Friday, January 29, 2010

The legacy of New Labour

Brown faces nightmare of pre-poll credit downgrade

''Standard & Poor's yesterday issued its most strongly worded comments yet on the state of Britain's economy and banking system, raising the prospect of a credit downgrade just before the general election. The loss of Britain's prized AAA rating would represent a serious blow to Gordon Brown in the lead-up to the vote and would almost certainly cause a run on the pound and a sharp increase in the cost of servicing Britain's enormous public-sector deficit.''

Posted by hpwatcher @ 06:26 AM (2403 views)
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21 thoughts on “The legacy of New Labour

  • All thanks to the Bank of England frittering it away trying to underpin the weak housing market.

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  • If they view the banking system this badly right now then it isn’t going to take much of a hpc to push the whole lot over the edge. Hoping for a full on hpc is now like hoping for a full on UK meltdown, as one is ultimately tied to the other thanks to all the meddling that has gone on.

    Thatcher, love her or loathe her, once said that you cannot buck the markets, Brown has bucked the markets and placed the whole economy on the edge of the abyss by doing so.

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  • I often think that the term ‘New’ Labour plays into the hands of the Labour party apologists. They say that it wasn’t Labours fault because ‘New’ Labour is actually the Tory party in disguise. They say that Labours traditional socialist methodology isn’t to blame because New Labour weren’t socialist enough. All I know is that ‘New’ Labour spent a ton of money and expanded the state.

    I learned the term ‘client state’ (stillthinking) on this site. I was a bit dubious at first but I am now a believer. The clients of the Labour party are busy blaming Margaret Thatcher and William the Conqueror for the mess we are in and for the growing inequalities. I’m sure these previous leaders should take some of the blame but anyone who has been in power for 13 years should man-up and take responsibility. Can you imagine what the electorate would think if an opposition party said, “we’ve seen into the future and we can tell you that we will be in power for 13 years … but nothing will be our fault”?

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  • tyrellcorporation says:

    Here here Flash. Quite incredible that ‘they’ still blame Thatcher for the abject mess we’re now in – talk about dogma!

    A great example of the client state became apparent at the weekend. A good friend of mine works for Natural England – spin-off Quango from DEFRA. They basically do nothing much except have meetings and travel first class everywhere by train to reach said meetings. When talking about the election, she was contemplating voting Conservative due to the proposals for better tax breaks to help families and then the husband piped up and pretty much said don’t be mad, Labour are the only party committed to keeping all the Quango’s going, we must vote for them.

    I coughed on my couscous… The Client State in all it’s glory.

    Ironically, these Quangos will inevitably be cut by either party after the GE, the only difference is the Conservatives have had the courage and decency to admit it.

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  • Jeff Randall returns to Quangos in the DT this morning in his inimmitable style.

    “Just as the Chancellor was preaching parsimony this week, ordering fellow ministers to draw up specific cuts in spending, a perfectly formed example of the challenge he faces appeared in Britain’s most reliable guide to beyond-parody employment: the jobs pages of The Guardian.

    The UK Film Council, a government-backed agency, the role of which is to ensure that “the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are represented effectively at home and abroad”, advertised for a head of diversity.

    This, I promise, is not a spoof. The council is looking for an “exceptional individual” to run its diversity department. Yes, department. How many of them are there, for goodness sake? And what do they do? Is the British film industry so riddled with racists, misogynists and homophobes that it needs awareness lessons?

    Having picked through the details, I am beginning to appreciate that the implementation of a “diversity strategy” is more complicated than common sense might suggest. According to the council’s website, the right candidate will “develop an active dialogue with key groups and opinion formers”, “allocate funding to diversity activities” and, naturally, “manage the diversity department team”. It’s true: there’s a team.

    Now for the knockout question: what do you think the salary is? Remember, this is a position that is funded by taxpayers, partly in the form of cash from the National Lottery. For context, here is a range of jobs currently on offer elsewhere in the public sector. A crime bureau investigator with Essex Police is paid £16k-£22k. A staff nurse at an acute-care hospital in central London gets £28k-£29k. An Army sergeant can expect £32k-£36k.

    No quibbles there: given the demands and social importance of these posts, it seems not unreasonable to assume that those filling them will provide us with value for money. But what about the Film Council’s head of diversity? Come on, guess. How much are we paying for someone who can “make things happen” rather than just “talking the talk”? What’s the price for “improving diversity”, ie lavishing political correctness on a creative industry? £40k? £50k? Keep going. The answer is £70k, plus benefits.”

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  • Single Blair speech 180k, who says Thatcherism doesn’t work.

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  • it is indeed all rather perverse

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  • tyrellcorporation says:

    mken, please explain why TB getting £180k for a speech is Thatcherism manifested? He is trading his speaking ‘talent’ for money much as someone might trade hair cutting for money. Are you now saying any trade is Thatcherite?

    Perverse indeed…

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  • @ 4. flashman

    Neat but slippery, Flash.

    “I often think that the term ‘New’ Labour plays into the hands of the Labour party apologists.”
    Fair comment.

    “They say that it wasn’t Labours fault … ”
    Well, it wasn’t ‘Old’ Labour’s since they weren’t in power. (If you’re feeling masochistic you might like to ponder on what things would have been like if the Tories hadn’t blundered into the Falklands War and Old – as in ‘Neanderthal’ – Labour under Michael Foot had subsequently got elected.)

    ” … because ‘New’ Labour is actually the Tory party in disguise.”
    It isn’t, but you’re not suggesting that they haven’t adopted a substantial chunk of Thatcherite economics as their own? Someone on this site put up a link the other day to Brown’s 2006 Mansion House speech. I’d imagine that even some of the hardened City men in that audience would have been somewhat embarassed, listening to that sychophantic slop.

    “They say that Labours traditional socialist methodology isn’t to blame because New Labour weren’t socialist enough.”
    Again, fair comment, but par for the course, as in “Capitalism / Communism / free markets haven’t failed because we’ve never had TRUE Capitalism / Communism … etc”

    “The clients of the Labour party are busy blaming Margaret Thatcher and William the Conqueror for the mess we are in and for the growing inequalities.”
    They may be but so are plenty of others (although it’s a bit unfair on William the Conqueror). As you yourself say …

    “I’m sure these previous leaders should take some of the blame but anyone who has been in power for 13 years should man-up and take responsibility.”
    No argument. Anyone who has been in power, period, should take responsibility for their actions.
    And how likely do you think that is?

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  • Actually, William the Conqueror has a lot to answer for.

    Firstly we had a form of democracy before he took over and imposed feudalism.
    Secondly, he moved us from the Nordic sphere of influence into the European.

    Hence it’s his fault we’re in the EU 🙂

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  • tc @9 – Tony doesn’t blame Thatcherism and nor in reality do any of his nest-feathering colleagues regardless of ostensible persuasion. He’s is thankful everyday for all its bountiful rewards. He even has an idea they might be deserved. And so did we until 2008. Free market, pyramid system, Thatcherism, New Labour, debt fuelled illusion paid for by Chinese peasants/QE – call it what you will.
    What are the realities on the ground? It’s hard to tell. A bank exec on a million, a speech for 180k? A house for 200k? AAA ratings? Iraq has WMD?
    A hairdresser offers a real service.

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  • hello dogget:

    “you’re not suggesting that they haven’t adopted a substantial chunk of Thatcherite economics as their own?”

    As far as I can tell they decided to commit election fraud by gluing a thin veneer of laissez-faire Thatcherite oak to the same old leaky Labour ship. What we got was the total abandonment of market regulation combined with the spendthrift policies of the old Labour party.

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  • tyrellcorporation says:

    Um, but I still don’t understand your link between TBs speech and Thatcherism. Thatcher believed that if you worked hard you would be rewarded. My understanding is that under Labour that simple Darwinian message is turned on it’s head. The less you do the more we’ll look after you. The more ignorant you are the more we’ll shower you with false hopes, false accolades and false wealth.

    Regardless of all the waffle about poilitical cross-dressing I think the coming GE will be the most interesting for decades because the left and right are now so polarised. You either work for the State and want Big Government to provide your lifestyle or you want to forge ahead and propel the UK to become the dynamic entrepreneurial hotbed it rightly deserves to be.

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  • tyrellcorp:
    ‘they’ still blame Thatcher for the abject mess we’re now in – talk about dogma! ”

    “the Conservatives have had the courage and decency to admit it.”

    One man’s dogma is another man’s poison it seems. Unswerving support for one political party, especially bearing in mind the last 30 years, reminds me of undergraduate politics.

    Consider what has happened since 1979: recession, credit boom, recession; change of Govt; credit boom, recession. There’s a pattern there I think. And that inequality report the other day pointed out that the inequalities expanded between 1980 and 1997, whence they were more or less constant. So who is responsible then? I am no apologist for any party, but one has to admit that Labour has made an effort, not very successful, at reducing poverty (min wage, tax credits). All the railing against quangos is dogma in itself: the sums are relatively small, and public spending is somewhat below Sweden’s, a country which is more equal economically and has less crime – in short a better place to live.

    “Dynamic entrepreneurial hotbed”? God save us; isn’t that what we’ve had for 30 years? Rather too hot for those who’ve had more than their fingers burnt.

    As for William I, the current grossly unequal ownership of land dates from his actions. Mind you, we’ve had a few years to do something about that. Time for the UK Independence from William I party – UKIWIP

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  • @ Flashman

    “What we got was the total abandonment of market regulation combined with the spendthrift policies of the old Labour party.”
    So the best of both worlds then?

    “As far as I can tell they decided to commit election fraud [surely not?!] by gluing a thin veneer of laissez-faire Thatcherite oak to the same old leaky Labour ship.”
    That would be ‘oak’ as in ‘low-grade shuttering ply’ ?

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  • My choice of wood was arbitrary. I’ll substitute Balsawood if you prefer.

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  • @ 15. letthemfall

    Nice. I particularly liked “Unswerving support for one political party, especially bearing in mind the last 30 years, reminds me of undergraduate politics.”

    Can only give you 4 out of 5, though, as tyrellcorporation’s (presumably unintended?) self parody did make it rather easy for you. Mind you, the ludicrously false dichotomy “You either work for the State and want Big Government to provide your lifestyle or you want to forge ahead and propel the UK to become the dynamic entrepreneurial hotbed it rightly deserves to be.” does make you wonder whether he’s a left-wing plant (?)

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  • Let’s face it, any political party, be it of left or right wing persuasion, that’s had nearly 13 years in power has had sufficient time to sort things out and improve the lot of Joe Public.

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  • “My choice of wood was arbitrary. I’ll substitute Balsawood if you prefer.”

    A very decent offer, and, in the same spirit, I suggest we compromise, as in “low-grade shuttering balsawood”. Neatly expresses its sturdy quality, I feel.

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  • It’s a deal, although if I really wanted to choose a wood for Thatcher it would Dutch Elm. Tony Blair would have to be assigned the syrup Maple. Sickly sweet but ultimately deadly. arrff arrff

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  • Thatcherism was about the free market, Chicago School, Milton Friedman, deregulation, the big bang in London, managers in hospitals. The theory is that “markets” will find a way of providing services at the best conditions. That is, they are “efficient”. So government removed regulation. The last 20 years or so have shown that without regulation markets tend to corruption – which is its own kind of efficiency, depending on where you sit. For the bankers packaging toxic debt, for Tony, the whole thing has been very “efficient”. For people doing a hard day’s work – and maybe you know a few – it has been less “efficient” (they’ll be paying for the show for the rest of their lives).

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