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Wednesday 2 November 2011

Sarah McDermott | 12:10 UK time, Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Paul Mason is in Cannes on the eve of the G20 summit which has been totally overshadowed by the euro mess. Read Paul's latest blog here.

He will be bringing us up to date on that and tonight's emergency talks between Germany, France and Greece which follow Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's shock announcement that there will be a referendum on the eurozone rescue plan.

Mr Papandreou has got backing from his cabinet for a referendum, but what is the wider mood in Athens? Mark Urban is there and will be reporting on the programme.

And we'll be joined live in the studio by Mike Mills and Michael Stipe from US band REM, who announced recently that they were calling it a day after 31 years.


  • Comment number 1.

    Wiping out British Culture...

    Listening to Radio 4 just now.... the item on Shisha Bars

    Now English pubs are closing at the rate of 25 a week, partly I feel because of the smoking ban, and cheap booze in supermarkets...

    But what do I find but these smoking bars opening all over the place, you couldn't make it up. English culture being destroyed to be replaced by a foreign one, and one that gets around the smoking ban, or is that because authority is too frightened to prosecute because the people running them are from the ethnic minorities?

    I know all about these pipes, I know a lot of young people that use them, and guess what most are using cannabis in them, is that why the Shisha bars are so popular.

    Old Ken must be rubbing his hands in glee all that extra baccy being sold, now that they've banned the pubs from allowing smoking.

    Two faced or what, as Barrie said what a perverse (or amoral) nation we are.

  • Comment number 2.

    Europeans have a Euro mess and we English have an Eton mess.

    Fortunately the sun will still come up tomorrow.

    Maybe the Dalia Lama is on the right track when he says we focus too much on {the pursuit of} money.

  • Comment number 3.

    ecolizzy wrote: ""Now English pubs are closing at the rate of 25 a week, partly I feel because of the smoking ban, and cheap booze in supermarkets..."

    Muslims don't drink and the birth rate for the indigenous population has been below replacement for a long time. Have you have fully taken on board what has been spelled out or are you being Socratic?

    I fear most people here and elsewhere will not have taken it all on board. They want to continue self-destroying. Which groups are behind the alcohol etc business?

    What is required to make it crystal clear that Libertarianism kills i.e is biologically unfit?

  • Comment number 4.

    ".....the European policy elite has simply wished away the clear evidence that the euro zone needs to make an adjustment that is virtually impossible unless inflation targets are raised.

    The point is that I know technocrats, and these people aren’t — they’re faith healers who are making stuff up to suit their prejudices."

  • Comment number 5.

    "Rowan Williams's call for a tax on financial transactions would leave the City without a prayer // Indeed, Singapore – which has some of the lowest tax rates in the world – already has attracted the trading arms of some banks seeking to escaping the existing bonus tax and 50pc tax band in the City of London."

    And Singapore has had a MAJOR problem with its very low birth rate for decades. It has struggled to address it and dismally failed. It is very worried about its Muslim (mainly Malaysian) neighbours and even the growth of its own Muslim population.

    Can everyone now see why Singapore (and Japan and S Korea) have these problems and why they can't fix them? It would be like eating their own feet.

    The requirement for a universal Tobin Tax is sound, but the point made here is about the self destructive nature of Libertarianism but one has to take the long view to see it. When Protestantism was concocted by Mephistopheles (or one of his clan) it "released" Europeans from the "shackles" of Catholic proscription of usury (like the Islamic proscription of riba). Hence the rise of Protestant banking and the stock market (first in Holland and then City of London after our "Glorious Revolution in the C17th), which as many may now see, was hardly the work of God. Some nations are poor because they didn't make the pact. Sunni Islam may be on its way, but is it up or down? Are they good Muslims, or just good consumers? It all preys upon short sightedness..

  • Comment number 6.

    Mr Dog, I think you miss a thought there, that I've mentioned on Tuesdays blog.

    Most young people I speak to, would like to have a proper family, one thing that stops them is the price of housing.

    But the other, which is much more subtle, "it is selfish to have more than one child". They have grown up with this thought oft repeated that there are too many people in the world, lack of food, lack of water, poverty etc. So consequently the european races have decided they are being greedy and selfish by having two to three children to replace the current european population. It's altruism that's driving some of the low birthrate, and governments favouring other nationalities and countries more than their own place of birth.

  • Comment number 7.

    We tend to be short-sighted .. because we are'nt actually here for very long (approx 79 years on average).

    And naturally, whilst we're around, we tend to arrange things to suit our cohort e.g. family, friends, profession.

    So, for example, policymakers will tend to make policy for their cohort - the 'elite', they distrust the marketplace, the decisions of ordinary people; and will strive to look after their own.

    * Acknowledgments to Simon Jenkins in the Guardian today for that insight.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sasha Clarkson cited a link to Krugman which ended ""And by and large, people who did the numbers have gotten it mostly right; it’s precisely because we’re ruled by crats who trust their guts rather than the techno that we’re in such trouble."

    The serious problem for the USA and Europe/OECD is that GOSPLAN along with GOSBANK was the technocratic system which managed the Soviet Planned Economy whilst the USA Libertarians kept asserting that it couldn't work. They helped ensure this by engineering (ironically) a science driven arms race with R&D form the likes of RAND!.

    China has been run by technocrats trained in the relevant sciences for years and hasn't made the same mistakes. So whilst there's SOME hope for MANkind under their supervision, there isn't much for the USA and Europe so long as the latter keep taking their cues from the feminised brained/arrested developed just because these types are verbally fluent and chatter a lot.

  • Comment number 9.

    Here's something which may serve some as food for thought. Whilst nobody endorses violence and arson, one might productively ask if Soren Espersen (the Deputy of the Danish Parliament) is correct, or an unwitting agent of the problematic behaviour which is now endemic across post WWII Right wing Libertarian Europe.

    Laughing (sneering) at ethical and religious principles in the guise of satire and parody (think David Frost and friends in the 1960s, Monty-Python in the 70s, to Little Britain today) by alternative comedians (narcissists denigrate and devalue) attacking the status quo have been some of the agencies of anarchism which has helped bring Europe and its OECD partners to its knees through deregulation. It's just that self promoting narcissists never see this. They are just out for the supply, an audience. If and when they ever DO see it, they get depressed, and then start courting sympathy (and payment) for that!

  • Comment number 10.


    At last someone with real and useful talent on Newsnight instead of the usual politicians , lawyers, economists and chronically 'up emselves' intellectual artiiiiists.

    Can we have Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert next week please, they are kind of the economic equivalent of the Sex Pistols crossed with 'Have I got news for you'.

    What do we get instead?

    A steady almost indigestible diet of Ed Balls, Will Self (appropriately named) with occasional cameo performances from a random bishop or author of an obscure text.


  • Comment number 11.

    2.At 13:03 2nd Nov 2011, JohnConstable wrote:
    Europeans have a Euro mess and we English have an Eton mess.


    I wonder if that is because a good proportion of those who have attended Eton go on to take senior positions in the public sector & e.g. Whitehall?

  • Comment number 12.

    so china joining modules in space and building factories that look like palaces. yet they say their exchange rate won't change because they are poor. yeh right.

    who is the poor? those with trillions in debt or those with trillions in reserves? which one are we? so why is the exchange rate 10 yuan=£1? no wonder there is no growth and never will be.

  • Comment number 13.

    A Tobin Tax could be very succesful if properly structured and applied.

    By using the tax to replace current corporation tax on all FI's the tax liability does not need to be onerous.

    The TT should apply to all FI's and all transactions & anything else must be illegal - hence all FI's would need to keep full accounts for all transactions.

    Giving the TT a reference no for each transaction would allow different participants in a transaction to be taxes at different tax rates as these tax rates should vary according to, principally e.g. the level of risk for each participant & higher rates of tax applying to more risky and/or 'undesirable' trades.

    FI's that are strategically in tune with UK national interest - lower risk, investing in UK SME's/co-operatives etc - should pay a lower rate of tax than those spivving our money around the world for 'exploitative opportunities' & tax dodging.

    Do we happen to have a single MP in govt with sufficient intelligence & intellect to organise this as can be done independently by UK in UK national interest?

    Those who argue for things to be done internationally are just being evasive as successful nation's set standards & not wait for others to propose & enforce them.

    T Tax would mean that all FI's have proper accounting systems/accounts as essential for tax purposes - taxes can be lower for FI's doing the right things for British people & not just the City of London & those stashing money off-shore out of the way of UK tax man.

    It is time that UK banking entered the 21st century with tax & accounting & accountability & govt control of strategic direction of UK capital as controlled through rigourous but fair UK tax system.

    Archbishop of Canterbury right in principle - but this nonsense of a TT levied at a fraction of a % on all transactions is inefficient as some transaction such as derivative trading needs taxing at a much higher rate of tax (archbishop sometimes makes more sense on e.g. tax than on e.g. religion?)

    If properly implemented a TT can singularly be the main tool in promoting UK growth as banks steer lending towards UK projects that create jobs & thereby have a lower tax liability. Mixed trading no problem - no picking winners by tax rates as the tax is leveid according to the risk & benefit to the UK. This means that high risk lending to UK small companies would not be penalised as the lending /transaction could be viewed as beneficial to UK growth & enterprise & job creation.

    Only radical ideas will break the stranglehold that UK FI's have on the UK economy and tax transactions like e.g. sale of Cadbury's at a much higher penalty rate as damaging for UK plc.

    Only vested interests & corruption stop this from happening - some FI's will not like it & go overseas - Good riddance!

  • Comment number 14.

    so uk stepping up plans to attack iran? its consistent with the RAF bombing practise of iranian targets they have been doing with the israelis in south of france.

    so neocons still own the foreign office? they need to move out of carlton house [owned by a russian oligarch with a based in israel]. Clearly being surrounded by the images of empire drives those in it insane? As we know MI6 head sawyers is an Iran hawk.

    Tony Blair middle east peace envoy was last seen trying to convince the un not to recognise a palestinian state. TB must of misunderstood the brief and still wants the region in pieces?

    crusades for the benefit of others [with our money and lives] continues.

  • Comment number 15.

    13. nautonier précis: Three Cheers for a Tobin Tax.

    But David Cameron only last week blasted the EU for taking about it - now that the Archbishop of Canterbury has joined in will David Cameron be wanting to repatriate powers from the Church of England as they are harming the interests of the City of London!

    As to a new tax structure.

    I have made the suggestion of a Congestion Reduction Tax several times over the years. It would work like this. The employer pays a charge based on the distance his employees have to travel to work. Very easy to administer as the data (postcodes) is already collected so the distance can be trivially calculated. The tax would tend to reduce road and public transport congestion which in turn will mean that we do not have to build more roads/railways yet we will achieve a better and more efficient transport network. Will the Tobin Tax do this?

    To have an effect on the frequency of trading the tax would need to be highest for the most frequent trades - how to achieve this is complex, but perhaps the length of time that the asset has been owned should from part of the tax computation - then the most pointless and least rational trading activities would be hardest hit. Millisecond trades need to be hardest hit - almost exponentially so! A flat tax might do little to modify behaviour!

  • Comment number 16.


    tobin tax is only for the financially illiterate. taxing scratchcards in the belief it will stop irresponsible betting is bonkers. In the same way taxing trades that may or may not win [most don't] will not change anything unless those who lose are not continually being bailed out. Moral hazard is the answer. Letting people go bust.

    Some people putting money into slot machines will only stop if they have no money left and some idiot doesn't keep giving them money because they are afraid of fictional accounts the financial system will collapse. Or they keep giving them money because they want the euro to work.

    the politicians with massive financial interests and backers throw public money at banks to keep doing what they are doing because their wealth is being managed by the same people. the massive rise in commodity prices are just a tax on the poor to keep the rich wealthy. The bubbles they created has nothing to do with the underlying price of the goods themselves.

    look at MF Global that went bust this week with 6 billion losses. has the world stopped? No. but they have. because they are bust.

    moral hazard will stop people like a bullet in the head will. a tax will stop nothing but it appeals to the beards and sandals brigade who think they know something because they watch panaorma.

    it is still legal for a handful of people to trash the uk economy. no laws have come in to stop it happening all over again.

  • Comment number 17.

    we should tax beards and sandals as clearly those are the people whose inane ideas wreck the country.

    given the archbishop is overseeing an organisation in meltdown why is he giving anyone advice about anything? what activity should he tax in the church that is undermining the church of england and so to stop it collapsing?

  • Comment number 18.


    All the uplift in our lives, that Dave declares he is resolved to bring about, would accrue naturally if young individuals were allowed to attain optimum maturity, awareness and wisdom. And there lies the reason why Dave only wants to GRAFT ON a few 'nudged' illusions, rather than allow the emergence of a FUNDAMENTALLY competent population. For how could our lying, cheating, duplicitous, devious, underhand governance survive, if the voters ROUTINELY PERCEIVED REALITY?

    Dave intends that we remain rats in a maze, but rats who 'see things in a more positive light'. He has installed some specialist Turkeys to map out the strategy for him.

    Anyone who thinks Dave is 'not like that' has not been paying attention. Have a quiet word with Nick.

    *Now Underhand Dave Get's Evil.

  • Comment number 19.

    it would make more sense to bomb israel to stop them bombing iran? israel isn't a force for good in the world and seems determined on perpetual war forever.

    iran is no threat to the uk. unless they have an armarda and plan an invasion.

  • Comment number 20.

    ecolizzy wrote "Mr Dog, I think you miss a thought there, that I've mentioned on Tuesdays blog.

    Most young people I speak to, would like to have a proper family, one thing that stops them is the price of housing."

    No. This is not a new problem. It goes back decades (a century in fact).
    It is a well known demographic problem (as pointed out, it is the Libertarian economies East and West). It has nothing to do with house prices per se, and the reasons most people give for their behaviours are often not the causes. People are very vain, and think they know all about why they do things. Do they know how all about their teeth? Their innards? Why do they think they know all about what is even more complex, their brain and behaviour? Are people with cancer experts in oncology? Are parents experts in....

    This is just our species' narcissism. Arrested and distorted development. It is endemic in Libertarian economics. It is in fact basic to these awful, predatory economies. Look for it and you will be horrified. It is so bad most people don't look. Some have been telling us this for a long time. It is killing us.

  • Comment number 21.

    16.At 19:22 2nd Nov 2011, jauntycyclist wrote:

    tobin tax is only for the financially illiterate.

    That's right because the banks deliberately have no legitimate corporate accounts as reflecting risk otherwise their share prices would be Zero (negative) in some cases.

    Moral hazard talked about but is really just paying lip service to what the politicians will not do - let the banks go bust - but MH is another issue anyway.

    The issue is Tobin Tax - to be or not to be that is the question - my view is that a stupid % flat tax will be of no real benefit to the wider population as will simply be paid for in bank charges - the TT needs to be better structured if to be of any real benefit.

    The real challenge of TT is to make it very useful & not just be another politician's vested interest con trick.

    Cameron opposed to TT as just another tax - who wants it? But is doesn't have to be - it can be a very sophisticated & useful silver bullet that kills the city monster so that all can walk safely with money in our pockets.

  • Comment number 22.

    15.At 19:10 2nd Nov 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    13. nautonier précis: Three Cheers for a Tobin Tax.

    As to a new tax structure.

    needs looking at strategically & properly with a proper review & report to see if it can be used as the 'silver bullet' to improve the way the city operates and regulate & provide full & transparent accounts for banks.

    Piecemeal flat tax at small part of a percentage is stupid as many trades are small or part of other trades so tax needs to be flexible & relate to all participants in a related transation or series of related trades with a suitable tax reference convention - otherwise some will dodge taxes as intermediaries.

    If not implemented & implemented properly - will be a huge opportunity missed as can be of benefit to those FI's doing right things for the UK?

  • Comment number 23.

    JohnConstable wrote: "We tend to be short-sighted .. because we are'nt actually here for very long (approx 79 years on average)."

    NO. All the research now strongly suggests that we are genetically programmed this way (with heuristics and biases, Kahneman even shared a Nobel for his work here, but it is others' really, he just transformed it) and that has come about through Natural Selection. We are adapted to short term changes and signals from our environment which selected much of our genetically emitted behaviours tens of thousands of years ago.

    These cues are not reliable guides in the long term, hence we get seduced into addictions. The only escape from this is through science which is not ego-centric.but allo-centric. That requires one not to trust one's intuitions and common sense which is highly counter-intuitive and is why science is so hard and 'elitist'. Alas, our Libertarian politicians exploit the children in us and have most doing the opposite. It's highly predatory as I keep saying.

    You would be surprised how many well informed scientists are passionately left-wing.

  • Comment number 24.


    the triple aaa mortgages was about fraud not transactions. RBS was about incompetence not transactions. Greek debt was hidden so they could join the euro and not about transactions.

    so how is a transaction tax going to stop non transactional based fraud and incompetence again?

    the most dangerous thing is a little knowledge by which people think they know something yet don't. tobin tax is just lynch the scapegoat while the real villains just laugh at the stupid crowd.

    goldman who was behind the triple A mortgages only got fined $500m after being found guilty. Goldman were behind hiding the greek debt so they could join the euro.

    if the bank system goes down i might lose a few thousand. the political class and their supporters will lose billions if not trillions. So of course they will throw my [and your] money at the banks to save theirs. We are the common canon fodder made to walk slowly towards the machine guns while the generals sip chartreuse and move blocks about on a map.

    tobin tax is an exercise in deflection. a jedi mind trick. to distract the weak minded.

  • Comment number 25.

    For a considerable time, various members of the commentariat have banged on about the democratic deficit in Europe.

    So, it would seem that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has single-handedly decided to do something about that.

    Lesson for policymakers in the Brussels bubble, don't take the ordinary people of Europe for granted any more, they might bite back.

    Ungrateful swine that they are (he says putting on his Kinnock hat).

    PS. Nautioner @ 11 - a couple of decades ago, some ex-Eton boys, by now members of the infamous Bullingdon club at Oxford, were annoying Lenny Henry, Dawn French and other diners at a resturantrant, before going outside to throw up in the duck pond. Now some of them are running the Westminster Government - that is what happens when ordinary English people are so disinterested in politics i.e. they effectively outsource it to those whose primary interest lies with their own cohort.

  • Comment number 26.

    nautonier wrote: "A Tobin Tax could be very succesful if properly structured and applied.
    "Those who argue for things to be done internationally are just being evasive as successful nation's set standards & not wait for others to propose & enforce them."

    It isn't a matter of argument. Why don't people get this? If pigs had wings they might fly. The logic is that in a Libertarian economy (world), one CAN'T regulate locally as what will happen is that "banks" will move their operations to where the TT is not in place or enforced. Goldman-Sacks pretty much did that with their London office anyway.

    This problem is integral to the very nature of Libertarian economics.
    One can't implement in ONE place and expect others to do the same if others can make money out of NOT doing so. This is THE problem of free-market competition and deregulation. It is self-destructive.

    Governments can't control the markets either in practice or on principle.

  • Comment number 27.

    Paul (Mr Mason) Could you comment on this claim: It might help to explain the deep anger on the streets of Greece;

    "The top 20% of the income distribution in Greece pay virtually no taxes at all, the product of a corrupt bargain reached during the days of the junta between the military and Greece’s wealthiest plutocrats. No wonder there is a fiscal crisis!"

    Incidentally, according to "Italy's former head accountant", "Italy has the best primary budget or primary balance of all the large European economies, even better than Germany." BUT "our national debt corresponds to the total amount of unpaid taxes",1518,792385,00.html

    So why the call for austerity in Italy, as opposed to improved tax collection? Is it just that the instinct of the well-to-do is to make the poor pay?

    Pejorative expletive omitted!

  • Comment number 28.

    brown-dog @ various

    You write some interesting stuff on these blogs and I must admit that I had to lookup allocentric (community-minded).

    This blogger is not very interested in wings, left, right or chicken but have tried the Political Compass (, which has four axes (left, right, authoritarian, libertarian) and according to the compass I'm there besides Mahatma Gandhi politically speaking.

    Free market competition is supposed to be 'creatively' destructive but I have observed that, if possible, business will try to erect barriers to new entrants as soon as they can and will indulge in all sorts of behaviours to 'eat the other guys lunch'. Therefore, there has to be some regulation to protect the people from being fleeced or at least less fleeced.

    For example, the New Labour Government of 1997 were convinced that the main supermarket players were operating some sort of cartel but appeared unable to prove it, so Tony Blair invited the US Wal-Mart to come in and buy one of these players. Which Wal-Mart did, namely Asda.


    Well, sort of. Wal-Mart were very happy, as their margins in the US were about 2% whereas here in Blighty they could crank it up to 4-5% and still undercut the other players.

    The moral of this story - there are no morals - it is business.

  • Comment number 29.

    Sasha Clarkson @ 27

    It has already been reported that a silent but deadly run on Greek banks has been going for some time as the merely wealthy and also the very high net worth Greeks pull the fiscal plug on their own country.

    Ordinary Greeks are fully aware of this {HNW Greeks paying no taxes) and tolerated it whilst they too could live a life of relative ease (John Humpheys wrote a very clear article on this in the ST a few years ago well before the crisis blew up) but now their own modest gravy train has left the station - and they are a bit miffed to put it mildly.

  • Comment number 30.

    JfH #15

    What a ridiculous eco-fascist inspired Idea for a Congestion Tax, charging employers for their employee's based on Post Code is obviously an idea with the subtle intention of promoting Corporate Ethnic Cleansing. The Manchester Congestion Charge was soundly rejected 4 to 1 in a referendum a couple of years ago, what do you want for the UK a Corporate Nazi dictatorship like they are currently trying to pin on the Greeks ?

  • Comment number 31.

  • Comment number 32.

    JohnConstable wrote "..I must admit that I had to lookup allocentric (community-minded)."

    I referenced this elsewhere. Allocentric vs egocentric are reference systems which refer to anatomically and functionally distinct brain systems of reference and navigation which lie at the basis of much of cognition in mammals. In the 1970s this focused on "memory" and old cortex (hippocampus) vs new cortex - most of the work was done in rats.

    You should take the points made about right vs left wing seriously. This is a dimension of collective population management. Central Planning/Command Economy vs Anarchism i.e non-Governance.

    Some people made a naive generation forget all that as it made it easier for them to exploit them. It was a bit like telling NINJA borrowers they didn't need to read the small print.

    Someone should look closely into the assets of our extremely successful Greek and Iraqi property developers.

  • Comment number 33.

  • Comment number 34.

    30. brossen99 wrote: "What a ridiculous eco-fascist inspired Idea for a Congestion [REDUCTION] Tax"

    Consider: Presently there is every incentive for employers to employ people from as far away as they possibly can as they can pay them less and what's more as the employee has both less disposable income and less time the employer can count on total employee subservience and effective round-the-clock slavery.

    Do you really want to cover the whole country in concrete? That is the alternative. Until fairly recently it was a condition of taking a new job that you had to live near your place of employment and if you plot the decline of this employment condition with congestion there is a good correlation. My scheme just reintroduces an employment condition in a modern, efficient and effective manner.

    Haven't you ever seen the condition of the commuter - old before their time with a sallow sickly complexion, irritable and bad tempered is that the way to get the best productivity from our people? I commend my Congestion Reduction Tax to you for further rational consideration!

  • Comment number 35.

    #20 But Mr Dog what is your answer to my other points that you didn't comment on?

    But the other, which is much more subtle, "it is selfish to have more than one child". They have grown up with this thought oft repeated that there are too many people in the world, lack of food, lack of water, poverty etc. So consequently the european races have decided they are being greedy and selfish by having two to three children to replace the current european population. It's altruism that's driving some of the low birthrate, and governments favouring other nationalities and countries more than their own place of birth.

  • Comment number 36.


    Back to the 18th century for relative basic human rights is what you propose, the indigenous people of rural areas forced into town to pay corporate rents and shop at the corporate store, all in all the perfect vision of the Corporate Nazi ideology. Sort of all keys in with eco-fascist groups like CPRE attempting to destroy rural manual jobs !

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    I used to be an REM fan...what a bunch of...

  • Comment number 39.

    Following NewsNight this evening, viewers might be tempted to think that the PCC is pretty useless.

    However, I can personally attest that it proved to be a very effective organisation for this blogger, who unexpectedly found himself having to complain about factual inaccuracies in a specialist publication earlier this year, on behalf of a relative who was not in a position to defend himself.

    The PCC negotiated with the publication and they ultimately published, in both electronic (web) and print media, a full correction and an apology.

    There may be problems for the PCC, which, as stated tonight, is not a regulator but it would be a bad day if ordinary people lost this avenue for redress on those occasions when the media gets it wrong.

  • Comment number 40.

    brown-dog @ 32

    You say that I should take the points made about right vs left wing seriously and indeed I should but I suppose that I have deliberately become flippant as a reaction to the endless rants which we endure on some blogs from the left/right mob, mirroring the Labour/Tory politicians we see screaming at each other in the HoC.

    You say that the left/right paradigm is a dimension of collective population management - Central Planning/Command Economy vs Anarchism i.e non-Governance.

    I do not see it in quite those binary terms, believing that we the people are better served by a political mashup - some central planning/command {by Government} may be appropriate in some areas and anarchism may be better suited elsewhere.

    At this point I should give some examples but a raging toothache means that will have to be for another day.

  • Comment number 41.

    24.At 20:14 2nd Nov 2011, jauntycyclist wrote:

    the triple aaa mortgages was about fraud not transactions. RBS was about incompetence not transactions. Greek debt was hidden so they could join the euro and not about transactions.

    so how is a transaction tax going to stop non transactional based fraud and incompetence again?


    I think you're bringing in other issues into the tax argument - a Tobin Tax is primarily about Tax - as existing tax regimes are primitive in their operation & effect and are also weak and do not e.g. reward beneficial behaviour, have penalties for undesirable behaviour or encourage better accounting practice. Many FI's are already set up to leverage tax loopholes by complex multi jurisdiction and company structures (especially around tax havens). A well constructed TT can deal with these issues also as is 'transaction sensitive'.

    A straight forward % Tobin tax catching most transactions as an ADDITIONAL TAX, IMO, is a very bad idea and had no regard to e.g. risk.

    The TT can only be beneficial if properly structured & if some high risk, underhand, undesirable business goes overseas so much the better. A country or jurisdiction has to be prepared to watch some business fly to less scrupulous anything goes jurisdictions which is what already happens as all major financial centres are connected to tax havens. A properly structured TT would catch many of the underhand trades that currently slip through the tax net of complex financial transactions and international structures.

    The current blanket tax rate is very primitive indeed where all FI activity is classed the same in terms of risk & strategic benefits & is avoidable by complex transactions & loopholes, complex internal, multi border straucures & accounting practices. A properly structured TT would shine a light through these murky depths as everything would be declared for tax even if not taxable as would require enhanced accounting practice & risk transparency & illegal activity would be highlighted particularly as the high risk traders would be forced overseas with related global trades/transactions still being taxed.

    A succesful TT arrangement would highlight transactions such as Cadbury's as a very undesirable series of trades for the UK & tax the various participants to the transaction accordingly.

    FI's have no moral compass & moral hazard is a figment of a "do-gooder's" imagination & is a naive & impossible construct in reality - the only chance that any jurisdiction has of influencing FI behaviour is through legislation/ constitution as including and especially the tax code - anything else is just waffle & is not going to achieve anything.

    FI activity is different to other business transactional behaviour & risk & until it is taxed appropriately - democratic accountability & strategic management of national capital is unattainable & the moral deficit in money will continue with spivs & vultures laughing all the way to their tax havens. The big loser being the ordinary taxpayer and citizens.

    The question really is to continue with a primitive inefficient tax system regarding money or to have something much, much better as fairer for the majority - I know which system, I would prefer.

  • Comment number 42.

    26.At 20:39 2nd Nov 2011, brown-dog wrote:
    nautonier wrote: "A Tobin Tax could be very succesful if properly structured and applied.
    "Those who argue for things to be done internationally are just being evasive as successful nation's set standards & not wait for others to propose & enforce them."

    "Governments can't control the markets either in practice or on principle."


    Well yes they can actually - and when they do other countries & jursidictions will follow.

    Currently, our treatment of money is primitive in terms of taxation & the banks & FI's are already structured to deal with multi-jusrisdiction tax issues & avoid tax and shuffle transactions into the lower tax rate denominations e.g. tax havens.

    A Tobin Tax is pointless unless it does a lot more than present primitive taxation as is just a another tax that will make FI's just pay more tax and move their capital - as happens anyway.

    A Tobin Tax can only be succesful if it has a new approach and influences e.g.
    strategic use of national capital
    accounting pratice
    undesirable trades
    illegal trades
    multi jursidictional transactions
    related trades
    etc etc

    A sucessful TT means that more desirable and benefical trading attracts less tax at a lower tax rate or is even exempt.

    The issue is what is the concept of a Tobin Tax if it is not just to be another Tax as a politicain's gimmick when most politicians do not understand taxation or international money markets or even the basics of what is & isn't fair or what realistically can & can't be achieved, or indeed the nature of money or the purpose of taxation.

  • Comment number 43.

    40.At 00:04 3rd Nov 2011, JohnConstable wrote ""I do not see it in quite those binary terms"

    I didn't refer to what terms you saw it in, you should try to see what I am referring you to, not make references to your own "mental" states if you want to se what I am saying. What I have consistently pointed out is that there is a basic dimension, i.e a continuum or axis. This is Centrally Planned vs Free-Market economies. It is the basic classic political dimension and it is one which accounted for a Cold war for many decades and a lot of conflict well before that too. The main consequence of what happened in 1989 is that the economies of NATO aligned countries progressively became less and less regulated, i.e more and more anarchistic - self-centred.. This has been policy. This is why our Civil Service and Public Sector has been progressively eroded in favour of the Private and Third Sector. You are seeing much the same happen in Greece whilst plutocrats and kleptocrats make off with assets sunk into the Public Sector by earlier generations. It would be interesting to see where the nouveau-rich property developers got their cash. I suggest many of these people got rich through the pseudo socialism peddled by European parties belonging to the Socialist International (like New Labour) which is about as socialist as Leon Trotsky was. These are economic anarchists who get rich on other people's public assets in venal ways made legal through deregulation..Look into the various brothers who have done very well out of this. Maybe some people in Greece see this?

    Sadly, it looks like more people here just want to ARGUE rather than problem-solve. That's characteristic of the endemic anarchism which has been peddled by our 'liberal' education system for decades, and that's precisely why nothing will change.

    ecolizzy - how is demographic and economic suicide an act of altruism?
    One must try to analyse what's said in terms of allocentric relations, not egocentric ones. Look at the figures, not to what people think they intend. People all too readily tell themselves short term self-serving lies which have long-term adverse consequences. Who supports the ageing population? Who contributes to the workforce. When so many people are rushing to university and then chasing salaries, promotion and wealth (narcissistic supply), which types are having babies, and what's happening to the genetic quality of the population as a consequence? If this was a simple process to see I wouldn't be repeating it in so many different ways. The difficulty most people have with this goes back decades in our society and every decade it gets worse - see The Royal Commission on Population in the 1940s and before that, Europe in the 30s and what happened. It was about demography and economics...

  • Comment number 44.

    It's a hard world to get a break in, all the good things have been taken.

    We're just going to have to ride this serpent.

    It's my life ...

    PS. brown-dog @ 43, I need to bone up on 'collective population management' but it would seem that 100% collectively managed economies were pretty miserable places to live, at least according to friend who was an international lorry driver and regularly went beyond the Iron Curtain back in the day. As in most things, a balance is required.

  • Comment number 45.

    It did occur to this blogger that the root cause (not just of my toothache) but this whole crisis is not financial mismanagement per se by the various interested parties but rather - dishonesty.

    Dishonesty mainly by Governments, who make growth and stabilty pacts and then promply break them (France and Germany), appear to conjure up for their citizens a standard of living that they are not actually earning, the main culprits being the UK and Greece and so on.

    Honest Government - it would be good for you - honestly.

  • Comment number 46.

    "So will the eurozone tragedy end in "an orgy of murder and violence" as the theatrical genre would dictate? Or will the ECB sidestep the rules and lend without limit, as the Bank of England and US Fed have done, to restore confidence?"

  • Comment number 47.

    Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph writes:

    "Two options are open to the eurozone in supporting its over-indebted periphery. Either the excess debt can be paid for by taxpayers in the more solvent core, or it can be bought up by the central bank.

    Politically, it’s proving virtually impossible to persuade hard-working Germans to pay for profligate Greeks and Italians. The bail-out fund has thus been made too small and ineffectual to offer meaningful support.

    In any event, it is only there at all as a surrogate for the European Central Bank, which refuses to do its proper job as lender of last resort, and provide the unlimited liquidity necessary to douse the flames."

  • Comment number 48.

    Greece's finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, has come out against the referendum. He said:

    "Greece's place in the euro is a historical conquest that cannot be placed in question... this cannot be made dependent on a referendum."

    What a strange turn of historical conquest for whom?

  • Comment number 49.


    Mechanisms cannot correct mentality.

    Short of some form of apocalyptic event, the needy juveniles who are demon-driven to gain high office, in the mistaken belief they will feel OK, at last, will continue in office.

    Those currently striving to 'save' the world, are as ILL-motivated as those who put it at risk in the first place. Surely no one thinks Desperate Dave - with his record of behaviours - is working for our well-being?

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 50.

    The pretext for starting a war with Iran progresses...

    Iran: the damning nuclear evidence

    The EZ crisis is proving to be a great distraction.

  • Comment number 51.

    #43 "The Royal Commission on Population in the 1940s" Any links available for this brown dog? I've looked around and found a little on blogs but not much of the report. Came out in 1949 I believe, and was a review of population growth and demographics.

    But I can't see that anyone can do anything at all about peoples choice to have children or not. I do see what you are talking about, and can now see that it has been going on for years. But successive governments have never suggested there was any problem in a low TFR, I suppose they just wanted to import cheaper workers.

    Surely it is far too late to do anything about the massive decline in Europeans? If they all had 4 children each it would take 25 years before it made any difference. With age I've begun to realise how generations pan out, never thought about it when younger too busy working.

    And of course our imported population from very poor countries delight in all the benefits recieved and so proceed to have many children at our expense. I can't see that changing very rapidly either, money for nothing, and your kids for free, 'eh?

  • Comment number 52.

  • Comment number 53.

  • Comment number 54.

    JohnConstable wrote: ".. it would seem that 100% collectively managed economies were pretty miserable places to live, at least according to friend who was an international lorry driver and regularly went beyond the Iron Curtain back in the day. As in most things, a balance is required."

    Of course it looks and feels relatively austere. That's because in a fairer system the national wealth is spread out (the mans of production, communication and exchange are in Public ownership and everyone works for each other (an collectively comprise the state), prices and incomes are regulated, and there is less choice in product because it is not based on competition but need .What one gets in Libertarian democracies is a small percentage iof the population acquiring and owning most if the nation's wealth with the rest of the population being ld to believe that it is an honour to watch, read about and basically sustain a group of narcissistic self-serving celebrities in their ill-gotten lifestyle.

    The majority are peddled false hopes much like the NINJAs were. That a few random gifts are seeded once in a while is all part of the great deception. The gains were obtained by chance or deception. That is why they can't be prosecuted pr changed, i.e because it was made legal! This is why Islam and statists across the world hate US imperialism and its 'values'.. If you want to see opulence, look to those sorts of people who get what they want at the expense of lots of other people. They court supply. Look at one of the others property developers and Iceland, and look into "Households" and NPISH, Eurostat accounting, and the changing population of Europe, especially London. THE SFO/DPP didn't get very far because this system of freedom made their venal behaviour untouchable and thereby rapacious and very attractive to some.

  • Comment number 55.

    ecolizzy wrote: ""The Royal Commission on Population in the 1940s" Any links available for this brown dog? I've looked around and found a little on blogs but not much of the report. Came out in 1949 I believe, and was a review of population growth and demographics."

    Good response. No links - you'll have to buy it but it's worth it, There are also several supplementary volumes which are crucially important. I suggest you get the ones on economics and the one with reports by Thomson, Fisher, Burt, Haldane etc. You also need to look into how the Commission came about in the first place. It was the influence of the PIC which in turn came form the Eugenics Society. The latter led to the creation of the Social Biology Department at LSE in 1930, the creation of the science of demography, much of modern genetics, research on social mobility and the creation of the Beveridge Report and welfare state. (Beveridge was Director of LSE when the Department of Social Biology was created under Hogben much to Fisher's annoyance.. You can find the entire history of the Eugenics Review 1909-1968 online today. I suggest you start at the beginning. Much of what you read will surprise you. It will take you some time, but it will be worth it. You will see how eugenics morphed. The problems did not go away.

  • Comment number 56.

    Sasha Clarkson cited "Democracy has junk status"

    Surely what one should be doing is looking beyond the media and asking whether the outcomes is not just evidence of a strategy to break down sovereign (local) democratic governance in favour of an EU Zone/EU Project Libertarian superstate which passes laws to prevent regulation?

    Note it is always the markets which the media and politicians are bowing to? The message is that Governments are powerless and leaders "muppets".

    That being so, what does criticising specific members of Governments do except aid and abet the greater Wall Street led anarchistic strategy, and I'm not referring to the protestors?

    The European people now appear to be doing the bidding of their remote anarchistic masters - i.e. the market traders and other financiers and property developers, major female goods retailers etc who profit from this. That is, freedom loving Libertarians, who get most of their financial support from the USA, Wall Street, as you remarked over Goldman-Sachs and Greek debt. But who were the loans to. What are "Households" and "NPISH" in Eurostat? What are the classes? Who is being dumped upon because they are the majority and pay the most taxes. Is this not done by sleight of hand? Is this not the true socialisation of the debt by those who profited by property development at a time when indigenous populations were in decline through small family sizes?.

    The small percentage of Greeks who did well - what proportion were from Greece's second largest city, and what proportion have favourable economic funding ties to NYC banks?

    One should not be pout off from asking forensic questions. If there is nothing to worry about there is no harm in asking such questions but given the other evidence it nay well be a failure of due diligence not to.

  • Comment number 57.


    Remember all those 'Terror Cells' reliably reported to exist in UK? Social breakdown?

    I'll get me Identity Card.

  • Comment number 58.

    did the US Marine Corps do Paul's haircut?

    so china been gaming the system then they say don't criticise china cheating? what kind of card game is that? Not one you would put money in? So we need to counter the chinese gaming with policy measures.

  • Comment number 59.


    All we need now to go the whole hog is for China and Russia sign a military pact with Iran and simultaneously call time on US debt in 2012 so both the Mayan 2012 prophesy and the prophesised origin of Armageddon starting in the middle east near Migido can both be right.

    What a red letter day for the doomsday predictors that would be..nothing like sitting a top a mountain pointing a finger at the fire and brimstone below and shouting ''I told you so.. but you would not listen would you .....oh look what has happened....''

    Funny how quickly that alleged bomb plot on Saudi Embassy by Iran dropped off the news and presidential press conferences, the Mexican drug dealer back story was obviously not deemed ridiculous and implausible enough for the CIA to see it through.

    The guy who came up with it was probably chastised for it.

    Perhaps the conversation went something like this....

    '' Go away and come up with something more ridiculous, plots between mexican drug dealers and iran dont cut it anymore..... we have already done steel frame buildings completely collapsing in a neat heap due to burning chairs and office supplies and amateur pilots flying passenger jets 10ft above the ground at 500mph into the the most secure building in the world while managing not to be caught on any surveilance camera in the area.... you know how this works, come up with something MORE ridiculous man .. c'mon.. get with the programme...''

  • Comment number 60.

    Gaming the system (or bending the rules, playing the system, milking the system or abusing the system) can be defined as "[using] the rules and procedures meant to protect a system in order, instead, to manipulate the system for [a] desired outcome".

    So, for example, In the very early days of football, towards the end of match, a player deliberately kicked the football completely out of the stadium ... and the clock continued to run down ... until the referee blew the whistle signaling the end of the game, whilst the opposition frantically searched for the ball.

    In more recent times, the mainstream political parties in England have managed to game the democratic system such that only around 30,000 or so floating voters across a handful of marginal constituencies effectively decide the outcome of a General Election.

    Quite how they have managed to achieve this remarkable outcome is a mystery to this blogger but in mitigation, we are dealing with extremely cunning people.

    The financial system seems to be being 'gamed' for much of the time and certainly does not appear to be for the benefit of ordinary people.

    Is gaming the system a moral hazard?

  • Comment number 61.

    It is about time that the whips who stopped conservatives voting freely on a uk refurrendum realised that most British don't wish to be part of an economy that is driving us down, when do MP's start realising they vote for the public not their party. I support Tory's because Labour have once again left us in the Abyss, but Torys get your act together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    #56 brown-dog

    Yet another incisive post!

    How many people are aware of these FACTS?

    Who are they and what positions of power do they hold?

    Most will find these FACTS too difficult to believe or even to comtemplate because as you stated in a previous post this is POLITICAL DYNAMITE.

  • Comment number 63.

    #55 Thank you brown dog, I've duly noted what you say, and when my time is not taken up entirely with looking after all around me, I'll do the research.

  • Comment number 64.

    #57 The word that keeps popping into my mind Barrie, is mercenary.

    It comes back to that phrase, one mans freedom fighter is another mans soldier, or should that be terrorist.

  • Comment number 65.

    50.At 09:50 3rd Nov 2011, museV wrote:
    The pretext for starting a war with Iran progresses...


    The US & UK & others have been in a 'covert war' with or as as including Iran, since 1980's? This was and still is a major factor in the instability of Iraq.

    It is no co-incidence that Iran has a long & dangerous border with Afghanistan as is another major supplier to the Taliban.

  • Comment number 66.

    62.At 13:26 3rd Nov 2011, museV wrote:
    #56 brown-dog

    Who are they and what positions of power do they hold?

    "Vested interests" - Shuusshh! All have their fingers in the pie and its getting very messy.

  • Comment number 67.

    60.At 12:43 3rd Nov 2011, JohnConstable wrote:

    Is gaming the system a moral hazard?


    It might be as is an altruism as the system is rotten and democratically inefficient as is capable of manipulation.

  • Comment number 68.

    Here are the latest odds on which country could leave the euro first, courtesy of William Hill:

    1/6 Greece; 6/1 Italy & Portugal; 10/1 Spain; 12/1 Germany; 14/1 Ireland; 16/1 Belgium; 25/1 France

  • Comment number 69.

    Wall St certainly has all bases covered!

    From the Telegraph...

    "The man tipped to replace George Papandreou is Lucas Papademos, former vice president of the European Central Bank and Bank of Greece Governor between 1994 and 2002.

    MIT educated, Mr Papademos taught economics at Columbia University from 1975 to 1984 and served as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1980."

  • Comment number 70.

    at least there might be someone sane in israel given bibi is talking about an inquiry into who leaked the attack.

    but its been pretty obvious given the RAF have been traing in south of france to attack iranian targets.

    what threat iran poses to the uk that deserves another neocon war has yet to be articulated

  • Comment number 71.


    maybe the government has decided to war our way out of recession?

    but its probably just weapons makers looking for an xmas bonus.

  • Comment number 72.

    JohnConstable wrote:"Europeans have a Euro mess and we English have an Eton mess."

    Some of them truly think they are The Chosen Ones. Where did they ever get that idea from?

    If one is born with talents (or looks) one should expect no approbation given one did not earn those attributes.

    Listen to this about half way through to hear a good "psychologist" who paradoxically, like his Harvard colleague at the time, had no time at all for psychology as psychology was something which was to be replaced, so why do some many females now study it and practice it? It is like witchcraft, literally.

    Be extremely wary of merchants since peddling such mentalism - as it abounds in primitive ego-centric referential sentences which are not truth-functional. There is almost no science to it - just creative writing and talk talk talk.

    Just forty years ago, those selected for higher education were taught this. What happened? How did pointing this out ever become contrary to some people's" House Rules"?


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