Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Open Thread

So, what's it to be today, floods? Review of 24 hour drinking? West Ham signing Freddie Ljungberg? The Tories' Globalisation Commission Report?


I am looking forward to being back in harness properly on Thursday. Just so you know!

74 comments:

Diablo said...

Iain - did you know that they've shut down 18DS while you away? Gone into administration as they can't afford your fees.

Never mind, I am sure you can get a few "Thought for the Day" slots on the Today programme.

Diablo said...

Seriously though, Brown has said it's all the fault of the country's 19th century infrastructure. Don't remember them having too many electrical sub-stations or water purification plants when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

The again, we did not have the EU or Defra - or the Environment Agency, did we? Or the "most successful Chancellor of the Exchequer for the last 250 years"?

Bart "Brown" Simpson is famous for saying it wasn't me. But we know different methinks.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

In 1976 we had one of the hottest summers on record.

All the sooth-sayers came out prophesying the end of drinking water as we know it. Every one was going to get skin cancer. Iceland was going to have to be re-named "Ultima Phew-Wot-a-Scorcher Thule"

The floods are bad and its a disaster if you are affected, but we live on a living, creaking, changing planet.

Lets not get carried away by George Monbiot and all the other eco-poppets. And, for heaven's sake, let's stop blaming politicians for the weather - there is already plenty we can get them on, but the weather is not it.

My family home was flooded in the late sixties so I am not underestimating what people are going through. It is just that in two or three years time there will be another natural disaster of some sort and we will go through this pointless cycle of blaming everybody and flushing out experts to tell us we are all doomed.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

London calling to the faraway Tories
Now that war is declared-and bottled water's running out
London calling to the Rwanda trip
Come back to Heathrow, all you boys and girls
London calling, now look at the news
All that phony Blairmania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that sub-station thing

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear

'cos LONDON IS DROWNING - AND I - I LIVE BY THE RIVER

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

London Calling to the imitation Tone
Forget it brother and go it alone
London calling upon the Tories of Blair
Quit Holding out and take another breath
London calling and i DONT WANT TO SHOUT
But whilst we were drowning we saw you slipping out
london calling see we ain't got no leaders
except for that one with the yellowy teeth

The Ice age is...

London calling we're here but were you too?
And you know what their saying? well SOME OF IT IS TRUE
London calling at the top of the dial
After all that won't you give us a smile?

Harriet Hamster said...

Morning Iain

Hope you are okay enjoying your blog. Sky's Burley "bigging up the floods"
Galloway out of the Commons
Ken L spotted reading Boris's Biography on the train..
You stay safe ....

robin said...

Iain I a afraid your leader is now a lame duck. He should have been in England with green welies cups of tea and empathy however he is notwhere to be seen. People who coincedentaly are also voters will not forget.

Sackerson said...

Okay, one last Cassandra-like call and then I'll admit defeat:

Does it really not matter to your spohisticated political readership that the UK (presumably the Treasury under Gordon Brown) has recently purchased an absolutely massive amount of American Treasury securities, most of it in the last nine months, which quite probably will lose us many billions of pounds through currency depreciation? We have gone in one wild leap from 10th largest holder of American debt, to third place.

The potential downside from this crazy investment (I think it has already lost the equivalent of the first year's interest) worry me less than the implication, which is that the US is using its "special relationship" with the UK to defer (for a short time) the end-stage of a US debt-fuelled global inflationary spiral, with the prospect of a deep economic depression and possibly a wealth-destroying hyperinflation. The problems this would give us make the current floods seem a minor inconvenience.

Or is it that everybody here knows already, and is merely filling the time in the rattling tumbrils with political chit-chat and mutual insult? Is it aristocratic insouciance, or financial ignorance? Surely not the latter, when Americans are discussing their economic problems so openly and extensively.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Haig had his baseball cap.
Duncan Smith had his quiet man
Cameron has his trip to Africa whilst England floods.

All wrong decisions. The worst flooding in a generation and where is the Leader of the opposition.? He should be holding the government to account on all sort of issues to do with this.

He is unable or unwilling to take on labour and shows a complete lack of judgement of the situation.

He is just so far removed from reality and what a missed oppotunity.

Sackerson said...

As a footnote to my last comment here, perhaps one could regard as more noteworthy the US Comptroller General's recent comments on America's debt and its economic vulnerability? For more, and expert comment on this, please see http://www.financialarmageddon.com/2007/07/he-who-has-the-.html

Perhaps some readers can find a moment to worry about something more than a wet living room and who gets the next turn at the wheel of the clapped-out buses of British political parties.

dr spyn said...
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Curmy said...

Cameron got a very bad press from the locals in Oxford after his visit, apparently he hardly spoke to anyone who's house was flooded.
This trip to Rwanda is a PR disaster.
I'm not voting Tory after this.

john_redman said...

Sackerson mate

Forget it, Dave is so thick he thinks the country needs more Blairism. He's not about to engage with anything difficult. He's not Thatcher, is he?

Mog said...

In the cold political light of day Daaaavvve could have sent a positive message to ALL the voters in the UK by staying at home to support his constituents and bash the government over the head about the flooding.

Going to Rwanda does not "play well in Peoria". In the inner circle of the party it may be seen as a great thing, to everybody else it sums up exactly what is wrong with Daaaaavvvvvve and the Conservative Party - they are not in touch with reality.

I do despair sometimes.

Ian said...

Dear Iain,

Thanks for highlighting Rwanda. I was there in 1994 and my first wife was Rwandan. I thought it would be quickly forgotten. I'm pleased and surprised I was wrong about that. I think the effect of what you've seen will affect you more than you think. I think Cameron is doing the right thing in this respect. You can't learn about Africa from an office.

Best of luck,

Ian

Newmania said...

vgdhfnhdW Weasel - In the 70s we were supposed to be worrying about a coming ice age I can remember the graphics of Polar Bears in Cornwall on Nationwide.

Sackerson are you really terribly insecure or something ? What you say sounds interesting but the way you say it is so cravenly needy one has to wonder about the provenanace. The Telegraph had an editorial about this recently didn`t it?

Meanwhile the trip to Rwanda is not a disaster. You have to understand this sort of thing in terms of voters in marginal seats and the sort of semitotics that they respond to . The Labour constituency is public sector proffessionals and that is where Cameron has to make inroads. I know the type and I get the the point. I usually end up pointing my finger at them at Parties..

As far as turning up to wring hands about the floods is concerned it is hardly the point. The vulnerability of the country to such a disaster has not been out of the Press for the last years at least.

Why is noone saying , Brown you were warned and you did nothing. There is good reson for saying so and yet I have heard not a whisper of criticism.

Cameron is not Blair he has moved from the right to the centre inoredr to win. Thatcher did much the same thing and would do so again

Johnny Norfolk said...

Newmania.

You ask

'Why is no one saying , Brown you were warned and you did nothing'.

That is what Cameron should be doing.

Ed said...

Britain doesn't want another Blair and Cameron is not another Blair.

A lot of the supposedly Conservative Cameron-haters would do well to remember that by bashing him they are increasing the chance of Brown winning the next election. Which would they prefer in No. 10?

As it happens I personally think that Cameron has his head screwed firmly on. He knows what needs to happen to sort the country out but he can't go around frightening people with hardline rightwing policies because that will win the party precisely another ten years out of office.

Newmania said...

That is what Cameron should be doing.

Not in my view . He should be seeking areas of agreement at the margins and not alienating swing voters by venomous attack on a Party they have supported .
This is a job for the shadow cabinet and it is there that I feel the weakness has been. They are far too anonymous and that is because they are far to bloody boring ...to put it bluntly .

Ralph said...

Johnny: 'That is what Cameron should be doing.'

Do you think the MSM would report it unless they could criticise him for trying to score political points over people's suffering.

I'm sure Ming has commented on the floods but I've had BBC News 24 on in the background for hours during this flood and haven't seen him.

Ed said...

Exactly! If DC was to "wade in" and start blaming Brown it would be reported as "Tories play politics with people's flooded houses".

Would you say that was a sensible thing to do?

Vienna Woods said...

According to the BBC News - The UK issued National Insurance numbers to 713,000 overseas nationals in the year to April 2007. This means 713,000 foreigners newly employed in the UK during the last year. If this is correct then this is very serious! Where the hell is Dave and the Muppets when you need him?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear Ed

I think Brown has a chance of winning because he is currently firing on all cylinders.

He appears to be a winner and is clever enough (unlike Dangerous Dave, cf Ealing) to be out of the way when the merde is hitting the air-con.

GB was very assured during his first press briefing, and even managed a joke that got a proper laugh.

Labour has had ten years to get the business politics down to such an art that Machiavelli would have only managed a third class degree at Florence University, by comparison with Gordon Borgia.

Gordon is very coy about his moral values because he does not want to appear as a moralist, but at least he has moral values and at least they do inform his policies and practice, unlike someone we know.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I meant to add that it is all about perception.

It appears to be the case that Gordon Brown is a statesman.

When I see David Cameron I get "sixties game show host"

abandon said...

Alas, the Conservative Party, unlike the floods, is in retreat.

Lord Kalms has spoken out, with the truth about puddle-deep Dave, and a nation rejoices.

Ed said...

Ealing was a cock-up but a lesson learnt hopefully.

There is no alternative to DC though, unless you think ditching him and having another leadership race is the way to win the next election. He needs to avoid walking into obvious traps like bashing Brown for the floods - which would have the predictable media reaction I mentioned earlier.

If you think that to win DC has to lurch to the Right I think you are misreading the appetite of the people who will decide the next election.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Dear Ed

No, I don't think DC or any Conservative should "lurch to the right" as you put it.

We no longer have a world of "line em up against the wall" Trots and "Hang em and flog em" Tory Colonels.

But I think there is a way that Conservatives can be different. They can abandon relativism and understand that there is still such a thing as "right and wrong".

For example, it is right, I believe, to have strong border controls. It is right to insist that immigrants and the children of immigrants understand and can speak English as a precondition of coming to this country.

I think It is right that we devolve ourselves out of the EC.

Now that might sound a bit right wing but I also am anti-war and pro some form of quasi nationalization,particularly of the railways, since PPP clearly is a license to steal from the public purse.

I am in favour of a kind of Hall-Rabushka flat tax, that taxes consumption, not income. Gordon Brown is notoriously sniffy about that, mostly I think because it is transparent, and transparent, he is not.

I have rambled. sorry.

Newmania said...

WEASEL SAIDbut at least he has moral values and at least they do inform his policies and practice, unlike someone we know.


Oh don`t be such a pitiful dupe . I know what it is , you sense the smack or firm leadership and all that old rubbish . You miss your nanny or more likely the executive services of Miss Whip. Gordon Brown was running domestic Policy in this country when he supported introducing the Casinos and 24 hour drinking which he may abandon because of a Press camapaign. Moral ?. Do you seriously think he managed to run the electoral campaign and not know where the money came from ? AAAAggh !!! Weasel what is the matter with you ?

Currently he is busy lying to the electorate about his intentions which are obviously not to 'listen' but are in fact to reward the supporters that put him there . His descision to hide is because he is no good with out six months to prepare in the dark. Even now he is dismantling the academies intitiative he pretends to support and undermining the small amount of private provison in the NHS whilst claiming he is not shifting left.

He has presided over a period in which public accounting has become an everyday poltical tool,( ie PFI funding off balance sheet). he has presided over a period when state governed expenditure has risen beyond Germany to 45% .He makes noises about British Jobs for the British but he is not doing anyhting to stop immigrants turning up at four times the rate they were in the nineties.

He is a liar , he is a coward he has been thumped at PMQs by Dave and made to look like a child and his love affair with Parliament will not last beyond the election. He ,more than Blair ran the catastrophic delivery of tax credits his personal misguided and failed billion pound policy.

HOW CAN YOU CALL HIM MORAL? Because he doesn`t take the money ? Power is his drug and frankly I`d rather have someone back who liked a nice house and a holiday with Cliff to this deeply repugnant etiolated mouth breathing walking cadavre eaten with greed.He lost his sight from writing ten year plans all night not playing rugby .From then on he apart from normal people in his mind . He is Gollum Brown ..he wants it ...he needs it...it is his precious !

David Cameron is a leader with real courage.He was not an insider he dared tell the Party the was it is and they knew he was right.He is where he is because if clear thinking and talent and deserves the support of anyone determined not to see the brown Reich come to pass

Chuck Unsworth said...

"I am looking forward to being back in harness properly on Thursday. Just so you know!"

Iain, this is just too much information...

Ed said...

Weasel

That is all good stuff I find myself agreeing with most points - but you and I are not the people DC needs to win around to win the next election. Once he's in he can start to turn the socialist supertanker around but to get in he needs to reassure people that he isn't going to take a wrecking ball to the whole structure. Public sector workers, for example, aren't going to vote for Christmas.

I'm not suggesting he should lie his way in as Labour did but he's got to build a broad coalition which is what he's trying to do.

Johnny Norfolk said...

If you think David Cameron is doing a good job and agree with what he is saying and doing then you are not a Conservative that I know.

We want the real world with people that say it as it is. It does not pull the wool over my eyes at all its just spin and lies.

fr said...

Isn't it extraordinary how frightened the nulab machine is of Cameron ? They clog up this and other blogs with their tiresome, repetitive posts and are even prepared to admit the catastrophic mistakes of the government in order to say that DC should have commented on them.

Madasafish said...

Frankly reading some of the comments here, I understand and recall why I stopped voting Consservative.

I am not a wholehearted supporter of DC by any means - for a strat his political advisors (if he has any) must be muppets.. but judging by some of the comments on this and prior threads you would think the Conservative Party has a divine right to power.

It has not, it is largely distrusted - and frankly is making NO inroads in Northern England where it MUST win.

Of course the successful policy of the last 5 Conservative leaders has meant the party has lost almost every urban seat cos the party is out of touch with normal people by about as far as you can get.:-(

Frankly most of you sound like the old farts largely responsible for the mess the Party in currently in.

Anyone for a war in Iraq? Grammar schools? How many MPs in Scotland or Wales.

Out of touch = out of power. (see John Redwood for a classic case. or William Hague)

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"Fr" Isn't it extraordinary how frightened the nulab machine is of Cameron ? They clog up this and other blogs with their tiresome, repetitive posts ....

who might that be??

"madasafish".."judging by some of the comments on this and prior threads you would think the Conservative Party has a divine right to power"

Where did you get that impression?

Come on guys, we need examples. Define your terms and produce proof.

Newmania. Stop it.

I said Brown has moral values. Many of us do, but fail every day to live up to them.

It is perfectly possible to have principles and then hypocritically contradict them. Brown also seems to bear grudges. He might also be totally bonkers.

What I do know is that DC has demonstrated a failure to speak out when it was required, (the treatment of Patrick Mercer was shameful) and an inability to be coherent without a script (His comments to reporters over the reasons why "David Cameron's Conservative Party" was on the ballot paper.) He is also prey to "advice" on presentation which has already backfired, such as his blog that is certainly moderated and massaged by a flunky, and probably written by one too.

I am tired of being called variously a Nulab robot or an old Tory. I am neither. For the record I do vote but I voted SNP last time. (I am also proud to be English) At least up here we have MSPs (Including Conservatives) who speak with insight, authority and conviction.

Desperate Dan said...

Lord Kalms was on the Today programme this morning referring to the Conservative Party as 'we' and complaining about Dave. His excuse for inviting himself onto the BBC* seems to be that he sees himself as representing back bench and grass roots opinion. I think he's wrong there. In any contest between Dave and Stan I am 1000% certain that Dave would win. Someone should break it gently to Stan that you can't buy charisma or popularity - two qualities he lacks in abundance.. And I'm pleased to realise that Dave still hasn't agreed to be a cat's paw for Lord Kalms.

* The BBC, of course, has absolutely no excuse for putting him on air.

Cranmer said...

Mr Dale,

It is a pity that your brief entry today rather makes light of the disastrous floods which have hit the UK.

As hundreds of thousands are informed that they will be without fresh water for up to a fortnight, young couples with babies and children are despairing, the elderly are vulnerable to increasing isolation, and the Red Cross has launched a disaster fund.

And where is the voice of HM Opposition?

Of course, we all know that Mr Cameron could do nothing practical, but this is the media age, and appearances are everything. Away in Rwanda, you give the appearance of being more concerned with private pilgrimage and a collective rite of passage as you meditate on genocide and deprivation, but Mr Cameron insists that this is the ‘spirit of the Conservative Party’.

This may be the 'spirit', but the 'flesh' ought to be concerned with winning the next election, which is contingent on how your prolonged absence appears.

Antennae, Mr Dale, antennae.

Oscar Miller said...

Excellent post Newmania. A good number of posters here seem very susceptible to spin from the anti-Cameron/ anti Tory MSM. They just lap it up. Of course a shedload of others are just out to do spin damage. They're out to get Cameron not because he's making mistakes but because he's so bloody good. The Rwanda trip is important and Cameron would be doing himself no favours hanging about Oxfordshire with the floods receding (just imagine the negative press he'd get for that). The BBC in particular just love to put the Tories in a bad light any way they can and they're very adept at it - how stupid must you be simply to succumb to their manipulations?

BaldockBaldrick said...

You going to lose Tevez, you gain Ljunberg. I bet the Hammers fans are happy.

Desperate Dan said...

Oscar Miller 3.19pm
I think if Dave hung around Oxfordshire in the company of 40 Conservative volunteers helping those sections of the electorate who currently have no fresh water, no lavatories, no baths, no means of cooking, no lighting, not much to eat and whose possessions have been destroyed I think it would go down very well indeed.
And when I say possessions I don't mean tvs and videos, I mean irreplacable wedding photographs, letters, books, pictures and family memorabilia.

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

It was bad luck that the floods coincided with Dave Camerwandan's recent jaunt and terribly bad luck in Ealing, of course.

The problem with too much bad luck is that it starts to look like carelessness.

tapestry said...

sackerson, i don't think many people can understand what you're saying...which is why we are not hurrying to reply to you.

It sounds absolutely barking to buy dollars just as they are about to collapse. Brown likes countercyclical investment as he proved by selling gold at the bottom at $350 and it now heads for the $700 + level.

Why is he doing this now? Is it an attempt to protect the Euro from rising too far and fast? We lost billions trying to stop the £ crashing out of the ERM. Are we about to lose billions by trying to stop the Euro rising too fast for the convenience of our European partners.

Spain has been selling gold as if in economic meltdown. The Spanish Treasurer claimed to be buying bonds. I assumed that meant Euro bonds, but now you write this, I wonder if Spain have been buying dollar bonds to try to arrest the rise of the Euro to levels that Spain cannot cope with.

I don't think governments care about wasting billions on cocked up market-fixing strategies. They like to think they are powerful enough to push markets where they want them to go and bug>>> the consequences.

No wonder foreigners are piling in to buy European assets - like the Qataris for sainsburys, Barclays Bank to the Chinese. They are dumping US Treasuries to buy longterm profit earning assets. They need some sucker to buy them out of their US $ treasury hole - and good old G Brown's there with the cheque book.

Await the next black wednesday when it is the UK which has to announce bankruptcy on behalf of europe, and all our prize assets get sold off at bargain basement prices.

Your pieces is actually a bit scary.

NeilFitzgerald said...

Freddie is an excellent buy for us!

Newmania said...

Weasel I was only teasing you seem fine to me . I would have loved Cameron to tell the Liberal media to f--- off over Mercer but if he had the party would have been slaughtered .I understand the frustration I just think to throw bones to the Left over every private preference is unrealistic .

I do not find that Conservatives and many more are so in disagreement that they cannot see the need to unite behind a good leader who even his worst enemy would admit is ruthless in the pusuit of power. I am confident that the guns will be trained on Brown whose election would be an irreperable injury to everything about this country worth keeping.

For all we know Dave and Iain are sitting under the sacred African sky while Dave frets at the worries of Weasel at this very moment.

Calm down dear , its only a blog !Pat a few heads get back and start tearing Brown to pieces

RabidBadger said...

Newmania said...
The Labour constituency is public sector proffessionals and that is where Cameron has to make inroads.

I'll let the speeling [sic] go, but not the abuse of language.

Although there are professionals in the public sector (e.g. doctors), most of these workers are simply white collar workers - not 'professionals'.

Language is a valuable tool and asset, and deserves to be guarded well.

tapestry said...

The day they stop bashing Cameron on blogs is the day he's over.

In right wing politics, bashing is the equivalent of imitation - the sincerest form of flattery. It betrays interest to bash. If there is no interest, silence is the response.

Bash away. The more noise the better. Democracy works because debate improves.

That's why Nulab are such a disaster. They sit there in worshipful silence, and turn into scalded cats if anyone dares to even question the pronouncements of their Gord.

The other wonderful thing about Cam-bashing on Con Home is that it sure as hell confuses the left wingers at the BBC, and the Grauniad. How can this ill-disciplined rabble ever expect to make any progress, they muse.

They keep repeating in their narrative what a disaster the grammar school debate was. That's because they haven't had even one debate in Nulab for fifteen years. In fact the grammar school debate was a refreshing outbreak of democratic process and it resulted in a sound policy compromise.

If we go quiet and become like them, we'll fail this country like them. Bash away. Cameron loves it. He's a localist, and localism needs bashers.

Which tune shall we dedicate to Cameron and the spirit of open debate tonight, Cam-bashers?

Cry Me A River? or why not Whitney – I’ll Always Love You?

Newmania said...

Language is a valuable tool and asset, and deserves to be guarded well.

Quite right I meant Public Sector snivelling mendicants but thats what they call them in the New Statesman.

Tapestry - Grammar schools - Indeed I had a great debate on my blog on this best I ever managed . There was no sense whatsoever of a falling out .

Far less drama than reported

Man in a shed said...

Dave should be here - if only to dig, lay sandbags and carry round bottled water.

DC gets quoted today by the Press Ass saying "This is the time for the Conservative Party to stick absolutely to a very clear plan we have set out,"

And further - "We all need to work together as a really strong team. It's not the time to retreat into the hinterland and look backwards. We have absolutely the right approach and we know it works, so let's go forward."

The problem is we're not asking DC to go back - but to look around him. Quick reactions and a bit of listening would have prevented Grammargate - a bit of thought would have stopped him heading abroad at a time like this. With both of those actions I think we'd have been ahead in the polls now. They were mistakes - his mistakes. But we all make them, those who go on to great things learn by them.

The problem is not that we are all backward looking traditionalists- its that DC isn't showing the ability to listen and adapt.

That has to change or we will have 10 years of Gordon Brown.

David Cameron is out man - he just needs to tune in a bit more with his party and the country.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"For all we know Dave and Iain are sitting under the sacred African sky while Dave frets at the worries of Weasel at this very moment."

I shall treasure that thought, Newmania.Lol.

Desperate Dan said...

Blair was derided for spending more time out of the country than in it. Brown was scorned for running away whenever there was a bit of trouble.
In deciding to go for a junket to Rwanda immediately after the Ealing by-election Dave has managed copy Blair and Brown's greatest faults.

Sackerson said...

"Newmania" - not needy, urgent: trying to get a message through a screen of complacency, as if to warn Michael "what hurricane?" Fish. Can we please concentrate on the message. To which Telegraph article do you refer, please? (The latest US Treasury figures, the first to compare a full 12 months on the new accounting basis, were released late last week.)

"Tapestry": over the last 12 months, 10 countries have reduced their loans to the US by a combined total of $72 billion; we've increased our commitment by $112 billion, moving us from 10th place to 3rd place in the list of America's creditors. And our own finances aren't that good, either.

America is in hock to foreigners to the tune of 2.18 trillion dollars and rising. Effectively, they're running up a very big credit card bill to maintain domestic living standards. The US Comptroller General has very recently commented that this indebtedness could be used against the US by unfriendly foreign powers.

Our greatly increased support for America's finances is at the cost of some risk to ourselves, because if the borrowing spree continues unabated, we may find we get repaid in dollars that are worth far less than they are today. Can we afford to keep bailing out a spendthrift?

The borrowing is a powerful economic stimulus to China which, despite its relative poverty, is the second biggest creditor to the US. By sending the money back to America in the form of loans (purchase of US Treasury bonds), they avoid having their own currency appreciate. So their wage rates remain fantastically low and they continue to take business and jobs from the West - us included. Think of the transfer of the Swan Hunter shipyard to south India, or the purchase of Rover by China (don't tell me they're desperate to create long-term employment in Birmingham, when the average per capita wage in China is less than £1,000 per year). We're seeing a shift from higher-paid industrial work to lower-paid service jobs - perhaps the economic profile and geographical distribution of the readership of this blog means that it isn't obvious to them. China and others are hoovering up world resources in the dash to industrialise, right down to our iron manhole covers. James Kynge's "China shakes the world" is easy to read and very enlightening about what's going on.

Japan, America's greatest creditor, also buys US bonds to keep excess money out of its own system, so its interest rates are low, so the yen stays low and protects its well-established export markets. Also, a lot of money powering the world's stockmarkets is cheap money borrowed from Japan and invested elsewhere - the so-called "carry trade". All right if it goes on forever - but it can't. You cannot live for the rest of your life on borrowed money.

If currencies were responsibly managed, the trade deficit would cause the US to start to run short of cash, US wages would go down and exports back up, and trade would eventually (if painfully) come back into balance. But the Americans - and others, including ourselves again - respond by increasing the money supply (mostly through bank lending - up another 13% this year on both sides the Atlantic), which leads to price inflation, hence the rise in house prices and the stock markets. But borrowed money has to be repaid someday and then the tide will go out - but this time, we'll be left without much industrial capacity.

There's a fear that to prevent a 3os-style Depression, governments will print money even faster, but this leads to hyperinflation and eventually no one wants the currency at all (cf. Germany in 1923). So we could well have both a slump and high inflation. It may sound dull and technical, but then money is boring - until you haven't got any.

An American Congressional committee recently grilled the chairman of the Federal Reserve (like our Bank of England) and at least one Congressman admitted he realized he didn't understand inflation; the only one who seemed to was Ron Paul, who said that if we can make a living by printing money, we should all quit our jobs and do that. Most of Ron Paul's own investments are in gold and silver; the world's richest investor, Warren Buffett, has been sitting on many billions of dollars of cash for a long time and has recently disclosed that he's hedged by buying into a foreign currency, to protect against financial loss from a falling dollar.

If the value of the dollar (and possibly the pound) starts to collapse through overproduction, we really will notice - it's not just going to be bargain fares to Disneyworld. Americans - rich, expert ones, who manage big funds - are sounding the warnings loudly, clearly and angrily.

The collapse hasn't happened yet, partly because the dollar is the world's standard trading currency. This is changing; already, Iran is demanding payment from Japan in yen, not US dollars. When more countries start to impose similar conditions, the demand for the dollar will drop significantly, and so will its exchange value. China is beginning to de-link from the dollar, in favour of a wider basket of currencies; meanwhile, it's widened the range within which its currency (the renminbi, or Chinese yuan) can move against the dollar. They're not in hurry to appreciate their money, for reasons of international industrial market share; but that's the way the pressure is building.

Although our economy is much smaller than America's, we have (to some extent) similar problems ourselves. Yet here we are, lending money to our bigger cousin. I don't think we can sub him indefinitely, and I don't think we have begun to address the question of our own economic future. Without that, there'll be lots more hoodies to hug.

Roger Thornhill said...

Newmania, Re: Mercer.

Dave's mistake in my eyes was to knee-jerk before considering the facts.

IMHO he should have suspended Mercer and requested a meeting at the first instance to discuss. This would have given time for his loyal comrades to come forward and make the issue melt away. Dave did not know that, but that is the point...he did not know.

Newmania said...

You may have a point there Roger but I can understand the over reaction . This all comes from the discovery that the very same policy as a Conservative Poicy was so tainted that it could not be put forward.( Do you recall the surveys) Cameron has had to over compensate.

Geezer said...
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Geezer said...

"They are far too anonymous and that is because they are far to bloody boring ...to put it bluntly."

Possibly, But, a large part of their anonymity, I think, stems from the media bias again. If bad domestic political news is downplayed or ignored and the BBC let the government get away with "no comment" or some two paragraph press-release for any government failures, then there is going to be little reason or inclination to put on a Conservative spokesman (under BBC reasoning anyway). Most people have trouble identifying what ministers do what, never mind their shadow counterparts. As the criticism of the government is so often muted and the Conservative opinion deliberately ignored, it is hardly surprising that Conservative views don't get widely heard.

RacerDon said...

probably best to let Brown call an early election and win on the "anyone but Blair" ticket. Then, just like John Major, he will be proven to be completely unfit for office and the Labour Party can then resume it;s natural position of opposition for the following 18 years. Just hope they don't completely destroy our country (I mean England) in those 5 years.

wonderfulforhisage said...

I'm listening Sackerson.

Keep up the pressure. The subject may be a bit on the technical side of 'gaiety song and dance' but the way you've explained it has been masterly. (Thank you Tapestry for triggering my re-reading of Sackerson's comments)

This is much more important than party politics and would seem to me to be more of a threat to our collective way of life than even terrorism.

hatfield girl said...

Increasing holdings of American treasury bonds today makes no sense for private or public investors.

This is a Bank of England activity in the management of its reserves, not the Treasury. Has Mervyn King lost his independence? Brown has form in imposing appointments and over-ruling 'independent' central bank decision taking.

Sackerson has described only too rightly, capital losses on dollar devaluation are already higher than interest rate differentials.

Perhaps HM's Opposition would care to raise this? And not take 'independence of the Bank of England' for an answer.

Sea Shanty Irish said...

Feeling a strange emotion . . . I'm sorry for David Cameron.

The Tory's Rwanda initiative has a great deal of intrinsic value (as Iain's reportage shows) for the local people and communities. It's also very positive for Britain's image and stature in Rwanda and Africa; the average Rwandan/African doesn't know or care about UK politics . . . but WILL know that a bunch of Brits came a long way to lend a hand.

And as a number of previous comments have noted, the trip has many benefits for David Cameron and the "New" Tory Party . . . "new" in this context meaning potentially capable of forming a government sometime before Watney is totally innudated thanks to global warming . . . or buried under the next ice age: wackos can squirrel away their favorite nuts (or visa versa!)

BUT there is ZERO doubt that the TIMING of Cameron's Rwanda trip is a HUGE problem. Am guessing that even Rwandans (the local BBC audience) are puzzled why he isn't home taking care of urgent business.

AND even when he did visit a flood area, seems he got little credit for it, apparently because he was in a hurry. NOT because he didn't care about the flood victims - am sure he does - but because his schedule was so tight.

WHAT he should have done was this: Send Team Tory to Rwanda to do good work - and that's exactly what it is, very good work for people who have so little - BUT postponed his own visit until AFTER the flooding has abated.

That way he could have been hanging out with (perhaps even helping) the flooded ( particularly in his own constituency) AND followed up with Rwanda at a more appropriate time, this getting the full benefit & credit . . . instead of less than that however you look at it.

Looks like DC let his schedule drive his message . . . should have been the other way around!

Newmania said...

Oi Iain Dale why is it that your friends are the ones undermining Cameron...Times on Line

A senior Shadow minister told The Times: “I think it is fair to say that David Davis and Nick Herbert have fundamentally opposing views of their relationship and that David Cameron is backing Nick.” Relations between Mr Cameron and Mr Davis, former leadership rivals, are deteriorating at a time when Mr Cameron’s judgment is openly being called into question.

Lord Kalms, the former Tory treasurer who funded Mr Davis’s campaign two years ago, added his voice to those calling on Mr Cameron to return to a right-wing agenda. He said in a newspaper interview yesterday that Mr Cameron was facing a “summer of discontent”. Later he called on the Tory leader to “do some rethinking”.


What going on this is so unhelpful

Geezer said...
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Geezer said...

Newmania, So the Murdoch press is trying to undermine Cameron then? What a surprise!!!

The Dirty Digger is up to his foul tricks.
Another nail in the coffin of a once great publication.

Sea Shanty Irish said...

As for Gordon Brown . . .

It is amusing to see how well the Tories have talked themselves into the notion that the elevation of GB to PM is a drag on Labour and a boon for Tories . . . when almost the exact opposite is true.

Brown is the ANTI-BLAIR which is a plus for him and Labour. Because the average Brit of EVERY political stripe from Anarcho-Syndicalist to BNP is THRILLED to see the back of Tony Blair. Do you know ANYONE not on the payroll who wanted TB to hang around? Yeah, right . . .

My main point is this: by being the Anti-Blair, Gordo is really on to something! And by trying to be the New Blair, Cameron is NOT.

On a related note, check the fact that AMERICANS from sea to shining sea and across the political spectrum are UNITED in their total FATIGUE with George Bush and the Cheney Administration.

Now I can hear some of you saying, ok, but the Cheney Administration is one of the worst disasters in American history. True enough . . . which explains why the GOP is currently in a state of free fall.

Whereas the Labour Party is not . . . because the Blair/Brown administration (now just the Brown administration) for all its sins has a MUCH better record as even its harshest critiques (at least those not confined to rubber rooms) must admit.

Isn't true that EVERYYONE in the UK over the age of 12 knows that it is BROWN - not Blair - who has been running the British econony (the government sector and leverage at the very least) for a DECADE? And perhaps the most successful decade for the most people since they stored the horde at Sutton Ho!

Plus EVERYONE knows that whenever Blair and his minions came up with some bright ideas not already vetted by the Treasury boffins, Gordon's response was . . . go screw yourselves! To which the British public gave three cheers and a tiger!!!

The REAL problem Labour has is longevity in power, which means that the deadwood is really starting to pile up . . . and I don't mean in Boris Johnson's boathouse . . .

Sea Shanty Irish said...

Am deeply SADDENED that all you Tories are DISSING the Great American Economy.

Thought that you girls & boys wanted the same prudent fiscal policies that the Bush has delivered for (or rather visited upon) the United States!

Better not let DICK CHENEY find out . . . he might decide Conservative HQ is part of the Axis of Evil . . .

PS - When Tories talk about the economy BEFORE there is any major problem IN THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC they are making a big mistake . . . cause folks still remember the ERM meltdown . . . and contrast THAT with the wild improvidence of Gordon Brown! Smart strategy?

molesworth 1 said...

indeed, sackerson should be congratulated on his posting of the finest crib for tomrros maths. prep (cheers, cheers), and no matter how one try to re-arrange the equasions, Y always appear to be a VERY BLEKE function of X (chiz,chiz).
there apere to be a small prob where he apere not to have received the headmaster's note about 'bankofenglandindependence' but the rest is undoubtedly of note.
peason laze in his pit, as per ushal, but seem to be rushing to the back pages of his fav mag to see if there are any lively comments on just how independent the old mater of threadneedle avenue ect. ect..... i think you can gues the reast, hem-hem....

molesworth 1 said...

...plus which i am not surprised to hear that ruth lea do not give a fig if the eoc is abolished, she canot see what it have ever done for her ect. ect., in fac, it may well have been a barrier for all gurls (drone, drone).

it occur to me, admittedly at peason's ribald sugestion, that she is unlikely to have experienced much in the way of anti-gurl institutionalised sexism at the hands of the GRATE BRITISH PUBLIK, bein as how most people think she is a boy at first sight...not unlike prefect kelly's problem before she decided to let her hair grow long, so as to leave us in no doubt...

Handy said...

Sea Shanty Irish (10:37pm) wrote:

"Looks like DC let his schedule drive his message . . "

The thing is SSI,...the schedule/medium/SPIN IS the message.

That is why so many of us have been worrying about, and recently rebelling against, the leadership style.

Ed's comments above (12:54pm)
say it all as far as I'm concerned.
He writes:

"I'm not suggesting he should lie his way in as Labour did but he's got to build a broad coalition which is what he's trying to do."

"Once he's in he can start to turn the socialist supertanker around but to get in he needs to reassure people that he isn't going to take a wrecking ball to the whole structure."

(I've reversed the order of the above quotes to achieve a SPIN effect).

Or in other words, as long as we only lie by implication, rather than directly, (bike to work, followed behind by....) we're honorable men, all of us, honorable men.

I only wish that our Party had a handful in the upper echelons with half the honour of Dennis Skinner.
I'm almost at the stage where I'd vote for a party lead by him.



MOLESWORTH!!!!

I assume you've been at the sauce?
Or perhaps you're the product of one of these latter day pretend universities (another disgusting and ultimately very cruel product of the SPIN culture we live in).

molesworth 1 said...

my dere handy (@11.56), i am not merely at the sauce, i am veritably OF the sauce, and damn your puritan stance.
as for the assertion that i mis-spent my youth at some sort of sub-standard prep school, i shall merely let that comment stand & watch as the sh*t-coloured water rise inexorably up its legs, so to speak...
also, consistently capitalising the word 'party' in a context such as this merely make you come across as some sort totalitarian prole.
stop blubbing for matron and get back to your dorm.

Sackerson said...

"hatfield girl" and "molesworth 1": thank you for the correction re the BOE's role and losing our money and its "independence". Perhaps David Cameron or George Osborne can confront "Grabber" about it?

Newmania said...

Sea Shanty Irish -

On the economy , we are the worst performing economy in the Anglosphere and it was already surging ahead at the end of the Major period . Without the administrative an tax burdens placed on the private sector (and the swollen public sector) it would have done as well as the other free economies . A historic missed opportunity. These gains are driven by the global markets that believe in the low tax and entrepreneurial societies that Brown despises. Those actually in this sector are aware of this and this is not the problem the Conservatives have ( They almost universally support the Tories). The drag on business is in front of you everyday ( well not you ..I assume )The problems are these

1. they no longer appear in Scotland now a client Socialist state with double counted votes and massive ( Barnett Formula) subsidy. This is in effect taxing the English , who after all voted for Conservatives by a 50,000 majority even at the last election, to pay for another country to provide them with a shade of government they do not like . Gordon Brown is entirely aware of this sophistry hence “ British” Brown and the possibility of alliance with the Liberals ( now on the back burner)

2 In England the swing seats are loaded with the 6500,000 now living on benefits but of working age and those living on the state or subsidised by the state . Turkeys , and there are ,as Labour admits, far too many , will not vote for Christmas however much Cameron reassures them.

3 The Conservative Party have allowed themselves to become associated with backward looking and image related problems mostly by being the enemy of the state funded media for the very obvious reason that they want to break it up , now more than ever. Here Cameron has made good progress and it this balance in his opposition that makes him appear less fascistically bossy than Scotch broth Brown .This temporarily attracts the voter so sickened were they with Trifle and Cream Blair but strikes me as a shallow reaction.


You are correct in your analysis that Labour have been fabulously lucky to inherit both the prudent management and the Union reforms of the previous period which they have not undone and have frequently acknowledged . You are also correct that the ERM fiasco is still the Albatross around the Conservatives neck and indeed as we are aware that Brown spending and borrowing is due to sink the boat there is a some trepidation about being there to hold the baby again. It is of course ironic that Europe should be our problem when the Labour Party are currently telling the electorate the greatest lie that has ever been perpetrated on the British people about the thinly disguised Constitution.

However you are wrong to imagine that image and luck are everything . This administration despite a golden opportunity has not delivered.
1 Tax Credits ..balls up
2 DEFRA
3 NHS Computers and Recruitment
4 Unreformed Welfare
5 Crime
6 Societal Breakdown
7 Pensions and tax dishonesty
8 General Lying

And I could go on and on and on and in great detail ……. Believe you me they are detested in many areas and exactly for the things that Brown is responsible for as the Socialist to Blair`s ( supposed )centrist. When the honey moon is over you will see that the Conservative Party are a lot closer than they have been in along time and in such clement conditions that is quite something. This will ,at least , provoke a constitutional crisis over Scottish and English votes.

Your anti Blair thing is misconceived . Not-Blair is a good thing true in that he is charm less unpleasant and bossy , but Brown is not Blair for the wrong reasons. He is the one who has driven the loathed centralisation , he is the one who has increased all our taxes , he is the one who has responsible for the various delivery foul ups above . Naturally he will not be allowed to call himself New Brown for long and whilst I can understand a certain preening arrogance at the recent polls , especially after having despaired , there are contradictions and lies at the heart of “ New Centre Brown”

He is Old Incompetent Left Wing Scottish Brown and hide though he will try to do , this truth cannot go unnoticed for long.

..and I haven`t got onto immigration yet... OR SLEAZE.the exaggerated internal problems of the Conserrvative side will disappear a the fight gets real and nothing is certain at this point
.

bgprior said...

SSI,

BUT there is ZERO doubt that the TIMING of Cameron's Rwanda trip is a HUGE problem.

Napoleon said that he'd rather have a lucky general than a good one. Gordon is starting to look lucky and Dave unlucky, though of course you make your own luck to some extent. I bet people were saying, around the turn of the nineteenth century, similar things about Napoleon to what you are saying about Brown. To the myopic, it looks like he has found the winning formula, though the seeds of his downfall were sown long ago. Even Napoleon's lucky generals couldn't compensate for rampant megalomania and a bad plan that over-extended their resources. But it still needs the right tactics, the right general, and a message that can motivate sufficient opposition, to defeat even a bad plan, so long as enough people continue to believe in that plan.

The problem with putting off the trip is that, in these days of personality politics, the efforts of the 40 needed Dave's visit to get some publicity benefit for the Tories (at which it seems to have been only marginally successful, but he had to try). And likewise, they needed a stunt to make their Globalisation Commission's Report newsworthy. He has a schedule of reports to get out and would have lined up the people and press for the launch. He couldn't risk turning it into a damp squib by pulling the trip that was supposed to highlight its importance. Sadly, it still went off with a phut, rather than a bang, but you can't fault him for effort. Which is more than you can say for some of his colleagues.

Your comments about the British and American economies sound like the witterings of the metropolitan chattering classes. No one I know in the 'burbs or the sticks, struggling to get on with their lives as tax, regulation, and costs of living continually increase faster than our means, believes the economy is in a good state. I actually feel sorry for Alistair Darling who both has to live with Brown telling him what to do and take the shit when Brown's mistakes come back to bite the government. But then I can't imagine why any sane politician would take a job as Brown's chancellor, so he has only himself to blame.

As for the American economy, what Americans call conservatives and we call classical liberals are as disgusted by the way Bush has run the American economy as any lefty. And it looks like the Americans are likely to push the self-destruct lever up another notch at the next election. But that doesn't say anything inherent about the "Great American Economy", any more than the success of the German and Japanies economies at pulling themselves out of the rubble at the end of the war and their subsequent stagnation through the adoption of bad economic policies says anything about the inherent qualities of those economies. It's all about the policies, and not how you label governments as "left" or "right", or whether one nation is intrinsically better than another.

Each time a nation screws things up, it's because they get complacent about their apparently inevitable success, and start loading up their economy with costs it can't stand. The effect usually takes a while to feed through, but history shows the pattern being repeated continuously. We will see it again with NuLab, who, after a prudent first few years, have spent the remaining time taxing, spending and regulating their way into the affections of a certain sector of society. As you say, Gordon should take the credit for economic and domestic policy over that period, and I hope he gets the credit when the consequences become impossible even for the chattering classes to ignore.

Desperate Dan said...

Another yawnathon in place of PMQs. I'd like to nominate Gordon Brown as the most boring man on the planet.

Desperate Dan said...

Oh my god. Gordon's droning out his latest statement of intent now. I think I'm losing the will to live. I think life under the dead hand of Gordon Brown is contravening my human rights.

Jim said...

Vienna Woods said...
According to the BBC News - The UK issued National Insurance numbers to 713,000 overseas nationals in the year to April 2007. This means 713,000 foreigners newly employed in the UK during the last year. If this is correct then this is very serious! Where the hell is Dave and the Muppets when you need him?

July 24, 2007 11:52 AM

________________________

Arrhh Yes the old right wing foaming agenda is back on the cards. Johnny foreigner bashing, EU bashing, do gooders patronising the wee black folk in Africa etc etc.

Maybe you have a point Veinna Woods, I too think we should kick out those 33,000, mainly white Australians who take all the bar and restaurant jobs. And those £5 an hour fruit picking jobs should be left for the local farming communities, ie no fruit would be picked and the strawberries in your super market would cost £4 a punnet. And as for the , mainly white, American and European business people who aid our economy, they should be sent packing, and that area of the economy left to the Oxbridge floppy haired, well placed, well connected brigade. Errrrrr Maybe Not.