Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We don't need Corbyn. We already have a command and control economy

 
You can tell how debased politics has become by the state of party manifestos. Labour;s being a prime example. In days of yore you would set out your goals but reference papers on how you would achieve it. This would go beyond the fag packet paths we see. These days they spend nothing on research, they don't know how to enact their policies nor are they aware of the many obstacles created by regional and international agreements.

Corbyn being a socialist has decided to say socialist things. Ok, fine. Makes a change. He wants to nationalise utilities. As one might expect. I could be persuaded. But then these people only really know a little bit of history.

As it happens utilities used to be property of local corporations - or as we now call them, councils. Nationalisation was essentially the theft of property. We privatised it because nationalisation had turned it into the unwieldy mess that it was. Corbyn wants to reverse that to a state where it functioned less well than it does now when what we actually want, if we want to bring it back under public control, is re-municipalisation.

In this, you don't have to be a big borrow and spend government. You can simply give councils the power to run their own energy operations. Some councils already act as wholesale gas and electricity buyers and some have reserves large enough to invest in small modular reactors where they could very easily undercut the big power stations by investing in CHP. Using the waste heat water for municipal heating. You then collapse energy demand over time and drive the corporates out of the market. The result is a public controlled hyper efficient energy system that even central government cannot meddle with.

The corporates presently control the market because in effect the grid is still controlled by the government and depends on centrally mandated policy. A genuinely free market wouldn't build Hinkley Point in a million years. This is a government white elephant largely to create jobs. In that respect Tory energy policy is not a million miles away from the socialism Mr Corbyn prefers.

If we adopted municipalisation we could very easily have a mixed market that would ensure genuine competition to the point where central government could be taken out of the picture to a large extent. Energy is presently expensive because of the command and control diktats from central government - largely working to a moonbat climate conspiracy theory. If Corbyn actually wants command and control energy grid that we spunk billions on for the sake of creating jobs he would be just as well leaving it alone.

But this is all so very typical of modern politics. The SNP did very well in the popularity stakes but are now receding because it turns out that they have no idea how to govern. Ukip failed for the same reasons. They had ambitions but no idea what to do when they got there and consequently could not turn popularity into power. The only reason the Tories are deemed competent is because, to a large extent, they are a continuance of the same regime and have no real reform agenda. Better to leave it as it is than hand it over to chimpanzees with no clue at all.

Ultimately, whenever you hear anyone talking about nationalisation you're just hearing sloppy left wing anti-Thatcher grudge politics. Utilities were always local, they were never meant to be nationalised and they suffered because of it. The joke of it being that the hyper-nationalisation of public utilities was driven by the Tories. Despite conservative propaganda, the 1980's and early 1990's saw a great increase in the centralisation of power. Despite privatisation, mythical deregulation and devolution, the government asserted its control over schools, universities, the courts, local government, and the NHS in the same way they had with energy prior to privatisation.

If Corbyn wants to wind back the clock he actually needs to wind it back a lot further than 1970 if he wants workable policies - but he will have to use the methods available in the modern day - by playing the market. No way in hell can we borrow that kind of money and a buy out wouldn't improve matters.

But then in the end, for all that you can say that privatisation failed in its aims to bring down costs and increase efficiency, successive governments have imposed their eco-lunacy and political vanity on the energy industry and taxed the bejesus out of it. Little wonder that bills are eye-watering. If for five minutes markets were allowed to behave as markets do then perhaps we wouldn't have this mess?

But that isn't going to happen is it? Let's get real. Even Brexit won't break our establishment of its vanity and venality. It will remain a command and control system for as long as it can be used to warehouse middle class workers - and as a cash cow to finance the greedy NHS. In that respect you need not vote for Corbyn because May will preside over a modern day model of the centralised state. One way or another we end up paying through the nose. If we're not firehosing money at foreign corporates then we're paying it in interest on the national debt. Wake me up when there's something worth voting for.

Questions to which the answer is "no" #856

From Conservative Woman...
The time has come to execute the outdated NHS and let a more streamlined, functional and sensible reincarnation take its place. Will Theresa May be brave enough to do this and help millions of British citizens suffering pointlessly from such a useless, wasteful and inadequate healthcare system?
Theresa May is a fascist, and is thus not going to remove the state from anything—and certainly not from a system that many British people, inexplicably, see as some sort of religion.

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Conservative Party?


There is term often used to describe EU activity. Mission creep. Gradually taking over areas of competence which should be the sole domain of the member state. When it comes to trade, regulation is increasingly becoming the defining factor where extraordinary decisions affecting the lives of many are taken by courts. Gradually we are seeing agreements encompassing standards on social welfare and workers rights.

As far as the EU goes though this is not mission creep. This is the EU's mission. To establish a Europe wide demos where it alone dictates the framework for social policy. The EU was never intended to be a trade bloc alone. This is why I see Brexit as very necessary. If decisions as to who is entitled to what do not rest with national parliaments then you have lost control over a substantial part of governance. More to the point, these decisions - and the power to press for change is taken away from the people.

I have always taken the view that nation states need the ability to set policy according to their own distinct cultures and working arrangements. Where workers rights are concerned, that is a matter for people empowered by political organisations and unions. As much as this is the most democratic means, it is also the best way to safeguard rights. What we have seen when such matters are pushed out to the EU is that the more entitlements we get the worst working conditions become in reality. There is a disconnect between lawmakers and the public whereby the unintended consequences of centrally mandated policy ultimately erodes competitiveness.

One of the defining features of my earlier career was watching dynamism all but disappear  in the jobs market where decent paying temporary work was regulated out of existence. As a result people are increasingly compelled to stay in bad jobs no matter how awful they are. The rights granted to individuals by the EU have, over time, become anti-freedoms.

Were it the case that the disparate and economies of Europe were convergent, you could perhaps make the case of a uniform social policy. That though is not, and never will be the case. Therefore pressing ahead with such incursions for purely ideological reasons can only ever be harmful.

It is this "social Europe" I am the most fundamentally against. I cannot and do not object to economic and regulatory integration for the purposes of free trade but it is more important than ever that we are free to compete and it is for the good of democracy if the social agenda is one steered by the public and not the faceless officials in the ILO. My beef with the EU has always been political integration.

This is yet another reason why I cannot bring myself to vote for this Conservative Party. If there was any point to Brexit at all it is to set a clear line of delineation between integration necessary for the betterment of trade and that which is nobody's business but ours. In fact, one would argue that Brexit was largely pointless unless the government was going to set about a fundamental rethink of employment and social policy hitherto dictated by EU directives. But what do we see instead? Continuity New Labour.

In some respects the Tories are to be commended for various policy tweaks, especially the so-called "bedroom tax" in that it has nudged welfare dependants into making tough calls which will in the long term improve their prospects. What we need to see though is a far more radical shake up, dismantling the many EU mandated entitlements. For starters the Agency Workers Directive should go straight on the bonfire.

I don't doubt for a moment that this would cause a howl of rage from the left, but why should this government give a tinker's damn? It enjoys a bewildering popularity and will soon have a mandate to do as it pleases. It has never been in a better position to initiate reforms. We are leaving the EU which of itself gives us considerable new powers, and secondly Brexit necessarily will require a fundamental rethink of just about every economic policy in the book.

What it looks like we are getting, though, is yet another cowardly centrist party afraid to stand up to the left when the left has never been weaker. If there was any mandate at all to be found in the Brexit vote, aside from the instruction to leave the EU, it is to bring about policy reform to restore our competitiveness. If we are going for a full blown Brexit then it is absolutely and immediately necessary.

One could argue that in a time of of transition, this government needs to play it safe and not spook the horses but actually, in voting for Brexit, the public have displayed a degree of political courage not generally found among our political class. Why treat them like children? Change is what we voted for - and we're not voting for the politics of Jeremy Corbyn.

The truth of the matter is that this is not a Conservative government. The narrative that may is on the hard right is laughable. The electoral bribes we see this week are every bit as statist and timid as those we came to expect from the Cameron administration.

Brexit of itself achieves very little unless we have a government with the courage to make unpopular choices. Why even bother seeking power if you're not going to make the changes you believe in? But that's really the central question here isn't it? Do these people even believe in conservatism or are they simply seeking power for its own sake?

The media mistakes the authoritarianism of May as "right wing" which is a typically immature interpretation. She is an authoritarian for sure, but no more authoritarian than Tony Blair and has no more intention of reducing state intervention.

As much as this government cannot be trusted to deliver an intelligent and pragmatic Brexit, we cannot even depend on them to do the necessary things when they do make a complete hash of it. They will continue with the same stultifying social democrat policies only without the means to pay for them. In this it is hardly surprising that Labour has reformed as an ultra leftist party because the centre left is occupied by May.

One thing that Brexit will not cure in our politics any time soon is the Stockholm Syndrome that has infected Westminster. Brexit is of no use to us if our politicians continue in the same mindset as the Eurorats. If our domestic policy is going to mirror that of the EU then why go to all the bother?

What I would like to see more than anything from Brexit is a newly dynamic labour market and a political environment where workers reject the old and ossified unions and start their own initiatives. We need to see a restoration of combative politics between the people and their government. We need to see people fighting for and defending their own rights rather than waiting for new EU entitlements. A restoration of real public debate. That can only come about by way of a properly radical Conservative party. When such a party exists, I will readily vote for it. That, however, is not this one.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Prejudice

And so to a vital article about which group of tedious fuckers is the most prejudiced...
These findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are.

Political understanding might finally stand a chance if we could first put aside the argument over who has that bigger problem. The truth is that we all do.
No we don't, you wishy-washy, tree-hugging, cod-philosophising, hippie fuckwit.

Snigger...

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Brexit is not a quibble over money - so stop treating it like that


What is owed to whom seems to be topical. The figure bandied about this week, based on idle speculation from the FT is a hundred billion Euros. We can expect more of the same guesswork as the French and German elections ramp up.

There are those who assert that nothing is owed and that as net contributor they should be paying us. But of course spent money is spent money. To get an idea of why money is owed we have to look at what we actually pay for. In this context it is our obligations as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 whereby the various agencies of the EU are funded in order to perform certain functions.

Those agencies in turn have their own overheads and costs. That means they have contracts and since we are a party to the treaties and therefore stakeholders in these agencies, some of the liability falls to us. Not forgetting that Brexit will take a bloody long time and these agencies will be performing their functions in the interim.

Just as I was looking for a good example of what this actually pays for we learn today that three teams of European health inspectors are to conduct audits in the coming weeks to evaluate Brazil’s export control systems for export to the EU. It comes following last month’s revelation that 1,000 police raided 30 companies in Brazil with accusations of rotten and dangerous meat having been sold and public officials bribed.

Officials from the EU’s Commission for Health and Food Safety have confirmed that the inspections will be with specific regard for the measures taken following the outcome of the police investigation. These are all part of the multi-tiered EU surveillance systems for biosecurity, food safety and disease control. There is also Europol which works with international police networks to tackle people smuggling, food fraud and counterfeiting.

And this is where I get seriously bored of the Brexiteer narrative that we should not have to pay to trade with the EU. We don't. It isn't a market entry fee. It is the cost of operating a Europewide system of market controls. This is why you can be reasonably assured that when you get your prescription form the chemist you are getting the real deal and not bleach powder. Fake medicine accounts for nearly 70% of the pharmaceuticals market in parts of Africa.

As to legacy payments made to the EU for the purposes of bailouts etc, these are made as part of separate agreement and largely done in the common interest. The politics of that are disputable but as a matter of accountancy, they are not linked to our overall budget contributions.

The short of it is that there are financial obligations and member states sign off on the Multiannual Financial Framework which makes us a contracting party. How much that actually runs to and how we pay it is the subject of much debate and there will undoubtedly be an amount of haggling over the final sum. It has to be based on some kind of quantifiable expenditure rather than numbers plucked out of the air by EU official or FT hacks trying to stoke up a scare. Conventional thinking puts that at somewhere between 40-60bn (£). Interesting that the FT runs with the figure in Euros.

The suggestion that it is a lump sum to be paid up front is also, as far as I can tell, spurious since the thing about a Multiannual Financial Framework is that it is a Multiannual Financial Framework. It may become a thing, but probably not. The short version, there isn't really a story here yet except that which the Financial Times manages to manufacture. Unless you hear it from the horses mouth, and that horse is speaking in an official capacity, it's best not to get carried away.

But what's really getting my goat is the eye-popping belief system of Brexiteers that says the UK can casually dispense with the EU and do as it pleases in the international arena without any repercussions. What do they suppose will happen to our credit rating should we walk away?

Worse still is the assumption that the EU cannot adapt to our departure. There is no doubt that Brexit will cause significant disruption to the EU and it will have to scale back a number of its operations - and that will be to its own detriment, but it still has its own systems and agencies to call upon. Our own will be in their infancy, a lot less influential and an order of magnitude more incompetent for the foreseeable future.

A lot of people actually want this to happen because it is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off inside the state where any normal operations just cease to function. Believe me I really can see why that would be an attractive proposition, but actually that has very real world consequences for all of us. Suddenly invisible government that we are used to functioning quietly in the background stops working and we very much notice its absence. Funds will have to be diverted from every day governance. And yes that does mean social care. No budget will be safe. That's great if you're a nihilistic libertarian. Not so great if you're at all normal.

People think I'm being overly pessimistic or exaggerating but the apparent lack of flexibility we see up front in these negotiations is the exact same inflexibility we will see after the fact, only we will have squandered all good will with the EU while landing it with enormous costs. They will not be inclined to break their rules and they won't be in a rush to do us any favours when we realise that market participation was actually necessary. If you think they are seeking to punish us now, wait and see what happens if we pull the plug.

One way or another we are going to be making payments to the EU for some years to come. If not as part of the final settlement then as part of an ongoing relationship. It's just how the system works. Are we really going to quibble over money? If we are then what was the point of all this? I didn't vote to leave for £350m a week - and what we pay to the EU is a fraction of what we spend elsewhere. A few years more won't hurt. Unilateral Brexit most certainly will.

If you thought Brexit was was a short-cut to saving a few quid then you really were born yesterday. Much of the single market exists to remove red tape and reduce duplication. In areas of technical governance there is more good than harm in it. To get the best from it we contribute toward its upkeep and that saves us money. Who cares?

The reason to quit the EU was to stop harmonisation and integration for its own sake - to stop the transfer of vital powers. We can do that without rowing back on a lot of developmental progress. It's unnecessary. If we walk away however, we will pay in more ways than I can imagine. A hundred billion will seem as chump change compared with losing our European trade. And no, shit for brains, we can't trade on WTO terms. Do I really need to keep saying this?