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England's Delusions, From House Prices To Football

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" (In the last World Cup, in 2006) The housing market and the FTSE were rising, apparently inexorably. People borrowed too much to buy their houses, then borrowed more for cars and holidays. The government was just as profligate. In retrospect it is clear the country was living in a bubble of hubris and unearned kudos.

The England football team exemplified this collective delusion, and the country’s rampant materialism. The last World Cup was the heyday of the WAGs (footballers’ wives and girlfriends), consorts who were famous for being famous, and for their pharaonic shopping trips and table-top dancing. They personified a spreading everything-for-nothing culture—the corrosive idea that young men and women could take the elevator straight to the top, if only they were pretty or lucky enough."

201024brd000.jpg

http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=3856659&story_id=16317736

Bagehot

This England

The intertwined fates of a people and their football team

Jun 10th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

THERE are lots of ways to know a nation: through its literature, its politics, its myths. One of them is through the games it plays. The minute divisions of labour in America’s sports, for example, and the structural role of advertising breaks, suggest its ingrained capitalism; the glitzy parochialism conveys the American tendency to splendid isolation. The shifting mood and complexion of the English, meanwhile, can be traced in the way their team plays football, and the way English fans support it.

As this World Cup begins, think back to the last one, in 2006. Britain was still enjoying an economic boom that, to many, seemed set to last for ever. The housing market and the FTSE were rising, apparently inexorably. People borrowed too much to buy their houses, then borrowed more for cars and holidays. The government was just as profligate. In retrospect it is clear the country was living in a bubble of hubris and unearned kudos.

The England football team exemplified this collective delusion, and the country’s rampant materialism. The last World Cup was the heyday of the WAGs (footballers’ wives and girlfriends), consorts who were famous for being famous, and for their pharaonic shopping trips and table-top dancing. They personified a spreading everything-for-nothing culture—the corrosive idea that young men and women could take the elevator straight to the top, if only they were pretty or lucky enough.

The team itself was feted as a “golden generation” of English footballers. It was expected—almost, it seemed, entitled—to win the cup. Alas, as with the economy, the commentators had mistaken swagger for authentic talent. Beneath their superstar reputations, many of the Englishmen turned out to be less good than others at passing the football. Just as slack productivity and skill shortages were concealed by finance-fuelled economic growth, beneath the players’ renown lay a hobbling deficiency in technique. They played in the grip of a peculiarly English affliction: having swept into the tournament with a presumption of greatness—a greatness inherited from a misty past that they were commissioned to recover—they proved anxious and hesitant, quailing in the face of history, and losing on penalties.

This time the chatter is altogether more realistic. The sense of vaulting entitlement is gone, even if much of the squad is the same. David Beckham, a sort of footballing equivalent of Lord Mandelson, the undead politician of the New Labour era, is in the entourage, now reincarnated as a mentor. But, like the political class, excoriated as it was by last year’s parliamentary-expenses scandal, the footballing elite has been chastened by a string of newspaper stings, mostly involving erotic peccadillos, which have lead to noisy warnings of the risks inherent in giving young males more money than they know what to do with (or rather, which they know exactly what to do with). The squad is now seen for what it is: a group of committed but unexceptional players, albeit enlivened, as with many collective English enterprises (governments, armies) by one dashing individual, the striker Wayne Rooney. Mr Rooney, however, is hampered by the characteristic English vices of insubordination and petulance.

It is not too much of a stretch to relate the deflated build-up to the World Cup in England this time to the wider, sombre atmosphere. The team represents a people less certain than they were a few years ago that global greatness is their destiny, and much less sure that they can afford it. As politicians exhort them to cultivate austerity, the rampant hedonism that seemed amusing and enviable in the pre-credit-crunch years, and which super-rich footballers epitomised, now seems tasteless. Austerity may not have touched the players themselves, but it is catching up with many domestic football clubs. Several are owned by post-Soviet oligarchs or carpetbagging Americans, and some are burdened with perilous levels of debt.

Those foreign owners are not generally popular among English fans. Neither, on occasion, have foreign fans been, though the worst days of English hooliganism seem to have passed: this time, hopefully, the country risks only humiliation on the field, rather than being shamed by violent hooligans off it. Yet there is a perennial duality in English attitudes to foreigners, which can be suspicious and patronising, but also, sometimes, reverential and entranced. Revealingly, England’s main reason for optimism is an Italian, the manager Fabio Capello. He has managed to instil a discipline that evaded his laxer predecessors, awing the players and the media and banishing the WAGs. He seems to be less daunted by the idea of winning than many Englishmen.

Four more years of hurt?

If the World Cup dramatises English views of the outside world, it also points up England’s awkward relationship with the other parts of Britain. England is the only team in the tournament that is not also a state. The flag most fans will wave is not the Union Jack but the cross of St George. For the next few weeks it will flutter from car roofs and on shop fronts in a rare display of English nationalism; most of the time, because of its co-option by the far right, the flag is regarded as exclusive, even threatening. And as much as of nationality, perhaps, it is a signifier of (working) class. Summer in England is always a pageant of class, as tattooed flesh is laid bare and different social strata rub up against each other in parks, but never more so than during World Cups.

The English, like people around the world (if not that many in America, England’s first opponent), will gather at their traditional venues to watch their team: around their newly acquired high-definition televisions, in thronged pubs and at town-centre big screens. Watching their heroes in South Africa, they will also behold themselves: a sadder and a wiser people than they were four years ago; humbler, but still, just about, hopeful.

Economist.com/blogs/bagehot

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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Football twattery and a massive overblown sense of ability.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23709659-football-fan-mervyn-king-hits-the-spot-with-matt-le-tissier-comparison.do

Football fan Mervyn King hits the spot with Matt Le Tissier comparison

Robert Lea Robert Lea

19.06.09

The Governor of the Bank of England has compared himself to Matt Le Tissier, the brilliant but mercurial Southampton footballer.

When asked in an interview with the Southern Daily Echo what his job has been like during the financial crisis, Mervyn King told the newspaper: "It's a bit like Matthew Le Tissier taking a penalty.

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Football twattery and a massive overblown sense of ability.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23709659-football-fan-mervyn-king-hits-the-spot-with-matt-le-tissier-comparison.do

Football fan Mervyn King hits the spot with Matt Le Tissier comparison

Robert Lea Robert Lea

19.06.09

The Governor of the Bank of England has compared himself to Matt Le Tissier, the brilliant but mercurial Southampton footballer.

When asked in an interview with the Southern Daily Echo what his job has been like during the financial crisis, Mervyn King told the newspaper: "It's a bit like Matthew Le Tissier taking a penalty.

:lol: That is interesting.

And good interview with king also! Worrying though.

He said: "We are in unknown territory and this is undoubtedly the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen."

Officially worse than the 1930s crash then?! And "undoubtedly" so?! Jeez.

I am one of the bearest bears around here, but King has just "over-beared" me! :(

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Guest Noodle

:lol: That is interesting.

And good interview with king also! Worrying though.

He said: "We are in unknown territory and this is undoubtedly the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen."

Officially worse than the 1930s crash then?! And "undoubtedly" so?! Jeez.

I am one of the bearest bears around here, but King has just "over-beared" me! :(

It is the worst in numbers, sure. But is it the worst in physical suffrage? I don't think so.

In 1930's America people were dying of starvation, had no shoes etc. Now Mr Smith can't buy that Mercedes 4 series or whatever it's called.

Is anyone starving to death in Europe or the US?

Edited by Noodle

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It is the worst in numbers, sure. But is it the worst in physical suffrage? I don't think so.

In 1930's America people were dying of starvation, had no shoes etc. Now Mr Smith can't buy that Mercedes 4 series or whatever it's called.

Is anyone starving to death in Europe or the US?

Very good point.

Thanks for bringing us back to reality. :)

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I am looking forward to a period of austerity and reflection on what we have become. Brown's bubble was based on the grand illusion that HPI could meet the nation's needs and line the "entrepreneurship's pockets without actually producing anything. We became the rich man of Europe and the world gasped in awe at Brown's economic miracle.

The reality begins to bite and what a harsh reality it is going to be. I forecast, somewhat flippantly, that we would be knocked out in the 3rd round of the WC and that may come to pass. It was the symbolism that I was presenting and to see England actually facing defeat on the world stage this early sums it all up.

I agree with the summary:

In retrospect it is clear the country was living in a bubble of hubris and unearned kudos.

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I am looking forward to a period of austerity and reflection on what we have become. Brown's bubble was based on the grand illusion that HPI could meet the nation's needs and line the "entrepreneurship's pockets without actually producing anything. We became the rich man of Europe and the world gasped in awe at Brown's economic miracle.

The reality begins to bite and what a harsh reality it is going to be. I forecast, somewhat flippantly, that we would be knocked out in the 3rd round of the WC and that may come to pass. It was the symbolism that I was presenting and to see England actually facing defeat on the world stage this early sums it all up.

I agree with the summary:

In retrospect it is clear the country was living in a bubble of hubris and unearned kudos.

Yes, that was very good indeed:

" In retrospect it is clear the country was living in a bubble of hubris and unearned kudos."

And that:

" People borrowed too much to buy their houses, then borrowed more for cars and holidays. The government was just as profligate."

I just wonder how long it will take for the penny to drop, that the whole thing was a bubble, the whole economy, not only house prices, and still is at bubble level, didn't deflate much yet, and that it was caused by collective, mass behaviour, and with the governments complicity, as opposed as by "a few evil bankers".

The country is still not facing up to its responsibility, nor the upcoming consequences of it.

Maybe being knocked out of the world cup in the next game may help the country to get a more appropriate, realist self-image.

.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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Very good point.

Thanks for bringing us back to reality. :)

Just the tens of thousands of OAPs who die of cold each winter through being unable to heat their homes then.

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I wanted to describe how the way England played last night was like a 90 minute summary of our society "through the medium of dance". I could not, but that piece pretty much said it for me.

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Just the tens of thousands of OAPs who die of cold each winter through being unable to heat their homes then.

True.

But why don't you argue directly with Noodle about? It wasn't me who started that one.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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It is the worst in numbers, sure. But is it the worst in physical suffrage? I don't think so.

In 1930's America people were dying of starvation, had no shoes etc. Now Mr Smith can't buy that Mercedes 4 series or whatever it's called.

Is anyone starving to death in Europe or the US?

The suffering will not be as bad, but we haven't seen the worst yet. Talking about years to go.

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Guest Noodle

Just the tens of thousands of OAPs who die of cold each winter through being unable to heat their homes then.

It was like that during the boom, well reported as this.

There was a feature on it in the Bangkok Post back in 2004.

Thing is both my parents are retired on basic incomes and live well. These aren't wealthy people either. Admittedly, much has to do with the condition and cost of housing.

We're gonna have a real problem in thirty or so years kids if we don't own, outright, a decent well built and insulated pad.

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Most countries have a national anthem that's about love for their country, admittedly often in pompous and overblown terms.

Our national anthem is all about asking a fictitious god to save an unelected head of state. Time we had a new national anthem that's actually about Britain. I see that as a symptom of how we're stuck in the past.

I'm not very interested in football but two things struck me. One is that possibly the England women's team might have done better against Algeria yesterday - and they'd certainly have been easier on the eye. The other is that Fabio Capello seems to be an actor playing the part of a team manager, with all his strutting and posturing.

Is anyone starving to death in Europe or the US?
Occasionally people slip through all the nets. A man starved to death in Bristol a year or two ago - a wealthy city of 450,000 people.. Edited by blankster

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Just the tens of thousands of OAPs who die of cold each winter through being unable to heat their homes then.

Out of those who die - how many have insane amounts of money in the bank? How many refuse to claim benefits they could get? How many smoke or drink rather than heat their home? How many live in houses they could never afford to heat because they're living in 4 bedroom drafty holes? How many haven't gone for the free insulation offers?

Are there any stats to back up your theory that poverty kills old people, rather than stupidity, greed or any other reason?

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Most countries have a national anthem that's about love for their country, admittedly often in pompous and overblown terms.

Our national anthem is all about asking a fictitious god to save an unelected head of state. Time we had a new national anthem that's actually about Britain. I see that as a symptom of how we're stuck in the past.

I'm not very interested in football but two things struck me. One is that possibly the England women's team might have done better against Algeria yesterday - and they'd certainly have been easier on the eye. The other is that Fabio Capello seems to be an actor playing the part of a team manager, with all his strutting and posturing.

Interesting post.

I had a similar thought this morning, about this obsession with the past . I was reading our local paper and the main headline is again very NIMBY, despite a desperate local need for more housing around here. And I wonder if this huge resistance against progress and development is just a sign of a more general resistance against any change, as if we allow change, the future will be worse than the past. As if the past was wonderful.

Why is that?! Craving the Empire of something??!!

That is very weird.

Anyone that really know social history knows that the quality of life, for the vast majority of the population, was much worse in the past than in the present.

Blackadder's Baldrick was constantly scared of not having enough turnips! And that was a historically very well informed joke!

Progress exists, and is self evident! Just look out of the window! But in Britain "development" became a negative word! That is just crazy, insane, bonkers.

.

Edited by Tired of Waiting

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Guest Noodle

Out of those who die - how many have insane amounts of money in the bank? How many refuse to claim benefits they could get? How many smoke or drink rather than heat their home? How many live in houses they could never afford to heat because they're living in 4 bedroom drafty holes? How many haven't gone for the free insulation offers?

Are there any stats to back up your theory that poverty kills old people, rather than stupidity, greed or any other reason?

I think those that do suffer, do primarily to either a lack of family or family help. It's very difficult for the old to organise things like double glazing and insulation and wotnots, they tend to get in a rut and decay.

Tis' why life infrastucture is so important and why this web forum exists.

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Jesus what unadulterated garbage. :lol:

It's no wonder most 'economists' (witch doctors) are wrong about most things most of the time.

Still, it must be difficult for these people to cope with the belief they have a towering intellect only to find a balding 24 yr old scouser with little education has been earning more a week since he was 17 than they earn in several years spouting their self-important b0ll0cks which brought us to where we are now.

I thought they were in favour of their precious 'free market'? :lol:

Rooney 3 - 0 Stupid economists

Edit: It's also instructive to see the different ways in which Rooney and David Laws have been treated. We're told Laws is a genius who was a millionaire at 27 (if you're not a millionaire working for Goldmans Sachs then you must be an office cleaner) and we must ignore his thievery and lying due to his towering intellect and contribution to public life. Rooney we are told, however, who was a multi-millionare probably before Laws even started University let alone finished it, is an example of our over-rated sense of self-importance, has only average 'talent', earns far too much for kicking a ball around, has a wife who spends too much money on fripperies and so in some way deserves ridicule and contempt.

What this actually tells us is that the poor and poorly educated have to work hard for what they have, whilst the rich scheme, con, lie and steal for what they take from the rest of us.

I know who I admire the most, and it's not the economists.

Edited by Red Karma

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I am looking forward to a period of austerity and reflection on what we have become.

The "austerity" plan is to do nothing about the debt for five years and hope something turns up. Hardly what austerity meant in the past.

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Jesus what unadulterated garbage. :lol:

It's no wonder most 'economists' (witch doctors) are wrong about most things most of the time.

Still, it must be difficult for these people to cope with the belief they have a towering intellect only to find a balding 24 yr old scouser with little education has been earning more a week since he was 17 than they earn in several years spouting their self-important b0ll0cks which brought us to where we are now.

I thought they were in favour of their precious 'free market'? :lol:

Rooney 3 - 0 Stupid economists

Edit: It's also instructive to see the different ways in which Rooney and David Laws have been treated. We're told Laws is a genius who was a millionaire at 27 (if you're not a millionaire working for Goldmans Sachs then you must be an office cleaner) and we must ignore his thievery and lying due to his towering intellect and contribution to public life. Rooney we are told, however, who was a multi-millionare probably before Laws even started University let alone finished it, is an example of our over-rated sense of self-importance, has only average 'talent', earns far too much for kicking a ball around, has a wife who spends too much money on fripperies and so in some way deserves ridicule and contempt.

What this actually tells us is that the poor and poorly educated have to work hard for what they have, whilst the rich scheme, con, lie and steal for what they take from the rest of us.

I know who I admire the most, and it's not the economists.

A warning, from 2004 : http://www.economist.com/node/3477796

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Guest Noodle

You don't own or even own outright if You have to pay tax on it

Adds a new twist to the whole topic of real estate ownership, doesn't it? :D

Can't argue with that.

Kind of lucky here. The council tax is 13 pence . . . a year! We have roads (sort of), street lighting (!) and we've got garbage collection too now!!!

Happy days!

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Straw man.

Everyone knows bubbles burst. The fact that out of the millions of economists stealing a living from the rest of us a few of them could see what everyone else could see doesn't tell us anything at all.

Let's get back to the point which is that it was the economists and banksters who brought us to where we are, not Wayne Rooney or young women buying £4 tops from Primark.

The article is a joke and economists would be a joke if they weren't so dangerous and cause so much harm to the rest of us. I can see why they would want to deflect responsibility away from their 'profession' and seek to ridicule genuine people with real talents though. The sooner the 98% wakes up and sees these charlatans for what they are the better. Society needs to rid itself of the tyranny of banksters, economystics, politicians, lawyers and all these other 'non' professions who help the elites to lie cheat and steal from them. Then we can move on................

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Just the tens of thousands of OAPs who die of cold each winter through being unable to heat their homes then.

Indeed, poverty is hidden these days. As a society we are largely disconnected and divided, those with jobs, assets, capital, etc... opposed to those with literally nothing to speak of. Yes (most) people have enough food to eat and money to heat their homes, however, we are still bubble-riding.

Many people are living close to the margins and a small drop/inflationary rise will wipe them out overnight methinks.

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Straw man.

Everyone knows bubbles burst. The fact that out of the millions of economists stealing a living from the rest of us a few of them could see what everyone else could see doesn't tell us anything at all.

Let's get back to the point which is that it was the economists and banksters who brought us to where we are, not Wayne Rooney or young women buying £4 tops from Primark.

The article is a joke and economists would be a joke if they weren't so dangerous and cause so much harm to the rest of us. I can see why they would want to deflect responsibility away from their 'profession' and seek to ridicule genuine people with real talents though. The sooner the 98% wakes up and sees these charlatans for what they are the better. Society needs to rid itself of the tyranny of banksters, economystics, politicians, lawyers and all these other 'non' professions who help the elites to lie cheat and steal from them. Then we can move on................

You seem to have a weird one-sided view of the world. Isn't the article criticising the attitudes and actions of society? And yet here you are calling for "society" to radically alter its course of action by "getting rid" of an "elite" (like that will ever happen).

So you are also criticising the attitudes and actions of society. Do you really differ that much, except for the dressing of class conflict you have applied?

I must say I find it very odd and simplistic to attempt to allocate blame to whole sections of societies. It is really only a question of how and when attitudes change, not whether they "should".

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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