Timmy on Radio 5 Live

Just finished that. No idea whether there’s a listen again or whatever.

Steel plants: blast furnaces are dying technology, why should we prop them up, cheap Chinese steel is free money: we should ask for more.

Link is in the comments. Hmm, yes, that was quite fun. Perhaps just a tad too much caffeine before going on. Or does that just sound nicely lively for 7.15 in the morning?

There’s also something very cheering about earning 30 of those fine pound sterling drinking vouchers before breakfast.

NB American radio: I’d do much more for you too if you actually bothered to pay.

27 thoughts on “Timmy on Radio 5 Live”

  1. Sounds wrong on both counts.
    Cheap steel is free money as long as you can do with no steel when markets are strong and customers want to pay good prices for your products.

    That us why it is cheap.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    I suspect China will argue with your point about building a civilisation for the fist time.

    That guy from the steel industry was either very badly prepared or knew he was on weak ground because he was appalling as well as wrong. Or maybe he thought he’d get an easy ride on the beeb if he bleated about business rates, nasty China subsidising stuff and communities.

    I stopped listening to 5 Live some time ago because I thought their presenters were hopelessly condescending to spokesman like you who put forward non-SJW arguments on any subject, but I thought she was quite fair and even seemed to listen and understand your points.

  3. Serious question though – what is “free market” about price dumping?

    Is it more or less free-market in steel than the meejah running on endless wannabe interns, and the effect that has on the remuneration offered to actual journalists, or economics experts doing shorts on national radio?

  4. @Theophrastus

    Depends how you define “Technologically Advanced” – I wouldn’t say that Europe was Technologically Advanced in the 15th century personally.

    On the radio, Tim could have been clearer – certainly China was more advanced than us in the past, but not to the point that they were using lots of steel – which is basically the topic at hand.

  5. RA
    On R5, Tim said the chinese were building a civilisation for the first time, then changed that here to “technologically advanced” civilisation, which is a relative term. What Tim probably meant was ‘industrial civilisation’.

  6. @Theophrastus, When you have 15 seconds uninterrupted and are thinking on the hoof you can’t read several pages of caveats. Tim did well to squeeze any kind of contrarian argument in that time at all. The soundbite culture is used to great effect against those with unpopular opinions (since you don’t have 15 minutes to explain why you’re not racist/phobic when you say what you’re about to say).

  7. Steel chappy was using the reassuring words that get deployed whenever there isn’t any substance to an argument.

    As soon as I hear “innovation”, “investment” or “education” without any specifics then I know it’s not worth listening any further.

  8. Excellent rebuttal!

    Buggy whips and horse carriages, what would be do without them – the expressions that is…:)


    And don’t forget “sustainable” – the other chap just couldn’t help himself…

  9. That was an enjoyable listen.

    I do have 2 questions.

    First, what happens if the is a real war*?

    Second, should we being exporting our pollution just to save a $?

    I fully understand the point that during peace time it makes sense to allow the other guy to tax their citizens so we can have cheap and shiny tat. My biggest objection to your argument is that throughout history we have only had 2 such periods of extended peace**, the first being the Pax Romana, and the second starting at the end of WW2. If current state of world affairs is changed greatly than having blast furnaces would be important to keeping the economy going.

    You mention that things are the way they are because the hippies won. I don’t think that anyone can debate the fact that many environmental laws are needed. While pictures of Pittsburgh before the 70s are impressive to look at the reality is that the pollution has a very real cost, much of that shows up in health care. As pollution is really a global issue wouldn’t it make sense to have a tariff in place that increases the cost of imports using older technology?

    *I’d like to believe that no one in power on either side of the Pacific believes a real war would be anything but long and bloody but millennium of history prove that is just SJW thinking.

    **By peace I mean the lack of large state against state wars. Messes like Iraq, the Balkans… are definitely not peaceful to those directly involved. However GW Bush’s advice to the American public was to go shopping, not start a victory garden or scrap drive as a real war involves.

  10. Liberal Yank makes a good point. I’be recently been persuaded that, if we’re going to spend government money on keeping people employed, we’d be better off making ships and churning out steel and keeping fit but dim men occupied than generating non-jobs by the thousand in NGOs and government departments that produce fuck all and make our lives a misery for the benefit of the dim middle classes who don’t want to get their hands dirty.

  11. Tim,

    Different populations. There isn’t an obvious dual population solution.

    Although Ms Penny’s blogs of her first month down a deep coal mine would be interesting and possibly even worthwhile for the whole programme. Especially if we dumped her in one of the ones shut because the seams flooded.

    I’d just note that I’ve just realised that I’d passed out of basic training before the ginger dimwit was inflicted upon the Earth.

  12. @Tim Newman,

    Hence the CAP, I guess. 0.5% of European GDP as insurance against having a critical proportion of your food supply in the hands of Putin, Gadaffi, and Assad (who they?). Turned out to be a good deal after all.

  13. “First, what happens if there is a real war*?”

    A modern all out war would not be a re-run of WW2 where the side who could produce the most steel, coal and oil would eventually win. Weaponry has rather moved on. The side with the superior technology would prevail quite rapidly, or if equally matched the side who runs out of its initial stockpile of weaponry first would lose. There just wouldn’t be time to build more.

  14. As lasers and other anti-missile defenses improve we are quickly coming to a point where the launch of nuclear weapons don’t necessarily mean MAD. All it takes is for one of the countless morons we elect to believe we will win and a real war would be on.

    At the outset of The Great War everyone believed that the troops would be home before Christmas just as every politician has claim before launching any offensive campaign. If we don’t do our best to avoid it WWIII will assuredly last far longer than a few months at which production becomes key. The Panzer was far superior to the Sherman and yet sheer numbers is what finally ended the war in the west.

    Finally technological advances are made every day. Many of these advances are actually the result of a mistake in the manufacturing process. The recent discover of stainless magnesium did not happen in a research lab but was just poor quality control on the foundry floor. With the sheer numbers of factory workers and engineers China is employing in building our tat countless new technologies will be discovered over there changing the balance of power even further.

    At this point I would say that the US is getting close to the ineptitude of Austria-Hungry before The Great War. We believe that our armies are unstoppable however our recent adventures in the sand have been eerily similar to events in Serbia a century ago. In short the soldiers in the field are willing but the leadership is lost.

  15. @Jim,

    Yes, that technology. I guess that’s how we won and are still winning all those wars in the middle east where we were/are dropping million-dollar bombs with pinpoint precision on a bunch of mediaeval rednecks equipped with Kalashnikovs and SUVs? We did win those, right?

  16. Well we have had Iraq I and II. Now we have ISIS which, from what the media bothers to share, is in large part made up of former members of Saddam’s army. Starting at the beginning of the first war in 1990 we are going on year 26 against an enemy that was completely outmatched both in manpower and technology. In historical context I would compare each of the 3 to campaigns in a larger war with an example of a campaign being Gallipoli That doesn’t seem quick to me*.

    I won’t touch Afghanistan as there are far to many historical precedents on how the country is never won.

    Since the end of WWII we haven’t had a full scale war and have forgotten what needs to be done. Korea, Vietnam, and Soviet Afghanistan were all major conflicts yet 2 superpowers never officially** fought each other.

    Please don’t take this as an assault on the troops that do the front line fighting. The only options in Iraq are either to leave completely or to have a colony. The mess we have is solely in the hands of the politicians who can’t decide if we should go all in or leave the mess completely.

    **The Chinese were not a superpower at the time. Yes there were Soviet advisers in both Korea and Vietnam as well as US advisers in Afghanistan but the fighting was done through local proxies.

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