15 December 2010

15/12/10

Money may buy you one fine dog, but only love will make it wag its tail.
-Kinky Friedman

339 comments:

  1. You might find this of interest, Jay. I'm not angling for an early morning tango with you, but this report is one among a few I've seen which support my position that the bad debts were largely potential, that most will not be realised and that the government's near trillion pound asset protection scheme will realise nil losses for the treasury.

    LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K. treasury will be paying for the support it provided to banks during the financial crisis for years to come, but it is now unlikely that taxpayers will have to pay out on the government guarantees given to those financial institutions, a report on the financial stability of U.K. banks showed Wednesday.
    The National Audit Office report said the maximum the taxpayer could now pay out, were the supported banks to fail, has fallen to GBP512 billion from GBP955 billion at the peak of the financial crisis in 2008. The report said the most likely scenario is that there will be no loss to taxpayers on the main guarantees--the Asset Protection, Special Liquidity or Credit Guarantee schemes.
    "Optimism on this score should be tempered, however, with the realization that the risk of further shocks to the financial markets and of significant loss to the taxpayer has not gone away," Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said.
    The NAO, which scrutinizes public spending on behalf of parliament, said U.K. banks were stable despite facing further external shocks this year.
    The previous U.K. government was forced to take unprecedented action to shore up Britain's banks in the wake of the financial crisis, including protecting depositors' money; maintaining liquidity to banks; the recapitalization of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG); and encouraging banks to lend to credit-worthy borrowers.
    Wednesday's report updates the NAO's 2009 report into the financial support given to the banks, which concluded that support was justified despite the uncertainty of about the end cost to the taxpayer.
    A spokesman for the treasury said they welcomed the report and would respond in due course.
    The NAO report warned that if the treasury is unable to sell its shares in RBS and Lloyds, the cost to taxpayers will higher. The paper loss on the government's shares in RBS and Lloyds was GBP12.5 billion as of Dec. 1, 2010.
    The government has paid GBP5 billion a year in interest for the past two years on the money it borrowed to finance the purchase of shares and loans to the banks. The report shows these costs have been covered by GBP9.1 billion in fees and interest from supported banks, but these fees are likely to fall as guarantees of the facilities are removed.
    The amount of cash the government invested in the banks rose GBP7 billion to GBP124 billion during 2010, due mainly to further money invested in nationalized bank Northern Rock.
    The report said the government may have to invest more in the future to protect the current value of its investments.
    -By Jenna Voigt and Ainsley Thomson, Dow Jones Newswires; 44 20 7842 9318; ainsley.thomson@dowjones.com

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  2. That's nonsense, I regularly beat my dog with a rolled-up newspaper and it wags it's tail like mad. Love makes them complacent.

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  3. "he National Audit Office report said the maximum the taxpayer could now pay out, were the supported banks to fail, has fallen to GBP512 billion"

    Well thats alright then, a mere half trillion of private debt loaded onto the taxpayer. I havent the energy for a "morning tango" either, but come on, half a trillion? Not exactly peanuts.

    It has been clear from the off that there were substantial losses there, gaping holes in balance sheets that would only remain "write downs" until they could find someone mug enough to actually buy the stuff. Why?

    Enormous amounts of money were loaned to people who were completely incapable of paying it back - the sub prime market in the US was just plain farce, cowboy central, an unregulated free for all. And how were those loans rated by the entirely neutral ratings agencies? AAA!

    Magic - people who'd never held down a job for 6 months suddenly became AAA loans, safe as houses... Of course, they were junk - housing dived, the loan books fell to pieces, AIG couldnt payout the default swaps, etc etc...

    This money disappeared. Or rather, it had been *misallocated* (by the "invisible", perfect hand of the market) into the wallets of financial staff for the preceding decade. Thats why this crisis has killed efficient market theories stone dead - the market misallocated unimaginable amounts of money. This is not possible in "efficient market" world, there is no such concept.

    I'm sure the general panic of it all meant some assets were actually written down below a "fair price", and that there will be some recovery there (as your quote suggests) - but there is still trillions of pounds missing worldwide, Peter - these were not just write downs. That is why the additional liquidity pumped in didnt really work, it is a lie that the problem was just liqduity and sentiment: these are real and enormous losses.

    Wealth was wrongly counted, and leveraged out again, when it didnt actually exist - someone now has to pay for that hole. That would be the taxpayers.

    So maybe not quite as bad as could have been, yes, but still about a 8/10 on the financial implosion and global robbery scale.

    (and there could still be worse to come, look at Europe, Ireland, Portugal, Spain... if they fall over all bets are off on what the total cost of this stuff will be)

    Interesting quote tho.

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  4. SK, I think perhaps the problem is that we're taking moral advice from someone who's name is 'Kinky'....

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  5. "Well thats alright then, a mere half trillion of private debt loaded onto the taxpayer. I havent the energy for a "morning tango" either, but come on, half a trillion? Not exactly peanuts".

    But you're focusing on the wrong end of the stick, Jay. That half trillion of potential liabilities is down from a trillion, and as the report makes clear it expects it to fall to zero. A trillion to zero. That's my point, which in good Strictly fashion you've pirouetted around.

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  6. I prefer his lesser-known brother, Beat-Me-Round-The-Testicles-With-A-Flay-Of-Nettles-And-Call-Me-Mildred Friedman.

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  7. Peter - The banks are not solvent. There are still many risks that are unkown and that is if we have a nice year on year growth pattern of 3.5% Gdp for the next ten years or so - which I very much doubt. Growth of under 3% is not really much use coming out of a recession as it doesn't kick start employment enough - which you must know. And that is a normal recession not one where globally productivity fell of a cliff.

    It is not just the bail out of the banks but the whole wider stimulus package and the cost to the wider economy of banks still not lending - or lending at much higher rates than base rate - which is an issue.

    For anyone who says that the banks are not to blame for this crisis they are in serious denial. You don't get an explosion in your deficit of around ten percent directly after a banking crisis without that being due to the banking crisis!

    The whole of the EU austerity drive and the bailouts are nothing more than devices to save a failed financial system. Although I am not sure they can save it. I think they can prop it up but it will fail - it's too fucked not to. And I don't mean fifty years from now - I think it will collapse again at some point in the coming decade.

    The FT had a story yesterday that Whitehall aids and economists are warning Osbourne he better have a 'Plan B' because the outlook for the coming year is ''grim''.

    The banks cannot take another slump. They also cannot take any of the other possible scenarios. An EU nation defaulting, China's bubble bursting, America going into a death sprial or any of the other nasty things that could happen in the coming months and years.

    The really sad thing is we have bankrupted ourselves to save something that - due to greed - may not be salvageable. If the banks collapse now it will be much the worse for nations that have already got into hock trying to save them.

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  8. Wealth was wrongly counted, and leveraged out again, when it didnt actually exist - someone now has to pay for that hole. That would be the taxpayers.

    Would that be like someone dressing in a Harry Potter wizard costume and pretending that they had polished up the philosopher's stone and moved up a level from mundane master of the universe to grade A alchemist, but actually just giving a lick of gold paint to a lump of lead?

    Then selling it to credulous and uninquisitive governments, which bought it by the truckload in a panic?

    Shurely shome mishtake!

    OK, laters, as they say on Corrie.

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  9. "SK, I think perhaps the problem is that we're taking moral advice from someone who's name is 'Kinky'...."

    Actually, I don't have a problem taking moral advice from someone who looks like this...

    http://images.clubzone.com/images/upload/kinkyfriedmanwithcigar.jpg

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  10. I'm sure that Petey or someone will explain to me the flaws in his thinking, but I have to at least admire Irish economist David McWilliams' free market consistency in relation to the banks.

    McWilliams contended that Irish depositors should have been guaranteed for 2 years, giving depositors a couple of years to get the hell out of Dodge if they so desired and giving the banks a couple of years to get their banjaxed houses in order. After that, healthy banks stand on their own two feet and sick ones fall.

    McWilliams didn't buy into the economic apocalypse scenario forecast by politicians. He said that small depositors deserved to be protected (they'd done nothing wrong) but a shit bank doesn't. The bad bits of banks sink and the good bits are bought by scavenging successful banks. A new, healthier banking system emerges, run by people who didn't buy into the bullshit the last time. Those who deserve to lose their shirts and jobs - investors, bank directors etc, both at home and abroad- pay the price for their foolishness instead of taxpayers.

    I'm sure someone can explain where he's wrong, but I can't find it.

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  11. A Trillion to zero?

    Erm, flapjack to pineapple!

    Barry Chuckle to breadsticks!!!

    (While the whole system is based on guestimations, or, more often than not, numbers plucked randomly from the air, with little to no relation to actual events/values here in reality land, you can throw any two things into that sentence, and it wil, in my opinion, carry the same weight of argument/reassurance!)

    Morning all...

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  12. Peter - re the risk of China being a 'bubble'. More and more analysts are calling it thus.

    Hedge fund Corriente Advisors (made millions out of correctly calling the US sub prime meltdown and the Credit crunch and EU bank collapse) say of China and its banks: "bad loans will equal 98pc of total bank equity if LIC owned, non-cashflow producing assets are recognised as non-performing....[And] the market belief that the Chinese government has "ample resources" to bail out its banks is flawed.

    Corriente's analysis of the ratio of China government debt to GDP comes out at 107pc – five times higher than official published numbers. The hedge fund says this number uses "conservative assumptions" and the real figure could be as high as 200pc.

    The result is that, rather than being the "key engine for global growth", China is an "enormous tail-risk."

    And then there is the ''enourmous tail risk'' that the UK or US slumps back into recession as austerity both here and in most states in the US bites. Or the ''enourmous tail risk'' that Japan cannot keep financing its debt. Or the ''enourmous tail risk'' that one or more EU country/s default.

    The thing is the whole globalised financial, neo-liberal system is fucked. It might stagger on for some time but it is rotten to the core. It has seen the transfer of wealth from the majority to an elite - bloody hell even Reagans ex-advisor has said as much - David stockman has said that the stock market and the US financial industry is nothing more than a rigged game used to funnel money upwards!

    If a Reaganite says it is flawed and rigged we should listen. Even Greenspan has said this level of inequality in the US cannot continue without causing a total collapse.

    As DavefromFrance said last night - times are getting fucking serious.

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  13. Last bit of economic cheer before I depart. Unemployment hits 2.5 million.

    And youth unemployment hits record levels. ''The Office for National Statistics also reported that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work increased by 28,000 to 943,000, one of the highest figures since records began in 1992, giving a jobless rate of 19.8%. '' (Telegraph).

    So tweny percent of our youth are out of work now. That doesn't even include the hefty amount who won't be counted in these stats as they will be ''economically inactive''.

    And people wonder why young people are rioting all over Europe. On top of this the coalition are taking an axe to welfare - that means most of these people will get time limited support - at best!

    This is a catastrophe unfolding. And I have to say Peter - and other fellow neo-liberal travellers - it really sticks in my throat to read constant attempts to defend what is clearly - for most people - a dire ideology which is leading to impoverishment and hardship.

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  14. Unemployment hits 2.5 million. FFS- and that only includes people on JSA.

    PCC, yes really the neoliberal ideology is at fault, although I can't see a return to socialist ideology.

    What we need is a system comparable to Germany, economic powerhouse of Europe whose manufacturing exports pay for public services.

    For young people, me, a large number of my peers and probably a generation as a whole emigration is simply the word on our lips. We are I suppose lucky to be young and less tied down (or looking it a different away unlucky enough to be children of Thatcher.)

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  15. .

    Interesting post Peter and one which should be read with this one which indicates how borrowers, rather than the far larger number of taxpayers are being, quite rightly, obliged to support the banks and financial institution to which they owe so much money.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/dec/13/half-households-struggling-with-debt?INTCMP=SRCH

    More than half of UK households are struggling to repay credit cards and loans despite the economy showing signs of recovery this year, the Bank of England said today.

    In its annual survey of household debt and spending, conducted by NMG Consulting, the Bank found that 51% of consumers said their unsecured debts were a "burden" in 2010 – a record high for the survey.

    It also said significant proportions of people with high loan-to-value mortgages and people renting said their unsecured debt was a "heavy burden".

    One in two households claimed they had seen their disposable income fall over the past year, and more than a quarter (28%) said their monthly earnings had fallen by more than £100 – only 14% said it had gone up. The number of households that had fallen behind on some or many bills and credit card or loan repayments increased only slightly this year.

    Almost 90% of households said they had thought about how the government's spending review (and other fiscal measures) would impact on them, with just 10% expecting not to be heavily affected. Of those who did expect to be affected, most said they were worried about higher taxes on earnings and spending, and reduced spending on services.

    But a fifth of retired households (23%) said they did not expect government policies to affect them heavily, compared with only 7% of working households. The unemployed and long-term sick were most concerned about the loss of income and benefits.

    Half of the 2,000 households surveyed said they had reduced their spending to help service their debts, while 18% said they were working longer hours or taking on a second job.

    The report stated: "Elevated unemployment, weak earnings growth and restricted credit availability still pose a problem for some households. The low level of bank rate has continued to bear down on mortgage interest payments for some borrowers."

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  16. If I'm record denying that the banks precipitated the financial crisis, princess, you'll need to remind me what I wrote cause I don't recall saying any such thing.

    Indeed, I have written several posts elsewhere explaining the cause of the crisis - the splurge in cheap lending supporting an asset price bubble (in housing) and, later, financial contagion via securitisation instruments (which were ironically designed to mitigate risk) when the bubble burst.

    My post this morning was largely a cut and paste job confirming (in my opinion) that the asset protection scheme will not burden the taxpayer - indeed, the government will probably profit from the scheme given the charges it levied for it.

    In short, earlier talk of a trillion Sterling taxpayer-funded levy in support of UK banks will prove to be the vacuous headline serious economists took it to be a the time.

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  17. Peter - dont get ahead of yourself, please. You have offered a solitary quote estimating the bill may fall to "zero" (in the narrow sense of "the bill", that is). On the wisdom of financial forecasts: these are the same people who thought unemployed Dave was a sound AAA debtor for £300k. So forgive me if i dont dance for joy that you've found a single analyst predicting an easy ride for the taxpayer, its not going to happen, Peter, forget the UK - look whats happening around the world. It hasnt even finished yet, nowhere near.

    Assuming the assets we backed swung back, magically, the cost of the crisis is still enormous - the global recession it caused will cost this country alone hundreds of billions, thats even if the assets spark back into life. And thats an enormous, enormous "if".

    Our economy shrunk by *6%*.

    Any rosey outlook on the global economy should be taken with an extremely heavy pinch of salt - its fantasy land. There may be some successful pockets of bailing water but the ship is basically going down, Peter.

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  18. Where did them goalposts go, Jay?

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  19. tascia said...

    Fucking hell Bitey/not real Bitey - you've just been shown to be an utter prick and that's all you can come up with - back to the start -.....

    Sorry, care to explain a little?

    I understand your foul mouthed language, it's the reason for it that's baffling me.

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  20. "Where did them goalposts go, Jay?"

    The goalposts havent moved, dear, you have simply dug up a single quote to support your position. I dont want to be rude, but thats pitifully thin to start your victory parade with.

    One solitary quote...

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  21. "One solitary quote..."

    Dismiss the NAO as you see fit, but it's about as authoritative as they come.

    There's no hubris in my citing of a serious financial document, Jay. I present in the spirit of informed perspective.

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  22. Afternoon all - BB here.

    Just reading up - the news about youth unemployment is absolutely appalling. What hope?

    Mona4/nadine dorries was on the EMA thread last night telling the author that she was "irrelevant" and if she couldn't afford to pay for her school books she should "get a paper round".

    These people are so deluded they are on the verge of mentally ill if you ask me.

    Can I just say firstly how nice it was to read an interesting a relevant post from Bitey. I read it, and I was pleased to read it as it was on point, interesting, informative and pleasant to read.

    What a shame he then goes on to attack Tascia... back to the old Bitey we know and suffer...

    More of the former and fewer of the latter, and who knows, we might actually manage to have a reasonable conversation with you instead of telling you to fuck off?

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  23. Hi Princess

    Whilst unemployment has risen to 2.5 million the claimant count-those on JSA- has actually fallen.Part time employment is also up whilst full time jobs are still disapearing.The number of people of retirement age still working is also on the increase.

    Much has been written about graduate unemployment but in comparison the unemployment rates for those without qualifications are truly horrendous.Additionally the unemployment rates in some ethnic minority communities are dire.Up to 80% in some cases.

    From next year we'll start seeing more sick and disabled and more lone parents pushed into the labour market as well just as the public sector jobs cuts start hitting hard.Don't want to be a prophet of doom but next year is gonna be nasty.

    Hope you're keeping well!



    .

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  24. Paul

    It is really pernicious the way the only jobs being created are part-time and self-employed. Precarious positions at a time when real, solid employment is what is needed to keep the economy going.

    If people aren't sure whether they have a job next month, how the hell are they going to be able to spend any money on anything more substantial than a chinese take-away?

    I really cannot understand where the hell the Coalition think this is going to end up... and I am no economist, by any stretch of the imagination, but even I am bright enough to be able to read and understand figures and realise that there is no way the economy is going to grow enough next year to pull us out of recession.

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  25. The thing that interests me about he 'crisis is how the Condems are quite blatantly dismantling the Welfare state.

    this choon comes to mind

    We really don't seem to know what we've got and it really is going! Working people need to take a leaf from the student's book and start defending our rights to education, healthcare and a decent minimum standard of living.

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  26. Paul/BB,

    Make no mistake, it's going to end up exactly where they want it to!

    And that, my friends, is all she wrote!!

    Job done!!

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  27. Working people do have rights to education and healthcare, anne - that's laid out out in statute. What would interest me is your notion of a "minimum standard of living."

    Define it. And indicate in what ways people don't have the minimum.

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  28. I thought i replied in good spirit, Major, but you seem intent on trying to frame this as some sort of victory - which is too ridiculous to even dignify with debate really.

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  29. I'm not trying to be glib, BTW, anne. I mean, what should the lowest earners - ie. benefit recipients - be able to pay for as a minimum. And put a figure on it.

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  30. "I thought i replied in good spirit, Major, but you seem intent on trying to frame this as some sort of victory - which is too ridiculous to even dignify with debate really."

    You're so precious, Jay. Dignify debate, my arse. The only people on this website who even begin to debate are oppositional to its lazy, complacent, cosy consensus.

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  31. Interesting discussion, although I do not see Anne's original post that you are all referring to.

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  32. .

    CountessMarkievicz said...

    And not because you like to bash socialism and accuse everybody on this site of being misogynists, even the women? OK, I'll buy that. You've convinced me.

    I don't think I've ever called anyone here a misogynist. I think some are sexist and others display traditional sixties male chauvinism. There was a quite well constructed post on 16 August, 2009 at 16:47 posted by someone masquerading as me but I think even you will recognise that as a piece of light hearted deception, along with a number of other posts that day. I did once call Gordon Brown a misogynist over his sacking of some of his female ministers and I think he has had serious problems working with women, as they have testified.

    Nor do I bash socialism, although I hold no delusions with a Labour Party that despite its lip service to clause 4, has been a strident supporter of capitalism since the first time it achieved government status.

    Labour had eight women ministers, but you seem to direct your anger at their shortcomings while ignoring the Tories' blind indifference to women and women's rights.

    Strange how this exchange started with the Laurie Penny article on Harriet Harman in which time and again I defended the performance of Labour's women ministers against those (mainly) men who treated us to some of the most grotesque sexist insults. But why let the historical record interfere with your prejudice?

    Are you even a feminist, or just a party hack who has lost a big stick to beat the 'socialists' with? It's very confusing.

    I've never claimed to be a feminist although I've supported feminist causes for a very long time, as you'll know from reading my posts. And I don't need a big stick to beat the 'socialists', they seem to manage quite well on their own.

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. .

    BeautifulBurnout

    Can I just say firstly how nice it was to read an interesting a relevant post from Bitey. I read it, and I was pleased to read it as it was on point, interesting, informative and pleasant to read.

    What a shame he then goes on to attack Tascia... back to the old Bitey we know and suffer...


    And can I just say that I read all your posts on the Assange thread and agree with your points on the EAW.

    There's also a very interesting article in The Independent today about Sweden.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/christina-patterson/christina-patterson-what-we-can-learn-from-calm-swedes-2160447.html

    As for attacking Tascia, she / he called me "an utter prick" and I asked for an explanation. When the two of you have read my responses to monkeyfish and the Countess you might like to try a more civil approach to responding.

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  35. Here's a snippet from the Independent article

    This is a country which cares passionately about the rights of all its citizens and enshrines those rights in law. It tries to ensure that things that might become obstacles to equality – like having a dark skin or a body that bears babies – aren't. It takes non-consensual unprotected sex between a man and a woman extremely seriously, because it takes all differences seriously, and knows that men are physically stronger than women, and that a sexual disease, or an unwanted pregnancy, arising from an act of sexual coercion, is serious.

    The result isn't Utopia, but it is one of the most equal societies – for natives and immigrants, agnostics and Muslims, and for men and women – in the world. It's a country that will stand up for the right of a cartoonist to depict Mohammed as a dog, and the right of a Muslim not to like it. It's a country, above all, which hates a fuss.

    Sweden will hate the fuss over Julian Assange. It will hate the fuss over Taimour Abdulwaha al-Abdaly. It will, in both cases, and backed up by legislation, do not what other countries ask it to, but what it believes to be right. And it will carry on eating the saffron buns, and doing the shopping, and singing the songs, and hoping that the fuss will die down, and the madness will flee, and, as the Lucia song says, that "darkness shall take flight soon".

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  36. Hi Paul,

    Yep i agree that next year and the following are going to be very dire. Not just for the UK either. I have been banging on about this on cif but the IMF have stated that a really urgent global issue is high youth unemployment. They predict that jobs just are not going to be available as they were in the past in the global economic system.

    Which is exactly what David Harvey says in the Enigma of Capital - which I can't reccommend enough. His view is that capitalism has entered a phase where we will never go back to the employment levels seen in previous decades and century's - partly due to technology and partly due to the fact that capital can make more money from dodgy financial investments than investing in production. Which is somewhat of a major worry - if they don't need the workers what happens to the worlds people - you know all the ones MAM told us capitalism was going to rescue from poverty?

    I am okay thanks - got more hospital apps in the next week or so over my stomach which has flared up again. How are you?

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  37. BB
    Can you give me a link showing Dorries is Mona; I have some pals in Bedforshire who would be pretty interested to see how she operates on CiF. Cheers banana.

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  38. PeterBracken

    "Working people do have rights to education and healthcare, anne - that's laid out out in statute."

    LEAs have a statutory duty to provide education to children up to the age of 16 - not a 'right' for the recipient so much as an obligation. 'Working people' have the 'right' to pay tens of thousands of pounds for an education, which isn't really what Anne meant.

    And which statute is it that guarantees a right to healthcare? You have a right to be examined and to be on a GP's list, but there is no right to treatment. Doctor's can even refuse to treat due to lack of resources, which is going to become very relevant, very soon.

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  39. When the subprime scandal broke, there was a huge consensus on the idea that the banks should be forced to separate their high-street banking and speculative banking activities, so that if speculative banks got into trouble, they could be allowed to go to the wall. How come this highly rational and popular idea no longer seems to be on the agenda?

    And I can quite easily believe that our governments are exaggerating their potential financial obligations so as to persuade us to accept greater cuts for the poorest, and then hand the resulting unused revenue over to the rich via the usual mechanisms - tax cuts, etc.

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  40. Hi All

    Looking at the real on the ground situation through the eyes of real families i know the situation for them is dire - and set to worsen.

    Looking overall at cuts the impact on some families with cause disaster for them .

    Three 16= youngsters on EMA will lost this at the end of the first year - next summer.

    In 2 cases the parents will struggle to help them get through the second year. The third kid will probably have to leave.

    Accepting that some parents are unwilling to lose money (through benefit payments or otherwise) to help their children we have to recognise that the gvt. is penalising children not adults through the cut in EMA. A child wanting to escape from economic dependency through education will be denied the chance.

    The daily return bus fare from village to college is over £5 - loss of travel pass will prevent attendance.

    A few families have a parent on DLA and HB. These families could lose out three ways. Some are working, have mortgages and are in danger of unemployment.

    Paul is right when he talks of pockets across the country where even 18% unemployment figures for young people underestimates the real picture.

    EMA funds young people for practical courses such as mech. engineering or hairdressing - both routes to jobs or self employment in the future. These cuts are so short sighted.

    Time for the elite to look at the foundations of their wealth - the people. The elite are defending nebulous nonexistent wealth and ignoring the real wealth creators of a country. The elite are creating dependency and then refusing to support the poor they have created.

    There is neither economic nor moral justification for this.

    Last snippet of news from here - shop probably closing in new year. Another previously self sufficient family forced into dependecy.

    Youngsters less likely to riot here - more likely turn to petty crime and vandalism as release valve against a society which has abandoned them.

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  41. "The only people on this website who even begin to debate are oppositional to its lazy, complacent, cosy consensus."

    Oh, I'm sure we can all mass debate on here, bracken. As opposed to you, however, it doesn't define what we are.

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  42. Princess

    art of the problem with this debate is that we are not really talking people to people. Two groups are debating from completely different ends of the stick.

    Peter is defending falsely inflated values - air pckets with meaningless price tags attached - whereas others are looking at the cost of real things - basic necessities and the lives of millions of people.

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  43. "Unemployment hits 2.5 million.

    And youth unemployment hits record levels. (Telegraph)."

    But worry not, because Dave says he's 'concerned'... But sure that the programme of economic recovery is right. So that's nice and reassuring.

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  44. BW - I haven't got the link but I think Hank posted one on here a while back. Unless LaRit has more details. But she apparently outed herself on her own blog some time in October.

    Habib - chortle. :o)

    Perfectly put, PCC and Leni, as always.

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  45. Spike

    One of the official indicators of 'social deprivation' was not having a bank account. This was in part solved by forcing people to have pensions and beneits paid into banks rather than receiving cheques. This helped close some local post offices.

    As banks increased social deprivation indices altered - a problem miraculously solved by smoke and mirrors.

    Credit unions cannot pay direct debit for utilities etc - this has stopped their growth. The means of control even on low incomes was tightened by the payment through banks.

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  46. 'noon all

    so claims of paid agent provocateurs in the demos yesterday......who'd thunk.......

    mind you the place was spik and span this morning shame they can't manage the same in Naples......



    oh and fiscal pressure is now at

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  47. whoops.....
    43.5% 3rd in OSCE

    public debt running at 125% of GDP

    unemployment at 8.6% with youth unemployment averaging 25% and in some regions 40%....

    ReplyDelete
  48. think bitey's been spammed.........


    is there a god???? only joking bitey happens to the best of 'em.........

    ReplyDelete
  49. gandolfo: debt is running at around 65% of GDP (give or take); excluding the banks' cash injections (in return for shares or ownership) it's around 55%. That's up from circa 40% in 1998.

    The UK has a lower youth unemployment rate than France.

    ReplyDelete
  50. How do you become a 21st century James Joyce or William Faulkner? According to a commenter on Penny Red, you write a 6th form article on Cif about how shit it is to be an unemployed Oxbridge graduate.

    But more importantly I wrote to tell you that I think you should turn your considerable talents to fiction as well. Anyone who can have me right there, in the kitchen of some decayed squat, coming down to breakfast to find a comatose rat in a bag of sugar has to be an important 21st century author in the making.

    And that's broadsheet journalism today! (And literary success tomorrow!) OK, it's really misery porn, but whatever. Anybody can do it - if they have connections, the right background, the right bourgeois liberal credentials, no shame, no principles, no self-awareness, no brains, no talent and a captive audience of drooling idiots who not only see the emperor's new clothes, but also try to order the same model on-line from Burberry or Boden.

    What's that you say? Unemployed? Disabled? Soon to be homeless? Fuck off! We can't write about those horrid things. Laurie used to be a burlesque dancer - she wrote about it in the Gurandian. It make her cry a bit, that harrowing self-chosen experience, but she was only following in a noble 19th-century radical working class tradition, gawd bless 'er.

    Her next 'article' will probably be an Email exchange between her and Julie Bindel on the female empowerment of not plucking your eyebrows. I can't wait. The future of the new 'journalism'.

    While unemployment rises, cuts bite, and protesters are kettled, the graun still can't resist articles on burlesque and gay rights in Iran. Some would say that there is also a place for these welcome and guiltily titillating distractions in a time of austerity. An opportunity to pretend to care about something that's not too close to home. I would say that it merely reinforces the impression many have of the Guardian - that it is a hypocritical, middle-class, hand-wringing, sad, sorry excuse for a serious newspaper.

    Fuck them all.

    ReplyDelete
  51. .

    CountessMarkievicz said...

    Labour had eight women ministers, but you seem to direct your anger at their shortcomings while ignoring the Tories' blind indifference to women and women's rights.

    I've answered the first charge and on the second I've neither ignored it or even accept I've been "blind indifferent". Here I am on 12 March 2009 commenting on an article by Theresa May "Gimmicks won't end domestic violence"

    Once again we have an article about violence against women which prompted by the heading, has descended almost exclusively into another debate about domestic violence. I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of ridding our society of domestic violence, nor to prevent it being discussed, but both the headline of this article and the writer herself have concentrated on this single aspect to the exclusion of the others. Theresa May's own Policy document to which she refers states:

    "The forms that violence against women take are varied and, at times, overlapping. They include: domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, stalking, trafficking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and so-called ‘honour-based violence. While each of these forms of violence have different characteristics, they all exclusively or disproportionately affect women."

    Already on this thread we have the usual suspect out crying that the men have been forgotten. And while they may be right to point to an increase of female on male domestic violence, other aspects of violence covered in both the government's and the Conservative's papers, are almost exclusively aspects of violence against women.

    So if there's male genital mutilation being carried out, please let us know about it.

    If male rape and sexual assault is being wilfully ignored by the police and the authorities, likewise. If men and boys are being forced against their will to marry much older women with whom they have no desire to spend the rest of their lives likewise.

    If men are being burnt alive and slayed in other ways because they've dishonoured their families by associating with girls and women from another religions, let alone proposing to marry them, likewise.

    If there are parents who are increasingly disturbed about the impact of the availability of male based pornography, male nudity and sexuality in advertising and marketing, and young boys being stalked and groomed as potential subjects of sexual gratification by older women, likewise.

    Please would the men, and they are largely men who claim they're hard done by do two things. First would they look at the whole picture rather than just one part of it? Secondly, if as they claim, and they have produced some evidence to back this up, that there has been an increase recently in the amount of female domestic violence, would they start to address the question of why this might be happening?

    ReplyDelete
  52. I noted Frog2's earlier comment about being distracted from the fallout of the economic meltdown by the fripperies of the Veuve Clichet brigade over at Dribbly, but perhaps we could just combine the two?

    It looks like the contagion is spreading from the PIGS to the delightful castles in the air of Belgium, which could impact on the catering trade.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/8202422/Eurozone-debt-crisis-spreads-to-Belgium-on-rising-political-risk.html


    Eurozone debt crisis spreads to Belgium on rising political risk

    Europe's debt woes have moved closer to the core of monetary union after Standard & Poor's threatened to downgrade Belgium over the failure of Flemings and Walloons to form a government.

    The warning comes a day after the International Monetary Fund said Belgium "urgently needed" to control spending as public debt pushes above 100pc of GDP. "A clear plan is needed to contain contagion from abroad," it said.

    The yield spread on Belgian 10-year bonds has ballooned to 102 basis points over German Bunds, raising fears of a funding squeeze next year. S&P said the country needs to refinance debt equal to 11pc of GDP next year, leaving it "exposed to rising real interest rates".

    "It's ugly for our reputation," said Jean Deboutte, head of Belgium's debt office. "This is bearable but the premiums are mounting little by little."


    A leaked report has suggested that the ambassador's wife is already making little "chocolate" balls from the crumbs at the bottom of the cornflake packet drizzled with something made from cocoa powder, sugar and milk as part of the austerity measures.

    Meanwhile, some of the venues which have hosted ballet, opera and theatre productions are now planning to mix these with amateur wrestling events, drinking competitions, whippet racing and grab-a-granny evenings in order to make ends meet.

    One senior political analyst said: "It's all just so utterly horrid. Why should the lovely people have to suffer like all the nasty, little people? The poor caused this mess and it is they who should be made to pay. Mark my words - because I am often always generally sometimes almost right in my insightful and gnomic predictions, like Alan Greenspan, who is a very dear friend - things may get worse before they get better and there is no smoke without fire and I love Paris in the springtime and do you want a custard cream or a bourbon with that, dear, and three thirty-five makes twenty, thank you, yes, I know, love, many a mickle makes a muckle, as we say, and I am big, it's the pictures that got small. Woah-ho the hokey-cokey. What the fuck's going on? You doin' business, Mister? Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck."

    ReplyDelete
  53. @Penny

    I don't really think you can compare whimsical articles on burlesque with pieces on gay rights in Iran, which is after all a life and death issue.

    ReplyDelete
  54. .

    It's an ill wind.....

    Britain could make a profit of up to £440 million from the bailout of Ireland, the Government said today.

    Chancellor George Osborne told MPs that the Irish will be charged an interest rate of 5.9% on the £3.25 billion emergency loan to their government.

    The rate is two points above the costs to the UK of playing middle-man by borrowing the money at its own risk to pass on to Dublin.

    ReplyDelete
  55. peterb

    i guess you are talking about france their fiscal pressure is reducing according to OSCE

    i don't "do" economics but the fact that the Berlusconi government has done nothing to stimulate the economy says a lot..through my work I know a lot of people involved in government bodies that are trying to encourage foreign and local investment in Italy and some heads of one of the biggest companies in Italy (part government owned) they aint happy at all........even they understand that an industrial base for a country needs to exist to bring economic stability and strength........even the head of the italian equivalent of the CBS "strongly" criticised the lack of government intervention she was promptly hounded like a witch by the berlusconi backed media...
    jesus things must be really bad if captains of industry complain about a right wing government..

    bitey
    my pleasure....! however, my pointing it out was not particularly altruistic.....i couldn't face hearing you complaining that you had been "censored" for the next 10 years.........

    ReplyDelete
  56. .

    CountessMarkievicz said...

    Labour had eight women ministers, but you seem to direct your anger at their shortcomings while ignoring the Tories' blind indifference to women and women's rights.

    I've answered the first charge and on the second I've neither ignored it or even accept I've been indifferent. Here I am on 12 March 2009 commenting on an article by Theresa May "Gimmicks won't end domestic violence"

    Once again we have an article about violence against women which prompted by the heading, has descended almost exclusively into another debate about domestic violence. I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of ridding our society of domestic violence, nor to prevent it being discussed, but both the headline of this article and the writer herself have concentrated on this single aspect to the exclusion of the others. Theresa May's own Policy document to which she refers states:

    "The forms that violence against women take are varied and, at times, overlapping. They include: domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, stalking, trafficking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and so-called ‘honour-based violence. While each of these forms of violence have different characteristics, they all exclusively or disproportionately affect women."

    Already on this thread we have the usual suspect out crying that the men have been forgotten. And while they may be right to point to an increase of female on male domestic violence, other aspects of violence covered in both the government's and the Conservative's papers, are almost exclusively aspects of violence against women.

    So if there's male genital mutilation being carried out, please let us know about it.

    If male rape and sexual assault is being wilfully ignored by the police and the authorities, likewise. If men and boys are being forced against their will to marry much older women with whom they have no desire to spend the rest of their lives likewise.

    If men are being burnt alive and slayed in other ways because they've dishonoured their families by associating with girls and women from another religions, let alone proposing to marry them, likewise.

    If there are parents who are increasingly disturbed about the impact of the availability of male based pornography, male nudity and sexuality in advertising and marketing, and young boys being stalked and groomed as potential subjects of sexual gratification by older women, likewise.

    Please would the men, and they are largely men who claim they're hard done by do two things. First would they look at the whole picture rather than just one part of it? Secondly, if as they claim, and they have produced some evidence to back this up, that there has been an increase recently in the amount of female domestic violence, would they start to address the question of why this might be happening?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Leni

    I'm not defending anything. My question to anne wasn't rhetorical. The salience of questions about the poor in the West doesn't relate to values or rights or discrimination - not any more it doesn't. It relates to plain vanilla material well being.

    So, anyone debating the subject has to the shed the romance of past ideological struggles and furnish the issue with numbers. What welfare salary (for wont of a better phrase) would meet the needs of its recipients, and what minimum working salary would satisfy the claim on labour?

    These questions are separate from proletarian ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, for the obvious reason that that doggerel ain't going to happen any day soon. And probably never will.

    So, we are where we are. And since, anyway, the debate on UT is all about cuts or benefit payments, the issue is already self-defined materially. Hence my original enquiry: what's the bottom line in material terms?

    ReplyDelete
  58. gandolfo,

    even the head of the italian equivalent of the CBS "strongly" criticised the lack of government intervention she was promptly hounded like a witch by the berlusconi backed media...

    I posted exactly the same a couple of days ago on the Dutch CBI urging the Government to invest heavily in manufacturing and "high skilled jobs", a minimum of €1bn for an estimated (according to their figures) €30bn return in future economic growth.

    Whether the new right wing Govt goes for it is unclear at the moment but seriously, when you have business leaders telling these dingbats to get their act together and away from the ruinous economic model........

    And Peter, regarding your post earlier about benefits. You and everyone else may be interested to learn that if you become unemployed in the Netherlands, you are paid 75% of your last job's salary (daily rate) followed by 70% for the following year, anything longer is based on years of employment.

    And strangely enough this hasn't led to the explosion of plasma screens and lager paid for by the state. The last set of figures shows the Dutch unemployment rate to be 5% with a 10 year average of 4.3%, consistently well below the UK which has a pitiful benefits system in comparison.

    Funny that.

    ReplyDelete
  59. gandolfo

    bitey
    my pleasure....! however, my pointing it out was not particularly altruistic.....i couldn't face hearing you complaining that you had been "censored" for the next 10 years.........


    I only once complained about being censored here, a long time ago and before I discovered the 414 and associated error messages.

    Even when scherfig deleted some of my posts I didn't complain I merely observed.

    ReplyDelete
  60. duke

    bloody incredible isn't it.....?

    jesus I had to have a reality check when I agreed with her....I thought I had caught some nasty virus.......
    obviously i didn't agree with her ulterior businessy capitalistic motives!!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. OK, Duke, you're putting some meat on the bone.

    Is the Dutch formula one that you support? I'm assuming it's means tested, or does a lawyer earning £200K get paid £150K in unemployment benefit?

    I can't imagine you'd support that?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Sorry, that should have read 75% of your daily salary for the first two months followed by 70%.

    gandolfo, I know, I know. When I read that about the Dutch CBI saying that taxes may have to be "reviewed" in order to pay for the investment, I had to read it about 3 times to make sure it wasn't my faulty Dutch.

    ReplyDelete
  63. SpareAPenny, the Graun struggles to even talk to the real oiks. I spent the last year before the election requesting an article/articles on CiF from people on the breadline who were affected by the recession. Part of their reluctance/refusal to do so was because they didn't want to get it in print in the Guardian that poor people could be having a truly shitty time under a New Labour government (thanks Labour for both Atos and A4e) and the other part was that they simply didn't know anyone that poor. And they weren't about to go tramping around a sink estate to find one.

    Now the bastard evil baby eaters are in power, they can at last document people are finding it difficult to pay for music lessons, the £60-odd that you get to live on (and which dropped like a stone in real terms under New Labour) is a fucking joke and that the price of nipple tassels has gone beyond the reach of most ordinary strippers.

    Laurie sounds real to them, because they don't know, and don't want to know, someone who genuinely has it tough and has no way out.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Duke

    Good post.Plus the Dutch have one of the shortest working weeks in Europe and one of the highest productivity rates.Also they have one of the highest employment rates for men and women alike.Speaks volumes!

    I know back in the 90,s the Dutch also had a high % of working aged adults claiming disability benefits.-numbering then a million people in a population which was then under 16 million.I don't know enough about the welfare reforms that were introduced to reduce this number but reduce it they did.

    I don't think i'm being naive in saying that whatever government is in power i doubt the Dutch would ever tolerate the savage welfare reforms that are hitting vulnerable people in this country.Thankfully they have more checks and balances plus a propensity to strive for consenus-consensus of course being a dirty word in adversorial Britain.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Peter,

    apologies, I'm running out to play darts. I will get back to you on what you've asked though. The cash level of unemployment benefit you gain depends on your previous job salary and employment record although there is other benefits such as medical insurance and housing benefit paid if the person unemployed is a lower earner.

    As I say, I will get back to you.

    Paul,

    agree with every word of that and again I'll look into that in terms of the disability benefit figures because it would make a most apposite comparison with the upcoming UK disability "reforms".

    Have a good night all.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Spike, actually you can compare anything (although it might not always be terribly useful), but I was not equating them, I was merely giving two examples of recent articles The point of similarity is that both issues are of minimal/no relevance to the vast majority of low-waged, medium-waged, or unemployed people in the UK. Gay rights in Iran have absolutely no practical effect on the day-to-day lives of people in the UK, nor does Penny's solipsistic take on burlesque. They are merely 'entertaining' distractions for the Guardian readership. One issue may be subjectively perceived as more serious or important, but to the unemployed bricklayer in Newcastle, both are about as interesting and relevant as an article about molybdium mining on Pluto. It's feel-good/feel-bad emotional porn for people who have no real worries.

    What does impact on people's lives is job cuts, service cuts, the price of a loaf of bread etc etc. The constant stream of meaningless junk that the G has made its trademark and continues to flog tirelessly is a sham and an insult. Especially when they constantly slap each other on the back and pretend that they actually have values and principles. They are no better and considerably less honest than the likes of the Mail or Telegraph.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Pennyfortheguyguv?


    The constant stream of meaningless junk that the G has made its trademark and continues to flog tirelessly is a sham and an insult. Especially when they constantly slap each other on the back and pretend that they actually have values and principles. They are no better and considerably less honest than the likes of the Mail or Telegraph.

    Good post.Agreed with it in it's entirety.Your above para however especially hit the nail firmly on the head as far as the G is concerned. Nice one !

    ReplyDelete
  68. Penny

    Broadly agree with your post, but I don't think that being concerned about one's own circumstances precludes being horrified at Iran's attitude to gays. There are gay working-class people too, ya know - they might feel some sense of solidarity.

    Obviously the L-Penny shite is ridiculous. (Didn't bother reading her 'article' but can imagine, having read others.)

    ReplyDelete
  69. @Penny

    Oh, I fully agree that the Graun's take on what impacts on people's lives is often lucricrously out of step with the reality experienced by most people, but I think gay rights in Iran do impact on everyone's life, because respect for human rights worldwide has a knock-on effect everywhere, so aside from the objective value of mobilising public opinion on these issues, I think there's a subjective value too.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I agree up to a point, Lord Spike. A secular socialist republic of Iran would probably solve the gay rights issue there. And after that we could try for a secular socialist republic of Great Britain. That would probably solve a few problems here too.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Amusing bit in the latest Private Eye:

    Alan Rubbisher and his Guardian apparatchiks are beginning to wonder whether they made a blunder when they urged their leftie readers to vote Lib Dem in he general election

    "Cheer up--I'm not selling you out", Nick Clegg told them, as the world's most unpopular man delivered the Hugo Young Memorial Lecture at the Grauniad's luxurious HQ recently.

    The next weekend Clegg invited two of his favourite journalists to stay with him at Chevening, the deputy prime minister's grace-and-favour country house. Polly Toynbee? George Moonbat, perhaps? Er, no.

    The "progressive" Clegg invited some new chums: veteran Tory pundit Matthew Parris and Fraser Nelson, the Thatcherite editor of the Spectator.

    No doubt they raised a glass of fine claret to toast the Grauniad and thank it for its loyal support
    --Private Eye, no.1277

    @penisthingy: "I think all sex is kinda masturbation really. You're never in the other person's head even if you are in their body. Or not. Wish my mum's cat had a detachable bum, it would be so much cleaner."

    I'm not, I hope, a cruel man [Yes, you are-Ed.] and I don't wish to mock the afflicted [Yes, you do-Ed.] but am I alone in being bemused by this paragraph from the Recipes 'R' Us resident psychobabble merchant?

    Is the first sentence of the quoted paragraph related to the last? Do I really want to know or are some things better left cloaked in mystery?

    Kevin Ayers - Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes

    ReplyDelete
  72. "Gay rights in Iran have absolutely no practical effect on the day-to-day lives of people in the UK."

    This sentiment is cavernously neanderthal because it's true.

    But that doesn't make it right. And lest we forget, we're not talking about gay rights in terms of church-blessed marriages or the right to commit sodomy in private BBs.

    In Iran, gay rights amount to the right to live.

    ReplyDelete
  73. blimey it's brass monkeys here.....well not for you hardened northern types but for us wusses -4 is cold.......can I have some sympathy I don't have central heating just dog heating.....

    ok as james would say...as you were.......

    ReplyDelete
  74. "I think all sex is kinda masturbation really. You're never in the other person's head even if you are in their body. Or not. Wish my mum's cat had a detachable bum, it would be so much cleaner."

    jesus wept...where would you even start?

    ReplyDelete
  75. A lot of very angry people on the streets in Athens.

    ReplyDelete
  76. "Alan Rubbisher and his Guardian apparatchiks are beginning to wonder whether they made a blunder when they urged their leftie readers to vote Lib Dem in he general election

    Does anyone remember that piece delivered in solemn and righteous tones describing the Guardian 'staff meeting' where they discussed who(m) to back in the election?...the collected political nous of well-connected, looped-in media operators with decades of experience...the votive offerings to Gaia for guidance...the ten minutes of nose-flute accompanied meditation...the opening address from Rushbridger...Polly's incisive interventions...they're a bunch of fuckin morons

    Why the fuck didn't they just call in Bru-ski?

    ReplyDelete
  77. "A lot of very angry people on the streets in Athens."

    ..is the internet down?

    ReplyDelete
  78. I havent the energy for another row about Penny, MF, but i think you've been incredibly harsh to her. I hate to use the M word but misogyny is the only reason i can think of. I just had a quick look at her blog and saw something I hope will make you see the error of your ways:

    "It feels a little hypocritical to be so incensed with rage about what's happening to this country, the ruthless neoliberal revenge agenda being enacted on the lives and bodies of the vulnerable and the socially invisible, when I've had such a lucky escape this summer. I could have become more unwell and lost my job and my income. I could have remained homeless. I could have had to fall back on a welfare system that's about to be snatched away almost entirely. None of that happened, and it happened to a large number of people I know. I will never get over just how lucky I am; sometimes I feel my privilege sitting on my chest like a Fuseli painting, but that's a fucking poor excuse for lying down and exempting oneself from the struggle."



    She could have remained homeless, MF, but the struggle would not survive without her. And yet you dare mock...

    ReplyDelete
  79. leni
    great coverage (zero) in the graun on athens.......maybe lacks a hate figure......

    ReplyDelete
  80. It is heartening to see that our overlords in the political classes were sufficiently chastened by being found with their fingers in the till up to their elbows that they have reformed and applied frugality and scrupulous honesty to their dealings with the public purse in these straitened and austere economic times.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/auditor-general-refuses-to-sign-off-commons-accounts-2161191.html

    The Auditor General has refused to sign off last year's House of Commons accounts in full amid serious concerns about millions of pounds of expenses paid to MPs.

    Amyas Morse, the head of the National Audit Office, found the Commons authorities unable to provide evidence justifying £2.6 million of claims.

    In addition, the House could not prove that another £11.3 million of expenditure had been incurred for parliamentary purposes.

    As a result, Mr Morse has qualified the Commons' accounts for 2009/10 - the first year in which he has been required to examine the claims of MPs in any detail.

    In his report on the House of Commons Members Resource Accounts 2009/10, Mr Morse said there were £13.9 million of payments to MPs which were "either unsupported or where entitlement could not be fully demonstrated".

    He said that the Commons had failed to maintain proper accounting records concerning the £98.1 million of reimbursements to MPs in expenses.


    Oh, Lordy me and lummie and quelle surprise, apparently not.

    It looks like their masterplan was simply to pretend to have changed their ways and actually to carry on pilfering and filching and benefits cheating and fiddling because they are doing big jobs and it really is only the little people who have to pay.

    Shop a tax-fiddler today.

    Unseat your MP as soon as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Bracken
    "Hence my original enquiry: what's the bottom line in material terms? "

    Consider Marxism is based that there is an infinite number of material resources (as everything to do with Marxism is fundamentally material) and now consider the world in ecological terms, with limited and very diminishing resources and issues like overpopulation. The more the population becomes unsustainable, the less share of the pie we get. As Jay Reilly said on the Peter Preston thread, it is an also an issue that transcends the left and right.

    The fact is that the 21st is not going to be like the second half of the 20th century in Britain, post war optimism and cradle to grave welfare state. The pound will weaken, the Chinese currency will strengthen etc. A 'minimum standard' will be relative, but it certainly won't be the easy life that the baby boomers had, the advanced industrial western economies able to exploit the lack of development worldwide. Those days are coming to an endas we will be overtaken.

    The simple fact is that there are not enough resources in this world for everyone to live a developed western lifestyle, including the westerners themselves. Yes, there are a lot of people (and countries) who disproportionately pollute and that is negative, but the fact is that no one can expect the comforts of the post WW2 settlement.

    Now I am not a flashy materialist, I detest expensive kitsch, glitz and glamour. I won't weep over a few Maserati showrooms shutting down or the end of the X factor, or even having to work in the fields. But for many of us it will be a shock.

    You are a historian by education Bracken? Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  82. gandolfo

    Perhaps the G is relant to discuss anything which may give the Plebs here ideas.

    We need an article about the controls the IMF is inflicting on Greece - amon them private firms enabled to override union agreements and reduce wages.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Leni - I reckon the difference between the Greeks and us is that they will not put up with those conditions. In fact, it seems that they are already not putting up with them!

    ReplyDelete
  84. This sentiment is cavernously neanderthal because it's true.

    But that doesn't make it right.


    Peter, it's certainly true. I'm not sure about the neanderthal bit, cavernous or otherwise (what does that mean anyway?).

    And of course it doesn't make it 'right' that gays are executed in Iran. Most people would oppose such barbarity, although a proportion of muslims would not - they would say that it was 'right'. But I wasn't making a value judgment, I was merely stating an unpalatable truth. Unemployed bricklayers in Newcastle may be sympathetic, but it doesn't affect them in any way, and they can't afford to prioritize it above their other worries. Guardian journalists may also be sympathetic, but it doesn't really affect them either. So they write an article about it. And life goes on. Another day, another deadline, another pay cheque.

    ReplyDelete
  85. That's a mightily puffed-up, sumptuously soporific post, Charles, if I may say so. My kids could lie beneath it and doze soundly.

    ReplyDelete
  86. But Jay...

    ...she's sold out man..I remember her back in the day when she was a "Welfare Activist"...living a daily nightmare straight from Withnail

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/30/general-election-unemployment-poverty?INTCMP=SRCH

    "Laurie Penny, 23, never imagined she would find herself enmeshed in a world of poverty and the grip of the benefit system when she graduated with a 2:1 degree in English from Oxford University in 2008. Even with that name on her CV, she and her contemporaries have found it fiercely difficult to get work.

    "It is hard to think of anybody who graduated with me in 2008 who has a job," she said. "People have tried and not been able to find anything, particularly when the recession hit, and you simply cannot live on £50-a-week jobseeker's allowance."

    Penny and her friends found their dreams crumbling soon after graduation. Seven of them crammed into a house meant for three, able to go nowhere and buy nothing, living on cheap food which she says made them ill in the winters. Describing herself now as a welfare activist, she writes and blogs on the plight of the young unemployed, who she says have no voice.

    "We were living like a scene from Withnail & I, except there was no space to move," she said. "It was very miserable. People get very depressed – .."

    Mind you...you can't can't keep that much talent bottled up

    Need a Burlesque dancer...call Laurie Penny

    Authentic opinion from the underclass...call Laurie Penny

    Anorexia sufferer...call Laurie Penny

    Student rioter...call Laurie Penny

    Feisty feminist and socialist...call Laurie Penny

    Political analyst...call Laurie Penny

    My boiler started acting funny the other day...naturally I called Laurie Penny...but her one-armed HIV positive Peruvian PA told me she's up at Lilleshall advising Capello on a new zonal-marking system she's devised before flying out to Zanzibar to give a seminar on semiconducting wombats.

    ReplyDelete
  87. @ Bitey - Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, working does sometimes have it's downsides.

    No apologies for my 'foul' language though. I live in a world where it is socially acceptable to use expletives to express or emphasise any given point.

    Although why you should be concerned over my reason to call you a 'prick' should be self evident, even from last nights 'oh gosh, i'm not convincing these chaps', can't see a way out.. never mind...I'll just go round the loop of blockquoting again.

    I also thought that calling you a 'prick' was rather restrained IMO. After all many a poster has called you far worse.

    Reasons: I don't like you're on-line persona.

    There now you can tell me to Fuck Off !!

    ReplyDelete
  88. "Consider Marxism is based that there is an infinite number of material resources (as everything to do with Marxism is fundamentally material)"

    Napoleon...what do you actually understand by the term 'materialism'?...you appear to think it involves something to do with having or wanting lots of 'stuff'.

    Maybe read past the first two lines of the next wiki page you visit.

    ReplyDelete
  89. leni

    i don't think so.....they dedicated enough to the protests in italy but there is the B factor...which the G seems to be superficially fixated with rather than looking any deeper into the ills of Italy....they seem to think that it's Berlusco is the problem infact it's the fact that he ever got to be PM that needs to be analysed he is the effect not the cause........

    ReplyDelete
  90. Leni
    on the IMF definitely there needs to be something

    ReplyDelete
  91. "But I wasn't making a value judgment, I was merely stating an unpalatable truth."

    No, Penny, you were making a value judgement. You were saying Why should the destitute or the underprivileged of the UK care? They've their own problems to worry about. Why should they give a fuck?

    Well, the same might be true of politicians dealing with domestic issues. Or indeed bankers preoccupied with the next country house they may or may not buy.

    Should they care?

    ReplyDelete
  92. The IMF works for the fucking bankers and our other shadowy overlords.

    ReplyDelete
  93. thauma
    they are the shadowy overloads......;)

    ReplyDelete
  94. Had to look up soporific.

    But seriosuly, you must realise the 21st century will be completely different than previously, and the old certainties in things like left and right and assumptions of unlimited resources which can be distributed 'equally' will be completely blown away.

    As a historian, you know from the pages of history what happens to the unprepared or the flat earthers. Which is why we need to stop deluding ourselves right now. That includes the Tory twats as much as utopian socialists. We need a government and electorate that can think and plan decades ahead and act in the national interest, not cronyism or opportunistic and ineffectual short term governance.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Napoleon

    A couple of years back I was up at the Metrocentre...saw a real spoiled little brat demanding all sorts of games and DVDs in a broad Geordie accent...fuckin little Marxist I thought...bloody dialectical materialist

    ReplyDelete
  96. Fuckinell

    *wipes sweat from brow*

    I agree with Bracken.

    Just because something doesn't affect us doesn't mean we shouldn't care about it. Torture, rendition, FGM, women being stoned to death for adultery, gays being exectuted: none of this* affects (most of) us directly in the UK, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give a toss.

    Solidarity is worldwide, or so I thought?

    *It could well be argued that torture and rendition DO affect us in terms of blowback, granted, as our government has been complicit in it.

    ReplyDelete
  97. What's with all the attacks on Laurie Penny. By all means, dislike her output, but this is going too far, surely.

    ReplyDelete
  98. the IMF loves a crisis it a business opportunity for them from argentina to zimbabwe they are rubbing their hands......they blackmail countries to accept their demands for "loaning" money....they are Friedman's boys

    they are unadulterated scum....

    ReplyDelete
  99. Napoleon - keep reading Germinal.

    ReplyDelete
  100. "By all means, dislike her output, but this is going too far, surely."

    Why?..she's a fuckin fraud...and her prose is only a rung or two up from your own

    ReplyDelete
  101. No, Penny, you were making a value judgement. You were saying Why should the destitute or the underprivileged of the UK care? They've their own problems to worry about. Why should they give a fuck?

    Thank you for correcting me, Peter. The next time that I'm in danger of completely misinterpreting what I think and what I say, I'll be sure to run it past you first.

    Oh, and I'll hazard a guess that bankers preoccupied with the next country house don't care much about gay rights in Iran either. Unless it might affect property prices, of course. Do you think it will?

    ReplyDelete
  102. Gandolfo - seem to recall that Chavez and Morales told the IMF to fuck off ... perhaps Argentina too, after their period of bondage?

    ... Or it could be my very bad memory acting up again.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Oh shit...just looked at waddaya...as it happens I'm pining for the return of the 'best poster on CIF'..you never know what you've got till you miss it etc...

    and I saw this from Recipe Girl.."the more the merrier.. That's why I keep posting details.. I'd rather not get drunk alone (not that it's unheard of, mind).. Do do come..."

    Now..it turns out there's a good chance I'm in South London on Monday..I'm sorely tempted

    ReplyDelete
  104. http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/12/15/jody-mcintyre-who%E2%80%99s-apathetic-now/

    Jody McIntyre, the disabled chap wrenched from his wheelchair and dragged across the road by a rozzer, who people highlighted here when he was abused by The Mail's Richard Littlejohn[?] now gets a blog on The Independent.

    We may soon see some kind of sporadic, guerrilla media wars which muddy the waters, which should make the BBC Neo-Nasty Party shill, Nick Robinson become more, er, shrill.

    That's a mightily puffed-up, sumptuously soporific post, Charles, if I may say so.

    Of course you may, Petey Boy.

    Could you find one of your own posts which is not equally sumptuously coma-inducing?

    When shall we expect to receive your essay on open and closed societies, Mr Bracket?

    I am becoming jittery in anticipation and keep trying to guess which one gets the P-Brax seal of approval. Will it be the lovely one which is open for exploitation and abuse or the silly one with the dangly closed sign swinging in the window of the locked door as the dumb proprietors wander off for a lazy day at the seaside and miss all the opportunities spread at their feet by globalisation?

    You did say that you can pretty much bung up the spillages of your brain on CiF whenever you want, didn't you?

    Chop-chop, then.

    After all, Little Ms Hanman couldn't stop the mighty warrior Brackish, surely?

    Laters.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Nap

    there are differences between natural resources and created ones. You have to define resources. Natural resources and the means of accessing them (mining, water ,oil etc) are controlled as are the workers in these industries. Viable agricultural land is also controlled - access to it denied to the hungry.

    As some are depleted or diminished they still have to be shared until - if- replacements are developed or found.

    Created resourcs are made by billions - food, clothing , housing to say nothing of services - even if supplie of these fluctuate there is no reason to deny access to them to millions whilst an elite gathers and stores more tha they require.

    there is an imbalance Charles - plain to see.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Something from leftfield here *mmm...leftfield...* but

    What effect does Iran persecuting gays have on a brickie in Newcastle?

    Well, if Iran wasn't such a harsh regime, there wouldn't be Iranian asylum seekers turning up at our door. That does have an effect on a brickie in Newcastle if an Iranian gay asylum seeker - who will certainly be granted asylum or humanitarian protection now even if it was not necessarily the case a year ago - happens to be a brickie.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Don't mind people trying hard, tomboy - applaud it.

    Just wonder about the desperation when it amounts nought.

    ReplyDelete
  108. BB

    This is true . It is also true that the acceptance of brutality or deprivation in any society helps to legitimise it elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Just because something doesn't affect us doesn't mean we shouldn't care about it. Torture, rendition, FGM, women being stoned to death for adultery, gays being exectuted: none of this* affects (most of) us directly in the UK, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give a toss.

    I'm a bit unclear as to how the phrase 'Unemployed bricklayers in Newcastle may be sympathetic' or my general points can be read as a claim that 'we shouldn't give a toss'.
    I personally do care to a degree, but am honest enough to confess that I care a lot more about things that affect me and my community much more directly, and today rather than in 30 years time when the world might be a better place for everyone. I suppose I'm just not saintly enough to see all these things as 'equal', irrespective of how it affects me. (Selfishness over altruism - how primitive.)

    ReplyDelete
  110. "This is true . It is also true that the acceptance of brutality or deprivation in any society helps to legitimise it elsewhere."

    What, you mean the experiences of the poor in the UK legitimates the stoning of gay's or adulterers in Iran?

    FFS leni, get a grip.

    ReplyDelete
  111. P-Brax

    Are you on skunk again? I've warned you about that before...

    ReplyDelete
  112. Garn, Monkeyfish - and, naturally, I expect you to be tweeting the evening's developments to us. After all, the fragrant (Chanel 19, I think she said) Bru will be holding court.

    Unless some dreadful last-minute crisis involving snow, Italian counts and secret top-level political negotiations intervenes. What a loss for humanity that would be.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  113. Seems that some on Cif don't think i am the same PCC from a few months back? Firstly I never left Cif, secondly I don't think I have changed my views and thirdly if they mean my posts are crapper than ever - dead right. I am knackered out and depressed. The news just keep getting worse every single day.

    Thank god some of you have met me or I might doubt I exist.

    Speaking of which - Sheff or Chin if you read this can you email me? I can only email you if I do it in a reply or it doesn't go for some reason.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Fuck - I've been rumbled. The huge influx of gay Iranian asylum-seeking bricklayers into Newcastle has destroyed my argument totally. No Xmas pressies or turkey for my kids this year - that money's going to Iran. And we'll all be better off.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Penny

    I care a lot more about things that affect me and my community much more directly

    Fair enough, and don't we all. It was just that you put it in the same breath as Laurie Penny's middle-class whingeing about ... I dunno ... poor, downtrodden Oxbridge graduates with a 2:1 and amateur burlesque shows.

    Not in the same league.

    ReplyDelete
  116. I've no real problem with your parochial interests, penny. So long as you attribute to others the same right.

    That's why we elect a government: to adjudicate on the public good, when interests conflict.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Peter

    Don't be an idiot - of course I didn't mean that.

    If we accept brutality and deprivation as a the alloted portion for a section community it helps to reinforce the case for brutality elsewhere.

    It allow the social darwinists to point to examples everywhere and try to use it as proof that this is part of the natural order. The whole law of the jungle nonsense.

    W see this everyday on CIf. We also see the whataboutists using it to defend the behaviour of their own gvts, - and themselves .

    ReplyDelete
  118. THAUMA

    The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has refused all loans from the IMF because his socialist government refuses to privatise ANYTHING....
    regarding chavez i'm not sure whether he has broken with the IMF, the IMF must be pissed off because venezuela has lots of oil that if it wants, can sell low cost to poor countries.. and of course in some way they can hold the US to ransom over crude oil,,,, brazil and bolivia has huge natural resources that are being exploited for the good of their people probably for the first time* ever in the history of latin America....great times coming for LA me thinks....

    *since portuguese,dutch and spanish colonisation

    ReplyDelete
  119. PCC - saw someone on a thread today who completely missed your dripping sarcasm and took you for a right-winger ... made me laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  120. "Unless some dreadful last-minute crisis involving snow, Italian counts and secret top-level political negotiations intervenes."

    Fear not..snow won't be an issue..I'd crawl over broken glass for the honour of attending that particular soiree...the Italian counts are safely Rohypnoled and tied-up safely in the attic and, now Holbrooke's kicked the bucket, my assistant Smeaton can probably wrap up the negotiations single-handed..

    erm...just occurred to me...you weren't talking about me were you?...you're not telling me what I think you're telling me are you?

    ReplyDelete
  121. Penny

    Just running an idea by yer.:p

    If we keep spending our money on elastoplast to stick on a cancer, it will have a knock-on effect everyone sooner or later. So the secret is to treat the cancer, then we don't have to spend all our money on elastoplast.

    ReplyDelete
  122. peterb

    i'm quite thick but i understood what leni meant...

    ReplyDelete
  123. Hopefully this may aid in his removal:

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter today provoked calls for his resignation after joking that gay football fans should "refrain" from sex during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

    It's about time FIFA was ignored totally, with the FA's of the world getting together to promote and create a board that is accountable and transparent.

    Meanwhile, campaign groups said he risked undermining work to combat homophobia in football and called on him to apologise immediately or stand down.

    Stand down please......

    Anyway, that 'Bombay Bad Boy' was good !! Hmmm
    Dinner over.

    ReplyDelete
  124. P-Brax

    I've lost you? I didn't know I was looking for you... :o)

    See Leni's post at 19.41. I thought your initial reaction was a joke, but now I am beginning to wonder...

    ReplyDelete
  125. "Don't be an idiot - of course I didn't mean that."

    Well you said this:

    "It is also true that the acceptance of brutality or deprivation in any society helps to legitimise it elsewhere."

    That can only be an apology for brutality or deprivation anywhere. Either that or you should craft your opinions more carefully.

    ReplyDelete
  126. It was just that you put it in the same breath as Laurie Penny's middle-class whingeing about

    thaumaturge, I refer you to my reply to Spike at 17.38. Do try and keep up. Incidentally, it would not surprise me if many Guardian readers felt that poor little Laurie's post-Oxbridge tribulations were much more heart-rending and relevant than hanging gays in Iran. Do you think that's possible?

    ReplyDelete
  127. BB

    I'd say super skunk and a *rather good red*

    ...bloody fatal mix in my experience

    ReplyDelete
  128. Leni, you are of course right in some regards and I would want to believe what you believe. But I don't, I am too cynical.

    For example, people under the sway of fundamentalist religions, who believe it is ok to have 5 kids as God controls the environment and will fly down from heaven and save us from any environmental (or Malthusian) catastrophe.

    It's too long and complicated to argue about philosophy, civilisation and the natural environemnt etc here, so I wont.

    ReplyDelete
  129. I think you need to either give up on the drugs or get better drugs, Petey darling, because I am pretty sure you are the only person who read it that way.

    I read it to mean "if we accept brutality or deprivation in Iran, it helps legitimise it elsewhere, i.e. UK, therefore we should not accept it"

    ReplyDelete
  130. Peter

    what are you talking about?

    don't try and fight this is a no no win for you bow out and admit you got the wrong end of the stick.... which I think is positioned in ya nethers at the mo.....

    ReplyDelete
  131. Penny

    not to be too particular about gay bricklayers but BB makes a good general point.

    a lot of immigration/asylum seeking is caused by intolerable conditions - perhaps persecution but also harsh economic conditions.

    Our gvt. actively supports nasty vicious gvts. for commercial or strategic reasons - so are in fact complicit in the increasing migrations of desperate people.

    People have just drowned off the coast of an Australian island - desperate people seeking a new life. People don't take such risks if their lives are even tolerable.

    ReplyDelete
  132. LOL Gandolfo

    I am slumming it tonight with a can of John Smiths, which is a bloody disgrace after having a bottle of Chimay yesterday. Meh.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Gandolfo, Google is a wonderful thing.

    Chavez pulls out of IMF and World Bank.

    Bolivia: Evo Morales Intends to Prosecute the IMF for Economic Damage.

    In Argentina, a quick scan indicates that Neston Kirchner told them to fuck off, but there may still be negotiations.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Fucking hell, MF, the planets must be in alignment or summat. Please do go along.
    Re: caring about the plights of others, it's all down to proximity or how near their situation feels to you, either geographically or by similarity of situation. We all do a kind of mental triage of problems, and prioritise those nearest (even Peter B's evolutionary psychology bears this out). Now the vagueness of the terms proximity and indeed "feel" is deliberate, because people can vary widely in their perceptions and also in their notions of causation (cf BB's blowback which is straining causation a bit for me, but is kinda reminiscent of Buddhist kharma): some see distant situations and by constructing or predicting how they might pan out, feel that actually, those situations are nearer home than others might determine. Siding with Penny on this one: the nearer an undesirable situation 'feels' and granted that's almost entirely subjective, the more one is likely to care about it and prioritise it. The big trouble arises when people become so isolated and detached or remote from others that that can't or won't even consider others' situations, when they don't get ranked, let alone put near the top of the list of concerns. My understanding of Pennyfortheguyguv's position was that they do care, albeit on a lesser level, because the problem is less immediate, not that they sociopathically don't or won't care.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Well Peter

    You will just have to nurse you odd idea about my sitting here rubbing my hands in glee as immigrants drown, women ar stoned and my disabled neighbour goes hungry.

    ReplyDelete
  136. thaum

    what's google......? ;)



    thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  137. Alisdair

    Pretty much spot on.

    Leni - I always knew you were evil!

    ReplyDelete
  138. '...the nearer an undesirable situation 'feels' and granted that's almost entirely subjective, the more one is likely to care about it and prioritise it."

    Wasn't debating that fact, Alisdair. Proximity per se is not the issue. it's whether proximity occludes the issue. Penny thinks it does. I think not.

    ReplyDelete
  139. I only asked for clarification, leni, The juxtaposition of your post (with the sense of BB's) is ambiguous.

    ReplyDelete
  140. MF

    erm...just occurred to me...you weren't talking about me were you?...you're not telling me what I think you're telling me are you?

    Hehe - is it possible that the star of Cif might suddenly find herself unable to attend and can only send a magnum of champers instead?

    PB (quoting Leni)

    "It is also true that the acceptance of brutality or deprivation in any society helps to legitimise it elsewhere."

    That can only be an apology for brutality or deprivation anywhere. Either that or you should craft your opinions more carefully.


    Eh? How do you get that from her statement?

    Penny

    thaumaturge, I refer you to my reply to Spike at 17.38. Do try and keep up.

    No, I saw that and, as I said, broadly agreed with it. Probably I'm now fighting something that doesn't exist. ;-)

    Incidentally, it would not surprise me if many Guardian readers felt that poor little Laurie's post-Oxbridge tribulations were much more heart-rending and relevant than hanging gays in Iran. Do you think that's possible?

    God, I hope not. Or at least, I'd hope it's a vanishingly small minority of Guardian readers. Please don't try to depress me. Urg ... now I'm worried.

    ReplyDelete
  141. "I only asked for clarification, leni, The juxtaposition of your post (with the sense of BB's) is ambiguous."

    ...just put this through the google translator...turns out it means..

    "Fuck it..OK..I got the wrong end of the stick"

    ReplyDelete
  142. Leni

    "Our gvt. actively supports nasty vicious gvts. for commercial or strategic reasons - so are in fact complicit in the increasing migrations of desperate people."

    While I accept that there are certifiable cases where this has happened, some countries happen to have poor leaders.

    "People have just drowned off the coast of an Australian island - desperate people seeking a new life. People don't take such risks if their lives are even tolerable."

    Of course that is a tragedy. But you might also consider that some people (collectively) make their lives intolerable because they subscribe to a religious belief that encourages procreation and illiteracy, which drags down the economy of the country and means people are reduced to 'bowl of rice a day' qualities of life. In this above case I believe it was Iraqi refugee, so I suppose the 'blame' can lie at the hand of the Americans, but always laying into the Western powers as always being the evil imperialists is very much an example of the deluded left.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Thauma


    just read that chavez secured loans from china for $8billion in a credit for oil contract.......now that's what i call an up yours to the IMf...already negotiating for a $20billion loan next year...it also means that venezuela is not "dependent" on selling oil to the US.......nice one Chavez......

    ReplyDelete
  144. On a completely different note..I've been puzzling over this for a few days...(and I've read the book)..it's very good

    "In The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris makes a ‘scientific’ argument against capital punishment and the morality of retributionist justice, insisting that ‘The urge for retribution…seems to depend upon our not seeing the underlying causes of human behavior’. ‘The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck’- none of which they are responsible for.

    There is, however, Harris insists, a scientific argument for incarcerating criminals, even though they are not responsible for their acts, because it helps protect society. The analogy that he uses to make this point is both curious and telling. ‘Clearly’, he writes, ‘we need to build prisons for people who are intent on harming others. But if we could incarcerate earthquakes and hurricanes for their crimes, we would build prisons for them as well."

    ...just noticed Zoe Williams offering a sort of apologia for Tory penal policies...giving another insight into the turning circle of your average bourgeois liberal media luvvie...most of them seem willing to spin on an ideological sixpence when it suits them.

    ...and to be fair...we probably would 'lock up' or banish earthquakes and hurricanes if we could.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Gandolfo, to be clear, I was mocking my own laziness in backing up my memory!

    Napoleon - dear god, you are reduced to quoting Bracken. "Deluded left", indeed.

    However silly you and I might consider religious belief to be, can you not see that one's environment might make a teensy impression on one's worldview?

    ReplyDelete
  146. Charles

    I am sorry but you are talking shite again.

    It has nothing to do with religious beliefs that encourage procreation and illiteracy and everything to do with the need to have a lot of children because it is likely that some will die before they reach 5, and you need to ensure your succession as well as someone to care for you in your old age and take over the family plot.

    Some countries happen to have poor leaders, for sure. Most countries have a relationship with first and second world countries whereby their leaders will do whatever is demanded of them for the benefit of the trans-national corporatist colonists as long as their palm is crossed with sufficient silver.

    So who is to blame? The leaders for taking the bribes, or the corporations happy to bribe them?

    ReplyDelete
  147. I think Alasdair Cameron got my point(s). Perhaps I was unclear, or perhaps a lot of people here only hear what they want to hear. I'll assume the former.

    a lot of immigration/asylum seeking is caused by intolerable conditions - perhaps persecution but also harsh economic conditions.

    Leni, this is indisputable. I myself would do the same as many immigrants if I found myself in their postion. But common humanity aside, the UK cannot take responsibilty for the hundreds of millions of abused and fucked over people in the world.

    beautifulburnout's argument is fatally flawed in that she assumes that if gays are oppressed in Iran, then they will turn up in Newcastle, and we should welcome them. And we should pay money to prevent it. That's the elastoplast, but we can't even do that. What would cutting out the cancer involve? Bomb Iran back to the stone age? It's rhetoric reminiscent of the neo-cons. And why stop at Iran? why not Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan? We are not the world's policemen. While children in the UK still live under the poverty line, monetary largesse and concern for poor children elsewhere in the world is unfortunately a secondary priority to the majority of people in the UK.

    The world is fucked, and it's the politicians everywhere who are responsible. We should do what we can, but realism is essential. Idealism fuels blogs but doesn't feed children.

    ReplyDelete
  148. "Of course that is a tragedy. But you might also consider that some people (collectively) make their lives intolerable because they subscribe to a religious belief that encourages procreation and illiteracy, which drags down the economy of the country and means people are reduced to 'bowl of rice a day' qualities of life. In this above case I believe it was Iraqi refugee, so I suppose the 'blame' can lie at the hand of the Americans, but always laying into the Western powers as always being the evil imperialists is very much an example of the deluded left."

    what is this? nap crap? what are you saying....jesus wept.....are you smoking skunk as well...? I'm not even going to argue this b@llocks...all I'm going to say is the only deluded argument here is yours........discuss...

    ReplyDelete
  149. "It's too long and complicated to argue about philosophy, civilisation and the natural environment etc here, so I wont".

    Since the scope of the debate encompasses the life's work of every critical thinker since the dawn of time, I don't expect you would.

    ReplyDelete
  150. Gandolfo again (can't keep up!): Chavez also offered cheap oil to the US as a humanitarian gesture after ... Katrina, was it? Can't remember. The response was chilly and patriotic Americans decided to boycott whichever filling company chain was supplied by Venezuela (Total?).

    Hmm, some more Googling is in order.

    ReplyDelete
  151. "‘The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck’- none of which they are responsible for."

    Maybe not, but they're still accountable for their actions.

    Most fuckers with abusive parents, lousy mentors or a crap roll of the dice don't murder people.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Ah, here we are. Citgo, not Total (duh, French-owned, I believe).

    Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, renewed a program under which it has provided cheap heating oil to hundreds of thousands of U.S. low-income households since 2005.

    Admittedly, there's nothing in the article about 'patriotic Americans' boycotting Citgo, but I'm sure I remember some kerfuffle at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Soz penny but now you are erecting straw men all over the place.

    Where in any of my posts ever - EVER - have you seen me espouse any of the bollocks you are now attempting to lay at my door?

    Cutting out the cancer involves the complete opposite of bombing Iran into the stone-age. In my view, if Bush hadn't added Iran to his list of the Axis of Evil, there would be no Ahmadinejad. If we continue to treat countries like Iran like complete shite, they will never be able to release themselves from the grip of totalitarianism. Let's not forget that in 53 we - the UK - deposed a democratically-elected government and installed the puppet Shah to dance to our tune. We wander about the world like fucking bully-boys, doing what the hell we want, then we complain when people try and fight back.

    We go into countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, bomb the fuck out of them, then complain that the refugees we created turn up at our door. We allow our companies to bully and bribe and leech their way through the under-developed world, then complain that all the local people who are starved out of their otherwise reasonable existances turn up at our door.

    Everybody shouts "too much immigration!" yet all we do is to create the hellish situations in which people feel that the only thing they can do to survive and have at least a remotely reasonable life is to leave the country they were born in, the home they have always known, and the families they love and come to some outcrop of rock in the North Atlantic to try and make a life for themselves.

    This is not idealism. This is reality. And until we start addressing the reality, we will forever be sticking elastoplast on cancers.

    ReplyDelete
  154. BB- do you not see the dilemma. The countries won't get richer unless people stop having so many children. This is not as much a political issue as an ecological issue. In any society, environment, there will always be a natural carrying capacity.

    Anyway, I have no interest in getting in to an ideological battle with the UT again. So I will leave it at that. Just take note, the old certainties of the 20th century (well the second half at least) are gone, as are the political demarcation lines. It is easy for many of you to speak when a lot of you have had your best days gone by. AFAIK, there are only 2 twentysomethings on here, me and Jay, and Jay said quite correctly on the Peter Preton thread that the issue we face transcend left and right.

    NN

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  155. thuma

    google google saves me the hassel!!!! ;0)


    chavez is also a bit of a fuck...but jeeze he really has helped to pull latin america together after centuries of external exploitation, both the human and environmental kind...europe should look to LA as a model.......

    ReplyDelete
  156. Nap

    If you don't want to get into an ideological argument with the UT, perhaps it is wise not to come here and make ideological statements?

    Just a thought, love...

    ReplyDelete
  157. so BB oi!

    are you having a southern UT meet up????

    ReplyDelete
  158. I'm a twenty-something.

    (Not that it matters!)

    As you were.....

    ReplyDelete
  159. "It is easy for many of you to speak when a lot of you have had your best days gone by. AFAIK, there are only 2 twentysomethings on here, me and Jay, "

    And I will put this down to the naivete of youth, rather than assuming that you are just plain stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Gandolfo

    Well I hadn't really planned anything. Why, are you coming home?

    ReplyDelete
  161. gandolfo

    I think a few would be tempted into a southern meet-up. PeterJ is based down south, and Jay of course ...

    ReplyDelete
  162. MsChin

    You said that wrong.

    It's dahn sarf! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  163. beautifulburnout, I'm not a supporter of the West's current approach to Iran, but just a couple of points

    if Bush hadn't added Iran to his list of the Axis of Evil, there would be no Ahmadinejad

    FFS. Iran has been a 'problem' to the West since Khomeini in 1978. Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. Are you saying he owed his election victory to Bush?

    We go into countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, bomb the fuck out of them, then complain that the refugees we created turn up at our door

    Are you saying that there were no Afghani/Iraqi refugees to the UK prior to the UK invasion? No people fleeing from Saddam Hussein or the Taliban? As an immigration specialist perhaps you'd like to dig out some statistics on that to support your argument?

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  164. Gandolfo - agree about Chavez, but I think his star is falling a bit these days. But that could just be First-World propaganda, of course!

    Snopes has a bit on the Citgo boycott.

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  165. "Most fuckers with abusive parents, lousy mentors or a crap roll of the dice don't murder people."

    I think you missed the point...he still wants them locked up...even the people that he considers are genuinely unaccountable...that's what the earthquake thing is about..he's saying some people are no more accountable or have no more informed agency than a natural disaster or, on the grounds that, if we could we'd remove destructive natural disasters from the scene too...like we'd lock up a loose or shoot a loose tiger. He's not trying to justify it on ethical grounds; just practical.

    ...and while I'm uneasy with the notion, I can't seriously deny I'd do away with earthquakes given the choice.

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  166. BB

    a flying visit......but will be in derbyshire for most of the proceedings with the possibility of the bear on the 27th.......

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  167. A southerner of my acquaintance has just pointed out that one goes up to Brighton if one resides in London.

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  168. Chavez's finest moment, in my humble, was when he got up to speak at the UN the day after Bush had spoken.

    He took in a deep breath through his nose, and commenced: "Smells like sulphur! The devil was here yesterday."

    Or something like that.

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  169. I'm still up for a drink in or around Brighton from the 23rd to 27th

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  170. Actually, it does matter!!

    Fuck you all, you big bunch of has-beens, because, like, yoof totally trumps experience, knowledge, and all that shit, innit!?

    Here I was thinking that I was getting something from this place, when, actually, you're all just leeching off my youthful vigour!!

    Well, I've got news for you dinosaurs, that particular gravy train stops now!!

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  171. ..and of course Monday if I get to London...although I'm a bit worried Bruski may pull a few CIA strings and have the area drenched in sniper cover

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  172. mschin

    didn't see your post was fannying about.....Peter's near Brighton where's jay?? I know where BB is....... ;)

    the 27th is the only time I can make it...in what condition i'll be in is another story....

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  173. "Well, I've got news for you dinosaurs, that particular gravy train stops now!!"

    NOOO!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-K58JHhM1M

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  174. MF

    now if BB drives...B'ton could be an excellent option...
    garn go monday you could lurk and then pounce........who knows the "Queen of Thier" maybe present......that would make stimulating conversation.........


    mschin

    how on earth could you down to london from b'ton??

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  175. "...he's saying some people are no more accountable or have no more informed agency than a natural disaster..."

    But my point is that's bollox.

    My genes ate my homework, Sir.

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  176. james

    you ginner nutter..........!!

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  177. Alisdair Cameron Re: "caring about the plights of others, it's all down to proximity or how near their situation feels to you, either geographically or by similarity of situation."

    That is true but it is not the only thing. Another issue is responsibility or feeling responsibility.

    One kind of knee jerk right wing whateboutery you always used to get when the US propped up sundry Latin American dictators was "why do you keep going on about El Salvador and Guatamala and never say shit about North Korea? (more recently substitute Iraq or now, Iran)

    The reason, and the reason that I was motivated in the 80s to do solidarity and human rights campaigning with people in El Salvador, Guatamala and Nicaragua was that we were the allies of the Americans who were the principal cause of the problem. Thatcher was forever being kissy kissy with Reagan whose quasi fascist henchmen were doing their best to spread torture and disappearance throughout Latin America.

    Whereas we were not helping to prop up Kim Il Sung, quite the reverse.

    And apart from a sense of responsibility there was simply more point. Our government could have put some pressure on the US. Not that much on its own, maybe, but together with other European countries the USA could be made to feel that the "civilised world" was watching appalled and that might reign it in a bit.

    But Kim Il Sung was never going to give a fuck what the British people or the British government wanted.

    Of course, our direct responsibility for(and ability to do much about)is limited in Central America, but not minimal. In other situations, South Africa and Apartheid, for example, Britain had a much more direct involvement.

    Also, we were drinking coffee from the region, buying bananas from Chiquita(The United Fruit Company whose history is one of evil almost unparalleled in multi national companies) Whereas if we were unknowingly supporting North Korean dictators I was not aware of it.

    The other thing is that Chomsky said something about the futility of condemning the official enemy. North Korea and Iran are currently high on the list of official enemies. There is simply less point in ritually condemning them than there is in condemning the behaviour of our allies as they might actually have to take some notice.

    Which is not somehow (as is endlessly alleged by the right) to tacitly support the official enemies. In a complete arsewipe competition I think Kim Il Jung could probably have pipped Pinochet to the top spot (mind you Rios Mont in Guatamala would have run them both close).

    But there was more point in campaigning against Pinochet, it was more likely that it might actually do something worthwhile.

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  178. penny

    There were considerably fewer than there are now from both those countries. If you want the statistics you will have to dig them out for yourself cos I can't be arsed - they're out there, prolly from UNHCR.

    And yes, I believe that Ahmedinajad was elected as a direct result of the US ramping up the hatred against Iran after 9/11. Did you know, for example, that Iran offered the US support after 9/11, and offered to try and track down Bin Laden?

    Some interesting reading here: US-Iran Relations: Catalog of Missed Opportunities

    "The most propitious time for reconciliation in the past 30 years was after 9-11 when Iran telegraphed in many ways its desire to improve relations and contributed to the U.S. victory in Afghanistan in both political and military terms . . . We could have made an ally of Iran instead of intensifying its enmity."

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  179. Oh Charles, still sucking up that socialist tough love? You're just a punchbag here. Still, it'll probably stand you in good stead for the future. Here's a great blues track for you (and anyone else who's out there).

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  180. Is three a Brighton Xmas drink because I may be coming over after all.

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  181. Just to start you off, beautifulburnout -

    Iraqi asylum seekers to the UK

    1991 44,840
    1995 43,965
    1999 71,160
    2000 80,315
    2001 71,025
    2002 84,130
    2003 49,405
    2004 33,960

    You will note that the number of asylum seekers the year before the invasion (2003) was 84,000 and the year after the invasion was 33,000. In 2009 it was 25,000.

    I'll let you do the work on Afghanistan.

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  182. Charles "The countries won't get richer unless people stop having so many children. This is not as much a political issue as an ecological issue. In any society, environment, there will always be a natural carrying capacity."

    That is perfectly true. Where you are wrong though is to see it as a peculiarly 21st century issue that has changed the politics of the past.

    Did you never hear of Malthus?

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  183. Monkeyfish,

    Yeah, that's you lot, that is...once I withdraw my lifegiving powers!!

    Gandolfo,

    what was that, sorry?? I don't speak ancient, so you'll have to ask the person that looks after you to type it again....

    ;0P

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  184. Spencer - well said.

    As for Jay - pah - the dilettante never actually fucking turns up when says he's gonna.

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  185. Well either the Bear or Brighton would be good, although in either case I would have to drive, so I will be drinking like a 7 yr old girl.

    Gandolpho - we will have to arrange a simultaneous swap of names before I agree though (including my maiden name). As we both come from the same town, it would be really embarassing to turn up and realise you were someone I once shagged in 1984...

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  186. Spike
    it could be even more than three if BB sorts her life out.........the only reason i'm coming to uk was in the flimsy hope of a wussie southern night out

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  187. Fair enough, Penny.

    Now what was happening in Iraq between 1991 and 2003?

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