Milton Friedman: Why none of the above will rid is of this troublesome Priest
The Slog argues that none of the major players in this year’s UK election oppose the ruinous idea of globalist neoliberalism, or will tackle the real problems we face. If, therefore, the system has disenfranchised those of us who do, it behoves us all to abstain.
Thinking about it, you have to believe that some politicians go into the ‘profession’ because they want to leave the world in a better state than they found it: because they want to improve the quality of life for the maximum possible number of citizens.
Whether The People who voted for them made the best of their ideas is open to debate: it takes two to tango. The 1945-51 Labour government – in a situation where post-war bankruptcy and genuine austerity made their task well-nigh impossible – did a remarkable job of improving the welfare of the British….but it led to a Welfare State mentality. The truncated Kennedy presidency in the US gave the baby-boomers a dream, and improved the lot of the American negro….but resulted in violence when dreams led to a sense of entitlement, and the reality that not black or white but green power was the game in play.
All that is more than sixty years ago, and it is hard to find any legislator who today fits the bill of being genuinely out there with the best of intentions. People like Elizabeth Warren, Kate Hoey, Austin Mitchell and David Davis are rarities….and have remained miles from the centre of power. There is and has always been an inverse correlation between principles and power. But in 2015, in the Western world we have a near-perfect correlation between Executive political power and amoral Bourse greed.
This leads to the most extraordinarily unthinking judgements being made by politicians and civil servants right across the spectrum of job junction and goals system. And the syndrome is even more striking up there (or is it down?) among the soi-disant commentators upon those policy judgements in the media. Everyone now, it seems, has accepted – lock, stock and staring down the barrel of a gun – that corporates and bankers will have their will prevail, that globalism can only increase its stranglehold, that the guilty get off, that the EU will beat Greece to death in the end, and that today we exist to consume from, and work for, the neoliberal capitalist system.
An enlightening way to observe this process is to trawl through the more intelligent end of Twitter. I’m not talking here about the mad Right who write ‘F**k off Beaker’ to everything that Miliband says, or the paedophobes whose God is Mark Williams-Thomas, or the Left that calls everyone else ‘a numpty’, or the Sisters who wish only for every male to apologise for having a penis. These people may have intelligence, but the insightful tolerance thing is absent. They are beeleeevers. In a dark tunnel, they don blinkers in order to further ensure that nothing should distract them from their Holy Cause.
Rather, I’m talking about otherwise intelligent people who can think – mainly for themselves, and occasionally about the greater good – yet still reach assumptive ‘acceptance’ conclusions.
Two examples from Friday’s crop of tweets serve to make the point….although I could dive into the vat of bile formerly known as Twitter this morning, and immediately find at least ten more.
Leaving aside the words ‘less’ and ‘could’ in the above (and accepting those odd numbers as perhaps real) I have but one question for Pedro da Costa: why TF should people have to migrate in order to find work in a busted flush called globalist mercantilism? Isn’t the system supposed to be working for us, not the other way round?
More specifically, what’s wrong with a tiny island like Britain simply up and saying “Right, no way all of us can be housed and employed in a neoliberal economy, so we’re going to whack up interest rates and invest the money in real training and manufacturing infrastructure (plus tax relief and free bank loans) until such time as everyone has a job, the export deficit has been turned into profit, and all the old people have died”?
Honourable Members rise incensed by such ideas of “a siege economy”. Er, yup. When you’re under siege and owe trillions, the requirement is a siege economy. No, straight up: it is.
As for this little monkey, assuming one can follow how or why dynamism leads to Little Shortfalls, it invites two glaringly obvious retorts: if the Shortfall is Little, what’s all the fuss about? And have you been to Athens lately, RoboDummkopf?
In a world where the words ‘structural reform’ have changed places with ‘economic rape’ in the flight from reality, the neoliberal hegemony (or should it be hedge money?) tries to drive us all into assumptive acceptance of what is. Not only is this bad for any species, it is also of course the very antithesis of entreprenurialism: which figures, because under the globalist magnifying glass there is room only for corrupt, process-driven monopolies. (Also, everyone else fries – especially when the sun’s out).
As we have a democratic mistake sorry, election coming up in the UK, I thought this morning I’d let you all get the Andrew Marr Chimps’ Tea Party out of the way, and then have a go at interpreting this stuff in a British context.
The UK’s national debt is increasing at the rate of £500,000 every 31 seconds. During the next commercial break you watch on most TV channels, it will go up by £3million. Those thinking of voting Conservative should mull on the fact that deficits come and go these days; but if you carry on bashing the plastic, the debt will just get bigger and bigger…at the rate of £1.5billion a day.
That doesn’t, by the way, include contingent liabilities, which take the total from £1.5 to £2.6 trillion a year. Of that total, the banks and senior Whitehall pensions add up to a disgraceful 40%. In Germany, Holland and Italy, the situation is even worse….but the sheer numbers are smaller.
The Big Lie of the last five years – and this election campaign – is that Britain’s economy is moving ahead and repaying our debts. Neither is true: the banks are powering ahead, and The People are being asked to make a futile gesture towards repaying our debts. The markets and the IMF claim that they’re “impressed” with what’s being done. The Slog long ago established Christine Lagarde as a person who can’t count; but if that is what the markets think, then they’re even more stupid than they seem.
Simply do the maths, think, and then vote for somebody (or nobody) else. The total fiscal savings made by Osborne from budget cuts and welfare ‘reform’ in the almost five years to date add up, in roundish figures, to around £150billion. The Conservatives have been in power for 1,765 days, and saved 150 days worth of money. Sadly, for the other 1,605 days, they made things much worse.
Clearly, there is something wrong with the strategy. George Osborne is really, people, a sort of Schäuble Lite: he is the man who, as Germans say, must mach Schau. Lots of dancing girls, big boobies and derelict peasants for bankers to oggle at, and thus briefly take their minds off the Decline of the West.
Britain has five enormous problems: overpopulation, shrinking capacity to sustain the food supply, familio-community breakdown, structural unemployment, and an economy increasingly dependent on services…80% of which are financial. Facing an immediate global future of fiscal stricture and financial meltdown, we could not be in a more hopelessly stupid position.
Be in no doubt: lots of people did lots of feckless things to get us to here, but politicians must carry the entire can on this one, because they’re the Sovereign power. The Conservatives are merely the latest gang trying to clean up 100 years of onanist egocentricity; but they’ve failed…as they were always going to.
Let us turn now to the Labour Party, which has failed to make clear any of the mathematics outlined above. There’s a simple reason why it hasn’t: Balls and Miliband are making six pledges, and while they assure us they’re all costed, they’re clearly not going to reduce the debt, are they? Think about it.
That gives them some kind of amoral excuse for keeping shtum, but not a reason: and it certainly doesn’t excuse the fact that, as the alleged Party of the working people, their strategy should be to get rid of the EU dictatorship, and get more people into decent, fulfilling work – that earns Britain money – via the process of creating real, new British businesses….rather than letting banks steal from them, and selling what businesses we have. In a nutshell, economic restructuring on a scale never seen outside China.
Now, the fluffies have never been up to much on the commercial dimension. Balls talks a good Harvard game at rapid speed that nobody understands, and Miliband says he’ll be tough….as if we might be trying to put us off eating him or something. So there would be no chance of a Labour vote improving any of our problems: we’d see an explosion in cross-dressing equality councils and G&L seminar weekends (bring a bottle) but the Labour front bench lacks the nous about commerce, and the creative economic vision, to make a real difference. (If they didn’t, we’d have heard about it by now).
However, A Tory defeat would slow down the drift to Corporatocracy. Not by much, but if nothing else it would put Hunt, Fallon, Duncan-Smith, Osborne, May and all the other fanatics out of a job.
But we all know that not even that is going to happen, because the electoral system – alongside the diktats of the Disunited Kingdom – insist with near-inevitability that A Deal will be necessary. The Ukip support will be obscenely under-represented, the SNP will become insanely powerful, and quite possibly a few folks from Northern Ireland will suddenly find (at long last) lots of wannabe kings listening to their problems.
So let’s accept that, although they’ll be lucky to get eight seats, UKip are the third most important political franchise in Britain today. Certainly, the figures suggest they are. UKip wants (correctly) to distance Britain from any form of EU federalism…in fact, to secede by 2020. I’m up for all that, because it makes eminent fiscal, small business and libertarian democratic sense.
It wants Britain to go back to being a United Kingdom that makes stuff – and is fair to most of the people most of the time. In quantitative research, those intending to vote UKip agree sincerely with that aim (as do I). Contrary to the popular caricature (and yes, I’ve been guilty of it too) most UKip supporters are left-wing Conservatives who lack the essential fluffiness of Liberal Democrats.
My problem is whether the existing Party called UKip would ever realise that dream. The mismatch between its supporters and the leadership achieves what the difference between human aspiration and achievement usually produces: hilarity.
The leader suffers from Permanent Guffaw Syndrome. He drinks British ale. He is a control freak. He swans about in a camel hair coat. I’ve often thought how daft the old maxim is that suggests, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I prefer the American, “if it waddles, flies, lands on water and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck”. Mr Farage has no problem with Bourse capitalism. He gets on well with Boris Johnson. He emphatically does not want to take the billionaire donation money out of politics. When Murdoch snaps his fingers, Nigel comes running.
Trust me, he’s a duck. He’d like to be a swan, but he isn’t, he’s a duck.
Then there is the question of UKip’s election candidates. Yes, of course the LaboraTory owned press digs up horror stories about them. But there do seem to be far too many of them for Farage to dismiss the issue as “a BBC plot”. Note: pol slags off BBC. He’s halfway into the Westminster establishment already.
My point is this: the gargoyles emerging from the upper ranks of UKip are just as oddly maverick and bigoted as those bred in the LaboraTory.
Yes, once again a UKip success would dislodge Cameron from the Leadership. We all spent a lot of money and lives dislodging Saddam and Gaddafi. Look what we got afterwards. A Torykip alliance would move in only one direction, and it wouldn’t be Left.
Getting out of the EU is not the catch-all solution to Britain’s ills. It would be a bold and decent thing to do, but that’s it. Greece has Syriza, olive oil, a seafaring DNA, fish, talented engineers and the nicest climate in Europe: it is a good business proposition just waiting to get rid of the back-hander motivated fatties and the Brussels jackboot. Britain is different, and UKip is no Syriza – even if you assume Syriza will succeed, which I don’t.
We pull out from an MCU of five people on the steps of the Senate. They are throwing dice to determine the future of the Northern Empire, and as we track higher, a panorama of street battles in the middle distance is revealed. The barbarians were at the gate in 2010. Now they’re making headway through the suburbs.
Britain is heading down the post-Imperial vortex, and I’m afraid I think it is an inevitable process. I’ve blogged endlessly about the vital down-upwards sort of cultural change Britain needs to make one mighty bound and be free in classic Saturday matinee thriller style. But the spirit is no longer willing, and the flesh is vile. The quality, the creativity, the ethics and the courage simply aren’t there, and a growing, multi-dimensional social incohesion more or less guarantees that things will get worse, not better.
None of the runners out there are going to change that. Not the Greens, not the SNP and not the LibDems. I do think all three will continue to have an influence – in the case of the Greens, a growing one. But you can’t save a country that doesn’t want to be saved by electing arse-lickers who do not see any need for salvation.
And on that upbeat note, I suggest you crack open a bottle of Temperanilla and tuck into the carcass of choice. I’m having chicken with aromatic rice myself, but don’t let me influence you.
Yesterday at The Slog: Depression is awful, but it doesn’t explain what Lubitz did