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Fantasy Island

Discussion in 'European Politics' started by Stalin, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Stalin

    Stalin Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2008
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    "...In an extraordinary admission about the severity of the economic downturn, Ed Balls even predicted that its effects would still be felt 15 years from now. The Schools Secretary's comments carry added weight because he is a former chief economic adviser to the Treasury and regarded as one of the Prime Ministers's closest allies.

    Mr Balls said yesterday: "The reality is that this is becoming the most serious global recession for, I'm sure, over 100 years, as it will turn out."

    He warned that events worldwide were moving at a "speed, pace and ferocity which none of us have seen before" and banks were losing cash on a "scale that nobody believed possible".

    The minister stunned his audience at a Labour conference in Yorkshire by forecasting that times could be tougher than in the depression of the 1930s, when male unemployment in some cities reached 70 per cent. He also appeared to hint that the recession could play into the hands of the far right.

    "The economy is going to define our politics in this region and in Britain in the next year, the next five years, the next 10 and even the next 15 years," Mr Balls said. "These are seismic events that are going to change the political landscape. I think this is a financial crisis more extreme and more serious than that of the 1930s, and we all remember how the politics of that era were shaped by the economy."

    Philip Hammond, the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said Mr Balls's predictions were "a staggering and very worrying admission from a cabinet minister and Gordon Brown's closest ally in the Treasury over the past 10 years". He added: "We are being told that not only are we facing the worst recession in 100 years, but that it will last for over a decade – far longer than Treasury forecasts predict."


    Now where have I heard this before ? ... Ah Yes !!!

    "...We live in a country fantasising about its ability to run up debts seemingly without end, to enjoy high-paid employment for which it is not qualified, to project military power that it does not possess and in general to assume, in defiance of the evidence, a superior economic and political position in relation to most of the rest of the world. Then there is the apparent conviction that limitless growth can co-exist with environmental protection, that the over-borrowed and abundantly staffed state machine is actually being courageously pruned even while its payroll rises and, finally, that the just-around-the-corner radiant future is one in which will work in the 'creative economy'. Welcome to Fantasy Island. He may be the most spectacular election winner in modern British political history but Blair leaves behind him a seedy dreamworld mired in debt and bankruptcy, drifting into a crisis of employment and employability, hallucinating into existence a diplomatic and military role that it cannot possibly afford. It's time to take stock of the future he and Brown have mapped out for us while there's still time to do something about it...

    .."..Larry Elliott, the Guardian's economics editor, and Dan Atkinson, the Mail on Sunday's economics editor, have written a scathing account of the capitalist class's future for Britain. We would have no manufacturing industry, so no services. They cynically note that our so-called growth areas are all talk - barristers (like Blair and Darling), management consultants, spin doctors, PR men, speculators, deal-makers and brokers.

    Britain has become a giant offshore hedge fund churning speculators' money, a giant tax haven for the world's super-rich, with four million of us now working `in service', as many as under Victoria. This is no future for a self-respecting people.

    The City of London does not work for Britain. It costs 5.3% to raise investment funds in Britain, result, 1% of world R&D in engineering and electronics. In Japan, the cost of borrowing to invest is 1.1%, and they have 47% of world R&D in engineering and electronics. Over half of Britain's R&D money is spent in pharmaceuticals and aerospace, which the government has funded for decades, through the NHS and the Ministry of Defence.

    Elliott and Atkinson show how the Labour government has got transport wrong. Between 1997 and 2005, the cost of motoring fell by 6%, but bus fares rose by 16% and rail fares by 7%. No wonder that between 1980 and 2002 road traffic increased by 73%.

    Net immigration was 248,300 in 2004-5. Yet unemployment is 4.5 million, so why do we need to import workers? Employers like immigrant labour because it helps to depress wages: as Brown's new Trade Minister, Sir Digby Jones, says, "We have a tight labour market in the UK and yet wage inflation has not been a problem. Immigrants are doing the work for less."

    Elliott and Atkinson recommend, "Rebuilding the manufacturing base requires support for strategic industries and, whisper it quietly, the sort of selective protectionism that would be feasible only if our relationship with the European Union were to be radically recast - at present, such assistance would fall foul of EU rules."

    They conclude that we must end our `obeisance to globalisation, free trade and unbridled market forces'. And we must ditch the fantasies which hold us back...


    the sobering thing about this book is that it was published two years ago

    Comrade Stalin

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