Tuesday, 24 January 2017


 I'll go to see the new musical. It might cheer me up having lived in Britain's la la land for so long. Yet it won't explain  why a shunken, middle rank country which has never found a role since it lost an empire and been in comparative decline for decades is still being told, and half believes, that it's the greatest, an example to the world, and the best place to be when, in fact, it's deep in debt, unable to pay its way in the world and being sold off bit by bit to keep importing goodies we can neither produce nor afford.

A nation in a mess on that scale needs a powerful reassurance industry to tell it that the plug hole is another of the great opportunities so constantly showered on it. Britain has it in a media which portrays every failing business as leading the world,  every new restaurant start up as economic salvation. Their efforts are boosted by governments which tell us we're punching above our weight, as if a poodle punched rather than yapped, and by a Finance Sector which believes that multinationals must be allowed to evade their taxes to attract them here.  

Trump has just discovered alternative facts. We've been fed on them for years. Indeed only a nation living in La la land could see creative destruction as regeneration and Mrs Thatcher's  ruinous de-industrialisation as the cure for economic decline as if phoenixes arise from ashes so the best way to breed them is to create more ashes. Our competitors have used protection and built up national champions to grow strong. We have preached free trade to damage our industry, broken up all our former national champions: ICI, General Electric, British Leyland (Rover), and Courtaulds (RIP) and imposed the higher costs of both privatised utilities and indigent local government on a business community which then howls for tax cuts to survive. 

Now we're told that a country which seems to be doing well only by contrast with an EU which is doing so badly thanks to the Euro, is an economic miracle. In fact it is a huge bubble boosted by ever rising asset and house prices and kept going by consumers borrowing to buy what they can't afford and a state borrowing ever more to keep going. If this is success one begins to wonder what disaster looks like and if we'll ever be allowed to recognise it.

These attitudes cripple the great debate on membership of the European Union.  Euro -enthusiasts talk about the wonderful things the EU has done for us when its drained us of jobs, money and demand for decades. Beneficiaries proclaim the benefits of EU aid when its only our own money paid back for the EU"s purposes with their massive running costs taken out. The membership fees are said to be well worth paying when we must borrow to pay eleven billion,(and rising) just to belong to a club that's doing damage to our economy. 

The City of London proclaims itself as the nation's all powerful saviour admired by the world,while at the same time threatening that it will  collapse and migrate to Luxembourg if we leave. British business proclaims the Single Market as essential to survival while ignoring the fact that we trade in it at an enormous and growing deficit  met only by overseas borrowing and the  jumble sale of British companies, assets, property' land, even citizenship. British capitalism dubs itself  a world beating triumph  even though it lives on fees for selling British assets and leaches on the state for subsidies, lucrative PFIs and  transfers of state functions which it can run down for the profit of overpaid executives and greedy shareholders, more concerned with the short term and shareholder value than building the long term strength of the company.. 

All nonsense but because Europhiles believe it so strongly they're prepared to sabotage Britain's case, preach the other side's arguements and support every threat dredged up by tin-pot politicians on the EU's side, acting as a fifth column posing as the essence of Britishness. They mock the government's efforts to implement the wishes of the electorate and portray escape from  the EU octopus as not only doomed to failure but certain to lead to economic ,social and political disaster if they suceed. These are the arguments of nervous Nellies not those of a confident, competitive business sector

Arguments so fragile can't possibly be true yet they are assiduously propagated and proclaimed by the liberal media, the vested interests and the Celtic nationalists who prefer subjection to Brussels to benefits from Westminster.  Even worse they are half believed by a public which has been told for so long that failure is success, decline improvement, debt virtue and subordination, independence. A nation fed on myths  can, in the fullness of time and diet, die by them. Unless our politicians are prepared to heed Lady Curzon's advice to fearful brides to"Lie back and think of England"


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Monday, 23 January 2017


I'm beginning to lose faith in the omniscience of George Soros. He's miscalled the pound's  exchange rate. Now he says Theresa May "will not last"  He's right to say "she's got a very divided cabinet, a very small majority in Parliament" but very wrong not to see that her government is impregnable because  Britain is becoming a one party state.

When I was an academic I preached the virtues our two party system in keeping up a continuous critique of the executive  and providing for easy changes of government. Now all that's  gone. Social change and the opposition's decision to opt for suicide as a political strategy make Britain's a one and  assorted bits party system which keeps Theresa's government secure.

The old system was dying. The proportion voting for the two main parties fell from ninety percent to around two thirds. Party membership dropped. Fewer people bothered to vote,more were open to change. Sudden vote surges to the SDP,then Clegg  showed that people were voting like consumers not party loyalists. 

 Labour then decided to throw membership open to anyone who could afford a raffle ticket with a prize of electing the party leader.This brought in a flood of members who weren't prepared to do the hard party work, and felt Labour governments had sold out but supported Corbyn, the one candidate in an uninspiring leadership field who talked their language. Sadly not one spoken by the people Labour needs to win. Result? A leader  as impregnable as he's incomprehensible was saddled on a Parliamentary Party which could neither follow him nor get rid of him.

This commits Labour to swimming against the tide of the new politics. The old and still basic division between the two parties was about class and equality but Labour's manual working class base is shrinking as the middle class base of the Tories grew. Now, that old, left-right division is becoming less important than the social- liberal versus traditional-conservative gulf, which emerges over feminism, race, homosexuality, the environment, globalisation, immigration and  other symptoms of modernity.

 Both parties struggle with this, witness Cameron's failed attempts to get the Tories to hug hoodies and huskies but Labour's struggle is harder. It's core support is more traditional, snobs would say less enlightened, its leadership  more middle class and liberal. Career politics have almost eliminated manual worker MPs. Their replacements are middle class kids on the make who are more liberal, even passionate about  new causes those at the bottom of the social ladder were less bothered about.

 Labour stopped talking the language of the people but took the support of "our people" for granted and set out to win support in the south and from higher up the social ladder. The Blair government  never deliveried enough to its people or its regions,but did too much for the City, for Finance and for the liberal cause pushers. UKIP began to pick up votes in Labour seats The SNP took Scotland

This is now been  compounded by an almost religious argument over membership of the EU.  Kinnock and Blair had brought it round to a vacuous enthusiasm but the conversion process  didn't reach down to the  party's base There people were more nationalistic and harder hit by the immigration, the wage stagnation and the de-industrialisation membership had led to. So the party which rushed to campaign for the EU was astonished to find that  a third of its people voted the other way  and most MPs were on the opposite side to their constituents.

 First reactions were to blame the hapless leader. Long  opposed to membership Corbyn was bullied into supporting it but  too unenthusiastically for Europhiles who promptly blamed him for the defeat Second reaction was to proclaim the intention to use Parliament to block people's wishes in Parliament and Blair,Hain and perhaps thirty MPs still adhere to this but the bulk of the party don't know what to do. So they clamoured for  government to declare its negotiating objectives without being  able to say what Labour's are because it's divided on the single market and immigration .They can't decide whether to have a free vote on the start of Clause 50 negotiations or face a rebellion.

 Parties are more factional and fissiparous, but the Conservatives can cope better.  Loyalty remains their secret weapon and power their overriding priority. The others face futility. Marshalling  them into an effective opposition is impossible .They can huff and puff against the government but none of them wants an election. Futility is better than unemployment , Indeed Labour doesn't dare  risk anything which might threaten the government because in their present state an election would be a Labour massacre. Humiliation in the Clause 50 negotiations may endanger the government but is more likely to generate electoral anger than any surge to Labour.

 Labour will stagger on but become less  relevant with an exodus of the able and ambitious which has already begun. It can't offer prospects to  rising ambitious youngsters, the new Blairs. Spluttering on the back benches or devoting their lives to petty social work and insoluable problems in the constituency are no great attraction. People on the make will see that they can't make it in Labour which must come to resemble Beau Geste's fort with the dead propped up on the ramparts, the living few dashing round firing their rifles for them and the new recruits more likely to bayonet the defenders than the enemy 

 Labour will fight back in Scotland but to be effective  there it must preach Brexet not try to outbid the SNP in its Euro-enthusiasm. Elsewhere Labour's impotence may  drive up support for the Lib-Dems, from both Euro-enthusiasts and protesters. Meanwhile the division between the socially liberal and the more traditional will  gape even wider. All that tolls the death knell of the two party system. 

Proportional Representation could allow Britain to cope  by articulating the  divisions but incumbant politicians have closed their minds against this. It would require a referendum and winning that is unlikely. So the odds are  that we face a future  which may be fascinating for the commentariat , political scientists and other perverts but depressing for everyone else, particularly for idealists. That's my prediction. The two forthcoming by-elections will give us the first indication of whether its right.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Labour: Are we brave brits or Eurocreeps?

Its time for Labour to stop maundering miserably in the back blocks of politics, give up its infantile Euro enthusiasm, understand that its job is to build Britain's economic strength not preach a naive internationalism . Instead we must speak for England, and enthuse our people for the fight not make them miserable by horrible projections. That would mean fighting for  Scotland too if we're to win it back from a Euro-daft SNP who'd rather be ruled from Brussels than share power with London.

As Britain embarks on the negotiations for withdrawal my party should ask itself  not what Mandelson, Blair and the sycophants of Finance want but "what about the workers?" What's good for jobs, a strong Britain and the rebalancing of an economy which is becoming a bubble sustained by ever rising debt?

What's the single market ever done for us? It's led to a horrendous deficit in trade with the EU. When we went in we had a surplus. Increasing every year its now become a ninety billion deficit, much of it with Germany. British exports to the EU falter because the Euro imposes deflation and has made the Eurozone the world's blackspot for low growth and high unemployment while our imports,particularly from Germany, increase, all of them jobs exported from Britain

Its principle of free movement of labour,agreed in an age when that meant small transfers between advanced economies, now permits an uncontrolled flood from Eastern Europe. This drives down wages in Britain and imposes severe strains on our underfunded social,educational and housing sectors and has generated widespread concerns. These  may be naughty, unsocialist, even populist, but come from Labour's people more than the Tory voting classes.

Its insistence on the free movement of capital allows multi nationals and British companies to dodge their obligations to this country  and benefit from a race to the tax bottom which Ireland and Luxembourg are winning to our great cost. They then have the cheek to accuse us of aiming to outbid those EU tax fiddlers if we leave.

That same freedom which we impose more effectively than anyone else allows large numbers of British firms to be taken over  by foreigners in  the EU's freest takeover market.Our railways are now run by nationalised European competitors making big profits here to keep their own domestic fares down while pushing ours to ridiculous highs.Their national champions take over our markets but ours GEC,ICI, Leyland , Courtaulds arse dismantled and sold off We're not allowed to aid or help  British firms to fight back.

Because its basis was a dirty deal to help German industry and French agriculture we are not only prevented from buying food from the cheaper producers we used to trade with,thus increasing our costs, but required to drag French agricultural protectionism into every trade deal the EU negotiates for us. This makes it more difficult and time consuming to get any.

A party of the people should recognise the damage being done to them by playing a more powerful opponent on an unbalanced court and not leave it to UKIP to voice concern. Instead Labour prevaricates. Our first reaction was to suggest that the decision of the people should be reversed by the elite. Realising that this was hardly democratic we began to moan about the cuts in Euro-support for regions, institutions and those strong Labour supporters the landowners, failing to recognise that this was our own money back with their heavy costs taken out. 

Now we've moved back to  defending the single market and giving aid and succour to the other side in the negotiations. That's now being softened by the realisation that our supporters want something done about immigration  and telling them it was for their own good wasn't exactly working. So we began to consider controls having proclaimed the fact that they're impossible in the single market. Now our fall back position seems to be that the government should give away its negotiating position and tie its hands to a soft Brexit while  our demands must be kept secret because we don't know what they are.

More sensible than all that obfuscation would be to reflect both the interests and the instincts of our people and take a far more nationalistic (ie pro British) line .Demand the best possible deal for Britain, stop maundering on stop condemning nationalism and fight for Britain's real interests. 

Brexit has already produced the first essential step  for dealing with our crippling balance of payments deficit .The devaluation which wouldn't otherwise have happened now brings the pound to a more sensible and competitive level at which British industry can begin to complete and grow. Nothing can be achieved without that. Devaluation is the only way to deal with deficit.

Let's stop moaning miserable about Brexit as if it was an economic Bubonic plague . We should demand that the government seize the opportunity it provides and  urge it to build on that by the best possible exit terms. That would be a settlement which serves our real interests in jobs and in rebalancing a failing economy ,rather than those of Germany and France. Most of us joined the Labour Party to  build a more equal society and better the lot of those down the heap not to become part of the Junker Tabernacle Choir.


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