Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Parallel worlds

Trevor Kavanagh, writing in the Sun, 'explains' who's to blame for Britain's economic woes:

"Thanks to Labour’s incompetence, there’s not a brass farthing in the kitty — and now the Government is in a panic.

So where has all our money gone?

It’s been squandered on costly, inefficient and irresponsible pet projects created almost entirely to appease the political Left.


They are the class warriors who still hanker for the good old days of union power and state ownership.

And they still have undue influence in the last bastions of socialist power in town halls and public services. But there is a price to pay for Left-wing ideology. And we have been paying it for the past eleven years."

Now, presumably Trevor Kavanagh does know, at some level, that the spending decisions of the past eleven years have not, in fact, been taken to appease the political Left. He knows this because he knows that the decisions were taken, with hardly any exceptions, to appease the Sun newspaper. He knows this because ministers spoke to him personally and to his boss to explain their spending decisions in the hope of getting good press coverage. Many of these decisions were, indeed, explicitly designed to annoy lefties, and Trevor has in the past explained this to his readers.

But that would be a bit tricky to explain now, so instead he's running the 'he who controls the present controls the past' gambit and conjuring up this parallel world in which the period from 1997-2008 saw the 'political Left and old style socialists' calling the shots.

One of the really weird things about this period of economic difficulty (not just in Britain but elsewhere in the world) is the way that right-wingers don't seem to have anything at all which is constructive or based in economic reality to offer. The Republicans are going to pick a candidate who doesn't know or care anything about the economy, and here the main concern of the Tories appears to be whether the state of the economy will prevent them cutting taxes for rich people as quickly as they would like, and trying to pin the blame for a worldwide recession on Gordon Brown and the lefties.


At 9:20 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

On a related topic, I can't help but wonder if this is the best-prepared-for period of economic uncertainty in terms of public expectations? If true, I'm sure that has something to do with a growing awareness of our interconnectedness, and the impact of worldwide (and 24-hour) media, but I also think the government has done a good job in educating people.

At 10:28 am , Anonymous jdc said...

I'm not sure anyone in a position of authority on the right or the left has any good ideas at the moment.

I'm happy to share mine, but I'm generally regarded as a madman on economics by politicians on both the left and the right (it seems, though, to be almost a qualification for holding political office that one must not have more than a vague grasp of economics).

In the short term, I don't think there are any good ideas. The only way to stop boom and bust is to stop the boom before it gets out of control. Nobody did, so we're going to have the bust. There are ways of delaying it, but they'll only make it worse when it comes.

At 2:43 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

"I'm generally regarded as a madman on economics by politicians on the left and the right"

just on economics? ;p

At 2:51 pm , Anonymous jdc said...

Well, and on cats. At least on most other issues at least one of the Right or the Left does generally agree with me!


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