Tuesday 17 February 2015

Doom, Gloom - and Reasons to be Cheerful

The news from overseas is pretty awful:  but round my way the sun shining this morning, I'm feeling bouyant for a number of reasons - and the Tories are ahead in the polls!  Cue the inevitable CiF thread, further adding to the jollity.

What's more, the same poll has 'NHS' as the most important single issue by a mile, having previously contested the #1 slot with other issues.  If Mili, howling 'dodgy Tories' at the top of his nasal voice, can't hang on to his earlier poll lead against that backdrop, ...

I shan't rub it in for all you 'kippers out there.

Having always been in the camp of everything to play for / Crosby knows the score / no such thing as 'this is an election to lose' - well, I still am.  Couldn't claim to have anticipated the SNP thing, in fact quite the reverse, I kinda thought the referendum result would put them back in their box.  No matter.

There must now be the strong possibility of a huge negative feedback loop for Labour.  Balls was already lining up Mili for both barrels.  Tax avoidance isn't a great platform for the Mili-family to campaign on, so that line won't serve for much longer.  The meeja have unanimously decided the Pink BatBus is hilarious.  Oh yes, the sun is shining.

Greece, Ukraine, Libya, Italy, Denmark ... that's for tomorrow.



Budgie said...

I don't want to puncture your manic phase too abruptly, ND, but Labour don't need as high a poll rating as the Tories to beat them. And since Labour will cede some seats to the SNP despite your optimistic "No matter" dismissal, we are still on course for a Labour-SNP coalition.

The end result of that is likely to be the effective secession of Scotland from the UK, something I previously predicted, and which I think is still on course. I suspect that even you would prefer UKIP to do well in that case so transferring the political story from Scotland's leaving the UK to the UK leaving the EU.

MyHalfTermName said...

The SNP thing is odd, isnt it? They lose the election but then the whole of Scotland votes for them.
As for the election.... I honestly couldnt call it. I have heard support for UKIP from some unlikely quarters though.

If the government keep denying under 40s like my self the right to buy a house (by artificially inflating prices) while at the sme time denying me interest on my savings (because I'm under 65) then I shall vote UKIP too.


Sebastian Weetabix said...

I was highly amused by Milliband saying Russell Brand was just articulating what everyone was thinking. I can't help wondering if he had Brand's comment about Balls being a "snidey cunt" in mind at the time.

Personally I don't think it matters that much who gets in next time. The real government is in Brussels; the twats in Westmongster just obey orders anyway, and we don't have the option of voting the commission out. So I might as well vote UKIP for the giggle.

AndrewZ said...

The link between the “news from overseas” and domestic politics is that the more dangerous the global situation becomes the stronger the Miliband Effect will be. If we go to the polls with a background of wars and economic crises a lot of people will decide that he just isn’t up to the job.

Fence sitter said...

Its always been tribal and UKIP will see a decline as UKIP-type policies are promised in the latter days.

Scotland was the dry run. Promise anything to win, then reverse.

It'll be close though

hovis said...

I truly can't see that it makes a huge difference overall. We are back to what flavour of incompetance and corruption do you favour - or think that will favour you...

hovis said...

MyHalfTermName: genuine question here - are you flirting with UKIP because you are attracted by the F.U factor to stir the system up or because you think some of their policy prescriptions may work?

BE said...

ND, glad to see you disagreeing with CU that the end is nigh. I believe that CU, like Saint Vince, has predicted 8 of the last collapses in western civilisation ;-)

I am also optimistic. The Labour party is concentrating on its post-election leadership contest. Hedgegate (gatehedge?) is hilarious and the sort of thing which just makes Ed M look unprime-ministerial, or yet-more-unprime-ministerial.

The economy is probably in its best shape in fifty years. No inflation, very low unemployment, the wealth-effect of higher house prices must surely start to feed in to better consumer spending and then business investment. I remember in 1997 everyone asked "will the feel-good factor return in time for the election?" but this time there is nobody playing the Blair role.

I don't think it will be an easy election for the Tories to win, and I don't find Cameron to be my favourite political leader ever, but he is streets ahead of the other party leaders in terms of what I think he will do as PM in the next parliament.

My 2015 predictions are looking fairly solid at this stage of the game.

So, yes, I will join you in enjoying the early spring sunshine.

BE said...

HalfTermName: The housing situation is absurd. I think there is a space in the political spectrum for a neo-Heseltinite: a dryish Tory but shifting resources from welfare to infrastructure spending; a big and sustained council house building boom; more roads and railways; you get the idea. Cameron/Osborne have been very good and the serious we must cut cut cut agenda (which we still must), but by the end of the next parliament they must present a more positive vision of a thriving, post-depression Britain.

CityUnslicker said...

BE - whence ecumbered by wife and 3 sporgs, it always feels as if the end is nigh!

Personally, I know there are a lot of shy UKIppers out there. not being one to hold back I find general horror when saying I have been voting UKIP, only for later people to quietly agree. Such was the result of losing the political correctness war.

Fence sitter has a well made point though, promise the earth and then deal with the consequences afterwards. After all when Cameron tried to tell everyone what it wouldbe really like in 2009 his poll ratings went from 15% ahead to 7% aheard. There are no votes in the truth.

I am genuinely interested to learn whether the UK public hate the Tory brand so much that they will vote for Labour when it is such a shower. Again, it will be a guide if that occurs as to the scale of the war won by the Political Correctness paradigm.

Nick Drew said...

Budgie - I see the scottish arithmetic same as you, + LibDems losing to SNP also

but I don't believe the Tories have more than a singleton to lose there: and AFAIK SNP aren't contesting Labour heartlands south of the border

so that all looks quite like a zero-sum game for the raw arithmetic of the Tory parliamentary bloc, albeit a fractured, stroppy non-Tory camp containing a very focussed SNP sub-set

so - in how many seats do UKIP voters unseat current Tories? That's the major question, and I can't guess, but I'd say: less by May than (say) before last Xmas [-see that poll-]

and AndrewZ is surely right about the impact of overseas 'events', prob on Farage as well as on Mili

(who should be trying to do what Boris is doing, namely making UK headlines with overseas datelines)

Anonymous said...

The cause of high house prices has nowt to do with supply of either private or especially council housing. House prices are my (and many people of my age 20-35) number one concern.

The Tories have no answer to this, or even seem to want to acknowledge it is a problem, GO CAPATALISM!

Labour think the solution is social housing, it isnt, and only turns affordable housing into a lottery of have and have nots for the less affluent but not poor.

Lib dems waffle about mansion taxes, not sure what else.

UKIP are a bunch of wankers and idiots.

Fuck this is depressing.

MyHalfTermName said...

@Hovis -
" are you flirting with UKIP because you are attracted by the F.U factor to stir the system up or because you think some of their policy prescriptions may work?"

Thats actually a really tough question to answer! I think most of the problems we face are demographic; too many pensioners, basically. They are hogging resources (housing and healthcare), spending little and paying decreasing taxes. We can only pander to them for so long.

At some point someone has to take the decisions to stop the UK from sinking into a hole.
We must then either massively increase immigration or accept that our tax base must be radically altered (asset taxes).

If not, we must accept a huge decline in services for my generation, those services being hollowed out and wound down for the current pensioners. Thats unacceptable.

I favour the tax approach but, failing that, immigration is the only solution. Thats where the establishment parties are leading us and in this respect I support UKIP; infrastructure before immigration would be my election slogan.

Does this make sense to anyone else?

Fence Sitter said...

"Thats actually a really tough question to answer! I think most of the problems we face are demographic; too many pensioners, basically. They are hogging resources (housing and healthcare), spending little and paying decreasing taxes. We can only pander to them for so long."

A good point and it is relevant throughout the whole of Northern Europe which is also ageing fast. Were it not for the Eastern Europeans and the Med boat people, the demographics would look even worse.

But unless the rich northerners in Europe can reconcile their distaste for incomers with their need for them there will always be the UKIP-type appeal.

So every time Mr & Mrs CU add another sprog they are part of the solution. Or are children so out of fashion these days?

John in Cheshire said...

I have a theory about house prices being driven up by buy to let landlords. I have long time found it not just bizarre but also immoral for our government to provide so much incentive for people to become landlords and I think I know why. The people who have been governing us have known for maybe 50 or more years that we are to be swamped with immigrants. They knew that these immigrants would need to be housed but there would be uproar if they were seen to be building houses for immigrants so they have used subterfuge by encouraging individuals, with taxpayers money to do the job for them.

Nick Drew said...

MyHTName - more than one demographic issue, I'd suggest, because not all immigration is of the young-and-hardworking type: much chain migration is of 100% never-contributing extended family

that important point aside, you point to a very standard phenomenon: growth of economy historically stems from growth in population*

of course, sometimes that's from 'within', via uprooting susbsistence farmers and bringing them into the cities (England, China, increasingly India etc)

but other times it's via immigration (USA, Australia etc etc)

as I often recount here, I frequently meet Euro-types who marvel at and envy how we manage to accommodate so much (productive) immigration with (relatively) little strife, "thereby" (in their view) boosting our working population and GDP against the trend

I'd go with a combination of productive-immigration only, plus something simple like a few more bands on the Council Tax beyond 'H', which is just obvious once the banding principle is conceded, which clearly it is (and I'm no mansion-taxer or LVT nut)

= = = = =
*I am sure someone can cite me some counter-examples, but beware the 'Qatar' type because (a) natural resouces on that scale are pretty far from relevant to us and (b) the ME countries (Oman is the one I know personally) tend to have strongly growing but firmly non-acknowledged populations of serf-labourers from the sub-continent, which outnumber the indigenous folk by such a degree that it's a state secret

Jer said...


I agree to an extent, but it isn't purely demographics.

As the older people die off and _aren't_ replaced then house prices will fall and the cost of services will fall.

Importing unskilled Asians and east Europeans doesn't actually help in any respect.

I think a climate of fear around the international situation will help Cameron, falsely though as he has made a complete pig's ear of international matters and showing no sign of learning or indeed talent.

This man will negotiate with Angela Merkel and get what he wants... right?

Electro-Kevin said...

ND - So the NHS is the biggest issue in the UK ?

Well then. Socialism has won, hasn't it !

Instead of soviet tractor stats the UK argues over soviet treatment times.

So Labour and Conservatives dance around the head of a pin in a battle ground dragged way over to the left as Blair wanted it.

You may rejoice "C'mon you Blues !" because a team strip is all there is to discern one side of the House to the other.

As it happens I still think the polls are wrong. The latest was paid for by the Guardian and involved only 1000 people from what I hear.

Suffragent said...

Hovis and SW on the money as usual
“War is when your government tells you who the enemy is. A revolution is when you figure it out yourself.”

Suffragent said...

MHTN if one of your goals is to own a house, then increasing the demand side of the equation is the last thing you want. Surely a reduction in population would have a beneficial effect to the first time buyer. Unfortunately that would kill that “feel good factor”.
JC (good initials btw).This was the main reason that I left the UK. At the time, Brown, instead of taxing them off the planet, was suggesting, second homes may be considered as part of a pension (therefor giving a huge price/Tax differential between the middle aged investor and the first time buyer).It was never implemented but it re-kick started a stalling housing bubble. Don’t forget that the BTL market is so profitable because of the ludicrous housing benefits, that skew the market.

Electro-Kevin said...

MyHTName - Not even 'kippers are against immigration, so long as it is selective.

Fat chance of that now.

For the refugee crisis that is Libya (and his gift to IS) Cameron deserves to be kicked out of office.

Suffragent said...

ND Just have to question a couple of your points
growth of economy historically stems from growth in population. Firstly: the examples you give were or are now, going through the industrialisation period of economic development. I’m a capitalist but recognise its shortfalls. As a society/business becomes more efficient though mechanisation and computerisation, what do you do with the excess people. We are in a state of industrial decline and need less people to maintain the same production/living standards. The last thing you want to do is import more.
Secondly: Growth? Description please. What are we gauging? If you have 100 people living in a space, each with an income of a £1000 or we have 1000 people living in the same space, with an income of a £120, which people are the happier? The government would obviously go for the second as they achieve a 20% growth.
It’s a bit basic but I’m sure you get my drift.

EK to end on a positive note. Socialism hasn't won. The same people that did the poll are the same people that said the NHS is the biggest issue. The propaganda machine has hit the skids, with dead tree press/TV in decline and people turning to the net for their news and intelligent debate. People are sick of the press telling them what their views are. There is a definite feeling of unrest in the mild middle classes and think this will be reflected in the election.

Electro-Kevin said...

Suffragent - My point was that the Tories are rejoicing in wresting back the voters from Ukip... by out Labouring Labour and defending their territory.

They are so obsessed with winning the game that they seem to have forgotten their own core values.

The NHS is the new industrial wing of the Labour party. The Labour party have. quite masterfully, put their agenda at the centre of the political conflict and - if it is true that the NHS is now our top concern - turned our people socialist.

Blairist to be more exact. That's capitalists pretending to be socialists - leading people who are now scared of the real world outside the EU and outside of the welfare society.

It isn't just (as Cameron says) the long-term unemployed who have been infantalised by Labour. Nearly ALL of us have.

Anonymous said...

ND - "growth of economy historically stems from growth in population"

a) or maybe the arrow of causation is the other way round. Ireland had a healthy birth rate for the last hundred years - but they all left because of the lousy economy. If you're right why aren't Yemen and Burkina Faso booming ?

b) sod "growth in economy" - per capita growth is what counts, and on that score we are still well below 2007 levels of productivity. People are not fungible units of production. If 250,000 Brits leave each year for Oz and Canada, to be replaced by 250,000 Somalis, productivity per head will move a tad in the direction of Somali productivity. Continue this for 30 years and see where that leads.

dearieme said...

In the labour/SNP coalition, the man best qualified to be Chancellor of the Exchequer is Wee Eck. I feel obliged to repeat myself on this, because people don't seem yet to have grasped the fact. But maybe "Krystal" Balls has.

Nick Drew said...

Suff, Anon@11:21 - poor choice of words on my part: population growth seems to be an associated (I won't go as far as 'necessary'), but by no means sufficient condition

without a shadow of doubt, 'viable market framework' is another - so until China and India (and Brazil and ...) decided to adopt a recognisable version of free-enterprise capitalism, all that lumpen population is stuck in subsistence-farming (or large armies)

'market framework' includes the sort of socal / educational / cultural stuff also missing in Yemen etc: whole books on why the industrial rev started where it did. (Ireland is an interesting case, some complicated interactions going on in C19)

I agree, if course, that

(a) 'quality of growth' is important to the population (note that recent decades of US growth has been of little $-benefit to a large part of what they call the 'middle class')

(b) politicians (and their friends the plutocrats) are generally happy to settle for any growth at all, to increase their clout / rent-taking / tax-base / disguise other problems ...

(c) greenies advocate dropping growth altogether as a desideratum of policy

'excess people'? well some of what comes along with chain migration isn't even vaguely productive, as noted before; and of course much of this thread starts from a classification of retirees as 'excess' (watch it, sunshine) - so let's look at Japan. As I read, they are (a) anxously trying to build robot-carers etc for their distinctly ageing demographic, but that ain't really satisfactory; (b) suffering whenever they need an urgent input of manual labour, e.g. after the tsunami; (c) 'unable' to solve the shortage of productive-youth via immigration, because there are very strong cultural barriers

which is where MHTN's original comment came in

everyone's addicted to growth, whatever the greenies say and whether they like it or not

finally, there is the interesting phenomenon of how people have been bemoaning feeble UK growth-rates since the end of the C19 - by comparison wit whichever country is the new, dynamic upstart - and yet somehow the UK has done brilliantly through wars, loss-of-empire, depressions, rise of super-powers, just jogging along at 2% ...

Suffragent said...

Kev-We are talking about politicians, they are bereft of core values. My point was, all of them and their propaganda machine, are so caught up in the their perpetual bullshit cycle, they have lost all contact with the mood of the nation (not just the UK but all over the west (I travel a lot on business) and I regularly hear comments “you should never hear in a work environment” that would shock Hitler* never mind the PC brigade). These are not your Sun reading Neanderthals but quiet intelligent people.
Trying to take a positive spin on this. The more they spout this B”#¤%cks the more people are looking for other options, regardless of what the MSM say (It’s a private vote)
Conservatives- lost their core voters cos after the financial crisis, the people realised they’d overdone it and believed they deserved a spanking. Having no feedback mechanism from the public, they took the word of their inner circle (who all have dogs in the fight) “carry on spending the public will never go for cuts.
Labour- are losing their core voters through death for the older ones (after years of unemployment the working person dies young through poor diet and lack of exercise. The younger ones have been dumbed down so much they have actually gone to the greens or any uver group u will stand up 4 their uman rites (and don’t say anifing that mite ofend em)
Lib-tu-brute- the old protest party……just Ha-ha
I’m with You on Ukip cos I like Nige and it seriously couldn’t be worse than the other shysters. It’s better to have someone who raises the issues now, than some ranting lunatic in a few years.
*I can say Hitler now because Suffragent has a higher kill rate on threads than the word Hitler or Nazis 

Suffragent said...

ND- I’m asking is there not a better way of judging a countries prosperity and living standard than the manipulated Economic BS we have now.
We basically have the Goldilocks inflation rate (we will call this the tax man for my later analogy) A method of stripping the value out of a persons accumulated wealth. Not too high to have the peasants revolting and definitely not negative to have the bankers revolting. Everything that goes up in price, stripped out of the equation.
Then we have the holy grail of growth (we will call this going to see the Bank manager) Yes of course things are improving, our growth rate is higher than your interest rate. Anything that looks remotely positive is added to the equation. Including activities they have established as being illegal.
*Analogy* The Government are like a self-employed person looking for a mortgage.
They go to see the taxman and its. Sorry governor, it’s as barren as a nuns c%&¤ out there. Avn’t made a scratch all year.
Then they go to see the bank manager. Sorry I’m late, It was difficult leaving the van cos of all the piles of money everywhere. I’ve got a full team of poles doing the building stuff, all cash and a couple of those Slovakian girls who get me the money back (if you know what I mean). Her up the street is talkin about a huge extension and she’s worth a few bob………………….
When the Government has noticed the plebs getting a bit twitchy about direct theft/tax and they have run out stealth taxes, they only have two options.
Inflation, destroy a person’s savings and force them back to work and income tax
Growth, we have realised you are fully tapped out so we will go and borrow money in your name to continue our vital work.
2% growth? It’s all crap. We had a bigger market share of the car market in Europe than all the others in the 1950’s and an industrial infrastructure to match. It takes a long time to sell of that much kit before you realise your broke. Today you don’t have to take a plane to see the third world, just drive out of the SW.

Open question, How do we evaluate a standard of living
PS having a rant cos I know this thread is dead.

Electro-Kevin said...

I like the name Suffragent, btw. Clever. Very clever. Almost as good as my all time favourite which is No Longer Anonymous.

Nick Drew said...

oh, I patrol by these old threads occasionally

How do we evaluate a standard of living

very difficult, I'm sure we'd all agree

e.g. what value do we put on having the internet (personally - a lot), which we certainly didn't enjoy 20 years ago

what value on cars that always start, and don't conk out in heavy traffic on a hot day