If we’re going to fight for liberty and responsibility, can we please do so using the Sword of Truth, not the damned lies of misleading statistics?
This ‘3 x 1 = disaster’ maths propaganda bollocks went up earlier today on Twitter:
I don’t know who Katie Hopkins is, but I saw the tweet because James Delingpole R/T’d it. If this is the standard of argument James is calling on in relation to climate change, then maybe I should start getting worried about climate change again.
The comparison being used here is risible enough to make one of David Cameron’s Our Longterm Plan is Working tweets look vaguely intelligent. Here are the blindingly obvious reasons why my scorn for it is not lofty, and does not suddenly make me a leftie:
1. In 1913, the population of the UK was 41.3m. It is now 64.2m. (By 1918 it had sunk to 38.5m, thanks to a pointless slaughter…the beginning of which the Right is dead keen to ‘commemorate’ later this year).
2. In 1913, there was no State pension, no NHS, no dole, no free State Education, and no idiotic nuclear weaponry to maintain.
3. In 1913, we had a massive empire from which to buy raw materials cheaply – and then use them to sell overseas at whopping margins. 75% of all our imports were cheap food products from that Empire. 40% of all exports were cloth, another 15% steel. Our share of world trade was a staggering 53%…and 80% of it was added-value manufacturing.
4. In 1913, we had not yet broken our fiscal backs fighting two world wars.
5. Although in 1913 our total trade balance as a percentage of gdp had fallen from its 1870 peak, it was positive every single year over that period.
6. In 1913, the school leaving age for the majority of children was 13.
7. In 1913, there were still 30,000 children aged between 12 and 14 employed in the Yorkshire and Lancashire textile mills.
8. In 1913, a quarter of the 16 million strong working population experienced some sort of unemployment each year.
9. In 1913, there were no banks requiring a 30% increase in the National Debt due to investment incompetence.
10. In 1913, the National Debt was 11% of gdp. Since the 2008 banking collapse, the percentage has gone up to first 151% of gdp…and then down again to 134%.
11. By far the biggest debt liabilities Britain has in 2013 are 1. Interest payment management 2. Civil Service pensions and 3. Banking sector liabilities. In 1913, Britain faced none of these in anything beyond a minute scale.
12. Comparing two years at random a century apart – and then triumphantly going, “See?” – deserves every ounce of scorn it gets – as this graph of, for example, debt to gdp amply demonstrates:
Note here how (1) the debt leaps after 1913 and 1940, but then (2) plummets during the mixed economy years so reviled by the neoliberals….a trend at first reversed by Thatcher, but then made worse by the three essentially right wing governments that followed.
13. The Hopkins tweet can’t even manage to explain/say what the numbers for spending are a percentage of. Further, it just says “spending”. You would have difficulty matching any comparable spending sectors between 1913 and 2013.
14. However, assuming she meant public spending as a % of GDP, this total-period graph gives a rather better perspective:
15. Note that in 1920, from 1937-45 and from 1975-83, public spending was higher than it is today.
I could go on, but I think 15-0 is not an entirely gentlemanly scoreline, so I’ll stick at that and sum up as follows:
* If Ms Hopkins and Mr Delingpole are keen to go reconquer the Empire, abolish the State pension, dismantle the NHS, let the unemployed starve, stop education at 13, put kids over 9 years old back into the mills and rebuild our manufacturing capacity back up to 80% of exports (while abolishing Asia and jailing 50% of bankers and 20% of Whitehall for embezzlement) I wish them well on their quest. But I don’t see what good having an ignorant, sick and starving populous below the lucky 3% level is going to do for our ability to invent, compete, work and consume.
* As for the need to deport a third of the population and demolish all the houses built since 1960, cracking idea: can we see the plans, please? Shoot every second climate change fanatic? Nuke Kensington?
* I suspect the tweet was another superficial soundbite neolib attempt to suggest that Britain’s bloated spending is really to do with handouts to the unworthy. That simply doesn’t stack up, but the willingness to tweet and retweet drivel like this bears most resemblance, looking at my own lifespan, to the up is down and red is green approach of the Soviet Union from 1950-1980. Britain is buggered now (and spending massively on imports, fatty pensions, debt interest, and EU fees) because of, in no particular order, trade union greed, big bang, Whitehall’s crooked incompetence, daft gesture projects, and the general ethico-moral decline of a post-Imperial State unable to grasp the obvious high-margin-niche manufacturing alternative to globalism.
All in all, what I detest most of all about contemporary life is the self-aggrandizing, mutual trashing between equally fanatical tribes, and the total dearth of any new ideas from either fluffy time-frozen feminists like Harriet Harman, or deliberately misleading attempts by amateur half-baked grinning neolib fracker-jerks like Dan Hannan to insist that they know that of which they prattle ignorantly.
I’m sick of being branded a Nazi by the precious pc-besotted Left, or a State-spending Commie by the rabidly blind Right. I am a community unit, mutualist-preferring believer in entrepreneurial capitalism and protecting Small Creative from braindead Big Process.
I want all public weal supplies from Health to Water to be mutualised, and taken as far away from bourses and bureaucrats as is humanly possible. I want an end to all Income Tax, the abolition of the HMRC, and the start of genuinely censorious tax hits for anti-social behaviour at every level. I’m for the demolition of all except the highest-security prisons because the system doesn’t work, but focused boot camp retraining does.
I want to see Jeremy Hunt dangling upside down above a crater of venomous sulphur, Ed Balls being dunked in hot custard every day, Rupert Murdoch crucified, Simon Cowell become a social leper, and Nick Clegg put to sleep inhumanely.
I want my rule of law back, my honest coppers back, my free Grammar Schools back, my equality before the law back, by Bagehot approach back, my balanced lifestyle back, my family life back, and above all, the ability of others to think for themselves and of others….with an end to sociopathic parrots wittering on about Wimmin and f**king Friendman’s f**king birthday.
I want to fight the good fight. But – and no asterisks this time – I am fucked if I will do it on the basis of simpleton comparisons and conscious lies. I leave it to the Brechtian Stalinists of all political colours to do that.
OK James and Katie…that’s my deconstruction of the tweet/retweet nonsense. Over to you.