Monday, 3 July 2017

Disturbing news for the reality-based community

Why do I keep meeting people who are spouting commie nonsense. Only today I have met some senior executives who should know better. They are bemoaning the state of the country post-Grenfell and saying how rubbish we are governed and how things must change....


How the rich (err, them?) have got richer and the poor poorer. How neo-liberal economics has taken us there, how terrible Brexit is for the Country.


Basically, the Corbyn mantra is working. The Tories too are wrongly adopting this nonsense instead of rallying around their own message.


Very worrying - is it just me or is this becoming common, that people have lost sight of the reality of the Hard Left and are instead running to its, umm, warm embrace?

44 comments:

Charlie said...

"Why do I keep meeting people who are spouting commie nonsense."

Because the BBC and other supposedly neutral news outlets have normalised it.

Because the Tories have absolutely no idea what they believe in, so this stuff goes unopposed.

Because many people have lost the ability to form an original, critical thought and therefore ingest their opinions in the form of memes, tweets and 5 second video clips of middle-class idiots chanting Corbyn's name at a silent disco.

Because commie twaddle is now cool. It shows how much you care about, say, young people's struggle to get on the housing ladder, obviously down to evil Mrs May rather than your own portfolio of BTLs.

That's why.

Electro-Kevin said...

Charlie has it right. The Conservatives have been neutralised by the BBC.

We are stuffed.

Dick the Prick said...

All of this antipathy was well presented before the vote.

Cameron attempted to bring in a well being metric. Qualts is what the NHS use. No such luxury here - pop that pizza on!

formertory said...

It's the two, and a half, tools of mob rule at work: Twitter, Facebook and the BBC. Plus you need to be in your late fifties / sixties to remember how godawful the UK was organisationally and economically in the sixties and seventies (I am, and though I have happy memories of my yoof, it was a different planet to this one).

Plus the NHS is lauded as the perfect system (if only it were to be given all the money which it deserves for its heroic angelic staff) and so the fact that it so often fails in practice must be because it doesn't get the money. Ah, evil Tories again. Wash that through the tools of mob rule and suddenly, it's been carved in tablets of stone.

Corbyn's Labour understands it. The Tories are nowhere near - the emails they sent to people on the contact database during the election campaign were an insult to the intelligence of their readers, and a joke compared with messages on social media.

Mind you, if you think this is bad, just wait until Corbyn takes over from May and promptly reduces the voting age to 16.

John Miller said...

I despair, I really do. My own sons adore Corbyn as the True Messiah. They just laugh at my ancient memories of Wilson, Callaghan and Healey.

When I tell them that Wilson, immediately after the devaluation said that the pound in your pocket is worth just the same, they laugh and, so stupid is the concept, assume I'm making it up.

Years of soft socialism from the Tories, and every Government for the last 30 years ensuring double digit house price inflation, really have created an authentic, not just cultural, generation gap.

It's too late now, the modern generation will have to experience Socialism before they understand it. When the current generation are in their forties and paying 83% tax on their earnings they'll get the gist of it all right, but the deadly combination of solitary Communism and Brexit will prove fatal for the country. By then we'll be a carbon copy of Venezuela or Cuba but without any natural resources.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that it is purely an age/generation gap thing - I'm in my thirties and awaiting a suitable entry point into the housing market. The reason that a whole generation is priced out is precisely because capitalism hasn't been allowed to work its magic on the UK housing market since the 90s. And we all know what happened to the governing party of the time after that.

It's education, education, education, as Tony Blair said. And my how the left have taken advantage of their position in the state education sector to indoctrinate the youth into their ways.

Ravenscar. said...

Invariably, those who complain about how badly run is the country, will in the next breath inform you that, the EU is good for Britain and about the 'benefits' of mass immigration.

Paradox and cognitive dissonance = gross stupidity.

Elby the Beserk said...

What is not being pointed out by the BBC or indeed, any media outlet, is that Corbyn is just another example of populism. Like Brexit, like Trump, he is yet another manifestation; just this time on the hard left and therefore capable of inflicting major damage to the UK.

The new Captcha is driving me mad. Sometimes I have to complete 6 or 7 image frames. Seriously putting me off commenting.

Nick Drew said...

the Great British Public is immune from political doctrine - which is why they are suckers for any old fad, and they've certainly fallen for this one. "If you believe nothing, you'll believe anything"

nice cartoon in the Eye this week: couple of bedsit Corbynistas in a room full of posters saying 'YOUTH 4 CORBYN', 'JEZ IS THE REAL DEAL' etc etc

one says to the other: "Isn't it great how we're the first generation not to fall for the old political hype?"

Nick Drew said...

Sorry Elby - but keep coming !

andrew said...

Look at it a different way round.

There was a general expectation that once you walk out of uni, you should be able to get a reasonable job, a reasonable house and your mum will be looked after by the NHS.

This has not been working since the mid-90s and since '07 it has become increasingly noticeable.

The gap between the top 1% and all else is growing, and no-one cared while all boats were being floated. But they have not been for some time.

The political leadership's inability to engage with britain (since blair 1),
repeated public service failures that become visible (hillsborough, rotherham, baby p...) that no-one seems to be responsible for,
business leaders seem to be a different breed who deserve appropriate compensation set by their mates whereas the cleaners dont really deserve a living wage set by the govt.

All of this comes together to corrode the general trust in our fellow man - that we are 'all in this together' ( (c) g. osborne)
- when this is just not so.

Corbyn did not create these conditions. He spotted them and exploited the gap in the (voting) market.

He is right that many of these issues are not the result of unescapable natural forces. They are the result of political decisions.

He asks a few simple questions:

- the only natural resource in the UK is people, why not invest by making education free?
- why is the highest paid person paid over 1000x the lowest paid person - do they really contribute 1000x more? (no)
- why are houses so expensive
- why cant your mum get a GP appointment

And yes, he may win on this ground.

But that is only because the cons are just not engaging with these issues, or the the answers they have are deeply unpalatable.
On that basis, though he does not deserve to win, we deserve to lose.

And that is the zeitgeist I think the post is capturing a part of - a recognition that (currently) we deserve to lose.

Sobers said...

" the only natural resource in the UK is people, why not invest by making education free?
- why is the highest paid person paid over 1000x the lowest paid person - do they really contribute 1000x more? (no)
- why are houses so expensive
- why cant your mum get a GP appointment"

1) It is free, from cradle to 18 at the very least, and at university too if you're too stupid to get a well paid job afterwards.
2) Idiotic 'division of the pie' fallacy. If the 1% leave the country the rest of us don't get their income divided between us.
3) Because the State makes them so, via rules on how they are built and where they can be built.
4) Because any service that is totally free at the point of use will always have infinite demand. Increasing the population by 5m immigrants also won't help either.

Pretty much every problem the UK faces today is down to State action. And we're told the solution is more State action.

What was it about the definition of insanity?

Bill Quango MP said...

Have to agree with much of what Andrew says.

But it's an uphill battle with the media. Radio five had a corbynistas saying the 1% rise is paid for by the tax on that rise. So it is in effect free.

The interviewer failed to ask why, if that was true, don't they get a 100% rise. As it costs nothing. And what, if the payrise is immediately swallowed up in the tax to pay for it, is the point of raising it in the first place.

Instead, just a murmur, " are you sure that's right!" And the commie saying " defo..fully costed..blah blah."


L fairfax said...

@Sobers
"3) Because the State makes them so, via rules on how they are built and where they can be built."
Very true that is why houses are expensive although I would add the benefit system helps a lot (why should people who don't work in central London be given free housing in zone2).

Anonymous said...

You can blame the BBC and their ilk all you like, but Corbyn has tapped into a rich vein of genuine resentment. It exists without advertisement by the media, all they do is provide the big red flashing light and screeching klaxon warning about the resentment.

If you want to apportion blame you've got Nu Labour, the Coalition and the Tories - all of whom decided to stick on a blindfold and invest in earplugs in the hope the problems would magically disappear.

Well, looks like they didn't. And after a long while of the supposed adults acting like children, hoping the big, scary monster under the bed would just go, it appears the children have gotten fed up and want a crack at solving the problems themselves. Can hardly blame them for that.

You'd think they maybe might have learned from the immigration debacle, where UKIP made hay from the parties refusal to recognise an issue. But no. The Tories and the Blairites have made a similar mistake, and it's the Corbynistas who are taking advantage.

As others have said, most of these issues come from the state, and the Tories have hardly made an argument for less state, so the argument now becomes whose hands are on the levers. Again, the Tories are not making very convincing arguments here.

The Tories badly need a battle plan - an actual one, not the Eddie the Iron Maiden mascot in drag repeating phrases - that, and I hate this word, is 'transformative' and can be rolled out across traditional and social meeja.

There are a whole roster of vectors to get a message across in a subtle fashion. Show, not tell. Inform, not lecture. Unveil, don't attack.

You look at the left's tanks on social meeja, and it's little wonder the Tories - or capitalism for that matter - aren't doing anything. Where is the answer to The Canary or Another Angry Voice that doesn't come across as Racist Old White Folk?

andrew said...


I think we often attack the media for reflecting widely held views that we do not agree with.

On the "Idiotic 'division of the pie' fallacy"
That is a Strawman argument - try harder.

Characterising any response to the issues that slap many in the face as
'well this means more state and more state = bad'
is just not answering the question or providing any positive vision of the future.
Continuing to act like that will end in a JC govt.

How can we say there is no magic money tree - TM shook it and found several billion.




CityUnslicker said...

thanks for all the comments - sorry about captcha but without it we would have 10x the comments, mainly about Viagra in Uzbekistan.

I agree, the right need a better story. They have one, UKIP has it!

Less immigration - less need for houses
Less immigration - higher wage inflation
Less immigration - less pressure on the NHS

Fuck being racist, that meme works because it is so self-evidently true. The issue with the Tories is they are frightened of the truth. The people I agree don't get the reality of the hard left.

Plus, to double up, we need capitalism in the markets - freedom to build housing, in the NHS, in the State - but to couple that with living wages and opportunities for more people.

The 1% thing kills me because I work with them every day - very, very few are British. UK is home to the Global 1% as we are a safe tax haven. Thus people see the impact of this fare more than they would in say Copenhagen or Iceland.

dearieme said...

Decades ago I moved from being a young academic to working in industry. My new colleagues were much less willing to listen to my arguments for the Adam Smith/Hayek point of view than my fellow academics had been. Ever since, I've tended to hold the economic views of business people in contempt. In particular, corporate executives tend to be clueless compared to those small businessmen - a minority, I'll grant you - who are shrewd and reflective.

Sobers said...

"On the "Idiotic 'division of the pie' fallacy"
That is a Strawman argument - try harder."

Its not a straw man. Its the reality of wealth creation. There is not a fixed amount of wealth such that if 100 people have X and one person has 100X then taking the 100X off the one will not result in the rest having 2X. It just doesn't work like that.

The whole philosophy of tax is mad anyway - we accept that putting high taxes on cigarettes will result in less cigarette consumption, so why do we think that if we tax wealthy people to hilt we'll not get less wealthy people?

I already moderate my income because of taxes - I could run my business at a rate of profit twice what it is today, but I don't bother. Why? Because the State would take half of the extra money (some of it at 60%) and I'm not slogging my guts out to give half of my efforts away.

James Higham said...

The Corbyn mantra is a worry for the young.

Anonymous said...

What if ... there were no politicians. Could you run a country without them and when can we start.

Anonymous said...

"I despair, I really do. My own sons adore Corbyn as the True Messiah. They just laugh at my ancient memories of Wilson, Callaghan and Healey."

This is what I have too, to the extent of one of them joining Momentum and going to their meetings although he wasn't so enthused by his local Labour Party meeting. (Good!) Any attempt to recall the previous era is met with indifference so they are impossible to persuade even when I tell them many high tax payers went to live abroad rather than pay here.

Tories need to go back to basics with the idea that everyone is better off when taxation is low and the state is kept out of as much as possible and letting a free market do its stuff. We haven't had a true Tory government for decades.

The other thing no-one young seems to grasp is that anything the state pays for has to be paid for from taxation or borrowing. Interest rates on the borrowings we have as a country are low at the moment but we will be broke if they rise to any extent and we don't get the debt down. Seemingly endless QE has stopped anyone from thinking this any more. House prices and other assets have been pushed up in price largely because of this magic money tree with all the "help" schemes governments have dreampt up.

At the momemt only the banks and the 1% are winners and things will stay this way unless we come to our senses.

If JC had said he would pay for his largesse by cancelling a few big things eg Trident, Hinkley, HS2 I might be more inclined to believe him. As it is though it just seems to be pie in the sky.

E-K said...

Just a few weeks ago we were talking of a Labour implosion.

Has double voting by students been checked ? I know my boy got two votes. He says registration for postal nullifies local but is this true ?

hovis said...

Some perceptive comments, however remember there are multiple answers at play.
So, is it the media, the education system or ‘market failure’ – it is all three.

The media BBC, Sky and everyone else reflect a settled view that has always been soft left and now we see an extra frisson of excitement running through them when they talk of Corbyn and ‘Socialism’.
Agree there is no coherent questioning/ challenging of anyone. A friend’s facebook comment at the election ‘debates’ said of Paxman: he is trying to be Brian Walden but without the education, ideas or politeness. There simply is no longer a level of interest /debate . 24hr rolling media and a shorter attention span sees everything emotive & superficial.

Another factor is education – a national standard curriculum and capture by a leftist establishment, multiculturalism and soft left views. The thing with Thatcherism, it won some economic arguments but left the field open to destroy culture.
Indeed the multinational Corporates and government have happily aided and abetted the left in destroying culture and indigenous value sets in the name of efficiency, modernity and creating “consumers”. (Not best example but the Corporate behemoth I work for enthusiastically installs toilets for transgendered people in the office whilst no one in the office building is ..) Combine both factors and hey presto you have iPhone totting young ‘Socialists’ pushing for Corbynism.

As to Corbyn, I have said before he as identified issues that the Tories will not even touch. The University fees(*)(**) example for one – electoral poison identified by Corbynite left, offering to many here a piss poor solution, but it is something more than the Tories who run away doing the ‘move along nothing wrong, nothing to see here’ routine.
More generally it may be that a “free market” may fix things, but the Tories have never much of a free market party, talking of it, but in practice happily enabling their big Corporatist donors in regulatory capture and cosy deals.

The focus on “Capitalism” is to an extent is false; you can have Capitalism (the most efficient return on Capital with only a few owners of it. That would not make things “better” per se for the majority of people. What gets confused is the need for personal agency and responsibility and freedom ( and freedom to fail). These have been seen by many as synonymous with ‘free markets’ and ‘capitalism’ but it is the results want not the fetishisation of the terms themselves which is what has happened. So the goal has been left open for the morons of the left to score.

I could go on, this is a multi threaded subject and I have not even mentioned the secular religionhood that the NHS is now elevated to.

The Tories only have themselves to blame, they have not articulated a society they want, and believed "efficiency", "the market", and "modernity" will form the best outcomes. Is the surge is not per se for Corbyn, a lot of cultof personality noise, but really on the ground bar the shouters, or against the perception of a broken system? (which I have been repeatedly saying it remains so since 2008 – actually before Blair Brown set the bomb ticking it just went off then).
PS: reading aphorisms from Taleb's Bed of Procrustes and so many apply here.
*The broken pledge on fee levels *& the interest charges; now sold to a private company that uses the machinery of State to collect and enforce debt. At the same time money has been printed and continued to be hosed at other equally undeserving sectors of the economy.
** The moronic Blairite policy of 50% to “University” and paying fees was based on a Graduate premium but that only works if you have a minority going to University. So the whole get a degree, get a good job etc. only works with a much smaller is a minority of the population that goes. (1950s around 3 – 4% of population, 8-9% by the 70’s and 80’s and now 50% - talk about devaluation.) I know Corbynite policy is not changing this.

patently said...

There's a Christian saying, "The Devil has the best tunes". Similar sentiment.

DJK said...

hovis:
The 50% of young people target for university originated with John Major.

K said...

I think the Tories should take on Corbyn's points but adapt them to the real world.

More housing but also less immigration.

More NHS funding but also BMI and smoking restrictions.

Reduce uni fees but with a focus on STEM.

etc.

The BBC would shit bricks about all of these but I think this is actually closer to what people really mean when they say they want these things.

John Miller said...

Wait! Viagra? Get rid of the bloody Captcha!

Anonymous said...

"Reduce uni fees but with a focus on STEM."

The problem with that is that STEM courses cost several times as much to run as the liberal arts, talking-and-writing courses. These cheap courses subsidise the STEM courses.

So if you take them away, fees for STEM courses would have to go up. Maybe double.

Don Cox

theProle said...

"so why do we think that if we tax wealthy people to hilt we'll not get less wealthy people?"

I think you'll find that's not a bug but a feature

K said...

@Don Cox

The point is to treat it as an investment. There's no point having these tech hubs in London if all the best people keep moving to the US to go to uni. And why do we keep getting ripped off by the French or Japanese on big infrastructure projects that should be domestic?

If someone wants to go study literature then let them pay their £9k fees but in the long run subsidising STEM will pay off. The BBC will cry about "arts" being "underfunded" but the man on the street doesn't care about luvvies.

Charlie said...

"The Tories only have themselves to blame, they have not articulated a society they want, and believed "efficiency", "the market", and "modernity" will form the best outcomes."

The sad fact is that the Tory party no longer believes in the market. They no longer believe in themselves. If the Tory party had their own Milliband-esque "three quid and you can pick the leader!" moment, we'd find a Farage figure installed post-haste and a subsequent poll surge to dwarf anything that Corbyn achieved.

House prices need to correct to allow the young to get on the ladder. Allow the market to work its magic.

Wages need to catch up with inflation. Stop importing third world and eastern European workers and allow the market to work its magic.

Labour are looking to solve problems that actually exist. It's just the means that good capitalists disagree with. The Tories need to acknowledge the problems in the first place, and articulate realistic solutions. Otherwise, what is the point of the Tory party, other than to win power?

Electro-Kevin said...

Nigel Farage is, in fact, a conservative.

The BBC has been successful in portraying him as an extremist.

The public have, therefore, been indoctrinated that conservatism is unacceptable.

Theresa May had a big part in this. ("The nasty party.")

Then they put her in charge of Brexit and she fucked it up.

No surprise there. And Jeremy Hunt should be sacked but won't be - because soft no-Brexit is the plan.

Anonymous said...

A lot of very insightful comments being aired - and a credit the "soundness" of folks contributing. But I've got to ask the question - does any one know how the man on the street (i.e not a Westminster insider) can actually start to make things better? There surely must be levers of democracy that can be pulled to sort this mess out...? any ideas? I'm desperate to see something done before we end up as the Peoples Democratic Republic of Britain!

Electro-Kevin said...

Stop paying the BBC licence en masse.

They can't prosecute us all. It is the BBC which is setting the agenda and the parameters of acceptability.

Anonymous said...

What Andrew said. And what I was saying on my blog six or even more years ago - we are going back, indeed the young have already gone back, not to the seventies but to the Twenties or Thirties - low wages, rent all your life, retire late on a small pension - with added debt just to make things even worse. This reality is what's caused the Corbynista revolt. OK, they have better healthcare, electronic toys, and nicer holidays than anyone bar the uber-wealthy did in the 20s, but how about their chances of raising kids when the landlord might put up the rent or you have to move every year?

"how godawful the UK was organisationally and economically in the sixties and seventies"

But by contrast with today it was a paradise for working people, where someone on average wages could afford both to buy a house and to support kids being raised by a stay at home mother. If you can't see that I wonder why. And in many ways it was economically better-run, in that we weren't kept afloat by debt as we have been ever since the Thatcher years. To think a general election (1970) could have been swayed by a trade deficit of what - £8 million?

I was sat in a suburban garden the other night, drinking too much beer with a bunch of other semi-retired people, all with comfy final salary pensions, all perfectly fit and switched-on, all doing the odd bit of voluntary/contract/consultancy work here and there to keep the brain active, all with paid-off mortgages. If I'd been a 24 year old still living at home and listening in, I'd have been apoplectic. I'd want to know how we'sd created a world where the life-chances we'd had were no longer available to our kids and grandkids.

Laban

L fairfax said...

@ Anonymous
"And what I was saying on my blog six or even more years ago - we are going back, indeed the young have already gone back, not to the seventies but to the Twenties or Thirties - low wages, rent all your life, retire late on a small pension - with added debt just to make things even worse. This reality is what's caused the Corbynista revolt. OK, they have better healthcare, electronic toys, and nicer holidays than anyone bar the uber-wealthy did in the 20s, but how about their chances of raising kids when the landlord might put up the rent or you have to move every year?"
Very true of course Corbyn was part of the parliamentary party which caused this so he should not benefit.
" I'd want to know how we'sd created a world where the life-chances we'd had were no longer available to our kids and grandkids."
I know large scale immigration, benefit system encouraging people not to work (in the 70s you didn't pay for someone else to have better housing than you),not enough house building encouraging the wrong uni courses etc.

PS Laban I liked your blog, start blogging again.

L fairfax said...

@Andrew
Plus 1.

E-K said...

Yes.

The 'cliff edge' described by Remainers has happened already and was caused by the EU.

andrew said...

@ Laban / Anon @10/38 am

Painting last night at 1.30am listening to the world service.
There was a business program - UK, India and Portland USA.

Someone wrote in and asked about middle class wages over time.
The US person looked into it and found that
- yes, household incomes had risen by 80% in real terms since the 70s
- however, 74% of that 80% was due to longer hours and/or the entry of women into the workplace

i.e. real _individual_ middle class incomes have been stagnating for a LONG time in the US.

I suspect the same is true of the UK.

L fairfax said...

@andrew
I am not sure if the problem is wages and what you can buy. On a similar wage to my Dad I can probably more than he could in the 80s - apart from housing of course.
This is of course more important than being able to fly to Spain cheaply.

CityUnslicker said...

Really interesting Laban. You repeat my experience with the Execs that started the post.

Millenials want it all though, they don't like sacrifice and there is no fear of the 'other.' In the 60's and 70's there was communism, there was an enemy. There was a reason to fight and save etc.

Now the money goes on hols to Ibiza, there are no savings. I am only 40 but worked hard to save. In my team at work, all those who save and work have a property by their early 30's - even in London. And a nice one too. Those who don't, don't. But they are also Corbynista's who are worried about moats and beams.

Steven_L said...

Now the money goes on hols to Ibiza, there are no savings.

Really? Aberdeen to Ibiza is £79 return at the end of August and well south of £500 for a package including hold luggage and transfers. Another £500 spending money is enough for a couple of good nights out to the big clubs and a comfy week lounging about drinking beer and munching burgers and pizza.

Very few of the millennials I've seen in Ibiza appear to be splashing out. OK, they tend to have iphones, but they are dressed from Topshop and Primark, eat cheese toasties for lunch and prefer to pre-load on supermarket booze or whatever chemicals they've smuggled through customs than pay club prices.

Despite being packed to the rafters it doesn't take very long to get served at the bar in any Ibiza club, it's only the old codgers like me that don't baulk at parting with ten euros for a bottle of San Miguel.

But then again, perhaps all the millenials you know from the city are the folk forking out the cost of a holiday every night to stay in Hard Rock and Ushuaia. Hardly representative of a typical Manchurian headed off to San Antonio for a week are they?

L fairfax said...

A friend of mine graduated in 94, went traveling for 3 months, had a gap year and then bought a house in South East London.
Possibly Milenials could save more but young people did spend on frivolities before the Osbrown house boom and could still buy a house.