My word, have we?

It\’s no mystery why Europe is short of work. Save on its northern rim, Europe 30 years ago began exporting manufacturing jobs to other parts of the world;

Note who this is from:

Richard Sennett is a professor of sociology at LSE and professor of social science at MIT

It would appear that Professor Sennet is somewhat ignorant.

The number of manufacturing jobs in the world is falling. No, not because we\’re exporting them to Mars, but because labour productivity is improving. The number of manufacturing jobs in Britain is falling, yes. So is the number of manufacturing jobs in Germany, yes, even in China.

It\’s worrying when one so senior gets something so basic wrong….

63 thoughts on “My word, have we?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Not to mention it is idiotic to think of the world having a finite number of manufacturing jobs so that if some are created in China, others must be lost in Britain.

    At one point we had virtually no manufacturing jobs. Then people were forced off the land, they moved to the cities and manufacturing jobs were created. The more that people produce, the more that is consumed. The more people move to the cities, the more is produced, the more that is consumed.

    We have unemployment because unemployment is so attractive and because we no longer have the moral values that say it is shameful. The difference between Bavaria and Andalucia is ultimately a cultural one even if monetary and fiscal policies look more important.

  2. SMFS

    You STILL believe that “unemployment is a lifestyle choice” bollocks, do you? Go and find out about the Jarrow marchers, and read The Grapes of Wrath. In the 1930s people starved because of unemployment. Their children died of malnutrition. In countries where there are no unemployment benefits, people still do starve due to unemployment. Even in countries where there are unemployment benefits, people starve if for some reason they don’t qualify for them or if the benefits are inadequate (they have been significantly cut in Greece, for example). Unemployment is “attractive”, is it? What utter rubbish.

  3. Wow, I didn’t realise that this was still 1930. This strange box with moving pictures in front of me and my nice and slim-line lapels would suggest that this was actually 2012 or there abouts.

    I don’t think it can be disputed that there’s been a sea-change in morals generally, and particularly those around employment, as well as significantly higher incentives to be unemployed, to mean that yes, a helluva lotta people choose that life.

    The Protestant Ethic is dead.

  4. Frances Coppola,

    “Unemployment is “attractive”, is it? What utter rubbish.”

    The huge numbers of Polish or Russian immigrant workers doing jobs like supermarket checkout or working cafes pretty much showed that yes, it is. Those are jobs that anyone could do.

    The benefit withdrawal rate is over 80% in this country, so unsurprisingly, many of them opt for not going to work.

  5. SMFS and the Stigler are quite right, on average there are only 42 applicants for each retail job. If the unemployed would only get off their luxury sofas and apply, we could have 142 applicants and that would solve the whole problem because…

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Frances Coppola – “You STILL believe that “unemployment is a lifestyle choice” bollocks, do you?”

    With some small caveats, yes. I do. How else do you explain decades of 10% unemployment in Britain?

    “Go and find out about the Jarrow marchers, and read The Grapes of Wrath. In the 1930s people starved because of unemployment. Their children died of malnutrition.”

    Sorry but could you please point out the evidence of any children dying of malnutrition in the UK in the 1930s? I am sure that at the time of the Jarrow march we had unemployment. There will be cyclical unemployment from time to time. But that was then. We do not have the same conditions as we had in the 1930s. We have not had the same conditions as we had in the 1930s for a long time. Yet we have continued to have persistently high unemployment ever since the 1970s.

    “In countries where there are no unemployment benefits, people still do starve due to unemployment.”

    I have lived for significant periods in countries with no unemployment benefits. In most of them, in my experience, people do not starve because of unemployment. They get jobs. It would take me a minute to think of a country where this might be true – India perhaps? Where you need government permission to hire and fire. Not sure that is a good example for you.

    “Even in countries where there are unemployment benefits, people starve if for some reason they don’t qualify for them or if the benefits are inadequate (they have been significantly cut in Greece, for example).”

    People in Greece are yet to starve to death from what I can see. Although we probably would agree that the problems Greeks face is due to the monumental stupidity of their governments and their recent policies. So it is somewhat limited in its application to Britain in 2012.

    “Unemployment is “attractive”, is it? What utter rubbish.”

    And yet we have this odd situation. Under Blair some 3 million jobs were created. Virtually all of them taken by immigrants. While around 3 million British people remained on one form of benefit or another. I would be interested to hear your explanation for this. Can we agree that labour is like other commodities and at some price the market will clear?

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Arnald – “Sorry Frances. Not much of an endorsement, I know”

    Understatement of the week.

    8PaulB – “SMFS and the Stigler are quite right, on average there are only 42 applicants for each retail job. If the unemployed would only get off their luxury sofas and apply, we could have 142 applicants and that would solve the whole problem because…”

    May I ask for the source of your claim? And when was the last time you were served in a London shop by a British born White person? Or a British born person of ultimately African origin for that matter? Can you explain why this might be so unusual?

  8. There’s always a job out there for anyone who really wants it. Perhaps that might change if more people really wanted jobs, but at least for now, in the depths of a notable depression, anyone who needs to could find a job and get paid for working by this evening, let alone if given time. Actually, perhaps it’s the ‘given time’ which stops people.

  9. PaulB,

    SMFS and the Stigler are quite right, on average there are only 42 applicants for each retail job.

    1) That was a study from Dec 2011 by the CIPD, so unsurprisingly in a recession, job applications are going to be higher. We’re talking about a problem that existed in the boom times.
    2) Show me precisely what the methodology was that the CIPD used to determine what is a “retail job”. Their study also says that the average number of applications for a job is 23, and I don’t buy that there are many jobs with less applicants than shop or cafe work.

  10. Jobs are out there, its just a question of looking for them.

    A friend of mine had a sort of mid-life crisis and left her job. She made few phone calls to local businesses in her line of work, and took an offer of a few weeks work that involved getting up at 5am to start at 6, and work til 6pm, with a 3 hr break in the middle. As a result of her hard working attitude her employer has now offered her a full time job, on salary, at £25K, which round here is a good whack.

    At the same time she had an offer of another job working in a vets as an assistant, which would have been a nice secure little job. She preferred the former as it paid more and she enjoyed the work better too. She has no qualifications other than the odd GCSE.

    I used to joke to her that her best option was to get pregnant, and then she’d qualify for a free flat, cash in hand etc. Fortunately she a) has some morals and b) hates kids, so it wasn’t an option. But for millions it is a completely viable way of paying their way through life. Just let the State (ie everyone else) pay for you. If thats not a huge incentive not to work I don’t know what is.

  11. “average number of applications for a job is 23, and I don’t buy that there are many jobs with less applicants than shop or cafe work.”
    Well I can think of a way the price’d be right.
    The figures are drawn from the number of reported vacancies, yes? What makes you think they reflect reality? I can think of innumerable business in London alone employ only particular ethnic groups. The garment factory in Seven Sisters. 100% Bangladeshi. Builders’ Merchants. 25 staff, all Indian. Womens’ wear wholesalers, 20 employees, Cypriots only. Know any Indian restaurants with white waiters? Chinese?
    Technically illegal under discrimination law but see anything done about it? The jobs were never in the labour market to start with. So what is left & advertised for general applicant distorts the figures.

  12. It’s all relative.

    Unless you are wealthy enough to make decent use of it (for whatever your definitions of wealth and ‘decent use’ are), full-time leisure isn’t necessarily attractive … But it doesn’t need to be. It just needs to be relatively attractive compared to the available alternatives.

    For the sort of people likely to be Sennet’s ex or current students, early to mid 20s, healthy-ish, no kids and an expectation of a reasonable mid-level lifestyle, able to afford a decent pad (possibly even thinking about buying), a cheap car and plenty of hard-core partying, the benefits package available in the UK is not attractive. Anecdata alert: Miss S-E has been in her first proper (i.e. non-bar/restaurant peon) job since graduating for about 6 months now and, despite it being marginally above min wage, is now better off. Even though she is supposed to have moved out and be paying rent (she is paying the rent but seems to be here around dinner time surprisingly often.) Many of her mates just re-treaded and did an MSc – the one she wants to do requires at least 2 yrs prof experience.

    However, for a single parent (priority housing) with a number of kids, possibly able to force their way into the increasingly harsh (and ever somewhat capricious) disability benefits system, there is probably nearly as much money available (and significantly less hassle) than taking a job. Even if you want to work, there is lots of competition out there and the withdrawal rates can actually be in excess of 100%. Which is not an incentive – just as Jim said.

  13. Know any Indian restaurants with white waiters? Chinese?

    The local excellent Chinese has a significant number of non-Chinese staff – the delivery drivers are 100% efnic (sic) Jock, 2/3rds of the reception staff and half of the bar / waiting staff.

    The wonderfully costumed receptionist at a lovely Indian restaurant near my parents is so white he is blue (pace Billy Connolly).

    Now, the former may just be because of a lack of suitable choices in Scotland’s central poverty belt but the latter was a deliberate choice by the management.

  14. Dearieme

    I think the person was referring to things such as the Highland Clearances in Scotland and the enclosures of land in England. The latter is controversial since certain Marxist and even non-Marxist historians have liked to romanticise life of the “peasants” prior to the Industrial Revolution. They paint a picture of rosy-cheeked yeomen working for a few days, catching game in the “Common Lands”, getting pissed over the weekend, chasing wenches and occasionally going abroad to kill Frenchmen. In reality, as Hayek and others pointed out, the rising population of the UK could not have been sustained without a, the Agricultural Revolution (of which enclosure was a feature) and the subsequent Industrial one.

    End of lecture.

  15. JP>

    “In reality, as Hayek and others pointed out, the rising population of the UK could not have been sustained without a, the Agricultural Revolution (of which enclosure was a feature)”

    That’s plausible, although obviously unprovable, but what’s not in doubt is that most acts of enclosure were extremely unfair in their distribution of the resulting benefits. They were little more than land-grabs without compensation by the richest people in an area.

  16. Know any Indian restaurants with white waiters?

    Funnily enough I had dinner at the Roti Chai behind Oxford Street Marks & Sparks last night and was served by a white girl of non-Indian descent.

    The exception that proves the rule I suspect.

  17. I have no idea how the Tudor enclosures worked, but the Parliamentary enclosures were run on pretty decent lines. (Since they involved humans, there must have been some cheating, of course.) So, apart from various literary figures repeating each others’ assertions, where’s the evidence that “they were little more than land-grabs without compensation”?

  18. dearieme>

    That was the whole point of acts of enclosure. Land which had previously been for common use was now enclosed and owned by one entity. Those who lost their rights were not usualyl directly and fully compensated (although arguably benefited indirectly from the general economic improvements that followed). We wouldn’t consider it an acceptable system today.

  19. The Stigler @ 12

    “Their study also says that the average number of applications for a job is 23, and I don’t buy that there are many jobs with less applicants than shop or cafe work.”

    I guess that many jobs requiring some technical expertise or experience (a) have a limited number of people who can do them at all and (b) most of the potential applicants already have a job, so have to be bribed away. Plenty of people can do shop or cafe work, and in times of unemployment, plenty will apply – as appears to be the case right now.

  20. Luke>

    There’s a simple reason for the findings of the study: they based their research on the most obvious job ads. It’s the classic piece of research into how many people have a phone, carried out using a random sample from the phone book.

  21. Pendantry …

    I don’t buy that there are many jobs with less applicants than shop or cafe work.

    If you can count them, it is ‘fewer’, if you have to measure it, it is ‘less’.

  22. SMFS

    You were talking about Bavaria and Andalucia, as I recall, not the UK. As was the good professor.

    Unemployment in Spain is at 25%, which is the same as in the US at the height of the Depression. Largely this is because of the collapse of its construction bubble, which employed a lot of people. I could go into the many, many reasons why people remain unemployed when there are jobs – you know, lack of transferrable skills, failure of the education system to give them basic literacy, high housing costs, high transport costs, blah blah. But in Spain, as in most of the southern Eurozone, the problem is the fact that they are in a recession. Or do you think that the reason why unemployment rises in a recession is because lots of people decide not to bother working any more?

  23. SMFS: Why do Polish migrants have jobs while many Britons do not? Because the sort of enterprising Pole who comes to England in search of work is more able than the least employable 10% of the native population.

  24. Frances Coppola>

    “do you think that the reason why unemployment rises in a recession is because lots of people decide not to bother working any more?”

    Yes, obviously. It’s not worth their while to work because the benefits system pays them more than their labour is worth. This, in turn, prevents entrepreneurs from creating new jobs at the new lower price justified by increased supply of workers.

    NB: I don’t say that’s not a trade-off worth making in order to have a nice society to live in, but it’s certainly there.

    PaulB>

    “the sort of enterprising Pole who comes to England in search of work is more able than the least employable 10% of the native population”

    In my experience, that’s not the case. I know many bright enough English youngsters on benefits. I also know of many Polish immigrants (and similar) who are right at the bottom of the pile. The reason they come here to do basic labouring jobs is because they can earn more for them than at home – but at home they’d be doing equally basic work.

    It’s also notable that Poland has a similar problem to the UK, importing, as they do, many Africans to do the jobs that Poles do here.

  25. Dave

    That would be true if Western societies didn’t have in-work benefits. But they do. So it is only true for people who don’t qualify for much in the way of in-work benefits – notably young single men – and for families with lots of children. For the rest, it is simply untrue. In-work benefits enable people to take jobs at lower wages. There is a problem with high marginal tax rates due to withdrawal of in-work benefits as wages rise – but you aren’t talking about wages rising, are you?

    In a recession most businesses lay off staff, batten down the hatches and wait for better times – as is happening at the moment. And Spain’s problem is the collapse of an entire industry. There simply aren’t as many jobs.

  26. Dave

    Are you suggesting that the fact that Spain has a national minimum wage, whereas Germany’s minimum wage is set locally through collective bargaining and is legally enforceable, is the sole reason why Spain has 25% unemployment when Germany (which is going into recession) has unemployment of less than 5%? I find that hard to believe.

  27. The reason why I talked about the 1930s is that SFMS claims unemployment is CAUSED by unemployment benefits. There were no unemployment benefits in the 1930s, but there was considerable unemployment – and people starved. To suggest that there would be no unemployment if there were no unemployment benefits is historical revisionism of the very worst kind.

    Tim adds: Umm, you might want to look that up. There were unemployment benefits in the 1930s. Think it was Lloyd George in 1909/11 that introduced them.

    They weren’t high, that’s true, but they did exist.

  28. “We have unemployment because unemployment is so attractive and because we no longer have the moral values that say it is shameful. ” –

    Rubbish, absolute rubbish. One of the most disgusting aspects of modern British society is the number of truly nasty people it contains. That is the comment of a nasty person. They might dress it up with some legerdemian such as that they are merely saying it as they see it, as if their opinions are somehow weightier than those of mere mortals, but it’s just nasty; the product of a nasty mind attached to a nasty mouth. Nasty and revolting.

  29. Dearieme,

    “I have no idea how the Tudor enclosures worked” –

    Largely by hanging people like Roert Kett, put encourager les autres.

    “but the Parliamentary enclosures were run on pretty decent lines.” –

    That noted radical leftist GM Trevelyan, the great-nephew of the sans-culotte Thomas Macaulay, described the Hanoverian enclosures as ‘the radicalism of the rich at the expense of the poor’ (‘English Social History’). You’d like Trevelyan, although he was a raging hibernophobe.

    The Stigler,

    You’ve got the wholePolish immigrant thing ass backwards. The mass influx of Polish labour created unemplyment by driving wages down to a levl at which British people could not economically afford to work. The incentive to work was removed. That it also represented an enormous subsidy to employers by helping them save on wages is an aspect of that period of history which has never been properly examined.

    So Much For Subtlety,

    “Sorry but could you please point out the evidence of any children dying of malnutrition in the UK in the 1930s?” –

    The Beveridge Report? ‘The Collapse of British Power’ by Correlli Barnett? Actually, if there was no starvation in the 1930’s you’d probably find it was a consequence of the enormous fright that the Crown received at the time of An Gorta Mor (look it up). When the potato blight reached Scotland in 1847 (looks like I’ve given away what An Gorta Mor means), the relief effort was led by Sir Charles Trevelyan and a chap with the wonderful name of Sir Edward Pine-Coffin, unbelievably an expert in famine relief. Trevelyan’s instruction to Pine-Coffin were both clear and direct – ‘nobody starves’. The episode is recounted by T.M. Devine in ‘The Great Highland Famine’.

    Looks like that even then laissez-faire was recognised to have limits. The mentality could have continued through to the ’30’s.

  30. So Much For Subtlety,

    “Yet we have continued to have persistently high unemployment ever since the 1970s.” –

    Perhaps becaise all the manufacturing work has been outsourced overseas and all of the deeply right-wing ideology and rhetoric about entrepreneurs stepping in to creat jobs has been shown, time and again, to be lot of hot air. They never have done, and never will do – not just the poor slandered British unemployed but any and every society everywhere does not contain a sufficient number of entrepreneurial people to reduce unemployment of the level you narrate. They’re just not there, no matter what Adam Smith and Joseph Schumpeter have to say about it. The government’s whole economic policy os based on this belief, and it is one built on sand, without any historical evidence to vouch for its success. It didn;t work 200 years ago, and it’s not going to work now.

    “I have lived for significant periods in countries with no unemployment benefits. In most of them, in my experience, people do not starve because of unemployment. They get jobs. It would take me a minute to think of a country where this might be true – India perhaps?”

    To hazard a guess, I’d also imagine that these were countries with dysfunctional or non-existent institutions, where trust in institutions was low or negligible, and where what Francis Fukuyama has described as the ‘radius of trust’ between fellow citizens was so incredibly that reliance on family networks was likely to lapse into clannishness. Yes, that’s a great way to go. These are obviously the models of the future.

    “While around 3 million British people remained on one form of benefit or another. I would be interested to hear your explanation for this.” –

    Asked and answered. If you’re a British single mother, having to pay for rent, food, energy, bus fares, school meals, school uniforms, and school trips does all add up when the competiton in the job market is a single Polish woman sleeping in a room with 20 other women, who has no knowledge of her employment rights and who’s prepared to work for less than minimum wage. You may be of the view that the British woman should have exercised a greater degree of responsibility in her child-bearing decisions, but in morality the British lower classes have always tended the rather bad habit of following the example of their so-called betters, and done as they are told. Don’t blame her, blame Roy bloody Jenkins and his ilk.

    PaulB – it was only a matter of time before somebody made that typically nasty and in my view very racist slur on British people. No people in the world are so adept, indeed casual, about publicly disparaging their fellow citizens as the British. The French and the Germans would never dream of doing it, but some of us do it unthinkingly. It is one of the most unpleasant of all British character traits, and you have just exhibited it.

  31. PaulB, again –

    “how is it that Poland has a higher unemployment rate than we do?”

    Because they can’t import enough Ukrainian plumbers to replace the ones working in the UK. This is what German historians of the 19th Century would have called a ‘Volkerwanderung’, everyone moving one nation westward at once.

  32. Frances Coppola (’32) said “There were no unemployment benefits in the 1930s”

    Yes there were; there’s a description of how they worked and were claimed in Priestley. I think it was in his chapter on the north east in “English Journey”, so 1933.

    It was means tested, so not quite the same as modern unemployment benefit, but if you’ve got no savings anyway that’s an irrelevant distinction.

  33. I’ll start again

    Not enough entrepreneurs

    Ah Nostalgia–the last time I heard this shite it was from Dennis Healy mouthing off on some b/w tv show back in the sixties. It was bollocks then and it is bollocks now.

    There was a time when businesses could be financed from retained earnings–nope–tax thieving has done for that. There was a time you could enter almost any business without kissing the state’s arse–nope–not any more. You didn’t have thieving business rates or endless unpaid work for the scum of the state or a badly educated (by the state) workforce with reading difficulties and etc, etc. There aren’t enough entrepreneurs is the classic socialist sneer–somebodys doing their job and some leftist runs up, kicks him in the balls and, while the victim is lying there writhing, starts shouting “Hey–this bloke isn’t doing his job”

    And as for the struggles of British single mothers, a substantial number of them have entered that estate literally by fucking choice or by careless stupidity. Sympathy is muted.

  34. Dear, oh dear. The 1930s was not limited to the UK…..and we were originally talking about Bavaria and Andalucia, I believe?

    However, since you mention the UK – yes, there were unemployment benefits, of a sort. They were subject to some of the most invasive means-testing ever devised, and even if people qualified for them they weren’t enough to live on. But the Jarrow marchers wanted JOBS, not higher unemployment benefits. They didn’t want to be unemployed and to suggest that they did is insulting.

    There was also the little matter of the US. Unemployment in the US in 1933 was 25% of the workforce. There were at that time NO unemployment benefits – these were not introduced until the Social Security Act of 1935. To suggest that these people preferred unemployment is simply wrong. They were unemployed because of the Depression and the desertification of large swathes of the American south due to bad farming practices and drought.

  35. Reading Martin’s comments above do lead one to wonder if someone from CiF has inadverently wandered by & is shocked to find there’s no moderator, finger poised, ready to delete any comment strays outside the progressive concensus.
    “..it’s just nasty; the product of a nasty mind attached to a nasty mouth. Nasty and revolting.”
    And what has provoked this revulsion?
    ““We have unemployment because unemployment is so attractive and because we no longer have the moral values that say it is shameful. ”
    Wonder what would happen if this statement was polled across a representative sample:
    Agree/Disagree?

  36. Frances
    Quite.
    But let’s take worst case & stick the poll in the Mail. Can’t say I read it myself. I’m not interested in celebrity photos & gossip. What would you reckon the result would be? 50% agree? 60? 70?
    Yet the Mail has,by far, the largest on-line readership. Dead tree version sells well too. Are the opinions of those numbers of people to be dismissed as too nasty to countenance?

  37. Now here’s a curious thing, Martin. On one page I have you who worries about disturbing my groupthink. On another I’m messaging with a Polish lass I’m trying to sort a problem for. She’s working in a flower farm just outside Bognor Regis on minimum wage. Along with a load of other Poles. Now Bognor, along with a lot of the South Coast towns is not without it’s burden of benefit recipients. Not up to Hastings standards, of course. We used to service HMOs down there I can entertain for hours on the whimsical natures of housing benefit tenants. And Jola, bless her, has come all the way from Poland to pick those flowers. Lives in a scrupulously clean rented house with some friends is trying to learn enough English to get a better job.
    So exactly which groupthink do you presume I subscribe to?

  38. Martin: my suggestion is that, at the margin, the fifth or sixth employability decile of Poles is competing with the tenth employability decile of Britons. I don’t think it racist to suggest that, given sufficient command of English, the Poles are likely to win that one.

    I realise that the concept of employability deciles is too crude to apply to the real world. But it could be refined sufficiently and the general point would stand.

    bloke in spain: as Frances has pointed out, history shows that unemployment benefits at a level you think attractive are not a necessary condition for mass unemployment. It’s not clear to me why you think your guess as to the opinions of some proportion of the Daily Mail readership would change that.

    Certainly paying people not to work will tend to increase the number of people not working. But I can’t see how making the unemployed desperate would generate millions of jobs, unless you have in mind that they should be self-employed scavengers on rubbish dumps.

  39. PaulB,

    Your comment at 27 read as follows –

    “Why do Polish migrants have jobs while many Britons do not? Because the sort of enterprising Pole who comes to England in search of work is more able than the least employable 10% of the native population.”

    It may not have been your intention to disparage British workers, but that was the way I read it. This may have been on account of my actually being in the least employable 10% of the native population. If that was not your intention, please accept my apologies for the misunderstanding, one based on having had a bellyful of hearing businessmen engage in a spot of light economic racism for no reason other than that they can get away with it on ‘Question Time’ and other programmes, where no panellist will actually call them out on it. I have already outlined why I think Poles displaced Brits, and it has nothing to do with the ability of the British.

    Thornavis,

    As my most recent posts have included joyous celebrations of the righteous, tramp the dirt down demise of Rangers Football Club and an attempt to debunk the ‘apparitions ‘of Medjugorje, I can only assume that, unlike me, you do not hail from the west of Scotland. If you did, you would not be commenting upon whether I was nice or not; you would instead be wondering what planet I was from. If you can’t find something to your liking in that lot where I come from, I can’t help you.

    Mr Ecks,

    You display a command of the vernacular suggestive of great acquaintance with the box set of ‘Father Ted’; however, kindly oblige me by telling me when these halcyon days of entrepreneurship actually were. Were they in the inter war years, perhaps, when the cream of the crop went into the civil service armed for the task of government with an outstanding command of the irregular Greek verbs and precious little else? Or in the post war years, after that little spot of bother in which the nations of Europe were so successful in killing each others’ manpower that the place could only be rebuilt with imported labour, a thesis put forward by Asa Briggs with which one can find little flaw?

    “There was a time you could enter almost any business without kissing the state’s arse–nope–not any more.”

    You had to kiss the bank manager’s instead. I recall seeing Michael Heseltine once describe the process by which Haymarket came into being. He went to see Mr. Stewart, the manager of the British Linen Bank, on a Friday afternoon. Mr. Stewart indicated that he would not normally have approved Heseltine’s application, but he was retiring that day and had decided to take a punt. Read ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

    There are just not enough potential entrepreneurs out there to reduce the employment levels as seems to be believed by the government. They’re just not there.

    Bloke in Spain,

    Your surprise at seeing someone break from your own brand of groupthink might have caused a crisis – my apologies.

    The answer to your question is ‘Disagree’.

  40. Bloke in Spain,

    “Are the opinions of those numbers of people to be dismissed as too nasty to countenance?”

    In this country, yes, as Parliament is sovereign, not ‘The Daily Mail’.

    Or at least that’s the idea.

    Man, it’s good to be back.

  41. “It’s not clear to me why you think your guess as to the opinions of some proportion of the Daily Mail readership would change that.”
    Actually, with ref the Fail, I did say worst case. But. You can’t deny a survey like that would get a sizeable agree return. And those ticking the agree box might possibly be amongst those who are net taxpayers. Seems a strange version of democracy we run these days, where the taxpayers aren’t allowed a say in where their taxes are spent.

  42. I’m in favour of democracy as a way to choose the government. But I don’t believe that historical or scientific fact can be changed by voting on it.

  43. And here’s another curios thing:
    “If you’re a British single mother, having to pay for rent, food, energy, bus fares, school meals, school uniforms, and school trips does all add up when the competiton in the job market is a single Polish woman sleeping in a room with 20 other women, ”
    Now when was it progressives became in favour of inherited wealth & privilege? Because I can’t see anything entitles her to being treated better than the Poles other than her British heritage. (Roy Jenkins? Her mother’s generation suffered that particular twat.) Or is it just straight racism?
    “But I don’t believe that historical or scientific fact can be changed by voting on it.”
    Never voted Labour, then?

  44. Martin: I am reassured that the problem lies in your willingness to engage, not in any great deficiency of empathy on my part.

  45. Bloke in Spain,

    That’s the first time you have mentioned that you have contact with Polish people. My name’s Martin Kelly, not Uri Geller.

    “And Jola, bless her, has come all the way from Poland to pick those flowers. ”

    Yes, because Tony Blair let her. Duh! And she’s getting paid for it! Did you think she was, unlike the butcher, brewer or baker, doing it for no reason other than her own benevolence?

    The groupthink I was referring to was the one you clearly exhibit in thinking I was a typical commentor at Comment is Free – a website which, in my opinion, exists only to provide a certain type of underemployed young woman with something to do. Maybe they’ll eventually give Jola, bless her, a slot.

    All together now, to the tune of Barry Manilow’s ‘Copacabana’ –

    Her name is Jola,
    She lives in Bognor
    She’s picking flowers while Bloke in Spain
    Is making phone calls in the rain
    The town of Bognor’s
    Better than Hastings
    And Bloke in Spain is overjoyed
    That it has fewer unemployed
    But he kicks up a stink
    When accused of groupthink…

    You know, I’m sorry, but I could go on and on. I suffer from intermittent bouts of such whimsy.

    PaulB,

    My eyes glaze at the sight of the word ‘decile’. Sorry. Doesn’t wash. Mark Twain and all that.

  46. “But I can’t see how making the unemployed desperate would generate millions of jobs, unless you have in mind that they should be self-employed scavengers on rubbish dumps.”
    Bloody hell. Did you miss out on the entire industrial revolution & the few hundred years that followed? Productive work adds value & helps the economy to grow. A growing economy creats jobs. Isn’t this all that Keynsian economics with its multipliers? Conversely unemployment, net consumption of wealth, makes the economy contract. Shopkeeper goes bust because the customers no longer have the money. Unemployment begets unemployment.

    And why the down on self employed rubbish heap scrabblers.? That’s what Tim’s doing over in Czecholand, isn’t it?

  47. bloke in spain

    Ye gods. You seem to think that removing unemployment benefits will create economic growth, because if the unemployed are desperate enough they will find something to do so they don’t starve. As I pointed out in my last comment, that isn’t actually true anyway – history has repeatedly shown that people DO starve when there are no unemployment benefits. But even if it were true, it’s not the kind of society I want to live in. I thought we left that kind of thinking behind in the 19th century.

  48. Now, Frances, that’s a little unfair. Taking the absolute in any direction is going to produce extreme results. You could have as easily said setting unemployment pay at infinite would produce total unemployment. It’s the level makes the difference, isn’t it?
    Now, I mooted the notion of a poll because the notion the rate should be set in accordance with history or science or what progressives?conservatives(?) like Martin or Paul regard as fair is unmitigated bollocks. The rate will of course, in the long run, be set by what taxpayers are willing to cough up to pay for it. Politics isn’t about truth it’s about belief.
    “You seem to think that removing unemployment benefits will create economic growth, because if the unemployed are desperate enough they will find something to do so they don’t starve. As I pointed out in my last comment, that isn’t actually true anyway –”
    Well it is down here in Spain at the moment. Lots of people have no income whatsoever. They’ll do anything if it puts food in their mouths. (I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to be too specific?) I’m sure if I wanted to exploit this resource I could create all sorts of endeavours. (Others certainly do) And yes, that would create jobs beyond the immediate because the earnings would be spent. On food & clothes & accommodation. Because poor peoples money is just as good as anyone else’s. They just have less of it.
    “it’s not the kind of society I want to live in.”
    Curious thing that. Crime rate isn’t anything like London, down here. Not ?p?o?o?r? disadvantaged people crime anyway. Haven’t had a car broken into since I was here. Regular occurrence, back in the big city. Not much vandalism. But then, there’s more interest in earning 5€ for cleaning the car than the same 5€ for smashing the window & hoisting the stereo out of it.

  49. bloke in spain

    I don’t live in London.But I do live in a fairly poor area. I have never had a car broken into either in the time that I’ve lived here (25 years now), and there isn’t much vandalism. You should not judge Britain by the standards of London.

    In Victorian London, it was the VERY POOREST who were described as “criminal”….because they stole and mugged in order to survive. How desperate do you want people to be?

  50. PaulB,

    Thanks – I think.

    Thornavis,

    Thanks for linking to a six and a half year old year old blog post that I wish I could unwrite in an attempt to blacken me. But I cannot unwrite it, so it stays where it is. As you have made so bold as to link to an old post of mine, at least have the courtesy to read my most recent post on immigration, published on June 23 2012 –

    http://martinkelly.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/on-immigration.html

    Hey, if you want other examples of my nastiness all you have to do is type the phrase ‘The Author’s Moronic Sayings’ into the search box on my blog. I keep all the ones I can remember in the same place.

    It must be great to live in a world like yours, where experience doesn’t force you to have to reconsider your views. I envy you. On to the adults.

    Bloke in Spain,

    Now that both the moral authority of your doings with Jola, bless her, and her application to her horticultural endeavours seems to have been given the heave from the debating toolbox, you write at 57 in response to Frances that,

    “And why the down on self employed rubbish heap scrabblers.?”

    One has no down on them, for sure – although nobody ever seems to ask them whether they would actually prefer to continue scrabbling on scrapheaps if they had the alternative option of receiving unemployment benefits. Why is that? Could it be because they tend to live in dysfunctional societies of the type I described in my comment at 36? You know, even I have to question the equilibrium of someone who says that that type of economic activity is a good thing.

    Frances,

    It might have been perfectly reasonable of you to believe that that sort of thinking had been ditched in the 19th Century – as some, if not many, of the commentors here show, clearly, and sadly, it has not. Some time ago, I came to the belief that there are perhaps not an insignificant number of people in the UK who have never reconciled themselves to even the very limited form of social democracy represented by the NHS and the welfare state, which is why both have been starved of funds and used as political footballs since their birth. These forms of social democracy only came into being because even in 1945 it was clear that the private sector would be incapable of rebuilding the country on its own. The NHS and the welfare state were viewed as sops to be dispensed with as the earliest possible opportunity, and that fight will never end for as long as they continue to exist in any form. We know where they stand, and they should know we know where they stand.

    Bloke in Spain – again –

    “I mooted the notion of a poll because the notion the rate should be set in accordance with history or science or what progressives?conservatives(?) like Martin or Paul regard as fair is unmitigated bollocks”

    No, actually, the question of bollocks, yours, mine or anyone else’s, didn’t come into it. My objection was based on Parliament being sovereign, not the ‘Daily Mail’. You might regard the sovereignty of Parliament as being bollocks, but I don’t, which I suppose makes the conservative of the two.

    “They’ll do anything if it puts food in their mouths.” –

    It was said of Victorian London that every imaginable sexual fantasy could be fulfilled there. Not a great advert for poverty, in my view.

    “Crime rate isn’t anything like London, down here. Not ?p?o?o?r? disadvantaged people crime anyway. Haven’t had a car broken into since I was here. Regular occurrence, back in the big city. Not much vandalism. But then, there’s more interest in earning 5€ for cleaning the car than the same 5€ for smashing the window & hoisting the stereo out of it.”

    Fewer people who are more likely to know each other and thus value their social capital more highly than in the city is probably responsible for that. Then again, people like you never know when to stop pushing, so we’ll see how long that lasts. The whole car stereo allusion reminds me of the ultra-right view on fossil fuels, you know, that when the price of oil reaches a certain level it will become economic to develop alternatives to fossil fuels and alternatives will thus be developed. According to that thinking, when it becomes more economic for the locals to steal your car than to clean it, that’s what they’ll do. See how stupid and nasty that sort of thinking is?

    By the way, do you know whether Jola is fully aware of her emplyment rights in the UK, and whether her employer has provided her with a note of where she can obtain assistance in asserting those rights in both English and Polish? As Thornavis might be able to tell you, I have a bee in my bonnet about that sort of thing.

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