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Wednesday 25 January 2012

Verity Murphy | 15:12 UK time, Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tonight we ask whether the news that UK economic activity shrank by 0.2% in the last three months of last year indicates that the government has the wrong economic policy.

We will have analysis from Paul Mason and Jeremy has been talking to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

We have a report on the uproar over chemical company Dow's sponsorship of the wrap which will surround the Olympic stadium this summer, which is showing no sign of going away.

And we have our third film looking at China in the 21st Century. This time, amid a series of strikes and riots by migrant workers manning production lines in southern China, Mukul Devichand asks whether the government can keep the "factory of the world" running smoothly.

And also, is it possible to be a Tory and a feminist? Louise Mensch thinks so, and she will be joining Laurie Penny to debate.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    There is no sign so far that the British Government has any strategy for economic growth in the short term and most of what has happened so far has acted as a negative on growth, hence the shrinking economic base.

    I suppose that eventually, out of desparation, they will summon up the political courage to 'do the needful', as my Indian friends are wont to say.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is it possible to be a Tory and a human being?

    Judging by voting patterns, people who live outside of the SE England seem to doubt it.

  • Comment number 3.

    More than three years into this crisis and it still amazes me how ignorant Gvt, the media and the public are about the risks to economic growth. It's not just a flawed policy we are stuck with, but completely flawed assumptions about the role of debt in society, and the fundamental role played by physical inputs for powering (geddit??) economic growth.

    We have maxed out the credit card, and we have maxed out our resource extraction of the planet. Just look at the general trend of G7 growth for the last 20 years:

    http://forensicstatistician.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/it’s-de-ja-va-all-over-again/

    I wonder if any of Newsnight's esteemed presenters, editors or guests have yet to fathom these fundamental principles?

  • Comment number 4.

    Dow is a problem because of Bhopal, which is possibly one of the very worst examples of American imperialism.

    Dow have not managed to do the right thing there and it haunts them to this day.

  • Comment number 5.

    "..is it possible to be a Tory and a feminist?"

    sure, once you accept one stereotyping label why reject others?

  • Comment number 6.

    0.2% SHRINKAGE? I SUSPECT THE COMPETENCE OF THE MEASURING AGENCY SHRANK MORE, EVEN AS THE MEASUREMENT WAS BEING MADE!

    What is the error band? Does none of the NewsyNighty band of gurus UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT?

    I know gravitas has left the building, but did RATIONALITY have to go too?

    No reward for failure eh?

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    I look forward to Jeremy's interview with Danny Alexander tonight. In answer to "is it possible to be a Tory and a feminist?" of course it is! Margaret Thatcher (whether you like her or not) was the ultimate Tory and feminist. Look forward to seeing Louise Mensch on that too (PS she looked fab in GQ).

  • Comment number 9.

    OLYMPICS IN THE AGE OF PERVERSITY - MAJESTY MEETS MAMMON

    What a towering monument to the decay of a Culture, we are witnessing - everything from Jowell's financial gymnastics, to the security clamp-down that will be the greater spectacle (and Seb Coe - ready to run).

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    "And also, is it possible to be a Tory and a feminist? Louise Mensch thinks so, and she will be joining us in the studio to debate."

    But our capitalist liberal-democratic system of democracy in the UK is now modelled on that of the US i.e. it is libertarian. At the moment, we simply have three libertarian parties with different coloured wrappings - red, blue and yellow.

    The anarchistic libertarian political system promotes equalitarianism i.e. race equality and sex equality...as these undermine statism which happens to be good for business (and those that own the businesses) and profit.

    Therefore as feminism is totally consistent with libertarianism i.e. the ideology that promotes anarchy and free markets and deregulation of business, the question is an oxymoron.

    But you won't hear Louise Mensch mention this on NN tonight.

  • Comment number 12.

    #6 barrie

    Its always the same they always come up with the most pessimistic data they dare release ( for fear of spooking markets ) then a month or so later revise said figure with a positive spin to make it not look so bad. At the end of the day its all about promoting false economic growth on the stock market, the level of which at present is insane when you look at the prospects for Europe. Its already claimed the company which owns 10% of our oil refinery capacity, all the government can say is we'll look at extra imports. Perhaps any decent government would have taken the said refinery into temporary nationalisation to prevent any disruption to fuel supplies, I think I blogged this recently but there is a real chance that a similar fate will happen with our electricity industry if the Euro Zone implodes after an increasingly likely Greek default. I just hope that our government has got some credible plans to keep our true economy functioning when the perhaps now inevitable stock market crash comes, or will they start WW3 to save it first ?

  • Comment number 13.

    NEITHER FEMINISM NOR HUMAN STATUS REGISTER ON MY INTEGRITOMETER

    I contact MPs and peers, calling for honourable democracy. I receive D MOCK CRASS Y.

    Hence posts 7 and 10.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 14.

    'Tonight we ask...'

    All things are possible. The answers will be as varied as those carefully selected to provide them. If any sages claimed 'independent', may be best to watch with a laptop handy.

    'And also, is it possible..'

    Ditto. Same reasons. If predictable 'guests' to offer more self-promotion than education or information.

    Time to try and win another graphics award.

  • Comment number 15.

    TORY CREDO: PROTECT WAD - PROTECT CHUMS - PROTECT PARTY - SECURE NEXT ELECTION - APPEAR TO GOVERN (#12)

    Hi Nolly. I was asked about a nice little earner (fines) West Berks Council is profiting by, in Newbury. The question put to me was: "Are the Council running this as a scam?" I replied: "I don't think they have the intelligence or the courage." To my mind the same goes for Westminster. . .

  • Comment number 16.

    Neoclassical economic terminology is now so entrenched in comment and analysis of economics that you'd thing Geroge Orwell's 1984 concept of ThoughtCrime had already been implemented.

    AGGREGATE DEMAND - there - I've committed economic ThoughtCrime - Aggregate Demand is the total demand in an economy. In monetary terms it's the amount of liquid money in the economy mutliplied by the average number of times it changes hands in a year.

    Keynes explained the way the world's economies went into the deep depression of the 1930s because the austerity programmes of the western nations sapped aggregate demand, so made a bad situation even worse.

    Libertarians reject Kaynesian economic theory - they deny the relationship between government policy and economic growth, advocating austerity and rolling back the size and role of the state to "free" the private sector to generate growth without the "dead hand" of the state.

    Therefore because the libertarian Coalition has taken £112 Bn out of the economy completely by raising taxes and reducing government spending, if the money circulated say ten times before it stopped changing hands, then the aggregate demand this represented would be OVER A TRILLION POUNDS lost from the UK economy.

    So unsurprisingly, if you take over a trillion pounds of demand out of the economy, less is sold, less is produced and the economy shrinks. This could be offset by exporting more, but with our main export markets also in thrall to the austerity mongers, this is not going to happen.

    Even the supposedly independent Office for Budgetary Responsiblity has been "cleansed" of Keynesians - that's probably why they have been wildly wrong about growth prospects since the office was established and has had to repeatedly revise its forecasts downwards, ditto IMF - ditto OECD.

    I'd like to see Paul Mason challenge the libertarian hegemony which has infiltrated and subverted social and economic policy in a way that an entrist Trotskyist would immediatley recognise.

    Either Keynes had a point in which case austerity is self-defeating which explains why we are slipping back into recession and the neoclassical forecasters have all got it so wrong, or "Aggregate Demand" is a entirely meaningless concept, so trying to manage demand is a pointless exercise.

    This obsession with Austrian neoclassical economic dogma reminds me of the spanish inquisition and other religious bigotry taken to extremes - belief in the "road to serfdom" embodied by the modern welfare state and "magic of the market" as the only legitimate force in human society are

  • Comment number 17.

    Newsnight is becoming a bit like ITN news at Ten ...... "And Finally - dog becomes postman and is bitten by a man - also is it possible to be a Tory and a feminist?"

    What a load of ellipsoids! Now today, in view of the current "Bishop's War" (involving Dr Carey) a more relevant question might be "is it possible to be a Tory and a Christian?" Then the fur would fly!

    Personally I'm with GK Chesterton: "...if, in short, we assume the words of Christ to have meant the very least that they could mean .... rich men are not very likely to be morally trustworthy. Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags." and "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."

    Meanwhile the government's economic policy can't be right without correct understanding of the causes of the present crisis. And those causes were, and still are, greed, debt, boom, dishonest capitalism, and destruction of wealth through debt deleveraging. The sorry state of Peacocks demonstrates all of this, and the very dubious role played by the banks. A profitable business is on the verge of collapse because the people who bought it did not use their own assets: the bank issued credit so that they could buy the company with it's own assets. Now the deal has gone pear shaped, asset stripping seems to be the only answer!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16580309

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-16621080

  • Comment number 18.

    Nigel Lawson is far too deep into the corporate ( generate all electricity from gas ) lobby when the smart thing to do with shale gas is to extend the life for current domestic and industrial applications. Its all to easy to portray Lawson as just another loony right wing libertarian fighting against alleged communist interests, when in actual fact the green movement as a whole has its ideological roots in fascism. In reality Lawson offers little more than controlled corporate opposition with no intent whatsoever of actually thrusting a decisive wooden stake through the heart of the CO2 Climate Scam vampire. Therefore nobody is going to go to the trouble of making him a martyr by going to the trouble of actually killing him, and probably explains why Newsnight are always trotting him out to theoretically oppose said scam !

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100132518/why-isnt-lord-lawson-dead-yet/#disqus_thread

  • Comment number 19.

    Happy Burns Night to all those celebrating tonight :o)

  • Comment number 20.

    Newsnight is supposed for the serious stuff. Round off the economic debate with a relevant moral question. Instead of the undoubtedly delectable la-Mensch, get Iain Duncan-Smith on and ask him as a committed catholic: "Can a rich man enter the Kingdom Of Heaven?" If so explain either why Christ was wrong, or why He didn't mean what he said, or why it's trivially easy for a camel to get through the eye of a needle.

    Thou shalt not sleep in a bed with sheets!

  • Comment number 21.

    HALLELUJAH! AMEN TO THAT! (#20)

    Lets get "up and clean" with what 'Christ' ACTUALLY IMPARTED! The underlying wisdom that is found in all humane doctrines and philosophies ESCHEWING DOGMA!!!

    Let's ask Dave how one can 'sort of quite like Christianity', yet lie for votes, vilify for a win and falsify for personal aggrandisement? Which book is that in Dave?

    Forget Christianity - LET'S GET WITH THE 'CHRIST-ETHOS'! Wherever it comes from. Begin with Westminster - cleanse the Chamber pot - INSTALL INTEGRITY.

    Thou shalt not sleep!

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    Everybody know that the Munchkins will say or do anything to gain favour with the Wizard.

    Smoke, mirrors and ego!

    ‘Exposure’ is the methadone for those who’s ego exceeds their talent ….

    And “undoubtedly delectable” !!!!!!!!!!

    Nope, let’s not go there!

    One carnivore’s lunch is a vegan’s nightmare!

    Brain function before ego ……

    If you don’t mind!


    N’est pas?



    If it is the case that the editorial team is running short of ideas - and you’re too embarrassed to ask ……….


    An idea for a future Nn - ‘special’ - perhaps ……

    ‘Have the antics in the celebibro’ouse prompted a u-turn in government economic ideology?”



    Just make sure the appropriate glitterati have got a ‘vacant window’ in their diaries ….

    Otherwise the whole thing could fall very flat!





    122

  • Comment number 25.

    What we need to understand about where UK economy is right now is that this is not a downturn or upturn etc - we have what has been created through abc .... xy & z and a bad macro economic structure.

    This isn't a temporary phase - this is it - this is our economy - its real - very real = most of what we have will be very difficult to change and may get a lot worse for most people.

    Problem is how we relate to what we have got and not how we fix the 'problems in the economy'?

    So in terms of govt having the right or wrong policy ? For whom and why and in what amount etc?

    The debate and the so called solutions remain esoteric because the right questions are not being asked?

    Essentially the whole British economy is geared to a globalist City of London /FI/FS as being a driver of the entire economy as our UK service industry sector & remainder is not a 'driver'?

    So in terms of right or wrong policy - there isn't now any policy that addresses any of this?

    The problem is not 'in' or 'with' the economy as it is 'inside of our heads'? i.e it is behaviour

    Politicians say the problem is lack of growth, investment, surplus etc etc but the problem is fundamentally behaviourial as there is plenty of money in the UK economy even now.

    Fixing the economic & related problems requires fundamental changes in 'behaviour(s)' & attitude(s).

    If the politicians & bureacrats as decison makers don't know this - what chance does anyone else have with any of this?

  • Comment number 26.

    FIVE STEPS AWAY FROM D MOCK CRASS Y

    (1) Outlaw parties.
    (2) Hold an election of independent candidates, with no allegiance OTHER THAN TO THE VOTERS. These to elevate their most able into a 'management' team for the nation. APTITUDE and EXPERIENCE to be matched to post held.
    (3) Institute 'recall' of those elected, by the voters.
    (4) Use modern technology to hold meetings, committees, conferences etc.
    (5) Sell Westminster to China.

  • Comment number 27.

    @21 Given the present state of the Globopoly game Barrie, it's probably "Nessun Dorma" - at least, not for long!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&v=wPEG914GATk

    I apologise for the personal indulgence, but I'm not really sorry - Björling was an all time great! (Far better than Fat Lucy.)

    You regularly ask a very relevant question about error bounds. I can't answer your question, because I don't know the details about how the data is collected, etc. However, (assuming that it's honest) here are a couple of principles which might help judge credibility.

    Individual transactions are obviously not recorded: there are too many. So each datapoint will be a mean of some kind. Undoubtedly there will be an expected or historical standard deviation. In most cases, double that standard deviation is approximately the maximum error 95% of the time. The mean of the datapoints will have a standard deviation which shrinks in proportion to the square root of the number of datapoints.

    So, supposing that the typical SD of each datapoint were 5%. Then 100 datapoints would have a standard error of 5%/√(100) = 5%/10 = 0.5%. To increase the accuracy by another factor of 10, you would need to increase the number of datapoints by a factor of 100. So, if there were 10 000 datapoints, the standard error would be 0.05%, which would mean, 95% of the time, that the data would be correct to within ±0.1%.

    Of course, this example is entirely hypothetical, and I don't know either the typical errors, or the number of datapoints. However, I reckon that there would need to be of the order of 100 000 datapoints in the estimate of economic activity for a change of 0.1% in the total to be worth recording. With a population of 60 million, and billions of transactions per quarter, it seems plausible for there be to be sufficient data, so I would remain sceptical, but not dismiss it out of hand!

    ;-)

  • Comment number 28.

    I ASKED 'MORE OR LESS' TO LOOK AT IT - BUT BEING BBC THEY ARE PROBABLY FEARFUL (#27)

    Thanks for the masterclass Sasha - way outside my competence.

  • Comment number 29.

    #4 JohnConstable wrote:

    "Dow is a problem because of Bhopal, which is possibly one of the very worst examples of American imperialism.

    Dow have not managed to do the right thing there and it haunts them to this day."



    I thought it was Union Carbide that was responisble for the disaster at Bhopal?

    Dow aquired Union Carbide many years later.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Government policies have made no difference at all"
    "You say nothing about taking responsibility of this dismal performance"
    "You are collaborating in a doctrinaire conservative experiment which isn't working at all"
    "You inherited a 1/4% growth rate
    "..experiment is going to carry on is it? regardless of the damage it's doing?"
    "You're wedded to further cuts" "I'm afraid so" [and he still will!]
    "Whatever happens you will stick to what your friend Osbourne and you have cooked up"
    "The Liberal Democrats are committed to these cuts even after the next election"
    "Can you tell us when the public debt is going to be under £1Trillion?"
    "You'll be long retired then"
    Jeremy v Danny Alexander. Priceless :o)

  • Comment number 31.

    Excellent debate by Jeremy with Ms Alexander on Dow Chemical's claim that it does not have any responsibility for the Bhopal disaster (20000 people dead). As highlighted, when a company is purchased, its debts and liabilities are also inherited. Well done for Ms Alexander standing up for her principles and good luck to all those who have suffered in their fight for justice.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sasha wrote Tuesday (whilst giving-it-out to mistress 76UK)

    "..(Kevsey likes Kirsty Wark of course.).."

    this be true Sasha...this be true. Although she's a good ten years older than myself, there is just something about the woman. In the real world I'd have someone like Emily on my arm though. (when the wifes not about of course)

    To help you along with this possible image.

    My kids think I look like this fella:

    http://jasonstathamwow.com/pictures/?page=2

    And my wife thinks I look like this fella:

    http://nwso.net/wp-content/plugins/php-image-cache/image.php?path=/uploads/2009/12/Al-Bundy.jpg

    I think the kids are on the money with this.

  • Comment number 33.

    Anybody called Meridith with a job title that has got the word 'sustainable' in it, should be avoided at all costs. Been called 'Meridith' alone is gonna be a guaranteed fruit bowl.

  • Comment number 34.

    HOW DID KEV GET A SLUR ON THE WORLD'S MEREDITHS PAST BLOGDOG?

    I must be reading the rules all wrong. shall I click the complaints link kev?

    It's an inequitable life Henry.

  • Comment number 35.

    Paxman can't cope with 2 women, especially when ones an assertive, sharp and clever Tory.. leftists one are a doddle to handle, though they can get violent if your not careful. The Warkster should've done tonights show.

  • Comment number 36.

    missed the name of the man-in-a-suit who's on BBC News 24 defending Dow Chemicals and the decision to keep them as Olympic sponsor, but wasn't impressed by his arguments. in a nutshell, no one forced them to buy Union Carbide, they did so because they sought business advantage, now it backfires, so, why should we feel sympathy? "Dow's 2005 sales totaled $46.3 billion, with a net income of $4.5 billion" according to Wikipedia; I'd rather they spend their cash on the long overdue compensation than on bling for London spectators.

  • Comment number 37.

    I WONDER IF DOW ARE PROVIDING AN EASY-CLEAN AGENT FOR TELESCOPIC TRUNCHEONS? (#36)

    The vast number of security personnel could wear a Dow ad on their 'battle-dress'. Why not - The Olympics are an all-commerce event.

  • Comment number 38.

    "Hedge Funds Bet on Profits from Greek Debt Talks" ...... but nobody knows whether the Credit Default Swaps will themselves default. (But no doubt the commissions will have already been banked.)

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,811295,00.html

    So, we have clearly learned nothing since 2008. This brings out my inner dalek:

    EXTERMINATE!

  • Comment number 39.

    '14. At 17:23 25th Jan 2012, - If predictable 'guests' to offer more self-promotion than education or information.'

    "Yeah, hi... look... on top of it being a, like, really slow news day and all, we're already struggling to fill the space. Now we're also a bit on the sparse side for 'guests' to 'discuss' stuff. Can you think of anyone? What? Who? She's free? Great. Sure no one will notice she does rather seem to be invited on a lot. And at least the sparks may well fly, so market rate bonus here we come! What... mud? Tempting, but wouldn't want to look like we are dumbing down"

    Heat. Light. And predictability. If I had a penny for every time those have been brought together.

  • Comment number 40.

    How much of Meridith Alexander's stated concern really was for the victims of the Bhopal tragedy?

    Perhaps her very public resignation on NN last night was more about making HER look good in a very public way (think X-Factor wannabee).

  • Comment number 41.

    Life of crime is in the genes, study claims
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9040997/Life-of-crime-is-in-the-genes-study-claims.html

    Remember someone else positing this on this very blog-site?

    This research must surely run at odds with the libertarian equalitarian world view.

  • Comment number 42.

    Economy

    But I thought we were promised that the Green revolution would produce 10s of thousands of Green jobs ?
    Why else would we increase energy prices and introduce a CO2 tax ?
    Also , doesn't increasing energy costs for homes just suck demand out of the economy ?

    But maybe we haven't spent enough taxpayer money yet to see such benefits ;)

    China

    Maybe such policies were there to ensure that the farm lands were not deserted. After all someone needs to till the land and produce the food.

  • Comment number 43.

    #22 :)
    I didn't know British ancestors had a monopoly on ignorance.
    I always assumed, historically speaking, they just had more opportunity than most in which to demonstrate and record such ignorance's.

  • Comment number 44.

    BREAKING NEWS: Putin accuses America of attempts to "Dominate the World"
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28873

    Is he sure it’s the Americans per se?
    Has he researched class quantifiers?
    Has he only just realised this?

  • Comment number 45.

    "Russian protest movement could lead to calls for NATO R2P intervention in Russia"
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28877

  • Comment number 46.

    30 - Completely agree.

    We learned quite a lot from Jeremy's dismemberment of Danny Alexander:

    1. not a chink of light between Clegg's Cabal & the Tories on a decade of austerity - LibDem MPs please note - Armaggedon @ the next election is now clearly the most likely outcome - and so no nice public or private sector job outside Parliament to go to when you all lose your seats either. Time to ditch the Orange Book Cabal now, before its too late - for your party and your own personal futures? And what do the Orange Book Cabal plan to do? Go down with the ship? No - I'd lay good money on Clegg already planning to cross the floor to become Tory MPs as the LibDem party slips under the waves...

    2. IMHO the acceleration of job loses is going to create a positive feedback loop which will result in a rapid & deep recession later this year - the mounting toll of jobs loses in retail, manufacturing and construction are plain to see and the IDS Work Programme is now revealed as completely delusional about the numbers of unemployed it could possibly get into work.

    3. Without Germany to anchor our currency, there is going to be a Sterling crisis - and as Paul pointed out, we've already had a 20% haircut via devaluation - how about another 50%? The £10 litre of petrol, the £5 loaf and the £3 Kw/Hr of electricity? This will further drive UK plc into the abyss, as imported inflation takes huge chunks out of living standards.

    4. There will have to be a panic rise in interest rates if there is a currency crisis - then cue a housing market meltdown - followed by a tidal wave of mortgage defaults - which will lead to the banks going bust - again - but no more bailouts, so nationalisation of the entire retail banking industry is the only option - then there will be no "free market" left.

    5. Paddy Ashdown's rebellions on welfare and the use of the EU veto can only be the prelude to Clegg's demise - and as the economic policy failure really bites, we'll see panic in the LibDem ranks - Clegg's statement today about accelerating the hike in basic tax allowances to £10k is a reaction to panic pressure from his own backbenchers, even though this would break the terms of the deficit reduction plan.

    Growth is essential - recession is the road to a huge Sterling crisis and our debt being downgraded to junk just like the PIIGS.

    Jeremy's quip about "an experiment" is bang on - the coalition's economic policy is sailing in uncharted waters and the claim that the private

  • Comment number 47.

    #36 and 37 Looks as though a lot more money is going to be shelled out, now that wouldn't be by the british tax payer now would it?!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2092077/London-2012-Olympics-cost-spiral-24bn--10-TIMES-higher-2005-estimate.html

  • Comment number 48.

    #42 Steve, "But I thought we were promised that the Green revolution would produce 10s of thousands of Green jobs ?"

    Yeah there were lots of new jobs but 90% of them went to new immigrants.

  • Comment number 49.

    Continued

    Jeremy's quip about "an experiment" is bang on - the coalition's economic policy is sailing in uncharted waters and the claim that the private sector would replace the lost 700,000 public sector jobs is dotrinaire twaddle.

    Well done NN - time to keep pressing Alexander, Osborne, Cameron & Clegg really hard on the complete lack of any credible strategy to avoid a longlasting depression and mass unemployment.

    From the NHS to the deficit, from defence to planning deregulation, right across the board the disparity between the ideology & rhetoric and the reality of government failure is now becoming crystal clear - dogma is no alternative to practical policies which deliver positive outcomes - the libertarians may not like the state, they may not like welfare, they may not like regulation, but that doesn't mean that these things are'nt necessary for our society to continue to function.

    A complete failure of the Coalition would redefine three party politics - exit the LibDems - enter UKIP - and a Labour govt with a madate to really hammer City bonuses and begin to reorientate the economy by direct intervention towards a much more self-sufficient model, import substitution, boost food & energy production.

    Paul's cryptic remark about there not being the political will to address the real issues will no doubt need further amplification shortly...

  • Comment number 50.

    Why is this man invited on to the BBC at all, listen to the young girl, she has some guts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utckFfsgeO0

  • Comment number 51.

    Richard I note you say growth is essential, which I agree it is, but I'm at a complete loss as to where this continual growth is going to come from. Surely we are getting to a point as a world that growth is going to get smaller, it's impossible to have enough growth to sustain so many people.

    Where do you think new growth should be started?

  • Comment number 52.

    52

    You're entirely right about the impossibility of endless global growth.

    You asked my opinion about what we should do.

    We need to stop raping the world of energy, food and raw materials and start being much more self-sufficient. This means onshoring all those jobs sent to China, it means recycling much more of our waste, it means growing a lot more food in market garden type production, more renewable/domestic energy investment, aiming at replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy and reducing the per capita net consumption of resources.

    As in Iceland, we could announce the end of the petrol/diesel internal combustion engine and the advent of the hydrogen or electric vehicle for the future in the UK.

    More jobs in the UK producing what we consume now in imports would mean our economy grows through import substitution. This has a major impact on our future - our balance of payments becomes positive, we do not need to borrow money to pay people to do nothing here as there would be jobs for them and it reduces the burden we place on the developing world in buying up all the food and energy.

    What of the poor countries who lose their UK export market?

    Go ask a chinese peasant driven off the land at the point of a gun and forced to work 80 hours per week in a filthy, dangerous factory for near slave wages. Would they see an end to their society being a profit centre for a tiny rich elite as a good or bad thing?

    Think of all the imported food, timber and minerals from what used to be rain forests - we could substitute UK market garden food, plant and harvest sustainable woods and force manufacturers to design their products to be recycled.

    OK - this is what we do.

    1. Announce a programme of ramping up import taxes on manufactured goods from countries running big balance of payments surpluses with the UK, but give retailers and manufacturers fair warning so they can onshore production. GLobalisation is over.

    2. Buy us some time on renewable energy by expanding "clean" coal - we've got 400 years under our feet. Build new power stations with scrubbers to take out the CO2, liquify it and sequestrate it by injecting liquid CO2 into depleted N.Sea wells, then move away from oil & gas imports and develop the hydrogen/electic energy economy, which will gradually be superceeded by more renewables.

    3. Junk the EU CAP and use the money saved to switch away from wasteful meat & dairy production to much more incentives for intensive market gardening.

    4. Create the UK versi

  • Comment number 53.

    Continued

    4. Create the UK version of the US depression's Tennesse Valley Authority to invest in sustainable manufacturing production and pay tax breaks for import substitution investment.

    5. A big reduction in our imports and expansion in employment would enable the UK to expand its social care sectors because a lot less would neend to go on unemployment costs and debt servicing - so we could employ more people in the NHS and care of the elderly and roll back the fee regime in education and training.

    How's that for sdarters?

  • Comment number 54.

    Thanks Richard all excellent ideas, I agree with what you say, but how to get our stupid governments to do any of it?!

  • Comment number 55.

    Here is a perfect example of the poor chinese peasant driven to work in a factory Richard, just so we can have a new phone to play with.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2092277/Inside-Chinese-factories-making-iPads-Apple.html

  • Comment number 56.

    Rebalancing the economy was never going to happen in days, weeks, months or a couple of years, and especially when times are tough, like the past years since 2007. The best time would of been from 1998 to 2006, in other words, the so-called good times, which ironically, is the time people would not dream of changing anything, because they and a certain number of the population are having a good time and cannot see what is going wrong. Or rather do not wish to see what is going wrong, so have no wish in changing anything. If a labourer could see what was going wrong in 2001, and virtually saw the future, how come the so-called elite, enlightened, bright and intelligent did not.

  • Comment number 57.

    hmm female tories have to leave at four to pick the kids up from school
    or is that why you have nannies

 

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