Thursday 21 October 2010

The Morning After

Managed to watch bits of Osborne on his feet yesterday on, and (as a long-time critic) I gotta admit the boy done OK.

He seems to have slipped some £££ out of the ill-advised NHS ringfence, exactly as we advocated here (though not as much as I’d have liked), and generally staked out a strong position. Social housing reform is a good first step – they have to press harder with this in a series of future measures, just like Thatcher kept coming back and back again on Union reform. Bank levy is good, too: they must pay for their de facto state insurance policy, but it should be moved onto a risk-weighted basis in time.

Will need to work through the energy package (loads of docs released by Huhne the day before), but it’s right that there should only be one publicly-funded CCS demonstrator – how many do we need ? (Zero might be an even better answer, of course.) By coincidence, if we believe in such things, E.ON chose yesterday to announce they are withdrawing plans for a new efficient coal plant at Kingsnorth – lamentable, because efficient new coal replacing nasty old coal would be a genuine step forward and needs no subsidy: but exactly as we predicted when the initially smart Labour CCS policy (prop. Miliband-Ed) started going off course (also Miliband-Ed).

So the game’s afoot and it now moves to the implementation phase – always difficult when the strategy is a radical one. Osborne seems to be up to his task: now we need the whole Cabinet to step up to the plate. (If I were Cameron I’d hold a reshuffle next week, based on what he must have learned about his motley crew so far.)

We’re in uncharted territory, where I have long reckoned there be fighting-in-the-streets ahead. Does the welfarist underclass have to get something out of its system, just as the unions did with the Miners’ Strike, before finally being defused as a menace to society ?

On a good day, I think maybe not: we’re not France; the Unions are a busted flush; the Coalition rhetoric has been consistent; the public psyche has been prepared; the chance has been taken.

But has the press been squared ? and are the middle classes quite prepared ? Are those poll-tax rioters burnishing their rusty metal stakes in their dingy garrets ? Will Newmania come steaming up from Lewes ?

What do you reckon ?



Steven_L said...

No one seems that angry from where I'm sitting.

You've got to remember that in 2009 8.3% of the local government workforce was over 60.

20% were over 55. A lot of these people either want to be pensioned off, reduce their hours or start 'working from home'.

The unions are pushing around loads of rhetoric, but most people are more interested in reading about the football or chatting about their extension.

Old BE said...

From where I am sitting the people who are most hacked off are the hand-wringing soft left middle-class types who won't be directly affected but who feel the pain of others.

I doubt very much that the "underclass" is sufficiently organised to co-ordinate unrest. There might be an increase in frustration but I find it difficult to imagine that there will be riots. If the "underclass" exists as characterised, it is so atomised that it will be thumping on walls and breaking bus stops but not much more.

I thought Osborne did well to come in UNDER Labour's departmental cuts percentage. Good bit of spin, that.

Kirsty said...

I doubt very much that the "underclass" is sufficiently organised to co-ordinate unrest.

They don't do protests, they do burglary, shoplifting, balck marketeering etc

szjon said...

I reckon that's the last time I'll be reading this blog. As someone who was removed from the 'care' of my physically abusive 'middle class' family as a child and taken into the care of the state I resent the term 'underclass' for those of us who didn't have supportive families to send us off to greater things with a confident stride.

Then again, I didn't come through it with an over-inflated opinion of myself as some of you.

Underclass indeed. I would suggest you leave the xenophobia to your political masters, they seem to be intent on causing a class war in this country.

Untermensch was a term used not so long ago to allow all kinds of horrors to be inflicted on a group of HUMAN BEINGS. We are getting close to this coming around again, only this time it is corporate fascism that leads the way.

How feeble minded some of you middle classes are, you can't even handle a few chavs, how are you going to cope with the whole unwashed population in rebellion.

I should add, I'm no defender of chavs but there are millions of decent people in this country who you look down your noses at who didn't have a chance in life but get on with it anyway.

Self-righteous post of the year. Nick Drew I applaud you, you are the first thing to make me angry this morning. Opinions such as this are not constructive and will only hasten the divide of left and right.

I'm off to vomit on my eggs benedict.. You should hang your heads in collective shame.

Budgie said...

What a wonderful comment, szjon.

It neatly encapsulates the woolly, emotional, self-contradictory, Guardianista reaction to any suggestion that people are responsible for their own actions.

Among numerous flaws in your world view, the most fundamental is the failure to provide any check on the 'nanny state' knows best tendency that has led, after 13 years hard Labour, to the social dictatorship of the the 'politically correct'.

Ps: what are 'eggs benedict'? Sounds middle class to me.

Electro-Kevin said...

Szion - The unwashed have been revolting for some while now.

We can handle it alright.

szjon said...

@electro kevin

Like you handle your credit card?

I'm sorry but after a nosey round your blog I doubt you could handle a 14 year old girl when it came to violence.

szjon said...


What drivel.

As for class, I define myself as middle income. Class is something you have or don't, completely unrelated to your financial position.

As a non reader of the grauniad, could it be I came to these conclusions myself? Without needing media to woo me to a certain point of view? Imagine that? I've been following this blog daily since 2007, why have I not been turned?

As for the 'nanny state'. have the bankers been weaned off that tax-payer funded nipple yet?

Come on, you'll have to do better than that.

Jan said...

Sorry Szion you feel got at and some of us have had an unfortunate start in life but please don't stop reading. I find this blog amusing and informative and a good tonic after having lived in Wales for 29 years where I always felt I was in danger of a brick through my window if I mentioned any inclination to a Tory viewpoint.

Where I live now there are many people who seem to find it necessary to "walk with a stick" yet they seem to get about remarkably well so I wonder if the stick is just for show ie benefit purposes. I can't blame people for taking the easy way out and claiming if they can get away with it but patently "it's not fair".....the mantra of our times. Surely there are some limits to what we can afford to pay out in benefits. I won't get into what recipients are called...

Budgie said...

szjon, I thought you said "that's the last time I'll be reading this blog", at 11:32? If I really wanted to know your views I could just listen to the BBC.

It was people like you supporting bonkers Brown that got us into the mess we are in: Brown's banker mates running amok; fabulous government over spending from 2002 onwards; the social(ist) dictatorship of the politically correct; ruined education (as Birbalsingh noted) leading to an underclass; ruined pensions (except for the government stooges); attacks on civil liberties; reneging on the Lisbon referendum etc.

And all you do is whinge about commenters who criticise the political 'philosophy' that creates the underclass. It is almost as though you defend the underlass because you want to perpetuate it. Oh ....

Nick Drew said...

szjon - if I take you at your word I am talking to meself (again), but just in case you stick around, even if only out of morbid curiousity ...

- i hope we can all distinguish between people who genuinely need the state's help and those who genuinely don't. I spend 12 years calibrating my own perspective on this as a local councillor, including 5 years as Chair of Housing, and several roles in the voluntary sector: I'd like to be believed when I say i have seen both sorts, right up close, many many times, and I reckon I know what lies at either end of the spectrum: I'll cheerfully spend tax-payers' money to help the one, and I'll equally cheerfully turf the other out of bed to get on with it for themselves

- if as you say you are a regular here, you'll know I'm none too keen on subsidies of any kind, be they for childish 'green' energy projects, or bankers (you'll maybe recall i'm an advocate of a more liberal use of prison sentences in their case), or indeed the middle classes - which lies behind my jokey reference to our old friend Mr Newmania, and also my direct reference to the middle classes in the same paragraph

so: either have a full refund (in the immortal words of Guido), or come back again when you've wiped the egg off your face :+)

PS I think you'll find Kev can look out for himself ...

Budgie said...

szjon, drivel is a matter of opinion and I suppose yours are.

"As for class ..." I did not mention your 'class'; who cares anyway?

"As a non reader of the grauniad ..." I did not say you were.

"... have the bankers been weaned off that tax-payer funded nipple yet?" You mean the tax-payer funded nipple they were put on by their mate Gordon Brown? To save Labour voters jobs, and his own job, and to cover up the mess he had made of banking regulation? That one? The same nipple that the Arts Council, the Quangos, the BBC, DfID, the Unions (until recently), bloated government sector pensions, 23000 MoD bureaucrats (when Israel has 400) etc, are on? Yes, I suppose it is the same. Do I defend that nipple? No. Do you?

Electro-Kevin said...

Szion - Re my identity theft. I made the mistake of dealing fairly with people of a certain nationality when I sold my house.

But then I suppose - in your topsy turvy way of looking at things - it's all my fault for being 'middle class' and the hapless victim of this crime and so you would leap to their defence.

I can tell you now. A 'few chavs' are a pretty daunting thing to handle if you're too feeble to 'handle a 14 year old girl when it comes to violence.' There are plenty of law-abiding adults who can't. And why on earth should they be able to ?

I expect that's something to be ashamed of too in your book.

Bill Quango MP said...

Oh dear.
Szjon, Mr Drew is In country but I'm sure he will try and address your concerns.

I offer up only my own confused position on what 'I,' and only 'I,' understand as underclass and fairness.

A friend has a disability that means he cannot move a muscle from the chin down. He has a motorised wheelchair powered by the tube thing in his mouth.He can converse just fine, and has all his mental abilities. He is 55 and has two carers a day and one at night to help his wife tend him and get him into bed.
He cannot physically lift his hands or even wipe away a drip on his nose. He cannot eat without being spoon fed.
He has less motor skills than a newborn baby.

This man works.He doesn't need to as his disability is permanent. He still works in the software business he started 20 years ago and still does computer software programming. His sons actually do a lot of it but he is working most days.

At the school gates a few weeks ago I saw a young dad in running clothes and joked if he'd joined the army. {common occurrence round here}.
He said no , was just getting fit.
"But please, he said suddenly quite serious, don't tell anyone, it might effect my money."

One of the girl's that works just 4 hours a week for me, who's husband has been made redundant from a good job has been told that of the £36 she gets, £26 will be deducted from the £101.00 that here husband will receive. She needs that tenner so although she is effectively working for £2.50 an hour, she will carry on working and has asked for any extra hours to be given her way.
I offered cash in hand,self employed status, she didn't want to accept, being a middle class magistrate!

When I was 21 my business was failing so badly I contracted a form of trench foot as I had stuffed the holes in my shoes with cardboard instead of having them repaired, due to lack of funds. I lived at home, but the parents didn't have any money either.
By the time I was 23 I was driving a Porsche with my yuppy friends and by 26 I was bankrupt.

I cannot comment on fairness. I have never encountered it. I know who we mean when we say underclass and it is none of the above. The disabled man should and does get enough care and subsidy.It was a long fight for his wife with the councils and agencies and I personally begrudge them not a penny. To me that IS the welfare state.
The running dad as far as I know pays his bills, has tax on his car, and sends his children to school as best he can. If he received less then he would probably do less.
The husband of the lady will receive less in benefits in a year than he will have paid in taxes on his final two month's paycheck and redundancy.

Who I mean by underclass is the two guys who broke into that same crippled man's software business and stole all the laptops. They were caught a few nights later after punching a pensioner having broken into his home. That was a mistake. The police went for GBH and assault instead of a piddling burglary, and got a conviction. 18 months, 9 served. The only galling part was the two were still paid benefits while they were on bail, and the mum received travel allowance to visit them in prison.

Electro-Kevin said...

BQ - I'm surprised they didn't go for aggravated burglary which carries a life sentence. Less chance of it sticking, I suppose.

(Intent to be proven.)

szjon said...

1st. I'm no labour supporter so keep your Brown slinging to yourselves.
2nd. Regulation, the tories were hard on corporate legislation in the thatcher years? Pah! Don't make me laugh!
3rd.Show me all these jobs those 'scroungers' are going to fill or is a cull your solution?
4th. I don't advocate violence but that is what's coming and sitting here saying 'we can deal with it' whilst supporting cuts to military and policing just dictates that YOU might have to. Big society! No, I deplore violence as a victim of it generally does. Merely pointing out your 'I'm a big man on a keyboard' comment is just that.

I don't know why I sit here debating the ins and outs and rights and wrongs of it. This is a global transfer of wealth to the few, the ultimate in capitalism, reverse socialism almost. I subscribe to neither side, I have been stockpiling food for a while to support my family without fear of going out when the unrest comes. My own view is another global war is in the pipeline as the west enters the final stages of the debt empire. I've converted the family savings to PMs and land.
Everyone blaming each other while we enter a deflationary spiral the likes have never been seen before. this will not end well if history is anything to go by. If egg is on my face then so be it.

@Bill Quango. Yes, you seem to get it. It's the underclass term I am offended by, it is a large brush, wielded blindly by many. thank you for your definitions above, I have no argument with your examples. Underclass is a dangerous term to be bandying around in such volatile times as these, almost the same as referring to the 'greed' of the middle classes or the 'laziness' of the public sector.

@Nick Drew. I am merely trying to suggest you use a brush more akin to highlighting detail than just a high and mighty, almost gleeful slinging of the tar in your plentiful bucket.

Old BE said...

All this talk of global meltdown makes me want to go out and buy trivial shiny things before the paper stops being worth anything.

Farm land and baked beans? No thanks, I'd rather be near the epicentre of the first H-bomb, thank you very much!

Budgie said...

szjon - you say you are no Labour supporter, nor Guardian reader. Yet however true that is, your world view is that of a woolly, emotional, self-contradictory, Guardianista/BBC-oid reactionary as was apparent at the start.

The underclass exists; and was largely created by the same woolly guardianista mentality you exhibit - the 'trendy' teaching that leaves 20% functionally illiterate and innumerate; the social(ist) dictatorship of political correctness; and the strangling of self help by an over weaning nanny state, all paid by Brown's vindictive taxation and enabled by his gross incompetence at regulation.

szjon said...

Precious metals have historically survived much better than FIAT currencies. You can't eat it true but when was the last time you had a sauteed tenner? Much easier to debase fiat (already happening) than gold, trivial?

As for the H bomb, you obviously don't have kids or are you going for a Goebbels?

The wheels are already in motion, polarisation of opinion, currency, (soon to be trade) wars, social unrest, inefective, unrepresentative, discredited leaders, economic disasters worldwide with plenty more to come. Oh yes, its all going to turn out well this time. We're far too technologically advanced this time, we are too well informed. Blah, blah and blah for good measure.

Electro-Kevin said...

Szjion - Polarisation of opinion.

And whose fault is that ?

We weren't polarised until we found that we kept getting ignored on all manner of subjects. And now our country (in many parts) has descended into coarsness, chaos and squalor as we said it would.

So what is your tack ? To berrate the middle classes for being privileged to have had parents who looked out for them rather than to criticise the feckless parents that produced the very real underclass; leaping to their defence in the manner of a lefty even though you aren't one.

Can you not see that this is the very approach which has brought us to this sorry pass ?

In defending the indefensible politicians have gone further. They've sought equality and equivalence in lifestyle choices by making 'middle class' parenting unaffordable (via punative taxation), unfashionable and something to be sneered at.

Except 'middle class' parenting wasn't exlusive to the middle classes ... once upon a time (in many ways a better age) it was popular among the working classes too.

So polarisation it is. And perhaps that is the only way to remedy the situation.

It really wasn't us that destabilised the country, believe me.

szjon said...

You seem very keen to pigeonhole my opinions budgie.

Your idea that illiteracy has something to do with socialism, hmm. America doesn't seem too socialist. Are they a nation of middle class degree holding intellectuals?

Let's take one example, a neo-con no less. George dubya Bush. Hardly the shining beacon of conservative education?

As for this.

your world view is that of a woolly, emotional, self-contradictory, Guardianista/BBC-oid reactionary

Please define woolly? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this particular insult. Do you think I'm Welsh?
Emotional? As opposed to emotionless. Surely this is a good thing?
Self-contradictory. Did I contradict myself? Please elaborate.
Guardianista. I don't read this paper, in fact I rarely go to south america at all. I guess you get your views from the daily mail?
BBC-oid. Now, my education might have made me a bit thick or are you just making up suffixes to suit?

Like I said above, I have been preparing for the future since 2007, is that reactionary or pragmatic? What are you planning on doing when the cash machines are off? (As is the case in France tonight) Going to sing for your supper?

It's funny really, I left school under a thatcher regime. Long before all this socialist drama you are peddling and yet I was on the dole, for some time I might add. I find this odd. I also find it odd that you think labour were socialist. I don't see it this way, wasn't there something 'new' about them? Ah! Sucking up to the banking cabal, that was it, brown nosing the true leaders of the country. No wonder the tories had to get in bed with the liberals, let's face it. Labour gave the masters much more than cam the man or maggie ever could. Labour were much better at being tories for a long time. Cam is certainly being a good little boy and trying hard to impress now though isn't he?
Maybe cam wants bliars little deal when he loses office in, (insert how long you think the coalition can go on here)Nice banking job for the lackey?

You see I'm not a reactionary, I'm waiting for the revolution baby!

I think they are all a bunch of self serving, boorish, clueless buffoons in parliament but I guess I can blame the voters for that, personally I'm 'none of the above' so you can't blame me. :-)

Anonymous said...

szjon: "This is a global transfer of wealth to the few, the ultimate in capitalism, reverse socialism almost."

Point is, what you describe is not capitalism either. I would call it fascism, control by the state of the individual, right down to the thoughts he may or may not conceive.

Control of the economy by the state, occupation of large parts of the economy AKA the 'Welfare System', by the state. None of these things describe capitalism.

Socialism == Fascism they are to all intents and purposes the same. It is a singular success of the International socialists post WW2 to present themselves as distinct and at the opposite end of the political spectrum to the National Socialists, when in fact apart from a few minor aspects they are the same.

We have come full circle. Neither Socialism nor fascism can survive with sentient thinking individuals, hence the fostering by the state of the underclass, the destruction of the education system and not least, the destruction of the monetary system including the disincentive to save, discouraging self reliance and the fostering of dependency on the state.

hatfield girl said...

Seems a bit hard to take the term 'underclass', mis-translate it into German, then re-import the bundle of concepts and associations associated with 'untermensch' to attack an argument.

Untermensch is a racial category, ascribed by naional socialists to Slavs and eastern European and Russian people generally. 'Sub-human' might be a fairly close English term; 'underclass' as it says on the tin, is a class analysis term, deriving from early 20th century American (mostly) sociological analysis of class. Class analysis is still perfectly acceptable isn't it?

(I'm not sure why German terms were being shovelled into the discussion but, for what its worth, the German nearest word for 'underclass' might be lumpenproletariat, though that term comes from a very different kind of class analysis to 'underclass.')