Seumas is just amazing, isn\’t he?

Greece, austerity, disaster, new thing needed then:

It is now being challenged by parties of the left that reject a
failing neoliberal system

He\’s still not got it , has he?

The neoliberals have been screaming for years that the euro is a bad idea, that it shouldn\’t exist and if it does Greece certainly shouldn\’t be in it. And that the only solution for Greece\’s woes (and Portugal, Spain, Italy etc) is to stop being in it.

The is true whether we use the US meaning of neoliberal, Krugman P for example, or the much less important UK version of neoliberal, like me.

We\’ve all been leaping up and dopwn screaming that default, exit and devaluation is what has to happen. Otherwise there will be this decades long process of internal devaluation. Either way is hard, either way a loss of wealth to the locals, but one way is a fuck of a lot easier than the other.

The \”neoliberals\” here are arguing exactly the case that Seumas thinks we\’re not. It is the broadly social democratic centre of European politics that we are both arguing against. Those who are, as is the way of these things, the general establishment and thus the most conservative of all the political groupings.

Default, devaluation and start again: this is the neoliberal solution!

25 thoughts on “Seumas is just amazing, isn\’t he?”

  1. as far as I can work out Greek and French voters have both voted to keep sucking money out of Germany without cutting their own spending or increasing their own taxes; anyone who opposes this is clearly an evil neo-liberal who hits puppies with hammers.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Seamus is having a little 1984 moment. A flash back to his Stalinist days. Which would be last Thursday. All he has to remember is that neo-liberals are responsible for all that is bad in the world. If the Euro has turned to sh!t The Cause can’t be wrong so the neo-liberals must be to blame.

    Besides the Five Year Plan is perfect. It is the wreckers who ruin everything. The Euro was a great idea until the agents of Goldstein ruined it all.

    I am glad we have newspapers. Otherwise this man might seek office.

  3. Well Ftacap, congratulations. I read the article without seeing a single concrete proposal at all from this Left that “must offer a real alternative”.

  4. All lefties have an internal dialogue that bears no relationship to reality. For instance, I believe in personal and economic freedom, small government and low taxes, so most of my lefty friends consider me to be a fascist and I have been called a nazi for expressing those views.

  5. #Edward Lud
    Not with the one who called me a nazi, but actually yes. They mostly read the Guardian, so I see them as more to be pitied than laughed at.

  6. @Jonathan: ‘For instance, I believe in personal and economic freedom, small government and low taxes, so most of my lefty friends consider me to be a fascist’

    Apart from anything else, this displays woeful ignorance of what the term ‘fascist’ means. I blame the Young Ones.

  7. Neo-liberal is now totally divorced from any actual philosophy. It’s just something a certain sort of person pulls out when they see something they don’t like.
    It reminds me of how in my high school history books, the groups that opposed the 1917 Russian Communist Revolution were called the right-wing, and the groups that tried to keep Communism going in the early ’90s were also called the right-wing.

  8. As Tracey W says, “neoliberal” doesn’t have a definition, other than being anything somebody doesn’t like. It’s similar to anyone who disagrees with some current progressive reform being a “conservative” regardless of their general beliefs on economic, political and social matters.

  9. Tim,

    You may be right but your motives are obviously impure. Therefore the Euro can’t be allowed to fail because it would prove you right.

    The project (keeping neo liberals at bay) is more important than the economies of a few PIIGS.

  10. All a question of perspective, as Timmy notes.

    I find it very interesting. It’s very similar to criticism of Marxist regimes like the USSR and Maoist China. Opponents criticise them for ‘Marxist’ failings, while those of a Marxist disposition denounce them for not really being Marxist in the first place.

    Likewise, when people like Milne rail against ‘neoliberal’ policies, it’s the ‘broadly social democratic centre’ that he’s on about, in this case. Whereas people like Timmy complain that the likes of Sarkozy, Cameron et al aren’t actually neoliberals at all and could do with some *real* neoliberal policies!

    In the end, it’s all very easy for the likes of Timmy and Milne. They both have the luxury of wielding zero political clout, which allows them to propound their theories knowing they’ll never be put into practice – and therefore never put to the test. The policies they propose all sound very nice (as well as attracting the click-throughs), but I reckon they’d do better to consider why people in power never bother to apply these panacea, which they reckon would sort everything out.

  11. @alsharp: “I reckon they’d do better to consider why people in power never bother to apply these panacea, which they reckon would sort everything out.”

    In a democracy, which is likely to get more votes – Politician A who says the public can have more of stuff for free, and get someone else (‘the rich’) to pay for it, or politician B who says people must have less stuff provided for free, and learn to fend for themselves?

  12. Oh, and as for Seumus Milne’s ideas never having been put into practice – where were you for the vast majority of the 20th century?

  13. @Jim, on your first post

    Politician B seems to do alright, judging by the regular successes of the Conservative, Republican and other parties nominally committed to doing exactly that.

  14. Dear Al, I suggest then that you read a little on the history of the 20th Century, paying particular attention to the period 1917-1990, and the history of Russia, China and Eastern Europe post 1945. Seumus Milne’s philosophies had an extensive testing in all those regions for decades. The results are fairly conclusive.

    And if you think that the vast majority of ‘right wing’ governments are and have been committed to reducing the size of the State then I think you need to study a little political history of the UK. With the one possible exception of Margaret Thatcher, governments of all hues have constantly expanded the role of the State in the economy, both economically and legislatively. Post 1945 public spending has fallen in cash terms once I think (1975/6 possibly?) and in real terms a couple of times, in the 1980s under Thatcher.

    The UK has not had a truly Small Government administration, ever, with the possible exception of the post WW1 government that demilitarised the economy and managed to turn the economy round in the early 20s by cutting expenditure rather than raising it.

  15. Jim,

    ‘And if you think that the vast majority of ‘right wing’ governments are and have been committed to reducing the size of the State then I think you need to study a little political history of the UK.’

    I don’t. Hence the word ‘nominally’.

    As for Seumas, I’m not entirely convinced he’s positing people’s communes, gulags and Trabants as solutions (although I could be wrong!) I doubt Dan Hannan would have chosen him as one of the lefty columnists he most respects if this was the case.

  16. The point is that we have had the Left wing solutions tried – Marxist, Stalinist, Maoist, Communist states have all existed (and still do in a few odd places) and none of them can be considered successful, or even tolerable. Whereas no truly libertarian, Small State government has ever been tried, in modern times certainly. We have (as you point out) nominally ‘right wing’governments, but ones that talk the talk, but walk a completely different walk.

    Ergo your initial statement that Seumus Milne and TW are both propounding ideas that they will never have to see enacted is wrong. Milne’s ideas have already been tested to destruction throughout the 20th century, so to compare them with TW’s ideas in incorrect. Libertarian Small State ideas may indeed not work, we don’t know because they haven’t been tried. But we definitely know socialism doesn’t work.

  17. sackcloth and ashes

    ‘As for Seumas, I’m not entirely convinced he’s positing people’s communes, gulags and Trabants as solutions (although I could be wrong!)’

    Well either you need to start reading his output (particularly his efforts to explain why Communism wasn’t all that bad, and that Mr Stalin didn’t kill as many people as all the revisionists claim), or you need to do some basic reading comprehension.

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