Friday, August 29, 2008

The Caledonian Calamity

Just when you thought life in credit-crunch land could not get any more surreal, Alistair Darling machine guns not only his own foot, but that of the entire Labour cabinet.

"The UK is facing its worst economic crisis in 60 years, Chancellor Alistair Darling has admitted."

David Cameron's careful pacing to try and avoid being elected until what he imagined was going to the worst 18 months is out the way, might no longer be possible. It seems the Caledonian Calamity has had enough.

A "once in 60 years situation" cannot be addressed by simply adding to the burden of existing legislation with a few tweaks and homilies. The Boy Wonder can now quite safely wheel out some hard-nosed policies and ideas that will actively roll back the disastrous effects of 10 years of inept government.

Darling has all but confessed that Brown's stupidity and hubris has crushed the UK economy under the weight of a grotesquely overweight public sector created (by Blair's various admissions) to give the illusion of full employment; and many tons of quite useless (mostly EU inspired) legislation.

Bring on the tumbrels!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

China today: why DeGaul's EU is irrelevant

One useful outcome of the Chinese Olympics might be that it gives EU citizens pause to ponder how the EU imagines that it can safely continue to operate on the basis of 50 year old assumptions about the rest of the world.

DeGaul's vision of a European superstate as the reincarnation of a Franco Prussian Empire did not begin to take into account the fact that Asia was eventually going to be embarrassingly ahead of our sorry manufacturing industry in almost every area of endeavour.

It may be simplistic to observe that the rapid (re)ascent of Asia, leading to the present commodity crisis, is because Asian factories do not operate with one arm tied behind their back by the mountains of restrictive legislation and petty rules that afflict EU business. But it seems to be inconveniently and unavoidably true.

If EU citizens are happy to buy products from factories that employ 14 years olds working 60 hour weeks in countries that don't bother with the niceties of boring things like Health & Safety and planning permission, then how do they imagine Europe can survive as rest home for the disadvantaged and witlessly politically correct..?

The Chinese went to great pains during the opening ceremony to remind us that they pretty much invented most of the cornerstones of civilization (while we were still skinning sabre toothed tigers with flints) during the opening ceremony. And then they rubbed in the fact that now also rule the roost in most aspects of consumer technology with a tour de force of digital electronic wizardry.


Olympic Fun and Games 20012

The Chinese have seriously upped the ante for London. Gordon & Co must be laughing their heads off that they will most likely not be the ones left to pick up the tab and explain it to the electors.

After the fiasco of the Manchester Commonwealth Games a few years ago, we might as well give up now, and decide to wheel out few pearly queens and a steel band.

Although, it would be a Modern British tradition to have a man in a peaked cap greet the competitors, and charge £100 personal carbon tax for converting too much oxygen into CO2, £100 for disposing of their rubbish, £100 for speeding - and as for the shooting competitors...

The torch lighting bit was also quite an act follow - London can use a hoodie tossing his spliff away...

And then we can charge everyone that tuns up at Heathrow £500 for fuel surcharges and £200 departure taxes on their way out. And then we'd only need to attract around 19 million visitors to pay for the whole show!

Friday, August 01, 2008

What goes down, might stay down

Anyone who imagines that the present UK slump is likely to get magically better as the result some curious notion of cyclical factors that will start to swing back like some mystical pendulum of fortune, needs to think again. In this slump, a huge number of people are now employed in non-jobs paid for by the dwindling numbers of folks in real jobs - far more so than in any previous economic downturn, thanks to 10 years of Labour's tireless efforts at creating a client state and pointless layers of administration and government.

Business efficiencies leading to slimmed down workforces have been piling on for the past 20 years on the back of the IT and Internet revolutions, so that precious few "real" businesses have any fat left to shed. Meanwhile, every town hall and most of the Westminster village continues to pile on pointless weight and gorge on other people's cash as if nothing had happened. Public service unions expect to be paid more because they want to be paid more, and because the government they helped to fund politically and put in place, has now buggered just about everything up.

Government has created a climate in which smaller business operated by people who can think for themselves (and are thus hard to micro-manage and control with stupid and pointless regulations) have been progressively replaced by dubious cartels (such as the supermarkets and energy companies), since it is easier to cajole, confuse, intimidate, control and tax a handful of slow-moving large companies that exist at the mercy of an ever changing a pile of legislation several feet high.

Two key aspects of the economy that this government has allowed to let rip appear to have been property speculation, and financial services - which have combined together to create a volatile mixture to fuel a misleading notion of consumer prosperity, based on Gordon Brown's fairy money - and that ultimate weapon of state control over individual freedoms - the mortgage.

Boy, are we screwed.