Lucifer was the brightest and highest of all God' s angels but he became proud and arrogant and plotted to supplant the Godhead; he was thus cast down into the Pit, without hope of redemption. A bit like Neil Harding; for Neil too seems beyond hope of redemption acting, much like The Metatron, as the voice of his master.
One of the most irritating things about Neil is to total adherence to party politics; if you are against Neil or his NuLabour chums, then you are automatically a Tory, yearning fruitlessly for the days of the Demon Thatcher. It is an attitude so pointless and irritating, that few are willing to comment on his pronouncements these days; point out some iniquity of NuLabour, and Neil will respond that the Tories were worse in some way, even to those, such as Unity, who are Labour Party members. For Neil, there is no such thing as non-partisan politics; you are either pro-NuLabour or you are anti-NuLabour and the latter means that you must be—whether overtly or covertly—a filthy, hate-filled Tory, just itching to torture and enslave all those earning less than £50,000 a year. It is, to put it bluntly, an attitude born of pusillanimous bigotry.
It is an attitude that means that—in one of Labour's worst month's in power, on both the personal sleaze and the professional competence fronts—Neil's response is to post an article about supposed right-wing hypocrisy. Just because I'm in a shitty mood, let's have a look, shall we?
1. THE DAILY MAIL PROMOTING UNIVERSITIES OF CRIME: Unless you support locking up ALL prisoners for ever, it is too simplistic to rant about the crimes of those released from prison (also whether they are foreign or not is irrelevant).
Right wingers LOVE prison, they think it reduces crime. In the short term they may be right that increasing the number we lock up does reduce crime (we lock up more people than any other country in Europe) but in the long term it is also clear it INCREASES the crime rate UNLESS prisoners are rehabilitated before release. In most cases we know that people who go to prison come out even WORSE and are even MORE likely to re-offend. Prison sucks as a crime reduction tool and it is damn expensive to boot!
By their very nature, criminals are people for whom the thought of prison is, in a cost/benefit analysis, not enough of a deterrent. Personally, I am all for education to an extent—holding compulsory literacy classes for instance—but I am also in favour of making prison so fucking awful that the possibility of being caught and jailed weighs much heavier on the cost side when someone is contemplating committing a crime.
Furthermore, whilst prison may be expensive, it is considerably less so when one considers the damage, both fiscal and psychological, that crime taxes on society. The excellent Wat Tyler has written extensively about this.
In 2000, the HO estimated the cost of crime at £60bn. Others reckon it's higher, but let's go with the HO figure, and scale it up to £75bn in today's money. That's about 6% of GDP, or £3,000 pa for every household.
Britain records about 10,600 crimes per 100,000 population, but we have only 12 prisoners per 1,000 of those crimes. In Spain, they have four times as many prisoners in relation to the number of crimes, and guess what- their crime rate is less than a quarter of ours. And the same strong relationship can seen right across Europe: the higher the rate of imprisonment relative to the number of crimes, the lower the crime rate.
Since it costs about £40 grand a year to imprison someone, that implies £3.2bn pa extra. Well, that's what the total budget numbers imply, although the detailed establishment costings (see here) suggest some prisons can do it for much less.
But even if it is £3.2bn extra, that's chickenfeed against the £100bn pa cost of crime.
One might suggest having a little look around Wat's figures: I would say that they are pretty conclusive. But then, I'm just a hypocritical right-winger, eh? Hang 'em and flog 'em, eh? Well, I'd be in favour of anything that makes the streets safer to walk in, frankly.
Still, let's move onto Neil's second point, shall we?
2. THE TORIES AND POVERTY REDUCTION. The Tories drastically CUT international aid and tripled UK poverty when in power. Labour have increased international aid and have cut poverty by a third. Do I need to say more?
Well, yes; some figures would be good. You know, some raw data? Some indication of what measure of poverty you are using and whose figures you are referring to. After all, I could simply point you to this report that suggests that poverty has risen under NuLabour. I notice that you didn't comment on that one, Neil. Any particular reason? Nor did you comment on the lack of effect on income equality.
Furthermore, Labour have not achieved anything without making the vast majority of people clients of the state: and it is not just the poor that they have reduced to this. The fact that a household earning £50,000 can receive child benefits is a fucking joke, frankly. As is the derisory rise in the Personal Tax Allowance, which has not even risen in line with inflation, let alone earnings. The increases in Stamp Duty have made houses even more unaffordable, the 1% NICs increase (which is actually 2%—1% paid by employee and 1% by employer) is destroying competitiveness and ensuring major job losses—for example Peugot, who claimed that each car made in Britain cost £286 more than in any of their other factories (at a time when worldwide car sales are in the doldrums). And let's not even mention Motorola, MG Rover, etc.—energy prices are astronomical and the economy grew by a mere 1.6% last year, half what Gordon Borwn estimated.
But, obviously, NuLabour are doing a bang-up job poverty-wise; after all, who cares about the thousands that have lost their jobs when you can ensure, by fiddling the figures, that no one really notices. And, as you add thousands more to the list of the unemployable through an education system so bad that 1 in 5 young people are still illiterate when they leave. But, as long as they are clients of the state, who cares? Because they will always vote to keep you—the nice, generous NuLabour Party—in power. And with people like Neil to trumpet your achievements and keep reeeeeeal quiet on the failures, what more do you need?
Neil's third point is pretty nonsensical, actually.
3. CUTTING TAXES (i.e PUBLIC SERVICES) HELPS THE POOR. See point no. 2.
Here are a few home truths for Master Harding:
- Cutting taxes does not necessarily mean cutting public services. It does mean making those services more efficient. If people have fewer resources to spend, then they will spend what resources they have more wisely. See my Drive for space post for a technical parable.
- Cutting taxes does help the poor. If you cut the taxes that the poor have to pay, then this will make them better off. If you cut the marginal tax rates that penalise the poor for working harder, then they will be better off.
Here’s a question: Take a married couple with two children under 11 and pre-tax earnings of £200 a week. If they get a better job, raising their earnings to £300 a week, by how much does their net income rise?
£60? £50? £40?
Yes. £8.52. That’s a marginal deduction rate of 91.5 per cent.
It is also a fucking disgrace. Remember, by supporting NuLabour's economic policies, Neil Harding endorses this ludicrous state of affairs. He endorses a lack of economic and social mobility.
- When Lawson cut the top rate of tax from 60% to 40%, tax receipts rose in absolute terms (the rich did not bother to try to find so many loopholes). Thus the Tories were able to spend more on public services. Hence, cutting taxes does not automatically mean cuts to public services, quod erat demonstrandum.
- In situations such as those above, cutting taxes does, demonstrably, help the poor: again, quod erat demonstrandum.
Wait! Neil has yet more for us (and yet still no mention of that poverty increase report, strangely).
4. THAT SOMEHOW SPENDING MORE ON SOMETHING MAKES IT WORSE. What nonsense. Average waiting times in the NHS are now 9 WEEKS compared to 18 MONTHS under the Tories. How can more nurses, teachers and doctors be a bad thing?
Well, it rather depends if you can hire them for more than a few months without having to fire them, eh? We are all well aware, if only from reading Dr Crippen, that the waiting times are a lie (I'm not even going to ameliorate this with a word like "fiddle").
I drew your attention last month to the government achievements of reducing the waiting list for MRI scans, by creating a waiting list for the waiting list, only the waiting list being counted for government figures. Got that?
No one, apart from the most dribbling, slavish devotee of NuLabour could possibly believe anything that come out of the government as far as the NHS is concerned, for it is still a failure.
Spending more on the NHS has made it worse, or has certainly made it no better, as the National Audit Office found a little while ago, when it reported that, despite a massive increase in funding, productivity had increased by 0% to -1% (can't find the link at present—Allan, can you help me out? It was on Politicalog). Again, see my Drive for space post. Neil is right, of course; spending more doesn't necessarily make something worse: that only seems to happen in the public-sector. But that, of course, is to do with the source of the money and who's spending it.
Neil's last point is about gun crime.
5. LEGALISING HANDGUNS REDUCES CRIME. Believe it or not, some people seriously claim this. The truth is gun deaths in the UK have halved since the handgun ban. The rise in gun incidents is down to the use of less lethal LEGAL weapons such as replica guns. Increasing the availability of something obviously increases its use.
I neither know nor care about this, particularly; I'm sure that someone will enlighten me. All I know is that our Olympic shooting team cannot practise in this country: they have to go to Switzerland. This seems fucking stupid, frankly; I am also interested to see what kind of exemption will be granted in order that the government can recognise its Olympic dreams. Prepare for confusion on that score.
I look forward to the day when Neil can discuss politics with a modicum of maturity rather than slinging around party labels like the NuLabour apparachik that he so patently is. Unshackle your mouth from Toni's cock, my friend, and join us out here in the non-party political blogosphere...
UPDATE: Now we know Neil's price: all we have to do is to persuade SpamCam to buy the man a pint and he'll be a true Blue till the next round...