Do many (any?) of you remember going to the footie game of a Saturday afternoon in the 1960s and 1970s? The game always kicked off at 3.00 pm, ended at 4.40 pm, and then on the way home you switched on Radio 4 in the car to hear Sports Report.*
Sooner or later, they’d get to the game you’d just watched, and some bloke talking down an underwater phone-line while chewing a brick would call into the studio to describe the game.
As I recall it now, roughly seven times out of ten, you’d think “Did this tit watch the same game as I did?”
Well, I had a tremendous sense of deja vu this afternoon when I saw the quite unbelievable Daily Telegraph headline, “The world has never had it so good – thanks partly to capitalism. We live in largely peaceful times, with better access to medicine and education – the world is easily in the best place it’s ever been.”
The author – Allister Heath of CityAM – added this corker in the body copy:
‘Instead of fighting, we now trade, communicate, travel and invest; while there is still a long way to go in tearing down protectionist barriers, international economic integration is the great driving force of progress.’
I was, for some minutes, in shock after reading the piece, because unusually for me I didn’t know where to start in deconstructing such Orwellian nonsense. But I’ve got my breath back now, so here goes.
1. The way we trade is not only causing military tension between Japanese Abenomics and Chinese deflation exporting: the way we finance that trade with unrepayable levels of debt brings the US and China closer each year to a potential nuclear confrontation.
2. We don’t even seem to be able to communicate between towns, social classes and States in America. The Northern end of the EU could be speaking Hindustani as far as the Southern ClubMed States are concerned. There is no investment at all in the eurozone because the eurozone is an extinct flying dinosaur. The South and North of Britain are economic, social and investment strangers to each other.
3. Very few protectionist barriers have been torn down in China or the EU as far as outsiders are concerned. If anything, the trend in the US, Japan, Australia and even Britain is towards a stricter attitude to imports. (Something on the whole I applaud).
4. But this is the best bit: ‘international economic integration is the great driving force of progress’. So then, globalised investment banking where insolvency epidemiology can travel at the speed of light is better than isolation is it?
You might think Allister Heath doesn’t work for the Telegraph Group, but he sort of does really. That’s to say, he is part of the merry band of mouthpieces for the Sarklays of Bark…..in pretty much the way that Philip Aldrick acts as the Sarkyboy in the Telegraph itself. [Aldrick’s piece of four days ago: ‘UK confidence is booming as economic growth set to soar’.]
You see, Mr Heath used to work at The Business, which grandly called itself ‘London’s first global business magazine’. It was edited by Allister Heath and owned by the Barclay brothers, who also own…er, The Daily Telegraph. But It closed in February 2008 after it rapidly became London’s latest global business lead balloon. And at that point, Allister moved on to City AM.
City AM avowedly supports the free-market economy, of capitalism, and of the City of London and those who work in it. Heath himself has argued that London and the south-east should be entitled to a greater rebate of UK tax revenue, and has approved of the principle of London becoming an independent City State.
Sun headline: he’s a bit of a twat. In fact, he is a neoliberalzealotwat for whom facts that get in the way of agenda are to be ignored.
Nothing much else to say here. I’m hoping to catch the UK commuters-training-it-home traffic alongside the New York taxiing-back-from-lunch brigade.
*Footnote: Can anyone tell me why on Sports Report they used to call them the Classified Football Results? I don’t remember the scores being some kind of State secret.