Sunday, October 9, 2011

UK: So, there is a Plan B after all

The gruesome carnival of the party conferences is now over, so I can stop taking my nausea-suppressing pills at last. Do you have any idea how fraudulent these things are? 

They are sealed off from the people by police guards and high fences. The applause is phoney and stage-managed. Even the arguments are faked. The vast halls are half-empty, and reached through bazaars of lobbyists for various forms of greed and folly.

The speeches themselves are seldom written by the people who obediently deliver them. There is no real life. All three major parties are living corpses, kept walking by transfusions from the taxpayer, dodgy billionaires or trade-union funds. Meanwhile, the media coverage has mostly degenerated into pathetic partisan bootlicking of the party in power, matched by equally pathetic partisan savaging of the one that is out of power.

No doubt, Edward Miliband made a pretty dreadful speech in Liverpool the week before last. But it was nothing like as bad as the hogwash that gushed and gurgled out of the Prime Minister’s smirking mouth on Wednesday. As an exhortation to slackers and grumblers in some public-school football team, it would have been average.

As a statement of policy and aims from the Prime Minister of a middling nuclear power, it was pitiful. Nor did it see fit to mention that the very next day the Bank of England would embark on a desperate plan (for once the word ‘desperate’ is justified here) to deliberately provoke yet more inflation.

Let me remind you of what one of our greatest economists, Lord Keynes, once wrote about this awful thing: ‘Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. ‘By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.’ This colossal, unfair stealth tax on the prudent, to pay for the folly of the imprudent, is what we are reduced to.

This is, as it turns out, Plan B. We have driven the country and the people deep into debts that can never be paid. So we will shrink the debt by shrinking everyone’s money. So much for the careful, the thrifty, the provident who foolishly thought the Tories were their friends. Their savings, their pensions, their long years of caution and restraint all shrivel to a handful of change in a surprisingly short time.

This crisis wasn’t made yesterday, or even in the Blair-Brown years. It has been in the making for decades, as supposedly Conservative politicians have refused to get the Welfare State under control, refused to release this country from the chains loaded on to it by the EU, and risked all on the bubble of the housing market.

Of these people it has been rightly said that: ‘They could not dig, they dared not rob, and so they lied to please the mob.’ I hope I live long enough to see it carved on their tombstones.

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