Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bankers Go To London: Good Riddance!

Another day another Scotland's not viable and needs London Scotsman story.

Capital yet to feel full force of banks' collapse

It's all terrible you see. Bankers are going South and so are using English lawyers and accountants. And the bankers are responsible for buying most of the multi-million pound houses in Edinburgh.

Thanks to fraud the entire financial sector is insolvent but government has changed the rules of accounting. Why? So that the bankers can pay themselves commission by pretending to be in profit. To try and keep the financial sector on life-support Westminster is throwing freshly printed money at them for nothing. The profits they're supposed to be making is made by using the free money they're being given to buy and sell financial products to each other. Then they charge massive commissions and collect bonuses.

Why should the public be paying for bankers to have multi-million pound houses in Edinburgh or anywhere?

The financial sector will have to scale down. When public subsidies stop going to The City there'll be an exodus of bankers from there too. Bankers in Edinburgh are heading South because that's where all the free money is getting pumped in. This is nothing to do with increased sales - it's fraud. Blatant and in your face fraud. So brazen you can't believe what's right in front of your nose. The people are being robbed blind by bankers in collusion with government.

And why is it a disaster for expensive houses to drop in price? Escalating house prices help only banks. Rising house prices means exodus of manufacturing which is what the economy needs if it is ever to be healthy again. Your house price goes up, you have to take a cr@p job, house prices go down and all you have is debt and a cr@p job. The bankers love it though. They make a fortune on house-price speculation. Then when prices drop you need the credit card to survive. They get money for free and often charge 50% APR on the credit card. The free money they get is yours!

Sorry but the financial sector needs to decline. It was pumped up by fraud and subsidy and needs to correct. Let the bankers go to London - they'll be off to Beijing shortly after that as London collapses under the weight of fraud. We don't need house-price rises - our houses are our homes not investment vehicles thank you very much.

Scotland needs a root and branch overhaul of its credit system in an independent Scotland. The centralisation of credit is dangerous as El Crisis shows.

Let Scotland invest in manufacturing and indigenous business. Finance it by ending the welfare state for bankers.

Salmond: The Silly Wizard of Oz

What in the name of the wee man in Salmond up to now?

No sooner does the 'Arc of Prosperity' turn into the 'Arc of Insolvency' than Salmond points to Australia as Scotland's economic model.

Forget Iceland. Australia's a hotter role model for Scotland, says Alex Salmond

No wonder The Scotsman has splashed this story. The unionist rag can't believe its luck. What a hostage to fortune if ever there was one. Iceland and Ireland were never good models for Scotland and that blew up in Salmond's face. Now he rolls out Australia. Does Salmond have a scoobie as to why the current economic collapse is happening? We have systemic collapse brought about by too much debt. Iceland and Ireland got into the speculation game and got burned. Australia has staved off the inevitable but their debt is humungus. Yes, 'gold' mining has bought them time but they are an accident waiting to happen.

Some argue that the best economist alive is Steve Keen - an Australian economist. See his blog here. What is Steve Keen predicting for Australia? A collapse in housing prices and devaluation of the Aus$.

This could easily happen before the Holyrood elections. So, what in heaven's name is Salmond doing attaching the party's reputation to the perilous state of Oz?

For a start Oz, since the crisis, is now integrating itself into the Asian economies and especially China. How can this be a comparison for Scotland? Australia may well have lasted this long without economic mayhem but that certainly does not mean it'll last. The problem of debt that has ravaged the Western world is consuming Australia and it is only a matter of time. Sure, they have a 'commodity currency' which means that if they run out of money they can borrow against future gold sales but their national and household debt is enormous. It is unsustainable and is very typical of the problems that are haunting the US, UK, Spain, Iceland, Ireland and others. A ticking time-bomb.

And Salmond, the economist, is pinning his colours to Australia. Has he understood nothing of the crisis?

There is only one decent model for Scotland and it is Norway. Same population, same geographical situation, same natural resources but Scotland has certain advantages over Norway such as whisky, tourism and financial services. There is no reason why Scotland couldn't emulate Norway which has easily weathered The Crisis. Norway has a strong currency, no debt problems and has invested in infrastructure and future genertions. Australia is a debt-driven bubble waiting to explode.

Please Alex. Change tack immediately. Stick to Norway!

On the subject of Oz, here is a song by The Silly Wizards to lend you some sanity. What a loss Johnny Cunningham is!

Enjoy: The Rambling Rover

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SNP Wakes Up: Time to Rally!

Has the SNP realised that it is not in the business of devolution management but independence? We are starting to see some signs that the leadership will highlight the cause of independence at the Holyrood elections in May next year.

SNP to push independence at poll

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I've advocated associating the independence issue with the current UK economic depression. If we'd pushed a 'Bankrupt Britain - Solvent Scotland' campaign before the Westminster election the party would have planted in the minds of the electorate two key seeds: Firstly, that Britain, unlike Scotland, is economically dying, secondly, that Labour destroyed the British economy. Before the election Brown had the media talking about 'recovery' - he used printed money to hide the UK's economic state long enough to get to the election (and he still lost).

Some of us knew that 'recovery' was baloney. What we have is not 'recession' or the new baloney 'double-dip recession' but systemic failure. Britain's economy was held up for over 30 years by oil and later by systemic fraud by The City of London. It's all coming crashing down now. That's not recession.

The SNP were in a fantastic position to exploit this with a bold 'Britain is Bankrupt' campaign. It didn't but it seems they are now waking up from their Holyrood slumbers and remembering why they exist:

the SNP would combine independence with the economy and stress that an independent Scotland could deal with the economic crisis without swingeing budget cuts.

Is it too little too late? For this campign to resonate in the minds of the electorate it should have been hammered home before the Westminster elections and her principle competitor Labour would now be on the ropes for 'ruining the economy'. The SNP would now be in the position of saying I told you so.. Instead Labour have wriggle-room:

"Alex Salmond, himself a former banker, can't bring himself to see that Labour used the strength of the UK to protect Scotland from complete economic meltdown like Iceland or Ireland."

I welcome Salmond's shift but it still seems a tad wooly. In rolling out this strategy you first have to establish that Labour broke Britain. That pins them down. This should be the dominant theme for the rest of the year. This also defends the SNP government which has to enforce cuts thanks to its reduced budget. In September and October there will be more economic shocks to come as the Summer is over and business realises that they have to revise down their expections. This means less predicted tax revenue and worsening unemployment. At that point the SNP bolts on it's 'Scotland is Solvent' line to the Labour destroyed Britain campaign. That way you have estabished that the UK is sinking into oblivion, Labour caused it and there's no need to take the pain in an independent Scotland. Going into the new year the party turns up the heat with a 'Britain is Bankrupt' campaign. Labour can't argue about protecting Scotland because they caused the UK's mess - a message already established. You've embedded distrust of Labour's message. For the rest of the campaign drive home the message that 'Independence means Jobs, Britain means bankruptcy'.

Yes, it's all very late in the day but a slick and focused media campaign might just swing it. It is interesting to note that many pathological leadership loyalists in the SNP were resisting championing independence and combining that idea with the economy. I've heard that now is a bad time to talk about independence. Clearly, there could not be a better time. I've heard about it being 'too negative'. Sorry but you can't help but make independence look attractive by demonstrating the ugliness of union. It will be interesting to see what these people have to say now that the SNP are waking up to reality.

Not that it matters. The leadership perhaps had a rude awakening from its members who were deeply concerned. Whatever the reason for the awakening, what matters is that nationalists can rally around a straight-talking campaign. I urge Salmond to send Swinney out to talk to boardrooms while sending Sturgeon, Neil and any other political bruisers he has at his disposal onto the tv and other public forums. Get on with the business of enlisting economists and business figures who'll back up the line etc.

This should be an epic campaign and so all resources should be poured into it. The mainstream media will make life difficult but their effectiveness wanes the more people smell the lies. An alternative media campaign should be funded and resourced. The SNP will find this a far more friendly environment and shouldn't underestimate its reach and influence on the mainstream.

The strategy is there. Deployed effectively it can be powerful and effective. There's no time to waste in mobilising all resources to the cause. This is a battle over our nation's future. Only imagination, straight-talking, intelligence and boldness will win it.

All those dismayed by the SNP's political conduct recently can now take courage. It's time to rally.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trade Union Hypocrisy

And so the unions wade in to the 'Cuts' fiasco:

Union fury as city council reveals 300 jobs are to go

Says The Scotsman here.

Edinburgh council have decided to cut upper and middle-management jobs to save money. They are doing this against the background of budget cuts eminating from London but also because Gordon Brown pretty much bankrupted the City with PFI projects and because Scotland's unionist parties imposed that insane tram system upon the capital. They're being told to make cuts and the background is not favourable.

However the unions had this to say about the council administration and its leader Jenny Dawe:

It is her coalition government that is forcing through cuts that the economists who actually predicted the crisis say are not needed and will put the economy into an even bigger mess.

..These cuts have nothing to do with the deficit, they are purely and simply an ideological attack on public services and the people who rely on them.

Couple of points here. Are the unions in Scotland attacking the SNP for cutting council budgets to meet their own reduced grant or attacking London for cutting the grant to Scotland? Who is being ideological?

I do agree that some economists predicted the crisis but they also blame Labour for causing it. The same economists were against 'stimulus' which magnified the problem - were the unions? Don't think so! Are the unions attacking Labour for bankrupting Britain? Eh, no. If they did then we could get on with the business of taking Britain out of the wars Labour got is into and a refund of the bail-outs Labour heaped on their City buddies.

It seems to me that the unions are not going to get involved in defending workers but themselves get involved in 'ideological attacks'. Unions should be about negotiating for their members and not about representing political parties.

If the unions want to back the people they should oppose 'austerity' and point to Labour's 'stimulus' as a debt-inducing failure but more importantly campaign on the idea of returning the 'bail-outs' Labour paid to the bankers and an end to expensive wars and weapons' systems instead of ideological attacks on city councils which have been ladened with a legacy of bankruptcy from their previous Labour administration, Gordon Brown's PFI scams and unionist tub-thumping about trams. They are being dishonest with their members but in Scotland we are long used to that kind of betrayal from them.

Expect more hypocrisy from unions as Britain crumbles.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tory Cuts - The Death Spiral

As Westminster cuts come Greece, using 'austerity' cuts, enters into its "Death Spiral".

If you want to know what 'austerity' does to a country consider what Der Spiegel has to say about Greece in the following article:

Entering a Death Spiral?

Tensions Rise in Greece as Austerity Measures Backfire

So, what is 'austerity' doing to Greece?

The austerity measures that were supposed to fix Greece's problems are dragging down the country's economy. Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back.

The story of Greece is not unlike the UK. In Britain Labour has bankrupted Britain and systematically lied about its finances and now a new government is using 'austerity' as means of dealing with the problem they inherited:

This dire prognosis comes even despite Athens' massive efforts to sort out the country's finances. The government's draconian austerity measures have managed to reduce the country's budget deficit by an almost unbelievable 39.7 percent, after previous governments had squandered tax money and falsified statistics for years. The measures have reduced government spending by a total of 10 percent, 4.5 percent more than the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had required.

Sounds sensible right? Well, remember accountants are not the same as economists. What is the consequence of all this?

The problem is that the austerity measures have in the meantime affected every aspect of the country's economy. Purchasing power is dropping, consumption is taking a nosedive and the number of bankruptcies and unemployed are on the rise. The country's gross domestic product shrank by 1.5 percent in the second quarter of this year. Tax revenue, desperately needed in order to consolidate the national finances, has dropped off. A mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society.

Unemployment Rates of up to 70 Percent

People, I read about what 'austerity' does to countries years ago. It is surely not beyond the political parties of Scotland and London to study Argentina or other countries where the IMF have enforced these 'austerity' programmes. It leads to total collapse. (If you want to read about 'austerity' programmes read about the man who had to enforce them - none other than the former chief economist of the World Bank - Joseph Stiglitz here. It's short and very readable)

And yet, just like 'stimulus' was a religion last year so 'austerity' has now become holy scripture. The best the Scottish blogosphere can come up with is a debate about how the council tax can be increased to compensate for government cuts to the Scottish budget. How utterly sterile!

In the Scottish context there is no deficit so why cuts anyway? You certainly are not going to get the Scottish media running with a line which supports an independent economy nomatter how glaringly obvious it is but why not the SNP?

Just as stunning though is why 'austerity' anyway? Well, Labour were going to do it and now the Tories have to clean up their mess goes the Tory (and SNP) line and Labour is going to try and pretend that cuts are a horrible punishment meted out by the evil Tories because that's what they're like, nothing to do with them. The left is gearing up for strikes and anti-Tory propaganda and the right is never averse to making the poor pay for the problems caused by the super rich who they regularly dine with after all and who have huge influence as movers and shakers - the kind politicians need, Labour and Tory.

Sorry but why is no-one talking about stopping the expensive wars? Scrapping Trident? Taking the bail-out money back? The savings would alleviate the economy which is buckling under the weight of too much debt. This is the real debate that is not taking place! There's no reason why the SNP should not benefit the most from it! Bankers and other war profiteers are controlling the agenda and the parties are afraid of tackling the real causes of the economic crisis lest big business turns their back on them..

So, what is 'austerity' going to look like to the man and woman on the street? Quoting one ordinary Greek, Der Spiegel sums it up perfectly:

"If you take away my family's bread, I'll take you down -- the government needs to know that," Meletis says. "And don't call us anarchists if that happens! We're heads of our families and we're desperate."

'Stimulus' and 'bail-outs' got Britain into an even bigger mess than it was in. The next step of robbing the UK blind is 'austerity' - people will lose jobs, will get lower salaries and will be more dependent on debt than ever. Each stage helps no-one but the bankers.

This is going to be no insignificant matter. You better get your anti-war banners out now because if you don't Britain WILL collapse. You will see mass emigration and the unborn will owe thousands in debt for several generations to come.

Many people think that economics is complicated. Well, you better start getting your head round it or there'll be no economy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Emergency Debate: Scots Starving

Starvation and Herald propaganda. Both make you sick.

This story appears in today's Herald:

Starvation contributed to death of 450 Scots

This statistic is a national disgrace. In the developed world 'malnutrition' doesn't exist. Well it does in Scotland. This story requires immediate debate and a real enquiry. It is shameful that Scotland suffers from this third-world problem. Yet the story in today's Herald is buried in the health section.

Credit to Ross Finnie of the SLD for pouncing on the statistics and demanding that the issue be investigated as a "matter of urgency". A self-respecting 'developed' nation would do just that.

Not in Scotland. Why? Just like the oil debate certain facts lend themselves to certain conclusions. Why is it that Scots are dying of starvation if the union is so successful? That's just not the sort of evidence that New Labour want to hear cited in political debate. And so their buddies hide it from public view. One quote used by The Herald lends itself to a certain category of conclusion, namely that people are dying of malnutrition because they are old and are not getting enough help with eating:

Most victims are elderly people, many of whom have conditions that make eating difficult or need help with their meals.

I don't know about you but I'd like to see the statistics. We are given a certain statistic related to people who are diagnosed in hospital and who have died. How many Scots, right now then are suffering from malnutrition? What are the age groups? We can assume most are in and around the West central belt but can we have the information?

The economic crisis and international factors only makes matters worse. We are seeing and will see food-price inflation in the near future. The problems with crop harvesting caused by fires in Russia and problems with supply in other areas will see food-price inflation increase dramatically as the year progresses. Combine this with the coming cuts in local government services and you will conclude that the problem of Scottish malnutrition can only worsen and at a pace. If the pound falls even more, as expected, then cheap imports will no longer be available in supermarkets either. People, this is a serious public health issue which could quickly become extremely worrying. In the US 1 in 7 people can't afford to eat properly and need food stamps. Britain has the same problems of household debt as the US - if not worse.

The alarm must be raised. This issue should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet because it is uncomfortable for unionists. Please consult your politicians immediately on this subject and demand action as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tell Scotland the Truth

Oil prices are climbing higher according to The Herald:

Scots petrol prices ‘to hit £6 a gallon’

The SNP's Angus MacNeil leads the charge -

The SNP last night called on the Westminster Government to honour commitments made before the General Election to tackle rising fuel prices, warning that further rises would damage economic recovery.

What recovery Angus? Why not tell them that rising fuel prices will escalate Britain's economic collapse?

What ministers in London forget is that, for people in rural areas, a car is a necessity and not a luxury.

Good point Angus. However the situation is much graver. When fuel prices reach 6% of GDP every country begins to decline economically. What about telling them that Scotland doesn't need to pay more in tax because she is in surplus and higher fuel prices will destroy that surplus and jobs?

Pushing up fuel prices is absolutely the wrong thing to do as we emerge from recession and these increases will actually hinder economic recovery.

We're not emerging from recession Angus. Tell them Scotland doesn't need higher fuel prices or cuts. Tell the people they can pay more and take the cuts or that they can avoid economic collapse by voting for independence.

Come on SNP, tell Scotland the truth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

SNP are Tory Enforcers!

The sigh of a scunnered man:

Tories feel coalition backlash in Scotland

So headlines The Herald here.

The narrative that The Herald would like you to believe is that the Tories are cutting public services because that's what they're like. Only yesterday it was about the Tories scrapping free school milk, raising the spectre of Thatcher.

Labour's mouthpiece The Herald is under no illusions about the public relations benefit to Labour in portraying the coalition government as Thatcherite. Thatcher's 'revolution' was brutal, uncaring and ideologically against ordinary people, especially Scots. Much of this is true but the whole point of raising the spectre of Thatcher now is to frame the debate. You see, what Labour and The Herald want you to believe is that the Labour governments under Blair and Brown had nothing to do with destroying the British economy. They definately don't want you to know that the rich got much richer than they could even dream of under Thatcher. In the process of enriching the most powerful corporations in the world, so they could get access to the most powerful people on earth, Labour bankrupted Britain.

Wars and weapons' systems are extremely expensive and Labour blew our wealth in making war-profiteers, international merchant bankers and oil company tycoons, their buddies. Brown wanted The City to rub off on him so badly he was talked into selling half of Britain's gold at the lowest possible price and at the bottom of the market. All to help out bankers. He legislated to allow banking fraud to go unregulated, he legislated to change accounting practices so banks could hide their fraud then he used the taxpayers money to bail them out and then he gave them free money through the Bank of England to keep the fraud going. That 'free money' diluted the wealth and spending power of every UK citizen. He took the debt from the banks and made it government debt i.e. yours and mine. To the tune of trillions of pounds and all because he needed their endorsement and approval.

Now, Britain is bankrupt.

For The Herald though, it's not about inheriting a bankrupt nation, it's just that the Tories are Thatcherite and they like cutting public services. There's no context. The recent Labour government is now conveniently, ancient history - so they would like us to believe.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't agree with the cuts but the Tories have a problem to deal with and it's Labour's legacy of bankruptcy. If cuts are the way they're going to try and fix the problem then they are going to be severe. In this context the battle lines will be drawn and in Scotland, for Labour and The Herald, the sooner the better.

You see, the next Holyrood election is going to be about defending Scotland against the Tories. Only Labour can defend Scots against Tory cuts and need to start in Scotland, will be the line. Labour are going to fight the cuts and stir up bitter resentment. Their buddies in local government and the unions will be singing from the same hymn sheet. It's going to be a huge battle and civil unrest will ensue. Labour will be off-the-hook for bankrupting the country and The Tories will be despised once again.

And in Scotland, who is going to be the Tories' enforcers? The SNP. How many times have you seen Swinney being associated with cutting public services in Herald stories? This is a slick and co-ordinated campaign strategy. Labour are going to paint themselves as the defenders of the workers. In Scotland, it'll be the Tartan Tories doing Cameron's dirty work.

For those of an independence bent this is a disaster. It is akin to the propaganda that the SNP brought down the Labour government in the 70s and let in Thatcher. Complete bull but effective bull. Labour is a cynical election machine - it has no values except for jobs-for-the-boys. They will do and say anything to get into power and they're pretty decent at it.

Which brings us to the SNP. It was entirely predictable that 'stimulus' wasn't going to work when the SNP was going along with it and indeed talking about needing more 'stimulus'. Well, we got 'stimulus' by borrowing money to spend. That debt is now so huge that to pay it back budgets are to be cut and the SNP is going along with that. All this started because of fraud in The City. Bankers robbed Britain blind and have Labour to thank for it. The SNP have had nothing to say about that either. This all begs the question that if the party is full of economists how are they walking into every economics trap set for them? Why have they no mind of their own?

There was no need for Labour's bail-outs which now have to be paid for apparently. There was no need for 'stimulus' and there's no need for 'austerity' - so why is the SNP collaborating with each London policy without a peep?

And so they're sleep-walking into being 'austerity' delivery boys. Swinney's axe will be famous. The Tartan Tories will be the enemy of the people just like Cameron, thier boss..

It is a simple strategy and will be very effective. There is one issue though that I think is a serious miscalculation. As Labour, The Herald and the rest of Labour's machine take advantage of the mess they made, they, mostly, have no idea just how bad things are going to get.

This is no Thatcher revolution. Thatcher was a pussy cat compared to what's coming. Labour bankrupted Britain and 'austerity' is going to check-mate the British state. You can see manufacturing collapsing in Greece as 'austerity' beds in well. The same is happening in Ireland. Indeed, every country that the IMF imposed 'austerity' on saw a collapse that set the country back a generation. Britain is going down the tubes and will probably never come out looking anything like what it did. Soon, the debt payments will be so expensive that roads, schools, hospitals, public buildings and so on will be sold off to balance budgets which will by then reduced by half anyway. Goodbye libraries hello road tolls. Britain will be owned by corporations. Instead of paying the council for services you'll be paying JP Morgan. That will impoverish Britain even more. The pound will be next to go. Then you won't be able to afford most foreign products. Emigration will skyrocket. Higher education will be a fraction of what it is today so there'll be no jobs and no uni places for the kids. Crime will go up just as police numbers drop. WIll the army be called in to quell civil disobediance? Probably.

I really don't think many in the Labour party realise how bad things are going to get. Government will be a poisoned chalice for a generation. Government will be trapped by international bankers. Standards of living are going to nose-dive. The government will not be able to borrow money for 'stimulus' and so Labour will be able to do nothing in power.

As the Holyrood elections race towards us and with Labour in pole position by a significant margin, nationalists have to ask themselves whether we would prefer Labour to win. Let them enforce the Tory cuts. So goes the argument by Ian Hamilton who us accusing the SNP of being 'collaborators'. That maybe a little strong but that is exactly what many Scots will think - 'Tartan Tories'. The word is that some MSPs, many councillors and activists would prefer Labour to win the Holyrood election next May. Activists are losing belief in the party at an alarming rate. The SNP are heading for defeat.

Many, including myself, are wondering what difference it would make if the SNP or Labour won the next election. Both want to manage devolution and both seem to be interested only in the trappings of power.

In 2007, Scotland was ready for something different. However, just like Obama in the US won on 'Hope' and 'Change' his popularity is plummeting as the reality sets in that he actually stood for more of the same. 'It's Time' now means 'It's Time To Hit The Road'.

We know that the SNP was limited in scope by devolution about what it could do. However, Scotland needed leadership not just management. Instead of collaboration with London, Scotland needed to ask hard questions. Why is Britain bankrupt? Why do we need 'stimulus', why do we need 'austerity' in a surplus nation? These messages need to be hammered home time and time again. They haven't been.

After bankrupting Britain and losing the London elections Labour are extremely popular in Scotland and heading for power in Holyrood. Why? The SNP have lost the plot.

In every debate and in every tv appearance the SNP should be talking about how Labour bankrupted Britain. They should be demanding to know why there are to be budget cuts in a country where there is a surplus. Cuts will destroy the healthy economy. Under independence none of this would be necessary.

The situation we are in has been predictable for a long time now. The party should have positioned itself to take advantage of it. It didn't. Naivity is forgiveable up to a point. Continuing to make the same mistake over and over is worse - that's political incompetence.

We should be in a position where Labour is on its knees and the debate about 'Cuts or Independence'. The logic of that campaign should have been planted in the minds of the electorate more than a year ago. It wasn't.

Instead of commanding the agenda in the best circumstances the SNP have had for achieving its core objective it now faces losing power and ignominy as Thatcherite henchmen. The narrative is now Labour to defend Scotland against the Tories. It should be about independence or cuts.

If the SNP does not change course now and adopt a politically adept campaign strategy then perhaps it is better that they lose Holyrood. In the absense of a leadership with acumen perhaps it is better to let Labour be the Tory enforcers, saving the SNP's reputation and then the party can get on with deposing the leadership and bringing in one that knows what it's doing.

What a sad state of affairs!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sandcastle Sales Rising

"It isn't only an Englishman's house that is his castle." So concludes a jaded and ideological editorial in today's Herald about the housing in market in Scotland:

Rising property sales and prices are good news for homeowners

"Lies, damned lies and statistics" is how the editorial tells us that the proles treat economic reports but assures us that this one by the Registers of Scotland (RoS) is 'exact' because of its comprehensive range. That maybe so but what of The Herald's take on it?

Are house prices rising? The comparison is with the first quarter last year which was mingin'. Is this technical or fundamental? This question means is it a short term rise based on some particular reason or part of an upward trend in the market? Is all that pre-election 'stimulus' money working its way through the system making people feel artifiially better off for a while? Now that it is ending will prices trend further downwards and 'deleverage' (unravel years of artificially high prices, stimulated by too much borrowed money being in the system) further as it should? Does the editorial consider the idea that 'austerity' by the government is going to see a mountain of public sector jobs go and a wages slashed? Hundreds of thousands will have less or no salary and so will not be able to pay their mortgages. When interest rates go up you can multiply the 'austerity' effects by the interest rates. Many will walk away from their mortgages and more will be driven out the market driving prices much further South.

It is the central premise of the headline that annoys me the most though. Just how is rising prices and sales good for homeowners? Is this not part of the indoctrination that got us into economic collapse in the first place? Thatcher's 'home-owning democracy' meant you could pretend to be wealthy and the dirty little secret was safely behind closed doors. Rising house prices created the Thatcher illusion of wealth. People's desire to be better than their neighbour was heightened and then exploited. Remember the ad where the worldly-looking guy bought his house and named it 'DunRenton'? Crass but effective.

A home is a home, not an investment.

Only bankers prosper with higher house prices. Mortgages and fees go through the roof. With all that debt guaranteeing them income over 25 to 40 years they can gamble on the stock-market derivatives casino till their gambler/speculator's hearts are content using mortgage payments as security. They were allowed to get out of control and fraud became and is still endemic in the system. Joe Public got to then bail them out and now people have to lose their jobs so that the government can pay back the money they borrowed to bail the banks out. And where did the government borrow the money from? The banks. Remember all that 'quantative easing' and almost 0% interest rates meaning free money to the banks? Yes, they got money for nothing from the Bank of England, lent it to the government and now we all have to pay it back plus interest - and the rates will soon go up.

That's just for starters. To get house prices rising in the first place the government destroys the real economy.

Fueling house prices speculation in our 'home-owning democracy' means the government taxes labour and industry instead of property. That means manufacturing jobs go where labour is cheaper. The result? You make nothing and sell nothing into the international market. You get low-paid service sector jobs but don't worry you can always refinance your mortgage to pay for your kids' education, right? Not until the speculation bubble bursts. To keep the veneer of prosperity going the governments, short on tax and earnings because good jobs have gone and we sell nothing abroad, resort to borrowing more money from abroad and allowing the increasingly powerful banks more room to defraud international customers with fraudulant investments. That works until it doesn't.

You see, when house prices go up jobs disappear and salaries go down. Now you have lower salaries and the value of your house has gone down. What else can you do to get your kids through uni now? You have to save, except saving is not rewarded with low interest rates so you are forced into buying shares which the banks just love.

High house prices are bad for the economy - they're just good for banks. So will the muppets who write editorials about how rising house prices (a dubious claim in itself) are good news for homeowners tell me how we got into this economic crisis? And why 'home-owning democracies' are sliding while manufacturing economies are growing? When you say 'sub-prime' or 'mortgage-backed securities' to The Herald 'business team' what goes through their collective head? Fresh air? Or maybe property advertising revenues?

It's economic illiteracy. It's a con (confidence) trick by bankers. Since our 'home-owning democracy' was born Britain has sunk in terms of economic power. That was hidden for a while because we borrowed: government, business and consumer plus taxes came in from those fraudulant City investments and all this made us look wealthy but in reality we were going down the plug-hole. Only North Sea oil is keeping UK PLC on life-support. We took some spoils of war and that gave us a short-term economic hit but those wars, though providing liquidity from opium sales out of Afghanstan or oil sales out of Iraq for the banks, are infact bankrupting the aggressor nations.

It's counter-intuitive for people to demand lower house prices. However, if you look at economies with high rental sectors you find higher quality jobs and less debt. That's not the kind of analysis we can expect from Herald editorials though, is it?

No, they just can't think outside the box. The theology of debt-driven, consumer economics has closed down all sensible debate. Even as it has brought the UK to bankruptcy the politcal and media class still think that there's going to be a 'recovery'. The City will be our champions once again, house prices will climb forever after a temporary blip and the struggle between Labour and Tory will be about who looks after our 'home-owning democracy' the best. Rule Brittania! Reality is not for dawning. Not till we're bankrupt and every last piece of state infrastructure is sold off, at fire-sale prices, to the very bankers who brought us to the edge in the first place. Was it a 'crisis' or a 'controlled demolition'? Ask the Argentinians what happened to them and who they blame. Was that the test-bed?

No people, we should not accept 'austerity'. In the end we need interest rates to go up. When people save capital is formed. Then you can have investment in manufacturing and start to export products again - that will balance the budget. Austerity and low interest rates will simply take us into debt-peonage. Many Britons are already debt-slaves and many more are to follow. Meanwhile the super-rich become like nobles of the middle-ages. Our feudal masters and the 'citizens' nothing but their capital.

In short, when you see headlines about how rising house prices are good for homeowners just ask yourself how many of our media and political class saw economic collapse coming, how many told you 'stimulus' would work and how many told you 'recovery' and 'green shoots' were taking hold. They know nothing. They simply spread propaganda and unwittingly at that most of the time.

Are you going to believe them then when they tell you 'austerity' will work? The time for deference is over. It is time to fight for jobs and services but most of all it is time to fight for democracy itself.

An Englishman's home is his sandcastle in the sky.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DevoSpeak: Not the SNP's language!

Another day another example of the SNP being trapped by its own devolved mindset:

Swinney defiant as doctors call opposition to cuts ‘naive’

Says The Herald in another headline contribution to its Holyrood unionist propaganda campaign. The Herald you see, wants to paint 'cuts' as inevitable. 'Austerity' is not inevitable for a start (in economic terms) but wasn't The Herald the same paper who passed off 'fiscal stimulus' as a form of religion, unquestioned, when Brown was blowing all the money that we're being told the ordinary punter has to pay for in terms of cuts now?

Apart from a purely economic argument there is also a constitutional argument. Scotland is in surplus and so in an independent Scotland cuts would not be required at all.

Yet Swinney leaves the goal wide open to all sorts of unionist conmen by playing their game of 'balancing the block grant'. If the SNP had ran a 'Bankrupt Britain' campaign before the general election they could now say 'I told you so' and argue that independence is the remedy to cuts in public services not 'austerity'.

But no, the SNP don't like the word independence and pointing out the truth about the British economy would be frightfully negative. Orwellian devoSpeak or what?

So, not only do unionist organs like The Herald get to paint the SNP as being naive for resisting cuts but but they also get to contort reality by simultaniously painting the SNP as the cause of the crisis. Maybe the SNP are naive..

It seems that the SNP is increasingly adrift from reality. At the very point when their key objective can be clearly demonstrated to wipe the floor with its unionist opposition, it is thirled to the idea of managing devolution and getting slaughtered in the process. They can't win with DevoSpeak - ultimately it is not the SNP's language. When will they finally realise this? What will it take to get them out of the Holyrood tearoom and rediscover their soul?

There are economic arguments against Austerity - it is clearly going to make things a lot worse; When people lose jobs the tax take shrinks further. There are plenty of examples, just look at Ireland. The SNP were dumb enough to follow the 'stimulus' mantra. They would be correct to challenge the new mantra of 'austerity'. On top of that they can argue that Scotland never needed either.

Instead, out of vanity, they are committing political suicide.