Sunday Morning Thoughts 23


It’s a beautiful morning, and I thought I might have a gentle mental ramble around the news.

It is very strange to find myself in agreement with the horrible Stephen Byers on anything, but he is reported as saying that the government may have to scrap ID cards and Trident II nuclear missiles as it slashes spending. It took a collapse of the worldwide Ponzi economy to drum at least some sense into New Labour. Byers is very close to Blair, but Blair would close down the NHS before closing down ID cards and nuclear missiles. So what is happening there?

It is almost tempting to propose that we should all vote New Labour to get the bastards back in again and make them clean up their own mess.

If Darling’s budget tells us anything, it is that Darling and Brown know that they are going to lose the election and are desperately trying to borrow enough to get them through and leave the hard decisions for the next lot. I see an argument for putting New Labour back in to take the pain and get so unpopular that even their under-educated Sun-reading Jane Goody-mourning core support will desert them, and the party will be wiped out forever.

Ok, let’s not do that. Not worth the risk they’d survive it.

There are going to need to be cutbacks in public spending. Trident should only be the start in the defence budget. The Typhoon Eurofighter is so highly specified that we only need that level of sophistication for a war against another major European power or the United States. What is the point of that? And what are we going to do with those aircraft carriers? Do we really still want to be able to fight major wars thousands of miles from home? The truth is, we cannot afford to.

As an Ambassador I was always amused to see on the recruitment ads that I earnt less than the average manager of a local government leisure centre. Those who remember the comedy show “The Brittas Empire” may be amazed to realise that Mr Brittas would likely be on £90,000 a year plus car, relocation expenses etc.

Almost the only aspect of local government which is media interesting enough to come under harsh scrutiny is child protection services. The awful faults there – top-heavy management, bureaucracy stifling efficient function, lots of people with no identifiable purpose, too few people at the sharp end, of too low standard and not allowed to use initiative – are actually repeated in every local government function.

I would start by making redundant everybody in local government who has either of the words “Director” or “Officer” in their title. That would save hundreds of billions of public money, while in three weeks everything would be working perfectly well again. I would then reorganise local government so that it received no money at all from central government, and had power to raise its own revenue from local income tax.

I am pleased at the overwhelming public support for the imposition of the higher rate of income tax. There is plainly a belief in social justice among the population which politicians, whose parties are funded by the rich and who are chasing company directorships before or after retirement, have been ignoring. The Sunday Times rich list is published today. This is a good time to confiscate unearned wealth. Let’s start by taking away the completely unearned £6.5 billion from the Duke of Westminster.

I am worried about the revelation by the Independent that David Cameron went on a freebie to South Africa paid for by a pro-apartheid regime lobby group. I know people can change, but only the most hardline of Thatcherites would ever have considered doing that in the 1980s, and anyone who could not clearly perceive the evil of apartheid has a deficient moral sense.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-camerons-freebie-to-apartheid-south-africa-1674367.html


23 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Thoughts

  • KevinB

    Quote: “I would start by making redundant everybody in local government who has either of the words “Director” or “Officer” in their title. That would save hundreds of billions of public money, while in three weeks everything would be working perfectly well again.”

    Yes! We are all deliberately made slaves of whoever is directing us from the top. Here’s someone with a different idea…a millionaire businessman who handed the running of his company over to his employees. Meet Ricardo Semler:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3HPX0D2mU

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Three men were sitting by the roadside when a rolls Royce drove past. The American thought “If I woork hard and build my business, I too will have a car like that.

    The Russian thought, ” if I work hard,become a good Party member and jion the Politboro, I too will have a car like that”.

    The Briton sprang to his feet, picked up a rock, threw it after the car and shouted “One day I’ll get even with that bastard”.

    Let’s start by totally repudiating the politics of envy.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Craig. Apologies for all the typos in previous post.

    One of the Westminsters had the bright idea of acquiring most of the land in the West End.

    Successive Westminsters avoided the traps of: drinking it all away, gambling it all away, skirt-chasing it all away, inheritance-taxing it all away. Instead they developed and grew the family business. This is known as entrepreneurship. It is all the more remarkable as it happened when being “in trade” was sneered at by the aristocracy, most of whom have paid the penalty. The present Duke has the good fortune to be born into a very successful family, and seems to be doing very nicely despite all the traps and pitfalls of dot.com bubbles, property bubbles (two), and all the other scams that bankers and governments come up with to divest people of money.

    I am, of course, prejudiced. I come from stock that used to be known as “upwardly mobile working class”, born to an engineering shift supervisor and a shorthand typist. They started with nothing and left me the sum of £4.500. I have used the wits God gave me and am now in a position comfortable enough to be concerned with Labours broken income tax pledge. I intend to leave my children with an inheritance considerably more than my parents were able to leave me. I consider that progress. The difference between my family, their values and aspirations and the Westminsters is merely one of degree (and £6.5 Billion). Do you apply the same degree of approbation. to a person who is lucky enough to win £30, 000,000 on the Lottery? They haven’t worked for it either. So lets do away with the politics of envy.

  • Ronnie

    **I would then reorganise local government so that it received no money at all from central government, and had power to raise its own revenue from local income tax.**

    So you reject redistribution of wealth, preferring instead to consign impoverished urban and rural boroughs to complete destitution?

  • Strategist

    Bullshit, Grumpy Old Man.

    “I have used the wits God gave me and am now in a position comfortable enough to be concerned with Labours broken income tax pledge.”

    Good for you. But you are a fool if you can’t see that you couldn’t have done it without society standing behind you. So pay your dues, pal.

    “I intend to leave my children with an inheritance considerably more than my parents were able to leave me [£4,500].”

    That’s fine – the inheritance tax threshold is considerably above £4,500.

    “The difference between my family, their values and aspirations and the Westminsters is merely one of degree (and £6.5 Billion)”

    Actually, “degree” matters. The fact is, you are too stupid to fully appreciate what a large number 6.5 billion really is. You are not alone – the Grosvenors have relied on this ignorance across the British public for years.

    “So lets do away with the politics of envy.”

    Admit it, you want to privatise the profits of reckless behaviour, but socialise the losses. Admit it, deep down, you want your low paid staff to be paying a higher marginal rate of tax than you or your children.

    Instead, let’s do away with the politics of stupidity & greed.

  • amk

    “The Typhoon Eurofighter is so highly specified that we only need that level of sophistication for a war against another major European power or the United States.”

    What about Russia? Sure, you could argue that current trade arrangements make war too unprofitable, but people argued that a century ago too.

    Hmm… what about Israel? Does Avigdor Lieberman not worry you?

  • Craig

    Ronnie,

    This answer will surprise you.

    Do I reject redistribution of wealth? No, I think taxation should be much more strongly redistributive.

    Let me reverse your question. Do I think that towns that sprang into being in response to particular economic circumstance, should be sustained indefinitely when that economic circumstance has changed? No, I don’t.

    My views on this were set by my four months in Blackburn. The biggest employer in that town is the Council, and what private sector there is, gets its contracts pretty well exclusively from government, notably the Ministry of Defence, (apart from the shops etc, who service people who work for government and work for companies who get their contracts exclusively from government). On top of which, the town has received many hundreds of millions in EU grants and government urban renewal grants and employers’ subsidies and in money for quangoes and community groups. That is before you get to the social security funds, which are very much higher per head of population than the UK average.

    Blackburn is a huge hole into which the economically viable parts of the UK – especially Scotland with its oil and whisky – have continually pored vast amounts of taxpayers’ money, thus removing any incentive for the population to migrate somewhere economically viable.

    The result of the entire community being dependent on government largesse, directly or indirectly, for the town’s very raison d’etre, is that it has become one vast stinking stew of corruption.

    Do I think that situation should continue indefinitely? No.

  • Craig

    amk

    You don’t need new generation fighters to take on Russian fighters.

    I don’t think Israel is going to attack the UK. They will continue to attack the weak.

  • technicolour

    I thought Blackburn was rather beautiful. If I lived there I would thoroughly object to my community being used as virtual slaves of the defence industry, or the call centre industry, or the (allegedly) venal and corrupt council. The fact that so much “Scottish” money (?) has been sunk into Blackburn is indeed a disgrace, since it has obviously been used to prop up the interests of the military-industrial complex instead of being poured into sustainable local industries and small businesses (the poor place didn’t even have a bookshop). I don’t really see that migration to somewhere “economically viable” is the answer – why should people have to leave their homes and families (and some rather lovely countryside)? Sorting out the council, and getting the money spent on positive initiatives, supporting cross cultural activities, and decent employment would be preferable, surely.

  • Craig

    amk

    Complete and utter rubbish. But precisely what the arms industry wants you to believe.

    Exactly the sam thing in the Cold War – we were continually lied to by the security services and armed forces and arms industry about the capability of the Red Army.

  • Craig

    technicolour,

    “getting the money spent on positive initiatives, supporting cross cultural activities, and decent employment would be preferable, surely.”

    Which is precisely the justification for the present system. Doesn’t work.

    A town of 80,000 people without a single bookshop and only a fourth class further education institution. Apartheid in the schools – 95% white and 95% Asian schools within half a mile of each other.

  • technicolour

    Just because it’s the justification, doesn’t mean it’s actually happening. In fact, as you point out, it is precisely not what is happening. I don’t see that’s a reason not to insist that it should be happening.

    As you know, Labour have sewn Blackburn up, and leeched off the results, for years, and the results are shocking. The poverty is often heartrending. And the apartheid is vile. But it was Blackburn council, not the people, who formalised prejudice with their ridiculous one note housing policy, and Labour who cynically proceeded to benefit from it in elections. The GLC’s refusal to home people by colour/race was obviously a good and principled one.

    I must say I found Blackburn people remarkably sweet-tempered, under the circumstances. I wish them far better than this – or perhaps they should all just move to Scotland? 🙂

  • JimmyGiro

    “I see an argument for putting New Labour back in to take the pain and get so unpopular that even their under-educated Sun-reading Jane Goody-mourning core support will desert them, and the party will be wiped out forever.”

    Hehehe… Oddly, I used to call her Jane instead of Jade. You’re right of course about the level of thought that must go into voting these days.

    I don’t have a TV because I believe the license to be treason by association; I did however see some Jeremy Kyle whilst working in the post office as a Christmas casual… my expletives would have got me sacked if it weren’t popular with my co-workers!

    The state of our nation is so degraded that if it wasn’t for violent computer games, I think I’d go postal.

    The thought had come to mind that this government has done more than any to reduce the level of ‘real’ education, as though it was some dastardly plot to increase their electability by the inertia of mediocrity. As long as they have their bread (turkey twizzlers) and circuses (Jeremy-fucking-dickless-Kyle), the proles can be directed via the sate sponsored propaganda of the mass media (why else would they have an army of spin doctors).

  • George Dutton

    “On April 26, 1986, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station reactor number 4 exploded at 1:24 a.m.”

    26 Apr 2009

    “Ukraine worriedly remembers Chernobyl”…

    tinyurl.com/cdokx6

    April 25, 2009

    “Chernobyl: The Horrific Legacy”

    “23 years and counting”…

    tinyurl.com/cr73su

    12-28-8

    “John LeKay: Many Native Americans in the US who have mined the uranium or live near the abandoned mines, have experienced some unusual symptoms; particularly with the Lakota people in the South Dakota reservations: Standing Rock, Rock Creek, Harding County and Pine Ridge and the Navaho Natives in some parts of Nevada and New Mexico.”…

    http://tinyurl.com/cdynus

  • mary

    A case in point Craig. Guildford Borough Council have three Strategic Directors and a Chief Executive.

    http://www.guildford.gov.uk/GuildfordWeb/Council/CouncilStructure/

    The newest was taken on at over £80K (I saw the advert) plus this and plus that. After his appointment the cancellation of the shuttle bus was announced. Presumably this decision was made by the councillors in the Executive, a sort of inner cabinet. The bus travelled around the town centre (the subsidy cost £90,000 pa) free to all users and especially useful to pensioners in a hilly town where the PO and Sainsburys are uphill from the train and bus stations. A big outcry followed led by the Surrey Advertiser and a bus has been restored but now costs anyone not in possession of a bus pass.

    An Age Concern lunch club for the elderly (an important meeting place) has also had its subsidy withdrawn.

    PS I wish you well on Tuesday. I have admired your courage ere long. I will try to leave links where possible.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Ronnie. Keep throwing those stones at Rolls Royces – it’s all you and your descendants will ever get out of life.

  • Tom Welsh

    I am fully in agreement right up to your final throwaway paragraph about David Cameron. As a lifelong Conservative voter I hold no brief for Cameron, but on different grounds. My objection is that he is barely, if at all, recognisable as a conservative of any sort. A government run by him might well be so close to New Labour as to be virtually indistinguishable.

    My problem with what you wrote is this. “I know people can change, but only the most hardline of Thatcherites would ever have considered doing that in the 1980s, and anyone who could not clearly perceive the evil of apartheid has a deficient moral sense”.

    Exactly the same applies to the apartheid practiced by Israel today. Only a very foolish or unpleasant person would have any dealings with the Israeli regime, and anyone who cannot clearly perceive the evil of Zionism has a deficient moral sense.

    Doesn’t have quite the same zing when it clashes with your own beliefs, though, does it?

  • paul

    After you sack every unnecessary person directly employed or in a supporting role to a government position, which is a HUGE number, what would you have them do? Claim unemployment benefits?

    GOM is conflating envy with disgust because he believes the lie that “if you work hard you too can have a Rolls Royce”, you cant. The system requires disparity to exist, to be “rich” you have to have more than everyone else, more than your fair share. By the laws of mathematics, therefore others now have less than their fair share. Taken to extreme you get what we have today, a few people with billions of pounds and billions of people with a few pounds. What character trait is best suited to become one of the few allowable rich? Psychopathy. Naive people may ask how the rich can sleep at night. The answer is very well, because they have no conscience.

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