Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Trials of Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling's INTERVIEW in The Guardian this morning is more interesting for the tone of what he said, rather than actually what he said. Reading it, the feeling you got was of someone who had given up the ghost - who knew the game was up and was just going through the motions. The picture, by Murdo Macleod, accompanying the interview sends out one message: "We're doomed".

Tellingly, before the interview started, this is what his press adviser [Catherine Macleod] said to him...
"Now Alistair," Catherine tells him firmly when eventually we sit down for the interview, "tell her everything. Make sure you tell her everything."

What an astonishing thing to say. She's effectively saying, go on, dish the dirt, and don't worry about that the man in Number Ten might think - save your own reputation.

The contents of the interview have been reported ad nauseum elsewhere so I won't go into too much detail here, beyond saying that it is extraordinary that a Chancellor discovers how bad a shape we are in from reading the FT, rather than from Treasury officials.

Two other points. He absolutely dismisses talk of a reshuffle. This is fighting talk, as I don't recall a Minister ever doing something like that in such stark terms. Normally, the line would be "it's for the Prime Minister to decide". Darling said this...
"Frankly, if you had a reshuffle just now, I think the public would say, Who are they anyway? You name me a reshuffle that ever made a difference to a government, actually." Brown, he points out, had to make ministerial changes in January, following Peter Hain's resignation. "And you can't be chopping and changing people that often. I mean, undoubtedly at some stage before the end of the parliament he will want to do a reshuffle, but I'm not expecting one imminently. I do not think there will be a reshuffle."

I suppose his 'get-out' is the word imminently, as the consensus seems to be that it now won't be carried until until after the Labour conference, but even so, it is still an extraordinary stance for a senior minister to take.

Secondly, it is interesting to note his acpocalyptic description of the state of the economy, as the worst in 60 years. This contrasts with what Gordon Brown has been saying rather starkly. If the economy is in its worst state since World War II (a description which I think is utter rubbish, for what it's worth), people will understandably ask who is to blame. They might accept that the global economic situation is partly to blame, but they will ask why our economy is in recession when the US economy continues to grow at 3%, and why the Pound is sliding against every other major currency.

My overall impression from this interview was a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders who hasn't got a clue what to do next. He sounded like a businessman who knows his company is about to go bankrupt, and cannot come up with a Plan B.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

He is correct about since WW2. Oil and gas at real term record prices, major banks collapsed or in fear of collapse, record consumer credit levels, falling tax revenues and much much more. All this before unemployment rises at record rates,(which it will) does not bode well for the future and our ability to withstand the storm which is about to hit.

Tim H said...

Maybe he is hoping that he’ll get away with only a hanging rather than the full hung drawn and quartered fate that awaits them all? It won’t work.

Anonymous said...

The article sounds more like,to use Darling own words, someone who is "pissed off" with the tenant next door who keeps interfering and who get his team to keep announcing iniatives without bothering to check how they're going to be paid for and without bothering to actually keep the relevant Minister who is titularly in charge at The Treasury in "the loop" and who is aware that they are being "set up" as the "fall guy" for the ex-Chancellor's previous lamentable record and has no doubt come home to the wife and uttered the oft repeated phrase - "You'll never guess what HE'S done now !" and "No f**Ker tells me anything ! I'm just the poor s*d who's got to find the cash!"

Either way - the exchanges are going through the floor when they open on Monday. Get out of sterling whilst you can 'cos this is the "green light" for a run if ever there was one !

Ron Todd said...

There is also a degree of expectation management. He will hope some time before the next election if he is still there to be able to say 'it was not as bad as everybody said it would be: that is because I was so good at running the ecconomy'

If it is as bad he will say

'Don't blame me Brown is still running the ecconomy '

Anonymous said...

An incredibly revealing interview.

Darling is shown as a lightweight bozo obviously completely out of his depth trailing along behind events.

Not a bad man or a mentally confronted freak like the one next door.
Just an economic and financial innocent intellectually out of his depth in a job too big for him.

Neil Reddin said...

A less than subtle undermining of Brown by his number 2. Welcome to the real world, Darling.

(Blogged also. I guess everyone is using the Private Fraser analogy today!)

simon said...

Absolutely unbelievable. The absolute gall of Darling after being Gordon's titular 'yes man' for years on end. You could see GB taking over from Kenneth Williams as JC in that Carry On:' Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in-for me!' One thing is clear ALL politicians present 'total bollocks' as 'the truth'. The writers of 'Yes Minister' had it so right.

judith said...

Me and 'Im watched the report of Darling's interview with open mouths.

The main bit he got wrong was saying that the Govt hadn't got its message across properly. Nope, Darling, we've got your message:

Binge on your inheritance, run up massive debt, borrow up to the hilt and well past it, put in ultimate charge the 100% incompetent twerp who masterminded this disaster ....

If this was in a novel, you wouldn't believe it.

cherami said...

Isn't this Alexander making his pitch for the leadership?

What he might do now is force Brown to abolish half his extravaganzas (ie in hard times, cut spending like we all do) and say he will resign if he doesn't.

Bet Alexander and Miliband really, really love each other!

trevorsden said...

Surreal does not even begin to describe the state this govt is in. Darling must realise his job is toast, he is clearly making is claim that 'its not my fault guv.'

Darling of course can actually DO something if he wants. He can manage the economy - but clearly Brown will not let him. He can make room for the economy to grow by cutting taxes, the problem is that because govt spending and borrowing are out of control he must do this cutting needless (and just maybe by much needed) expenditure.

What price the new aircraft carriers being cancelled or delayed by kicking into the long grass. The trouble with that is the effect on Scottish employment.

Any road up, its far far better for the Tories that admissions of the need for cuts in spending come from the govt rather than them.

Anonymous said...

Iain,
Did you see Darling's interview with Brian Taylor this morning on BBC News? Extraordinary - hardly answered anything and simply repeated the same phrases over and over again. More like a man suffering severe shock after a road accident than a Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Lakelander said...

Iain,

You suggest that Alistair Darling is like a man who has no "Plan B".

Was there ever a "Plan A?"

Ken said...

Darling is wrong about the recession. It will be bad, but probably not even as bad as 1979-1981, and not a candle to the early 1970s. The sheer unexpectedness of the stagflation, the failure of economic policy, the dreadful state of labour relations. The UK paid an enormous price to move away from an over regulated, over nationalised, over unionised bad economy to the relatively free one that exists today - Mrs T did the job. The price came in the millions who never worked again. But when it comes to assigning blame for that, it is the likes of Red Robbo and Arthur Scargill who should be seen as the true villains of the piece.

The housing crunch will be (is) already about as bad as anything in history, at least in terms of the speed of decline and also in decline from peak to trough. I was a believer in a modest decline and a period of stability (-15 to -20% followed by no growth for a few years) but as ever no market ever corrects that way. I agree that 30%peak to trough is now likely and that 40% is not impossible. But that alone does not make the economy the worst in 60 years.

The bottom line is that Darling has no idea what he is talking about and his aides and civil servants clearly are not giving him very good advice. I find it worrying that such an incompetent is supposed to be in charge - there are some very difficult decisions to be made about failing banks in the next nine months.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 12 42...
yes i did watch this interview,and i am still suffering from shock,at one point he had to be prompted from stage left.this interview should go down in history as one of the worst a politican has EVER given...muppets ? kermit could have done better,michael.

rantover said...

have people realised what the chancellor has said!!
He's painted a scenario of a situation worse than 70's and as bad as WW2 (which is carp). Rather then wait till parliament is recalled so that proper debate can be had, or the actions needed to pull us out of this mess can be worked on. He decides to given a interview to Nu lobotomy's favourite arse wipe paper.

A few days ago a B of E insider briefed the press and said interest rates have to be cut now to avoid recession and caused the pound to come under further pressure!!

Who is in charge and just who do we believe.

Auntie Flo' said...

I'm Darling
Europe's Dirty man
life long carrier
of the can
I just carried out orders,
you see
Nulab's apparatchik anon and doer of wrong
No one's as pliable
or invisible as me
As Treasury minister, stealth tax I administer
Under brows like two funeral wreaths

But I'm, Al, Al,
can I be your pal?
I'm such a nice wee Scots bloke underneath
Why can nobody stand me
From HM to Rose West,
you see?
Cos I'm the sinister nulab minister from Leith!

As minister of the DfT
Christmas cards
thousands sent to me
Pleading "don't destroy our children's lives"
Yet I brushed them aside with contempt in my eyes
Millions more planes equals billions more GDP
Runways matter more than Essex/Heathrow kids to me.

I'm, Al, Al,
can I be your pal?
I'm such a nice wee Scots bloke underneath
Why can nobody stand me
From all England
to her majesty?
Cos I'm the sinister nulab minister from Leith!

I'm Al, finance minister
Booze tax I administer
And I'm desperate for bl**dy relief
banned from every pub in the land
I scurry, tax bag in hand
They call me the great stealth tax thief

But I'm, Al, Al,
can I be your pal?
I'm such a nice wee Scots bloke underneath
Why can nobody stand me
Throughout the whole country?
Cos I'm the sinister nulab minister from Leith!

David Anthony said...

He sounded like a businessman who knows his company is about to go bankrupt, and cannot come up with a Plan B.

And yet we have to wait another 18 months before we can have any say in the matter.

An unelected, unsuitable government. Does anyone even care what was in the 2005 manifesto anymore?

Anonymous said...

A 'House of Cards' situation?

Anonymous said...

re: judith at 12.11pm

It is in a novel- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

Anonymous said...

To me this is the day that Labour lost any chance whatsoever of winning the next election. Whatever they do now they will lose.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Like Geoffrey Howe, the dead sheep has revealed his fangs.

Chris Paul said...

What a strange reading of the interview Iain.

I wonder if you'd have read it like that had it not been pimped by the political editor of the paper as a cover scoop? And stolen by the Torygraph and passed off as their own work?

It was/is a typical colour supplement interview for a non specialist audience and Mr Darling let DA into the privacy of a family home for two days and spoke very freely indeed with her. Family friend almost.

But while the supposed "content" has been covered extensively as you say this has largely been incorrectly presented.

The World Economy is the thing with the dramatic 60y worst downturn and we, like all other developed nations, face dealing with that.

We are in better shape than most to cope having the strongest economy in the OECD (according to official tables) when this problem occurred.

In my view Labour's greatest problem at the moment is news management. This has been poor post-Blair/Campbell. A point which Darling himself highlights. Unlike you though I think this interview could actually form the start of a resurgence rather than anyone's last rites.

No reshuffle.

No leadership election.

Amazing recovery from fiscal doom and gloom deliberately defined.

General election victory.

The job's a good one.

Is Alaister Campbell already back in control I wonder?

Chris Paul said...

PS Ken

Darling was talking about the World and would agree at you that at home things ain't so bad as in the good old (often Tory) days.

kinglear said...

There was a plan A./ It was get power at whatever cost and stay there as long as possible. Plan B. There bever was.

Lola said...

The 'plan B businessman' quote is very apt. There nearly always is a plan B, but usually the existing management just can't see it, or are unable psychologically to implement it. The company can be saved but management change is required. Of course some businesses are just terminally bust, but the UK most certainly is not.

The Plan B here is to reverse the decade of tax 'n spend, debt and redistribution. But Brown Darling just cannot do it as it will completely undermine any shred of remaining credibilty they may have. Therefore management change is the only answer.

Unfortunately, unlike in business, in democratic politics this is not something that can be easily and quickly precipitated. (Well, it can but doing so usually involves guns and blood, which is something to be avoided at all costs). So we will have to sit here suffering whilst these utter clowns fumble about, not trying to find a way to save the country but trying to find a way to save it which saves them as well, and which of course just does not exist.

BTW the retail banks have the same problem characterised by their managements saying that 'as we are the management that caused such utter destruction of shareholder value we are clearly the mangement best placed to sort it out'. No? Really? Do me a favour! Talk about talking bollocks. It just does not come close to it.

And lastly when did you last hear the sort of resignation speech from a politician that went something like "Sorry, I made a total cock up and I need to go and let some other management team have a go and sort it out". Happens in business, but in politics? Never.

roman said...

I idled along here to see if there was any garbage from C Paul, and there it was in all its glory.

Thanks for the laugh, Mr Paul. Even more of my money is being spent on Labour spin, and they can't do 'news management'?

We're up to our collective necks in debts, and so will be our children and grandchildren, businesses are fleeing our shores, our pensions have been f****d by Brown, our military are getting slaughtered in pointless wars, the Government is frantic for more money but won't stop spending, and you think we are well-placed to recover from world problems?

I'll have some of what you're on, mate, just to numb the pain.

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul

"In my view Labour's greatest problem at the moment is news management. "

I have read the interview myself and unless you are a satirist that I think we must be occupying different planets at the moment.

I actually agree with you that news management is a problem - because so much of it is bad. What you seem to be arguing for is spinning this to mitiagte the disaster. Sorry, we have had over 10 years of that and it wont work with the electorate anymore.

Yes the Chancellor was candid. Amazingly so. And its nice to know from that, as correctly presented here and elsewhere that:-

* the Government didnt see the credit squeeze coming - why not? what do we pay them for?

* the Chancellor had to phone into the office to ask what the hell was going on. It seems no-one at the Tresury knew or had bothered to tell him. Perhaps they were waiting for Gordon to tell them

* the regulators were asleep (well we knew that anyway)

* the Cabinet is showing strong collective responsibility ie colleagues are actively plotting against each other with some actively attempting to undermine him to steal his job. Nothing new there then


Darling comes across in all of this as a thoroughly nice and well meaning person...but a lost soul thrown this way and that way by events far beyound his control.

The dithering over stamp duty caused a haitus in the housing market and made a bad problem worse. God knows what this will do to markets on Monday as we now can see inside the Government's financial soul and it looks very dark indeed - at least on a 2 year time horizon.

Really, it is time for them to go.

Lola said...

Chris Paul 3.20 said "In my view Labour's greatest problem at the moment is news management. This has been poor post-Blair/Campbell."

Boy are you right. News Management, or to put it better propaganda, may well be a way in which your lot could survive, but as it was the same 'news management' that got you here in the first place as opposed to any sane policies I doubt it.

Presentation is key? Not any more sunshine. You'e been rumbled by a lot more people and just talking a good game is not longer going to crack it.

john miller said...

Darling can't come up with a plan B?

The whole bloody lot of them haven't been able to come up with a plan B for 11 years!

Francis Urqhuat said...

Anon 2,22pm
You may very well think so ! But I can't possibly comment !

James D said...

Perhaps this was targetted at a particular subset of Guardian readers. After all, Mr Darling's majority is only 7,242.

Lola said...

...and 'the regulators were asleep' - I work in retail financial services and I can state categorically that the FSA is a disfunctional collection of climbing fellow travellers and men on the make (excepting a lot of the troops who are usually passing through on the way to better things) who probaly know in general terms how the real world works but to whom it is more personally advantageous to ignore that knowledge to go with the flow of New Labour, with the intention of collecting the Knighthood, and inflict a centralising bureaucratic model of society on us all. In addition it is impossible for the FSA to reconcile their entirely flawed Brownian mandate with the free market realities and the general concept of freedom. They act as 'nationalisation lite'. They also act above the common law and are quite possibly illegal under ECHR legislation. Brown's tri-partite regulatory structure, probably to set up to keep problems at arms length rather to than to 'improve' regulation, is an unmitigated disaster.

They are complete and utter waste of money.

norman said...

Darling Alistair will spin later saying he was talking about the rest of the world and not the UK economy and will claim that the 'Wizard of Kirckaldy and Cowdenbeath' has left the economy in a position better than what we see for example in America. He will blame the Atlantic cold wind. But what reasons will he give he say for the UK growth registering zero, null, America registering 3.3% growth? Anway, he is clearing his desk for teenager Miliband.

Beachhutman said...

Is UK beginning to recall, from the dim distant past, that ruining the economy is what Labour always do? It's in their genes. In 97 they fooled people, by 2000 it was deeply suspicious, and there was absolutely no excuse to elect them next time, even the then uncertain Tories would have done better.

mac said...

Chris Paul:
"Amazing recovery from fiscal doom and gloom deliberately defined.
General election victory.
The job's a good one".

Been watching the Black Knight in 'The Holy Grail' again, eh?

Casual Observer said...

"He sounded like a businessman who knows his company is about to go bankrupt, and cannot come up with a Plan B."

Spot on. Right on the money.

Why? There is no Plan B. Plan B is not required because our esteemed Prime Minister is in absolute denial that there is any sort of a problem to be dealt with, other than the one created by everyone else on the planet and has nothing to do with him.

Darling has been Brown's lackey for as long as I can remember. I don't think he has ever had an original thought. So this little outburst shows a new side of the man.

Whereas we can't expect him to be able to do anything about it, because his boss won't let him, the possibility exists that he is actually in the process of developing an embryonic backbone.

I hope so because he's going to need it if he's going to survive in the real world which he will shortly be joining.

Move along,nuthin' t'see said...

Norman.

I think Alistair has already been "leant on" by his next door neighbour as the nuance is starting to change to "we need to be straight with the British electorate" and that the Cabinet will "be working hard from Monday to alleviate the problems being experienced by hard-pressed(used to be hard-working) British families" - and the BBC are delicately leaving out the phrase "pissed off" which featured heavily in its early morning broadcasts in case it should frighten "the horses".

As No10 responded earlier when asked to comment on Darling's article "these are the Chancellor's words,the Chancellor's words" - although of course words can be re-aarranged to mean something entirely different once time has elapsed for "mature reflection" and "clarification"

Gareth said...

The comments from Darling's PR woman - the party of the Nanny state nannies it's own MPs.

stuart said...

In a sense this is what Labour needs. They have just been drifting downwards for months and months.

Perhaps this article will be 1000v to Labour's collective temples. Wake them up, shake them up.

That, or it's just another footnote in their messy decline.

Anonymous said...

I think the key words here are "Hebrides" where life is so relaxed that it's an insult to your neighbours to lock your door. A place where drinking is a compulsory social responsibility. Where winding up your friends with insults is the norm and praising your enemies with undetectable sarcasm is a given. And their bullshit detectors are the best I've known anywhere in the world.

Obviously Alistair has been really enjoying his holiday and become accultured.

Call Kitty said...

Had he been out the night before at the invitation of the local MP in some cleverly planned SNP ambush?

Anonymous said...

auntie flo'

Darling is NOT from Leith. As you probably know he is a toff from Edinburgh whose family owned Department Stores. He went to an expensive private school (Loretto, just outside Edinburgh), but I bet they're not bragging about this in their prospectus, especially as another failed Chancellor also went there (Norman Lamont), not to forget the creepy Andrew Marr.

Some poetic licence is excusable but lay off Leith!

Ken said...

Chris Paul

Well most of us did read the original article and nowhere does he specifically say the global economy is the worst for 60 years. What he says is -

"The economic times we are facing "are arguably the worst they've been in 60 years," he says bluntly. "And I think it's going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought.""

Erm, well globally the economy is nowhere near as bad as it was in 1979-1981 or the early 70s. The 70s were an unmitigated disaster for everyone, other than Japan. Stagflation, the breakdown of Bretton Woods, the Oil shocks, the breakdown of the economic policy consensus. If Darling thinks this present slowdown is as bad as that, he is just as much an idiot as I thought he was. I read it, as most people did, that he was talking about the domestic economy.

Anyway, like most Labour stalwarts, I assume that you subscribe to the UK economy is not too bad relative to the rest of the G7 group? Well, the bad news for you is that a correct (eg economically literate) view of the UK economy shows us slowing in line with the rest of the G7. Structurally the UK is no longer particularly strong relative to other G7 nations, with average unemployment rates, average youth unemployment rates, a very bad government deficit, but a better than average government debt. I wrote a comment on Iain's blog entry on whether the fall in sterling was an indicator of a loss of faith in the UK with all the numbers on this. It doesnt show Britain in better shape than most of the G7/Euro area. About average on some stats, but worsening on others. There are several reasons to be nervous about the future - notably the fall in asset prices and the UK's relatively high dependence on financial services. Not as bad as the 1970s, but certainly nothing to write home about. Darling is right to be gloomy - he is clearly out of his depth, as is his boss, who has shown no proactive action at all. If you think 2009 is going to be better than 2008, I sincerely hope you are right, but my reading of the numbers and that of neutral economic observers is that 2009 will be worse than 2008.

Face it Chris Paul, Labour have presided over a boom and now a bust. They claimed credit for the good times and now have to take the blame for the bad times. No amount of spinning and blaming the global economy is going to get them out of this.

Martin said...

So how come the US economy is still growing? Why is it that no one at the BBC or in the pathetic meida generally asks WHY they don't slash public spending, cut taxes and slash interest rates?

If they want to make a start, cancel all job adverts in the Guaridan for 12 months.

isle of ewslis said...

Amazing. I find it difficult to believe that someone as pro-Labour with years of experience in the media as Catherine McLeod would allow this to go through.

To be quoted as she was shows something is up. The photo is disastrous as well. He looks like a man taking one last look inland before stripping off and entering the sea to slip his mortal coil.

Interesting to note but it is my recollection that McLeod was very much a Blairite. Has Darling switched sides?

minty said...

The Trials of Alistair Darling.

I agree, he should be on trial.

isle of ewslis said...

Iain, the follow up interview by BBC Scotland is even more bizarre.

BBC Scotland News

It's worth a follow up post.

Read his attempts at defending his description of Wendy Alexander as "unlikeable". The words "struggling" and "suspension of disbelief" spring to mind.

trevorsden said...

"Poor news management post Blair/ Campbell"

Yep your right on the ball there. How many of us long for the good old days of news management - like the subtle, faultless, exposure of Dr David Kelly by the Blair Campbell Downing St machine and of course the highly satisfactory resolution.

The rest of your analysis, Mr Paul, is equally fantastical.

Darling has been reprogrammed . We have got a 'Stepford Chancellor', but his excuses about his interview are risible. We frighteningly have both a dysfunctional PM and a dysfunctional Chancellor.

Lets not forget that the failure of the cats cradle of financial regulation which lies at the heart of our being caught with our economic pants down was one Gordon Brown. The equally cats cradle of tax credits/ benefits which undid Brown/ Darling in their 10p tax fiasco also comes courtesy of Brown himself.

Dear Labour people out there - does that not tell you what you need to do? Go ahead, don't make our day.

arbitrageur said...

So you don't think the state of the UK economy is as bad as Darling says it is, eh Iain?

You're either naive or clueless or both. It's every bit as bad as Darling admits and very possibly worse. The global slowdown will effect most countries but ours particularly so in view of the huge, public and private, debt burden

Many people in the UK are in for a huge shock as their living standards reduce significantly in the years ahead and the value of the pound reached parity with the euro.

chuck said...

"The picture, by Murdo Macleod, accompanying the interview sends out one message: "We're doomed"."

Forget his grumpy mug, that's a fantastic view!

Auntie Flo' said...

BBC's current Have Your Say asks:

What should the government do about the economy?

One of the top four most recommended posts says it all really:

"Simple - leave the EU.

Immediate saving of £9 billion a year membership fees (after deducting the pitiful grants we receive back from Brussels).

In the unlikely event they stop trading with us - Bingo! Another bonus, considering we buy more from them than they buy from us.

And all the wasteful bureaucracy can go - estimated cost £10 billion per annum to the UK taxpayer.

And we can govern ourselves.

So easy Alistair - but then you've only just realised that we have a problem!"

financial adviser said...

The Asian markets will be opening soon and the pound is expected to take a hammering in preparation for a full blow sterling crisis when the european and US exchanges open on Monday.

Watch inflation shoot upwards then there'll be no more talk of interest rate cuts only rises.

The British economy is a basket case. Watch as house prices crash 40% and more, unemployment rises to 2.5 million, sterling is ditched for the euro, and Brown goes to the IMF for a bailout.

Anonymous said...

Steven Carter resigns, another rat leaves Brown's sinking ship.

Anonymous said...

Sky just reporting that No 10 is denying that Steven Carter has been sacked!

Anonymous said...

Trevorsden

'We frighteningly have both a dysfunctional PM and a dysfunctional Chancellor.'

Yes they are both called Gordon Brown. Darling is no more running the ecconomy than I am.

we will have two very expensive aircraft carriers without aircraft for a while. With too few modern escort ships leaving them vurnerable as non nuclear boats have to refuel. Made worse by the lack of catapults they will not be able to launch proper awac aircraft using some varient of the overpriced and second rate Merlin helicopter. The aircraft they can launch will use up a disproportionate amount of fuel just to get up the ramp compromising on fuel or weapons load compared with the same aircraft launched from a proper carrier. Why not just buy a proper carrier from the Americans.

neil craig said...

Why not skip the carrierd & buy a few suborbital craft from Virgin which can go anywhere in the world in one flight.

It is a bit more complicated than that but a lot of "defence" will have changed before these carriers are in service.

As regards the economy - the Chinese economy may be slowing down to 9% growthThere is no excuse whatsoever for saying that our troubles are significantlt caused by world problems.

I noticed that on the BBC Not Andrew Marr Show Mr Jack Straw said that for 10 years our economy had performed better than the world average. This was a deliberate lie. World average growth has been 5%, ours has averaged 2.5%. The BBC interviewer naturally never called him on it.

praxis22 said...

I've been following this for over a year now, (I knew we were in trouble last April) and I've been blogging about it ever since. [Warning: heavy economics.]

I personally don't think he's giving up, I think he's gearing up to fight. At least I hope he is. By that I don't mean a political fight. I mean a fight to get the country to wake up and take notice.

This has gone beyond the realms of monetary policy. Look at the USA. They slashed rates so that they are now negative in real terms, (fed funds = 2% Inflation = approx 4%) Now look at what's happened to the mortgage rate.

during the boom you could get a 30 year fixed mortgage for less than 6%, now you have to pay over 7%, that's where you can get one.

The UK is reckoned to be 6 months behind the USA and we have a higher level of consumer debt, and a vastly more inflated housing market.

What we need now is somebody who's a dedicated pragmatist who's passionate about doing a good job. From everything I've seen and read about Alistair Darling the man, I think he's the man for the job.

This is not something that an expensive & pointless stimulus package will fix. Again, look at the USA, they spend hundreds of billions of dollars. It hasn't helped.

The quicker the markets crash, (hosing and financial) the quicker we find a floor, and the quicker we start rebuilding. Attempts to forestall the inevitable, are futile and self serving.

Personally I think that people who were victims of predatory sales tactics should be helped. People who were stupid and greedy need to learn their lesson.

Bailing out Northern Rock to prevent a serious systemic failure is one thing. Wasting money trying to bail out middle class speculators is another.

I realise this is not politically correct. But it is economically necessary.

Replacing Alistair Darling with Chancellor with the education secretary is not a good idea. What we need is sound fiscal management going forward, (at least as long as Labour remain in power) from somebody with an eye to the long term, especially as people begin to panic in the short to medium term.

Failure now will cost us all dearly in the future.