Wednesday 5 October 2016

Brown/Balls/Osborne...and now May/Hammond

I don wonder sometimes, how the economic centre of UK politics has been dragged so far to the left.

Ever since Ken Clarke, a acknowledged lefty Tory, left office in 1997 we have not had a decent Chancellor or Prime Minister who believes in capitalism.

Yet we have had a few changes of Government and people during this time, getting on for 20 years now. If anything, the speech by Teresa May today is even more left -wing that one that Ed Milliband would have dared to give. In fact, perhaps she is intent on seeing off Corbyn by out-flanking him on the Marxist left.

Massive state intervention has never been a good idea, never. I give you the Soviet Union as a lesson, I also give you China in about 5 years time too. I give you 1970's UK.

But this is what May wants, already we can see in the horrific scarcity of talent on her front bench from the simply dreadful Amber Rudd to the gaffe-prone Brexiteers, they sing in unison an anti-business and anti-capitalist dirge.

Of course we want to limit immigration, but blaming companies is not the right answer nor is trying to turn them into a police state.

Of course, we want stable utility prices, but not by Government decree; this is how they try to do it in Venezuela and Zimbabwe and we have seen the end of the film already. We want steady prices because there is a balance between supply and demand.

Market and capital based solutions are often the best answer we have ever developed, not perfect, not without downsides, but better than nanny-knows-best Government dictat.

It is a disgrace that 20 years of Government have seen frankly no real development of thought or innovation and instead politicians decree the same statist nonsense whatever side of the floor they are from. Perhaps they think they are clever as this is big tent politics. maybe it is, but it is terrible for our living standards.

What a shower they are, Labour of course are even worse, led by genuine communists. I fear a frightful few years ahead of constant backtracking and obvious policy errors.


david morris said...

Ken Clarke believes in capitalism....

Up to a point Lord Copper

Anonymous said...

Daughter of the Manse and like Brown heavy on moral duty etc, but the details of getting to the heavenly uplands a bit light, open to interpretation, and some way off in the distance.

Jack Hughes said...

Truly appalling stuff from a Tory government....and one with absolutely zero opposition.
They have a clear field to finally reduce taxes, simplify the whole bloated tax system and do something radical.

And yet what is that dull idiot Hammond talking about? Irresponsible companies, workers on boards and curbing bosses’ pay.

A golden opportunity going begging...

Anonymous said...

With state intervention, I was thinking about this the other day - with big data, and things like Amazon Dash there's a worry it could actually be viable in the near future, especially with how strong the links are between companies like Google and governments. The Register has done a few articles on the incestuous relations between them.

It'll be nothing like how the lefties fantasize, but an autocratic corporatist hell.

As for the Tories, they're desperate to be liked and fix their 'brand', however winning hearts whilst losing their wits doesn't strike me as likely to be successful. Learning from screw ups - like the bedroom 'tax' (works if you've plenty of housing stock, you just look evil and incompetent if you haven't) and asking public sector turkeys to vote for christmas by expecting the upper echelons to do sensible cuts, rather than them keep their little empires and pet projects going and blaming the government for frontline cuts - would be nicer than shifting away from being sensible.

Electro-Kevin said...

I am no statist but this speech (the precis I've read of it, at least) gladdens my heart.

She says nothing of the sort about government running businesses but stepping in where they fall short on moral obligation and national interest.

She speaks of a 'new' centre ground of politics which is something I've been banging on about for years. I hope she means to drag 'centre' further right. A subtle but key word indicates to me that she will. 'Fairness' rather than 'equality' is used. I've always argued that 'equality' should not be in the Tory lexicon unless it means 'equality of opportunity'; only *fairness* matters, and here it is in her speech.

She seems genuine and committed to Brexit though I am concerned that attempting to repeal the 1972 Act through a Europhile Parliament might kill it.

The only thing I disliked in her speech was the commitment to HS2 which I think should be scrapped and the money used to the betterment of roads as well as rail by means of strategic mini projects across the country.

I can't believe I've read such a speech from Theresa May. I fantasise that she's been reading my many postings here and there - if only. I could almost have written it.

Whatever. She's certainly listened to the core Brexit voters and understands us and how we feel let down by the City and corporateers after our support of Thatcherism.

We were willing to compete with the world but we did not expect this to mean the world would be invited to live here and compete with us for our basics.

The stretching of the word 'globalism'beyond acceptable limits, the abuses and lack of patriotism in the City and UK companies and the sneering contempt of the intelligensia have led us to ignore their exhortations to remain in the EU.

Like it or not the feelings of the people matter in a democracy.

It seems Mrs May has got it, by Jove !

Steven_L said...

Don't they all start off with these grand speeches and then just continue in pretty much the same vein as before? Cameron used to bang on about 'paternalism' and we've ridiculed 'nudge' on here before, but they are still there 'nudging' away.

Dick the Prick said...

@Anon 6.29 - totes agree, playing the man not the ball. Short termist, pay on the never never, let's get out of this shit alive and everyone will be happy!

Maybe it's her Type 1 diabetes and the fact that this is her last job coupled with Brexit occupying a fair bit of her time that she just thought, "sod it, not my problem" and she can leave it for the next guy.

And that drivel about companies submitting inventories of their staffing demographics is ridiculous; surely they can do that through NINO's and payroll numbers (except, of course, there's so many bureaucrats fannying about with huge IT projects that simply don't work by design)

If the best we can think is 'better than Labour', well, whooppee doo - manage those expectations down, eh?

Electro-Kevin said...

Well. For every non UK national employed without anything other than reasons of the rarest qualification a company should be taxed for the welfare entitlements (including NHS and schooling) of one person until we have zero unemployment.

An inventory would help with this.

And a few sticks to get our own people back to working well.

roym said...

'we did not expect this to mean the world would be invited to live here and compete with us for our basics'

*shakes head*

Nick Drew said...

I still think she's basically just a bit thick

(sorry Kev)

this may be disproportionately influenced by the Hinkley debacle, gad, what a wasted opportunity

Thud said...

We work with the govt we have not what we wish for and all in all I'm happy enough with this one, for now anyway.

dustybloke said...


dustybloke said...

The secret to understanding government policies is to look at the circumstances pertaining 10 years before.

May's strategy is to defeat a centrist Labour opposition. Of course, this no longer exists and she could quite happily call an election tomorrow, ratify her position as PM and announce a raft of right of centre policies.

But her advisers look behind themselves, not forward.

To revive an old adage, nobody got fired because of buying from IBM. Until IBM were utter shit. This has been government policy, with a brief interlude of sanity, for 200 years.

Electro-Kevin said...

ROYM - The article is full of lies and omissions - the major lie being that we want to exclude skilled migrants.

markc said...

If anything, the speech by Teresa May today is even more left -wing that one that Ed Milliband would have dared to give. In fact, perhaps she is intent on seeing off Corbyn by out-flanking him on the Marxist left.

Two great triumphs of socialism in recent decades:

1. Making it impossible for a political party NOT to involve itself in "caring" (i.e. controlling everyone and everything), political correctness, micro-management, over-regulation, picking winners, and making decisions for political ends (Hinckley! HS2!).

2. Persuading Da People that National Socialism is "Right Wing" politics in order to transfer the spectre of Fascism to the right, away from international socialists (who in reality are the Fascists' Fascists of choice.)

The second may not involve May, but the first does. All politics is now about populism in less than 140 characters.

CityUnslicker said...

lovely comment Markc - insightful.

I am not feeling any better today, where art thou capitalism...I see fellow-travellers such as Allister Heath are reacting the same way that we are.

dearieme said...

"how the economic centre of UK politics has been dragged so far to the left": because of the electorate; half of them are stupid, you know, and all of them are thoroughly propagandised by the beeb.

To counteract this you'd need a politician who was a top class leader and persuader. They come along only rarely.

dearieme said...

"To counteract this you'd need ...": I should have added, it might be counteracted when an emergency shows that leftishness is unsustainable e.g. the Winter of Discontent.

Electro-Kevin said...

Dearieme @12.05 - Evidently not. 52% of voters just voted to Leave the EU.

There is nothing Left/Right about calling capitalism to account when it needs to be.

Particularly when it demands the effective abolition of one's country whilst also demanding the taxpayer helps fund it.

dearieme said...

Some of the credit must go to Farage, who in his idiosyncratic way proved to be a remarkable political leader.

Contrast Cameron or BritRevKomJez.

Laban Tall said...

"I give you 1970's UK"

How do the employment, wage, housing, pension and education prospects for a school-leaver in 1976 compare with those of a school leaver in 2016?

To ask the question is to realise how much of what was called "the post-war settlement" has vanished.

"The economy" is not a god to be propitiated. It's there for the people.