“It’s a good job we’re not having soup or else I’d put me head in it and drown meself.” Shirley Valentine.
Shirley Valentine has my sympathy. I recall an Oxford Don rabbitting on and on about obscure poets and realised I was bored stiff when he uttered the immortal words “…and thirteenthly…”
Do readers agree this election is mindlessly boring, or am I confusing understandable feelings of anti-climax from the loss of two years exciting Referendum debate with the repetitive, hollow dogma of English-only priorities?
Is passing a gallstone less painful than listening to a squat of vagabonds trying to keep their worthless jobs?
Support for the SNP goes galactic. The British Establishment is unnerved. What to do next? How can they rustle up some good healthy British patriotism?
I was expecting the Royal family to pull another fast one and tell us the Prince William and the Dear Kate are expecting twins – double hurrah! – but instead we are given a ‘spare heir’ in memory of the rambunctious Princess Margaret. Next come celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo so don’t get any ideas, Scotland, about dumping your elders and betters!
Cameron spuriously claims to have rescued the British economy. Yet Osborne advocates more austerity to rescue us from oblivion. Miliband parrots Cameron’s idiocy, Ed Balls cheers him on, both cloak it in pink wrapping. They promise austerity continued. And to think had Scotland not listened to the doomsayers and voted to take back its sovereignty in full we would have started anew without debt. Only a few nation states avoided the repercussions of crooked banks yet few are implementing harsh austerity policies.
About the only diversion to this boring election was the unsurprising news tucked away in one newspaper that the every so posh co-educational school favoured by the Royal family and attendant aristocracy, Gordonstoun, has had its share of child abusers, and apparently kept quiet about their criminal habits until lately. Boys and girls alike were boffed stupid. Poor Prince Charles. He complained to his mum about the ‘Colditz with kilts’ when he was sent there against his pleas but she ignored him, and instead Prince Phillip recommended others of that Welfare supported family to ‘toughen them up.’ I mention this revelation because I cannot be the only person to see uncomfortable parallels between the exploitation of children and the exploitation of the electorate. It is rape in both cases.
The only interest in the general election for me, at least, is how many seats the Scotland might gain at the cost of indolent, corrupt Labour politicians. Interest in listening to Jim Murphy lie and prevaricate his way through interviews lost its attraction some time ago. Nothing he has to say sounds sincere. It all comes across as well-rehearsed flimflam.
I marvel at how Labour mouthpieces from both sides of the border won’t refute Tory claims austerity is all the fault of Blair and Brown’s administrations. Thatcher embracing brutal neo-con economics, imposing them on the electorate, outlawing union activity, destroying Scotland’s industrial base, and handing wealth to the City of London, hand-in-hand with those she admired such as General Pinochet, those anti-democratic policies as nothing to do with the parlous state UK Plc. is in now.
Granted, Brown stole our nation’s wealth to save the necks of criminal bankers. He could easily have let bankrupt departments collapse and support only profitable units. He had no right to remove trillions from the public purse without a mandate from the electorate. And yet, there he is again, strutting upon the stage making promises he can not keep, and claiming his influence in national and world affairs is undiminished.
Brown contributed to the size of the tsunami’s debt that hit the United Kingdom from US prime-mortgage lending. He did nothing to restrain the deregulation of bank rules and ethics, insurance companies too, that has proved so fatal – there were, after all, plenty of dire warnings of giving free-reign to the worst side of human nature – greed.
The view from Paul Krugman
So here we are suffering austerity cuts we never caused, watching paedophiles in high office getting off with their crimes. What a wonderful world is the United Kingdom, ‘our country’ as some deluded English keep calling Scotland. As Nobel laureate economist, Paul Krugman says, it is not a solution to reducing debt. Saying it is, is like hitting your face with a frying pan. Of course it will feel better when you stop.
Here, in epitome, is Krugman’s opinion:
“It is rare, in the history of economic thought, for debates to get resolved this decisively. The austerian ideology that dominated elite discourse five years ago has collapsed, to the point where hardly anyone still believes it. Hardly anyone, that is, except the coalition that still rules Britain – and most of the British media. “
He continues: “I don’t know how many Britons realise the extent to which their economic debate has diverged from the rest of the western world – the extent to which the UK seems stuck on obsessions that have been mainly laughed out of the discourse elsewhere. George Osborne and David Cameron boast that their policies saved Britain from a Greek-style crisis of soaring interest rates, apparently oblivious to the fact that interest rates are at historic lows all across the western world. The press seizes on Ed Miliband’s failure to mention the budget deficit in a speech as a huge gaffe, a supposed revelation of irresponsibility; meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is talking, seriously, not about budget deficits but about the “fun deficit” facing America’s children.”
In other words, Krugman points out the obvious, austerity as a one-stop shopping solution is a bankrupt policy. It is true, to take Thatcher’s apple pie economics for a moment, you can’t run up deficits forever because your out-goings will outstrip your income sooner or later. But it’s foolish and destructive to worry about deficits when borrowing is very cheap. Funds you borrow can be put to superior use than going straight back into the coffers of banksters as interest payment. That is what Greece is complaining about. The banks set the conditions of borrowing and then take any profitable return out of the economy.
Nothing of what I write here is revolutionary thought. It is basic macroeconomics. Perpetual austerity was never the standard response in the books on economics I read, or the solutions put forward by even the most far-right economist. Keynsian economics were generally accepted, proved to be, the only way to sustain faltering capitalist economies. But to neo-liberal alarm his ideas do not place most of a nation’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands as they would wish things to be. How can they keep a nation docile if they do not hold the purse strings?
Why have we reached a spurious understanding of a nation’s economy as if a family’s income? Well, we can thank Thatcher and her neo-liberal advisers for that falsehood. The austerity doctrine, like the sub-prime disaster, also came from the USA, invented by a Harvard economist, Alberto Alesina, who claimed spending cuts are allegedly almost always associated with economic expansions. Here was another economic illiterate to help prove the neo-liberal policies the correct ones. They seized upon his research with glee. In fact, neo-liberal economics are based almost exclusively on self-serving research, flaky economics, a sprinkling of philosophy to give it respectability culled from the dark recesses of Ayn Rand’s troubled mind, and a large dollop of sheer greed to ensure power remains in the hands of an elite.
And in conclusion…
And so we arrive at Labour and its manifesto promising to reduce the budget deficit every year. Even the SNP follows that line but tempers it with the wiser advice that we do not need to be so draconian in the implementation of cuts that make our society unstable. We should revive our economy, not dampen it down to the point of extinction.
Of course, the reason those on the Right-wing keep advocating cuts in everything, including hope, is they wish to use it as cudgels with which to beat the Welfare state to death. They are employing ‘shock economics’ on us all in order to alter our way of life where the weak must take their chances or fail, and only the strong survive. For too many of the brainwashed electorate that doctrine has become truth.
Even a pack of wolves exhibit a better understanding of group survival.
Thatcher and Ayn Rand, scary, very scary.