relations with the financial sector into other major economic sectors has never been put to the electorate for their acceptance at a general election.

If the consent of the governed to all this and more is not requested through a general election, then we must recognise that we are ruled by force.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Running Silently

The blatant lying that is going on about two things: that the financial crisis is American in origin and global in effect and the United Kingdom is not suffering worse than elsewhere; and that Gordon Brown is saving the global financial system - has a worrying corollary.

How safe is it really to leave savings and deposits, or allow large payments to pass through bank accounts in the UK?

Iceland has guarantees in place too. But under the assault from the UK regime's unhelpful and irrational attempts to get UK depositors' money back Iceland is now preventing the export of cash, limiting withdrawals, begging for help from the IMF and exhibiting all the behaviours of the Wilson government when the gnomes of Zurich came for that Labour government. Incidentally, Dutch depositors are being repaid after their government reached an amicable settlement at the same time that Brown's raging and blustering was undermining our officials' attempts to organise the same thing. There are open retail runs on Russian banks being reported from across the Federation, complete with full Northern Rock queues and scenes. Yet Russia's economy is well managed and its underlying, real economy position is sound.

The European press is giving sharply different accounts of what needs to be done and what is being done for the eurozone from the reports offered by the UK papers on the acclaim for the 'Brown solution'. We know that Brown is a fantasist and a show off. Disturbingly, he is humoured like an unpleasant child by those who are forced to have dealings with him. So out of proportion is the English press coverage that it is now worth considering the value of the reassurance offered under the 'Brown solution'.

The United Kingdom's real economy is in very poor shape, and coping with this long term reality, now come to a head, is a very unsatisfactory and ill-qualified leader. It's bad enough being denied the democratic vote that would remove him. To be denied access to our own money would be, for each of us, a personal catastrophe.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Borrowed Time

Our children's future is now compromised utterly. The New Labour government has debts so high that the last time public sector debt was comparable was in the 1950s:

'as Britain laboured under the burden of the borrowing that funded the Second World War effort.' (Telegraph)

Our parents' generation paid that debt, as determinedly as they had fought the War and, at home, faced the privations of the War effort. And the unemployment and depression before the War, and the rationing, the cold, the loss of empire (for the grander among them), after the War. Caught up as they were in the long after-effects of the First World War and the terrible struggles of the Second, they were not the happiest of generations. But they bequeathed to their children and grandchildren a decent run at prosperity and freedom.

We have betrayed them. And we have betrayed our children. Just as the country needs to use this counter-cyclical moment to invest in infrastructure and the post-industrial knowledge base to relaunch our economy, we have had to watch and accept our political 'leaders' taking on debt, and the concomitant powers associated with creditors, whom we cannot even identify.

For what? For the realisation and cementation of the power-crazed dreams of a defunct ideology's deluded faithful, for the roasting of our own flesh under the Iberian peninsula's August sun, and for the end of housework.

The time we wasted was our parents' time (as many of them remarked), but the time we borrowed belongs to our children.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Foggy Bottom

The world is saved. The bank (HSBC) in England pays all and any charges, recurring or unexpected, like clockwork, accurately, and refers back if in doubt. The bank here ditto plus invites to soirees, openings of newly refurbished palaces with restored artworks to die for, and shindigs in general to encourage the clientele. Here too, if I want to buy gold the streets are paved with the stuff, or at least the local banks are tooled up to provide it on demand.

And yet, and yet what sense of unease has driven the withdrawal of enough cash to meet wage bills and expected outgoings up to Christmas?

It's all so nebulous. The sums being bandied about are certainly very large, but apart from not seeming anywhere near large enough for what they are ostensibly buying, they are also so arbitrary. Public announcements, statements to the press are dripping with conditionals and intent. And so little is backed up by having been agreed by parliaments and democratic bodies empowered to agree such deals. The conceptual and legal foundations of our society have become ill-defined, outlined in fuzz - property, contract, debt; and the second rank - honesty, probity, reliability, redress. All are going in and out of focus, flickering on and off.

On the whole, it feels better to be sure no-one who has given their labour will be denied their wages because of events beyond control. The only worry now is remembering where the cash is stashed.

Hatfield and the North

Glenrothes is the Welwyn and Hatfield of Scotland. Consciously modelled on Howard's garden city concept it has the same city-in-a-park aspect and, after a disastrous single industry reliance start, (what scandals lie buried there one wonders) the same diversified manufacturing and advanced and light engineering profile. Like Welwyn and Hatfield it has replaced lost manufacturing jobs with clerking and administration, both public and private.

The Westminster constituency of Glenrothes is a modern creation that has had boundaries redrawn as recently as 2005. It is no more a natural Labour seat than its southern counterpart. Its working people stand for self reliance, high skill levels, social cooperation not political confrontation, responsive public services, no slumming.

In England that is one nation conservatism and, pace the Conservative party's line on the Union, it is also an assertion of England as the national identity, not 'Britain'. In Scotland it is the assertion of Scottish national identity coupled with all the other standards of decency embodied in the angels in marble.

If Mr Cameron cares so much for the Union he needs to come to some agreement on the recasting of the relations between England and Scotland and reach a firm basis of approach with Mr Salmond to contain the rough beast, its hour come round at last, that slouches next door.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Dekker's Advice for Sound Sleep

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,

Rock them, rock them, lullaby.
Care is heavy, therefore sleep you,
You are care, and care must keep you ;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Honour and Shame

All citizens of a democratic state share in the honour of their armed forces. They are the guarantee of the state itself. And how we have all bathed in the honour of the defeat of nazi/fascism in the middle of the last century. It is the iconic, defining event of our modern nationhood, so important that it has deformed a proper, historical understanding of what made our country and who we are.

When the Prime Minister of Iraq tells the United Kingdom to go home and take its armed forces with it, we partake of the shame equally. Shame that we launched an unprovoked attack upon another country and killed hundreds of thousands of their people, shame that to do this our Executive lied and lied again to our Parliament and to the United Nations, shame that what lay behind the lies was oil imperialism and a hope to share in the spoils when our island is literally awash in oil and built on coal.

We have paid in the deaths and wounding of our armed forces, we have paid in the loss of individual freedom and individual safety within our own borders, we have paid in loss of our civilians' lives, our total loss of face before much of the world. We have paid in shame.

What was never paid was the cost of sending men and women into battle properly prepared and armed. And that shame lies with Gordon Brown alone.

What Is Being Taken

It's a nightmare. The regime is seizing banks, using predatory powers it has awarded itself, under the guise of recapitalising them and 'saving' the country from a financial meltdown.

A financial meltdown may or may not come anyway and it is certainly not within the control of government, but the incorporation of most of the United Kingdom's banks into the state is a major blow to democracy and giant step in the installation of authoritarian rule.

The Telegraph reports that Brown 'became increasingly frustrated as banks refused to take up last week’s offer of Government investment, decided to act after being told the full scale of the banks’ difficulties...
Royal Bank of Scotland has been ordered to accept up to £20  billion of investment, making the Government the majority shareholder...
The Financial Services Authority is understood to have put pressure on the banks, forcing some of them to take more money from the bail-out plan than they needed.
Under the new plan, the state will take a combination of preference and ordinary shares and is likely to appoint members to the boards of RBS and HBOS.

Trading in bank shares may be suspended this week 'to give investors a chance to digest the plans'.

We are watching the world in black and white again.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

New Labour is Foul Not Fair

Positional good is the economist's term for heart's desire. And like the heart's desire, highly personal but culturally determined, therefore sought by enough people to make a market while idiosyncratic enough to make that market very imperfect.

It is in those imperfections that those of us without much money but a high level of self-awareness coupled with an informed taste (if those are not the same thing) find hope of getting what we want.

Because inflation does not strike us all uniformly - the poorer are hit harder than the richer - then the moment has come to ponder on your heart's desire, for it will become more out of reach than ever before as inflation and hyperinflation bite and devour. That painting, sculpture, house, view, carpet, tapestry, furniture, jewel, journey, training, schooling, instrument, garden, library, peace of mind, life-style - seize them now before they move forever beyond your reach.

These are the last times in which the many have choices that historically have belonged only to the few. It is the bitterest of all pills that the glittering landscape of opportunity that was opening before us all is falling into the uniform darkness of basic provision under the banner of fairness.

Hyperinflation or Default

The sense of intellectual distaste felt on reading, for instance, the Observer leader, is compounded on reading the Sunday Times main story. The Observer paints the state as defender of the voter, and market capitalism as an opaque, piratical system ravaging the lives and hope of the people. The Sunday Times portrays Brown's invitation to speak at the eurozone meeting as a European recognition of his cunning plan to save the world as corporatist governance would have us know it.

There has been eleven years of warping market capitalism and its efficient allocation of resources by a deformed understanding of the purposes of government. This has been expressed through constant fiscal and political interference in the interests of redistribution, of building a client state, and by institutional finagling to entrench a formerly elected government as the state itself.

People can run their lives most competently for themselves. Unfortunately some need to satisfy their psyches in telling others what to do. The fact that this driving force provides an otherwise unavailable lifestyle encourages them in their aggression. They have got themselves into power by an internal putsch and unless we can force a general election in the very near future we will all have to live through decades, yes decades, of unpleasantness to regain our choices. And we should learn at least one lesson from the past: this mindset corrupts as generations advance through its systemic abuse, and parents have the pain of watching their children inculcated into its actions and motivated by its beliefs.

Already we see serious journalism presenting for universal adulation the desperate efforts of our government standing in the ruins of their policies (and of millions of their electors' lives). Brown is not being permitted to speak at a eurozone meeting (usually the UK may attend as observers, as a courtesy, but not always)as a saviour. His 'invitation' should be understood as a requirement to attend and explain what he intends to do about his exposure of a member-state of the European Union, the United Kingdom, to hyperinflation or default.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Partial, Incoherent and Irrelevant

The incoherence of the Brown regime's responses to the meltdown after their 11 years of incompetent financial regulation and policy choices is striking.

First everything is to be dealt with on a case by case basis (presumably to give the obsessive Leader time to read every last piece of paper and check the waste paper baskets of the civil servants).

Then the systemic effects of their 'light touch' (or not knowing, not understanding what they did know, and not caring anyway as long as they stayed in power, as this policy properly should be described), forced themselves onto regime attention so that Brown comes up with a plan to nationalise the banks, effectively without compensation. £400 billion is a joke.

Then it emerges that the entire Third Sector, and New Dawn authoritarian governance has put its pension funds, extracted by savage levels of regional and local tax-gathering, into a financial system even more lightly touched than his own, (which, inter alia, leaves a big question mark over what other extra- national black holes our hard-earned cash has been poured into). But Brown's response is to threaten a Nato ally with War on Terror reprisals.

Now he embarrasses us all by poncing round the world grinning and demanding attention 'I'm Leader. I'm Leader. Do what I'm doing. Nationalise the banks. Intern the terrorists on a small island -what do you mean they're on a small island already?'

All the time, the unemployed numbers rise through the millions, the infrastructure is not built, the investment for renewing manufacturing industry has been diverted to the housing bubble, the education system has been used for warehousing the young, inflation devours the wages of those who have them, and stunts the lives of those who do not. Pensions are destroyed, and the word 'destroyed' is chosen advisedly - for even public sector pension rights must be repudiated, their funding simply is not there; the funding of private pensions has already been annexed.

The coherent, systemic response to this folly is to call a general election, the electorate must assess the manifestos of the parties and underwrite their responses to our dire straits. A democratic choice must be offered and made. The argument that things are too serious for such a strategy now could not be more partisan. Things are too serious to continue with the politics of the madhouse.

Friday, 10 October 2008

New Labour No Money

The New Labour permanent state seems to have lost its second slush fund. First Northern Rock, now Icelandic banks. They aren't very good at managing finances are they?

What It Takes is Capitalism

Capitalism is multinational and it runs governments. Governments do not run capitalism. They are expected to facilitate capitalist economic, social and cultural environments. A glance at the size of capitalist multinational institutions in comparison with nation states should make this clear even to the deluded.

The Brown regime has not quite grasped this. Brown himself boasted of 'his' £500bn "stability and restructuring programme... We've led the world.. by saying we will help rebuild the banking system. Round the world now, other countries are looking at what we are doing."

And they are marvelling at the depth and extent of delusional behaviour being permitted publicly to the Leader and his party faction by a country that usually takes itself quite seriously and expects others to do so too. United Kingdom banks are refusing taxpayer dilution of their authority and their profits even as Labour MPs bay their tribal shibboleths at embarrassed Conservatives offering assistance back into the real world and its requirements.

'What it takes', Brown, is understanding of the role of government and states in a capitalist environment, it takes a natural commitment to capitalism and markets and choice. We do not need a cack-handed grab at part of the capitalist system in the name of a debunked economic and social order. We need a government and party that will whole-heartedly facilitate the recovery of financial and economic well being, and has the understanding and the skills to do it.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Attacking a NATO Ally

The Brown regime has used anti-terrorism powers to attack a fellow NATO country. Has Brown finally taken official as well as public leave of his senses?

You Don't Live There Any More

Everybody's father went to work. Some worked for themselves but most worked for a local employer. If working for a large local employer, most were in the union - conservative, labour, liberal, they were in the union. Working for a small employer? Then you weren't but you could talk to your employer directly. In any case employers tended to belong to common social and political local groups and so did some of their employees, so local wage levels kept up, union or no. Wage levels rarely fell except in inflationary times, when there would be a bit of a lag. Mothers worked too, part time or when all the children were in school, or at home for piece work.

Everyone went to the local junior and infants. The clever passed the scholarship and went to the direct grants or local grammar; if you failed your parents either came up for the local fee-paying, or you went to the local secondary till you were 15 and then apprenticeship, plus tech or night school. Going to university was very difficult even from the selective secondaries. Most took their o-levels and went into work. Some did their a-levels,and went into work further afield. Very few made it into university but there were no fees, and maintenance grants for people who had poor parents.

Of course the whole system was full of pushing and pulling and private deals and nods and winks and special cases. It was human. But on the whole there was an expectation that the children would 'get on in life', they would be better off than their parents, in much the same way as they were taller and stronger and better educated. Not the middle classes (which nowadays are called the upper classes) but most of us, the working people. And getting on was understood in terms of leaving the services offered by the government. No more social housing, choosing the extras of health care not on offer from the NHS, setting up a small business or holding a good position, not on the shop floor, of a larger business. Being sure that the grandchildren had the chance of something put by to get even further on.

Wilson crashed all of that. Or perhaps it should be crushed. The patronising ideologies of Fabian socialism invaded the safety net provisions in social life that had been used until then as a springboard not a life style. More and more was taken from wage packets by invasive governance until the goal of a decent job was overtaken by the aim of getting as much as possible from 'state' services. The sly and smart, but indolent, were rewarded in their behaviour with rights and claims that impoverished the mind set that had once prevailed and knew the work shy for what they were. Not deprived and denied equality of opportunity, but the product of a first attempt at the building of a client permanent state.

A second stage in this process was created by the collapse of the country's industrial and to a lesser extent manufacturing base, the product of truly global economic shifts. So, compounded with the cultivation of a client state, came an unavoidable convulsion for local and regional employment patterns and their associated attitudes to work and its rewards. Real economic forces and events were used to feed and reinforce notions of class oppositions, of social envy, of individual irresponsibility, of only the permanent socialist state being able to provide 'fairness'.

We are under the third wave of attack. Those who want to make their own way in life are faced with the confiscation of more than 40% of their wages, swollen numbers content to exploit the provision of government services and demanding their extension, the flaunting of the 'we are the masters now' ideology of a perverted Labour movement. But they are not the masters of some idealised or perhaps demonised capitalist class.

They are the masters of all of us, the working people.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

There Goes the Council Tax You've Paid

Letter from Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the Local Government Association, to the Chancellor

Local authorities deposits with banks

The LGA welcomes the action that the Government has taken to freeze the UK assets of Landsbanki. We are aware that a number of local authorities have, as part of their normal day to day management of surplus funds, placed money on deposit with Icelandic banks. We would strongly urge you to take whatever further action is needed to safeguard and support the position of local authorities and the communities they serve.

As the Audit Commission’s Use of Resources reports have confirmed, councils have demonstrated consistent and high performance in management of public money. They deposit funds after taking independent financial advice, following carefully considered and agreed strategies. Deposits are place across a range of financial institutions, to spread risk. Any difficulties any council might face will be as a result of wholly exceptional circumstances.

The LGA therefore calls on the Government to extend to local authorities, who have prudently managed council tax payers’ money, the same assurances [as proffered to private investors] that money that has been invested in accordance with the law, and the Government’s own guidance, will be fully protected. I would welcome an early meeting with you to discuss how this might be achieved, and what further short-term actions might assist the efficient delivery of local public services.

In the meantime, local authorities will be taking all necessary steps to continue to serve the interests of their communities and deliver value for council tax payers and local businesses.

[Though if your pension fund was 'invested' in Iceland, you may have cause for concern].

Reductio Ad Absurdum

It would have been nice to go out for a good lunch today, it being the wedding anniversary. But the entire morning has been taken up with money. All I want is for the money to sit quietly earning a bit more money, and to be there for me.

Instead, after all that advising, and re-organising, and recommending to countries and regions and industries and sectors and zones and economies of all shapes and sizes, we are reduced to buying gold bars (and growing our own tomatoes).

Don't Look Now

Sterling has a lender of last resort. The Euro does not. The member-states' central banks are their own lenders of last resort. The unlimited liquidity available from central banks at a penal rate against assets is not available to eurozone members. Their central banks can provide liquidity only within the confines of their reserves, as if they were a currency board.

So the ECB can print money but not lend. While the member-state central banks of the eurozone can lend but not print money.


Continent Isolated

The European Central Bank is forbidden to lend to the European Union budget, to national governments, and to any public body, which includes the European Investment Bank. It cannot make any contribution to a European version of the Paulson bail-out. National governments must act. Of course 27 governments cannot agree on a fund and its distribution. Equally obviously the banks to be rescued are multinational. Under a smoke screen of seeking a Union-wide bail-out which they knew was technically and legally impossible, the core European Union has been coordinating effective response, with some left out of the loop.

Souls for Sale

'President Bush and Mr Brown had talks yesterday about the need for co-ordination of international efforts to tackle the crisis.' (Times)

So the incumbent of a dying presidency and a fag-end prime minister have a phone call while Iceland's government are in Moscow selling their souls for Red gold.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Failing to Co-operate Denies Democratic Government

The sleight of hand by which the return of the New Labour original team to the current Brown regime has been presented as the reconciliation of serious opposition in government, has fulfilled a long standing New Labour intention: to present opposition as being within Labour itself, and the official Opposition as simply being irrelevant to government.

The refusal to acknowledge any value in the Conservative (and Liberal Democrat)'s responsible willingness to act with the ruling party in managing the financial, and shortly to be economic crisis, seeking to emphasize that only within Labour can power and authority to act be found, is dangerous. It is also short-sighted and self-seeking to an unprecedented degree, but it is the dangers that are important now.

First because Brown has got himself into a position where he is making political jibes and accusations against banks and other financial institutions with whom it is essential there should be reliance on full and open confidence; instead the Times reports:

'The Government is furious with the banks for apparently divulging details of their meeting with the Chancellor at which they asked him to speed up the injection of taxpayers money into their coffers.

Mr Brown’s spokesman said the Government would not be engaging in irresponsible speculation, strongly implying that the banks had...'

Second, the expertise and contacts available to the Conservative Opposition, most particularly in a crisis like this, are not being called upon for the benefit of the country. Rather they are being turned down for the benefit of a Labour 'image of self' important only in a political game-plan.

Third, if the Opposition is not to be accepted as a co-operative and helpful force in these dire times, then it must consider and judge the regime's actions according to what it knows, and its estimation of the capabilities of a very impaired prime minister.

To force a concerned and anxious to help part of the governance of the country to monitor and where necessary oppose is an act of profound political ineptitude. It is also a denial of long-settled democratic practice in the governance of our country.

Georgia On My Mind

Harrying a withdrawing army is never good for bystanders. The various 'Lines' that marked the withdrawal of German forces through Italy from 1943 can be readily discerned by the memorials in every town and village, no matter how remote, to executed local people caught between partisan action and military examples being made. Who picked out the victims and often helped with the executions, usually the activist remnants of the Fascists, are still remembered and their descendants feel the shame, despite deep-seated reconciliation.

The purpose of the harrying is, of course, post war positioning and local power seizing. In major industrial and resource centres it is national and international power seeking. Which is what is going on in Georgia.

Blowing up and shooting Russian personnel, as they pack up to leave the buffer zones around their enclaves to European Union peace observers, is a venomous effort by the unsavoury Georgian regime to assert claims to bravery and resistance when the reality is that the Georgian army merely shelled undefended towns and ran away as soon as the Russian Army appeared. They are still about their attempts to cause trouble in the Caucasus and undermine the European Union-brokered settlement.

Resistance is one thing, and gratuitously putting at risk the lives and settled existence of innocent people is quite another. Fortunately the Russian Army is not withdrawing through what has suddenly become enemy territory with broken chains of command and collapsing internal discipline. No group, least of all the unpleasantly authoritarian current Georgian regime, should act to invite reprisals as part of a policy game.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Quiz. Where Do You Stand On the Political Spectrum?

Should we:

1) nationalise the banks and establish democratic control over banking decisions, ensuring democratic representation on boards, ending the bonus binges, controlling executive pay and share holder rewards?

[As we are nationalising the banks with bailouts and recapitalisation, never mind the Northern Rock undertakings, of course there should be democratic control over decisions etc.
Ending bonus binges and the control of executive pay - paid out of my taxes in future - is particularly attractive.]


2) Cut interest rates significantly and immediately, restore democratic control over key economic decision-making by widening the remit of the Bank of England beyond ensuring price stability to advising on the wider economic health of the country, and return the bank to being one voice amongst others?

[Well, yes, reduce the burden of debt, raise aggregate demand for investment and consumption, support the value of assets, raise competitiveness by holding down the exchange rate - know what I mean?]


3) Secure people a home by converting repossessions to social rentals so that people have a 'right to stay' in their homes and embarking on a massive council house-building programme?

[Who would want to repossess an ex-council maisonette in Easington? It's a disgrace that a subprime loan for more than the value of these properties was created and hung round the necks of the once- and soon-to-be-again tenants in the first place. Now they are in debt for the next 20 years for what they should never have stopped renting.]


4) Enhance security in employment by ensuring people have a say over the future of the companies by strengthening rights and representation at work?

[Mitbestimmung. What the Germans have. And very successful they are too.]


5) Bring fuel bills under control with price controls on the consumer price of gas and electricity, so that people are not being forced to choose between heating and eating this winter, with the threat of nationalisation if needed?

[Like France has. And they seem to own the English power industry, so why shouldn't we have the same as their French customers?]


At the end of this quiz Angels are once again found to be left of centre. Pity about the Labour Party.

Child Abuse Is Not An Error of Professional Judgement

Running like a darker thread through the morass of the New Labour counter culture ideologies is the exposure of the undefended to sexual exploitation.

When personal moralities are foisted upon social and cultural morality by the use of empathetic reinforcement among small groups validating the denial of of social morality, by the undermining of those institutional supports for social morality, such as the Christian church, that have wholly other vulnerabilities exploited by the onslaught, by the use of office to further agendas nothing to do with the purpose of that office, and by the rigorous interpretation of rules and of regulation meant to be indicative and capable of sensitive interpretation, then we know we are facing something wrong that requires instant attack and curtailment.

'Chris' Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, has declared that teachers should not face jail for having sex with pupils who are over the age of consent. 'Clearly there has to be appropriate disciplinary sanctions in the school where a teacher works to make sure that inappropriate relationships don’t develop, but it does seem a step too far - when there has been a consensual relationship - to put that person on a sex offenders' register when in fact, they could have a perfectly legitimate relationship with an 18-year-old still enrolled at another school.'

The membership of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers needs to dismiss her, or resign from their Union en masse.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

He Strikes Again

Off he goes to Paris, full of self pride and self delusion, and within hours Germany and Italy declare full 100% guarantees for all bank deposits in their respective countries. France had done it before he even got there.

How does he do it?

The Train Now Standing...

'Subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are reminded that trains are still running to both air and sea ports of exit. Those passengers wishing to take with them wealth and chattels should note that it is their responsibility to meet restrictions on the export of possessions, as these come into force.

It is important to travel to designated exit ports, whether by sea or air, as full control regulations come into force.

Passengers will be required to demonstrate a right of entry into the territory for which they are bound.

New Labour! New Horizons!'

Watching and Waiting

This summer the Italian government put the Italian army on the streets of Naples. The army then arrived, after a bit of practice during the rubbish crisis, in major cities throughout the peninsula. The soldiers are there to end the waves of petty anti-personnel crime that blight city centres and the close periferia: the organised begging gangs, the illegal street markets, the fake and copied goods, the juvenile pick-pockets with their adult handlers, the drunks, the drugged, the sick denied asylum, the sheer, frightening presence of potential violence.

The police and Carabinieri are quite capable of dealing with it all - the Carabinieri are part of the army, after all, and every last figure of authority is armed to the teeth in Italy, right down to the parking meter attendants and forestry employees. But the army needs rehearsal for the interventions that will be needed when the wages are not paid, the welfare payments break down, the pensions don't arrive in the bank accounts that are wiped out along with the banks. When the assertion of property rights by the landowners threatens the housing of the working people, and the unpaid teachers, medical staff, and the police service itself, start to fail.

It must have felt like this in the sun-bathed summer of 1914

Sir Richard Mottram's Verdict Applies

Even with the third highest compensation on offer for deposits, after Ireland (100%), Norway (euros 250,000) and then Italy (euros 103,000) plus a conservative and relatively unscathed banking system, the time has come to collect the cash from the bank at the bottom of the hill - anything over 103,000 euros that is. It could be spread around, there's more than one bank down there next to the gold factories but, just for a bit, I have got out the freshly laundered ticking mattress covers and will fill them with something other than cleaned lambswool.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

If Brown Wants to Rule Scotland He Should Go Home and Win an Election

The Westminster New Labour regime is on to its third Secretary of State for Scotland since Alex Salmond became Prime Minister of Scotland.

Angus Robertson, leader for the Scottish National Party at the Westminster parliament remarked:

"Des Browne's departure shows just how much of a dog's dinner Gordon Brown has made of his reshuffle...It would have been far better to admit that the game is up for the Scotland Office – which is clearly just a publicly funded campaigning vehicle for the Labour Party....This is another missed opportunity to accept the new political framework in these islands."

One source close to the Westminster New Labour Leader, quoted in the Scotsman, said last night:

"Jim [Murphy, 'tasked' to destroy the SNP and restore New Labour rule in Scotland, ed.] will be energetic and want to show what he can do. He will take Salmond on..."

As many commentors in the Scottish press are pointing out, under devolution the constitutional role of the Scottish Office is to represent the Scottish Government and people in United Kingdom matters in the United Kingdom government.


Murphy lived in South Africa in the 1980s. 'He returned aged 18, after refusing conscription into the country's army, and was president of the National Union of Students while studying at Strathclyde University.' (Sunday Herald)

A Draft Dodger. Refusing to serve in his adopted country's army won't go down well in Scotland, not with the Scottish record of military service.

Establishing a Politburo

The New Economic Council, which is to meet twice a week from Monday, is described by our Leader as:

" a new way of governing that is based on the uniqueness of the circumstances,...
these are new times,... The global economy will never be the same again. Huge changes are taking place. We have to deal with it in a new way."

The model followed is 'The Stalinist' where the Party Leader appoints politburo members from both the Party and those who, while holding no official Party office, are supporters and contributors to the Party. Some members of 'The Stalinist' politburo model are also elected members of the legislature, as is the case with the New Economic Council.

The usual practice in the United Kingdom of inviting members of the Parliament from other parties to assist in a National Government has been substituted. Indeed it is reported that when the Conservative Opposition leader telephoned to the Prime Minister to offer co-operation in dealing with the financial crisis, it was only with the greatest difficulty that Brown was persuaded to take the call at all.

The fury at the loss of the Metropolitan Police Chief, whose duties include effectively being the national police chief, is understandable when considering the role a police chief as New Labour as the man required to resign by the Conservative Mayor of London, might have been designated in the politburo.

By removing the effective governance of the country wholly into the hands of the Executive, draining the power of the great offices of state into the New Economic Council and reducing to a minimum any parliamentary review of its actions when so many members are not answerable to parliament at all, the country enters an only too familiar next stage in the installation of a permanent, authoritarian regime.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Age Cannot Wither Them

It's very queer to see Gordon Brown inserting Peter Mandelson into his cabinet by placing him in the House of Lords. What is even odder is to look at the photographs that were published in the press as the announcement was made, showing the two men as they were in the last decade of the last century.

Up to date pictures demonstrate just how old both look now. Mandelson, addressing reporters today, was thin, careworn, with the slightly hectic cheeks of the elderly. Reports that he was desperate to come home and that he could no longer hack it abroad in Brussels are borne out by his haggard jaw belying the cheerful chappie smiles and crinkly eyes behind the glasses, under the receding quiff of still-dark hair.

Brown we have been staring at as an example of the living dead for some time now.

Are these two the best the Labour party can offer to see us through the financial crisis Brown's incompetent and ignorant regime has brought upon the country?

They look as if they should shuffle off to the nearest politburo.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Fiddling About and Losing Control

Reports that the Westminster prime minister has begun to set up an emergency committee to take charge of Britain’s response to the financial crisis, similar to Cobra, with its secretariat run from the Cabinet Office, indicate a devastating blow to any understanding that there is stability in our country's governmental institutions and settled arrangements.

What is the Treasury for, if not to deal with financial and economic matters, crisis or no? And the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now bereft of any authority as well as any responsibility.

As the Leader indulges, indeed is unable to deny characteristically, his control freakery, European Union regulation, other European member-states of the EU (acting in their own interests with a speed that underlines Brown's indecisive incapacity), and enormous financial institutions to which Brown has sold our financial independence while boasting of controlling any threatened meltdown, are now telling him what is to be done and what he will conform to.

Meanwhile he sets up committees and tears up our system of government.

Not Getting It Makes Getting It Wrong Likely

The upsurge in discussion of the Westminster Prime Minister's state of mind and mental condition, from an already high level since he was declared to be psychologically flawed during the Blair administration, is notable across blogs and mainstream media.

There has been an attempt to rebut the view that concern is reasonable with the line 'there's nothing the matter with him, and if there is , so what? He's getting on with the job.'

Merlin Stone, a savings expert at Bristol Business School, reported in this morning's Telegraph, sums up the problem when discussing the shifting of billions into offshore and fully guaranteed accounts. He said: "This is a very damaging situation, and one brought upon [us] by Gordon Brown's inability to understand how ordinary savers think.
"He seems to have done a slide-rule calculation and worked out that just 2 per cent of people are not covered by the £50,000 guarantee.
"But it doesn't matter if it's just 2 per cent. People are panicking and they think – perhaps with good measure – this Government doesn't care about ordinary, middle-class savers. There is a logic to guaranteeing all savings."

And that logic would escape someone who does not get an emotional response to the loss of hopes and plans embodied in sums of money, no matter how small.

Misrepresentation has been a major characteristic of the Blair/Brown regime from the deliberate lies at the grossest level in the Iraq war, through the constant re-stating of the same policy measures as new undertakings, on through raising taxes on the poorest and taxes by stealth and fiscal drag, to this last grotesquerie -
draining deposits from the UK's banks and building societies during a financial crisis.

If you don't get it, or you can't get it, you are not fit to lead a government.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Gordon Goes Whining to the Dominie

Britain today expressed its concern at the 100% guarantee of deposits in Irish banks, and has brought the matter up with the EU. A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "We just want the Irish government to look quite closely at the arrangements they are putting in place to make sure they comply with EU competition law."

Brown doesn't like the Irish making him put our money where his mouth is.

Not Again and Not Enough

When Labour heartlands cheap loans to unqualified borrowers to establish the client-base bank, Northern Rock, failed the retail run was wholly understandable. No-one wants to lose control of their money while the clerks of a failing bank facing the sack process claims that keep them in work. That the 'guarantee' for deposits covered only £35,000, and not even that in full, was discouraging too. So after publishing figures showing that more than 90% of savings would be covered by a £50,000 guarantee, such a guarantee was promised by Brown. Of course it hasn't materialised. Brown's promises are invariably dishonest and unfulfilled unless they involve taking more of our money from us.

Again the £50,000 savings security promise is being renewed. Not implemented, just proffered again. Which is bad enough, but there is a wholly different confidence problem faced by depositors. It is the pretence that what is being talked about are 'savings'.

Most people haven't got £50,000 worth of savings unless they are coming to the end of their economically active lives, and even then they are scarcer than they should be. What many have is quite large sums of money passing through their bank accounts on their way elsewhere. Inheritances, cash realisations for big purchases, temporary resting places for transactions that require cash. Then sums can be much higher, once in a lifetime sums, than £50,000. (Yes, there are formal economics recastings of this but there is, too, the real world of people with their parent's life's effort or the specific object of years' of sacrifice about to come to fruition).

The old advice 'never get caught in a city in a sack' applies to United Kingdom banks.

Never get caught using a UK bank for anything but small sums until there is a 100% reimbursement guarantee over no time at all. Use Irish banks, or eurozone banks so infinitely less-exposed than Brown's crippled financial system.

And never trust any promise offered by Brown, ever.