All PFI Contracts Should Be Cancelled and the Assets Nationalised 192


The closure of 19 schools in Edinburgh because of jerry-building under the Blue and Red Tories’ Private Finance Initiative, throws a stark light on the impact of the neo-con age on ordinary people.

The Private Finance Initiative was always a scam. It was yet another way to divert money from ordinary tax-payers to the super rich. Instead of schools and hospitals being built and paid for by the taxpayer, they were built and paid for by the bankers, hedge fund managers and other “financial services” sharks, giving state guaranteed returns averaging 7% from the taxpayer, when we now have negative interest rates. It is such a massive scam that every man, woman and child in the UK owes £3,000 to PFI financiers. Like so many far right Tory ideas, its most fervent practitioners were Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

The “advantage” to government was the accounting trick of a reduction in state capital spending. The other “advantage” was that the private sector was supposed to have more “efficient” methods, due to the profit motive. So somebody in a local authority organising the building of a school from the desire to do the best for the children of their community, was less “efficient” than a hedge fund manager doing it to make the maximum cash. The result? Jerry-building.

I do not want to spend the rest of my life paying capitalist bloodsuckers through my savings. All PFI built infrastructure should be nationalised – without compensation. In doing so the taxpayer will be reclaiming assets to the value of only 10% of the money given to UK bankers in bailouts. Clawing back 10% of the cash we gave the bankers would be a damn good thing. If it caused the odd bank to crash, that is long overdue. Ordinary people’s deposits up to £75,000 are protected anyway. Those with more have it in Panama, the Caymans or the BVI, apparently.


192 thoughts on “All PFI Contracts Should Be Cancelled and the Assets Nationalised

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    • bevin

      ““Had our Prime Minister a decent imagination…” he would have put his money where his mouth (“we’re all in this together”) was and taken steps to plug the loopholes, such as this one, which allow wealth to descend untaxed for generations.

      The astonishing thing about this affair is that it has been no secret that, as austerity policies bit deeper into living standards and national well being, legislation permitting tax avoidance is written into every budget. Part of the problem has been that in one area-the political class- ‘we are, indeed all in this together.’ New Labour has done nothing, of course, to call the Tories to account, after thirteen years if showing them how it could be done. Their watchword was that they were “terribly relaxed” about this system whereby the rich steal from the poor and them blame them for their deepening poverty.
      I suspect that Corbyn would like to act, and now will, but his party is full of pseudo Tories who look forward to cashing in the way that most of Blair’s cabinets have cashed in since 2010 and regard (or pretend to regard) criticism of plutocracy as an election losing strategy.
      Perhaps the main fallout, in the short term, of this affair will be the shaming of the Tory Fifth Column on the opposition benches, as their constituency parties (if they have any, and some don’t) tell them to start fighting instead of sitting on their hands and praying for defeat in May.

  • Gina de Miranda

    All of these parasitic schemes are modeled after the Bush, Sr. Executive Order 12803, which Privatized education, roads, bridges, utilities, government agencies etc, etc, with utterly ruinous results for the USA. You are quite right, Craig, nationalize it all and sack the rapacious criminals/politicians who dreamed this pillaging plan up

  • tobias smollett

    no no no that would be crazy hairbrained even.
    these are honorable men some titled with large companies and corporations like the up coming tea tip this would leave tean uk open to sue ing by the courts of laws of the sea on the tax paying lands.
    we cannot afford the court fees i say ask the templer rabbi and masonic gentlemen nice lay to make some corrections to the building fundamentals offer them some development slots on battersea dogs home and saint mary and barts ealing and kings college hospitals.
    offer them reno nevada and crown jersey deposit faccilities now panama has fallen and i am sure these friends of lucifer will do the descent thing
    what what

    • John Goss (don't feed the bigots)

      As an Englishman, Danny Willett, has just won the US masters golf tournament, I thought you might like this extract from Humphry Clinker’s travels. Smollett is one of my favourite eighteenth century novelists.

      “I never saw such a concourse of genteel company at any races in England as appeared on the course at Leith. Hard by, in the fields called the Links, the citizens of Edinburgh divert themselves at a game called golf, in which they use a curious kind of bats, tipt with horn, and small elastic balls of leather, stuffed with feathers, rather less than tennis balls, but of a much harder consistence – This they strike with such force and dexterity from one hole to another, that they will fly to an incredible distance. Of this diversion the Scots are so fond, that when the weather will permit, you may see a multitude of all ranks, from the senator of justice to the lowest tradesmen, mingled together in their shirts, and following the balls with the utmost eagerness – Among others, I was shewn one particular set of golfers, the youngest of whom was turned of fourscore – They were all gentlemen of independent fortunes, who had amused themselves with this pastime for the best part of a century, without having ever felt the least alarm from sicknesss or disgust; and they never went to bed, without having each the best part of a gallon of claret in his belly. Such uninterrupted exercise, co-operating with the keen air from the sea, must, without all doubt, keep the appetite always on edge, and steel the constitution against all common attacks of distemper.”

  • Sandy Henderson

    In light of the schools fiasco, yes, nationalise.
    Perhaps one of the ways to proceed with this is to offer the consortiums the actual initial cost of construction. They already have had a good return to date.
    However, a complete survey should be carried out & where shoddy workmanship is uncovered,the remedial costs be billed to said builders, that as well as discovery of inferior materials having been used, apply the same principal.
    There is such a thing as bad publicity.

  • giyane

    The trouble with global warming is that mammals like humans die off and reptile spawn like Thatcherite bankers plague.

    The neo-cons organised a little cease -fire in Syria so that vast quantities of arms, including ground to air missiles could be pumped in through Turkey to Syria to Al Qaida and Islamic State by the reptile USUKIS and Saudi non-humans.

    It’s rather difficult for us humans to understand how wasting money on banking scams and genocide helps any of us.

    Somehow I don’t think you can expect the reptiles to wake up and start using their teeth and bulk to nationalise for the benefit of children or make peace for the sake of foreigners ( and Muslims ).

    They will have to destroy themselves first. perhaps that’s why Maggie hated fossil fuel so much – it was made of fossiled reptiles like herself. Then some nomadic Africans will have to trek over land and sea to reach Europe, and with the will of Allah, re-colonise the UK eventually with humanity.

    Cool.

  • John Goss

    O/T Bursting with pride that Danny Willett, born not far from where I was born, has pulled off the US Masters and put on the Green Jacket (only the second Engishman I think to have done so) and the first UK winner for twenty years. Well done Danny. It was an outstandingly cool last round. 🙂

  • Bert.

    If contractors have done such a bad job they should be made to payback the money taken under false pretences; made to pay for the rebuilding; and put behind bars for the attempted murder of those who might have been killed by a collapsing school(s).

    That’ll shake the bastards up a bit.

    Bert.

  • Compton Arthur

    The people who caused this problem must be held responsible and made pay for the mess especially people like Gordon Brown and any of the politicians who were envolved no matter at what level.

    • fedup

      Nice idea, but where is the precedence for anyone of the sponsored lickspittle of the banksters aka our dear leaders having stood for the consequences of their mendacious and wilful plundering of the public funds? These parasitic forms of life are Teflon coated, and enjoy the none stick properties of that substance.

    • Loony

      Good idea. How exactly do you propose that these people “be held responsible and made to pay”?

      Emotional outpourings on blogs are unlikely to result in the outcome you desire. The simple fact is people do not care. The populace has been trained to care only about those things it is told to care about.

      Today people are concerned about the tax returns of David Cameron. Tomorrow they will not care.

      Today people are concerned about zionists. Yesterday they were concerned about apartheid. Neither today nor tomorrow will they care about the war zone comparable murder rates in post apartheid South Africa.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        “The populace has been trained to care only about those things it is told to care about.”

        Well, you and I are part of the populace, has it worked on us?

        The fact is, that it may be slow, but the Internet, including blogs like this one, is probably the best hope we have for an informed populace. You know something? About two weeks ago there were under two hundred people following Craig Murray on Facebook. Now there are nearly two thousand. That strikes me as remarkable, and it was mostly due to his postings on the Panama Papers. It may not be much, but it’s something.

        I don’t think Mr Compton should be discouraged. I welcome his input, and encourage him to post more of his thoughts.

        • Loony

          I do not disagree, and was not seeking to discourage Mr. Compton, or anyone else, from posting his (or their) thoughts.

          Perhaps rather clumsily I was merely seeking to highlight that it is not hard to identify problems – especially as there are so many of them. Identifying workable solutions is not so easy. I guess like most other people I would prefer if someone did the hard work for me.

          • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

            If enough people recognize the problems, eventually there will be a critical mass of them, and a solution will be found. The French Revolution was preceded by decades of Enlightenment writing pointing out the flaws of the French monarchy. Likewise for the falls of the Soviet Union and of Communism in Eastern Europe: Samizdat had been pointing out the flaws for decades, and faith in the Communist system had been lost.

  • Sami

    PFI, like privatisation, was another devise for fleecing the public in broad daylight. Amazingly, the legerdemain was sold to the public as a necessity to build schools and hospitals where the public purse could not afford them. Shortly afterwards, lo and behold, the government managed to conjure up billions for an illegal war!

    • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

      Long-time highly ranking congressional staffer Mike Lofgren makes the same point about the U.S. in his new book The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government: Congress can’t find the money for all sorts of badly needed domestic programs, including repairing a rotting national infrastructure, but, every time there is an alleged national security crisis, suddenly gobs of money can be found.

  • John Goss

    All public services, especially schools because that’s where it all starts, should be “nationalised – without compensation” and let’s get rid of the greedy bankers that stole our cooperative bank and started closing accounts of decent human rights groups like Cage and Palestine Support Group. Where are all the supporters of Zionists over this. They keep quiet. But it, and we, will not go away.

      • bevin

        I guess that you prefer your ‘islamists’ to be armed and fighting secular governments in the middle east and executing ‘heretics’ on behalf of Israel and NATO.

      • John Goss

        Correction – again you show your ignorance. Cage fought for the rights of many wrongly imprisoned in Guantanamo, for Moazzam Begg when he was wrongly imprisoned at the behest of our special units and those wrongfully extradited to the empire of evil.

        Is it any wonder nobody takes you seriously Anon1?

      • Republicofscotland

        Anon1.

        On first look at Cage, I can’t find, anything minor or substantial to back up your claim, that it’s an “Islamist outfit masquerading” could you kindly provide some reputable or logical data to back your assertation up.

        Thank you in advance.

      • Republicofscotland

        Anon1. 19.53pm.

        Thank you for that link, after reading it, and perusing Cage’s website quite extensively, it appear, you may have a point afterall. Cage does defend a extraordinary amount of Muslims. Now that in itself isn’t a crime, nor is it a sure fire sign of predijuce. However one wonders if Cage runs along similar lines to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a body which predominantly reports on illegal military actions and humanitarian tragedies, with a somewhat slanted view.

        • Anon1

          It was for Glenn actually. Despite your obvious problems you don’t appear to be a defender of Islamist nutcases like Glenn

          • glenn_uk

            Less ambiguity, please! Are you claiming I’m an Islamist nutcase, or that I’m a defender of same?

  • fedup

    Oh the humanity of it, what next? Journalists Stenographers are to be made to publish their tax returns!!!! Hooray for transparency you say! Not a chance.

    A man’s tax returns are a man’s private affair, between him and his tax divisors and Mossack Fonseca!!!! What is this world coming to, North Korea! North Korea! North Korea! Madness! Indignation abound the telegraph runs this headline;

    Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to make journalists publish their tax returns is North Korea-style madness

    Do these idiots know that the majority will be voting for Corbyn even if they did not wish to do so before?

    How far has Tom Harris moved away from reality to come up with such an idiotic piece? Or dose he really believes his “powerful” pen can change minds of the punters? In any case, a clear affliction of some sort of neurosis is evident from the lines pouring out of his “heart” the place that is next to his wallet!

    • Phil

      I love Jeremy Corbyn’s idea of a “different politics” – It just appears to be a world where every man and his dog publishes their tax returns before people who know nothing about said returns make comments on the legality of them!

    • Phil

      I love Jeremy Corbyn’s idea of a “different politics” – It just appears to be a world where every man and his dog publishes their tax returns before people who know nothing about said returns make comments on the legality of them!

  • giyane

    Gordon Brown knew full well that PFi was a con, that banking was a con, and that you only get to be PM if you do what you’re Bilderberg told.

    Similarly David Cameron went to see Turkey’s Erdogan in 2010 to tell him that there was to be NATO regime change in Syria, the refugees were to be paid for by stolen oil and the entire country ethnically cleansed for the benefit of Israel.

    We think we’re the only ones who know the truth. No, the criminal elites know exactly what is going on, but they choose to extort , murder and sponge.

  • Luza

    Of course. Only idiots – or greedy rich – ever thought PFI was a good idea. In the meantime, all the ‘charity schools’ in Edinburgh should take the pupils in. (Fettes, Watsons, Edinburgh Academy etc!)

  • Republicofscotland

    If I were an American tax payer I’d be pretty miffed at this, it makes David Cameron’s immoral financial dealing seem rather petty.

    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a US proposal to increase its annual financial and military support to Israel by 20 per cent as compensation for the deal signed with Iran. Sources close to the US-Israeli negotiating circles said with the additional 20 percent, the US support to Israel will reach $3.6 billion a year.

    America’s financial and military support constitutes 20 per cent of Israel’s security budget.

    According to the American-Israeli agreement signed in 2008, over the past decade Israel has received nearly $30 billion in addition to annual grants of nearly $50 million as compensation for the decline in the dollar.

    It is due to receive more than $3.2 billion this year.

    Israel demanded the US increase its financial and military support as compensation for the nuclear deal struck with Tehran in 2015 which it claims has accelerated the arms race with the Gulf states and adversely affects Israel’s strategic position.”

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/24912-israel-rejects-20-increase-in-us-aid-as-compensation-for-iran-deal

  • Republicofscotland

    I wonder if there’s any truth to this.

    “Leading members of the Blairite wing of the Labour party have announced their intentions to formally break away to create a new official opposition party.

    The snap press conference was convened on Sunday afternoon, with Hilary Benn making a statement while flanked by key figures from the Blairite faction of the Labour party.”

    http://www.thecanary.co/2016/04/10/blairites-leave-labour-to-create-a-new-official-opposition-party/

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Well, it says: “This article is satirical” at the top.

      Wouldn’t surprise me, though: history repeating itself. And actually it might not be such a bad thing. The last lot who did that sank without trace eventually.

      • Republicofscotland

        Thank you John for pointing that out, I imagine now I’ll need stronger glasses. ?

      • Republicofscotland

        John re your 16.47pm comment.

        I didn’t realise that you are, such a sensitive and fragile creature, I worry for you, knowing you can’t handle a bit of sarcasm.

        • John Spencer-Davis

          That’s all right: I’m not really. I didn’t answer your comment because I thought maybe I had been a bit over the top and deserved it. But it seems I am not the only one who has observed your weird habit. Glenn’s described what you did with perfect accuracy. Once, might be a mistake. More than once, can’t be a mistake. You copy and paste other people’s work, you don’t use quotation marks or provide links, and therefore you must know that other people will accept it as your work. I don’t know what on earth possesses you to do such a thing, but – shrug – I will assume, in future, that anything you write without links has been copied and pasted from somewhere else without attribution.

          • Republicofscotland

            John, I think you’ll find I do use quotation marks and rather frequently, infact my prior comments to you at 16.19pm and 16.13pm, both carry quotation marks.

            I do on occasion post articles often interlaced with my own thoughts, which I find interesting, and will continue to do so, it may not be to everyone’s taste but then I’m not aiming to please everyone.

            Regarding your own comments John, I only remark on content not origin, if it’s interesting all the better.

            Finally John I’m more than pleased for you to live by your assumptions, regarding my posts, if you find them dull or incredulous or plagiaristic just skip on by. ?

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Sure, do please go ahead, but if I discover that you are plagiarising other people’s work, as you quite clearly did before – interlaced with your own thoughts, oh really – I’ll happily point it out to everyone. As long as you don’t mind that, there’s no problem.

  • Iain

    I expect that I shall hear probing investigative journalism on BBC Radio Shortbread and Reporting Jockland shortly which explores the issue of PFI and the role of the the Labour Party, lets not forget the Tories and LieDems too, in using this discredited mechanism. No doubt I shall also be reading about it the many quality newspapers we have that pride themselves on their impartial coverage and success in holding politicians to account.

    mmm but this is the region they call Scotland, so perhaps not……….

  • RobG

    The French term “nuit debout” loosely translates as “rise up at night”. It’s a term used for the massive wave of night protests which are presently occurring all across France (there are also many protests during the day as well). This surge of public anger is incredible stuff, the like of which hasn’t been seen for hundreds of years. I was going to give some links to individual video clips of these demonstrations, but there’s now so many of them that instead I’ll just link to a YouTube search for ‘nuit debout’…

    https://www.youtube.com/results?q=Nuit+debout&sp=CAI%253D

    Even if you’re not a French speaker you’ll still perhaps get a sense of the huge amount of demos that are going on all across France.

    This is historic stuff.

      • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

        Riots and revolution have spread from France and Paris a number of times in history: 1789, 1830, 1848, 1968. The Paris Commune of 1871 was regarded by Lenin and the Bolsheviks as a precedent for their own revolution.

      • Node

        here is no mention of this story on the home page or the world page of the BBC News website. A search for “nuit debout” produces one result in which the movement is dismissed as “student protests”.

        “Rise up at night” will not spread to the UK if the BBC has anything to do with it.

        • RobG

          Node, one of the extraordinary things about the nuit debout movement is that it does not consist of just students and ‘Occupy types’, but the whole spectrum of society, including pensioners and working professionals.

          On the 31st of March there was a general strike in France (barely reported by the western media), and it was this that really kicked-off the nuit debout movement. However, there’s been widespread unrest for many months before that. Like most revolutions (and I don’t hesitate to call this a revolution in France) the causes and effects are very complicated. I think that just about everyone on this board will understand the grievances felt by the French people, because you all feel them too.

          I should add that this is a non-violent revolution. The only violence of note so far has come from the state.

          • Node

            RobG : “Node, one of the extraordinary things about the nuit debout movement is that it does not consist of just students and ‘Occupy types’, but the whole spectrum of society, including pensioners and working professionals.”

            Not according to the BBC’s only news item on the subject. They say the protests consist of “thousands of young people” and therefore the French PM has proposed “an aid package for students and young apprentices.” Also, the scale of the protests must be much smaller than you say because they only mention one rally and afterwards “about 100 protesters dispersed peacefully.” Apparently “the Nuit Debout activists, organised through social media, are mainly left-wing” and they are objecting to a quite reasonable bit of legislation which “envisages giving employers more flexibility in setting the hours that their staff work; lowering the current high barriers to dismissal of staff; and new rules on industrial tribunal payouts.” The government are actually on the side of the workers because they are “striving to push the unemployment rate below 10%.”

            So either you are lying to me, Rob, or the BBC is.

        • RobG

          The BBC is lying to you, Node.

          As are the entire British establishment and their assorted crooks.

          Go live in fairy-land. I don’t give a feck. Doff your cap to the ‘great and good’, because it’d egits like you that keep these totally corrupt scum in power.

          I know, let’s have another jolly war…

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Node was being sarcastic about the BBC, without question.

            However, that does demonstrate the dangers of faceless posting – one runs the risk of being taken seriously.

          • Republicofscotland

            JSD.

            I see John you’re getting into the swing of spotting sarcasm, good on you. ?

    • Phil the ex frog

      Looking at that youtube search list – from the little I’ve seen it looks like indignados/occupy. But I haven’t seen any anger. Is that fair comment? I had assumed it was going to be more union action focused – but then I thought this was a protest against a union law. Perhaps it’s just what I’ve seen. Perhaps I have got the wrong end of the stick completely.

      So actually, I would appreciate some specific links to videos that give a fair representation if you’re going through them anyway. And any decent English language sources. How widespread is this? Anything except assemblies happening? No state reaction so far? Ta.

      • RobG

        Phil the ex frog, widespread demos are happening in more than 30 towns and cities all across France, and it’s happening every day.

        The events in France have been barely covered by the western media, and when they do cover it it’s framed as protests against the proposed reforms to employment laws, which amongst other things will make it much easier for employers to hire and fire people. However, this huge swelling of public anger goes much deeper than that. The employment law reforms are just the glue that holds it all together. Earlier in March there was a big demo in Paris against the state of emergency, introduced after the November terror attacks. Amongst other things, the state of emergency gives special powers to security services and police to act without judges’ approval or judicial oversight, to carry out night raids, and to place people under house arrest. Ironically, the state of emergency also makes these recent protests illegal, but President Hollande & Co are bricking themselves and wouldn’t dare to stop the demonstrators. The state of emergency, however, has been extended by another 3 months. Hollande wants to write the state of emergency into the French constitution, to make it permanent, which would effectively turn France into a police state. Needless to say, Hollande is the most unpopular president in French history.

        There’s also much concern about the trade deals that America is pushing through with the EU. These trade deals are being conducted in secret and will give transnational corporations power over sovereign governments.

        http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/04/09/trans-atlantic-trans-pacific-partnerships-complete-corporate-world-takeover-paul-craig-roberts/
        (important that you follow the above link)

        Then there’s ‘austerity’ and growing wealth inequality (highlighted by the recent ‘Panama Papers’). Add-in government and corporate corruption, high unemployment and falling living standards and you’ve got a really potent brew. If the protests in France continue I don’t see how the Hollande government can survive. There hasn’t been public anger on quite this scale since 1789 and all that.

        • Phil

          I’m not entirley sure Hollande wants to write a state of emergency into the constitution (partly because i’m not sure how possible that is and partly because that would be ridiculous). You can’t possibly be saying they shouldn’t have put it into effect after the Paris attacks? You also can’t extend a state of emergency for no reason.

          • Phil

            That’s not creating a constant state of emergency though, that’s just adding it to the constitution.

            (BTW, i couldn’t reply directly as the button wasn’t there!)

          • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

            Piece by Jean-Claude Paye on Voltarie Net suggests that Hollande’s government is seeking precisely laws that will create a state of emergency: FRANCE – CREATION OF A POLICE STATE (PART 1): Exceptional procedures without a state of emergency:

            In the context of the attacks claimed by Daesh, the French government is proceeding with a series of reforms which will considerably expand the powers of the police and the administration to the detriment of the judicial system. Given that these reforms have no bearing on the prevention of this type of attack, which primarily require political measures, it seems that France is moving towards the installation of an arbitrary regime.

            Piece on Common Dreams quotes the Nuit Debout public assemblies as protesting precisely against the state of emergency. ‘Up All Night’ Protests Sweep France as 100,000 Join Pro-Democracy Movement:

            Indeed, a statement issued by the Nuit Debout public assemblies reads in part:

            Our mobilization was initially aimed at protesting against the French Labour Law. This reform is not an isolated case, since it comes as a new piece in the austerity measures which already affected our European neighbors and which will have the same effects as the Italian Job Acts or the Reforma Laboral in Spain. This concretely means more layoffs, more precarity, growing inequalities and the shaping of private interests. We refuse to suffer this shock strategy, notably imposed in the context of an authoritarian state of emergency.

            …This movement was not born and will not die in Paris. From the Arab Spring to the 15M Movement, from Tahrir Square to Gezi park, Republic square and the plenty of other places occupied tonight in France are depicting the same angers, the same hopes and the same conviction: the need for a new society, where Democracy, Dignity and Liberty would not be hollow shells.

        • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

          It would be difficult to find a more nonsensical commentary on what is going on in France at the moment .

          But I shall forgive RobG because it seems fairly clear that he is merely parroting the ineffable Paul Craig Roberts, whose contribution to collective lunacy is not yet sufficiently recognised.

          But the last sentence:” There hasn’t been public anger on quite this scale since 1789″ is RobG’s own work and again makes me wonder if he shouldn’t take a correspondence course in French History 101.

          • RobG

            Habba, perhaps you can give us your take on what’s going on in France at the moment?

            I’ve lived in France for many years, and readers should approach what I say in that context.

            With regard to Paul Craig Roberts, he was part of the Reagan administration and was editor of the Wall Street Journal. Who is Habba, apart from some immoral oik who works for whatever intelligence services?

            Here’s the website of Paul Craig Roberts…

            http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

            Perhaps Habba can give us the URL of his own website..?

          • Loony

            So that I may recognize the contribution of Dr. Roberts to “collective lunacy” it would be helpful if you could provide some examples of his efforts in this regard. Perhaps you could let us know whether he infected the Federal Government and the WSJ with collective lunacy – or does his contribution to lunacy post date those appointments?

            From my reading he would appear to understand and explain the essential ponzi like features of the US economy, he argues against the erosion of personal freedoms and democracy and demonstrates a robust disdain for his fellow countrymen who are so keen on supporting and funding Nazi’s in the Ukraine. Would any of this be examples of his contribution to collective lunacy?

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            RobG

            “Habba, perhaps you can give us your take on what’s going on in France at the moment?”

            In summary, the usual when the govt seeks to do anything which upsets certain vested interests and ways of thought (and by vested interests I don’t mean just relatively wealthy people – although even they rebelled when the govt tried to introduce a wealth tax). This has been a feature of France for at least since the second world war (in this context I recommend that you try to obtain an excellent study written by the Swiss journalist Herbert Luethy, cllaed “Frankreichs Uhren gehen anders” – available in English as “The State of France”; although written in the early 1950s it is still pertinent). The only French leader who succeeded – partially – was President de Gaulle – Hollande, as his predecessors, is of course not up to the job.

            “I’ve lived in France for many years, and readers should approach what I say in that context.”

            Not that many years, Rob (you make it sound like decades.). And being on the spot is not necessarily a vaccine against blindness.

            “With regard to Paul Craig Roberts, he was part of the Reagan administration and was editor of the Wall Street Journal. ”

            As I have pointed out before, PCR was an Assistant Treasury Secretary for about 14 months in the Reagan administration there are about 10 ATSs at the Treasury. And one of the WSJ editors (there are many) for a short time.

            “Who is Habba, apart from some immoral oik who works for whatever intelligence service.”

            Can you clarify the basis for that claim?

            **********************

            And now have another bottle and get back to entertaining your gîte guests. Over and out.

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            Loony

            It is enough to read any one of Roberts’s offerings in, for example, Counterpunch.

        • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

          Piece in Le parisien on a Nuit debout demonstration at Place de la Republique last night seems to indicate that the movement now concerns a great deal more than the change in labor laws: VIDEOS. Une 11e Nuit debout place de la République à Paris:

          Né le 31 mars à Paris, ce mouvement citoyen dépasse aujourd’hui largement l’opposition à la loi travail. La vaste esplanade draine une foule bigarrée, dont de nombreux jeunes, dans une ambiance de kermesse et de forum altermondialiste, entre stands, réunions de commissions et «assemblées générales».

        • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

          There were far fewer Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury at the beginning of Reagan’s presidency. I don’t know precisely how many, but among the many Assistant Secretary positions that I know did not exist then are: Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Markets; and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability.

          During World War Two, Harry Dexter White was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Secretary Morgenthau. I believe he was the sole Assistant Secretary at the time and that at the time there was no Deputy Secretary or Under Secretary. White was certainly the second most powerful man in the department.

          So it is likely that there were not many Assistant Secretaries in 1981.

          • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

            Assistant Secretary for International Affairs also didn’t exist in 1981.

            Assistant Secretary positions that I know existed in 1981 are: Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy (position held by Paul Craig Roberts), Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, and Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy.

          • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

            I very much suspect Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing did not exist in 1981.

            Fiscal Assistant Secretary existed in 1981. That makes four that I know existed then.

    • Republicofscotland

      Rob.G

      Yes Rob, you’re not going mad as some might think, that French volatile blood, often turned against British lorry drivers, going to or coming back from the continent, has now focused on the French authorities, mon ami.

      http://www.euronews.com/2016/04/11/police-clear-paris-protest-camp-but-up-all-night-movement-vows-to-return/

      “Police in Paris have evacuated a protest camp in the city’s Place de la Republique, occupied for 11 consecutive nights by demonstrators demanding social change.”

      I do hope this comment meets JSD’s parameters.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ Astragael April 10, 2016 at 17:07
    ‘A red herring if ever I saw one! Why should the regulations, about the construction of buildings in Scotland, and their implementation (or otherwise) have any bearing on fire service employment practice?’

    Err, I beg your pardon? You don’t see why regulations of building construction have any bearing on fire service employment practice? The issue here is whether or not the building construction of buildings regulations in Scotland (where the guy in question was a fireman) and anywhere else in the world had taken into account the implications of the US bizarre narrative that high-rise steel framed buildings could collapse because of fires (and Building 7 was not even claimed to have been hit by an aircraft.
    No steel frame high-rise has ever, before or since 9/11, ever collapsed because of fires.
    Firemen risk their lives saving people and property from fires; they are entitled to question a ‘narrative’ which if true would change fire department practices across the board when dealing with fires in high-rise buildings.
    Simple, really; but obviously, ‘political correctness’ overrides genuine safety concerns, not just in the Scottish Fire Service, but also in the Scottish police.
    And though my post isn’t a ‘red herring’, don’t be at all surprised to see some REAL red herrings, or even red, green and orange-spotted ones, with the on-going Fukushima radiation leakages.

  • Anon1

    When you have received your taxpayer-funded Remain campaign propaganda leaflet from the government, return it here:

    Joanna George
    Freepost RSBB-XRZT-ZTXE
    The Conservative Party Foundation
    30 Millbank
    London SW1P 4DP

    In pieces. Free post, so they pay for it.

          • Resident Dissident

            Please tell us when it has gone through 360 degrees and things have got back to where they started – some of us might want to go to France for our hols!

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            You have done nothing of the sort, Rob. There will be no revolution. But the govt may backtrack a little…or even a mot. And that is part of the problem.

          • RobG

            ResDis (there isn’t a reply button on your post), although France is going through incredible turmoil at the moment you have to remember that it has twice the land area of the UK. I live in a very rural part of south west France. None of the political stuff has had a direct impact on us, so far.

    • MJ

      Good idea. It occurs to me that if you put it in an A4 envelope it will have to go at large letter rate.

  • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

    Too much “wondering” can sometimes be a dangerous thing when the “wondering” takes place on a public blog under the watchful eyes of sceptical observers.

    As evidenced by the following, written by one of this blog’s most illustrious overseas commenters at 22h40 last Friday:

    “I wonder if his prime ministership will survive the weekend.”

    The reference is, of course, to Mr Cameron.

    🙂

  • glenn_uk

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    @Ros: 18:36 “You’re not still smarting from the point I made about Habb, berating you for posting unestablishment like comments, are you? ?

    No idea what you’re talking about.

    @JSD : 16:47 “I noticed RoS doing precisely that and he or she got really, really sarcastic with me about it. Is it something he or she does regularly, then?

    Yes indeed, John. RoS is notorious for it. In an idle moment a month or so back, I noticed RoS had (supposedly!) written about making payments with “checks”. I looked into it, and please allow me to reproduce what I found:

    #
    “Bad checks”? Curious American spelling you use there, RoS.

    Coincidentally, this reference has appeared elsewhere on the ‘net, which includes the same:

    Yours:

    Indeed the United States leads the world in producing prisoners. In a distinctively American style of crime and punishment approach, that sees individuals locked up for long period for using drugs or writing bad checks, amongst other minor crimes.

    Crimes that other nations often have shorter sentences for.”

    and…

    http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/2008_04.html

    … the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

    And so on. Wouldn’t it be nice to know where these little vignettes of yours come from, so the reader can look into them further on occasion? I’m sure you’re not trying to pass off all this as your personal widespread expertise all the time!

    Just another one from the same section:

    RoS:

    […]America has 5% of the worlds population, but it also has a quarter of the worlds prisoners as well.
    […]
    According to prison studies at Kings College London, the USA has over 2.3 million prisoners behind bars more than any other nation.

    And here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html?_r=0


    “The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

    The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

    RoS:

    “The only other industrialised nation to come close to America and China regarding prison populus is Russia, which has 627 prisoner per 100,000 population.

    England has 151 prisoners per 100,000 of the populus, Germany 88 prisoners per 100,000 and Japan with 63 prisoners per 100,000, though Japan still practices capital punishment.”

    And the NY Times again (same article):

    “The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation, according to data maintained by the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College London.

    The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63.

    Wording slightly changed, the order of quotes jumbled around a little, bit of mix-and-matching of sources, but anyone interested can find virtually every sentence you write lifted from somewhere. Never attributed, though. Why is that? If a student submitted this, or indeed most of the stuff you reproduce here, they would be thrown out of college for plagiarism.

    —-

    • Republicofscotland

      Yip Glenn, you definitely are still smarting, I really must’ve hit a nerve, for you to delve into old threads and post my comments, Im not in the slightest peturbed by it Glenn, infact I’m flattered, why don’t you impress me even more by posting some more of my comments.

      I do hope Glenn that you can get over the berating you received, I’d hate to think that your pride was ever so slightly dented. ?

      • glenn_uk

        “Smarting”, no – sorry – you have misinterpreted. Wincing perhaps, as anyone might, thinking “there but for the grace of God go I”.

        You’re clearly attempting to ape Habbabkuk, despite being nowhere in the same game let alone league, and suffering badly from the Kruger-Dunning effect.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Thank you, Glenn. I do not know if you saw the example that I did, but it was worse still: entire paragraphs copied and pasted verbatim with no quotation marks, attributions, or links: but the order of the paragraphs changed, and one or two linking words. It was a while before I understood that it was all taken from one source (The Independent online), so I listed the paragraphs separately as I was working on it. That prompted a highly sarcastic rebuke from RoS, which I accepted without comment. I did so, because I thought perhaps he or she had simply forgotten the link, so I felt a bit smart alecky.

      I do not think that any more: I think it was done deliberately. I have seen copying and pasting without quotation marks since, and I have refrained from commenting. Shrug. Let’s see how it goes. But thank you.

      • glenn_uk

        Yes – I did see your example from the Independent, and the response it got. With low integrity posters such as this, you are going to get a sharp reaction once you’ve rumbled their game, that seems pretty obvious, and then it becomes a matter of it being _your_ problem.

        With the particular low-integrity poster in question, I had asked a few times whether it was a quote, and if so from where, and got nothing but accusations and dismissals. Lately, you (JSD) are supposedly being sarcastic, and I am apparently “smarting” from something 🙂

        Digging a little deeper, the truth was plain to see. You could probably discern the difference because any original writings suffer from a rather poor command of English, inappropriate punctuation, with for, instance, too,, many,, commas all, round which, spell-checkers,, find it, hard, to, spot and, correct. While original (but unattributed) quotations employ phrases and terminology suspiciously sophisticated for the accustomed level of the given poster.

        There is no doubt it was deliberate. It’s plagiarism, plain and simple. Try to alter a bit here and there to throw the scent, thwart search engines, and – rather stupidly – present oneself as a font of original thought and hard fact. Instead of a simple search engine monkey, who trots out the first few results every time as if he knew it all along.

        Now he has been rumbled, perhaps RoS will try to be a little more honest henceforth, we can but hope. We are surely all here to improve one another, after all.

  • RobG

    Here we go, all the government trolls steaming in to tell you that everything is ‘normal’, when the complete opposite is the case.

    The entire mainstream media pump-out propaganda 24/7 telling you that everything is ‘normal’.

    It’s all total bullshit, and most half-way sane people understand this.

  • Habbabkuk (beware false ptophets)

    Lysias – this is for your special attention 🙂

    **********************

    Too much “wondering” can sometimes be a dangerous thing when the “wondering” takes place on a public blog under the watchful eyes of sceptical observers.

    As evidenced by the following, written by one of this blog’s most illustrious transatlantic commenters at 22h40 last Friday:

    “I wonder if his prime ministership will survive the weekend.”

    The reference is, of course, to Mr Cameron.

  • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

    Would Spencer-Davis, Glenn_uk and Republicofscotland please stop their sterile squabbling – the rest of us are tryiing to discuss serious matters.

    Thank you.

    • glenn_uk

      Would you and your faithful hound kindly stop trolling the board, and set something of an example in return?

      Thank you.

    • glenn_uk

      Habbabkuk: Incidentally, can we have a bit of honesty out of you just once in a while? You know RoS’s clunking, annoying BS has offended your intelligence, just as it has with everyone else on this board. Or blog. After doing a fair bit of trolling yourself, it’s hard to take any affront you purport to affect at disagreement between posters terribly seriously – particularly when the people you’re denouncing _just happen_ to all be on the same side of the aisle.

      Never happens otherwise, does it? Never criticise your own side, no matter what. That’s the sign of a Good German, wouldn’t you agree?


      As a slightly related thought, there’s one thing that makes me hesitate about voting against remaining in the EU. If we elect out, the Tories won’t be at each other’s throats any more.

  • Also get your water back or you'll end up like this

    (statement: [ https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QXuvW7mm4q-yZ7JwZ65GWs4SpnnYZE-aIyTUwr4pqLg/edit?usp=sharing ]) “I couldn’t help but think . . . if you are. . . [supporting the right to water globally] outside your borders, can’t you do it at the same time in tandem so nobody falls through the cracks? . . . It just hit me, because I literally cannot understand the most powerful country in the world having these kind of stories about the lack of clean, potable water and sanitation, it really blows my mind quite frankly… if you ignore your most vulnerable –I am sorry to say, I say it quite bluntly, you are not a civilized society. You must protect the most vulnerable! And in doing so, you respect their human rights, recognize them as human persons, and give them back their dignity.”– Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, Rapporteur to the United States in response to the US Government testimony

    On Monday April 4, 2016, members of the US Human Rights Network coordinated National Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Coalition [ http://www.ushrnetwork.org/our-work/project/waterisahumanright-human-rights-water-sanitation ]… talked about water contamination and the harmful health impacts in their communities; astronomical water rate increases and the lack of affordable water; criminalization of people who cannot afford water and sanitation services; and the lack of adequate sanitation in communities across the United States. In response, the US government ignored the testimony of the people sitting directly across from them to congratulate itself on water assistance around the world, while falling silent on the water crisis facing people in the U.S. (hearing video: [ http://youtu.be/uNqNhuNnFWE ]).

    Throughout the entire testimony from the U.S. government, not a single government representative responded to the stories, crises, and conditions presented before them by their own residents. They sat across from U.S. civil society and reiterated multiple times that they are not legally obligated to ensure the human rights to water and sanitation; nor is it the federal government’s responsibility to ensure water and sanitation – all of the problems are at the hands of local and state officials and agencies…

    *”It is insulting to hear how the U.S. is providing water to the rest of the world when we are sitting right here in front of you. We need to hear about what the U.S. government will do for its own residents,”* said Robert Robinson, longtime member of the US Human Rights Network on behalf of the National Human Rights to Water and Sanitation Coalition. *”Our delegation has presented stories from across this country to show how the U.S. has failed to uphold this most fundamental human rights obligation for its most vulnerable residents, and the government’s presentation today unfortunately reflects its continued indifference to our plight.”*

    *”As a testifier, I was thoroughly ashamed that members of my own government felt so little about low income people, suggesting that we were less than “dirt” and not worthy of access to what my constituent tax-dollars provide for others. Clearly, we are not respected nor valued as they each repeated, ad nauseam, the same refrain about not having the obligation to provide access to clean water and sanitation to residents here in this country. How awful. How sad. How hurtful that this is the verification of what many of us have long suspected.” *said Maureen D. Taylor, State Chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

    “While the U.S. government focused on legal technicalities, (which they got wrong[1]), they cannot deny the hard truth that low-income, Indigenous Peoples, homeless, undocumented, and communities of color lack equal access to safe, affordable, and adequate water and sanitation in this country, and the impact is especially severe on women and children. Our government must be held accountable for ensuring that every person in the U.S. has access to safe, affordable, and adequate water and sanitation without discrimination.”

    https://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/05_2011_human_right_to_water_reader_eng.pdf

    • RobG

      Bloody hell, this is either someone who’s serious or is a government troll.

      (the link might give you a clue)

  • N_

    I’ve just been reading the statement from Boris Johnson’s accountant on his tax payments (or tax payable) between 2011-12 and 2014-15.

    US citizens such as Johnson are liable for US tax on their worldwide income and capital gains. If they are resident outside of the US, as Johnson is, they may choose to exclude an amount of foreign income, but that amount (about USD 100,000 each year) is far less than Boris received (about GBP 200,000 each year). So how come that, in his accountant’s words, “No US tax liabilities arose during the period”?

    The other question concerns the £253 and £475 of income tax payable “overseas”, rather than in the UK. In what country was this payable? It can’t have been the UK or US, so what country was it? Some small island somewhere?

    • N_

      Correction: he received between GBP 400,000 and GBP 600,000 each year. What happened to his US tax liability? And what was the foreign country he did pay income tax too?

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Johnson has obviously paid income tax on his income in Britain. It would be regarded as inequitable if he were to be taxed on that income in the US as well. Agreements between countries (double taxation relief arrangements) are put in place to avoid that.

      I can’t say that the legislation I am quoting is up to date, but here are the relief arrangements for 31-03-2003:

      “UK/USA DOUBLE TAXATION CONVENTION
      ARTICLE 14
      Income from employment
      1. Subject to the provisions of Articles 15 (Directors’ Fees), 17 (Pensions,
      Social Security, Annuities, Alimony, and Child Support) and 19 (Government
      Service) of this Convention, salaries, wages, and other similar remuneration derived
      by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment SHALL BE TAXABLE ONLY IN THAT STATE unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State. If the
      employment is so exercised, such remuneration as is derived therefrom may be taxed
      in that other State.” (My capitals).

      Probably something of the sort is still in force.

  • bevin

    I think we have a winner in the “Most Fatuous Comment of 2016” competition:

    “… – it sounds a little like Paris 1968. And that rather fizzled out, didn’t it?”

    Fizzled out! Some fizzling.
    If these protests become half as serious as the events of 1968 every government in Europe will have reason to tremble. I suspect that they won’t, but these things are anybody’s guess in times as unsettled as these are.

    I take it that Habbacushyberth is much younger than he pretends to be-either that or he was in the Sinai Desert in 1968 digging latrines or peeling kebabs.

  • Nick Proctor

    Great admirer of Craig but he’s wrong I believe in thinking that the “peeps” current account savings up to £75,000 are safe. If as forecast there is another financial meltdown we know that they will this time be rescued by a “Bail IN” rather than a government “Bail OUT”. The banks will close off all trading, just as did the Greek banks last summer, to prevent a run on the banks cash deposits! .I wouldn’t be surprised if this government doesn’t change the law at the last minute and leave depositor’s cash available to the banks to bail themselves out. I am of small means but I leave only the minimum of cash in my account to cover direct debits anyway because I am damned if they can lend my money out at 8% profit and fail to cut me in on the deal!!!!! 🙂

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      So where do you keep your money, Nick?

      Not in an off-shore account, surely?

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