Saturday 3 March 2012

Bill Quango is right: Everyone else just shut up.

Ok. Enough is enough. I've listened to your thoughts for quite a while now. I've watched you on Newsnight. I've heard you on the Today program and read about your views in the Independent.
Now I want you to stop. Partly because you're sounding ridiculous. But mostly because I'm right and you're wrong.

I'm talking about this mass media burble of a mix of the political /student/activist/opportunist/columnist/ twitter-chatter and disconnected opinion.

Its all pervading. Whatever the subject there is this incoherent babble of argument that could be punctured in a moment if the whole thing was a proper discussion instead of a fight, purporting to be a serious discussion show.

Whether its on Workfare. On 'The Cuts'. On Human rights. Salaries. Tax rates. Spending. Foreign aid. Interventions in other lands. Unions. Health Provision or 'capitalism'. Please...Be quiet. Shhh...Just STFU for a minute.

Because I keep hearing the most ill informed, ill thought through, politically motivated, hysterical garbage pouring from the radio and TV speakers. So ..just zip it, Ok?
Because there's no point to it all unless someone finally says A is right and B is wrong.
Since the BBC can't by charter and Sky seem unwilling and no one trusts newspaper columnists anymore, it will have to be me.

So..firstly. Mr Occupy. Lets do capitalism.
Seems only fair as its the title of the blog. Capitalists and work. Not something very much in evidence down at Finsbury Park.

Mr Occupy.

Capitalism and all that. Its a terrible thing and is doing its evil to society
Some people have more than other people and some people didn't do much to get a lot more than others. Some were given money and some got a bailout and yada, yada, yada.
But if I can just point out this.
That awful,uncaring, heartless society. What does it actually ask from you as an individual? Not very much. And what does it do for you? Quite a lot.

The callous capitalist west is happy to house you if you want to be housed. It will educate for free from 3 -18 years. It will attend to your medical needs, cradle to grave, regardless of what you do to your own body. It agrees to protect you from hostile countries with a military and from hostile fellow citizens with a police force, whether or not you yourself are a criminal. If you catch on fire it will send someone round to put you out. It will have a justice system to ensure you are fairly treated and will provide a lawyer for you if you need one.
The state doesn't care what religion you are. What you call yourself. What you wear or where you travel.
The state will provide infrastructure every citizen may use regardless of how much taxation that individual has contributed to its development. Anyone may use terminal 5 or New Street station or the M25. . It will give you money every week and ask only that you sign for it once every month. More money if you're ill. Or if its cold.
When you're sixty five or sixty eight it will give you more money if you have never saved or earned any any of your own.

It won't even ask you what you're doing with the cash. It will let you spend it on cigarettes, booze, Cheesy Whatsits, gambling or an E Harmony subscription. The state doesn't care.
It won't demand you serve in the military or a national service labour scheme. It doesn't even ask you to give blood or take part in medical experiments. Or sweep up the streets or even just sign an agreement that you promise only to say nice things about the government.

And that's just a democratic government. Capitalism adds choice. Technology. Medical advances. Communications. Longevity. Energy. Transportation. Travel. Comfort.
The whole of civilisation has been a struggle to secure enough food to eat and enough shelter to survive. Once mankind has those then life expectancy and general health and happiness increase. China, even after all their recent advances and wealth, is currently only at our 1948 standard of living levels in a direct comparison with the UK. Africa is not even in the 20th century.

That puts YOU, my camping friends, way ahead of 925 million Africans. Ahead of many of the 1 billion Indians. 143 million Russians and 81 million Egyptians might think that's a sweet deal.

1.5 billion Chinese might ask if you have to have a child, as they do, to give you an income in old age. They might be amazed to learn that the state will pay you a sum for eighteen years if you have a child. It will provide birth facilities and free healthcare at any cost and pay for nursery care from 3 years of age. And the evil money grabbing employers will pay the mother a salary for 39 weeks and will keep their job open for her all that time in case she wants to have it back. The mum isn't even required to say whether she plans to return to work.

The 112 million Mexicans might wonder if you HAVE to promise to vote for the president of the party to get all those benefits. They might be surprised to learn that you don't even have to vote at all.

46 million Colombians might wonder how long a person could stay on unemployment benefit, in a state paid for house. With their children educated and their council tax and national insurance paid for. They might be surprised to learn that there is no time limit.

76 million Iranians might wonder how restrictive all the state and religious laws are? Be a shock to find out that any sex, race, religion or dress code goes. And everyone, regardless of gender, is treated equally.

So, Occupy and fellow travelers. Give it a rest.
It isn't that bad. Even when the cuts really do take hold your cheque will still come. Your home or alternative bedsit accommodation will be available. Your milk vouchers will still be accepted.
You won't be asked to do anything or even to justify your lifestyle.

And of all the thousands of laws in the land probably only 'no smoking inside public places' and 'no camping in the street' really effect you at all. Oh, and maybe the one about our borders.

Because if you really can't take this western, capitalist, neoclassical, oppressive Hell hole anymore its going to cost you £77.50, plus £4 for photos and 58p for a stamp for a passport to escape.

Those fascist bastards!


Anonymous said...

Bill Quango!

Utterly, stupendously brilliant!

Post of the year!

Permission to reprint, please, please.

That is required reading.


Anonymous said...

Very good!

This could be the start of something big, something like a:

"Compendium of Pull Your Socks Up"

you should list all of the petty, self-serving, special interest groups, and solicit submissions for just such a diatribe on each...

Matt said...

very well put. excellent post.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the aqueduct.

Anonymous said...

This utopia you describe has record numbers of people leaving it. Can't please everyone, it seems.

Now about the monarchy. Should it be privatised. Is there an Albanian prince somewhere that will do it at "cost"?

JuliaM said...


Bill Quango MP said...

Anna Raccoon.
Many thanks.Very kind of you. I'm sure the SWP won't agree but they won't be awake until later.

Copy and paste away.
All work here automatically becomes the property of CityUnslicker. Just a link and I'm sure he won't mind.
Especially as its on your own top quality blog.

Anon 8.50. Thanks. - I'm sure there must be something i need to get off the chest.

Matt: Thankyou.

Anon 11.27. Quite similar. The main objection of the Judean people's front was that they were an occupied country subject to foreign rule. They were very much 2nd class citizens in their own country. The Romans pillaging the resources and extorting taxes drained the wealth from the nation.
I suppose a case like that could be made for Scotland?

Anon: 11.43. Just saying is all. Those are just tip of the iceberg facts. Labour and conservatives have made us what we are today. bith share equally.
When the Über left decry capitalism they don't then point to the African dictatorships or South American republics as a better system. they tend to say Sweden has better childcare. Japanese live longer. Americans have more freedoms.

They often forget that we live in a society that is top 10 in the world under virtually every measure that there is.
We have a monarchy. So what? It costs 62p a year each.
Average person salary, say £25k
0.000024 of income.

But if that is something that still upsets then there is nothing to stop an individual protesting peacefully in the street. if their views gather enough support a campaign with leaflets and websites and twitter action could be launched. As the movement gathers pace the media will give airtime to the story and the discussion will spread.
If many, many people agree with "Lizzie Out!" then a political party might adopt the idea, sensing easy votes. If they don't, then the individual could form their own political party. Fight a general election. Win a majority and send the House of Windsor packing.

That may seem a pretty tall task. Unlikely to succeed, even if the platform was really,really popular.

But the point is if its allowable. If the protestor lived in Pakistan, China, Syria or Burma they'd have been killed or imprisoned at stage 1.

Julia M: All the big bloggers! Praise from Caesar.

Old BE said...

Very very excellent post. Three cheers.

I think the point in your comment is almost the most important: that despite all these incredible comforts people are still completely free to complain about not having enough. No state functionary or Barclays shareholder is going to spray them with tear gas or shoot them with rubber bullets just for saying they want more than they already have.

I keep saying that people in this country probably enjoy the best life that any human has ever enjoyed. As you say, even the very "poorest" in our society have it much much better than most humans alive today and almost all humans that lived more than fifty years ago.

I wish there was some way of sending some of the tent people back just, say, 100 years to see what it was like. Or perhaps to Burma for a month with no hard currency.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a classic "at least Hitler made the trains run on time" rant from another "Good German".

ska_mna said...

You do realise you set out to defend Capitalism and ended up defending the State, don't you?

You seem to have conflated the two throughout. Which, surprise surprise, is exactly the core problem that Occupy was trying to highlight (at the start at least). You even acknowledge the bailouts which means by definition, you also acknowledge our system is not a free market capitalist one.

Crony Capitalism != Free Market Capitalism

I think it just goes to show how deep Crony Capitalism is ingrained in our society now; Business and State are so closely linked, that people who consider themselves champions of the private sector don't even see it anymore.

Everything is upside down. Black is white. War is peace.

Either I am mad or the whole world is?

lilith said...

You're wasted on the back benches Bill.

Electro-Kevin said...

This post might explain why we're re-populating with 600,000 newcomers a year.

The General said...

I don't know who you are Bill, but if you're really one of the UK's MP's, then I'm more worried than I was before I read this drivel.

As Ska_Mna firstly points out, you set out to defend your version of capitalism (crony capitalism aka socialism for the well connected) and then go on do talk mostly about the state, which is primarily socialist in function, with regard to most of the benefits you list!

It is true that a vibrant capitalist economy, which a government can tax in order to implement socialist policies (often for the greater good - although some policies are open to debate) is what we had. I for one am certainly grateful to have grown up in the UK in this environment.

However, what does that have to do with bailouts for incompetent bankers? That's not capitalism. In a capitalist free market economy, if you run a shoddy business and it goes broke, you go bust. You don't get bailed out by the rest of society and then pay yourself millions out of their money to carry on running your failed business, until such time that you require more money from other people to cover the next set of losses.

What the government should have done, instead of bailout failed banks, is ring fence peoples deposits (like Iceland did) and let the banks fail. It wouldn't have been cost free, just see the Icelandic Krona. It lost 69% of its value versus the Euro immediately after their collapse, so the money wasn't worth much, but savers and wage earners still had some purchasing power left. More than British savers and wage earners are going to have once the path we have chosen finally comes to its inevitable dead end. Mark my words.

I will concur that some Occupy protesters may not be able to articulate their views well, others are just Socialist Worker types who hate the rich in general. But the core theme, that is conveniently masked by interviewing the wrong protesters, is that the foxes (the bankers) are in the hen house.

To summarise, the reason we are currently in this mess - unaffordable houses, petrol hitting record highs, nearly 3 million unemployed, empty shops littering our high streets etc. - is because we handed over control of our money to the banks long ago. They are now in the final stages of robbing us of our last penny via unbridled money printing. This robs everyone for their benefit, via inflation.

If you have any money I suggest you buy gold bullion with a large percentage of it, because the pounds in your account are plummeting in value as we speak, thanks to all the printing (QE) our central bank is doing. Hint: petrol isn't going up, the pound is going down, FAST!!! Maybe, not against the dollar,yen or Euro, because they are all being printed into oblivion too, but against anything you actually want to buy with your money.

Ignore this advice if you choose, laugh and scoff at the Occupy protesters along with the author if it makes you feel morally superior. Just know that the joke is really on you and it is the bankers who are laughing loudest.

Just think about this if you think I am talking nonsense. Here's some price changes in my local supermarket in the last 18 months: Fruit juice, 3 litre multibuy up from £1.75 to £3 (+70%), can of soup, up from 44p to 59p (+37%), favourite bottle of wine, up from £3.89 to £4.79 (23%). I won't go on. But don't worry, because annual inflation is only around 4% to 5%, because a flat screen telly only costs £400 still. Like I said, the jokes on you people.

And finally, I advise you all to buy a tent, just like the protesters you mock. You may well be needing it in the coming years.

All the best for the future (we're all going need it),

The General

Old BE said...

I don't think it's as hard to understand as you Housepricecrash-ers are pretending it is. It is clear that BQ is using the term "capitalism" to mean the same as the Occupy people mean when they use the same word, i.e. the current system we have. BQ quite obviously does not think that welfare payments, health services or bail-outs are provided by the market.

Old BE said...

After all, the Occupy campaign didn't unfurl a banner at St Paul's which read "the mixed economy IS crisis", did it?

Bill Quango MP said...

Thanks BE. I know you've posted similar in the past. It's not a point We make often enough. We are very,very lucky people.

Anon 120. You are aware Hitler didn't make he trains on time? His economy was collapsing under an early form of PFI and the railways suffered.
And it was Mussolini who made the trains run on time. And he didn't either.

Ska-man: Blue Eyes has already answered your point. It's capitalism in the sense of the democracies. A capitalist economy supplies the wealth. The mixed economy takes a wedge of that wealth and spends it.
I would have thought you'd be pleased to note that Tory or Labour our society is essentially the same.
I'm afraid I don' t understand your bailout point. The banks are bad because they got a bailout? Or they are bad because they aren't grateful?

Thanks Lilith. Always nice to hear from you.

EK. A post for your blog? You're right. Why do Mexicans cross into the great Satan to take lousy,low paid jobs?
Why are north Africans sailing the Mediterranean to get into Europe ? Why do Indonesians risk death to get into Australia ? And why do Cubans sit in tractor tyres in shark infested waters hoping to float out of that particular paradise ?

Bill Quango MP said...

The General:
Good comments. But you ask why I am defending the failed banks? I'm not. I'm not even mentioning the banks.
This is about the capitalist system. That system creates wealth. Those at the top enjoy great rewards.
I'm only mentioning that because of he system we have with a welfare state and a democratic voting system, those at he bottom enjoy the wealth too. Even it feels like they don't.

On any global measure he poorest person, in the highest high rise,on the scumiest estate probably will have longer,richer life than many other people on the planet.
They won't have to walk miles for water. Or have to watch propaganda for entertainment . They needen't queue hours for bread or have to join a parade holding a banner of a great leader.

Not many fans of bank bailouts here. Stick around. You might have more in common on these pages than you think.

BE: Again, great comments. The Occupy unfurl one especially.

I'm at the outlet centre feeding the monster. Mrs Quango is helping the chancellor with a considerable contribution to his VAT raised figures.

Dick the Prick said...

If this were to be reported on the BBC it'd have to be after 15 minutes of tedious drivel about some semantic nuance of Levenson minutia. Bravo Bill, now get thee to the bar, those subsidised drinks don't quaff themselves.

Budgie said...

I will defend the banks. Not because they were blameless: far from it. But because it diverts attention from the politicians who were ultimately responsible. Like Gordon Brown who, prior to 2008, befriended the "bankers" whilst boasting of his exemplary control of the economy.

My view is that Brown was primarily to blame for the demise of B&B, A&L, and HBoS via his expansion of the money supply which went into the housing boom. NR and RBS were mostly management failures and thus should have not have been bailed out by the taxpayer.

Budgie said...

BQ, I agree with your sentiments - we are indeed fortunate to live in this country.

But to call the UK 'capitalist' is an error. Just because Occupy did (actually their complaint was about one sector, finance) does not make it so. Roughly 50% GDP is the public and 50% state (40% tax, 10% borrowed). Not being accurate leaves an opening for statists to exploit.

The General said...

Bill, thanks for the quick response and kind words.

Believe me, those protesters who are just leftist dimwits (and I am sure there are quite a few), who simply want an end to what is left of free market capitalism and a socialist dream to rise from the ashes, rightly deserve both barrels of your original article.

In fact, trying to occupy the stock exchange was idiocy of the highest order, as it is not stock trading at fault, but banks.

However misguided some members of the movement, the fact remains that it has arisen since the bank bailouts. This appears to be the primary driver behind the movement. Even if some members are unaware of this or just using the opportunity to push their own left-wing agenda.

However, you are overlooking the fact that the free market capitalist system you support (I myself am a supporter of free markets), is under attack. Not from a few smelly oiks in tents, making a bit of noise and mess, but from the bankers inside their huge castle-like offices (ever wondered why those buildings are so big?). So much so, that it is highly unlikely we will turn the economic ship around without first capsizing.

Of course, the banks are not entirely to blame, the blame also lies with politicians who have been only too happy to deficit spend for decades to buy votes from an ignorant populace. Helping plunge our nation into a quagmire of debt from which I fear there will be no easy escape. Meanwhile our leaders tell us it'll all turn out nice soon enough.

In bailing out the banks, the government has hit the fast forward button to national insolvency, while enriching the undeserving at the expense of the citizens it is supposed to represent. It is nothing short of criminal.

The General said...

On the topic that you raised in your article, of the free market and the standard of living it has brought us in the UK, compared to many of our counterparts abroad, I have a question. Do you feel we have earned it completely as the result of the free market?

I mean, we are a country that used to control a third of the globe, via the barrel of a gun, helping ourselves to the resources of those nations we conquested, at rates we decided. Our empire has since faded, but we still have a powerful military and are allied with the greatest military power in the world, who took over from us with regards to world dominance (they are an empire in all but name - with bases spanning most of the globe).

Would the people of the world be better off if we didn't interfere in their domestic politics for our own ends? Helping installing agreeable rulers, even if they are corrupt or cruel, as long as the terms of trade suit us. Or dethroning rulers that dare stand up to us on their peoples behalf.

Libya is the latest example. Sure, Gadaffi was a tyrant, but it was all smiles with Tony Blair while the oil was flowing freely. As soon as Gadaffi suggested he might start selling oil in gold (Libya's sovereign right if they so choose surely?) we were in like Flynn to save the good people of Libya from tyranny.

Tell me, where is Mr Cameron? Surely he should be readying the fighter-bombers and be back on the TV demanding the head of Assad for the war crimes in Homs, third-largest city of oil-free Syria.

The truth is we are hypocrites, who do not really practice free market capitalism, but a corrupt form of it that benefits ourselves with complete disregard to most of the rest of the world, for which we are all collectively guilty. Above us sit the elite, an even greater bunch of criminals and hucksters.

The system you defend, is not free market capitalism, but its bastard child.

Of course, we all enjoy the fruits of the system, after all, it's easy to enjoy, when you sit in your warm house that hasn't been flattened by a NATO Freedom Bomb and the man on the telly tells you daily that you're the good guy, a selfless champion of freedom and democracy.

As for propaganda for entertainment, I think the last paragraph just about covers it.

Still, I'll admit, it is still a hell of a lot better than living in North Korea, so shouldn't complain really.

Electro-Kevin said...
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Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

BQ - No one's knocking the success of capitalism. In fact most of us supported it... once.

However, when the interests of bankers became mixed with those of socialist politicians and when banks became so favoured that they could privatise profit but nationalise risk then we became anti.

You point out that millions from the third world still want to come here. That's rather scraping the barrel if you cite that as an endorsement. I'd prefer to hear of Australians and Canadians queueing to work here as a measure of success.

The real question you ought to ask is why are our politicians allowing unskilled people from the third world in so freely.

Answer: Political correctness.

'Polite' company refuses to discuss immigration - only the increase in their house prices.(Which I happen to think of as tacky and vulgar - but that's just me)

The result is, unfortunately, the depletion of the real wealth of most of the people already here. They're doing this at such a fast rate that the cultural changes are palpable.

As well as our rapidly declining standard of living the authorities will - within a couple of years - be able to incarcerate us without trial and in complete secrecy if they want to.

I am truly aghast at the changes and the fall in standards which Blue Eyes is too young to truly understand. He really doesn't understand how short changed he is.

You might have been lucky so far, BQ but the younger generations won't be. And that's our fault for having been so complacent and gullible.

I give it 30 years and you won't be able to tell the difference between here and any other despotic shit hole.

Good comments by The General btw.

Electro-Kevin said...

PS. Had a few beers. Hence deletions and stilted writing.

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

Oh Well done Bill!

Fantastic description of the way we have to see it through beeb, etc eyes!

Preserve this post please - it just works so well!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic read.

Philipa said...

Top post, Bill. Can we share this post?

Nick Drew said...

Philipa - I am authorised to say 'yes', (& we'd appreciate a link ...)

hovis said...

I can see teh point you are trying make BQ but have to diagree.

The occupiers were rag tag and standard collection of misfits, trustafarians, and urban metropolitan chatertterti. Their message was one of nothing, impotent drivel from the modern young - real protser where wre ethe petrol bombs where was the real agenda? We are so impotenet as a society we cant even riot properly - more shopping with violence rather than a real political riot. An utter rotten refelection of the character an dculture of our country.

But if they (Occupy) were wrong, and impotent, it's all alright complacency isnt justified imho.

yes there is much good about things here, but they are merely an echo of what we once were. As a society we have been hollowed out culturally from the inside. Effectively what we have is latent frankfurt school marxism, from once cherished institutions. Thsi has combned to give us in other words we live in an insideous soft fascist society, (in the more literal not the pejorative sense).

I see no cause for optimism, indeed with EK on this with his 11.20 comment:

"give it 30 years and you won't be able to tell the difference between here and any other despotic shit hole." The causes of this are many.

Philipa said...

Nick, thanks I did that :-)

Incidentally, I agree with Hovis (11:54am).

Anonymous said...

For the record the tents are in Finsbury Square, which is not the same as Finsbury Park - which has enough problems of its own.

Penfold said...

The left will not see the logic...............

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

The point is not that there shouldn't be demonstrations - it's that the wrong people are doing the demonstrating; too busy making a living, one would assume.

I'll elaborate on my point for Hovis if I may:

Per year: 250,000 out (self funded) 600,000 in (no idea who they are, how much they bring or what they believe in)

Project 30 years ahead at this rate of change. In reality the change will increase to far more than this.

The indiginous youth have a right to be angry - except they're angry about all the wrong things.

Electro-Kevin said...

Better figures:

376000 out 572000 in (2011)

I think we're truly stuffed. It's not Vicky Pollards emigrating and there's no guarantee of who's coming in.

Anyone think my prognosis of this country becoming somewhere very corrupt, undemocrating and unpleasant is far fetched ?

Anonymous said...

Very good Bill - shame you don't knwo the difference between 'effect' and 'affect'. It could affect your ability to effect incisive posts in future.

James Higham said...

Bill, something for supper didn't agree?

Philipa said...

@Anon 5:28pm - you can buy laxatives for that.

Timbo614 said...

Been away... EK and Hovis and the general (partially) are correct.. "we stand on the shoulders of giants" but the giant(ex-empire) is shaky and weary, maybe we are getting too heavy IYSWIM :(

Prodicus said...

Accusations of conflating the state and capitalism are worthless. Capitalism means people with money buy the labour of people without it who do work which creates the wealth which pays the taxes which the state hands out as BQMP describes. In an anti-capitalist state such as the USSR, the moneyless 'workers' pretend to work and the anti-capitalist state pretends to pay them, not having any actual wealth with which to do so, and therefore needing a police state to enforce order and subservience to the (state) bosses. And to stop the citizens emigrating, of course.

hovis said...

Prodicus: by that defibition of capitalism, china is only semi capitalist (indeed true, it is authotarian -mercantilist) but it seems that all the major corporations (who are allegedly capitalist in the general view, not in mine) much prefer this environment to operate in. Who then protects capitaluism itself when the 'capitalists' don't much seem to want it?

Truly free markets and autonomous and free individuals is what is required.

Fotherington said...

A stonking post, although I believe a possible caveat is in order - of "When it works" all things are flawed :)

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Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that failing to exercise any due diligence when lending, to deliberately inflate a bubble in a non-discretionary asset, viz housing, followed by crying, "but we didn't know it would all end like every other Ponzi scheme that has been cooked up since developing a perpetual debt-backed monetary system designed to protect hegemony; give us another bailout, the next generation can pay for it with increased taxes.", was capitalism.

I'm still learning.

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