On the Lost Art of Intellectual Honesty 194


I remain strongly opposed to Brexit. However, I feel obliged to state, purely as a matter of intellectual honesty, that if the UK leaves the EU, even if it has no special trade deal and is merely subject to WTO terms, the fall in value of sterling already due to Brexit would give its goods a comparative advantage over the pre-referendum position even when the EU tariffs are applied. I say that in response to some of the apocalyptic comment around matter of fact remarks by the EU trade commissioner.

It is unfortunate that political debate in the UK has descended to such a debased intellectual level. If you support a position, you are not ever to admit there are any counter arguments on any aspects of that position which might have the remotest intellectual validity. Thus, in the EU referendum campaign, Leavers painted the EU as a dastardly organisation bent on evil and controlling everybody’s lives, and Remainers portrayed it as an earthly paradise to which the alternative was eternal damnation and plagues of affliction. One of the arguments the Blairites use against Corbyn is that he had the temerity to employ nuance and intellectual honesty in discussing the EU. Intellectual honesty is certainly not something Tony Blair ever employed.

Politics has become a branch of PR. It is just about selling. The party, candidate or policy you are selling must be portrayed as the absolute epitome of excellence, with no flaws whatsoever. Political discourse has therefore become juvenile. It is about expensively dressed, well groomed salesmen with perfect teeth. Thought is positively frowned upon.


194 thoughts on “On the Lost Art of Intellectual Honesty

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  • giyane

    So if you support membership of the EU please can you explain why David Cameron has managed to be deposed by popular vote while the European federal elite, indeed the US federal elite, cannot be deposed. The federal structure is self-supporting and maintaining, which why US citizens will probably go for Trump.

    • Tom

      But we look set to have a prime minister for four years who did not lead the country into an election. We have the figurehead of the referendum campaign mysteriously ruled out of the Tory leadership race in an exercise in bait-and-switch that seems to have been orchestrated from outside the party.
      And that’s before we come to the shabby debacle in the Labour Party.
      I’m afraid the democracy the Leave campaign insist we’re trying to save no longer exists.
      We should have been fighting for that not against the EU, which is largely benign.

        • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

          Tie, I think, to once again point out that Greece’s economic woes started a long time before the advent of the euro, the 2008 crash, the Troika, etc.

          But it is certainly true to say that Euro membership both masked and exacerbated Greece’s economic problems in that it enabled the Greek governments – both PASOK and Nea Dimokratia – to borrow too cheaply in order to plug the gap between insufficient revenue and excessive spending. That, incidentally, made it possible for Greek govts to put off reforms for ensuring efficient tax collection and keeping expenditure down to sustainable levels.

          When considering the above, you must realise that the pressure for Greece to adopt the euro came not from foreign govts – far from it – but from the Greek govt itself. The fault of the other Member States was that they should have continued to say “not yet”.

          • Tony_0pmoc

            I am not going to replay the history of Greece, but I have probably spent close to a year there – spread over 30 years or so. The Greeks seemed perfectly happy and healthy until the enormous great blood sucking squid – commonly know as Goldman Sucks enveloped – and sucked the life blood out of them. Good job they ain’t got nukes – cos I know where they would be pointing and it certainly wouldn’t be Russia. They aren’t too impressed with The Germans either – but they’ve never had a problem with us British from my experience.

          • Loony

            So a problem with Greece is that it could borrow too cheaply.

            How then to explain the phenomena that an average of all German bonds now yield Minus 0.2%. This is not enough for the ECB who continue with an $80 per month bond buying frenzy in order to push rates even deeper into negative territory.

            Greece has never borrowed money at negative rates. So according to you the low positive rates were too low for Greece and according the ECB the negative rates available to Germany are not low enough.

          • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

            Tony

            If course the Greek were perfectly happy and healthy before reality caught up with the country.

            Why should they not have been? The government made little effort to properly collect the taxes due (by all sections of the people, including the one third of people who are self employed) and at the same time increased state benefits of all kinds with gay abandon while buying voter loyalty by arranging ever more jobs for people in the public sector (the client state as it’s called). What was there to be unhappy about?

            As Theodoros Pangalos famously said : we all had our snouts in the trough.

          • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

            Loony

            If revenue is insufficient to fund state spending, then taxes could be raised and collection improved. Alternatively, public spending could be reduced. Since most govts are, in normal economic times, loath to do either the gap tends to be plugged by govt borrowing.

            The lower interest rates are and the better a govt’s credit rating is, the cheaper it is for govts to borrow.

            So, indeed, it would have been better for the Greek state if it had been more difficult for it to borrow because it would then (probably) have borrowed less. And avoided a debt crisis when the train hit the buffers in 2008.

            But I suspect we’re not going to agree on this.

          • Loony

            Once again you are wrong. As it happens I do agree with what you write.

            It is what you do not write that concerns me. You do not explain why it is appropriate for the aggregate of German bonds to be trading at negative interest rates, and you do not explain why ECB policy is to drive rates ever deeper into negative territory.

          • Macky

            Greece got into trouble because of a conflux of circumstances, mainly the following;

            It was in certain elites vested interests that it join the EU, even thought economically it was not ready, hence the cooking of the books by Goldman Sachs.

            The 2004 Olympic Games was the first one after 9/11 so this very expensive burden, ending up catastrophically expensive because of the increase security costs.

            The 2008 Crash affected Greece much more than other countries because of its much weaker economy.

            Even after the Crash, and in the years of austerity, because of the corruption in the Arms Industry, debt ridden Greece was borrowing money from European banks to buy weapons from European arms manufacturers, so much so that it was outspending almost every other country in Europe & for years !

            There are other factors, but these are the major ones; here’s a good article on this sorry subject;

            https://off-guardian.org/2016/06/27/life-in-a-modern-day-debt-colony-the-truth-about-greece/

          • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

            Loony

            Why should I? I’m afraid that your wish is not my command 🙂

          • Mulga Mumblebrain

            Babbadook, you appear to have, somehow, forgotten the crucial role of Goldman Sachs in the destruction of Greece and the crucifixion of its people. Funny, that.

    • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

      I thought that Mr Cameron announced that he would not lead the Conservatives into the next election quite a time before the referendum?

      Can one therefore speak of him having been deposed?

  • Chris Bird

    Unfortunately a low pound has numerous serious dangers which may well outweigh the benefits. Also perspective is important here, the people I know have now moved their argument from targeting immigration to saying how a weak pound will benefit the UK. A lot of posturing on value of pound is with hindsight and uses an incomplete argument. Sure, we should be open to discussion but not just for the sake of it or as an attempt to build bridges. Bridges based on incomplete truths have a tendency to fall down.
    Unfortunately, we have to look at the evidence overall and admit to ourselves that the population ignored science, experts and rationality and in a moment of post factual nationalist fervour made a very poor choice.

    • nevermind

      Yes we have to look at what evidence austerity has left. We have to look how it has alienated people, who given they had a modest income, would have lived happily together with their polish neighbours, but who are rather stumped now by indecision and uncertainty.
      My point being that austerity drives discord and violence. Given that the chancellor is still borrowing record amounts, how would a decoupling over five years stop us getting into deeper dodoo?
      And we have not yet spoken of the realisation of the public that voting and referenda are worth bunkum, what will the reaction of the public be, utter rejection of electoral processes, with the electoral Commission being the play ball of party politics, how can this not lead to a clash between the ‘sovereignty’ of our cheaters in the Houses and the wider public, and I do not take the middle classes out of this equation, they have been fobbed off with a pathetic ultimatum, take AV plus or nothing, and will not be best pleased about a declaration of direct rule as we see fit?
      considerations considerations…

      • michael norton

        A friend of mine had his leg ripped off by a car, when he was riding his motorcycle, years ago.
        Anyway, i visited him at home in the run-up to the Referendum, he no longer goes to work,
        my friend said he had not made his mind up yet, how to vote in the referendum.
        His deciding factor was going to be
        vote for whichever side ( he could believe) offered a future with less austerity.

        I thought that was quite poignant.

      • Mark Golding

        I agree Nevermind austerity drives discord and violence; without gushing wicked cackle it is obvious a sizeable Brexit vote was to ‘screw’ the politics branch of PR.

    • Loony

      Chris – You could reach the conclusions that you draw, but only if you close your eyes to the fact that the world is engaged in full spectrum currency wars and has been for some time.

      Since the Brexit vote a further $1 trillion of global debt has moved to a negative yield. So how does negative yielding money fit with science, experts and rationality?

      • fedup

        These people who are busy lamenting the fall of the pound have forgotten that the debtors who owned the pound debt are now eyeing up which windows are high enough to jump out of?

        As the chap on the wall street was carrying the placard in the post the crash of 2008 “jump you bastards! Jump!” others are busy encouraging them and shorting the sterling debt further. But we won’t debate that sort of the stuff, now will we?

    • MJ

      “Unfortunately a low pound has numerous serious dangers which may well outweigh the benefits”

      Unfortunately you forgot to say what they were. One would be a good start.

      • AliB

        The increase in the price of oil for starters, the increase in food- a majority is imported. A lot of our exports are made from assorted elements many of which are imported therefore any advantage from lower cost of export is nullified, and they may actually become more expensive.
        It is unfortunate that you are unable to think beyond blind adherence to BREXIT slogans.

        • MJ

          Not aware of any slogans. Devaluing the currency is one of the tools for economic recovery. Exports are cheaper but imports are more expensive, encouraging the sale of home-produced alternatives. Production increases. The hybrid items to which you refer may fall in price, rise or stay the same. We can take a hit on the oil price because it has fallen so much of late and there’s been no movement yet. You don’t need to use the dollar to buy oil these days.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain

            MJ, if you don’t use dollar to buy oil, Uncle Satan is likely to bomb you back to the Stone Age and kill numerous of your people. Just ask the Iraqis and Libyans.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Andrew Evans Pritchard occasionally writes brilliantly. It was he who spilt the beans about the EU being a CIA project, and also largely pointed out that the EU is still controlled by The USA.

      He also occasionally writes a load of crap…particularly about solar power running the world, and all the oil and gas companies bust. I find this really annoying, as he is obviously highly intelligent, and I suspect a decent bloke.

      • Simon

        The biggest load of crap I can remember was his prediction that the end of unlimited cheap labour would give the lie to Piketty. You can just smell the wishful thinking of panicking liberal.

        His unionism around the time of the Scottish referendum was a little obnoxious to non-English, but the supremacy of parliament article linked above for me is solid gold.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/11882915/Deflation-supercyle-is-over-as-world-runs-out-of-workers.html

      • fedup

        WWII was never won by any of the European powers!!!! We would like to think we scored but the reality is, we were pushed into hocking our futures and then celebrated our pyrrhic victory.

        To the victors go the spoils, so why the US ought not be controlling the Europeans is the question that any of the victors would ask? Trouble is how come none of the celebrating among us ever understood or realised the facts and become acquainted with real life?

        Germany to date is an occupied country, and as set out in the “German Card” is subject to governance by wire! Thus the degrees of occupation vary from many basis in a country by many nations to few er basis is the a country by one Nation.

        Hope that has clarified it further, Tony.

        • fedup

          Carp composition in a hurry
          Thus the degrees of occupation vary from many basis in a country by many nations to fewer basis in a country by one Nation.

  • Freedom's reach

    An excellent post, particularly the last paragraph. If anyone’s interested in the rise of PR, its affect on our lives and its application to politics, I’d recommend watching the documentary series “The Century of The Self” by Adam Curtis (and if you’re just interested in its political application, skip to the 4th and final part). Without question one of the best documentaries I’ve seen.

  • Tom

    You’re absolutely right in many of your comments: The truth is often somewhere in between.
    What Remain supporters such as myself fear isn’t the small risk of apocalypse but the inevitable dislocation and uncertainty of EU exit while the economy is extremely weak, and then the slow ebbing away of Britain’s economy. Of course, the cumulative effect of these could result in disaster if there is a sudden loss of confidence in the UK.
    The low exchange rate is an argument that’s often heard, but it didn’t seem to help much in Gordon Brown’s time, nor for anyone wanting to buy imported groceries, fuel for their car or book a holiday abroad.
    The truth is, most of us have already been hit in the pockets by Brexit – just a week on from the vote.

    • michael norton

      Russia today

      Austrian court cancels presidential election result, orders re-run
      Published time: 1 Jul, 2016 10:09
      Edited time: 1 Jul, 2016 10:36

  • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

    Must return for a moment to add that referendum coverage is no different than what the media is claiming about the massacre in Istanbull or the human sabotaging of flight MS804.

    The Chechens did the massacre because Turkish investigators chose to arrest other ones after the massacre. Any of us could have been implicated if they has sought our arrest.

    Of course, there is no mention of opposition Chechens being so close to Israel and the Mossad before, so it is easy to make scapegoats out of the bombers for somebody else.

    And the crash of MS804 was the result of human sabotage, though investigators are looking for anything but that.

    We, in short, are continuously lied to about what is seriously going on.

    • michael norton

      So there have been multiple irregularities in the counting of votes in the recent Austrian Presidential Election.

      There is to be presidential elections in FRANCE and in the U.S.A.

      in both cases , like in Austria, far-right populists candidates are standing

      but will the voting be fiddled?

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Trowbridge,

      1. Your handle points to http://the.local – is that your pub?
      2. “We, in short, are continuously lied to about what is seriously going on.” – most sensible thing you’ve ever written
      3. You maybe right about The Chechens, but apart from reading the following link I have taken no interest in this latest terrorist attack. I assumed it was real – but from a 30 seconds look at some of the photos – it might actually have been faked -like The Boston Bombings – that was such an obvious fake, it was totally ridiculous – yet 99% or people believed it. (Incidentally, The purpose of Terrorist attacks is to generate Fear and Propaganda – if the perpetrators can pull them off almost at will – by faking them – and virtually no one notices – it makes cleaning up the mess a lot easier. Even my daughter and her friends used fake blood in a horror movie they were making in our house – whilst we were camping. They cleaned up nearly all the fake blood – but not all of it. Yet our house and walls have been completely splattered with real blood – when our cats caught a magpie and seriously damaged it. I never realised a magpie had so much blood – yet it was still alive after flying about like crazy till I caught it and chucked it outside. It could still sort of fly and managed it on to next doors roof – I guess it had lost a lot of weight.

      https://crimesofempire.com/2016/06/29/multiple-blasts-strike-istanbul-airport/

      Tony

      • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

        Thanks, Tony.

        The link is to an internet site in Sweden that I have long posted on.

        You suspicions about it being largely fakery is a possibility naive me never thought of.

        Could be with so little real damage shown, and Turkish authorities getting things so quickly back to normal.

        Would just explain better the rush to judgment where ISIS is quickly made out to be the culprits for what others, especially the Israelis, were doing, particularly for the Kurds.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

          Just look, Tony, at how the US Navy treated those ten sailors who somehow strayed into Iranian water when the treaty over its nuclear industry was in the balance.

          The sailors were supposed to fight like those on the USS Liberty to the death when the Iranians arrived.

          Instead they surrendered, followed orders, and talked too openly to their captors because of faulty leadership.

          In short, Ash Carter’s navy simply sucks.

          • Tony_0pmoc

            Trowbridge

            Your link doesn’t work. It really does point to http://the.local Maybe someone hacked it.

            I can’t remember anything much about The US Navy sailors being captured by Iranians, but when British sailors were captured by Iranians 10 years ago – they took along a bloody BBC Camera crew.

            Now surely, that must have been an agreed stunt between The British Government and The Iranians. I have no idea if they asked permission from the Americans – but the British have been dealing with Iranians for far longer than have the Americans.

            wtf has the USS Liberty got to do with Iranians? it was Israel that attacked the USS Liberty not Iran

            You are not on any pills for cholesterol, high blood pressure etc are you??

            Tony

          • Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit

            Never thought that the USS Liberty massacre had anything to do with the Iranians.

            Since then, the US Navy expects its sailors to fight to the death no matter what.

            Don’t know where you got the link from, but if you want to see my posts on the site, just google the local discuss.

            Never been on any kind of drugs for any alleged ailment.

          • Tony_0pmoc

            Your handle “Trowbridge H. Ford aka The Biscuit” is a link to http://the.local

            My handle does not have a link. I don’t even know how to set one up.

            Mark Golding’s handle is a link to http://www.coia.org.uk/

            His works, yours doesn’t and I don’t know how to do it.

            See the difference?

          • fedup

            Tony_ he should be on double dose of the Cholesterol tablets!

            I know he means well, but then he finds shadows even in total illumination.

            =====

            Lysias
            Not only were they in the Iranian waters but they had little time to react with lightening tactics of the Iranian gunboats. In both cases there is a strong case for checking out the reaction times of the Iranians, but you have been in the Navy and you should know about these tricks better.

      • Mark Golding

        On form Tony – well said; -remember Lee Rigby and the attack by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale both known to the security services in which a gauged video was released interwoven with fear for maximum PR.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          Mark,

          Don’t mention Lee Rigby or you will have the heavy mob round (twice) in the middle of the night. It looks like they have finally driven Chris Spivey off the edge. He’s been showing similar symptoms to Annie Machon’s Ex

          I feel sorry for the poor bloke. He was only writing his own stuff on his own blog. No one had to read it. If it was a load of bollocks like most blogs are, why didn’t they just ignore it?
          I hope he gets better.

  • Doug Scorgie

    I see that Tony Blair is offering his “expertise”
    ……………………………………………….

    “Tony Blair hints at role as Brexit negotiator in EU talks that will require ‘serious statesmanship’

    “In an article that will inevitably be seen as an offer by Mr Blair to play a part in the negotiations, the former prime minister says: “There is going to be a negotiation of extraordinary complexity where there are a thousand devils in every detail… This needs serious statesmanship.”

    http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/tony-blair-hints-at-role-as-brexit-negotiator-in-eu-talks-that-will-require-serious-statesmanship/ar-AAhPcIr?li=AA59G2&ocid=spartandhp

      • Chris Rogers

        MJ,

        We can only but live in hope as they say. Lets see what happens with Chilcot and hope Corbyn can drag it out to inflict maximum damage on the Blairites – no more war ever in my name to kill innocent people and for fuck all purpose apart from coin.

  • Shaun Chamberlin

    Setting aside Brexit for a moment, thank you for this more general point. You’re spot on.

    In the words of the late, great David Fleming:
    “The art of recognising the difference between honest argument and fraud has been in poor health of late. That’s good enough for a political economy which is overflowing with the riches of oil and held together by the self-interest of the market, and where there is a range of choice, with plenty of ways to be right, and second chances if you’re wrong. But in our new, urgent world, getting it right matters more. If we are to usefully think through systems-solutions to the climacteric, the first system to be aware of is the system of language, insight and self-deception that guides, or confuses, the way we think.”

    • Eric Smiff

      That chimes with a more general argument against EU, an absence of democracy.

      Peter Shore vs the Treaty of Rome, Margaret Thatcher and Ted Heath. Oxford Union debate, 1975. A speech with more conviction and integrity than the entire, modern ‘shape shifting’ political class.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j-Gb8Pk2Pk

      • Chris Rogers

        Peter Shore, a political giant, indeed many political giants during the 75 Referendum debate, god how Blair destroyed Labour.

        • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

          To call Mr Peter Shore a political giant is to exaggerate somewhat.

          • Chris Rogers

            No, I remember well Peter Shore and the Euro Ref, despite being all but 10, its when i got engaged with politics and became a bit of a Leftie, but fact stands, our politicians in 60’s and 70’s head and shoulders above the crud we have today, be they Labour or Conservative, Heath being to the Left of Blair, which is an insult.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

        I take it you’re referring to Mr Heath’s speech.

  • johnf

    I agree that the lower pound is a good result. Some of the largest pro-Brexit votes were on Tees-side and South Wales. Teeside’s Redcar steel works has gone, but the low pound could bring more work to Margam and other steel towns.

    The only negative bit of manufacturing news I’ve heard in the last week is Siemens’ decision to put its plans for a wind turbine plant at Hull on hold. (But I suspect that it is just posturing. A lot of the plant is already built, I think).

  • James Semple

    What nobody has mentioned is the cry of rage and despair from our disadvantaged fellow citizens that echoes through the Brexit thunderclap.

    I voted Remain; but I live on an adequate pension in a well-resourced area . If I lived on declining benefits in a crumbling post-industrial wasteland, as many do, I might well have voted Brexit to send a signal to the rich bankers and politicians in the smug South who value me so little and Europe so much.

    What a chance for a Corbynist Labour Party to rediscover it’s mission.

    James S.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      James Semple,

      “What a chance for a Corbynist Labour Party to rediscover it’s mission.”

      I totally agree, but there’s a good band on at a local conservative club tomorrow, and I am wondering whether to phone them up – to see if they will let me in. So far as I know, I don’t know anyone who goes there. Different clubs have different policies. Sometimes you have to be invited and signed in by an existing member – sometimes anyone can come in. Clubs tend to have a big advantage over pubs, cos often the people are friendlier – and the beer is much cheaper.

      I have absolutely no intention of joining the conservative party, but may yet join labour.

      Tony

    • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

      James

      You are surely right. But do you not inadvertently put your finger on the point – were these voters really voting on Remain or Brexit or on something else?

  • Eric Smiff

    Totally agree with the general point.However the reason and the reason Boris stepped down is this. The same problem we have in Scotland: Rupert Murdoch.

    “Conservative MP forced to deny Rupert Murdoch ‘owns the Tory party’ after Boris Johnson withdraws from PM race

    Michael Gove’s wife yesterday warned the newspaper mogul “instinctively dislikes Boris” A Tory MP has just been forced to deny Rupert Murdoch was behind today’s shock pulling out by Boris Johnson.

    It comes after Michael Gove’s wife sent a leaked e-mail yesterday warning the newspaper mogul “instinctively dislikes Boris”. She claimed he and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre would be more likely to back a Boris candidacy if he was backed up by Mr Gove. Mr Gove then declared he was standing this morning – followed promptly by Boris pulling out.”

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/conservative-mp-forced-deny-rupert-8316609

    • michael norton

      I expect the Murdoch Media has “got the dirt” on Boris
      and they threatened to make it open,
      if Boris did not withdraw

      but if that theory is correct, why would it matter to the Murdoch media who leads the Conservative party?

      • Tony_0pmoc

        michael norton,

        Most of Boris’ history is already well known – he’s the kind of bloke who can’t keep his mouth shut. Apart from shaggin’ everything in sight (which will probably be an electoral asset), I haven’t heard anything like some of the stuff – most of the others including Miranda have got up to – and Cameron inserting his penis into a dead pig – was exceedingly mild in comparison.

  • Krief

    Thank you Craig.

    This is why I read your blog, even if I find some of your more way-out conspiracy theories difficult to swallow, and disagree quite a lot, and find some of your commenteers obnoxious 🙂

    • Leonard Young

      @Krief

      I broadly agree. This is one of the few blogs where nuanced thinking is the norm, at least from Craig. To be fair the personal vitriol here has calmed down lately, which is a good thing. I’m against artificial window-dressing in order to appease the anti Murray press and other blogs, but when the comments section is peppered with gratuitous insults it turns away visitors who otherwise would be enlightened.

  • Loony

    The lack of intellectual honesty goes much deeper than a few dodgy politicians surrounding themselves with PR spin. It is everywhere and it is all enveloping.

    The global banking system is insolvent – but educated people, great lawyers and professors alike continue to diagnose a liquidity problem. This makes everything worse and guarantees a cataclysmic outcome at some point. The very few people in positions of power that understand are desperate to provoke a large scale war – but even this has the sole purpose of evading the need to recognize systemic insolvency.

    Jeremy Corbyn talks about inequality, fairness and access to opportunity. He does not mention that the UK imports over 50% of its food, and offers no hint as to how this will all work out when insolvency can no longer be denied.

    Individuals speak of the age of reason and can quote great philosophers and yet remain in complete denial that the society in which they live is now intellectually aligned with the most primitive of cargo cults.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Loony,

      The global banking system is a complete mess, and needs completely reforming. Its as if it is running on a virus ridden copy of Windows 3.1. Whether it is insolvent or not, is a matter of opinion – but it certainly is not healthy. More Wars are not going to help. An upgrade to a secure Operating System like UNIX is the least that is required.

      Bill Mitchell stated the following – and he is one of the few economists that makes sense

      “Any one of the EMU nations could become insolvent because they gave up their currency issuing capacity and the ECB has stated they will not be bailed out under Treaty rules. However, Japan, the US and the UK are sovereign and have no insolvency risk. Their central banks can control yields if they desire to and the governments can always meet interest servicing payments.”

      The fact that the UK imports over 50% of its food is only a problem, at the end of the day if we have nothing of value to trade for it. We could in fact grow a lot more food if we really wanted to, but importing a proportion of our food is sensible for several reasons – like Oranges and Bananas don’t grow too well here, and that volcano in Iceland might blow up again and cut out most of the sunlight for a couple of years…if we couldn’t import any food we would be buggered – as I don’t think we have much stored as a contingency reserve.

      If the world splits back into Sovereign Nations who issue their own currency – it should become a lot more stable than under the current manic Washington Dictatorship. Brexit is one of the first steps, so we are showing the World the way.

      The Yanks never did have much of a clue. They just like shooting people and dropping bombs on them.

      Tony

      • Loony

        Solvency is no more a matter of opinion that cancer is a matter of opinion. It is testable.

        There are two limbs to a solvency test and both must be satisfied, One is liquidity, (It is true that all nations with their own currency will always pass the liquidity test) and the second is that assets must exceed the value of liabilities – and it is this second limb that points to systemic insolvency.

        At the moment attempts are being made to inflate the value of assets – and this results (as it must) in greater wealth inequality. People then compare the plight of the poor with a a few dozen people whose notional wealth exceeds that of 50% of the worlds population. But what alternative is there when insolvency will not be recognized?

        A second option is to reduce the value of liabilities. This involves removing peoples entitlements on a large scale – no more pensions, no more free health care. Look at the fuss caused by relatively minor and targeted reductions to entitlements. Poor people get crushed, and liberal people are consumed with outrage at the injustice of the situation. But what alternatives are there when insolvency will not be recognized.

        Thus we see the most enlightened minds consumed with passion as they agonize over the symptoms of the disease, but are absolutely determined not to acknowledge the existence of the disease. It is this that that validates the comparison of even the most able to cargo cultists.

        • Tony_0pmoc

          I have read recently from a highly regarded conventional Medical source that I trust, that almost everyone over the age of 50, if thoroughly diagnosed – with all the tests – will be found to have cancer. He also stated that a high percentage of such cancers are not life threatening, and will have no effect on longevity or quality of life

          He is also highly critical of routine breast cancer screening, and has proven that it does not overall increase longevity.

          Yes some people really are saved from death, as a result of dangerous cancers being detected early and treated – and some people are treated – and the treatment kills them, when if they had not been diagnosed falsely – they would still be alive.

          His name is Dr. Peter Gotzsche and he wrote this book amongst others
          “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare”

          It is completely shocking.

          Tony

        • Tony_0pmoc

          My liabilities have exceeded my assets, almost all my life. I took out a series of mortgages on 3 different houses. I also got married and had kids, and my wife gave up her job, and the interest rate went as high as 15%.

          I was never been declared insolvent, nor did I ever go bankrupt.

          My assets now exceed my liabilities by a considerable amount.

          My wife and I have owned our house for the last 11 years when we finally paid off the mortgage.

          If my liabilities hadn’t exceeded my assets almost all my life, I would probably be skint and homeless by now.

          So as far as I am concerned – your argument doesn’t wash.

          My wife also grows quite a lot of food – and we know how to forage.

          Tony

          • Loony

            In the UK property prices have been consistently inflating for around 40 years. Any mortgage (liability) that you acquired would be unlikely to have offset the value of the house (asset). Even if it did so, it would have only been for short periods of time, and would have been covered by your liquidity.

            A family is also an asset – albeit it is now politically incorrect to say so. Knowledge is an asset with no offsetting liabilities.

            Your description of yourself is the description of a solvent person. That does not alter the fact that you are living in a society that is systemically insolvent.

  • michael norton

    Chancellor George Osborne has abandoned his target to restore government finances to a surplus by 2020.

    It had been the chancellor’s most prized goal and had been driving austerity measures in previous budgets.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36684452

    I would have said BOY GEORGE was/is a person incapable of telling the truth, even if the truth smashed his teeth in.

        • MJ

          How can you come from the former USSR? It’s like saying that Angela Merkel comes from the former Holy Roman Empire.

          • MJ

            Russian Federation I think you’ll find.

            The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany. Wikipedia

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Roman_Empire

        • lysias

          The “Russian” suicide bomber was a Chechen. So was the alleged mastermind. But the American media kept saying the bomber had Russian nationality. Technically true, but highly misleading. Only Democracy Now!, among American media, reported that the bomber was a Chechen.

          • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

            Well, Russia deployed a lot of effort, most of it bloody in the extreme, to keep Chechniya in the Federation, did it not?

            So it is perhaps slightly more than “technically true” and not at all misleading to say that the bombers were of Russian nationality

      • lysias

        RT was also much quicker than the world’s English-language media to report the bombing at Istanbul’s airport. I know, because I was listening to RT at the time, and simultaneously did Google searches to try to find more details. For a long time, the only articles that came up were in German.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

        Three hours difference certainly seems to indicate a major conspiracy.

        • Loony

          The title of this blog could have been written with you in mind.

          The conspiracy is not a 3 hour gap in various news media reporting the event. The conspiracy is the creation of the opportunity for electoral fraud that has caused the courts to determine that the election must be re-run.

          • michael norton

            I meant

            why did it take the BBC three hours longer to release the story

            than it took Russia Today.

            This is very important European democracy news of a high value.

            The BBC is either incompetent or they had to first be told
            which way the story should be spun.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      ‘Austerity’ was never about ‘balancing the books’, just as torture is not about finding ‘ticking bombs’. They are both simply excuses for sadistic psychopaths to inflict pain and suffering on others, and thereby intimidate and terrorise subject populations. As in the UK, so too in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    • nevermiond

      Labour/JC has been badgering the Tories for weeks to drop this target and there are people still saying that Corbyn has done nothing.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Not only the headline. Joe Emersberger is a brilliant commentator.

  • bevin

    I could not agree more. And those who, like me, regard the vote against remaining in the EU must understand that the crucial question, of communities governing themselves, begins with the biblical (so I am informed) injunction which was the motto of the early C20’s most popular socialist weekly :”Come, Let Us Reason Together.”
    The basis of Blairism ,and its many scrawny intellectual siblings, is a buffed up parody of a shouting match in a playground between eight year olds.
    They do not believe that Common People can reason and they are very happy to make sensible discussion and honest dialogue impossible by filling the with insults, half truths and special pleas, one of which is exemplified by the ludicrous charge that Corbyn’s speech yesterday contained anti-semitic insults.
    Sadly the PR ‘industry’ (there is a word which has been emptied of most meaning) is only one part of an intellectual establishment riddled with loud mouthed bullies and back scratching claques. The legal profession appears to train up hundreds of these animals annually.

    • bevin

      Sorry about the first sentence: I meant “favour” the vote or something like that.

      And I would add to “The basis of Blairism ,and its many scrawny intellectual siblings, is a buffed up parody of a shouting match in a playground between eight year olds. With one side making continual appeals to the teachers.”

  • Dude Swheatie of the Kilburn Unemployed

    Thanks for this. I especially concur with your conclusions about politics becoming a branch of PR. It goes back to a song I first heard and read the background to in about 1973 on a Joe McDonald (ex-Country Joe & The Fish at a time when he just wanted to be known as ‘Joe McDonald’) live album, ‘Tricky Dicky’.

    The song is based on the New York Times best seller by Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President. The song is especially good at highlighting how PR focuses on ‘solutions’ without particularly investigating the kind of juvenile political discourse that has preceded the current situation.

    And I would argue that the transition of Bill Gates from ‘software developer’ to ‘global philanthro-capitalist’ has been marked by manipulation of contract law, business acumen and substantial PR.

    When Windows 95 emerged on the scenes from 1995, for example, it became the ‘standard platform’ for desktop computing in the conventional office world; and government-funded computer skills training schemes became a means for ‘training companies’ then focused on that as a ‘welfare to work’ avenue. Some of those companies were better than others in terms of my own experience of ‘user-outcomes’, yet the worst tended to go in for over-subscription at the expense of under-provision. Four class loads of trainees in the latter were whisked through one training room in a day, maximising the amount of profit and minimising ‘user-friendly access to equipment’. In my experience, the better companies had the disadvantage that the Training & Enterprise Councils ruled against trainees — even with learning difficulties — returning to them. I was told patronisingly that they would not send me back to a training company that I was satisfied with for consolidation in the same kind and level of training. “We don’t want you to become institutionalised,” the Focus TEC for Central London told me when I asked for help in getting Level 1 training in Microsoft Office beyond word processing.

    One of the shoddier standard companies tended to shunt trainees for half the day of a 5-day week into ‘open learning’ that was supposed to be devoted to ‘jobsearch’. We were told by Head of Jobsearch to submit photocopies of our CV for each job, and to do a minimum of 16 job applications per week, recorded in a ‘jobsearch portfolio’ to be submitted each week. I got told off for “not devoting enough time for job search.” In fact after spending most of the week skimping what spare Personal Computer access I could get at that company in customising my CV to the job application in hand. I had also spent a whole weekend perfecting the required handwritten letter, making six drafts before sending off my application. Crucially in terms of results though, that one written job application got me an interview; most other ‘trainees’ had no interviews to record. That was in 1998.

    By June 2000, a home PC bought for by my mum on the advice of my earlier, excellent Information Communications Technology trainer who had helped me achieve my NVQ Level 1 about 5 months after the initial, funded training, helped me acquire the ‘underpinning knowledge’ to pass the entry test for a Web Development training course with a ‘Positive About Disabled People’ and ‘Investor in People’ award winning charity in SE London. Yet Blairite politics reared its ugly head when I challenged their administrator over the extent of the curriculum vs the six-week duration and no guarantee of a work placement. “I agree with you,” she told me; but the Government has told us to halve the length of training so as to double the amount of throughput.”

    In September 2000, having decided to turn down the offer of a place on that course, I was one of several disgruntled ex-jobcentre funded trainees to contact the then BBC2 Working Lunch programme following Immigration Minister Barbara Roache MP’s speech to Labour Party Autumn Conference announcing ‘special green card status’ for people with special skills from abroad.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Dude Swheatie of the Kilburn Unemployed,

      You think you have got it hard…A friend of mine who is a bit older than me in his 60’s was doing very well, and seemed perfectly happy, until his partner (he never married her) got ill – fell out with him – chucked him out of the house, changed her will – so he got nothing – and then she died.

      He was completely homeless except for a stroke of good fortune – a friend of mine – I knew he had a small flat that was empty…But this guy had never claimed dole – he had never been on benefits – he had virtually no experience of computers – and so he went to ask for help – and they told him to claim online – and he didn’t have a clue how to do it.

      He is quite a good musician and has survived the last few years – by busking.

      Tony

  • Salford Lad

    One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the economic ,political and foreign policy issues of the Brexit decision.
    When the 2 biggest ,snake oil salesmen in the Western Hemisphere, Cameron and Obama, recommend a Remain Vote, that is enough for a citizen with a modicum of common sense to vote Leave.
    You cannot go far wrong heading in the opposite direction to those 2 shysters.

      • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

        Highest level since 2015, eh? That was last year, wasn’t it? 🙂

        BTW, it seems the GBP has fallen to its lowest level against the Euro since…..how many years?

        • Loony

          November 2013 is the answer to your question – so just over 2.5 years ago.

          Do try to remember that it remains official policy to weaken sterling – hence Mr. Carney’s currency weakening verbal intervention of yesterday.

          • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

            GBP at its lowest level against the USD for 33 years.

          • Alcyone: The Age when Eagles are Creepy Toothless Crocodiles

            Loony can you provide a link for that assertion please?

            Habby great for exports though. And the British Govt, when we have one, should waste no time in encouraging entrepreneurs, young, experienced or foreign in investing in Britain.

            Has anyone pointed out that the UK itself comprises a single market of 65 million people?

  • Uzmark

    Just lack of Honesty in general. Couldn’t believe anything the politicians said in the campaign. And you knew here was media spin on top of everything. In that respect Corbyn is a breath of fresh air that the others should learn from, not mock.

  • Republicofscotland

    This is a interesting article, by Dr Kirsty Hughes, Dr Hughes, spends a lot of time in Brussels and speaks to many influencial EU reps off the record, so to speak.

    In the article Dr Hughes hints that Brussels is considering putting Scotland in a “transitional holding pen” to avoid Scotland being dragged out of Europe.

    However with both France and Spain opposed to any kind of entry for Scotland into the EU in its present state. A independence referendum would need to be implimented by Scots as soon as possible, the reason for the haste is, that the transitional holding pen, would have a very short shelf life.

    The point of the transitional holding pen, would be to make it easier for Scotland to enter the EU. 2017 appears to be Dr Hughes ideal time to hold the referendum.

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/independence-is-the-simplest-way-for-scotland-to-stay-in-the-eu-msps-are-told.19467

    In my opinion, Dr Hughes haste to hold the referendum appears logical, it would be better to hold indy ref 2, before Westminster concludes its exit deal with the EU. I feel then the prospect of Scottish independence would diminish somewhat. As Westminster would be able to focus its gaze entirely on subduing Scottish independence.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Why don’t you make Charles Crawford aware of this over on the EU thread? It might wipe the self-satisfied little smirk off his face a little bit.

      • Republicofscotland

        JSD.

        John if you wish to make Mr Crawford aware of the article, then, by all means, be my guest. ?

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I can’t be bothered with him. I’ve told him what I think of him and I’ve hard dealings with him before. Not to worry.

          • MJ

            I felt rather lonely when I visited the blog of Charles “Comments 0” Crawford.

    • Republicofscotland

      Trying to add a little gravitas, to my 14.36pm, comment, on the need for a rather smartish indy ref, another poll, seems favourable for the independence camp. However, throwing caution to the wind, on the back of a few polls so close the Brexit vote (could be feeling running high and not much more) could backfire, one might call it “doing a Boris.”

      http://www.thenational.scot/politics/latest-polls-continue-to-show-majority-support-for-an-independent-scotland.19380

  • Republicofscotland

    I wonder has intellectual honesty ever been a part of anicent or modern politics ?

    Addressing that, I see Jackie Baillie and Johan Lamont are among 13 Labour MSP’s, including Iain Gray, to have signed a letter calling for Jeremy Corbyn to stand down.

    Staying on Corbyn’s woe’s and they just seem to keep coming, as chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, attacked Jeremy Corbyn over his remark on Israel and ISIS, as anti-Semitic, and outrageous.

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/more-pressure-on-jeremy-corbyn-as-chief-rabbi-calls-remark-anti-semitic.19469

      • Republicofscotland

        JSD.

        Yes John, Corbyn does have support North of the border, in Alex Rowley, Neil Findlay, Richard Leonard and others, in Scottish Labour.

        In my above comment I was pointing out some notorious Scottish Labour MSP’s, who vehemently opposed Scottish independence, now unsurprisingly opposing Jeremy Corbyn.

    • giyane

      Mossad runs both. Israel and IS, I mean, not Red Tories and Blue Tories.I’m not that much of a conspiraloon to dare to suggest that ! @@. Not not. In a political world composed of flat dishonesty, thought police scarecrows have to be placed to dissuade thinkers from eating the crops.

      Brexit was like the chief crow landing on the scarecrows’ turnip head and eating the carrot

    • john young

      Why shouldn,t Israel be exposed for it,s genocide of Palestinians,it,s unequal control of the media and it,s involvement in terrorist activity,what is so special about Israel/Israelis that they should be exempt from scrutiny/criticism,is it that Mossad has the dirt on so many of the elite? sounds plausible.

      • Republicofscotland

        John Young.

        I agree, however timing is everything, and in reality (though the press have blown it out of proportion) a meeting to discuss anti-semitism within the Labour party, wasn’t the right time to mention Israel, Netanyahu and Islamic State, all in the one sentence.

        It might be considered, ill timed, but in my opinion it wasn’t a insidious remark.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

      Sacks’s intervention is, in my opinion, truly despicable and outrageous, but tells us an awful deal about just who is behind the ‘Get Corbyn’ campaign.

  • Republicofscotland

    So the UK has been dragged out of the EU, on a oneupmanship game played out within the Tory party. As Nicola Sturgeon said at FMQ’s the other day.

    ” it was unforgivable that, the UK government, did no planning. For the prospect of a vote to leave the EU.”

    Intellectual honesty indeed.

    Boris Johnson one of the main protagonists in the oneupmanship game, was either usurped by his running mate Michael Gove, or Boris realised his mettle isn’t up to the job of bartering for a good deal with EU reps, probably a bit of both applies, if you ask me.

    So like a rat fleeing a sinking ship Boris, with his customary smirk on his plumpish face, as if it were all a game, and it probably is to him, appeared reluctantly to admit he wasn’t in the running for the position of Tory leader, and PM.

    Lord Heseltine, a man who’ll probably be remembered for his helicopter debacle, rather than any political kudos he acquired in office, summed up the actions of Boris Johnson rather well, when he said.

    “He has ripped the Tory party apart, he has created the greatest constitutional crisis in peacetime in my life. He has knocked billions off the value of the savings of the British people. He’s like a general who marches his army to the sound of the guns and the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it”

    • giyane

      Publisher Heseltine has a great regard for the sound of his own voice. Boris was right when he called for Britain to trade globally and put 2 fingers up to federal Europe. But he committed the heinous sin of stabbing Thatcher spawn Cameron. Teflon Dave’s not going to forgive him for that.

      • Republicofscotland

        Giyane.

        I personally think Boris Johnson pulled himself out of the running to be the next leader of the Tories and PM. I think Johnson realised that he didn’t have what it takes to be the figure head of the UK government, and his somewhat bumbling tomfoolery attitude, and muffled orations, would’ve hindered rather than helped get the nations point across.

        Michael Gove however is a far more eloquent and forthright speaker, similar to the mould of David Cameron, if not stature. Gove appears to think article 50, will not be invoked this year, and I tend to agree with him, how could it when no firms plans have been put in place with regards to Brexit. I’d even go as far as to say that the British government, aren’t even sure what those plans will be yet.

        • giyane

          RoS
          Cameron has a gut, like a cat, which is useful for measuring the political barometer. Boris Johnson has a brain which is useful for understanding the world.

          Thinking honestly , as so rightly Craig points out, is not a skill most grab-it politicians have much use for.

          Here’s one who does it for a living: http://www.voltairenet.org/article192607.html

          • Republicofscotland

            This from your link Giyane.

            “The Brexit campaign was largely supported by the Gentry and Buckingham Palace, who mobilised the popular Press to call for a return to independence.”

            And this.

            “Contrary to the boastful claims of Nigel Farage, UKIP was not the originator of the referendum it has just won. The decision was imposed on David Cameron by the members of the Conservative Party.”

            Correct me if I’m wrong Giyane, but, didn’t David Cameron and some of his cabinet, Theresa May, for example, as well as part of the press, campaign to remain in the EU ?

            I recall quite clearly the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, warning not just the public but Westminster that Brexit would damage the economy.

            Why would the Tories a pro-capitalist political party, damage their influencial party donors interests, by wiping millions if not billions off their market shares?

            No I think the internal struggle within the Tory party, has led to the Brexit situation.

        • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

          Happy to say I agree with most of what you say here, RoS. Good post.

        • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

          RoS

          What you wrote about the Brexiteer leadership reminds me a little of that company which was floated during the South Sea Bubble mania seeking investors “for a purpose to be revealed”.

          It seems it did pull in quite a few investors…… 🙂

          • Republicofscotland

            Habb.

            Yes I suppose you could say that, a kind of meme could connect the two, in the sense that the Spanish controlled South America, yet a monopoly of the region was given by a British stock company.

            You could compare in modern terms to a certain degree, the Spanish control of South America, as the EU, and the British stock companies, as the Brexiteers.

      • Leonard Young

        @giyane

        Yes, Heseltine seems to have forgotten his own narcissism and back stabbing of Thatcher, and the idea that he might have been doing anyone a favour in doing so is contradicted by his time in government. BTW, Heseltine did not make his initial fortune through publishing but by doing up properties in London then selling them at a vast profit, later used to gain access to a more “legitimate” business so as to hide the origins of his wealth.

        • Leonard Young

          …and I should add that the largest proportion of Heseltine’s current wealth from publishing was through selling large amounts of property owned by Haymarket and associated companies. In that sense Heseltine is however no different from the nation’s favourite “entrepreneur” Sugar, whose wealth for many years now has nothing to do with anything he has produced but almost solely as a result of property speculation in yet another bubble.

          Carney is about to encourage an even greater bubble through his threatened lowering of BoE interest rates to below the already absurd 0.5%.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain

            Re. the Sugarman, always remember, ‘Interest grows without rain’. Old proverb.

      • Republicofscotland

        Loney.

        I very much doubt it, Britain had several EU allies back then, even if one or two have now been absorbed into modern day nations, such as Prussia. In any case I’m under the impression, Lord Heseltine is pro-EU.

        If anything, it will be Michael Gove a ardent Brexiteer, if he becomes PM, who’ll have to deal with EU bigwigs.

        Id imagine that Lord Heseltine, and several others, on seeing the UK ripped out of Europe on a Tory whim, might cast his mind towards infamous words of Napoleon.

        In September 1815, en route to St. Helena, Napoleon lamented,

        “Ah! If it (the Battle of Waterloo) were only to be done over again!”

        I’m sure several prominent Brexiteers, might just be thinking the same way now, in the cold light of day.

    • MJ

      “He has ripped the Tory party apart, he has created the greatest constitutional crisis in peacetime in my life. He has knocked billions off the value of the savings of the British people. He’s like a general who marches his army to the sound of the guns and the moment he sees the battleground he abandons it”

      He could just as easily have been talking about Cameron.

      • Republicofscotland

        MJ.

        Yes you do have a point, a prime example, would be David Cameron’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, who seemed more relieved than upset at having to scrap his plan to reduce the deficit, and balance the books.

        • michael norton

          Chicken George had promised to give the pensioners a punishment beating, if they went against the government wishes
          ( and voted for BREXIT) now his is rowing backwards to save his slimy skin.
          What a cowardly turd.

  • Ben Monad

    “Cohn’s article makes the broader point that the same dynamic put in place in the U.S. by the New Democrats and the Republicans has occurred in the UK with the BREXIT vote, but fails to explain that Tony Blair consciously modeled “New Labour” on the Clinton’s “New Democrats” and adopted a broad range of the Tories’ policies. New Labour’s adoption of the same contempt for labor and anti-labor policies pioneered by the Clintons produced the same horrific results for the working class in much of the UK that the New Democrats’ policies produced in the U.S. It also produced the same smoldering rage in much of the working class and resulting loss of support of the working class for the Labour Party that the New Democrat’s produced in the U.S.

    Across the postindustrial world, the populist right is excelling in the old bastions of the left.

    If there is a lesson for the United States in the decision by British voters to exit the European Union, it is the importance of the emerging split between the beneficiaries of multicultural globalism and the working-class ethno-nationalists who feel left behind. These issues have the potential to overcome longstanding partisan ties, even in the United States.”

    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/06/terrible-cost-democrats-nation-ignoring-tom-franks-warnings.html

    • bevin

      Michael Hudson has a similar view.
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/01/the-silence-of-the-left-brexit-euro-austerity-and-the-ttip/

      “What used to be a socialist left has been silent about the fact that there are very good reasons for people to say that this is not the kind of Europe they want to be a part of. It is becoming a dead zone. And it cannot be “democratized” without replacing the Lisbon and Maastricht treaties on which it is founded, and removing German opposition to public spending on recovery for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and other countries….
      What is remarkable is that in the face of rising resentment by the “losers” from neoliberalism – the 99 Percent – only the nationalist right-wing parties have criticized the EU’s neoliberalism and the T-TIP. The formerly left-wing Socialist parties of France and Spain, German Social Democrats, Greek Socialists and so forth have endorsed the neoliberal, pro-financial program of austerity and rollbacks on labor union power, wages and pensions.”

      “…So the great problem of our time is how to create an alternative to neoliberalism, the TPP and TTIP that is pro-labor and pro-environmental…here is another European economy that is possible. But it cannot be built on the current foundations. It is necessary to break up the eurozone to rebuild a pro-labor Europe.”

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

    Macky

    Have you noticed that Giyane is back and that, accordingly, your statement that “several” people had been driven off this blog as a result of moderation has become even more fanciful? An apology for slurring the moderators would also be gracious of you.

    • Macky

      I don’t hold the Mods responsible for Craig’s mistaken policy of treating very common words as trigger words for pre-moderation. I’ve already told him what I think of this idiot policy.

      Yes, happy to see that Giyane is back posting.

  • k999

    “Politics has become a branch of PR.” Nothing new. In ancient Greece when all would-be politicians had to learn oratory skills (rhetorics). Same was in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, if trusting Wikipedia.

    • lysias

      But in Athens most political posts were filled by average citizens chosen by lot. The ten generals, who were the highest executive officials, were elected. But the only other exceptions to be elected were financial officials whose offices demanded special expertise.

    • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

      I remember reading somewhere that when James Callaghan – the “keeper of the cloth cap” as he was often referred to for his pro-union sympathies (“In Place of Strife” refers…) – once attended the Durham Miners Gala during his premiership he was introduced from the platform simply as “Callaghan”. No “Prime Minister”, not even a “Mr”.

      • Republicofscotland

        I suppose it could have been worse for Callaghan, if it had been the Wheeltappers and Shunters social club, where compere, Bernard Manning, often took the piss out of those he introduced. ?

        Still I suppose Callaghan must’ve had something, a certain “jen ne sais quoi” as he was the only PM, I think to hold all four senior government posts.

        • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella!)

          Correct.

          But re an earlier one of yours – why did you mention South America when I wrote about the South Sea Bubble?

          • Republicofscotland

            Oh never mind old boy, the three water cannons bought by Boris are up for sale at £200,000 pounds,, a snip I might add, I’m sure one would look good sitting in your driveway, you could water your begonias at the same time.

            Come to think of it you could water your neighbours and their neighbours as well without getting your feet wet. ?

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