Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fiona Phillips: ban everything

Say "hello" to Fiona Phillips. Doesn't she look friendly and rather... well... photogenic? Well, appearances can be very deceptive for, beneath the welcoming smile of this intellectual colossus of a newsreader, lies the evil, blackened heart of a fucking totalitarian socialist shitbag.

Via Iain Dale (who is somewhat scathing), I have come across this very wonderful Daily Mirror column by young Fiona Phillips, in which she lays out her vision for the world. Are you interested to know what it might be? You are? Excellent. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...
My Dear readers, as you may know I am in high demand in high places.

As a high-class hooker? You've got that look about you...
Having already been offered a health minister's job by our Prime Minister which, because I have two very young children, I felt I could not accept, another offer has come in.

You know the other, more important reason why you should not accept that job, Fiona? It's because you have no democratic legitimacy: no one elected you, no one has ever elected you. If you want power over others, you damn well stand in front of them and ask them whether they want you.
On Wednesday, while having his make-up done at GMTV, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne chuckled: "So if we pay you more will you come and work for us?"

"Er no, I replied, it's not about money."

Oh, what a principled little woman, you are...
"Ok, we'll make you a Duchess instead of a Baroness then."

No dice George. He clearly has no regard whatsoever for my very own 10-point manifesto for a Better Britain, which, readers, I want to share exclusively with you...

Fuck me, I really can't wait. But before we begin, I should point out that Fiona's 10 Point Plan for a Better Britain is a strange thing; some of it is evidently tongue-in-cheek, some of it not. If you feel that I have missed where something is, in fact, a joke, do feel free to point it out to me.

In the meantime, I'll go with my judgement as we enter... [drum roll]... Fiona's Better Britain!
My 10-point manifesto to make us great

Oh, don't, Fiona: the tension's killing me!
  1. EXTRADITE Jose Mourinho from Portugal and force him to manage the England team, while boarding at my house (rent free).

Obviously tongue-in-cheek this one; I don't know how we could force him to manage the England team. However, Fiona, we can have him extradited; all you have to do is accuse him of rape, and we have him extradited to Britain—without having to provide any prima facie evidence—on a European Arrest Warrant.

We did try to get you extradited to Portugal, but Timmy slapped me down, pointing out that he didn't want "a fucking Lefty shithead like her cluttering up this nice country, thank you."
  1. BAN all titles, including Baroness and Duchess, and scrap the Honours system.

Well, very much a point of opinion, obviously; however, since the House of Lords seems to be the only part of government standing up for our liberty, I would hold fire on that right now. However, darling Fiona is not overly concerned about liberty. As we shall see...
  1. SHUT all private schools. What's good enough for the rest of us is good enough for those who think they're better than us. It'll improve education for all.

Fiona, let us be clear about what you are proposing here: when you say "shut all private schools" what you actually mean is "ban private business from operating in education in any way, remove the business, by force, from the owners and hand the assets to the state."

Let's not be coy, Fiona; what you are advocating is the nationalisation of all education. You are demanding that the state steal private property from the rightful owners, are you not?

You are demanding that parents be denied any kind of choice and you are doing it because you are paranoid that they "think they're better than us". It's very good of you to be so open about your repulsive jealousy motive for your totalitarianism, but it just makes you a stupid cunt.

Because I am willing to bet that the vast majority of parents who send their children to private school do not do so because they think that they are better than you, Fiona; in fact, I really doubt that most of them have any idea of who you are (I certainly had no idea).

No, I am willing to bet that the vast majority of parents send their children to private school because they want the best possible education for their children: and many of them are prepared to make considerable financial sacrifices to ensure that.

And why on earth do you think that banning private schools will "improve education for all"? Do you have any evidence for this? Or even any proposed machanism by which it would happen?

Let me tell you what would happen, Fiona: there would be no more funding for state schools than there is currently because those who send their children to private school already pay tax. But what you would have is another few million children shoved into an already financially stretched system. And if more money is the key to good public services—as most statists claim—then you are going to end up with worse education and bigger class sizes.

Are parents going to give more money to state schools? No, because they are receiving nothing extra for that money. Will they put in more unpaid effort? Possibly but can this really help when those who actually run the school have almost no control over budgets or resources? No.

The trick is, Fiona, to make the state schools so good that parents do not want to spend an extra £20k a year on private school fees; for if state schools were as good as private schools, parents would have to be insane to spend that extra money, wouldn't they?

Fuck off, you stupid, totalitarian bitch; you are fit only to read an autocue.
  1. BRING back lost childhood by raising school entry to age seven. Yes I know this'll cause havoc for working mums and dads but, er... let me come back to you on that one.

Raise school entry age to seven? I don't have a particular problem with that. After all, some 20% of those leaving school at 16—after 11 years of compulsory (state) education—are functionally illiterate, so I doubt that only sending them to school for 9 years is going to make the slightest bit of difference.

And it'll cause problems for working parents and you'll "come back to [us] on that one"? How fucking dare you come to us with your ill-thought-out manifesto for a Better Britain and admit that you have barely thought about the problems; for fuck's sake, woman, you only had to come up with ten fucking points. Only ten! I'm actually shocked at your breath-talking gall.
  1. BAN selection in schools - no creaming off the brightest pupils. Local schools for local people.

Again, your attitude is entirely misplaced. I mean, "no creaming off the brightest pupils"? What about if putting bright pupils with other bright pupils benefits those pupils, as all the evidence suggests that it does? What about if putting not-so-bright pupils with other not-so-bright pupils enables them to learn more effectively (which it does)?

Selection in school entrance is, as I have said before, coarse streaming. All schools should then have streaming within subjects too. Why? Because the fucking pupils benefit: that is the entire fucking point of schooling, you dumb cow; to educate the pupils.

And "local schools for local pupils"? We have that system, you shithead. That is why people in poor areas are forced to send their children to shitty fucking schools, and why rich parents move to areas with good schools (as I bet you have—I bet your children don't go to Hackney Shit Comp, do they?).

Release all schools from state control and implement a voucher system, as the Swedes have done so very effectively; the model of success is there—why aren't we using it?
  1. BRING back the right to be a mother by upgrading the status of stay-at-home mums. The majority of mums want to care for their pre-school children but can't afford not to work. Maybe instead of tax allowances for childcare, cash incentives for staying at home? Er... I'll come back to you on that one, too.

Oh, who would'a thunk it? When Fiona said "upgrading the status of stay-at-home mums" she actually meant "giving free money to stay-at-home mums"! I didn't see that coming at all: did you?

Basically, Fiona, you want those who do not have children to subsidise the life-style choices of those who do. Well, fuck you: why should I? I already subsidise your children because my taxes pay for your Child Benefit, your £250 Children's Trust cheque, your childrens' schooling and a myriad other aspects of your child-bearing lifestyle.

And you know what? Fuck you and your fucking kids: why the fuck should I subsidise your choice?

Oh, and I've already talked about that "I'll come back to you..." shit. It still applies.
  1. BAN all private medical work in NHS hospitals.

How much private work is done in NHS hospitals? I would imagine that one of the reasons that people get private health insurance is so that they don't have to spend any time in a fucking NHS hospital.

If you mean that NHS workers should not be allowed to do private work on the side, well, may I suggest that you implore the government to put that into their contracts. And then we can see how many consultants, for instance, will still sign up.
  1. GET rid of contract cleaners and make Matron and nurses responsible for hospital hygiene.

What, you mean personally? You mean that, instead of having contract cleaners doing the rounds and cleaning everything, you would like to see nurses doing it. Instead of actually, y'know, nursing?

Or do you mean that Matrons and nurses should be responsible for hiring and firing cleaners? OK, fair enough; but as numerous commenters on this blog—not least our own Dr De'Ath, lost_nurse and A&E charge nurse—have pointed out, there are a good number of procedural problems inherent in the cleanliness of hospitals. They point, for instance, at the swift turnaround in bed occupancy, bed proximity, and various other problems which I have no doubt they will be happy to amplify.
  1. RENATIONALISE Britain's rail network. It's never been the same since John Major privatised British Rail, splitting it into over 100 separate companies which resulted in profits over safety and efficiency.

Yes, Major undoubtedly fucked up the railways. For sure, infrastructure of this type is very difficult to put out to competition: no one is going to go to the capital cost of building another east-coast mainline from London to Edinburgh (for instance) in order to charge lower fares.

However, it is also worth remembering that the railways were built by private companies, as was the Tube; they were not built by the state. In fact, the state was responsible for closing an awful lot of lines and stations.
The Beeching Axe is an informal name for the UK Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running the British railway system.
...

Over 4,000 miles of railway and 3,000 stations were closed in the decade following the report, being a reduction of 25% of route miles and 50% in the number of stations.
...

The closures failed in their main purpose of trying to restore the railways to profitability, with the promised savings failing to materialise. By closing almost a third of the rail network, Beeching managed to achieve a saving of just £7 million, whilst overall losses were running in excess of £100 million. These losses were mainly because the branch lines acted as feeders to the main lines and this feeder traffic was lost when the branches closed. This in turn meant less traffic and less income for the increasingly vulnerable main lines. The assumption at the time was that car owners would drive to the nearest railhead (which was usually the junction where the closed branch line would otherwise have taken them) and continue their journey onwards by train, but in practice, having once left home in their cars, they used them for the whole journey.

Whoops!

I don't know what the solution to the rail problem is. The Englishman maintains that they are a pointless anachronism, "a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem".

I don't know: as someone who has spent his entire adult life living in cities—one of which you could walk across in short order and the other well served by an underground system—and who has thus never owned a car, they are the only way—other than hiring a car—to travel medium distances. Plus, I have to admit that I still find trains fascinating and, yes, romantic.

A solution might be to make those running the train services also responsible for the tracks themselves, rather than retaining the tracks under state control (or as a totally separate company). It might be that renationalising rail would be a good idea (although I really wouldn't like to bet on that). Anyone with any ideas, do, please, try to convince me of a solution in the comments.
  1. PROPER local authority care in the home for the elderly. Reinstate full home-help and meals-on-wheels services.

Sure, whatever. As long as you tell us how to find the money, Fiona. But, generally speaking, since these people had a contract with the state, which the state has subsequently broken, I feel that it should, indeed, honour that contract.

But, may I also suggest that those who are not presently elderly take out insurance to cover such services in their old age? Given the state's propensity to renege on its promises and leave no method of redress, I would say that this would be a sensible measure.
P.S. And, I know it's supposed to be a 10-point plan, but none of us can rest safely in our beds until we...Take George Bush to Iraq and shoot him.

Er... OK. So, Fiona, you advocate the execution of the elected leader of the USA? And that, to you, is how we rest safely in our beds? Surely we should start with our own politicians—and you, you totalitarian shitbag.
Readers, I commend this to your house. Now I need to go away and prepare for office.

Yeah. Well, if you want to prepare for office, how about you actually stand for election.

Now, fuck off, you unpleasant little sow, and never darken my sight again.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

She is revolting. And apparently she went to my alma mater, too. I feel so ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Who the fuck is she? I've never even heard of the dizzy tart before.

Longrider said...

She's well suited for political life - ignorant and potentially tyrannical. What more does she need?

Matthew said...

Excellent analysis of her truly awful article!

Budgie said...

The privatisation by John Major's Tory government, in 1996, of British Rail was carried out using the Railways Regulation, 1992, in order to comply with EU Directive 91/440/EEC. This Directive requires autonomy for railway operators and separation of the infrastructure from service operations. The result is the current fragmented structure of our railways. Labour has consequently been unable re-consolidate, by nationalisation or privatisation, Britain’s rail system, because the EU would not allow it.

Rory Meakin said...

She is very pretty, isn't she? I think she should be congratulated on her prettiness.

As for railways, they should be broken up into competing lines wherever possible and then sold off. The rail authorities and price controls should be abolished. Let unprofitable lines die. The main problems lies in 1) union legislation and 2) planning policy.

Firstly, enable rail companies to sack strikers if they think it best and, for most lines, running a railway would soon look a little less unviable.

Secondly, loosen up the planning system and soon enough the price of land "suitable" for development would be less artificially inflated, so the temptation to develop railways into other uses would be reduced, without all that pent-up demand.

John A said...

Many years ago, I read a short story in which a couple of British gents conspired to assassinate a US pol who had come up with a way to challenge Britain`s position as premier world leader.

Seems the UK had achieved the lead by conferring Life Peerages and even higher - if largely honorary - titles (eg, at the top, a one-year Prince of Wales position) upon leading scientists, engineers, and such. The upstart US citizen was about to propose that the US do similarly, with positions in various legislatures or even - gasp - major sports franchise management! Horrors! Might even work!

Dr De'Ath said...

strongly agree with you on this bottle blonde DK,

one thing I cannot stand is her kind of anti-selection attitude in schools, it is completely and utterly stupid

as for making matrons and nurses in charge, this is another stupid idea, they should be in charge of nursing, not marco problems that need a holistic shift in health policy

lost_nurse said...

In terms of superficial gloss, GMTV and NuLAb are well-suited to each other.

Mind you, I sometimes fancy Penny Smith.

Anonymous said...

I trust someone has already forwarded a copy of the article to the FBI and / or US secret service, so that the next time the silly cow visits or transits in the US she's arrested....

FlipC said...

You can always spot the city boys talking about railways can't you :-)

"A solution might be to make those running the train services also responsible for the tracks themselves" Gods no say goodbye to unprofitable lines dug up as 'unmaintainable', not that would bother Roy "Let unprofitable lines die" Meakin.

Great all the rural areas would be cut off except by road which they'll be priced off instead. One of the points of a free market involves free movement of people, this would be ghettoising vast swathes of the country.

One of the points of a government is to run necessary services that wouldn't be touched by private enterprise, i.e. the non-profitable ones, for the overall good of the country.

It's all a complete shambles with no easy solution if any.

Rory Meakin said...

flipc, I guess you live in the country. If so, why do you think other people should pay for your lifestyle choice? If you want the convenience and economy that comes with living in a city, move to the city! Don't expect others to fund your enviable country lifestyle under threat of imprisonment. After all, that's what subsidy is, isn't it? You threatening to lock people up in a cage unless they pay for what you want to do.

Incidentally, the rural railways were not only "touched" by private enterprise, they were opened and run by them. Times change, though. It's not government's place to preserve society in aspic for those who'd rather things didn't change.

FlipC said...

Rory (sorry about missing that second r) what a fantastic idea - everyone should move to the city. We can build more blocks of flats. We can then close-down the countryside and import all our food and meat from other countries still stupidly utilising their land.

Oh silly me of course not everyone will move, just the ones looking for a better life, ah filling the streets with homeless beggars.

Oh and of course if we did shut down the unprofitable transport system people wouldn't be moving about anyway. Then we can relegate those staying in the country to the level of serfs, keep them nicely tied down to their land perhaps even organise day-trips to the beach to show them what the sea looks like.

Honestly "fund your enviable country lifestyle" how about fund your enviable city lifestyle or do you really think the things you consume or use appear as if by magic when you demand them?

You want to see what you're suggestions would lead to simply look at any emerging third world country or the UK under a feudal system that's what we'd descend to.

People in the country doffing their caps every time a city-boy deigns to pass through.

As for "preserve society" believe me I have as little desire for that as for 'change for the sake of change' I just don't hold to the antiquated notion that allowing companies to follow their own course will automatically lead to a situation that's 'better' for the populace and those that do generally have a narrow meaning of the word populace normally including just themselves.

Devil's Kitchen said...

FlipC,

Leaving aside the idea that *shudder* the state could prevent them closing any lines (much as they partially control timetabling now), I am not entirely sure that private companies would necessarily close unprofitable lines.

As was pointed out in the Wikipedia entry for the Beeching Axe, closing those branch lines increased losses.

"By closing almost a third of the rail network, Beeching managed to achieve a saving of just £7 million, whilst overall losses were running in excess of £100 million. These losses were mainly because the branch lines acted as feeders to the main lines and this feeder traffic was lost when the branches closed. This in turn meant less traffic and less income for the increasingly vulnerable main lines."

So, the unprofitable lines effectively subsidise the main lines. The trick is to maximise mainline revenue, and minimise branch line losses. Yes, it's simply that easy... ;-)

DK

FlipC said...

But DK at the time the Beeching cuts were deemed the correct thing to do, it's only after they were done that it showed up as such a failure and we're still living with those consequences now.

If a company closed an unprofitable line, pulled up the rails for reuse, or sale (scrap or intact) and then sold the land as a brownfields site for redevelopment what happens if it turns out to be the wrong thing to do?

Can they put the line back in, will they spend the money on an entire new line plus earthworks? Only if they can show that the cost of doing so is less then the loss they're making since the closure of that line.

In the meantime an entire community has been cut out of the net and in Rory's vision bleeds people off into the nearest city and dies; which then neatly puts paid to the idea of putting the line back in and retrospectively vindicates the decision to remove the line.

You're concerned about the state making the decision about rail lines I'm concerned about companies having the same power.

Just pretend a large industry wants to build on a site next to a school with a spur delivering goods at a tidy profit to the rail company. If the site isn't built the rail company 'loses' money, be a real shame if they decided to pull out of the community altogether.

All I'm trying to say is that these decisions aren't easily reversed and can have devastating consequences for an area. For either a state or company decision I wouldn't want some myopic pen-pusher scribbling out a line because the immediate profits appear to outweigh its income.

I just think this is perhaps a little more prevalent in a company then in a state system.

Rory Meakin said...

Wow – where to start with all those runaway stream of consciousness thoughts? Makes me wish I had the same mushrooms.

“everyone should move to the city.” I didn’t say anything about what people should or shouldn’t do. I said people should live where they believe suits them best but should not expect others to pay for their choices. I also didn’t say rural lines should close, I said the rightful owners should be permitted to (“let”) should they wish. I really can’t answer how closing down a railway that carts fresh air and the odd passenger around the countryside at great expense will create streets filled with homeless beggars.

As DK pointed out again, the fact is that profit-seeking private enterprise created the lines and ran them in the first place. It was when the government ran them that they closed them.

As for rural dwellers funding city dwellers lifestyle, that is so far wide of the mark it’s incredible that someone could believe it. No one forces farmers to accept the money I paid for the steak I eat last night, for example. They will not get locked up for keeping the cow to themselves. In contrast, I am forced to pay more for produce created by rich European farmers in order that poor non-Europeans are unable to offer me a better deal. And that’s before loss-making post offices, mail delivery, public transport, utilities etc etc, that free-ride off the general population.

“But DK at the time the Beeching cuts were deemed the correct thing to do”. At the time, government ownership and management were also deemed to the correct thing to do. Which is why we are where we are now.

If a people who use a railway (or anything else) think that a company’s product was so valuable and indeed worth what it costs to run it, then presumably they would be prepared to pay that themselves? Why should some other mug be threatened with being locked in a cage unless he coughs up the cash that the people who use it aren’t prepared to pay themselves?

FlipC said...

Rory the mushrooms here are great if you want some.

No you didn't say everyone should move to the city otherwise I'd have put in in quotes, what you did say was "If you want the convenience and economy that comes with living in a city, move to the city" What I was trying to say was that if you cut off the transport links then that's going to prompt a migration to them.

Again check out third-world countries where people are doing just that. Not everyone who moves are going to succeed hence homeless beggars.

"private enterprise created the lines" correct quite a lot of them, in fact two incompatible sets of them; leading to much hassle.

"No one forces farmers to accept the money I paid for the steak I eat last night, for example. They will not get locked up for keeping the cow to themselves." Wow you don't know how supermarket contracts work do you? Sure they won't get locked up, they may get fined under a breach of contract and then locked up. Of course no-one is forcing them to accept contracts from food chains, they could just give up their farms, and re-train for work in the city.

Beeching-wise you're quoting me out of context. What I was saying was that the decisions made by Beeching could well have been the identical findings of a company and happened even faster with the same consequences.

You really aren't seeing the big picture are you - everything is connected. Putting in a new line off the main track to a small village won't necessarily be recouped directly by the railway. It can however boost the economy of the town in other ways which the railway might not see.

Rory Meakin said...

Flipc, you keep citing third world countries as ‘evidence’ as to why a prosperous economy requires rural railway subsidies to stay prosperous. This, frankly, is so kooky that I’d ignored it before. First, people in developing countries are now migrating from the countryside to the city for the same reason that people have done so here since the Industrial Revolution: to get richer. This urbanisation is both a symptom and a cause of the fledgling prosperity of such developing nations. The high value, high pay jobs of the city lure people away from the subsistence life of the countryside. Equally, the factories and call centres are made possible because of large enough labour forces in the area.

“Of course no-one is forcing them to accept contracts from food chains, they could just give up their farms, and re-train for work in the city.” Well said. I’m glad you have some notion of personal responsibility for your own life.

“You really aren't seeing the big picture are you - everything is connected.” Indeed it is, just like what Frederic Bastiat referred to as 'That which is seen, and that which is not seen' (http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html). The ‘seen’ in this case is the status quo which you are so keen to protect. The village shop, perhaps, which might close if a railway line closed because some of the villagers might decide to move elsewhere without the railway. The railway that previously, other people were forced to pay (at least part) of the running costs. Basically, these people might decide that without forcing other people to subsidise their rural way of life, it simply isn’t worth living there. But what might be Bastiat’s ‘unseen’? By definition, we don’t know. But without having to pay for a railway whose users don’t think is worth the full cost (and the tax collectors and accountants to avoid the tax) then they would spend that money on something else. On, perhaps, a shop nearer to them, creating a business and jobs which might help those potential homeless beggars you referred to! Who knows, but you’d have money being spent on something that the buyer thought was worth the money (and these things will have knock-on effects too) instead of something that, by definition, wasn’t worth it. So the picture is even bigger than the one you are so proud of being able to see!

In fact, it’s even bigger than that, because in addition to the damage done by subsidies is the moral repugnance of what exactly it is you are defending. Surely no one could have a problem if you asked those others who might depend on the railway for a voluntary payment in return for the company agreeing to keep the line open. Perhaps that village shop might pay something simply to keep the railway open and therefore the people in the village. That might make the line profitable and keep it in business. But you are saying that the state’s capacity for violence should be deployed to extort money from people in order to keep your railway running, which you don’t want to pay for yourself. You want people to be locked up in a cage unless they cough up the costs of your life which you’re not prepared to pay yourself. That’s the really objectionable thing about it.

David Gillies said...

Here's my 10-point plan for people like Fiona:

Totalitarian socialist cunts should be

1) Identified
2) Tracked
3) Located
4) Arrested
5) Have the shit beaten out of them
6) Be tried
7) Be convicted
8) Be machine-gunned in the face
9) Fed to pigs
10) Forgotten

That's only slightly less liberal than Fiona's list of outrages.

FlipC said...

To Rory.

"First, people in developing countries are now migrating from the countryside to the city for the same reason that people have done so here since the Industrial Revolution: to get richer." So the whole purpose of life is to accrue wealth, the bit you're missing is that a lot of these people then send the money back home as a subsidy. Of course that's voluntary on their part. I'm curious as to why you'd want us to return to that state?

You keep banging on about personal responsibility in that if you don't like the way things are you move. Except someone born in the city doesn't have to move. They automatically gain the advantages of their position whereas someone outside has to take the risk that it all might fail for them.

"the status quo which you are so keen to protect" As I've said before I have no desire to keep things the way they are if something better can be arranged. I don't think the increased polarisation of wealth can be seen as better.

"then they would spend that money on something else." Why should "they" when investing that money in the city carries a lower-risk. The only reason high-risks are taken is when high-profit is available. So sure they'd create a store, with goods at a higher cost then elsewhere to reflect both the difficulties and cost in transport, and the fact the area is dependant on it. It's at this point you talk about leaving the area again, or someone else creating a store.

"voluntary payment in return for the company agreeing to keep the line open" So instead of an accountable and elected state using it's capacity for violence to demand money you'd simply pass the job onto an unaccountable and unelected company. Large food chains already ask for 'voluntary' payments from suppliers simply to stock their goods, to keep it even easier these 'voluntary' payments are already deducted from monies paid.

The impression I'm getting it that you think I believe that all companies are evil while the state is good; I don't. I just think that there are some things a state will take into consideration that a company wouldn't. I think both parties would screw over their 'consumers' for profit if they thought they could get away with it.

The difference I think is that the state tends to progress slowly whereas companies act quickly. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing depends on the scope of what's being decided.

Rory Meakin said...

flipc: “there are some things a state will take into consideration that a company wouldn't” Yes, the company will provide what the user wants, insofar as they are prepared to pay for it. The state will pay more attention to the convenience of its officials and employees, the prejudices of voters and the noisiest, most activist special interest groups.

“So instead of an accountable and elected state using it's capacity for violence to demand money you'd simply pass the job onto an unaccountable and unelected company.” Damn right! Peaceful, voluntary exchange has to be better than extortion with menace, hasn’t it? The point about private individuals (or companies thereof) is that there is no need for them to be “accountable” because they are not violent, like the state is. Why do you insist on using violence to get what you want? Why can’t you just try to peacefully persuade me to voluntarily give money to your cause? Why do you insist on threatening me with locking me up in a cage unless I do what you say?

“So the whole purpose of life is to accrue wealth” No, not the “whole” purpose. But yes, it is important. I suspect if you were a dirt-poor subsistence farmer in the third world, you might not be so sniffy about wanting to get richer, too.

“I'm curious as to why you'd want us to return to that state?” Britain is prosperous for three fundamental reasons: 1) we are largely governed by the rule of law, 2) we have relatively sound money and financial governance arrangements, 3) we have enough economic freedom, so the efficient can grow and the inefficient can wither. These conditions allow for our wealth creation, advertising, the City, international law, design, some niche manufacturing. Almost zilch of our wealth is derived from rural economic activity. It is almost entirely constituted of urban activities. The only way these industries would be affected by a withdrawal of subsidies for basket-case rural railways is that they wouldn’t have to pay for them. Seriously, how the fuck do you imagine that we’d “return to that state” without these subsidies?

“someone born in the city doesn't have to move. They automatically gain the advantages of their position whereas someone outside has to take the risk that it all might fail for them.” Crap. Who do you know, city or country, who has never moved? And life is about choices, anyway. You don’t think the hassle of moving is worth the convenience of city life? Fine – stay where you are. Just don’t expect people who have moved and gone through that hassle to give up some of their convenience (in the form of tax) so that you can have a hand out.

“"then they would spend that money on something else." Why should "they" when investing that money in the city carries a lower-risk.” Right, a little EC101 is required here. When someone borrows money from you, it is because they want to spend it. (Or perhaps lend it on again to someone else who will ultimately spend it.) So, whether they personally spend it or, as you state, they lend it to someone in the city who in turn spends it, is immaterial. It is spent on something else.

“The difference I think is that the state tends to progress slowly whereas companies act quickly. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing depends on the scope of what's being decided.” And the state relies, by definition, on violence for every penny it takes. Whereas a company requires your voluntary agreement for every penny. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective of the relative merits of forcing people to hand over money under threat of violence and peacefully doing so under voluntary agreement.

david gillies: I don't see the need for item 6 on your list.

FlipC said...

"the company will provide what the user wants, insofar as they are prepared to pay for it" Agreed and that's great with transparency, but we don't have that and so cannot see any hidden costs.

"Why can’t you just try to peacefully persuade me to voluntarily give money to your cause" Because that only works when the powers are balanced otherwise it becomes extortion (without violence) and again requires transparency.

"you might not be so sniffy about wanting to get richer" define richer. A person who enjoys gardening voluntarily takes on a wage-slave job in order to gain money to do what he actually wants to do. No-one's forcing him to take on that job, no-one's forcing him to move to the city where he can get one. He can just get some job that doesn't allow him to be happy.

"so the efficient can grow and the inefficient can wither" Oo good old boom and bust.

"Almost zilch of our wealth is derived from rural economic activity" Correct in exactly the same way we don't inhabit the foundations of our buildings; wouldn't want to live in a house without them though.

"Who do you know, city or country, who has never moved" Again out of context, I'm pointing out that someone born in the city already has family, contacts, knowledge, plus all the conveniences of the city. Someone who moves gains only the conveniences (and perhaps family). Sure it's up to them to weigh the decision, but the city-born doesn't even have to make a choice.

"It is spent on something else." and you get money sinks. It all stays in one area and rarely moves, fine if you're sitting in one; lousy if you're not.

"Whereas a company requires your voluntary agreement for every penny." Agreed even when presented with a Hobson's choice.