Monday 17 October 2022

The end of Liberalism

Today is a poignant day. A Tory Chancellor shredding their own electoral prospects for a generation. Bowing to the markets due to the inept delivery of Kwarteng and Truss.

With this this, the concept of low taxes and a smaller state is dead. Really dead. As dead as the Truss career.

Now we will only have arguments over how much extra to spend on the NHS, how much to raise benefits by and so on.

The real failure of Truss is to destroy liberal economics for a generation. Thanks!


Matt said...

The markets couldn't dictate to the government if we didn't have massive (and growing debts). Stealing from future generations to fund things now is deeply immoral IMHO. But there is now no chance that this will change.

I've little incentive to work longer as I've always despised the jobs I've had. I'm in the top decile of earnings so I'm seen as a cash cow to fund every wasteful government department. So when people say the rich won't leave if you tax them too much, my own experience is that they will - perhaps not the country, but the workplace.

jim said...

An intriguing problem - how to run a country. Like a social bear garden? Profitable - for some, a good market in trailer parks and Fentanil, just bury the losers.

The free marketeers should not cry too much, they have got most of Kwartang/Truss's policy. The objective was to create chaos to justify cuts to the public sector and kill off the long tail of inefficient businesses. All that is missing is creating the environment and money for new replacement businesses. That was unfunded and based on magical thinking and the markets saw through it.

So just go back to the drawing board and figure out a credible plan for new whizzy businesses. Simples - not.

As an example BMW looks like moving electric Mini production to China. The wiseacres say 'car production - so last century'. True, but do you have a new industry that can employ largish numbers of ordinary people making a reasonably good living to pay their mortgages? Answer = no, and there is the root problem. A Nobel prize for a workable answer and a good kicking for more magical thinking.

Sackerson said...

Oborne on Truss and the Mayfair hedge fund managers who wrote Kwarteng's budget for him. Now I understand why the cap on bankers' bonuses was not raised but completely removed. If this is the Conservative Party then it deserves to die.

Anonymous said...

Talking about cars, keep your eye on British Volt and their arrival at the subsidy trough. "Rules of Origin" about to hit the UK car industry.

E-K said...

I could tell Truss was a wrong-un as PM from first sight. Why ?

That silly GB/Ukraine lapel badge.

Well. Putin has managed to make communists of us now. This was all triggered by the cost of living/energy crisis. And there's a 1:6 chance we're facing nuclear obliteration - roughly the same as playing Russian Roulette with a snub nosed revolver.

Wildgoose said...

Given all Biden's ramblings about Armageddon I am more inclined to think the US is likely to use a nuke first - they seem determined to pick a fight everywhere. (For example the recent decision that US citizens can no longer legally work for Chinese chip fabrication companies and retain their US citizenship).

And it all started because US neo-cons were determined to pick a fight with Russia.

Wildgoose said...

I was trying to get some or my more bellicose friends to understand the Ukraine situation and tried the following. History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme. Let's reconsider recent events but change the countries involved to make an "alternate history".

The Great War in Europe is ended by the successful 1918 German Spring Offensive, and peace is declared. A cowed Europe is now dominated by Germany who has military bases in countries across the continent, tied into a loose "Axis" military alliance.

In 1922, the United Kingdom breaks up into its constituent nations. England agrees a long-term lease on the Belfast shipyards.

Germany makes overtures to Ireland to join the Axis. An alarmed England makes a counter proposal of cheap coal and open access to its markets. The Irish Taoiseach is sympathetic to England and relies on the votes of English-speaking Protestants in Northern Ireland for his position. He agrees to the English counter offer.

Furious at being rebuffed, Reich Kommissar Nuland organises a coup to overthrow the Irish Government. The new Government has Nazi elements who begin by enacting anti-English legislation and targeting English speakers and those sympathetic to England. The North of Ireland is mainly English speaking and rises in revolt. England acts quickly to secure the Belfast shipyards.

Wildgoose said...

Part Two/
Ireland is now in Civil War. The new Nazi government cuts off all water and electricity supplies to Belfast. England organises a referendum and Belfast becomes part of England. Meanwhile, the majority of 6 Ulster Counties declare themselves independent of Ireland.

The port of Warrenpoint ("Odessa" in Irish) was founded by the English, and is mainly English-speaking, but is in Irish hands. A demonstration by English-speakers who opposed the coup is attacked and they take refuge in a Trade Union building. This is then set on fire. The Irish authorities just watch, making no effort to intervene, resulting in nearly 50 deaths. Those that survive the fire are arrested.

Northern Ireland is being continually shelled by the Irish Government, which boasts that its children will have to attend school in cellars. England attempts to make peace in Ireland at conferences held in Minsk. The proposals are that Ulster will remain part of Ireland but have limited "devolved" self-government. Only England supports the conference resolution. The Minsk proposals are rejected by Germany and the Irish Nazi government.

Neville Chamberlain is now Prime Minister of England, facing Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler of Germany who has taken power after what many see as a fraudulent election.

Emboldened by her success with the Irish coup, Reich Kommissar Nuland attempts similar "colour revolutions" in both Scotland and Wales, but these fail thanks to interventions from England.

Wildgoose said...

Part Three/
Germany has been arming, training and preparing the Irish "Azov" battalions for a final solution to the English-speakers in Northern Ireland. England is forced to react, recognising the independence of Northern Ireland. The Irish double their rate of shelling and prepare to invade only for English troops to pour into Northern Ireland and begin their own offensive.

Germany seizes English assets all over Europe, seizes the bank accounts of ordinary English people, declares that Trade with England may not take place and begins a propaganda campaign vilifying the English. Ordinary English people are sacked from their jobs, denied the right to enter sports competitions, and told they are not allowed to travel.

English troops however are initially victorious and liberate 20 bio-labs where German scientists have been performing experiments in biological warfare. With memories of the recent worldwide "Spanish Flu" pandemic, England calls foul. Reich Kommissar Nuland appears on television where she admits the existence of the bio-labs but claims that German scientists were merely cleaning up former UK laboratories.

Most of the rest of the World, including the USA, support the English position. This angers Germany. Towards the end of the US Civil War, the Confederate Government had invaded Cuba, displacing Spain and setting itself up as the legitimate "government in exile" of the USA. Germany's third-in-command flies to Cuba where it declares that the Confederate Government is the only legitimate government of the USA and that German U-Boats will protect Cuba from US aggression.

Wildgoose said...

Part Four/
France is a reluctant part of the "Axis" alliance. It is heavily dependent on high-quality English coal to run its industry, primarily shipped by 4 enormous "North Stream" coal conveyors. Suddenly, mysterious underwater explosions sink 3 of the 4 "North Stream" conveyors, and damage the fourth. Germany claims that England sank its own ships.

Germany also holds a conference declaring the desirability of breaking England up and allowing German companies to take control of its coal supplies. At the beginning, with memories of the Great War still fresh, English public opinion had opposed war with Germany. However Germany's actions have made it clear that England is facing a genuine fight for national survival and so English public opinion is now hardening.

Irish Taoiseach Zelensky declares that no deal is possible with England while Neville Chamberlain remains Prime Minister and calls for direct attacks on England. He boasts that Chamberlain's days are numbered. However, the English opposition is led by a firebrand orator called Winston Churchill...


decnine said...

The Whitty/Valance government's Covid/Lockdown policy seems to be casting a lengthy shadow, eh? And where was Rishi? As Bob Dylan so nearly said, He was in the basement monetising the government. (Oh yes, Boris was there, but never really involved, much less committed. Can Boris do commitment?)

We are now being governed by Shoguns. The nominal leader is just that - nominal.

E-K said...

Round of applause, Wild Goose !!! Bravo ! (or maybe Brava ! One must never assume these days.)

lilith said...

Fantastic Wildgoose!

E-K said...

The only detail I would change in that otherwise excellent analogy is that the Prime Minister of the UK was an unpleasant, ruthless, corrupt and murderous President of 20 years standing.

Does that change anything ?

Anonymous said...

Impressive, Wildgoose.

I could only come up with a much more dull analogy where it's 2050, the EU (Ireland excepted), Russia and China are bound together both economically and militarily - Mackinder's World Island has come to pass.

Scotland, independent for 20 years, has decided to leave the Irish Sea Union (which is in a single market with the USA) and join the Eurasian Union. Chinese technicians long ago selected their naval, missile and submarine bases - the nearest missiles will be a few minutes flight time from London.

You are rump UK Prime Minister - what would you do?

It looks as if the US really are in hubris mode atm, having spent the last 30 years exporting manufacturing production to China they're having second thoughts and have "out-Trumped Trump" by pretty much sanctioning everything related to chip production.

Someone in the Biden admin must have picked up a copy of this 14 year old book

He's interesting on "suppression of consumption", that IIRC was how Stalin industrialised Russia in the 1930s.

The UK media seem not quite to have taken this news in, beside which Ms Truss's local difficulties are the proverbial breeze ruffling the surface of your pint.

So in less than a decade the US has provoked a major European war and impoverished Europe to boot, driven the most energy-rich nation into China's arms, and probably caused 18 million deaths with an accidental or deliberate release of genetically modified SARs virus (remember after China, Iran was the earliest victim).

And now it's picking a fight with China as well. Interesting times.

dearieme said...

This must be the place to ask. I see people saying that there must be no return to austerity. But did we have any austerity in the early Cameron years? By which I mean: did the government run an annual budget surplus? Because if it still ran a deficit that's not austerity, is it?

Anonymous said...

From Fingleton

Part of the West’s comprehension problem is ideological: American opinion leaders hold as a matter of high ideology that Western logic is universal and destined to sweep the globe. And East Asian leaders have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep Western policymakers complacently misinformed. For good reason. If their model were more widely understood, it would be comprehensively opposed in the West, for like the Soviet system before it, the East Asian model is incompatible with Western capitalism. In fact, because the East Asian model is so much more successful than Soviet Communism, it entails an even greater problem of compatibility.

He has a neat piece on the contrasting fortunes of MHI and Harland & Wolff

Caeser Hēméra said...

I'd be a bit wary of declaring the end of anything these days.

Wasn't too long back that, with a Tory 80 seat majority and the collapse of the Red Wall, Labour were meant to be facing extinction.

Now, not so much.

jim said...

A bit of can kicking going on. Mr Hunt keeps the household energy subsidy till next April in order to stop the money hemorrhage. What then, does he have a steer from the dark side that Mr Putin will play nice by then? Or is he hoping the markets have stabilised a bit and we have got used to our hair shirts and will be ready for even more uncomfortable ones.

Meanwhile Mr Putin seems to have recovered from all those dire ailments we were told about - if they ever existed. He has also figured out that Himars can come over the border easily - but 500 megawatt gensets not so much. Interestingly the avionics software for UAVs was open source until a few years ago. I had pondered a launch from a van ladder rack but the M25 is a bit slow these days.

A bit of a 3D chess game, how much are we prepared to pay for a stalemate - have not seen many Liz/Zelensky love-ins lately, suppose he must wait for a bit of male bonding with Hunt. Then our American friends, are they prepared to pay for a Ukrainian 'win'. And do they really want a 'win', possibly better to keep the bogey-man of the Russian bear alive and well on the campaign trails.

Knock knock said...

The Iranian Drones have arrived. £25,000 each. Iran has an awful lot of them.
£25000 is nothing in military terms. Some ground to air missiles cost more than that. Some NATO ones cost a lot more.
The army can’t leave reconnaissance drones up above. They have to shoot them down.
Russia finally getting the hang of this ‘ special military fubar.’

Sobers said...

"Today is a poignant day. A Tory Chancellor shredding their own electoral prospects for a generation. Bowing to the markets due to the inept delivery of Kwarteng and Truss.
With this this, the concept of low taxes and a smaller state is dead. Really dead. As dead as the Truss career."

What utter nonsense. Its a Tory Chancellor standing up and doing the bidding of his WEF handlers, thats what. In another time he'd be dragged out by the enraged populace and hung drawn and quartered for treason.

There's a million and one ways the Tories could get the UK moving again, that don't cost a penny, all they require is the State to get out of the way. And there's oodles of spending that can be cut without affecting one single mother benefit claimant. But they won't do them because they're being told by their handlers they can't. Or (in some cases) they are ideologically opposed to them anyway, so WTF they are doing in a conservative party I have no idea. Fifth Columnists one supposes, placed there to destroy the right from within.

andrew said...

"There's a million and one ways the Tories could get the UK moving again, that don't cost a penny, all they require is the State to get out of the way. "


All I can think of is removing the green belt. Trouble is that the people who are most opposed to that probably currently vote Con.

lilith said...

Andrew..fracking? North Sea? Subsidise public transport, stop spending, secure the borders, abolish the TV licence, subsidise engineering apprenticeships and students and pay for it by penalising GPs who refuse to look at their patients' faces or allow the patient to see theirs...£1k per patient ought to do it. Send the excess jabs they bought by the tens of millions back to Pfizer and demand a refund?

Sobers said...


What Lilith said plus: Abolish all greenery nonsense. Remove employment regulations on small businesses (leave them on big ones, they deserve it, they all love regulations because they keep out competition). Repeal the smoking ban. Legalise drugs. Abolish swathes of planning and environmental regulations. Abolish anything to do with 'public health' that involves smoking, obesity or 'health inequality'. Abolish farm subsidies. Abolish environmental subsidies. Abolish all ESG guff. Repeal the Equality Act. Ban the keeping of any statistics based on race. Remove all subsidies on non STEM university courses (the savings to be used on making STEM subjects entirely free to students, with generous living grants on top). Make it illegal to restrict jobs to degree holders only, unless you are specifying a certain degree for the job (and then only STEM degrees). Make political campaigning by charities illegal. Introduce education vouchers. Introduce healthcare vouchers. Simplify the tax code.

shiney said...

Wot Sobers and Lilith said.

Here's another thought. What was/were

government spending as a % of GDP
national debt as a % of GDP
length of the tax code
tax and NI rates (personal and corporate)
personal allowances (i.e. in current terms - to eliminate fiscal drag)
NHS and welfare budget as a % of govt spending

on 30th April 1997 - i.e. the day before the Nu/Blu Labour types took over and crashed the country?

Work towards reverting to those numbers in double quick time.

PS - be interesting to know the numbers.

jim said...

Well now we are getting close to the painful reality what to do about England?. We have the Chancellor scratching round for things to cut and ways to encourage enterprise. We have the old chestnut of Enterprise Zones and the usual arguments pro and con.

Andrew has the 'best' idea - at least for a thought experiment - how about scrapping the Green Belt, chop, it no longer exists.

Would that encourage serious wealth creation? Sure, we would get a flush of expensive executive homes and mansions. Maybe even a few ordinary homes. But apart from oligarchs who could afford to buy them - where are the jobs and businesses to pay for them. Apart from Shanghai, Accra and Moscow? Would scrapping the Green Belt actually release a serious pent-up demand for British employees?

Well we could try it and see what happens. I suspect there are other barriers to overcome, but Green Belt is a big one to start with. Or we might try euthanasia at scale and pace.

E-K said...

This all misses the point.

We are now a State governed by the Civil Service (Big Brother) and their handlers (WEF.) Only the method they approve can be used and that turns out to be socialism - redistribution of wealth through taxation, the confiscation of property through tax and inflation, the introduction of universal credit via index linked benefits and stagnating wages, the withdrawal of comfort and wealth and employment and freedom of movement (for our own good, of course) through Net Zero, the removal of free speech via Woke (New Speak in every sense) and ever impending threat in the forms of war in Eurasia and disease...

All that's needed is the introduction of boiler suits but even Orwell didn't predict that there would be NO pubs and dehumanising facemasks whenever the Ministry of Health demanded them.

The difference between Corbyn and Sunak turned out to be a mere 1% in taxation.

Does anyone doubt that we are breeding a generation of Stassi in our universities ?

The Tories enabled all of this (and so did the Queen) by making out that things were 'normal'.

They will be destroyed in 2024. By which time things will be so bleak they cannot possibly win the election nor ever recover.

And to instigate and perpetuate a war with a leading energy producer during an accelerated push for net zero ????

Well. Putin's just given the Tories back their arses. They are toast and so are we.

Way to go Boris !

Anonymous said...

Shiney makes a very good point. Everyone bleated about austerity during the 2010s and how the 'cuts' would ruin public services. But spending was still far higher than it was in 1997, when everything seemed to work much better than it does now (and the public finances were running a surplus!).

But seriously analysing why that is would require critical thought, originality and an willingness to go against the herd, so no government is going to carry it out.

Also, why all the media screaming over how a few tax cuts and supply-side reforms are going to wreck the economy? Why were they so chilled about declaring proxy war on Europe's biggest energy supplier and putting the entire population under house arrest for a year? (Answer: everything they say is fake and packaged, designed not to communicate but to manipulate. Read Edward Bernays, a monster but a very articulate monster, to understand what's happening.)

BlokeInBrum said...

If everyone, businesses, quangos, charities and individuals are all in some way recipients of government largess, then they can be controlled and manipulated by the threat of removal of said largess.

Liz and Kwasi tried to go against the herd (however cack-handed it was done), and that lasted about as long as a candle in a hurricane.

Caeser Hēméra said...

Hopefully today will see the end of Truss, she is plainly not up to it and the last few days have been eye wateringly bad.

I thought maybe it might have got all a little much for her the other day, and she'd depart for health reasons, but she's determined to keep fiddling it seems.

Brady might read her future prospects and she goes with some luck.

Dorries is demanding Boris back, a whole new kind of definition of Tory wet is she.

And Hunt, man whose face features next to "unlikeable" in the illustrated dictionary is running the show.

What an absolute mess.

I wonder who'll be next in charge?

E-K said...

Thar she blows !

Anonymous said...

She's gone, my Labour supporting social worker sis gleefully sent news.

Time for another of those Assad memes, 4 pictures in the quadrant.

Truss - "Putin must be defeated"

Putin, hand to his ear "Who must be defeated?"

Truss outside #10 resigning

Putin laughing

Anonymous said...

So all that fuss last night was just to get Fracking through parliament. Now she has accomplished that, there is no reason to go on. Place in the HoL awaits.

Genius by Big Oil

Anonymous said...

done it

Anonymous said...

Now we can try out Rishi.

Truss did have a bit of the Sarah Palin about her.

Rishi Rich is a big sell for the party.
A billionaire about to tell pensioners and taxpayers they will never have it so good as it used to be, again. Tighten your gold buckle belts and cut down on some non essential jet setting, everyone.
Remember Cameron’s austerity? All of the negative headlines with few of the savings or benefits?
Wait until Goldfingers doubles national insurance to Protect RNHS.

Bill Quango MP said...

Boris is inthe leadership race.

What the actual Fudge is going on?
What if he won? How could the party possibly explain what has happened? They binned him in a coup, but kept him anyway.

If he won, why did he quit?
If he won, the Sunak faction would never obey him.

How could he square his net zero by next Wednesday madness with the removal of the fracking ban?

The Crown season 12, Coronation of Charles III, is going to be a bit confusing. Six prime ministers in each episode.

andrew said...

The con party is not one party anymore. It is the erg libertarians and the one nation centre slightly rightists. If they managed to choose one leader - which I doubt - discipline will not hold and I think there should be a GE before Christmas. Not least as any new leader will need a clear mandate. How do you reassert authority and discipline otherwise?

shiney said...


"one nation left-of-centre-big-state-ecoloon-thick-as-mince-not-at-all rightists", i.e. Lib-Dems with blue ties

There fixed it for you.

Caeser Hēméra said...

@BQ I've seen a few comments - and it is just a few so far - from previously the anti-Boris, wanting him back.

Truss has successfully made him look like a stable, safe pair of hands in comparison.

Even Al Campbell at his height couldn't have managed that.

An achievement, of sorts, for her.

E-K said...

That's been the problem all along. Such a broad church that it includes Devil worshippers.

It has to go. We're going to have to do this the long way around, I'm afraid.

Good news is that Corbyn turned out to be only 1% worse (in taxation) than the Tories so we are a somewhat inured to what might be coming.

(Two more colleagues/mates have died of cancer not treated because of lockdown. 19 and counting but phew ! None of Covid.)

Old Git Carlisle said...

Why the hell are all the Tory MP's gobbing on. Surely they would have been better to keep off Media and settle their leadership in camera.

Are all they just publicity mad lunatics!!!

andrew said...

A bit like old ladies in foreign countries incoherently crying into the camera because their children have been killed in a terrorist explosion,

Tory MPs are venting into the camera from a sense of profound grief and utter impotence.

Worse, the disaster is still unfolding and will carry on doing so until the next GE.

Future historians may see this as the point where Great Britain became just Britain.

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Anonymous said...


Is that anywhere near the Dominican Republic. There may be a client there.

Old Git Carlisle said...

Can anyone make any useful sense out of smart meter data?

The half hour resolution is not sensitive for any meaningful experimental work.

Or am I just not thinking clearly (and I was a Grid Controller!) !!

Anonymous said...

Data they could possibly get from a smart meter is… well apart from usage

Potentially the supplier can turn your supply off without entering the premises.

Hope you don’t have a smart meter

On a positive note I am booked in for the latest covid and flu vaccines next week
The nhs can mobilise when needed.
Yay, will have a wee dram to celebrate

Anonymous said...

@anon 9.06 Why would you do that unless you have a death wish?

Anonymous said...

Potentially the supplier can turn your supply off without entering the premises.

No. They switch from credit (pay later) to pre-pay (pay up front) remotely. There is a real benefit to them (not you) in getting everyone onto Smart Meters which is why they push it so hard. You can change your mind up to a year to get it switched back but they give you all sorts of lies to prevent this.

Bill Quango MP said...

Boris not running.
If his supporters all go to Rishi, it’s a done deal and he becomes the new leader, and Prime Minister.
If 75+ go to Mordaunt, it’s a longer contest.

He should offer her what she asks, now.
Tie up the deal.

Unless what she wants he has already promised to dozens of others,

Matt said...

The wet Tory MP stitch up is almost done. No one in the country wants Sunak as PM but that doesn't matter

jim said...

I reckon this is now a fight between the markets and the ERG.

The markets saying 'another dollop and we empty the BoE', the other side saying 'not Rishi, I'll scweam and scweam and break the country - you know I will'.

It's not over till its over.

andrew said...

"No one in the country wants Sunak as PM but that doesn't matter"

I think you are right, mostly in the sense that the leader could be Boris or Mordaunt or Sunak or Truss or EK
Once the "Truss" mortgage rises have impacted

(wait for the Lab attack ads -
how about a picture of Truss and Sunak with a strap line "vote against the Cons mortgage increases, vote Lab"
- bit amateur but...*)

and the heating bills go up and the recession hits etc,
the cons are gone.

(* where are the lab attack ads - suggest a competition)

DJK said...

"No one in the country wants Sunak as PM but that doesn't matter"

There are some: Fraser Nelson and the Spectator crowd are practically wetting themselves at the delicious thought of being ruled by Rishi. If the intention of Tory MPs was to improve their standing in the polls, I don't think Rishi will do the trick for them.

What's going to be interesting for me is to see how many of the 357 Tory MPs don't want Sunak. There must be a few who think that it would be better to have a GE now, rather than two more years of torture.

Jan said...

The only thing which matters is who do the WEF want? The answer is Sunak.

Caeser Hēméra said...

@DJK - Given the polling, I find it difficult to believe that many turkeys are hankering for Christmas to come early. Not even the MPs who enjoy having their balls whipped want it doing by the electorate.

And who else is putting their head up the parapet? Johnson is even less popular with the MPs than Sunak, Mordaunt is struggling to get the 100.

He might stop the Tory rot, but even he doesn't, the markets are a lot less spooked which is something at least.

DJK said...

CH: Not every MP wants to get reelected, there are quite a few who either want to retire or who would like to do something different with their lives. There may even be some Tories who think that a GE and a government with a fresh mandate is best for the country. Probably not enough to bring down the Sunak government, but you never know.

Matt said...

And the fix is in.

A man who couldn't command the support of the Tory party membership is PM anyway due to MPs putting themselves before the country.

Still, the day of reckoning can be postponed but not avoided.

Caeser Hēméra said...

@DJK - They already have the capacity to step down, or even to just announce the intention. If they want a GE, then they'd certainly not be concerned about triggering a by election and swanning off into the sunset.

And, given all the infighting, can't be many sticking around out of a sense of esprit de corps.

My own interpretation of that is that they're not that eager to exit the trough in droves.