At the End of the Day

tobytitleThe Art of Being Careful in one’s Comparisons

There was a lively thread at the second Slogpost today. Oddly enough, before reading the comments I had myself been commenting at Toby Young’s featherweight piece in today’s Barclaygraph. Young is another of the Hannan to Delingpole Ring of Confidence at the Telegraph, quintessential British amateurs who pride themselves on coming across like experts. They have certainty, which is no bad thing: but somehow, there are always yawning gaps in the lateral RSJs of that conviction.

Mr Young produced a graph going from 1970 to near to the present day – about neoliberal capitalism’s success. Conveniently, it stopped at 2007. Thus, the success of mixed economy capitalism before the 1970s oil crisis (and the failure of neoliberalism since 2008) dropped off either end. Meanwhile, a third of the graph refers to the era before 1981, when the madness of Keith Joseph and Ronald Reagan had yet to have any effect. During that initial time span, poverty is plummeting. Once the neoliberals appear, it levels off.

The article is headlined ‘Proof that capitalism works better than Socialism’.

This would be bad enough, were it not for the success criterion Young chooses: Third World Poverty. The beauty of doing so (as he well knows, for he is far from stupid, merely insufferably smug) is that whereas Bob the Banker has gone from earning $200,000 a year to $20million a year, Ran Jin Jen has gone from living under a plastic sheet to having his very own brieze-block telephone box with no light, heat or sanitation. This still makes RJJ’s Great Leap Forward look bigger than Bob’s tenfold salary increase; so whoopee chaps – put out more flags, we are saving the world with greed.

It is all of course the most unutterable tosh, but what I truly adore about apologist clowns like Toby Young is their mastery of the easy comparison: better than Socialism.

Important news for flies: eat shit, it’s better than starving.

Come for a stay at sunny Sachsenhausen: it’s less lethal than Auchswitz.

Vote for Farage: marginally less deranged than Brussels.

None of this is hugely inspiring is it?

But if we take a like-for like multinational vs mutualist comparison, I wonder if Toby and his mates would be quite so up for the fight?

Like, for instance, Waitrose versus Walmart.

The recurring problem with the defence of neoliberalist economics is that it is always based on deceit, subterfuge, selective data, ludicrous leaps of faith, anthropological naivety, ex cathedra extrapolation, and idolatry towards Jewish academics with no more grasp of real life than my kitchen brush.

And yet – faced with this flimsy, 200-foot side of a barn at which to aim – the Ed Miller Band has nothing beyond risible tactics, voter bribery, dated social theory, ecological muddle, and behaviourist feminism to offer as an alternative.

The problem with Right wing economics is that they make a few greedy people filthy rich. And the problem with Left Wing economics is that they make a few greedy people filthy rich.

So, with Toby Young ready to go out on the stump by saying “better than Socialism”, I’m left wondering what the Labour Party’s heartfelt and genuine preference is.

The Two Eds: better than Blair and Brown?

Labour has no radical, future-inspired policies to address current Western dysfunction, and thus Britain has no effective Opposition. The Labour Spectrum Tribe is a prisoner in its own Grade I listed stockade.

Here’s a set of practical and uncompromising policies that would fire up the Decency Express tomorrow:

Mutualise the NHS and all social weal services, replace Whitehall with mutualised administration, disallow all additional Sir Humphrey pension emoluments after 2006, stop immigration dead now, start retraining our over-educated, under-equipped workforce, stop building boxes and start growing food, leave the EU, let Scotland bugger off if it wants to, stop all rises and bonuses at taxpayer-owned banks, make any form of bank bailin illegal, purge the police force of crooks, stop non-taxpayers from owning media titles, sanitise Westminster’s money-lobbying forever, come down hard on multinational tax avoidance, introduce compulsory uniformed Social Service for every child without exception from age 12-14, and put respect for others at the centre of education.

Is that Socialism? I don’t think so. But it offers much better governance and infinitely higher prospects for Britain and its citizens than what’s on offer now.

Earlier at The Slog: The destructive art of getting everything wrong