30 July 2010


Basketful of UTers

Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long your values don't change.

-Jane Goodall


  1. Ooooh...a basket full of Bracken New Labour Pointers. How very emetic. Remember kids: a lap-dog's not just for Christmas...

  2. ...with a bit of luck, there'll be some left over for Boxing day.

  3. Morning all

    Late for work....ugh! There's just enough time to say see you in the Rutland speedy, from about 5pm. I'll look out for your stripy shirt. I'll be the old bag in the corner (in the garden if it's not raining) - I'll wear a beret!

    MsC/Princess - I do hope you'll come - don't leave me all alone with these argumentative fellas.

    Not much of a meal in those wee doggies - all yapping and fur balls...

  4. morning.
    have fun all meety-up types! remember - photos...

    apropos of absolutely nothing, save that it made me laugh - begging letter received today from the ol' alma mater. in amongst the 'deep' bon mots about 'thinking' was this gem:
    we top every uk university league table. but we need more chairs
    right. so they want £1.25billion for furniture?


  5. Morning all,

    some interesting comments at the tail end of last night regarding the widepsread apathy towards the dismantling of the welfare state and the fact the bankers appear to have gotten away with it with no change to the system of capital relations.

    I've been reading 'Selections form prison otebooks' by Antonio Gramsci (written in the 1930's) and came across this exceptionally insightful quote into capitalist crisis and lack of resistance:

    “A crisis cannot give the attacking forces the ability to organize with lightning speed in time and space; still less can it endow them with fighting spirit. Similarly, the defenders are not demoralized, nor do they abandon their positions, even among the ruins, nor do they lose faith in their own strength or in their own future … Mass ideological factors always lag behind mass economic phenomena … therefore, at certain moments, the automatic thrust due to the economic factor is slowed down, obstructed or even momentarily broken by traditional ideological elements - hence, there must be a conscious, planned struggle to ensure that the exigencies of the economic position of the masses, which may conflict with the traditional leadership’s policies, are understood. An appropriate political initiative is always necessary to liberate the economic thrust from the dead weight of traditional policies.”

    Food for thought??

  6. Interesting discussion you guys had when I was in the land of nod!

    @ Scherf – What’s the point of writing on Cif?

    Not a great deal, but I find it useful as it gives me some practice in arguing against those I disagree with. The neo-liberal agenda expressed by most ATL and (perhaps even more important) the parroted ‘opinions’ of many BTL are a reflection of the attitudes held by many ‘out there’.

    They reflect the reality that the left has indeed ceased to be a significant opinion former, mainly I think as a result of its embracing identity politics instead of class politics. We are constantly being told that ‘socialism can never work’ that ‘the left is dead’ and so on. Tell a lie often enough ……

    Especially if the lie is not contradicted. Cif gives us one way to contradict it. The trouble is some of us have been doing it for years and we are getting a bit battle weary.

    I sometimes think that even here I seem to be ‘banging on’ about Marxism too much. The sheer weight of contrary opinion ‘out there’ is too much sometimes.

    But the Duke's quote from Gramsci is very much to the point. Patience is the by-word at the moment I think.

    And of course real life is still the best forum.

  7. Duke
    I find Gramsci very pertinent today and his thoughts sum up exactly what is happening today...I found this spot on, especially from an Italian perspective,but no doubt is symptomatic throughout "democratic" societies, it's from an article published in 1921 in L'Ordine Nuovo:

    "The masses don’t exist politically, if they are not framed in political parties: the mutations of opinion which are verified through the masses under the pressure of the determined economic forces are interpreted by parties which first divide by tendency, and than divide in a multiplicity of new organic parties: through this process of disarticulation, neoassociation and fusion between homogenates, is revealed a more profound and intimate process of the decomposition of democratic society for the definite diversion of classes in a struggle for the conservation or the conquest of the power of the State and its power on the functions of production."

  8. @ Hank 01:07 this morning. You have summed up the situation far better than I have. The problem for the left, or at least any left worthy of the name, is how do we tackle globalised capitalism?

    We badly need a discussion around this, the basic tenets of Marxism do still hold but at the present capitalism seems to be, even during this crisis, very powerful. There is however a lot of anger, the suicide bomber is the ultimate expression of anger as a destructive force. The question is how do we turn that anger into a constructive force.

    The answer remains the same, its not glamorous, its not heroic, its mostly routine Agitate! Educate! Organise!

    For years I argued with my basic skills tutor colleagues, saying they should join a union. A few months after I left the management began to use bullying tactics. I met one of them at that time she said ‘You always said we should join a union and you were right’.

    They had all joined a union!

    In Britain today the management is using bullying tactics – watch this space (and keep on arguing for socialism on here, on Cif EVERYWHERE!)

    I’m hoping that all you celebrationists tomorrow night will not talk too much about bloody football or the intricacies of popmusak , and have some time left over for praktical political positive creative thinking

    I second that!

  9. Final comment on last night -
    If I'm, say, a social worker working for a government agency or non-profit and I know that by saving my employer money, there will be more money available to provide services for the people we're trying to help -- I'm going to try to save money. However, if I'm doing the same job, trying to provide the same services, but for a profit-making corporation and I know that any savings I generate would just end up in bigger dividend checks for the stockholders -- I've got no incentive to try

    With you there 100% I saw being careless with my organisation’s money as tantamount to stealing from my students – who were mostly very disadvantaged. It was run by a local authority.

  10. This post by MonkEastmen on CiF is rather good, and indirectly addresses the Marxists here too:

    Most things have more than one factor working for and against them, and so it is with Soviet communism - your points about moving from feudalism straight to communism carry weight. But overall you're still off the mark. You say:

    "Your mistake is the usual one of mistaking socialism for just another choice in the political supermarket."

    No, your mistake is to see it as anything but a choice ('supermarket' was a loaded addition, suggesting as it does corporate anonymity, uniformity, blandness...) - it really is a choice, and one which was turned down. There's just no getting away from that. No amount of foreign interference by mysterious 'money classes' can sway that all the way (some of the way, yes). As was shown, no amount of terror and oppression by domestic tyrants can make it any more palatable to the masses either. It loses in every way.

    "The money classes show time and again that they are prepared to spill as much blood as it takes to hang on to their privileges."

    As do those who will sacrifice any number of people who achieve their own vision of the future. If people have been longing for communism, and post-industrialism is a necessary pre-condition, then why is there no serious communist political force in the (class-conscious) west today?

    After the 2008 crash, conditions should have been perfect, but 'the masses' inched to the right. Presumably 'false consciousness' explains that? Because that's one of the most condescending ideas ever dreamt up, and lends itself completely to totalitarianism - if the workers are too stupid to see what's going on, then it's moral to whip them into shape, whether they want it or not.

    |t's fine to argue for a particular ideology, but ultimately it'll be tested by democratic means. That's a bitter lesson that extremists - both right and left - need to come to terms with. Marxism (understood as I said before) failed that test throughout the 20th century, which is why its ideologues had to do away with democracy, sharpish. Now that's not an option, and the ballot box is the only path to power, Marxism is once again eliciting shrugs from the public.

    I can almost understand that after a certain amount of investment of time and energy into something which ultimately disappoints, denial starts to look like a better option than facing the facts. That's your choice, but it's one between permanent irrelevance and engaging with the world as it actually is.

    Better late than never, perhaps?

  11. "There is however a lot of anger, the suicide bomber is the ultimate expression of anger as a destructive force. The question is how do we turn that anger into a constructive force."

    You'll fail, annetan, because you hopelessly misinterpret the geopolitical significance of religious fundamentalism. The idea that London's suicide bombers can be adopted for the peaceful Marxist revolution is LOL preposterous.

  12. Peter,

    on WADDYA yesterday you displayed a complete lack of understanding as to what dialectical materialism is and now you're on here lecturing us about the faults of Marxism?

    As my Grandad would say, you're simply opening your mouth and letting your belly rumble.

  13. gandolfo,

    excellent quote and sums up the age of Berlusconi where his political party was set up purely to forward his own interests. The quote also sums up his 'cultural hegemony' theory that to control the masses you must instill your values as their values.

    As I'm working through Gramsci (and I do find some of it quite dense, maybe because I am..) the amount of pertinent and relevant observations to today's situation is amazing.

    You'll also like this entry from the Viz Profanisaurus:

    titti politti n. Ital
    The policy of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party regarding the recruitment of its female parliamentary representatives.


    I'm very much in agreement with you. I struggle to think back to the mythical age when the masses rose up as one against capitalist crisis. There were the usuual complaints last night that discussing these things on the internet replaces direct action.

    If this is the case, then any analysis of the past shows there really wasn't much difference between the apathy today and the apathy shown after 1929. There was no mass rising in Britain, France or the USA. People starved or survived whilst the economic crisis took its toll.

    There was no general strikes in Britain, the 1930's saw Baldwin and Chamberlain's Conservatives in the ascendancy. Everyone looks back with moist eyes to the Jarrow march. A noble endeavour but that was about it.

    And of course the populations of the West allowed their leaders to take them into an even more destructive war almost passively.

    We only got the Welfare State due to millions giving the ultimate sacrafice in WWII.

    Indeed I think in many ways we have a better society today- less deference, more awareness of the politcal class machinations and contact with each other.

    So yes, while we can argue the usefulness of howling into the internet void, I don't think we are any more apathetic than in the mythic golden age of labour relations in the past.

    The bosses were in charge then and the bosses are in charge now.

  14. Mornin all,

    LOved Montana's last on the thread last night!

    As my Grandad would say, you're simply opening your mouth and letting your belly rumble.

    My granny's version was "He's all mouth and trousers" Never backing up his claims, never addressing the awkward questions, resorting to ad homs. I think it's quite sad really.

  15. A basket case of UTers more like!

    A battle of minds of Peter Bracken vs Anne Tan, I wonder who will come out top.

    Peronaslly I hope the 21st century finally sees the banishment of 'left' and 'right' from the political consciousness.

    Laugh at us if you which, but our generation are more like 'i phone apps' in our approach to politics. We pick and choose what suits us. That is why I see no problem in having some views that are politically left and some that are politically right. There is no contradiction in terms because the left and the righ as monolothic and static entities does not appeal to us. Indeed among many of my my peer group, we find it amusing that much of the 19th and nearly all of 20th century politics fitted into this left/right discourse

  16. Er, Duke, you wrote:

    "I fall pretty much into the Aristotelian-Marxist dialectical materialist conception of Historical progress."

    Which is just a fug of pompous boilerplate labels. Don't think you're best suited to chide postmodernists about their impenetrable language.

  17. well, I understood what he meant.

    and i'm not that penetrating, mostly...

  18. Quite sad that people of that moral and intelecual calibre will probably be a NuLab MP before too long. But as he is adept at ignoring the poor and marginalised he'll be a shoe in...

  19. Hello everybody

    Jessica has just 'wondered' if it is worth asking ATOS if they want the right to reply.

    Ally now getting woried that funding to vol support networks is being cut - this has been my suspicion from the start. The funding will leave the not for profit sector and go into the private.

    Ho hum.

  20. Leni

    I saw that and responded with an "oh i think so!"

    titti politi...LOL

    the fact that the masses have no proper ideological or practical political representation is actually the crux of the problem though, how can a democracy function as a democracy when people are disenfranchise because the political powers that be don't for one minute want or have any desire to actually represent them?

  21. Nap

    In many ways you are right - it's not just the younger generation thinking that way.

    L + R are ways of framing an argument. The battle is about the recognition of our common humanity, how we define and implement human rights (just what are they?) and how do we redistribute resources among us to ensure a fairer system.

    It is not an argument which can be solved by any one nation in isolation. The world is too interdependent. It is also about militarism, how commodities are traded, markets cornered and the control bought by wealth and a willingness to kill - directly or indirectly- to maintain an imbalance.

    There are the ever present arguments around the ability of money to make money - breeding itself like bacteria - why some make millions doing nothing out of yellow cake trading while the people digging it out with their bare hands get paid pennies a day.

    So the old L/R thing about capital and labour is still relevant - we forget that at our peril.

  22. Quiet here today, you all in the pub already? ; )

  23. PeterB
    You'll fail, annetan, because you hopelessly misinterpret the geopolitical significance of religious fundamentalism. The idea that London's suicide bombers can be adopted for the peaceful Marxist revolution is LOL preposterous.

    It would be if thats what I said! Obviously the people who become suicide bombers (London's or anyone elses') are unlikely to be turned around. But generalised anger that people are feeling needs a positive constructive outlet if we are to achieve a society that even stands a chance of being half way fair to the whole human race.

    Please please please don't keep quoting soviet 'communism' as 'proof that socialism has failed. Soviet communism was NOT democratic and to suceed socialism has to be that.

    Like most people in the west you have been taught to fear what is the logical conclusion to the works of Karl Marx - the creation of a society that provides REAL opportunity and a decent life for all.

    Surely you agree that we are very far from that now or do you subscribe to the view that its tough but it can't get any better? Easy for some to say that Peter - try saying that to my unemployed miner friend who is a decent man and deserves better. AS are the vast majority of the long term unemployed in this country and the starving in the third world.

    Throughout history people have struggled to improve the lot of the common man and throughout history there have been people who say such a project is doomed to failure.

    Richard II said to the peasants 'Serfs ye are and serfs ye shall remain'

    Are we still serfs?

  24. Mcuh to think about eh Leni.

    Meanwhile the Guardian is offering yet another of it's career advice sessions. This is why I get dissilisioned with the Graun, in many ways all it is about is perpetuating middle class privilege- the middle class careers advice being an example. Many of these careers require you to have a degree, for no other point but to create a raised bar to stop people without degrees getting ideas above their station.

  25. Hi turm, you mentioned somebody becoming a NuLab MP, why not a NuTory ? Ain't much difference is there .

  26. Charlie

    It is about values - how we apportion value - worth - to each other.

    Ancient argument - the sages, wisemen, religious leaders and soothsayers were highly valued. This was an early division of the 'educated' and the not.

  27. Morning all,

    Hank/Leni (from last night)

    The US has definitely tried the same 'We're going to give you money for that resource, and then you're going to give most of it back to our firms for x, y or z, and then we'll look the other way while you do what you want with what's left, oh, but only if you sign this agreement, treaty and this accord first, obviously..' approach, that they used in Saudi Arabia, for example, but, increasingly, the governments here in Lat Am are, slowly, but surely, telling 'em to go f@ck themselves.

    Obviously, there are degrees, and some have embraced that approach more than others (Chavez being a more extreme example...) but more and more there seems a general willingness to redirect that wealth back to the sections of society that most need it, and looking for more sustainable and equitable solutions to the regions problems.

    There's still a ways to go, clearly, and corruption, inefficiency and, sometimes, incompetence are still rife, but there's some interesting decisions being made here all the time, that go against the imposition of other, less helpful ones from outside, or from the elites within.

    It's certainly going to prove interesting over the next decade or so, seeing whether this shift can become more permanent, or just a temporary plot twist in the same old story...

    And with regards to situation in the UK, what I was suggesting last night, is that Lat Am, perhaps surprisingly, gives me cause to be slightly less pessimistic.

    It sounds a bit wishy-washy, but the shift towards democracy, and more recently, the left, here, was achieved despite overwhelming odds.

    Obviously, it helped when the West decided that 'democracy' was on the agenda again, but that merely served as the final push for many people, groups and movements which had still continued to exist during some pretty bleak times.

    Some, like the Tropicalia movement, had been brilliant at getting a message, and vision across, via music, literature and art, in a way which could not be easily repressed ('You can stop me from playing a song, you can stop them from singing a song, but you can't remove the song from their heads...').

    So any way, my point (if you're still with me), is that, if a shift can happen here, where delivering a message, 're-education', and affecting change were extremely hard, given the almost total lack of an arena/tools/freedom to do so, when the slightest dissent was severely punished, I can't help but think that in the UK, it can be achieved when only a few more dominoes fall in the right place at the right time!!

    Again though, maybe.....

  28. @ f2 I'm sure that he'd nail his colours to whatever mast offered the most. It's the hiding behind 'I'm a leftie' that get's my goat. How left wing can you be when you comit fraud in the stockmarket? Unless you distribute all your ill gotten gains amongst the homeless, you are just another opportunistic mamon worshipper.

  29. Nap 'left' and 'right' are just labels for materially existing forces in society.

    Society is divided into those who benefit from capitalism (the capitalists) and those who are exploited by it (the working class). Their interests are mutually antagonistic . The only way the unity you crave can be achieved is by the removal of the fundamental cause of disunity - this actual division of society into two basic classes the right favours the capitalist the left the worker. When there are no workers and no capitalists but one united people then there will be no left and right.

    You cannot abolish the politics without abolishing the basic material cause of the politics - economic inequality.

  30. Peter Bracken

    Which is just a fug of pompous boilerplate labels. Don't think you're best suited to chide postmodernists about their impenetrable language.

    You think it's impenetrable? Well, I really have overestimated you. You rail against Marxism whilst admitting you have no idea what Marxist dialectical materialism is and it's conception of Historical progress.

    I suppose someone who believes Niall Ferguson to be a 'superb, erudite Historian' would have trouble understanding basic philosophical and historical concepts.

    To paraphrase the glamorous woman in the Ferrero Rocher Ambassadors advert:

    "Monsiuer, with this hilarious display of unaware ignorance you are really spoiling us"

    Please keep it up.

  31. Anne:

    I'm not against 'real opportunity and a decent life for all.' Think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who is.

    But you'll find us disagreeing on the means, and probably the definitions.

    The enduring strength of capitalism is its ability to meet the needs of societies - and those needs overwhelmingly relate to rising health and living standards. Secular free market democracies are progressive polities, and it shows in the improving lifestyles of their peoples.

    This is the sense in which I'm privileged, not because i went to public school (I didn't) or because I haven't experienced poverty (I most certainly have).

    I'm all for targeted welfare provision. One radical feminist proposal - to salary primary carers - would have my full support. At a stroke this would attribute value to child rearing, elevate the status of the role and - crucially - improve the life chances of children in poverty. Of course, the cost of such an initiative would be enormous, which is why its pale alternative in the form of child benefit prevails. But feminism should pursue stretching, material goals that transform lives, not objectives that satisfy outlandish fads, which is what the androgynous society some gender feminists call for amounts to.

    For starters, it should have more to say about the taxation mindset that can’t escape the fetish with pre-tax income. Martin O’Neill has recently outlined the rationale whereby “tax justice dissolves into the broader question of overall social justice.” As he says:

    The question to ask is not whether the "tax burden" is fairly spread, but whether the full set of economic and political institutions within a society leaves nobody unjustifiably badly off.

    This consciousness-raising insight deserves the widest audience. It is aspirational, progressive and - in the longer term – perhaps incrementally achievable. It could also precisely target the grit that still retards the feminist cog: the Cinderella status of motherhood.

    Not that women aspire to be princesses. Just to the dignity that should attach to being a parent and a working class mother especially, for no one needs it more than she.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Anne -- agree on most of that, but one niggle -- seems to me from my distance that brit society has been so 'ideologically' corrupted that even using the term 'socialism' just scares off many ?

    James Dixon -- on your theme - Vince Cable said this in India (DT)-
    "In politics it is often popular to say that 'We don't need Indian investment in British manufacturing', but that is wrong. We do want Indian investment in British manufacturing. It might be popular to say that we don't want British banks to lend to Indian households but that is wrong. We do want that to happen."

    In fact he and Cameron and assorted businessmen are there on their knees to open up "markets" for exports of goods and investment by insurance companies etc. The brit trade deficit is worsening ... some Hongkong billionaire is buying EDF Network for £5.9bn from the frogs ...and british banks are not even lending to british SME's .

    Crazy stuff.

    What do you think of the notion that LatAm was also lucky that the US got into Iraq/Afghanistan which took some attention off the 'backyard' ?

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  36. Apologies for the triple posts.

  37. @13th Props.

    "Monsiuer, with this hilarious display of unaware ignorance you are really spoiling us"

    Lovin your work! : )

  38. Intersting news story in the Dutch papers today regarding a works council (that I touched on in the Dutch politics article) and saving jobs.

    The US pharmaceutical company MSD based in the town of Oss announced plans to 'reorganise' (love that euphemism) their Dutch operations with the loss of over 2100 jobs.

    However, the company did not involve the works council in its decision (as required by Dutch law) and thus the plan has been terminated in the short term. The Company now has to come back with resubmitted plans and involve the works council at every stage of the process.

    The workers are still pessimistic about their jobs, however this forced negotiaition could save over 1000 jobs whilst a buyer is found for the rest of the operations affected.

    Bloody Stalinist Dutch employment laws ensuring workers are not merely the playthings of Corporations eh?

  39. Got to love the Dutch, Duke. Even their bloody works teams (PSV) are a cut above...

  40. New Waddya up, someonelse want to post the 6month contract at Groan Towers expose request? I did the last two...

  41. Ha ha, Duke, would love to have seen their faces in the boardroom when that piece of news was delivered!

  42. Next step gently hold some of the yank directors hostage for 24 hours ...

  43. PeterBracken: ''After the 2008 crash, conditions should have been perfect, but 'the masses' inched to the right. Presumably 'false consciousness' explains that?''

    No - if you look back at past crises often during the crisis there is a swing to the right - or more aptly the horrible populism of certain proto fascistic parties and personalities. Often it is after the crisis has occured that people organise and demand that things change.

    And as for this: ''The enduring strength of capitalism is its ability to meet the needs of societies - and those needs overwhelmingly relate to rising health and living standards.''

    No. It did do this for a limited period of time - the thirty odd years that the post war consensus held sway but it only did so in the West and off the backs of cheap labour in other parts of the world and cheaply available fossil fuels. Now however those gains are being rolled back and life keeps on getting worse for many. For example many people now cant find dentists so we have - once again - the sight of poorer people with missing and rotten teeth, the gap in life expactancy between the richest and the poorest is massive, in some countries like the US a significant amount of the population face ''food insecurity'' which is a bollocks speak way of saying that in the biggest most 'succesfull' capitalist economy ever - people are going hungry.

    The thing is lots and lots of easily available resources gave us a few boom years as did the massive rebuilding needed after the second world war. In fact I would argue that the levelling of Europe in the second world war saved capitalism from what would have been an earlier collapse as it provided the impetus for growth. As some economists have said before - Roosevelts new deal didn't really work - the only thing that worked was levelling half the world so it could be re-developed! From the period of around the 1870's right up to the 29 crash capitalism had been facing more and more frequent and more and more serious crises. A system that needs all out world war to provide it with the impetus and demand for its ever needed growth is not one that is sustainable.

    To be continued...

  44. Frog2

    "What do you think of the notion that LatAm was also lucky that the US got into Iraq/Afghanistan which took some attention off the 'backyard'"?

    It's an interesting question, and there's certainly a compelling argument that Chavez, in particular, has been saved by the US' Middle-Eastern adventures.

    However, I think there's also an argument to be made that perhaps, Chavez', and other Lat Am Leaders', increasing hostility to the US, may have in fact given impetus to the focus on the Mid-East - if nothing else, as a way for the US to hedge their 'energy' bets.

    The US' usual approach to Venezuela, and other Lat Am nations was increasingly meeting with extreme resistance/ineffectiveness.

    The IMF/USAID/FDI/Empowering elites approach started to become tougher, as did the spreading the 'bunch of communists' propaganda one, and, in Venezuela, even the 'hard-soft' power of the CIA proved ultimately unsuccessful.

    Really, the only option left was direct, overt, military intervention, which obviously they're not averse to, but, having a (flimsy) case to follow this course in Iraq, versus an almost non-existent one in Lat Am, I suspect they opted for the former.

    Tie in the fact that Iraq was deemed to be a lucrative 'cake-walk', and that Lat Am was a strategic and political nightmare for them, and I think the actual answer probably lies somewhere in the middle!!


  45. Princess CC -- After the 2008 Crash the masses did not know what was going on, and still don't !

    I seem to remember you were in some part of the finance industry (?) so might appreciate a look at
    GolemXIV's blog

  46. Duke

    But isn,t consensus an integral part of the Dutch psyche?With that consensus taking place within an industrious society that is still conservative with a small c.And where those who don,t conform to that will only be tolerated in Amsterdam and nowhere else.

    I,m very attracted to european models that are clearly more successful than the British one.But i keep having this nagging thought that the bloody minded adversorial British are basically incapable of embracing say a Dutch or Scandinavian model.A bit like we,re incapable of embracing continental style drinking.

  47. Turminder

    "New Waddya up, someonelse want to post the 6month contract at Groan Towers expose request? I did the last two..."

    I would, but apparently I get me an x-box if I stop that kind of thing...


  48. Oh yeah,

    and those of to the shananigans in Sheffield, have a great time!!

  49. Now again, it could be argued, we are in a period where repeated crises are occuring - and this time many of them are financial and more systemic in their nature. The property crash in the seventies, the collapse of the Japanese stock market and ongoing economic problems in the nineties, the Swedish collapse when the banking system had to be nationalised, the collapse in Asia in the nineties, the tech stocks collapse. They can be viewed as seperate and isolated but that doesn't tell the whole story.

    Now we have a deeply dysfunctional financial system that is systemically failing, nearly bankrupt nations, industry doesn't provide the profit it once did and fossil fuels are not as cheaply available and about to get a whole lot more costly. And at the crux of it all a capitalist class who are making less money out of the usual means of production so either keep driving wages down or invest their capital in assetts rather than production. But as this process happens the economy as a whole gets hollowed out and people stop consuming. This contradiction is only going to get worse. The system needs supressed wages but lots of consumers and a vibrant economy - the two are directly contradictory.

    How we will keep producing that 3% growth for the forseeable future is debatable. And so more crises will occur and things will slowly get harder and harder for many people. It doesn't have to be socialism but if we don't start looking at different ways of organising our societies and economies soon we will eventually end up in a pretty dire situation - and by that I mean much worse than we are now.

  50. P.s Sheff and others. I am off to the docs in a bit - think I have some sort of chest infection. And then have to pop into town to pay a check in at the bank and get some stuff from the chemist. If I feel up to it will pop along for one drink as other half can park right outside and then he says he can do the errands (gawd bless him) but will only be a quick one for half an hour as then really do need my sick bed.

  51. Frog2 - cheers for that had a quick ganders and bookmarked it. Will have a good read later. Most people in finance think the whole thing is still a mess. Not that money isn't being made etc but that lots of banks and insurance companies are in a really bad way.

    Whether events conspire in such a way that this never becomes known and we muddle through or whether further economic tremors mean that the black holes at the center of lots of our finance institutions become apparent remains to be seen.

  52. frog2,

    yeah I'll second that pointer to GolemXIV's blog and thanks for the original pointer. He's excellent.

    His analysis of the Irish austerity measures, how they are doomed to fail and how this will be seen in the UK economy with similar austerity measures in place was superb. It's last week if anyone's interested.


    I daresay this company will be raging. All it will do is further enhance the image of Europeans being goddam communists.

    There was an 'expose' by Fox News on the "depraved nature" of Dutch Society last year. It centred on the Amsterdam red light distict and came to the conclusion that the Netherlands as a whole is a dark, satanic, promiscuous Sodom and Gommorah.

    It was so spectacularly insulting and wrong that the Dutch Ambassador was told by the Government to make an official complaint to the White House.

    I'll see if I can find it. If Fox news gets wind of this story you can add 'North Korean' to 'dark, satanic, promiscuous, Sodom and Gommorah'.

  53. Peter The narrowness of your focus is amazing! So a large (but I think we shall find a shrinking) number of people have good lifestyles under capitalism. Some of us prefer to have LIVES, too many don't have time for that!

    What about the millions capitalism cannot even feed properly! Or is that just their fault?

    We can and must do better! That 'must' by the way implies obligation (to our fellow human beings) not compulsion.

    Capitalism is based on Arrogance Ignorance and Greed, you betray your blindness to the suffering of millions when you make the claims you do for it.

    Ceratinly it has been responsible for giant leaps in science and technology, but the human cost has been appallingly high.

    I can't ignore that...

  54. Here's the fox news clip on the Netherlands here.

    Honestly, I thought it was a 'Day today' spoof. The pay off is genius.

    "After euthanasia and infanticide, the next step is probably a suicide pill, not for terminally ill people but for people just tired of life."

    You genuinely could not make it up. The key word is probably ie a complete load of bollocks.

    And here's Bill O'Reilly on the subject!

    "The Netherlands has had wonderfully naive views about teaching their children safe sex..."

    Which is why the Netherlands has the lowest teenage pregnancy and STD rate in the OECD.

    Satire has truly died.

  55. frog2 - I agree that socialism has been given a reall7y bad name, Stalin is mostly to blame - along with Pol Pot Mao etc...

    But the systems these men ruled were NOT socialism even though they called them socialist. they tended to call them 'democratic' too and the certainly weren't that either!

    Of course the apologists for capital will go on telling people that socialism means Gulags, Year Zero and the Cultural Revolution and we just have to be there to convince them that that is not what we are about.

    I can remember thinking those sorts of things - someone convinced me and I don't think I'm that unusual.

  56. "A system that needs all out world war to provide it with the impetus and demand for its ever needed growth is not one that is sustainable."

    That's a demonstrably false assertion.

    The lesson to be learnt from the economic carnage caused by the great wars of the 20th Century is that capitalist regimes emerged from it to proposer, whilst their planned counterparts failed their people miserably.

    The powerhouse economies of the Far East, but China especially, also gives lie to your claims. Its double digit GDP - both fuelled by and fuelling domestic consumption - is transforming the lives of a previously down-at-heel peasant nation.

    Capitalism is effectively enabling Asian economies to challenge the hegemony of the West. Something a few on this site might support, no?

    As for the crises you list, none besides the 2008 financial debacle was anything but a blip. And if Japan remains a basket case it is precisely because deflation is crippling growth. If ever there was a lesson in the need for modest inflation, Japan is it.

    Your other red herring is fossil fuel dependency. This is a self managing problem. The thing about capital markets is that they allocate a scarce resource - cash - to where it's needed most. if you think that capitalism will flounder on depleting reserves of oil or coal, you're mistaken. Besides the fact that reserves of both are higher than they were in the 70's, investment in innovation (that only the capital markets can possibly fund) will transition economies to more sustainable energy sources in the future.


    Capitalism is not the cause of poverty. It creates wealth. What it doesn't do, and what it can't do - for this is the province of government - is redistribute that wealth as equitably as you would like. But at least there is wealth to (potentially) redistribute. That was not, and is not, true of planned economies.

  57. Duke

    Jeez, that's bad, even for FOX.

    (Incidentally, I think I went to school with the guy 'enjoying the services of the Hashish cafe'..)

  58. Princess/ Duke -- I've been er sceptical about the banking industry since I sat in a client's trading room in 1980 and saw him routinely telexing out eurodollars in syndicated loans to Brazil . They never came back... Then there were the Savings and Loans in the US etc etc.

    As long as "everybody's doing it" before a Crash, each individual trader and manager is safe . Thousands of individuals worldwide were involved in some way, great or small, in the sub-prime and derivatives fraudulence, and all but the very stupid just hoped it would break after they'd made their nest-egg or retired .

  59. Duke

    That level of stupidity is actually quite depressing.And i,m reminded of a friend of mine whose mother spent some time in the states working as a nurse.And on her return to this country told him how taken aback she was by the number of her co-workers-both Black and White-who genuinely believed that there were no Black people living in the UK.

    But in all fairness there are plenty of British people who believe that what is tolerated in Amsterdam is tolerated throughout the whole of the Netherlands.When my understanding is that simply isn,t the case.

  60. PeterB

    "The powerhouse economies of the Far East, but China especially, also gives lie to your claims. Its double digit GDP - both fuelled by and fuelling domestic consumption - is transforming the lives of a previously down-at-heel peasant nation."

    Not so much, actually, the 'miracle' economies of SE Asia, have performed especially well precisely because they resisted many of the immutable tenets of capitalism, often doing the exact opposite of what the textbook said!

    And elsewhere, the pursuit of 'Capitalism' in it's more modern form, has had a negative impact on 'growth', as well as living standards, per capita income and inequality.

    (We both know that GDP is bollocks, so let's not use that, eh!?)

    "The thing about capital markets is that they allocate a scarce resource - cash - to where it's needed most."

    Nope, they allocate resources to where it's most lucrative. There might be a correlation between that and 'needed', but not always.

    "investment in innovation (that only the capital markets can possibly fund)"

    Again, not so much.

    Innovation, R&D and technological developments have mostly been provided for by Government intervention, in the form of direct funding, tariffs, protectionist barriers or 'National Security'.

    Given that, by it's very nature, 'innovation' often provides significant short-term losses for all companies involved, most are reluctant to pursue it without significant state intervention.

    The markets on their own are usually worse than shit when it comes to innovation!!

  61. Lots of interesting debates here, about capitalism/socialism etc.Too tired to join in. Altough I agree with Paul said about the European, particularly Scandinavian type models and consensus politics. Will that ever happen in Britain? I can't see it happening. Enjoy yourselves in Sheffield.

    Today I signed on. Job centre interview wasn't bad. The case worker I was assigned to was quite friendly and helpful, and actually encouraged me to go for things greater than minimum wage jobs I've been going for. Although a sad fact was that over every group of desks were cctv cameras, very many of them. Consoled myself with a 'circle' of French Brie, yum yum.

  62. Charles NapK?, a young friend of mine got a job in Glasgow, meat factory, learned a few words of Polish there...

  63. Yes, Napk, c'est moi.
    There are many many Poles and other slavic language speakers (I know becuase I recognise some of the vocabualry and grammar structure).
    I am not an xenophobe, indeed I am about to start studying Polish part time, but the simple fact is there is only a limited pool of jobs and untapped immigration will jsut make it bad for all concerned.

    It is a well known anecdote that many British employers prefer to employ imported labour because, a) they 'work harder' and b) they are easier to bully and coerce because they are less sure about their employment rights.

    The fact is that many of them want to work and then go back home. They are tolerating poor conditions because they know that when returning there maoney will go much further.
    Many don't care one fig about this country- it is just a place to get money.

    I on the other hand want to fulfill my duties and responisibilites as a citizen of this country, work to support myself while I study, get my degree, then hopefully work in a highly specialised skilled career field.

  64. James/Paul,

    this is probably going to be my last ever post. What with Celtic getting predictably gubbed in the Champions League qualifier on wednesday and the general dreadful state of Scottish football, Ive been feeling 'a bit tired of life'.

    Luckily, as the fox news bulletin points out, there's various 'tired of life pill' shops all over Leiden. I'm popping in to pop my clogs.


  65. Just seen the news of wildfires in Russia - 1,ooo homes destroyed and 25 dead. Shocking news.
    I hope we send help to the people.

  66. God I can't face the news. Didn't get the cunting bastard motherfucking pissant wankbucket cockcheese arsebiscuit job! Didn't want it anyway ;-p

    Unbelieveable BS...

    The lesson to be learnt from the economic carnage caused by the great wars of the 20th Century is that capitalist regimes emerged from it to proposer, whilst their planned counterparts failed their people miserably.

    That'll be the feeding, housing and education from illiteracy to 99% literate population, free heating and most state amenities, all while running a masive war machine that if scrapped would have allowed the resources to be channeled to further betterment of the peoples lot.

    Capitalist regimes prospered because of the war! God you can see why he loves Gove and his Imperialist agenda.

    I have a dentist, I just can't afford the bus fare to Edinburgh or the £40 it'll cost to fix my cracked tooth, I'll have to save for a month or two for that little treat. I'm going to the pub. Tunes later? P x

  67. bad luck turminder.

    So, any I will have a boring weekend. Shall I watch a DVD boxset of Bleak House... :).

    Only kidding.

  68. Unlucky Turm,

    Fingers still crossed that something else comes up soon.

    Here's one for when you get back!

    It's a repeat, but a good repeat.

  69. Turm,

    Sorry to hear about the job. Ah well, you don't want to work for people who are too stupid to hire you. :-)

  70. That's tough, Turminder. Will find some tunes in your honour.

  71. Turminder

    Bad luck with the job.Dunno whether you were interviewed for it or whether you simply received a letter saying they wouldn,t be calling you in for interview.If it was the latter there,s no harm in calling them and convincing them they should see you.Sometimes works in my experience.Don,t sound too
    desperate though cos the bastards may well use that to screw you on salary/wages.


    Your JobCentre interview sounded OK.When i was unemployed for a time back in the 90,s 'signing on'took place in what can only be called a war zone.The only way you could get through to the bastards/bitches processing your claim was to yell at them.If you tried to be nice to them they were surly and unhelpful.Probably a lot different now what with CCTV everywhere.I,ve heard they,ve got security guards in some JobCentres who will escort you off the premises if you so much as raise your voice irrespective of the provocation.


    Don,t lose heart.Remember your adopted homeland was saved by the bravery and resiliance of a little boy sticking his index finger into a dyke.Courage, mon ami !

  72. Sorry about job Turm. Will find you some tunes later x


    I heard it was 'is fum.

  73. Paul

    ''I heard it was 'is fum.''

    Was it? I heard he was sucking that whilst findering the dyke.Although i suppose he could have been sucking one thumb whilst stemming the flow from the dyke with his other one.

    Really should have googled and double-checked:-)

  74. Sorry that was for Leni.Not with it at all!

  75. evening all

    hi tascia!

    wonder how the sheffield bash is going.........!

  76. turm

    sorry that you didn't get the job....you're too good for them anyway...

  77. Turminder - really sorry about the job. Fingers crossed for the next one...

    13th Duke - Hearts beat Gillingham 2-1 last night...

    Hello tascia...

  78. Turm - sorry to hear about the job.

    Duke - fantastic links; agree with every word. It's such a shame that those goldarn libruls are gonna mek it eezy fur u to jes tek a fuckin pill.

    Hope Jeebus saves yew and you cum back saved and all.

  79. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCZ_bv9aLcPraise Jeebus, I'm going for the worst song you can find award.

    trying to cheer a good man up.

  80. I knows we aints in amztersdams* wiv all dem drugs and dem hoes buts whoze gettin the next rounde like?

    ( *or sheffield for that matter)

    here's a tune

  81. Damn good song for Amsterdam, gandolfo. :-)
    Here's one for our friends in Sheffield.

  82. Hi Y'all, Thanks Shaz and Gandolfo for the hello. Been lurkin on the UT for a while, but have only just managed to get on thanks to a very good friend of y'all.

    Will hopefully get involved in the more thought provoking debates at a later stage.

    So tonight I will just post a brilliant choon for u guys... Hope u all get safely home tonight from Sheff

  83. Ha ha ha "Tascia", very apt. And a really good piece of music.

  84. here's one for all ya gad fearing folk that like a drink.........

    good ones habib and tascia.....!!

  85. Hi All

    turminder, sorry about your bad news. Keep the old chin up, which you'll need to do for imbibing.

    Hi tascia, welcome.

    Reports of debauchery at the meetup should be in any moment now-----

  86. Habib, how goes it in the North West?

    Are you whippin' Piccadilly yet?

  87. A quiet one... to soothe the last vestiges of an epic hangover...

  88. "I know you can walk on water , but can you walk on this much beer"
    Too good, gandolfo, too good! :-)

  89. Gandolfo, brutha, I hears ya.

    You needs girl with faraway eyes

    Thank you Jeebus. Thank you lord.

  90. come on shaz you lightweight have a wee dram

  91. Turminder,

    it might seem bad now, but it'll get bryter later

  92. Thanks, gandolfo... Nurse! Paracetamol...! But since we're all thanking the Lord, here's Jack Johnson...

  93. How's about several guitars?


  94. Hey Boudican,

    Here's one for the canuck...

  95. Nice one shaz, and Boudican!!

  96. Tres bien James, that takes me back.

  97. James Dixon, whipping pic. Know those kind of people, know the places, good music, mate.

  98. oh thanks james that'll do nicely would you like a jose cuervo???

    thought you might here ya goooooooo

  99. Nice Tull, Shaz! That's as far as I've got ... off to bed as I have to be working at sparrow's fart. :-(

    Best wishes to the Sheffield contingent, ya bastards. Wish I was there.

  100. Yey shaz, a quiet one - that is just so good!

  101. Mr Dixon,going by one of your previous musical selections,I have a feeling you maybe partial to the odd insane lullaby.
    (Very good, if eclectic album, by the way, with a quite staggering array of guest vocalists)

  102. Hahaha Gandolfo,

    Thaum'll 'ave you if continue down the country road.....

    (Last one Thaum, promise...)


  103. I like that one, cheers Alisdair!

    Night Thaum!!

  104. Thauma you fraud!!! You said you didn't like C&W!

  105. Country Roads..aw, first song I learnt on the geetar... howsabout some Steely Dan?

  106. Steely Dan, nice.

    How about some Neil Young...?

  107. Gandolfo, you played the song I was going to, in wee dram, but here's the best Cuervo song.

  108. Haha Habib!

    I haven't heard that for years..

  109. night thauma......habib, james, shaz, alisdair.......niceeeeeeee some jazzzzzzzzz specially forour own boy from brazil...........

  110. Night Shaz.

    Thanks for that Gandolfo....nice

    Evening Martyn, good opening salvo there!!

  111. Gandolfo,

    The only song with an Italian connection I can currently think of is this!!

    (sincere apologies...)

  112. Boudican - that was - magic! Thanks!

  113. Enjoyed the tunes everyone. I'm off to the legion for a goblet of the cleansing grape. Later.

  114. annetan42--Most welcome. Wifey loves BB's short but expressive chair dances.

  115. Hi Annetan, as another one from CF, I said earlier in this weeks post's that the first LP I ever bought was..... But the brilliant shop for Vinyl in those days was Spillers in the Hayes. I bet u can remember trollin through Vinyl in that great place !!!

  116. james haha......reminds me of my yooth....at least it wasn't o solo mio........

  117. Shaz - followin on from ur Steeley Dan, here's one of my fav's:

    Deacon Blue

  118. Hi Tascia and welcome on here! Yes - Spillers the oldest record shop in the world! Still there and still its lovely scruffy self!

    You could get anything in there!

  119. When are that lot in Sheffield going to post on here then?

    Come on you drunken sods lets be 'aving yer!

    Strong stuff this apple squash! 'hic!

  120. Sorry to post the same song twice in one evening, but here's Winwood doin Cant find my way home acoustic

    Annetan - probably couldn't find my way around the old Capital now, every time I go back a part of it has changed. I only hope the arcades remain. The Docks have changed...... totally !!!

  121. Just to say I love u all. wikd tuneification. NN sweetpeas. P XX

  122. The Hayes is unrecognisable - huge shopping mall John Lewis and a spanking new city Library. The arcades are still there but David Morgan's has gone.

    Still Spillers is still there, providing a pleasing comforting contrast to all the chrome and glass.

    I came home in 1991 after many years away and there has been building going on in the city centre ever since. The old pru building is now a Hilton and there are bits I have had to re-explore as they are unrecognisable.

    But the same has happened to other cities. Sheffield for instance! I went to the last UT bash there and it was unrecognisable too! I spent 5 years in South Yorkshire in the 80's and I very nearly got last!

  123. Where's the Sheffield contingent? Have they all gone clubbing? or have they been tracked down by Mi5 and are at this very moment being "water-boarded" in the West St nick!

  124. Sorry - hopefully this link will work:

    Can't find my way home

    This guy has got some great Traffic on his site !

    Goodnight all..

  125. Chekhov,

    Haha - I wonder if speedkermit turned out to be an elaborate entrapment ruse....

  126. Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday nights. so here this is a 'virtual Sheffield'- what with all the banter and the youtube music videos.


  127. "Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday nights"

    well I was thanks until i fatally read the slimeball shit dribble tosser Francis maude article.....

  128. @James Dixon: "Speedkermit" is "O' Brien"
    Perhaps it's just as well I couldn't make it after all!

  129. thanks james now plunging into deep depression ;) after reading that article.........i want to sail away........

  130. Chekhov,

    You might now have one of those 'I should have been there, but for the grace....' stories when news of the great UT sting gets out...

  131. Gandolfo,

    Sail away?

    Nah, you'll just come back again, because really,
    it's just a circle game...

    (is it just me, or does anyone else get Joni Mitchell and Sissy Spacek confused, looks wise...??)

  132. jesus..... elton john + animal farm = musical

    WTF is going on???? am I in a parallel universe??? Am I dreaming

  133. james

    similar in her younger days is our joan to our sis...


    indeed mysteriously silent.......spookey.....!

  134. Right, that's me out.

    Just remember, don't let nobody drag your spirit down...

    Because, it's summertime....

    and because, tomorrow might be our lucky day.....

    Night folks....

  135. goodnight everyone.

  136. Oi! Just back in and the place is silent. Though I do see flags above. Try this.


  137. I hope the contingent got safely home without being breathalysed by Speedy's colleagues !

    Boudiccan ????????

  138. Meh: got short changed from the bunfight in Sheffield!
    Hope "Sheffpixie" comes up with the dirt tomorrow including some pics!
    (just kidding mind!).. ;0)

  139. Hi Chekhov, Boudi + frog

    Looked in for report on yorky orgy - nothing here.

    Perhaps Yorkshire finally declared UDI and all communications are down.

  140. Hi frog2--We've not conversed yet, but happy to do so now. Yes, that is the one I tried to offer.

    Hopefully Speedy and the rest of those iniquitous people made it back home, or the after party, in prime ( or primed) condition. Still a bit green that I couldn't be there meself. One day baby.

  141. Chekhov--I want pictures and all the dirt of the day.

    Leni--Communications might be down as a result of pickled tongues. The bastards.

  142. In for a very late fleeting visit ( wa - hey - power of wifi !)

    Stop relying on the state industry known as job seekers. You are more capable. And you'll get some.

    The power of working in any environment is enormous.

    You can get that.

    Don't see *any* job *ever* as a failing - it's an opportunity.

    I think you're a bit scared about what people you might find...

    Every single person you meet in the next ten years will be utterly formative. Don’t forsake their magnitude, their humility, their stupidity, their breadth of character, their blind spots, their lack of education, their... sheer fucking friendliness and unqualified support ... it will set you up for life. No matter if it’s litter picking or number crunching, or insaneley going off the rails. They are in no better or worse position than you.

    Just work. Work ? Take it. Any work. Any. Work. You can evaluate your weeks’ reading better when you have worked your balls off. Trust me.

    And when you get it, it’s a joy. Working forty-fifty hours a week with guys from all over the planet. You don’t know you’re tired. You realise you’re barely born.

    But stop relying on the useless underfunded jobseekers bureacracy to source it.

    Just go out, be with people, and you will find it. It is all there for a bright lad such as you.

    Just go out and be amongst people.


  143. Boudi

    I'm feeling very fed up about it - I/ve been reading Cicero - all alone apart from Dogge and Parrot.

    I just can't get this drinking habit - I'm thinking of throwing some thorn apple (datura) on the fire and breathing deeply.

  144. Bitters

    great advice. People are the thing.

  145. BW good thinking there. I mentioned to Nap earlier 1800 --

    "Charles NapK?, a young friend of mine got a job in Glasgow, meat factory, learned a few words of Polish there... '

    but i feel he thought it was all rather beneath him...

    Times are going to get harder than this, on which cheery note


  146. Bitterweed--Agree strongly with that post. Sagacity online is a fine thing to see.

    Leni--You seem to get along quite well without the 'benefits' of alcoholic beverages. I certainly partake, probably too much, and I'm sure, to probably no surprise of yours, there is a culture of the drink that crosses many other lines. Can be the bridge to fraternity or the route to mayhem. Most, I hope, will enjoy the company, but there are certainly many problems with abuse. Please forgive the ramble, as I too am under the influence of the demon drink.(-:

  147. Hello, Martyn here ... Peter B?

    You really are stupid at times, but it's not your fault. You just don't understand duality of meaning, or ..well .. meaning.

    I had a taxi driver like that.

  148. "Sagacity online is a fine thing to see."



    Sorry I was rude previously at your sorry ass.

  149. Piece of silly news.

    Road accidents in UK soared during heat wave in July due to the number of women in short skirts distracting male drivers - according to insurance companies.

    I make no comment.

  150. Martyn

    Duality of meaning can lead us into strange places.

  151. Lordy

    Martyn Richard Jones

    Are you MartinInEurope ?

    If so, why ?

  152. Beacause if you are you can take that self-glorifying shite out of my window. OK? Just not welcome here, that I-BIG-IMPORTANT shit pointless twat nonce-behaviour.

    It's all just screaming "Martyin is a cunt"

  153. Nowt as queer as folk..music. Tee hee..

  154. Hmm! Time for bed - boing. xx

  155. And the rest. Get some of this guy's stuff BW-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVLTyvLvGLM&feature=related

  156. Hi navro--If you're still about. Good tune and very similar to a stretch of highway not far from my home, except the trees are bigger and the road wider here.

    Anyone else about? Come on, get in here.