Questions in The Guardian we can answer

The David Miliband and Ed Balls leaks are meant to hurt Labour. Why now?

Because the Labour Party needs to be trampled into the dust. The buildings razed, the population sold into bondage and the land ploughed with salt. It is sweet and necessary for us to kill our enemies and to hear the lamentations of their women.

This does not apply to those who would champion the rights of the workers in our economy, nor to those who would have a more social democratic polity, those who desire more equality nor even those obsessed with the isms….feminism, anti-racisms, genderism and the rest.

It applies solely to the Labour Party. For deep within its primordial brain, in the recesses which produce the knee jerk reactions, the Labour Party is wrong.

They speak the speak of desiring those good things in the second para above. But all of their actual policy initiatives militate against those very things. What the UK needs is a left wing party (hey, I might still disagree with the goals) which is actually competent at proposing policies which can achieve their stated goals. And Labour just ain\’t it. And cannot be.

Err, yes, a tad over the top but there\’s a truth or two in there……

37 comments on “Questions in The Guardian we can answer

  1. Personally Tim, I felt you were both restrained and dispassionate in your assessment of the Looting Party.

  2. Too kind to all those proposing “-isms”. The only conversation should be about the length of the hemp. And, of course, much to kind to what the Labour Party has become.

  3. The Labour Party is, practically speaking, already dead. Tony Blair killed it. Structurally speaking, it’s almost impossible for it to win a working majority: the very seats it needs to win, in the Home Counties and the prosperous parts of the Midlands, are so much more economically liberal than the party core that, at a point when the party core has decided against any repeats of Blair, they are practically unwinnable. Either Labor will become a party of broad economic liberalism, or it will cease to be a meaningful governing force. The Labour majorities of Blair are as dead as the Labourism of Wilson and Callaghan.

    It’s beyond revivification, never mind by a utterly forgettable mediocrity like Ed Miliband.

  4. (The death of Labour does not imply permanent majority for Tories, however, and very good it is so too. I am scared shitless by the thought of such scum as Pickles and Tebbit running the government forever.)

  5. Totally agree. One could go further and say that similar sentiments could also be applied to the Conservative Party (or any others for that matter).

    Thus: What the UK needs is a right-wing party (hey, I might still disagree with the goals) which is actually competent at proposing policies which can achieve their stated goals. And the Tories just ain’t it. And cannot be.

    No political parties would obviously be the ideal, but you can’t have everything in life… 🙂

  6. Eh?

    “This does not apply to those who would champion the rights of the workers in our economy, nor to those who would have a more social democratic polity, those who desire more equality nor even those obsessed with the isms….feminism, anti-racisms, genderism and the rest.”

    Er, the Labour Party is the political manifestation of those movements. Parties don’t make policy. They articulate the policies desired by significant dominant social factions. Which is why when there is a broadly unified ideology held by the dominant social class, all the parties articulate minor variations on the same thing; as at the moment.

    It’s those movements that are the problem, not the transient weenie politicians who do their bidding.

  7. Myles, I think you’re being a bit too optimistic there. Polly Toynbee was right when she said there is a “progressive majority” in this country. There is.

    If the voting system reflected actual voter preferences, conservatism would be a minority and classical liberal (libertarianism) would have about half an MP. The overwhelming majority of MPs would be collectivist statists of some stripe- a large “progressive” majority.

  8. Kill Labour and let’s get back to Whigs vs Tories. I’ve been preaching this for years. Where we are to get another Dizzie and Mr G is a more difficult one.

  9. >I am scared shitless by the thought of such scum as Pickles and Tebbit running the government forever.)

    Me too, they’re far too statist and left-wing for my liking.

  10. A tad over the top? You’re channelling, of not right-out quoting, Conan the Barbarian in your opening para.

    Agree with you, mind.

    But not Ian B. it’s not feminism etc that are to blame, it’s the dead conservative hand of entrenched state-subisidized elites in nationalized and hyper-regulated industries, unions, academia, political parties, think tanks, that the Labor Party epitomizes and brings out the anarcho-Liberal revolutionary in me.

  11. If the voting system reflected actual voter preferences, conservatism would be a minority and classical liberal (libertarianism) would have about half an MP. The overwhelming majority of MPs would be collectivist statists of some stripe- a large “progressive” majority.

    This assumes that voter preferences are static and endogenous. I don’t think this is necessarily the case. Just to give an example, rising property values produce voters who are more conscious of the policies increasing or decreasing value of property, and thus more amenable to rational economic policy. A high-pound policy has its own effects, which generally works against the Labour/left coalition. And so on.

    More importantly, I think you are setting the parameters too strictly. One doesn’t need to be a libertarian-level classical liberal. One merely needs to be a Orange Book liberal. And on a subconscious level, a good chunk of Britain are probably Orange Book liberals, whether they vote Lib Demo or whoever. I don’t like using the word “progressive” with the Labour Party, because Labour has always seemed like the farthest thing from actual material progress. The essence of liberalism is long-term progress for everyone; the essence of Labourism is short-term egalitarianism, and what any country needs is more the first and less of the second. The salient strategy is to separate, as much as possible, liberal Britain from Labourite Britain, as bereft of the legitimacy and power of the former the latter will be a dissatisfied but smaller minority.

    Me too, they’re far too statist and left-wing for my liking.

    Actually quite true. Although in this case, one of less attractive aspects of Tebbit is his explicit (rather than private, which is fine) racism and general nastiness. (The Tory Party shouldn’t be a hideout for losers and chip-on-shoulder types, especially not in a country like Britain; from a purely electoral PoV, it looks desperate.)

    Kill Labour and let’s get back to Whigs vs Tories. I’ve been preaching this for years. Where we are to get another Dizzie and Mr G is a more difficult one.

    Whigs vs Tories functions perfectly well with Balfour and Rosebery.

  12. “Because the Labour Party needs to be trampled into the dust. The buildings razed, the population sold into bondage and the land ploughed with salt. It is sweet and necessary for us to kill our enemies and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

    So are we following the Romans in true “Destruction of Carthage” mode or the plot of “Conan the Barbarian”?

    Either way – I’m in!

  13. (This is not to mention Tebbit’s incredible nastiness on civil partnerships, which went above and beyond effective conservative opposition to sheer spite. While paired with his left-of-Labour statism on the NHS. Again, a meaningful Tory Party can’t be a hide-out for losers. One’s got the option of the BNP if one wants to cast a loser vote.)

  14. Just to give an example, rising property values produce voters who are more conscious of the policies increasing or decreasing value of property, and thus more amenable to rational economic policy.

    I disagree. Go and read Mark Wadsworth’s blog 🙂

    Most voters are in favour of more house price rises, more lending and increased restrictions on housing supply; entirely economically “irrational”. They vote for the gravy train to keep running, or the merry-go-round to keep spinning, and screw everybody else.

    Representative democrayc under the Progressive model (i.e. since the late 19th century) is basically a game of “capture the flag and fuck everybody else”, which includes fucking oneself in the long term. Just so long as your crappy pile of bricks keeps getting inflated (as in this example). Progressive democracy is at heart a system designed to guarantee majority support for economic irrationality.

    One merely needs to be a Orange Book liberal.

    I disagree. You will find many people supporting some general “free markets” or what have you thing, who when you get down to the nitty gritty want freedom for themselves and State control for everyone else. That’s not liberal. Being liberal means supporting things that benefit other people, not just oneself.

    I just a few days ago got into a barney in a place discussing gardening- demographic was typical older-type country folk, “conservative” leaning, hate socialists, what have you.

    I dared suggest that farmers should negotiate whatever price they can for selling milk, it is not the job of the state to intervene and, if inefficeint farmers can’t afford to produce milk they have to go bust. Result: a hail of condemnation and now nobody will even talk to me about rose cuttings and propagating whatevers.

    There are very, very few economic liberals left.

  15. Agreed. All for the ploughing with the salt etc. but would rather not hear the lamentations of the women on CiF if at all avoidable in the process.

  16. I dared suggest that farmers should negotiate whatever price they can for selling milk, it is not the job of the state to intervene and, if inefficeint farmers can’t afford to produce milk they have to go bust.

    Ahh. Well that is a very silly argument, because the mechanism you are looking at is agricultural futures, and to participate in it one needs to be an agricultural producer of some size. The right model for farmers is local cooperatives (presumably to be triggered by legislation), which would in turn act upon their behalf in the futures markets.

    You can’t hope to persuade people if you use unpersuasive arguments.

    Most voters are in favour of more house price rises, more lending and increased restrictions on housing supply; entirely economically “irrational”. They vote for the gravy train to keep running, or the merry-go-round to keep spinning, and screw everybody else.

    I don’t know what’s the deal with “more housing supply.” Look: the housing supply is finite, because when one speaks of housing supply, one speaks of land. It’s not a widget factory, where you can turn out infinite number of widgets. Unless you propose that the greenbelt be eliminated (along with open spaces, the countryside, etc.) and the entire country paved over Hong Kong-style with massive highrises, it is finite. And in fact, in that there would be an oversupply, as the demand fluctuates (among other things).

    It’s a very important thing to get voters invested in land values, because it’s their chief connection to capital gains. And owning capital gives you a different policy perspective from being invested wholly in wage employment, a perspective that seems in the long term toward more economically liberal policies.

  17. Oh I see Myles, in both cases you’re actually arguing against rational economics. Fair enough. You just hadn’t made that clear before.

    Well that is a very silly argument, because the mechanism you are looking at is agricultural futures, and to participate in it one needs to be an agricultural producer of some size. The right model for farmers is local cooperatives (presumably to be triggered by legislation), which would in turn act upon their behalf in the futures markets.

    It’s nothing to do with a futures market. It’s that larger, more efficient cow farms can produce cheaper milk that a bloke with a little herd who thinks he has a right to be a milk producer because his dad was. Their unit production costs for milk are higher than their competitors, and the market is trying to drive them out of business. It’s just classical classical economics.

    They are free to form co-operatives already. There is no need for the State to do so, which would of course not be a free market thing. But co-operatives are stuck with the problem that they have trouble reducing the workforce, because all the workers are owners, and since efficiency improves by increasing output-per-man (and thus reducing the number of men) they are a bit stuck.

    Say 20 farmers form a cooperative. It may be that an efficeint single farm of that size would only need 10 farmers. The cooperative has no easy means to get shot of half its farmers; they can’t do the very thing they need to do to get efficient.

    I don’t know what’s the deal with “more housing supply.” Look: the housing supply is finite, because when one speaks of housing supply, one speaks of land.

    There’s a fuckload of land out there with no houses on it. All products are finite, that doesn’t mean we’ve run out yet.

    It’s not a widget factory, where you can turn out infinite number of widgets. Unless you propose that the greenbelt be eliminated (along with open spaces, the countryside, etc.) and the entire country paved over Hong Kong-style with massive highrises, it is finite.

    Er, that’s exactly what I’m proposing. The “green belt” is simply a deliberate State means of strangling urban growth; of keeping the supply strangulated. We don’t need to “pave over” the whole countryside. Nobody wants to do that. But there is a shortage of housing, so we do need to build mroe of it somewhere, and a rational economist wouldn’t ask the government to ask a bunch of NIMBYs where we can build.

    And in fact, in that there would be an oversupply, as the demand fluctuates (among other things).

    Well then the price of houses would fall below the cost of building them, and builders would cease “paving over” your countryside any further. Do you know how markets work?

    It’s a very important thing to get voters invested in land values, because it’s their chief connection to capital gains. And owning capital gives you a different policy perspective from being invested wholly in wage employment, a perspective that seems in the long term toward more economically liberal policies.

    Oh dear.

    HOUSING IS A COST NOT AN INVESTMENT. It only *looks* like an investment because of deliberate inflation of land values by the propertied/State cartel. So believeing that a house- a cost- should be “capital” and an “investment” does indeed give owners a different policy perspective. It makes them vote for any government that will (a) strangle building and (b) pump funny money into the mortgage market to raise their imaginary “capital investment”.

    There are a lot of words one can use to describe that, but “economically liberal” is not one of them.

  18. “This is not to mention Tebbit’s incredible nastiness on civil partnerships, which went above and beyond effective conservative opposition to sheer spite. “

    Huh..?!?

  19. Huh..?!?

    “An amendment tabled by Conservative MP Edward Leigh proposed to extend the property and pension rights afforded by civil partnerships to siblings who had lived together for more than 12 years. This was opposed by many backers of the bill, such as frontbench conservative MP Alan Duncan, who considered it a wrecking amendment.[7][11] Leigh himself was an opponent of the Civil Partnerships bill, and voted against it at the second reading.[6] The amendment was backed by Norman Tebbit and the Christian Institute, which paid for a full page advert in favour of the amendment in The Times newspaper.”

    Wrecking amendments are one thing, but full-page advertisements in The Times in favour of wrecking amendments, on something like civil unions (which have always provided a kind of plausible deniability shroud to the losers/chip-on-shoulder wing in the Tory party coming out of the woodwork) are not cricket.

    (This is why I have always thought that it would be better for the BNP to have representation in Parliament. Clear blue water and all that.)

  20. It’s nothing to do with a futures market. It’s that larger, more efficient cow farms can produce cheaper milk that a bloke with a little herd who thinks he has a right to be a milk producer because his dad was.

    In Canada, IIRC agricultural cooperatives and large commercial operations don’t have much in terms of cost differences. I’m generally not in favour of pissing people off without economic gain.

    They are free to form co-operatives already.

    Yes, but their incidence does depend on the friendliness of the legal environment. In the traditional agricultural arrangement in the U.K., co-operatives are not as common, so I am suggesting that as a factor.

    Er, that’s exactly what I’m proposing. The “green belt” is simply a deliberate State means of strangling urban growth; of keeping the supply strangulated.

    Presumably you’ve never been to Atlanta, because I have never met a single person who is actually in favour of turning their city into more like Atlanta. The greenbelt is an entirely reasonable and wise policy. Absent the greenbelt, it would be nastier for everyone.

    Well then the price of houses would fall below the cost of building them, and builders would cease “paving over” your countryside any further. Do you know how markets work?

    You do know that housing demand can be cyclical, right? And if there’s anything a country doesn’t want, it’s pro-cyclical housing stock growth.

    HOUSING IS A COST NOT AN INVESTMENT.

    Take a $500,000 house. Presume that the house itself is worth $250,000. The land is worth $250,000.

    Now take a $350,000 house. Presume that the house itself is worth $250,000. The land is worth $100,000.

    The land is an investment whether one likes it or not. It necessarily keeps pace with economic growth, never mind inflation. Thus, the property is an investment. Housing-as-material-cost is one of the hoariest Labourisms ever, and the massive house-building programme of the Tory 1950’s didn’t seem to have to have led to more economically liberal government.

    Tim adds: “The land is an investment whether one likes it or not.”

    Nope, absolutely not. Land is cheap as chips. A hectare of ag land in the SE of England costs maybe £8,000. Get planning permission on it and it’s worth £1,500,000 and up.

    It’s the planning permission that has to be paid for, the scarcity value of it.

    “The greenbelt is an entirely reasonable and wise policy.”

    It’s possible that it is, even though I disagree. But what it absolutely certainly is is a subsidy to those who own land inside it. At the cost of those who own land in the green belt. Those inside it, who can get planning permission, get higher prices for their land. Those in the green belt can only get ag value, much less.

  21. Tim is right; the Labour party has always been bad for us and there is no time to be lost in crushing it like a particularly unpleasant bug.

    However, it is dangerous to be too ad hominem about criticism, as this can serve to ‘blame’ individuals for what is essentially an institution which, in present form, is a seriously toxic one and which might reinvent itself at the drop of a hat, as it did under Bliar.

    Put simply, it is all very well to implicate Balls, Brown and Miliband in the ‘Blair plot’ but that is simply not enough – what needs to be exposed is the cold, deliberate sabotage of an economy which was in better shape than it had been in a long time and turning it into a potential basket case, all in the name of ‘progressive’ (Marxist) objectives.

    But fuck the lot of them, frankly. All of them. I know that there will be babies out with the bathwater (I’ve always had a sneaking regard for Frank Field, for example) but there must be a price to pay for actions which border on treason. There must be heads in the gutter before there is blood on the streets.

    The whole Brown gang should be impeached.

  22. what needs to be exposed is the cold, deliberate sabotage of an economy which was in better shape than it had been in a long time and turning it into a potential basket case, all in the name of ‘progressive’ (Marxist) objectives

    It’s interesting as a centrist to note how much gibberingly mad far right conspiracy theory nutjobbery has in common with gibberingly mad far left conspiracy theory nutjobbery.

    As a subtle clue: Blair and Balls have about as much in common with the tenets of Marxism as David Cameron has in common with the tenets of Adolf Hitler. Which is “none at all, and if you suggest otherwise you probably shouldn’t be allowed to play with sharp objects”.

  23. Myles,

    “The land is an investment whether one likes it or not. It necessarily keeps pace with economic growth, never mind inflation.”

    Why must this be so? Prices for land must surely depend on supply and demand just as anything else, no?

  24. An investment is the expenditure of some production which later returns a greater quantity of production; building a factory, draining land for cultivation, etc. That is reflected monetarily by spending X and getting back more than X later on.

    A house is just a cost. You spend X. That’s it. It doesn’t produce anything else. In fact you have to keep spending to stop it falling down.

  25. @ john b:

    I consider myself to be a Gladstonian Liberal; I’d be interested (really!) to hear your definition of ‘centrist’…

  26. Why is it that documents such as the one about the10p tax rate one and the one concerning thespending review have to be leaked?
    Surely they should be put in to the public domain as soon as possible, this way the public will be able to judge the effectiveness of politicians and/or civil servants.

  27. “It’s a very important thing to get voters invested in land values”

    Then said land values will have to com down a tad. Because atm someone on an average salary needs a £100k deposit to buy anything worth owning where the jobs are without taking on too much debt.

    If I had £100k I would just invest it in blue chip stocks and quality boutique income fund and use the divis to pay my rent. In the long term equities beat land anyway and global companies are exposed to gloabl GDP growth not just UK GDP growth. The UK is a busted flush for the foreseeable future.

  28. Pingback: Labour Party is wrong « Homepaddock

  29. Wot no Arnald? By previous form he’d have been all over this like an illiterate rash.

  30. Unless you propose that the greenbelt be eliminated (along with open spaces, the countryside, etc.) and the entire country paved over Hong Kong-style with massive highrises, it is finite.

    I recently looked up the UK land use figures, and about 5-6% of it is developed, which includes roads. The supply might be finite, but it is nowhere even close to running out.

  31. Surely buying a house is a cost and an investment?
    It cots me money to buy my house but I don’t have to pay for rent.
    The same as a car it costs me money but I don’t have to pay taxis etc after I have bought
    (true I have fuel costs but you know what I mean).

    Of course if my houses increases in value I only benefit if I emmigrate/downsize or can get a cheaper mortgage. I lose from house prices if I want to upsize.

    However if it decreases then I have to pay the bank money to move to a house of the similar value if I am in negative equity.
    So ideally I want it to stay at the same value or increase with in inflation but not more.

  32. “Surely buying a house is a cost and an investment?”

    yes, investments are in fact a sub-set of costs 🙂

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