Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Same Shit, Different Flies

Like everyone else who isn't being directly supported by New Labour, I was stunned yesterday at the place we now find ourselves.

HUGE debt, a collapsing currency and a broken society. I don't want to drill into the details like most of the main stream media are doing, I don't want to catalogue the massive failures of the 646, I just want it to stop. Guido is talking about leaving, others are talking about simply capitulating and joining the Welfare Slaves on the Dole and yet others are discussing getting themselves a job in the now grotesquely bloated Public Sector. I have a plan A and a plan B and they are purely for me and my family. Both of them require me to simply abandon what I have spent most of my life building and revert to total and complete reliance on my own skills and a gun.

Thanks Gordon. Thank you Labour Voters.

In the meantime, I spotted this elsewhere.

In the third world African country where I used to live, it was the habit of politicians to mis-spend and divert funds during their time in office showing almost total contempt for the people who elected them. By and large, they reasoned, the voters were too stupid to realise what they were up to but - if nothing else - people enjoyed the carnival atmosphere of election day and could be relied upon to turn out and vote. So electioneering was simple - the Government politician for each constituency would simply make a small, direct, promise to each of the families in that area. Normally he would promise that, if elected, the Government would buy them a toaster (I'm serious).. if he had been particularly corrupt he might run to a rice cooker or some larger piece of practical kitchen equipment.

In return the people became disinterested in Politics - A Change of Government? "Why bother?", they said - "Same shit, different flies". At least their kitchens were well equipped (even if they often lacked the electricity to operate them).

Whether or not Darling's complicated tinkering yesterday amounts to a toaster or a rice cooker I am not sure. This much is clear - the bill we are going to pay ought to buy us a complete country kitchen and possibly the farmhouse to wrap it in.

From the staggering reaction to the debt figures yesterday, and the powerlessness of the Front bench to produce anything worth talking about in terms of a stimulus; one thing is clear. The vainglorious behaviour, the spin, the deceit and the smoke and mirrors were yesterday shown up once and for all in the arc light of a one trillion pound National debt.

We have reached a fork in the road and, while neither destination is clear, yesterday should have been enough to show most rational people who they do not want as their guide.


defender said...

These bastards use every opertunity to screw you. This is as bad if not worse than the economy, bet you never saw this before. I would rather be poor and have my rights rather than be rich without my rights.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Ministers to be given powers putting them above the law - the buried bad news?
at 11/25/2008 12:01:00 PM

Would anyone be surprised if whilst we had our head fixated on the Chancellor's mini-budget the Government would slip out some other announcements in the hope that no one would notice. I believe the phrase we have come to know this as is "burying bad news". Given the circumstances of the pre-Budget report, there was lots of bad news under which to bury some more right?

It seems that the unbeliavble news that was buried yestedray can be found here. It is a statement by Jack Straw on data protection and information security. Initially it all sounds very tough. There are lots of things about the importance of securing the data they hold on us, as well as stuff about hefty fines to be imposed when there are breaches. However, it's this bit on the end that is worrying and frankly quite disturbing.

In addition, to reinforce the framework within which we can safely share data and deliver benefits for the public, we propose to:

place a statutory duty on the ICO to publish a data sharing code of practice in order to provide practical guidance on how to share personal data in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act and to promote good practice in the sharing of personal data; and

confer a power upon the Secretary of State to permit or require the sharing of personal information between particular specified persons, where a robust case for doing so exists.

Did you spot that? They're planning to introduce rules for how and when information can be shared (this is being done through one of those "consultations" with the public). Then, and this is the kicker, they plan to introduce an arbitrary power given to the Secertary of State which allows him or her to simply override the code of practice and the Data Protection Act by diktat.

Here's the thing though, anyone defending this proposal will say "there must be a "robust case for doing so" so there is a safeguard". However, and let's get this straight for a moment. They want to share sensitive data. In order to do that they must present a robust case. So... who is that robust case presented to and will it be public? Unlikely because guess what, in presenting a "robust case" there is going to be protected data involved.

What this ministerial statement effectively means is that the Secretary of State will be able to override the Data Protection Act, order the sharing of data with whoever he or she chooses, upon which the grounds for it will be restricted from public scrutiny because of... errr... the Data Protection Act.

Welcome to the secret state where ministers make themselves above the law.

Note: This little power thrown on at the end is given no mention in reporting in The Times or the Guardian. Why? Nor is any mention made that Straw said the powers were to "simplify the data protection framework and remove any unnecessary obstacles to data sharing". So much for strengthening data protection in Government!


Gareth said...

Debt is currently about a billion pounds per MP. Darling intends to almost double it.

They are not worth it.

This is the same economics that has got football clubs into financial difficulties. Rather than base their business on what they earn, spending wisely and investing in young, cheap players, they now do their business based on how much debt they can afford. Like many home owners too. And loads of businesses across the country.

Shouldn't Government be setting a better example?

That is a very important story Dizzy has found.

Roctopus said...

Weeell, I won't say it's easy to move away from your life, because it's not. I moved away last October, and I've been constantly homesick for some eight months now (minus the chavs).

The thing is, I always worked and I never wasted my money like most teenagers (in a way, and depending on who you ask). I always gave every penny to the local HMV, Virgin Megastore and indie record shop. First CDs, then vinyl and DVD (I have approximately 3,500 CDs, 2000 records and 600 DVDs all set in boxes waiting for me), and that was the reason for my trip, to expand that a little more, abroad.

I never imagined I'd start a family here when I left, but that's where we are and why I'm still here after 13 months. You can move to a nice place, but no matter how much a Government fucks you over, England is your home.

I seen the same thing here with a dictatorship in the seventies. The people left to avoid persecution, most lived in France. As soon as the dictatorship ended, they came home as soon as possible - they loved France, but home is home.

I would kill everyone in this city for a bottle of brown sauce, sir.

Old Holborn said...

HP SAuce?

Make your own


Anonymous said...

Britain 2010:

National Debt - £1,000,000,000,000

My Salary - £37,000,000,000,000

Fish n' Chips (small portion) - £800,000,000,000,000

See, you just have to put things in perspective.

Roctopus said...

You're determined to end my killing spree, OH.

Mr A Darling said...

I'm a no use tosspot.

Stuart said...

I need another drink. Are you out and about anytime soon?

Window Licker said...

The most annoying aspect of this is that they, our elected MP's, don't appear to feel a personal sense of responsibility for what is happening and what is about to happen.

It's the ultimate "butterfly effect". It may have started in America but anyone who thinks the house pricing boom we've been having here for years was sustainable is an absolute fucking nutter. The Government allowed the excessive borrowing and now they're going down the same route. Great.

max the impaler said...

When the pound collapses...not long now...you will not have to worry about the technicalities of the law.Our beloved leader is criminally insane.The police are being issued with tasers because they know whats comeing.Most of them have been filling in forms for the last ten years.Dealing with a multi-ethnic rageing mob is not what they are used to doing.It's banana republic time in the UK.

Idi Amin's Ghost said...

I have bananas for you, honkies.

The Penguin said...

Has Geoff been in?

There's definitely a smell of fish round here!

The Penguin

Labour Minion said...

Amazing how quickly the laissez faire brigade forget that a huge amount of the extra tax burden is due to the government's rescue of the banking sector. 'Market efficiency' my ass. Labour's biggest problem was that Blair fell for the 'light touch' regulation culture of Thatcher and Lawson. They (and Reagan in the States) are the ultimate architects of this crisis.

marksany said...

Darling is doing a great job - Will and Pollyanna say it is so.

I should be glad the deals for the unemployed are getting better, I'll be joining their swelling ranks very soon. Thanks, Gordo.

WV: ousher

The Penguin said...

By the way OH, why have you gone from "Shat out" to "Blurted out"?

You're not going soft, are you?

The Penguin

The Penguin said...

Also the comments!! I liked the idiosyncratic original...

Have you been got at?

The Penguin

Kaygee said...

Can we please hurry up and have the revolution and get rid of these useless bastards? Please?

Gareth said...

Labour Minion,

Read the PBR. It states quite clearly the lack of competent regulation played a major part in our current problems. It was not Reagan or Thatcher who cooked up the FSA. Or cocked up the FSA. Or agreed to the Basel II international banking regulations. Or buried their head in the sand regarding financial products they were either too arrogant to enquire about or too ignorant to bother. And saw nothing wrong with massive personal indebtedness for the public. And specifically engineered the re-inflating of the house price bubble. And swallowed their own spin of having abolished boom and bust.

That was Brown all the way.

Chris said...

Suggestion for guest posts and/or subsidiary blog:

"A British Libertarian's Guide to Surviving the NuLabour Cataclysm" - an irregular series patterned after the various thrifty living books and Green/SAS/Worst Case/Zombie Survival Guides, with particular emphasis on avoiding the ever-encroaching, ever-acquisitive tentacles of our own decadent ancient regime.

Old Holborn said...

Muslim High Security prisoners spend £3500 on take away curries

Damo Mackerel said...

If the UK pound devalues wouldn't this improve the strength of UK exports and boost manufacturing? I'm not an economist BTW.

Old Holborn said...

What exactly do we export?

Gareth said...

Somehow I don't think it was the prisoners spending £3.5k, OH. Anyway that's £17.50 a meal. They could cook them in the prison for a tenth of that.

"But while the Prison Service respects and is required to facilitate religious and cultural festivals - and Whitemoor is making specific efforts in this regard - food costs must be reasonable."

There is a festival where you have to eat curry? Which religion requires this? They are in prison. PRISON. Why is the prison service required to accommodate these issues?

After Dizzy's story today on data protection, and jailhouselawyer's comments thereon, I'm beginning to wonder just who is in the prison; Them behind bars or us?

Damo Mackerel,

Yep. Weaker pound makes our exports look better value at the other end of the trade. Quite what we export these days I don't know. Yes we make loads of cars but they are for foreign firms and most go to the continent while we import VAG cars from there. We did also export lots of rubbish to China for recycling.(In particular paper and card to be made into cardboard boxes.) The arse has fallen out of that market now as the Chinese aren't making half as much tat to sell to us as they used to. So much so that councils are rapidly trying to find all the pre-sorted rubbish that they can no longer sell in order to store it somewhere.

Unfortunately we import loads of stuff too. All the cheap tat mp3 players, cheap clothes, etc. They'll all be going up due to the currency.(Eg Sony have announce they will be putting prices up by 30&. May be an attempt to get sales before Christmas mind, but the £ to the Yen has been all over the shop.) We import plenty of food too.

Damo Mackerel said...

Surely the UK still has some sort of a maunfacturing base. Wouldn't it also be good for tourism? I'm just trying to find something positive, that's all.

Roctopus said...

I knew a woman from Bow, she was the mother of a friend of mine and she told me she worked in exporting for many years, but now Britain exports absolutely nothing.

Thaitanium said...

Never mind the pound against the Euro or dollar what about the pound as to the Thai baht? A year ago I was getting 70 to the £ today 50 baht. Now this is supposed to be a "developing" country may I suggest that if you want to see a undeveloped country visit the UK. No asylum seekers here plenty of Burmese but no dole, don't work don't eat now if that were the case in the UK mass starvation and what a good idea that would be.
All the doletappers and skivers have no idea whats going to hot them in the next few years, allow me to tell them, Asia. India, Brazil and as far as I'm concered the sooner the better.

Gareth said...

Damo Mackerel,

Tourism will suffer from a drop in trade as Johnny foreigner tightens his belt too. Though a weaker £ will make foreign money go further for those that do come here. Some of the slack will be taken up by the natives not going abroad for their holidays.

We do make stuff other than cars and cubes of rubbish. Aerospace stuff, weapons, tanks, assembling electronics. There's even a satellite factory somewhere. It's just that we don't export much of it. A few years ago the figure was something like 80% of the stuff we make is for our own consumption.

If it hadn't been for growth in the financial sector and growth in public spending, the UK would have had very little measured growth at all in the last decade. The upward trends of the last 10 years were an illusion built on borrowed money.

Old Holborn said...

I blogged this a while back

Damo Mackerel said...

Gareth. I understand what your saying. In Ireland it's worst, we are tied to the Euro and we don't have control over our own interest rates. Our Government is weak and ineffective. Our politicians have backbones of marshmallow.

Fat Squaddie said...

I can't believe that no-one else has caught one major implication of this shit.

Due the cut in VAT and the upping of fuel duty to make petrol/diesel cost the same as it does now, the price of food and everything else could (and probably will) actually rise.

Why? Businesses can claim back the VAT on fuel. They cannot claim back fuel duty. With VAT cut but fuel duty increased they cannot claim as much back. Therefore this budget has at a stroke increased operating costs for all businesses that use the road by 2p per litre of fuel.


I now see that when they described this as "a shot in the arm" they meant head and missed out the words point, blank, with and shotgun.

Also, someone asked what we export. I'm hoping that within the year the answer will be "The dead bodies of politicians and chavs."

The politicians will have a choice, piano wire and lamp post or nice stretch of wall to stand next to. The chavs just get the 9mm to the back of the head.


Economist said...

9 million chavs. How will we pay for the guns and ammo?

Fat Squaddie said...

Picky picky.


electro-kevin said...

Well I feel like I've been taken up the arse with a ten inch dildo.

Ribbed for 'stimulus'.

We can't recover from this.

Old Holborn said...


You may be right. The yanks have just thrown another $600 Billion into a bucket with more holes in it than Swiss Cheese.

If you don't have a plan for you and yours GET ONE. NOW.

I feel like a German Jew in 1936. I can see it coming and I ain't going to sit around and watch it happen whilst muttering "I've done nothing wrong, I have nothing to fear"

Damo Mackerel said...

Isn't it very strange that us modern folk believe in the follies of progress and change? How we laughed when we heard about the tulip mania and the South Sea bubble? Carried out by medeival and uncivilised fools. As if we're any better. OH, I know it's bad now but how bad do you really think it's going to get?

Old Holborn said...

I don't know is the answer.

I know people who lived through the 2nd world war on the German/Polish front. They saw things that have kept them awake at night for 60 years.

Just make a plan for financial hardship. Make a plan for unemployment with no benefits. Learn some skills that will feed your children.

Damo Mackerel said...

Scary stuff. I've heard whispers in the wind that the world is going to end in 2012. Is this the start of it I wonder?

marksany said...

I'm stocking up on tins of beans, etc.. rice, candles. Also I'm beefing up home security (locks etc..)

It's going to get very, very bad. Our economy is based on a) selling imported goods no-one actually needs and b) selling financial services and instruments to pay for them or protect them.

It will be very easy for the unemployed, and those concerned they are soon to become unemployed, to reign in spending massively, causing a cascade of unemployment, which will eventually hit the public sector once tax receipts are so low that interest and the state payroll cannot be met.

We also have a deeply structural balance of payments problem where the whole population is running up debt to foreigners, but only a tiny part of the population is earning any foreign currency, especially now banking is tits-up.

WV:poantin (Serbo-Croat for taking it up the arse)

Mitch said...

I wonder if snotty will ever be able to walk down a street again without being inside a tank or will he get a new identity to stop the inevitable retribution.

Anonymous said...

Brown already has a bullet-proof Jaguar.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

But is it RAUFOSS proof?

Gareth said...

Brown is also soon to have two bomb proof BMWs. One in Westminster and one at his constituency. Though I expect for political reasons he will never been seen getting in or out of them. Another 6 or 8 vehicles will be available for Ministers as well.

marksany said: "It will be very easy for the unemployed, and those concerned they are soon to become unemployed, to reign in spending massively, causing a cascade of unemployment, which will eventually hit the public sector once tax receipts are so low that interest and the state payroll cannot be met."

There is a common wheeze amongst economists to use history to predict the future. Which past is most likely to be our future; US great depression, Japan's zero percent interest and effective stand still for more than a decade, Argentina's hyperinflation, our own recession in the 90s? The correct answer is 'we don't know', but those in charge cannot afford to admit that. There are only limited lessons to learn from history.

Anonymous said...

According to the Economist Book of the Year, Japan's economy grew by 1.3% per annum in the 1995-2005 period. Not exactly stand still.

They paid for their expansion out of their own savings, ran a huge trade surplus every year and have the lowest government take of national income of any developed nation (25%). Perhaps there's something to be said for the Keynesian approach.

Roctopus said...

Buenos Aires was one of the most expensive cities to shop in, until they defaulted on their national debt and the value of their peso plummeted to roughly the seventh level of Hell.

Now, it's one of the cheapest cities to shop in. A mere can of coke will cost you 17p. New CD? I bought Radiohead's In Rainbows for $24 AR in January. Roughly 4 quid.

I remember talking to a friend of mine who is from Buenos Aires. On the day they defaulted, she told me she had to leave quite abruptly, because people were rioting outside her company.

Later on, I spoken with another friend of mine as we walked down Avenida De Mayo at 5 in the morning, and he told me about the day. People dying in the street, and no-one knew what was happening. Kids had their exams, and they had arrive home after passing through the downtown, through the rioting.

People died because their currency failed, I've seen it.

Today, there is countless homeless in the streets, kids crying. Kids more fucked up on drugs than Ozzy Osbourne. It wasn't always like that.

thaitanium said...

As for exports, the UK was the home of the industrial revolution and therefore had a monopoly on technology, hence first to industrialise last to modernise.
The rest of the world caught up pretty fast especially after world war two.In the rest of the industrialised world people said I want what I when I want it!
In the UK they were told you will get what you get when you get it and in the meantime shut up moaning.
The British motorbike industry was living on past glories turning out crap on old machines in older factories and with even older working methods.Probably thinking we have done it like this for the last 50 years what could possibly go wrong?
Enter the Japanese tada! Wiped out the mororbike industry more or less overnight, good. Then they turned their attention to the car industry, cars that had optional extras like heaters, I ask you in Britain and radios in such technological marvels as the Morris Marina and the Hillman Imp.
The only reason the Japanese manufacture in the UK is to get over the import quotas as these vehicles are made in the EU.
I live in Thailand where nearly all the pick ups are made here Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda also Mercedes Benz and BMW assemble cars here, with new technology it doesn't matter where the thing is made as long as the inspection and managment is good, Dagenham or Ulan Bator and having worked in the car industry in the UK I think Ulan Bator would be preferable.
In the 70's skilled men could go and work in the middle east on a single mans contract if they were careful with their money could come back to the UK and buy a house for cash, not any more after Gulf War mk 1 early 90's all the labour rebuilding Kuwait was Thai and Sri Lankan, if a weld has to be coded or x-rayed it doesn't natter 1 jot wheather the welder comes from Corby or Colombo and why pay someone £15 an hour when you can pay £5 a day and get the same output?

electro-kevin said...

I'm glad I moved well away from major cities (in anticipation of this) - the rest I'll have to play by ear.

If I'd been a stronger man I would have forced my wife to emigrate four years ago. Devon is as far as I could get her to go. NOT far enough.

Gareth said...

Anon 00:27,

"According to the Economist Book of the Year, Japan's economy grew by 1.3% per annum in the 1995-2005 period. Not exactly stand still."

I did say effective. How much of that growth is Government spending? How much of that growth is from their successful export trade due to an artificially depressed Yen?

"They paid for their expansion out of their own savings"

We have bugger all savings. They have massive amounts of Government debt and zero or barely above interest rates for those purposes. We will soon be joining them on that score.

"ran a huge trade surplus every year"

Who wants to buy our shit? The Yen has been kept weak to make Japanese exports cheap too.

"and have the lowest government take of national income of any developed nation (25%)."

We cannot get from here to there without either a massive boost in productivity and/or a massive cut in the size and scope of Government.

"Perhaps there's something to be said for the Keynesian approach."

Only if you put something aside during the good times, which Asian countries are well known for doing.

Japan has painted itself into a corner just as much as the west has.

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