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Wednesday 30 November 2011

Verity Murphy | 13:18 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Following a difficult Autumn Statement yesterday, the government is facing further pressure with what unions describe as the largest public sector strike for a generation.

On tonight's programme we'll be looking in detail at the crux of the dispute - public sector pensions. The chancellor has said the schemes are unsustainable, but unions object to plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

Whose argument do the figures support? Joining Jeremy will be Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and PCS Union general secretary Mark Serwotka.

We'll also be comparing the economic situation of two families, one with an income from the public sector, the other from the private sector.

And our Economics editor Paul Mason will be asking if anyone has a chance of a more prosperous future, or with flatlining growth are we facing a decade of economic pain?

In other news, a report by former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf has heavily criticised the London School of Economics over its links with the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

The school's director resigned in March over a £1.5m gift from a foundation led by Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif, a former student.

We'll be speaking to Lord Desai, who was an internal examiner for the award of Saif Gaddafi's PhD at the university.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    The irresponsibility of public sector workers has been laid bare by an MP who really knows about taxpayer-funded excess.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/17/francis-maude-rhodium-plated-pensions

  • Comment number 2.

    The Bank of England finds £5Bn per week to buy Government bonds.

    Is that sustainable?

    Apparently so* (solvency is a very fluid term in this country).

    And on that basis, Government can afford to continue to fund public sectors pensions as they stand.

    However, they simply have chosen not to do so, so as to present the appropriate face to 'the markets', for fear of a downgrading.

    * By this financial alchemy, they can even consider creating a 'Sovereign Fund' ... literally out of thin air, unlike the Norwegians who boringly saved up the money for their current £260Bn plus Sovereign fund from North Sea oil revenues.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sock market gone ballistic on the prospect of war with Iran, some mining shares up almost 10% plus Barclay's Bank, are we heading into yet another deliberate war to save the stock market parasites ?

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    HASN'T THAT BEEN PREDICTED AS A STEP TO "NEW WORLD ORDER BRO"? (#5)

    Goodness gracious me - any minute now, 9/11 will be proudly 'owned' by the manipulating elite, as A PRICE WORTH PAYING.

    This stuff would have kept Shakespeare in plots to the end of time. (Oh - that's next year isn't it.)

  • Comment number 7.

    Look at the dotted trend line of historic G7 economic growth:

    http://forensicstatistician.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/g7-growth.jpg

    That’s half the world’s GDP (the Developed half of the world no less) stagnating at present and on the cusp of going negative from 2012 onwards.

    Match that trend with the prediction of peak Industrial Output (grey line) circa 2010-2015 in the following chart:

    http://forensicstatistician.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/ltg.jpg

    Note how the flattening of key macro-economic indicators (Food, Services and Industrial Output) in the early 2010s soon turns rapidly downwards from about 2015.

    The future just ain’t what it used to be.

  • Comment number 8.

    'we'll be comparing the economic situation of two families, one with an income from the public sector, the other from the private sector.'

    As this will, at best, bearing in mind the spread of possible situations, be a snapshot, and clearly billed as such? Or will this be another 'we speak for the nation' effort?

    I just ask, as on the one hand I am only presented by our media with Union officials on multiple hundred k salaries living in subsidised LA housing, and on the other Bullingdon toff pols and bankers who feast on quails eggs (both extremes, oddly, united in the generosity of their pension pots and, where required, bailouts by, well, such as me)

    Neither seems very close to the situation closer to home. Well this one at least, which granted is outside the metropolitan zone most TV broadcaster's minds inhabit.

    The kind that struggles to grasp how the poor cope, citing examples from their iPads such as...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15197860

    '...a daily struggle.
    "I try and buy myself a new-ish car every two years,"
    Cars are a particular weakness for Kate...
    "I could easily impulse buy a car," she admits.
    They own a £300,000 detached house"


    So when it comes to 'supportive figures', colour me cynical if Aunty's finest and their best mates are in the frame.

    Also not sure if this principle - "if you spend more than your income that's when you get into trouble" - has sunk in with a few folk I see given a pretty easy ride on economic wisdom at the moment.

    Remind me, how much has this country spent more than it has generated, in terms of debt?

    Yet I see airtime given to folk who seem to feel all the money in the world is out there to keep things as they were... if you know where to look.

    One is sure an impartial professional like Mr. Mason will be a great guide.

  • Comment number 9.

    LIVING BY THE WRONG PARAMETERS UNDER THE WRONG PARADIGM (#7)

    As someone posted above (in essence) watch Westminster government in action and you can see the problem. THE TROUBLE IS - THEY CAN'T.

    It is SO easy to sketch out more lasting and worthwhile goals that those we espouse. Need I say: THIS IS THE AGE OF PERVERSITY?

    We are damaged, needy juveniles, run ragged by damaged, needy, manipulative, self-deceiving ultra-juveniles.

    Civilised democracy it isn't. It's D MOCK CRASS Y?

    Too late for weeping. You could try a paper bag over your head.

  • Comment number 10.

    What's Ed Miliband doing making a 32 year old his Chief Secretary to the Treasury? Labour Friends of Israel, trips to nasty places for kids etc - surely one has to bear in mind that this allegedly discriminated group is but one half of one percent of the British population. Yet it certainly figures an awful lot on Newsnight and in the media generally.

    How's that for inequality and contrary to what's expected but to be noticed because it's a discrimination? Is this meant to be insulting to the British public?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Reeves

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/rachel-reeves-can-she-save-the-labour-party-2367802.html

    http://www.rachelreeves.net/blogs/blog4.php/2011/03/11/yorkshire-and-humber-schools-visit

  • Comment number 11.

    First solitary confinement and now this.

    http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE7AT12W20111130

    Is it that the ruling party (a New Labour clone, the party which ran the camp where the murders were committed) doesn't want this man to have his day in court?

    The worrying fact for them is that regardless of how anyone tells the story, what he said is happening really has been happening. Why is saying it such a taboo? is it a way of removing competition? By promoting education, it reduces political competition for whom given their population base-rates? Who funds the Socialist International?

    See the TFR data. What is accounting for this silent self-destruction?

    http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/surveyreports/EU0902019D/EU0902019D_1.htm

  • Comment number 12.

    JunkkMale wrote: "Remind me, how much has this country spent more than it has generated, in terms of debt?"

    But how many times do you need reminding? You don't seem to be registering the sizes of the classes/categories (Public vs Private/Third) or where the problem is.

    You need to look at the debt in terms of different sectors. It has not been Public Sector debt that which has been the problem.

    Those in Private Sector business and Third Sector are misleading people as their loans can be to anywhere in the world and to anyone, not all British. The same goes for assets here. There will be many who do not pay their fair share of Corporation tax, income tax, National Insurance. That is why the £500 billion collected in revenue does not go far enough for payment of those working in the Public Sector and why the Government has had to borrow the extra on the markets at interest. If you don't pay your taxes (or don't collect them e.g. by lowering Corporation Tax, and they've just done it again), one ends up having to pay for that by either gutting one's Public Sector or borrowing on the money markets. This is the fame that is being played across Europe. It is dump on the Public Sector whilst the Private Sector doesn't pay taxes. Those in the Public Sector have no choice as they work for the Government. In fact, they ARE the Government.

    Look at the UK Blue Book by sector and look at this before saying what you do again:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2011/10/total%20debt%20to%20gdp_0.jpg

  • Comment number 13.

    A good blog from Paul Mason, but far too long for the attention span of politicians.

    A bitter laugh about Photoshop Dave, plus some good links.

    http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/we-cant-go-on-like-this-NHS-deficit

    And Paul Krugman has been right from the start about the shortcomings of the Con-Dem plan.

    And now? "It really is just like a medieval doctor bleeding his patient, observing that the patient is getting sicker, not better, and deciding that this calls for even more bleeding."

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/bleeding-britain/

  • Comment number 14.

    Also, from Spiegel, "Preparing for the Wurst" (I mean the worst). Why it is in Germany's interest to save the Euro:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,800700,00.html

  • Comment number 15.

    barriesingleton wrote "We are damaged, needy juveniles, run ragged by damaged, needy, manipulative, self-deceiving ultra-juveniles."

    So, given that, might not at least part of the solution be for to have more people just do as they are told, and by force if necessary? Might not far too much independence and freedom be a very big part of the problem?

    If you look elsewhere in the world, why is it that we accuse nations which do try to exert such authority to better manage their unruly populations as violating their populations' democratic "Human Rights"?

    One can see the blowback here in our schools and other Public Sector services where staff are to frightened to tell anyone what to do. When you look at that critically you will begin to understand the nature of politics as behaviour management and not as an opportunity to write rhetoric.

  • Comment number 16.

    Independent - it's an odd word like "transparency" and "the right thing to do" (Crly Simon I guess?) when used by politicians. And the OBR looks more and more like a "Treasury II" staffed by Con-Dem friendlies. As Hawkeye-Pierce remarked yesterday, (and as shown on Newsnight last night) it appears to be almost as good at doing graphs as Climate "Scientists".

    Do such people count on not being criticised? Do they count on observers trusting them? Do they count on abusing their trust in fact?

    Chote in the clip last night began by saying that the OBR had been wrong. Economics, Fiscal Studies "think tanks" and those elevated to QUNAGOS have become the new Hollywood out-shacks have they not? Why not ask someone who knows what they are doing rather than journalists who are supposed to just report on what people who know what they are doing have done?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Chote

    One doesn't expects to hear that the other party bypassed this independent person for Robert Peston when they were both at The Times, is it because he was independent or was it because he was just independent of New Labour? Aren't Civil servants meant to work to their Ministers?:

    "Robert Chote, 40, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has framed brilliantly the crucial election issue – our ballooning national debt.

    Cambridge-educated Chote is regarded as above reproach by City types but neither Gordon Brown, nor his staring-eyed protege, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls, are fans.

    My source says: ‘Brown and Balls tried to ruin Chote’s career when he was economics editor at the Financial Times by refusing to see him and instead passing on information to his colleague, Robert Peston, who was then political editor.

    'Chote didn’t toe the party line.’ "

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1269911/Labours-Chris-Mullin-contemplates-Nick-Cleggs-shallowness.html

  • Comment number 17.

    Sasha Clarkson wrote:"A good blog from Paul Mason, but far too long for the attention span of politicians."

    Sadly, they know about the decline in the population, the relationship between STM/Digit Span and intelligence/educability distributions, and so pitch to a demographic which suffices to keep them in power. All anyone not on the parasitic bandwagon can do is talk amongst themselves whilst this ship goes down. It's history repeating itself. A true plague of cosmopolitan human locusts at work which knows know loyalty except to those on its bandwagon. It knows no absolute racial or national boundaries..

  • Comment number 18.

    As we are being spun tales all the time, here's a blast-from-the-past which might make some sit up and think more about the consequences of abuse of trust, cosmetics, make-overs, spin-masters etc - image and PR.

    Believe it or not, image or appearance (perception) is not more important than reality - unless you are a liar, con-man or actor (which is actually much the same thing if you think about it).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2011/11/tuesday_29_november_2011.html?postId=111032131

  • Comment number 19.

    At last, Europe speaks with one voice!

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/cartoon/1233031-all-together-now

    Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski fears “not German power” but “German inactivity”.

    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/news-brief-cover/1232521-polish-minister-begs-germany-act

    And, self-explanatory: http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/1233601-panic-hottest-all-time-business-model

    Of course, the parasitic element of the markets thrives on panic: plenty of commission to be made from the lemmingsheep.

    In James Clavell's 'Noble House', the "villian", Quillan Gornt opines "There's lot's of money to be made on a falling market." The novel's description of raw capitalism in operation is fascinating, and quite accurate despite being fiction.

  • Comment number 20.

    IN MEMORIAM

    Falinangel (aka AboriginalJim) has gone down the Memory Hole (except the 1984 model was more efficient). All his posts are removed and his archives empty.

    I wonder if they cut off all his buttons? Or is he mining salt? Very odd.

  • Comment number 21.

    JunkkMale wrote: "He spouted BS, and got called on it, often. Take my word."

    Your word is not very reliable it seems. It is just an opinion you say.
    Do you know what an opinion is?

    You miss the point, as you didn't tell us what the BS was nobody knew what you were talking about. Saying Sky News was no referent unless it was provided in a link so others could find out. What you did was egocentric in that it assumed others could follow what was private to you or assumed that others had done what you had done which comes down to much the same thing. This is socially destructive behaviour which is endemic. Do you not see the point or problem. How do people know if what you say is fact or mere opinion? if something which is mere opinion is passed off as fact, is that lying or what?

    If every time you are challenged or corrected you go on the attack, or say it is just an opinion,. how are you ever going to communicate in a useful way with others? You will only repeat what someone else already said or believes, which is echo not communication.

    "he claimed that all Ministers did not use public services such as state school or the NHS. He was corrected."

    But ALL Ministers don't. SOME use private schools and private health care so how could he have been corrected? You aren't making any sense here. It is a standard criticism that those who provide Public Sector services tend to do so to people who can not afford to make a choice and that many in Government CAN..It is not "picking" on someone to correct their errors, it is HELPFUL.

    "Yes. To me. It's a blog. Full of opinion. Deal with it."

    Opinion doesn't matter as it's non truth-functional. It's actually a waste of time posting opinion for that very reason. So why do it?

    I am dealing with it - by helping you to better understand that you are wasting time by posting material which is meaningless or irrelevant and if you read other people's posts as just opinion, you are also misreading what they have written thinking they write like you do. Not everything is opinion. You need to grasp that. A blog is for comments, not opinions. Why would anyone want to read about your or anyone else's opinions? Look the word up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion

    "What... does that matter if he said it, on record, live on air?"

    Because Sky is all wrapped up with the News Corporation and News International issue and Murdoch is an anarchist. It's highly topical.
    Sky is Private Sector, BBC is not. It matters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_News

    To see a more extreme version see Fox News. Different media portals broadcast with different political slants or edit with different slants.
    That's why it is important to know.

    "Nifty, two 'isms, or at least odd relevancies in one sentence. Irony not a strong point either, then."

    Incomprehensible. Do you know why an inexperienced 32 year old is a Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the Opposition at a time when we have major economic problems?

  • Comment number 22.

    Francis Maude's biography is fascinating. This son of the former Conservative Cabinet minister Angus Maude is another wealthy hereditary member of the ruling class. Put it to him that he knows nothing about the "pain" of recession. At the very worst he might suffer from "mild discomfort" if his shares under-perform or one of his salaries is cut. Unlike many of the government's or banks' victims, he won't be losing his home - or indeed any of his homes, or be denied medical treatment on grounds of cost.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Maude

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5305293/David-Camerons-shadow-cabinet-drawn-into-expenses-scandal-MPs-expenses.html

  • Comment number 23.

    barriesingleton wrote: "Falinangel (aka AboriginalJim) has gone down the Memory Hole (except the 1984 model was more efficient). All his posts are removed and his archives empty."

    He or she was just trolling barrie. Being provocative for the sake of it. There are some substantive issues which really need to be aired and discussed in these difficult times, and opinions won't help, nor will trolling (or deception, witting or unwitting). Sadly it seems that many here don't or can't or won't discriminate the difference between rational argument premised on facts, and mere opinion. Opinion is like saying, "I like blue cheese" or "Spain is a good place to have a holiday". Matters of fact are quite different, and many here need to learn the difference.

  • Comment number 24.

    Looking forward to Paul's piece.

    I think we now face DECADES of falling living standards - or a complete meltdown in the financial system.

    The moronic demand to take more and more money out of the economy then the feigned surprise at the fall in aggregate demand this causes in the vain hope this might stave off a Sterling crisis is the last throw of the truly desperate.

    All that happens is that the debt rises, the welfare bill skyrockets and the tax income slumps a bit more. The analogy of the time when doctors bled patients in the delusional paradigm that they were "letting badness out" is an exact parallel to what is now happening in our economic policy of all three parties.

    The attempt to brazen it out and claim the UK is a "safe haven" means that when the brown stuff does finally hit the extractor there will be a rapid, deep and unrecoverable loss of international confidence in the UK economy - and the mother of all Sterling crises - think the £25 litre of fuel, the £10 loaf, the £20 Kw/Hr of electricity - think Weimar - without the collective strength of the Euro, we're on our own.

    Take my advice. Sell the house - use the money to buy somewhere to live with some land, access to water and a bit of wood - even 5 acres would do. Move out of the city - set yourself up in your smallholding - start growing veg - keep chickens, a couple of sheep, a pig to eat your waste and start harvesting wood. Put in a borehole for water - PV for electricity - woodburner for heat - set up a SIPP and get every penny out of your pension you are allowed to and invest it in becoming as self-sufficient as you possibly can.

    And be ready to defend yourself.

    I am not joking - I have done exactly this - and I note down here in the SW that there are plenty of people trying to follow this example - & most of them are.... ex-City people who tell me it's only a question of time until the whole edifice comes crashing down.

    Face facts.

    The EuroLand nations aren't going to sort the mess out - and if the Euro does fold, there goes 40% of our export market - and our entire banking sector & the City. (So some upside then..)

    Austerity doesn't work - it failed in every country where it's been tried - GDP plummets, the debt rises until no one will lend anymore. GO cannot now recant from this - neither can the LibDems - they are nailed to it and IMHO they would rather drive the UK over the cliff than admit it isn't working, because their lib

  • Comment number 25.

    continued

    Austerity doesn't work - it failed in every country where it's been tried - GDP plummets, the debt rises until no one will lend anymore. GO cannot now recant from this - neither can the LibDems - they are nailed to it and IMHO they would rather drive the UK over the cliff than admit it isn't working, because their libertarian ideology IS their political existence - they cannot gainsay their core values.

    The global economy is so out of balance with massive trade surpluses and deficits, it is impossible to maintain growth, the ever rising surpluses and debts.

    We are rapidly running out of environmental resources to enable more growth - oil is now being priced out of the reach of many, food is not keeping up with population growth - then there's global warming.

    To prevent a meltdown would require the complete abandonment of the current view of our economy. We'd need to impose massive import controls, redirect resources to self-sufficiency, virtually end most meat production and switch farming over to market gardening to produce our own food. We'd need to restrain the use of motor vehicles, air travel and end immigration and encourage emmigration. We'd need the state to set up and run manufacturing to replace the goods we import - we'd need a massive reduction in energy consumption and a big expansion in domestic energy - renewables, but also clean coal using the 400 years of reserves we have instead of importing gas & coal from abroad.

    None of this is ever going to happen this side of a total meltdown.

    If you think this is scaremongering, go to any of the minor Greek islands. Ferries no longer run - fuel has run out - medicine is unobtainable - the only food is what is being grown locally. People are fleeing the cities back to self-sufficincy agriculture in the countryside.

    Imagine London without money - with empty supermarkets, no fuel available, no electricity, running water or public services. Greece is a tiny nation which is quite agricultural, in a warm climate. We are a massively overcrowded island in the cold northern european area - if the UK suffers the same collpase as the Greek economy did, it will be many, many times worse for us than it has been for them.

  • Comment number 26.

    Do you think any of this below might prompt other people in the UK, USA and EU to ask for the same protective measures to be taken for their national interests?

    What this sadly suggests is that Israeli politicians feel under siege.
    The solution to that is not to wage war (military, economic or psychological).

    http://www.haaretz.com/black-flag-over-israel-s-democracy/black-flag-facts-and-figures/loyalty-citizenship-laws-1.396117

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/likud-yisrael-beiteinu-draft-new-bill-to-limit-foreign-funding-to-israeli-ngos-1.398787

  • Comment number 27.

    @20 'Auntidote' has disappeared as well, but not his August/September posts, nor his original 'worcesterjim' posts from early in the year. I had an email from him in September, which, unfortunately, I accidentally deleted before replying.

    Jim was never "just" trolling, though he certainly did, in his words, "have a bit of fun" with the BBC. He did overstate his case sometimes, but his basic message was quite clear:

    1) Democracy is a sham.
    2) Our real masters are the City, Wall St and the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
    3) Citizens need to unite and fight the establishment.

    Looking at our recent history, from the Iraq war through the banking bailouts, sweetheart tax deals with selected multinationals, and the apparent preparation for hostilities against Iran, I find little to disagree with in his analysis.

    I have never seen the logic in who is banned and who is allowed to return. Alexander Curzon was banned merely for winding up Nick Robinson (by accusing him of pro Govt bias). Peston was always more tolerant. People regularly accused him of personally causing the whole financial crisis without having their posts removed. But other flagrant abusers of the system just go on, and metastasise!

  • Comment number 28.

    @Richard Bunning Good analysis of current policy. I hope your pessimistic prognosis is wrong, but I'm not at all sure that "something will turn up" - like sanity!

  • Comment number 29.

    Surely the loss of heavy industry jobs and offshoring of manufacturing and call centres with resultant increase in both unemployment and lower incomes in themselves have reduced tax income and increased government expense. Trying to tighten belts in inflationary circumstances while huge bonuses are available for some is psychologically trying and when additionally work becomes less secure, fear and anger are more likely. Austerity is much easier if we're all at it.

  • Comment number 30.

    richard bunning wrote: "To prevent a meltdown would require the complete abandonment of the current view of our economy."

    There are many who will say what you say, but then they have been living the dream and are waking up that's all. Do you not think it's more than just a little bit odd that we don't EVER hear what senior diplomats or politicians from the PRC have to say about the mess which has been created under Libertarianism, especially when they've always said it was a big mistake and went off and did something else? The BRICS after all comprise about half the world's population.

    What does that say about Western grandiosity and ethnocentricism? The combined populations of Europe and the USA is less than that of China alone yet they delude themselves that they're the entire planet. Or at least, The Chosen Ones.

  • Comment number 31.

    "PUTRID" - POTTY CALL POTTY BLACK

    I hope we all remember the behaviour of Campbell, when 'performing' on behalf of "pretty straight kind of guy" Tony, when he would grind his erstwhile press colleagues, like some Bond villain?

    THIS IS THE AGE OF PERVERSITY

  • Comment number 32.

    It seems like yesterday (the eighties?} that teachers and many others were encouraged to take early retirement.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sasha Clarkson wrote: "I have never seen the logic in who is banned and who is allowed to return.

    You should just focus on WHAT's posted rather than WHO you imagine is posting as it isn't even propositions (which are intensional) which matters, it's conjunctions of Observations Sentences.

    Far too few people make the requisite discriminations these days, and that's because some have erroneously been taught that the very act of discrimination is close to a hate crime. Whether you share someone's OPINIONS ("analyses") or not is irrelevant, and to think otherwise is symptomatic of the mess that we are now in.

    Emitting narcissistic hissy-fits never solves problems, and calling for censorship of what one personally doesn't won't help either,.any more than it helps Israel, which is still struggling for its existence largely because it doesn't listen to others, and thinks itself "special". This is critical mass issue.

  • Comment number 34.

    :D 5 hours to count the number of employees at work at the Civil Service. It doesn't work that fast :p Priceless! Excellent debate by Jeremy with Maude & Serwotka. The fur was flying tonight :o)

  • Comment number 35.

    "TWO PARTIES CAME TOGETHER IN THE NATION'S INTEREST" (Maude)

    NO. Two loser-leaders came together to create a winner and a disaster, and told the voters: "it is what you voted for". Then they passed a law to give them five years (the right term but the wrong enclosure).

    THIS IS THE AGE OF PERVERSITY

  • Comment number 36.

    A FUTURE BRITAIN WITH "A LOT LESS PRETENTION" (NewsyNighty guest)

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 37.

    Top notch debate by Jeremy with Skidelsky et al tonight :o)
    At least some people tell it like it is.

  • Comment number 38.

    Who's better off - public or private?

    In a recession, public is undoubtedly better off - except for the very wealthy. In a properly functioning economy, private used to be better, but despite the apparent boom in the naughties, private firms stabbed their employees in the back, and closed down schemes. Individual pensions are a ripoff where 40% of contributions can be eaten up in fees, and the annuity system is a lottery loaded against retirees. The NEF has proposals to remedy this:

    http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/peoples-pensions

    However looking at it a different way, all pension schemes are a claim upon a proportion of future national income. As has been observed, the private investment approach is expensive, precarious and enriches the few at the expense of the many. It would be more efficient to nationalise ALL pensions, and replace employer and employee contributions with a pensions tax on the NI model. This would enable the government and its agencies to invest in the future of the economy, and starve the financial parasites of a significant proportion of their gambling chips.

    The alternative is a race to the bottom for most of us as government and city play the 99% off against each other.

    And MPs should do no better than any other public employee.

  • Comment number 39.

    #27

    A fair summary

  • Comment number 40.

    The union leader looked somewhat nervous, a little bit on the back foot. Result in: Govt 1 - Unions 0

    I was impressed with Tory MP Clare Perry ...and not because of the knee length boots. (well truth be known, I was actually)
    I could've played buzzword bingo all day long with the women.

    If I could improve this women, I'd teach her not to say words and phrases like "headroom".."Going forward" ect more than once in a conversation. she 'drifts' too easily into these I think ..other than that, she was great.. I had'nt listened properly to what she was saying...but she sounded good. So thats normally good enough for me.

    A good newsnight tonight. Well done. The curry and drinks are on Paxman..he can afford it.

  • Comment number 41.

    We are not "all in this together".

    We are not "one nation" - (not even the natives).

    However, most of the people of the Western world, and especially in Europe now, have a common enemy.

    http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/2011/11/15/%E2%80%98gouvernement-sachs%E2%80%99-and-the-death-of-a-democratic-europe

    "The financial services industry is corroding the wealth of ordinary people.....
    ...... 1951, .... 2m shares were being traded every day. Now that figure has leapt to 8.5 billion, equivalent to the entire shares market traded three times over. "

    http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/2011/07/20/the-next-banking-scandal

  • Comment number 42.

    #41

    don't take things personal.

    Keep posting!

  • Comment number 43.

    AS BELOW SO BELOW - THE ABYSMAL LEADING THE ABYSMAL (#41 link1)

    "Newly appointed technocrats in Italy and Greece do not have the interests of the European people in mind."

    Does the writer think ANY political potentates have the interests of ANYONE BUT SELF in mind?

    Take our current two: Dave Trismegistus - three despicable acts of deception and betrayal, in one year; flexible SignaTory Nick - down to his last thirty pieces of silver, and three-and-a-half more years (of glum resignation to the fact that Dave duped him) - to go.

    D MOCK CRASS Y?

  • Comment number 44.

    IF EVERY TRADE IS TAXED - AS WITH TOBACCO - DISINCENTIVE WILL BE SLOW COMING (#41)

    See #43

  • Comment number 45.

    30nov2011. Continuing collapse of capitalism, the dawn of the 21st century "Winter of Discontent" could have made for a good show. And Jez did well. But why did the producers attempt to distract us with product placement for a brand of clothing and some electronic gizmo that a talented reporter less than happy to use ?

  • Comment number 46.

    It is helpful for politicians in Government to cloak fiscal and monetary judgements with pseudo-scientific economic theory about structural deficits etc, possibly to achieve ideological objectives.

    They are judgements, which may turn out to be sound or otherwise.

    The contributor Skidelsky had useful points to make about bringing about a situation that gainfully utilises the unemployed, both human and capital, of which England has ample.

    It just needs to be properly organised through via a bold roadmap by people with leadership and vision and not by people still engaged in tired old class warfare, which we glimpsed on NewsNight this past evening.

  • Comment number 47.

    OH DEAR - I JUST WATCHED THE HEAD CHICKEN ON 'HARD TALK'

    As Climate Supremo, he has not got a scientific giblet in his Huhne. They should have appointed a Parrot. And his mind-numbing 'loyalty' to whatever Cockerel is currently a-hoop, is so soup-thin, it is insulting.

    THE LIBERALS NEARLY GOT THEMSELVES ANOTHER ONE

  • Comment number 48.

    A 'WAR CABINET' OF THE WISE? (#46)

    We don't educate for artisanship any more, that is all too apparent, but neither do we educate for wisdom. Indeed, I suspect our feral nihilist 'leaders' instinctively know that, to show a better way, is to kiss goodbye to their beloved Westminster Ethos.

    Constructive debate, to distil a 'critical path', so vital in a crisis, requires MATURITY in the contributors. (Today, Ed Balls dropped his faux 'amazed' look for one of deep, double deep, silent movie concern. What a clown.)

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 49.

    Economy is in trouble, can't have carriers. Cuts need to be made, can't have carriers. Un-employment rising, can't have carriers. EU budget going up, can't have carriers. It seems to me, that some see axing these carriers as the answer to all our problems and probably caused the credit crunch in the first place. They have become a pet hate for many, even though their origins go back to before this pretend boom of the 2000's, and the Iraq & Afghanistan wars. I really don't think we can afford the eu's direct and indirect costs though, but that is never looked at or discussed, as in to what we would loose and gain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Mr Paxman persisted in pressing Francis Maud on the upgrading of the pittance known as job seekers allowance. The inference in Paxon's persistence that upgrading poverty subsistence in line with the lower estimate of inflation is a main factor in the unemployed remaining unemployed is just a patronising insult. Not to mention the insult to the sick, disabled, and pensioners who are almost always shoved under the same umbrella and label of 'the work shy'. However, If (and a very big IF) there are these swathes of fickle people who refuse to work, perhaps it could be that they might want to work but they don't want to work for nowt! For emplyers giving zero hours contracts, call em' up when needed bussiness sharks who offer no future security, who'd like to dismiss them without reason and would love to pay below the minimum wage when they can get away with it. But I wouldn't expect the Oxbridge privileged BBC New hacks to understand this. How much would you pay for your skiing holiday Jeza?

  • Comment number 51.

    Did anyone watch this programme last night?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017x34r

    A question, who agrees with his graph on tax paid and by whom?

    And benefits gained by these taxes and by whom?

    Is it true in your opinion that the rich do support the poor as indicated in these graphs? i.e. that the top1% pay 27% of tax and the top 10% pay 53% of taxes? (Not quite sure those figures are exact, but you get my drift)

  • Comment number 52.

    Jeremy Clarkson: "striking public sector workers should be shot dead “in front of their families”.

    He is a repulsive idiot (and NO relation of mine). The BBC should sack him immediately! This time an apology is not enough: let him take the Murdoch shilling.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/11/30/jeremy-clarkson-striking-public-sector-workers-should-be-shot-115875-23600850/

  • Comment number 53.

    I MADE A POINT OF WATCHING IT LIZZY (#51)

    I found:

    (1) deeply unconducive musack that came and went to no discernable relevance.
    (2) a lot of walking about
    (3) vox pops that ran the gamut from benign to banal

    I, too, was struck by the 'Tax n Gain' installation art. I hope it was from the INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE ON BAR CHARTS - we don't want bias creeping in.

    I found a Wiki site with a PIE chart (so much more palatable) of ALL tax take, broken down into sources. It was then that I realised I had no idea what Nick's confection ACTUALLY depicted. Doh!

    All in all, the program was about 15 minutes of relevant info, ballooned into a one hour docuwally.

    Weep intellect.

  • Comment number 54.

    WHO CARES WINS

    I hear there is a new book out, specifically relating to commerce, carrying the title "Who Cares Wins" - asserting that caring about what you do, and how you do it, yields positive, social and economic returns.

    Of course - that only applies to the real world. . .

    Meanwhile in Westminster, again, "WHO CARES?" wins. Dave: the proof-pudding.

    There is a message there. Is there anyone left who can 'read'?

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 55.

    A friend did some Christmas shopping for her boy. Looking at the small print, it was all made in South Asia and the far east. The Christmas trade must be worth billions to the suppliers.

    Britain cannot and should not compete with the wages and conditions in these places. We have a huge balance of payments deficit: nore are these goods essential for the functioning of our society. Britain cannot afford global free trade and unrestricted imports.

  • Comment number 56.

    YOU NEVER COUNT YOUR MONEY WHILE SITTING AT THE (GLOBOPOLY) TABLE (#55)

    Nor do you count the suffering of the people whose lives you trample on, saying 'WHO CARES', so long as you can sit at the Globopoly table flaunting GDP, nukes, global military reach, and 0.7% aid.

    But such is the 'emplacement' of 'born-to-rule' heads, they have not yet realised that ALL THAT IS GONE. We are STILL getting 'governance as usual'. Dave still steps up to the camera to tell Iran how to behave, and Nick to explain the triumph of a Great Triumph (more likely a Libber Daemmerung) – coming to a ‘party’ near him, in a notional 3.5 years time.

    In the dim distant future, will these islands be remembered, in legend, for their race of clowns and losers, whose heads . . . (see above) and whose feet pointed in all directions - hence going nowhere?

    New balls please.

  • Comment number 57.

    @51 Lizzy. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Much of the wealth of the rich and the private sector comes from pillaging the public purse. Several Footsie companies would not exist were it not for the public sector. Many others would not be viable without the spending of public employees.

    As for old wealth, much of that comes from the proceeds of ancient crime. For example, the privatisation of the monasteries under Henry VIII created a class at least as venal as the modern Russian Kleptocracy. The later enclosures (theft) of common land added to their wealth and power. This hereditary class still has it's tentacles in both houses of Parliament and the banking/finance system.

    @ various - on form this morning Barrie! :-)

  • Comment number 58.

    Mistress76uk wrote: ":D 5 hours to count the number of employees at work at the Civil Service. It doesn't work that fast :p Priceless! Excellent debate by Jeremy with Maude & Serwotka. The fur was flying tonight :o)"

    Indeed, and there was clear fallacy of equivocation at work too given that the class "Civil Servants" (N=453,000) and the Class Public Sector workers (N=+6,000,000) is different, some are not legally allowed to strike, some don't belong to unions, and not all unions were on strike.

    Aside form all of this, here is THE question.

    Given that establishing unions, and having Big Government is a relatively recent (socialist) phenomenon in man's global history, and given that without population management, populations just tend to grow, and in industrial societies, grow differentially and dysgenically (by the demographic, dynamic mechanism, briefly explained in this blog):

    WHAT IS SHRINKING THE PUBLIC SECTOR GOING TO ACHIEVE ACROSS EUROPE AND THE USA IF THE PUBLIC SECTOR IS THE SINE QUA NON FOR REGULATION OF POPULATION?

    To see the seriousness of this look at a) what has happened to Eastern Europe and Russia since 1989 when their union was undermined economically by the USA, and b) look at the People's Republic of China where it has resisted that and acheive4d the opposite (one just needs to look at data from OECD/PISA).

    What you will see is that Libertarians with their erosion of the state are making maters worse not better. That being so, why are they doing it and why are those living under these regimes not campaigning more actively for a growth in the regulative state (Public Sector) rather than voting like (urban myth) lemmings for the opposite?

    It's a simple question too, and there's god data out there to look up for those who dare (and still have the ability).

    In fact, anyone not looking into this (for emotional or other reasons) is ipso facto shooting themselves in the foot whilst instantiating the very behaviours which Libertarians feed upon (egocentricity, narcissism etc).

    Keep one powerful fact in mind. Human males and females are made to be different via a subtle gene cascade Human females have a limited reproductive span (about 15- 45) males do not. If more able females work, they do so at the expense of having children+childcare. The figures are clear on this. Not only are Libertarian birth rates below replacement meaning the populations must fall after the elderly die off, but worse still, the birth rates are differential with respect to genetically driven skills. We are not producing enough skilled people because the more able females are working far more, and for what other than short-tern self interest as it is at the expense of their reproductive fitness..

    It IS going to hurt to wake up from this large-scale, self-destructive, endogenous opioid induced delusion so it's important not to keep shooting at those giving the wake up-calls (this is akin to tossing the alarm clock out the room for some extra hours sleep at the expense of your job etc). In the end, if you censure them, they might stop doing what's best for one....

  • Comment number 59.

    Public Sector Strikes -

    Scargillian in its flawed logic !

    Lost Decade -

    I found Paul's charts a bit incomplete.
    Showing the Governments departmental budget forecasts without showing its debt interest repayments forecast, might suggest to some that the governments overall budget is being cut , it isn't. It is just being eaten away at by debt interest repayments , £48bn this year alone and this will double over the teen years.

    So yes , the government has self emasculated its spending power, but as I said back in 2009 , that was the path Labour had set.

    But is this reduction in the governments spending power a lost decade ?

    Not for me, nor do I suggest it will be for others which aspire or are already free from government dependency.

    Those with statist inclinations might be disappointed though.

  • Comment number 60.

    funnyJoedunn wrote: "However, If (and a very big IF) there are these swathes of fickle people who refuse to work, perhaps it could be that they might want to work but they don't want to work for nowt!"

    Here's the much darker, politically unspeakable, alternative:

    For generations we have been producing too many people who CAN'T work as they don't have the innate (genetic) skills to do productive, trust-worthy work.

    Tax allowances to families (and other benefits) only serve to keep this differential fertility going, which over the long term tips a society towards economic implosion as it encourages its MORE (genetically) able people to delay having families in order to pursue wealth and independence through work. The environment which one is selected for viz work these days is ever more technical.

    One has to look at the long term, and one has to think of this as a civil war. The system we live within actually feeds on those who are consumers/spenders (which includes those pursuing Private Sector independent work), and the system in the long term breeds OUT i.e selects against good ability. One has to look inter-generational (30 years) to see how this works, and most only look short-term.

    That looks like the unvarnished truth. Not nice is it. But the truth rarely is. .
    Intelligence is all about delay - be it our notion of Short-Term Memory, attention, or delayed gratification when borrowing and planning ahead.

    It is all about time. Not so smart means impulsive or its inverse, self-control and planning, and that's something which follows an inverted U curve too as we grow up and age. Our society is becoming mentally younger, and physically older with dire consequences, and along the way we have made matters this way through abandoning planning in pursuit of "freedom" (anarchism). Now the vultures are about.

  • Comment number 61.

    Whilst the pension settlement proposed by Maude may be fair overall there must be problem with the contributions into it for the lowest paid & these people at the bottom end obviously need looking after a bit more as the increases in contributions while still fair in the context of the final pension - make no sense during a recession with a squeeze on their post income tax disposable incomes.

    With regard to the likes of Serwotka - he was remarkably quiet while Labour were in power including Brown Bliar 'sacking' 500,000 civil service posts as enable Labour to win the 2005 GE as stealing one of the Tories' main election pledges.

    I think the Govt need to send the bill for the economic damage, on the strike, to the TUC/ Labour Party HQ's for payment with a seven day payment demand 'warning'.

    It is time for public sector to realise that private sector employees do not struggle with their own terms & conditions to hear public sector workers bleating about their big fat bloated inflation proofed - what are still largely final salary scheme pensions.

    There are plenty of ways to protest without causing massive economic and other damage to the UK & re-making the UK the laughing stock of the entire planent as is what the unions manage to achieve on a regular basis.

  • Comment number 62.

    Missed the debate, but this just in via twitter:

    'BBCNewsnight BBC Newsnight
    On #Newsnight Francis Maude said pension changes are fairer bbc.in/tOaYgc, Mark Serwotka accused him of lies bbc.in/u99r8Y


    Just wondering... given that latter is quite an accusation (quaintly linked to the former, whilst actually being possibly two different issues), no matter what might glean by watching for oneself, does Newsnight not feel that passing on the accusation in this way, with no qualification or context, might be the teensiest bit serving Mr. Serwotka's interests more than those of Mr. Maude? And was any clarification of the facts made by the highly paid moderators present and tasked with acting in helping the public decide?

    I know how some, quite recently, felt strongly about the need for inclusion of totalities, and hence might expect an objective national broadcaster to be held to a high standard, failing which it is an abuse by those who set themselves up as impartial educators and informers.

  • Comment number 63.

    ecolizzy wrote: "Did anyone watch this programme last night?"

    The BBC is broadcasting a blizzard of these programmes at the moment, Hislop, Robinson, Peston. They all have to be analysed critically.

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_receipts/menu.htm

    Have a look at this page from HM Revenue and Customs and ask yourself how clear the above presenters (the research teams do the work) are making matters. HMRC collect about 450 billion a year. Bear in mind how much is spent when you see that figure. Then bear in mind that only around 150 billion is from Income Tax (you can go plus or minus depending on PAYE and SA). Then look into the other taxes which make up most of the national revenue, and that doesn't touch on the Government's borrowing. They always talk about tax payers. But where is much of the money coming from which has funded their hair brained schemes? It has come from borrowing, from debt. Was it money borrowed by politicians to fund projects in the Private and Third sectors at the expense of the Public Sector and rest of the population?.Was it to fund rich people at the expense of the rest? Some of these journalists will make a story out of the data like kids do out of paints. Income Tax is NOT the big issue.

    Is the big issue not sovereign borrowing because national taxes are either so low or avoided or uncollected (as in Greece)? What these Libertarian "governments" then do is dump on the Public Sector and public without them seeing what is going on. Why don't more see this given all the evidence? Might it be because they are not very numerate and literate? Why do so many people now treat levels of cognitive ability as honourific? They don't with respect to height.

  • Comment number 64.

    UK Govt/media never talks about the main issue - not 'unemployment' but 9 + million 'inactive'

    UK unemployment is really 9 million - let's be realistic on this?

  • Comment number 65.

    I too saw the Nick Robinson programme on last night and our Barrie is correct in stating that it could have been compressed into 10-15 minutes.

    Nevertheless, it did show that the scope for 'soaking the rich', nevermind actually defining 'rich', is pretty limited.

    In fact, limited to clobbering them with property taxes in places such as Mayfair and, more interestingly, being more aggressive with 'protectorates' such as the BVI, which presently function as tax havens for the likes of Richard Branson et al.

    However, the sorts of people who live in places like Mayfair and run their business profits out to the BVI are exactly the sort of people that the many multi-millionaire Government Ministers meet at dinner parties etc, so they are 'all in it together' but it is a different cohort from us, the ordinary English people.

    Besides, as the programme highlighted, there is already a huge cross-subsidy from the wealthiest people to the bottom 10%.

    Therefore, the Governments basic options are limited to some mix of :

    a) cutting (public) spending by some proportion
    b) growing the economy e.g. via infrastructure projects
    c) printing money

    The fundamental argument boils down to what proportions of a, b and c should be deployed and over what timescale.

  • Comment number 66.

    MOTE - BEAM - STRAW

    The Straw Man declares that Ahmadinejad was elected ON A 'BENT' VOTE.

    In the 2010 General Election, The Conservatives BENT THE VOTE, employing a 'False Instrument' - breaking election law:

    http://spoilpartygames.blogspot.com/2011/09/take-liar-flyer-challenge-6-sep-2011.html

    But LABOUR'S tacit response to all my contacts is: "WHO CARES?" And the BBC indicates - by silence: "NOT US - THAT'S FOR SURE".

    D MOCK CRASS Y rules. Democracy under the rule of law it isn't.

    Should I contact the Straw Man? Yeah right.

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    Jeremy had a hard time getting answers out of Maud last night and he gave up in the end, unlike his harrangue of Mark Sedoka who he grilled without pity because he did not get the answer he wanted. We really should apply fairness in the response of guests at the BBC, last night that odious person Jeremy Clarkson said strikers should be taken out and shot and yet he is in receipt of public money because he works for the BBC, a public company and he wants people executed for fighting to preserve their pensions, what a divided society we have become or always were, when multi millionaires lecture the low paid on restraint. On Sky TV James Whale said strikers should be shamed of themselves for daring to have a day of action, we do not need lectures from a government front bench stuffed with millionaires when we have people like Clarkson and Whale doing their bidding for them.......

  • Comment number 69.

    Does everyone here understand that these spokespersons who are MPs very probably don't know what they are talking about most of the time and are more PR people than experts in Government? What better people could one have as wreckers of the state? The problem with youth is that it has confidence largely because it lacks experience of life and its complexities. If one ISN'T critical of the agitated exchange between the two "thirty-something" Treasury MPs that we saw the other night, one is probably pretty much of their ilk. This is all very odd. A disaster.

    What we need is some good investigative journalism into PPE degrees.
    Preferably not by those with PPE degrees. Does ability, age and experience not matter? It does everywhere else. A Junior Doctor for example will be someone who has not complete their training. given that it takes about 10 years to produce a basic doctor, that means that a thirty something doctor is at the beginning of their careers, not the top! Enough to make one think one would hope. Only arrogance could account for what we see surely? Or is that an "ism" to the PC brigade of anarchists? do they appreciate that the Equality legislation ONLY applies to the Public Sector (as does the FOIA). Do they understand what it means to target the 20% comprising the Public Sector in this way?

    IT MEANS UNDERMINING GOVERNANCE BY TYPING IT IN KNOTS

    "Mr Alexander is a tender 38; before he became an MP in 2005, he worked as a press officer, largely in politics or on its fringes, but most recently at the Cairngorms National Park Authority. “Another God-damned public-relations man” was the verdict of Lord Tebbit, a Thatcherite headbanger. Mr Laws, by contrast, is a conspicuously numerate former banker.

    Thus the appointment exemplifies some familiar syndromes of government:
    the need, sometimes, to rely on untried youth; the need to barter ministerial posts for the support of rival internal constituencies. But such considerations tend to become acute after a government has been in power for years. And, usually, the equilibrium of only one party has to be maintained. In the coalition, with its need for balance within two parties as well as between them, these problems will be perpetual and tricky.

    The key point about Mr Alexander, however, is not that his background and trajectory are exceptional. It is that he is typical."

    The Economist (2010)

    http://www.economist.com/node/16272211

  • Comment number 70.

    PLAYING A JELLY BAT (#69 link)

    Douglas Alexander clearly loves the Westminster art of 'overt obfuscation'. It is a double-whammy insult to the listener and a discredit to the (ab)user.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 71.

    nautonier wrote: "With regard to the likes of Serwotka - he was remarkably quiet while Labour were in power including Brown Bliar 'sacking' 500,000 civil service posts as enable Labour to win the 2005 GE as stealing one of the Tories' main election pledges."

    Which 500,000 Civil Servants posts were those? Look at the figures and the history. What do you have to say?

    http://www.civilservant.org.uk/numbers.pdf

    How much of what you think/write is true? Imagine this is a widespread
    (endemic) problem to appreciate the nature of the point.

    Do you know and do you care? What does one call people who don't base what they think, say and write upon available data/reality? How does one care for them - these days?

  • Comment number 72.

    Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over
    http://www.vdare.com/articles/goldman-sachs-has-taken-over

    Bankers have seized Europe

    "On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35% of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation.
    Obviously, the German government got the message from the orchestrated failed bond auction. As I wrote at the time, there is no reason for Germany, with its relatively low debt to GDP ratio compared to the troubled countries, not to be able to sell its bonds."

  • Comment number 73.

    68. At 13:10 1st Dec 2011, stevie
    Jeremy had a hard time getting answers out of Maud last night and he gave up in the end


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9652757.stm

    unlike his harrangue of Mark Sedoka who he grilled without pity because he did not get the answer he wanted.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15984068

    Guess it depends on what one defines as 'hard at getting answers' vs. alluding to stuff that will be backed up later.

    Actually the exchange was much more nuanced than that tweet suggested, which is why the BBC deciding news by twitter is such a concern.

    We really should apply fairness in the response of guests at the BBC,

    Not sure how to read that 'we... at the BBC', but agree.

    '..when we have people like Clarkson and Whale doing their bidding for them.......

    In the acknowledged spirit of two wrongs make an interesting set of double standards on occasion, while I felt Mr. Clarkson's DVD sales promo ratings attempt was unhelpful, unfunny and from a dinosaur age, and targeted foolishly, it does seem odd when folks from certain predictable quarters' dander gets fired up by offensive statements and when not.

    HIGNFY, Mock the Week, etc, would be a lot shorter if Mrs T's demise were not a matter of near compulsory inclusion to the BBC management too.

    Interesting how Mr. C's fiscal value seems to be causing some extended reflection by the market rates on his on-air performance, when the response to Mrs. T's daughter's private aside (ironically on the same programme?) was as swift as it was uncompromising.

  • Comment number 74.

    BBC NEWS has been very "democratically" reading out e-mails (one suspects never vetted) on issues for some time now. On the Clarkson PR stunt today someone wrote in saying they were fully behind Clarkson as they had "worked all their life, had no savings and had no pension, and that the Public Sector workers didn't know how lucky they were".

    No, aside from the fact that that could have come from some activist working on behalf of Conservative Party HQ for all the BBC knows, let's just think about this? How long has the person been working? What do they do? If they have no savings and no pension might it be because they have spent all their earnings and don't save anything or contribute to a pension? Might it be that Public Sector employees had no say in their pensions as it was a condition of employment that they bought into the pension scheme and that they were paid less each month precisely because part of what they would otherwise have received in monthly "readies" went into a pension for them when they retired - a system which is a function of loyalty, i.e years of service? It is difficult to hold on to Public sector workers precisely because the opportunities in the Private Sector are greater.

    Public Sector workers a) had to accept these pension terms in lieu of better short term monthly pay to hold on to them b) have seen disastrous management of the economy by politicians which has eroded their pension funds c) now see the Government about the raid pension funds in order to support SME initiatives which Private Sector banks won't support because they're so risky.

    "Worked all my life and have no savings or pension" - indeed.
    Definition of feckless scotoma perhaps?

    It's looking bleak if nobody else picks up and comments on all on this...as you don't put out a fire by pouring fuel on it. Hitting the careful forward planning done by Civil Servants on behalf of Public Sector workers to bail out the feckless amongst the 80% in the Private Sector is not smart behaviour, it just makes matters worse.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm sure we are all looking forward to brown-dog's analysis of Jeremy Clarksons comments about executing public servants who go on strike, etc.

    This blogger tries to avoid the personal but it must be obvious to the bystander that Mr. Clarkson has not been a person particularly comfortable in his own skin for quite some time, having been dogged in recent years with some very bad investment advice and well-documented personal issues.

    Yet apparently many people would like to see Clarkson as Prime Minster.

    No doubt he would make the trains run on time, no matter how many bodies were on the line.

  • Comment number 76.

    more from the link in #72

    "In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt.

    My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.

    If any of the European sovereign debt fails, US financial institutions that issued swaps or unfunded guarantees against the debt are on the hook for large sums that they do not have. The reputation of the US financial system probably could not survive its default on the swaps it has issued. Therefore, the failure of European sovereign debt would renew the financial crisis in the US, requiring a new round of bailouts and/or a new round of Federal Reserve “quantitative easing,” that is, the printing of money in order to make good on irresponsible financial instruments, the issue of which enriched a tiny number of executives."

  • Comment number 77.

    Thank you for all the interesting comments about Robinsons "money" programme last night, food for thought!

    Agreed Barrie on your three points of crass programming, and agreed it waffled but didn't seem to say a lot.

    Agreed Sasha, on your points of inherited wealth and the closeness to government, and also your comment on Christmas presents! After checking my purchases out, nearly all made in china, as I commented to my husband china will have a prosperous new year! ; )

    And thanks Mr Dog for your advice on further reading and trying to find more info on the whole situation, and agree we have a blizzard of such programmes at the moment. I also noted after many years of no history programmes, we are now having a blizzard of those as well. Somehow I get the feeling I'm being manipulated, but lack the insight to quite see how this is being done to me.

    Agreed nautonier about the 9 million not in work, my sister and some others I know don't count in unemployment figures, as they have a partner working and can't claim a thing. My sister was getting NI payed, but has been pursued relentlessly to drop her claim for that, which she now has. For older women in their fifties there is little work available.

    Yes Mr Constable one of the problems with taxing rich property owners here, especially in London, is most of them are foreign, did I hear a figure of a least a third of expensive properties now owned by foreigners, do they pay any taxes here.

    Of course printing money devalues any savings that we have, and putting money into infrastructure, which I beleive is now mainly built by foreign owned compaines, would involve a few more million immigrants coming in to build them. As "we don't have the skills to build them", and the immigrants are "doing the jobs the english won't do". I think I've got the catch phrases right.

  • Comment number 78.

    71.At 13:47 1st Dec 2011, brown-dog wrote:
    nautonier wrote: "With regard to the likes of Serwotka - he was remarkably quiet while Labour were in power including Brown Bliar 'sacking' 500,000 civil service posts as enable Labour to win the 2005 GE as stealing one of the Tories' main election pledges."

    Which 500,000 Civil Servants posts were those? Look at the figures and the history. What do you have to say?

    ++

    I'm well aware of the numbers as I has a contract with the Civil Service at the time - and the basis of removing 500,000 was proposed by the Tories & Labour also said that they would match those numbers - of course they never did - but that what was said at the time by both parties.

    So what I'm saying is correct on the basis of what was said at the time of the 2005 general election - which is the point about Labour & trade union hypocrisy - who did not strike & carry on at the time as proves union strike action is largely party politically motivated & has little to do with the fairness or otherwise of the subject case material.

    That is what I care about - things that really matter - & not 'twaddle'.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    JohnConstable wrote: "Yet apparently many people would like to see Clarkson as Prime Minster."

    Surely one doesn't need any more evidence for why Libertarian Democracy and its populism/celebritism relative to "dowdy" Democratic-Centralism is self-destructive? What we've seen Clarkson (jokingly or not), advocating is the same "demise of the state" which many others in the benefiting electorate call for. Almost none of them will see how they're being played as "useful (infantile disordered) adolescents by Libertarians who ultimately just want to be able to exploit them without the protection of the regulators.

    As an aside, when Israel (unjustly) charges Iran with such intentions there are threats of war.

    Celebrities, ultimately, tend towards becoming narcissistic "junkies".
    Watch the "red squirrels" in Mongrels..... for many working in the media and entertainment business is behavioural self-medication.

    Sadly, for far too many they serve as role models at a time when they are very unsure of their own identity. It recruits them, there are casualties, and there's no telling them..

  • Comment number 81.

    79. Can't see much wrong with that as was nothing like "Clarksonesque"

    Point about Clarkson - like many of them at the BBC, IMO, he is 'over-paid' (excepting JP of course, as is a 'national treasure' - & 'creeping' on my part helps with the mods?) - as no one can write on here what he said about union strike action never mind be the focus of a main air time programme.

    So instead of getting something suitably on the edge with some thought provoking insight on the strike - we end up getting another apology from old Jeremy as imitating a Tory toff twerp - which means he shouldn't have said it & is protecting his job.

    This isn't value for money for the licence payer- there is a huge ruck of them at the BBC - paid contractors like e.g. XXXX included, as on massive & unjustified pay cheques for a public corporation; as the BBC should be about bringing on new British talent and not paying over-rated, mainly left wing 'has beens'.

    IM extraordinarily humble opinion - Mr Clarkson needs moving on (or at least be confined to 'Spoilt Little Big Boy Toy Town') as not being anywhere good licence payer value for money - or even entertaining?

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    Britain's deficit problem & strikes can easily be solved this year by UK govt putting into action an immediate block on all UK immigrants having access to UK bens, NHS, interpreters, legal aid, housing etc & stop all immigrants getting UK NI numbers & passports (weeks only on NI numbers & 4 years only on passports). Also, need to increase amount of income needed to allow entry on all other migrants.

    This would save UK about - £20, £30, £40, £50? + billion pa this year & every year - enough to fund the Civil Service pension shortfall for lowest paid Civil Servants and make a huge dent in structural deficit & keep govt spending plans on course.

    This is all that is needed to bring UK finances under control - allow UK workers to find jobs

    Will govt do this - Of course not - You have to wonder why we are in a such a mess here & successive govt's so useless on this clear good housekeeping approach.

    No need to 'cut immigration' - just switch off the big magnets - cut out the big freebies & problems are solved - no need for any points ystem etc - arguing over this that & other - same for most foreign students - make them pay for their health-care etc & stop subsidising them.

    No need to 'cut immigration' - do the right things & all but the the most useful & self supporting immigrants will stay away.

    Problems solved - you're all welcome - by the billion - but fund yourselves for at least 10 years as no subsidies, NI numbers & passports.

    Oh yes - you need to register to pay for a special immigrant tax, blood test & background checks which immigrant pays for failing which you will be deported at your expense as your good behaviour bond will be forfeit also.

    This way all/most Civil Servants would keep their jobs & most existing pension rights - Now why can't this be done!

    Govt need to re-think and get this done, IMO - I don't see why UK Civil Servants should lose their jobs to see hundreds of thousands of immigrants pouring into UK this year.

  • Comment number 84.

    CLARKSON KNOWS WHAT HE IS - HIS AFFRONTEES HAVE NO SUCH SKILL

    At what point do we 'call to book' 650 MPs who connive at this social decline, and a BBC that 'plays along'?

    POWER WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY?

  • Comment number 85.

    #83 Excellent idea Nautonier, but can you see any barmy british government implementing your suggestions!

  • Comment number 86.

    85.At 17:05 1st Dec 2011, ecolizzy wrote:
    #83 Excellent idea Nautonier, but can you see any barmy british government implementing your suggestions!

    ++

    Er - No - just sack all those Civil Servants, Eh!

    Our barmy British London centric foreignising govts can't make tough choices without taking it out on the British working class & those on low incomes.

  • Comment number 87.

    I got rubbished earlier in this thread for saying that trade barriers are the only way out of this.

    Sarkozy is now making a big speech in Toulon where he is talking about how the developed countries can no longer put up with capitalism getting them into debt by using cheap goods and labour from the undeveloped countries.

    Looks like the first political leader in the West to begin hinting at trade barriers.

    Oh, sorry - I was told that trade barriers will not happen. Yeah, of course not.

  • Comment number 88.

    museV wrote:"Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over - Bankers have seized Europe"

    One could just say that they're seen to be behaving "more transparently"
    now.

    It's the very nature of Libertarianism/capitalism, and to be fair, most working in this sector have never pretended otherwise.

    It's the naive, poorly educable, General Public which doesn't see this, but believe instead that all talk of the obvious is mere "conspiracy theory" even when the protagonists themselves say it!

    Even those who wake up out of their endogenous opioid daze soon drift back with a little nudge from PR agencies, or threats of having their credit taken away.

    What's hard is sustaining critical awareness given the sub critical mass.

    It's sub-critical because of the dumbing down. Can anything be done?

  • Comment number 89.

    Let's face it - if all those hundreds of thousands of UK Civil Servants are going to accept being sacked & just amble down the job centre without hardly a single murmur of complaint while hundreds of thousands of immigrants flock into UK to 'compete' (take priority) for what number of jobs are available - then they 'deserve it' - don't they? - & the only real complaint is about g.p cpi pensions?

    If the Unions haven't the guts to defend their own British workers - they're near about no good to anyone in the UK

    Pathetic - politics is about priorities & making tough choices

  • Comment number 90.

    87.At 17:52 1st Dec 2011, tawse57 wrote:
    I got rubbished earlier in this thread for saying that trade barriers are the only way out of this.

    ++

    Not by me as I agree with suitable trade protection for the UK - but great care is needed in how it is done - UK is is steep economic decline & without some sort of trade protection - the amount of decline, IMO, will be long term & severe

  • Comment number 91.

    nautonier wrote: "I'm well aware of the numbers as I has a contract with the Civil Service at the time - and the basis of removing 500,000 was proposed by the Tories & Labour also said that they would match those numbers - of course they never did - but that what was said at the time by both parties."

    Then you were grossly misinformed, as that would have required the redundancy of almost the entire Civil Service which is the machinery of Government.

    You clearly didn't look at the attachment which has been provided, and you clearly don't know what the Civil Service is either.

    "That is what I care about - things that really matter - & not 'twaddle'."

    What you "care about" is not the point. You don't know what you are writing about and that is a fact. That is going to mislead others who take what you post as being true, which is socially harmful.

    You appear to resist being helped to learn how to write about these matters too. That dramatically reduces your credibility.

    Do you see why? What you have been writing IS twaddle. You have been writing about your mistaken beliefs, not the world. This is endemic.

  • Comment number 92.

    http://www.cipd.co.uk/pressoffice/_articles/Treasuryselectcommittee011110.htm

    Just shows how some do not understand the effects of Civil/Public Service job cuts - figures are all over the place & still no reliable figures available on job losses -as taking out e.g. 'Civil service' jobs also takes out additional jobs in the private sector.

    Conservatives were talking different numbers to Gershon - Brown identified 84,000 job cuts from Gershon & PCS estimate 300,000 jobs taken out between 2005/2008 by Labour.

    Current estimate for pubic sector job cuts is 700-750,000 and with private sector jobs that is likely to be over 1 million jobs lost.

    500,000 was defiinitely talked about in run up to 2005 election as not all jobs were in public sector as cutting public sector jobs takes out private sector jobs also.

    UK unemployment is set to rocket upwards - point being that Brown/Bliar were more than happy to see X no of public /private workers sacked as a politically advantageous compromise as enabling them to cling onto power in general election -that is the point. The unions did not complain much, if, at all, I recall at the time - certainly not national strikes.

    After all cuts of 2005-2008 - still over a million now set to lose their jobs - and unions remain near silent on that which I think is a point worth making.

    Am I correct, that you sound like you find these job losess to be acceptable?

    Thnink of the big picture - if and whether the job losses can be avoided?

  • Comment number 93.

    MuseV quoted an article which also included:

    "Germany, which has been browbeat since its defeat in World War II, has been made constitutionally incapable of strong leadership. Any sign of German leadership is quickly quelled by dredging up remembrances of the Third Reich. As a consequence, Germany has been pushed into an European Union that intends to destroy the political sovereignty of the member governments, just as Abe Lincoln destroyed the sovereignty of the American states.

    Who will rule the New Europe? Obviously, the private European banks and Goldman Sachs."

    On behalf of the USA "Government", which ever more manages at a distance via QUANGOs, NGOs, Think Tanks and Agencies, just as we do. This way, politicians can put whatever happens down to "the markets" and freedom, not Government policy.

    At the same time, they press for UN and other global policies and treaties which put enormous pressure on foreign statist Governments using Human Rights, "Transparency" (FOIA) etc designed to cripple foreign statist regimes and thus further Libertarianism. of course, those who don't understand geopolitics see everything they don't undrstand as "conspiracy theory". Some probably see solid state physics as "conspiracy theory" though.

    Incidentally, where have we all seen this behaviour before?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/clips/p00m714v/mongrels_squirrels_on_crack/

  • Comment number 94.

    nautonier wrote: "79. Can't see much wrong with that as was nothing like "Clarksonesque""

    When you don't see what is wrong with your (verbal) behaviour, but get some feedback that all may not be right, what steps do you take to question the aforementioned behaviour?

    To make the point more clearly, imagine a pupil in school who is asked what 3+5 equals, and they answer "nine". When challenged, the response is that "but I thought it was nine". When told it's "eight" they say "But I think it's nine", who are you to tell me otherwise. believe it or not, this actually does happen more and more often, albeit usually in different, less stark ways, both in our schools, "universities, and elsewhere in society. It is truly endemic. People conflate what they think with what is true, and many people don't comment because either they don't see the problem, or because of how many respond to being checked.. Hence the gradual breakdown in society. It's actually a sign of NOT caring....One has to care to find fault (think doctors/nurses)..

  • Comment number 95.

    "LONDON—U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday warned that a euro-zone break-up will lead to a steep decline in economic output across all the countries of Europe, including the U.K.

    "Why? Because there would be massive dislocation, huge problems with European banks," he said in an interview on the ITV channel."

    Question: As Most money is in banks, why couldn't each of the 17 Euro using member states convert the Euro back to the original domestic currencies?. Prices could be in Euros and domestic currency for a while until the remaining Euros were taken out of circulation. What else would have to change? It's only 12 years since it was done the other way around after all. Doing this would no doubt be politically unattractive prospect to those wanting fiscal and well as political union and require computer etc reprogramming etc, but what else would be a problem? Ten of the Twenty-Seven EU states are not in the Euro anyway. This is just a currency.

    ecolizzy - Sadly, you appear to have just reinforced a load of false-hoods. There are lots of reasons why that can't be done, now we will get more of the same outpourings of what this person doesn't understand as if t hey are credible. For instance, in Africa and South Asia, why do the populations keep growing when there is no benefits etc?

    Borders leak these days because they are not sustainable given world traffic, and aside form that, the Public sector is being continually cut.

  • Comment number 96.

    tawse57 wrote: "I got rubbished earlier in this thread for saying that trade barriers are the only way out of this."

    Like many here, you need to learn to discriminate between "you" and what you post/think. These are different. It's a very important difference too. A generation ago nearly every graduate would have known that.

    "Sarkozy is now making a big speech in Toulon where he is talking about how the developed countries can no longer put up with capitalism getting them into debt by using cheap goods and labour from the undeveloped countries."

    Sarkozy is a Libertarian. The Rating Agencies are bullying France into accepting more devolution to Brussels. The French people, who are largely socialists at heart, will not appreciate this as they said NON to the EU Constitution in 2005. Sarkozy is not as popular as he was, and part of why he is there was no doubt to overturn the 2005 decision. If he pushes for it now, he's likely to be gone next year given all that's happened. If he wins, Europeans lose. Thank goodness DSK is off the radar.

  • Comment number 97.

    nautonier wrote: "Not by me as I agree with suitable trade protection for the UK - but great care is needed in how it is done - UK is is steep economic decline & without some sort of trade protection - the amount of decline, IMO, will be long term & severe"

    Try to take this on board.

    It is never about one's opinions, mine, yours or anyone else's. Nor is it a mater of who agrees, disagrees or how many agree or disagree with opinions. That was at least one thing that was learned over 80 years ago.

    It is all about evidence and matters of fact as to what is the case in the world - these are matters of empirical fact and as matters of law.

    That is what modern politics is all about. If one talks or writes outside of that "anything goes" - which means there is no point rationally talking or writing as one is basically just one step away from brute force. That is when politics breaks down.

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

    97.At 20:54 1st Dec 2011, brown-dog wrote:

    Perhaps your posts reflect your own 'cognitive abilities' & how you yourself relate to others?

    IMO, that is exactly about one's opinions, mine, yours and everyone else's. But, I agree it is not is it a mater of who agrees, disagrees or how many agree or disagree with opinions as is a matter of free speech & not just the domain of a few killjoy whingers hijacking the blog.

 

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