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Labour's coup: Non-events, dear boy, non-events!

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Paul Mason | 09:46 UK time, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Like Marshal Grouchy, whose failure to turn up at Waterloo decided 100 years of European history, sometimes the non-arrival of things can be just as decisive as their arrival.

Harold Macmillan once said it was "events, dear boy, events" that blow governments off course, but non-events matter too. Those commentators who believe there's nothing really political at stake in Labour's current internal struggle I think are missing something.

There are in reality three "poles" of political opinion within Labour: There's the Blairite old-guard centre-right, which most decisively shot its bolt yesterday; there's the government - an alliance of Blairites for Brown and Brownites; and there's the centre left, which on all recent votes - at the 2009 conference and the deputy leadership campaign - commands a majority because the remaining affiliated unions are centre-left run.

The pattern in every attempted coup - above all last June when James Purnell resigned - is that the Blairite centre-right has to pull together two sets of people: cabinet ministers who are sick of Gordon Brown and think Labour cannot win with him in charge; and then the centre left.

That's for starters; because the way Mr Brown runs the Labour party is to use the centre-left-led unions as his organising base, specifically in the form of Charlie Whelan, political officer in Unite, and Ray Collins, the general secretary, also from Unite.

Any revolt involving left-MPs beyond Compass (figurehead Jon Cruddas) and the Campaign Group (figurehead John McDonnell) would have to see the leadership of Unite, Unison, the GMB etc be prepared to pick a fight with their "own men" inside the Labour machine.

For many months it's been clear that is not going to happen. It didn't happen in June, it didn't happen in January. Ergo, this side of an election it's not going to happen.

However, the independent factor is what goes on within the Labour Cabinet. Here, it is clear, since the pre-Budget report there have been frictions that precisely reflect the two "outer" wings of the party's priorities.

The centre left, in the form of William Straw's Left Foot Forward blog, has been calling for an overt Keynesian defence of budget deficits. Pressure from what's left of Labour's base in high finance is telling Mr Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling to balance the books faster and give a more convincing account of how they're going to do bring the budget deficit down.

Mr Brown and Education Secretary Ed Balls are said to believe they can fight the election on an "investment versus Tory cuts" line. Mr Darling and Lord Mandelson have been making noises about the opposite course of action: being straighter with the public about the cuts Labour will be forced to specify should it get back into office.

The problem over the weekend was that, faced with the question of what happens if growth returns quicker, what do you do with the tax receipts? Mr Brown indicated you invest them in services and Mr Darling indicated you pay back the debts.

One way of reading this week's events is that this unresolved tension within the Brown government over how to play the crucial issue of the budget deficit actually reflects the more solid ideological positions on the left and right of the party.

But that's not the only factor.

There is the wild-card issue of Mr Brown's leadership style. This, to be truthful, seems to satisfy almost nobody in the cabinet.

The Blairites-for-Brown moan openly to journalists about how ruthless and efficient the old Blair-Ally Campbell machine was; the true Brownites miss the days of those brutal 3am text messages from Damian McBride.

That discontent was what the plotters hoped to play on.

I understand Labour apparatchiks were aware this was coming from early Tuesday morning and the key issue was going to be the Cabinet. The unions, and backbenchers, will not act independently of that.

That is why all those "Miliband only declared at 6.45pm" news lines mattered: this is what Labour's HQ staff were watching and they were by mid-afternoon pretty worried at the non-appearance of many Cabinet members.

However, for me, Wednesday's events signal that the Gordon Brown leadership issue is over. The non-event tells you that all forces that now matter inside Labour have decided to go through to the election with Mr Brown as PM.

However, what it leaves open is this matter of substance: how to play the political economy of the budget deficit.

It will all come down now to a wrangle over the budget, assuming the election is in May.

Does Mr Darling sketch out at least one year's worth of cuts for each department in 2011-12, or does he do a mini-spending review, maybe with a two year horizon? Or do the growth projections get massaged upwards?

What you cannot do in a budget is split the difference between credibility with the markets and your own domestic political priorities.

Iceland, Greece and Ukraine are extreme forms but, as everybody in finance knows, the "bond vigilantes" in the City are out to get Gordon and if they decide to stage a test of Labour's fiscal credibility, it will not be done with a few cack-handed text messages at noon.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    the opposite course of action: being straighter with the public

    Just wanted to see that again in print. Not often one gets such candour on the BBC.

    Brown indicted

    Or wishful thinking, for that matter.

    The rest is best left to the WUVI's: Westminster Useful Village Idiots.

    I think the rest of us are past caring.

  • Comment number 2.

    DO THE VOTERS KNOW WHEN THEY VOTE?

    Bad enough that we have to vote for pre-selected ciphers carrying party 'favours', without they then form sub-factions within the damnable Westminster Palace of Varieties. What kind of REPRESENTATION might this be - let alone DEMOCRACY. Small wonder many, with minds, just refuse to engage with the charade of British elections.

    PAUL: Can you fix it for us to have an abstention box on the 2010 voting paper? Or one of your colleagues perhaps? It is such a no-brainer (in democratic terms, not party political) that even a no-brain politician can understand.

    We demand the right to ABSTAIN and BE COUNTED or to be told why this option should not be available.

  • Comment number 3.

    "...the "bond vigilantes" in the City are out to get Gordon and if they decide to stage a test of Labour's fiscal credibility, it will not be done with a few cack-handed text messages at noon."

    Early nominee for prescient comment of 2010.

  • Comment number 4.

    THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST AND THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST

    Brown gives out so many signals of inner angst, only the world of politics would see him as an asset. Only PARTY politics would succeed in elevating him to the highest (most dangerous) office in the land.

    It is widely reported that Brown draws PITY more than any other emotion - rightly so, in a nation that purports to be Christian. My frustrated fury is, at root, directed to the mess that is British 'democracy. As I have said before: "Democracy is the only word that encompasses CRASS and MOCK."

    SURELY we can all see Brown trying to work out HOW TO BE BROWN - and making a hash of it? It is well understood that those who have a continuous 'dialogue' going on in their head 'LOCK UP' and perform badly in the real world.

    Brown is not the first man of limited functionality who will strive to compensate through seeking power, status and implied qualities. But while British hierarchical politics is structured to elevate such needy, angst-ridden wannabes, we shall not be free of inept leadership, and the consequences are limitless (until the EU swallows us).

  • Comment number 5.

    Brown indicated

    You're welcome.

    Wouldn't want to acknowledge a tip and and make an unannounced correction to leave a bod looking silly, now would we?

  • Comment number 6.

    This is the most intelligent discussion of yesterday's events I have seen, certainly from anybody at the BBC, and it makes Nick Robinson look like the lightweight he is - whether or not you agree with what Paul is saying.

  • Comment number 7.

    I agree no. 6. The more Brown becomes the 'pop-up' PM the more rediculous he looks. This only reflects the fact that he does not possess one cell of conviction or one neuron of socialist ideology and therefore is no body's choice. Blair had the critical distinctions of charisma and excellent communications but was still Thatcher's child. It is sad to see Labour M.P.s taken in by a few well chosen sound bites at Cameron during PMQ's as representing good leadership. The LD's beckon.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is Jeremy Paxman going soft?

    He left it late again last night to question Mandelson about the governments departmental spending plans and interestingly Mandelson widened Darling/Byrne excuse from just uncertainty over unemployment to wider uncertainty over the economy.

    I'm amazed that the Tories have not picked up on this since if there is uncertainty over the wider economy as well as unemployment then Darling's PBR spending plan and indeed all of his figures must be in question for relaibility and reasonable accuracy.

    Mandelson looked far too comfortable answering JP's question on this - which makes me think the BBC warned PM in advance of the question and left it until the last question i.e. ran out of time to answer it properly.

    I think that Mandelson was entirely within his comfort zone last night and is obviously probably New Labour's most capable member - he looks to be 'biding his time'.

    The BBC are paid to be in place in order to provide some independent journalisctic scrutiny of our government - particularly in times of crisis?

    But, are we getting it here?

  • Comment number 9.

    QUANTITATIVE EASING HAVING EFFECT ON BEARS IN WOODS (#8)

    Uncertainty is now the only thing you can rely on nautonier.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree that is one of the best analyses of the conflicts within government. The truce that followed Peter Mandelson's return has broken doiwn, and Brown has returned to his reliance on Balls; and the support of the unions. The winning middle-of-the-road formula which Blair brought to Labour Government is past history; as may be Labour's rule, though the Conservatives, returning to their own roots, are scarcely any better placed to meet the wishes of the electorate.

    The one thing missing from this admirable analysis is the electorate. None of the above address what the people want.

    Maybe, instead, the public may react in the only way that they can, as they tried in 1992, and vote for a hung parliament. Maybe, if that empowers those who want real change (rather than a return to left versus right warfare) that is the best solution.

  • Comment number 11.


    David Mercer @ 10: A hung parliament would mean the credit rating agencies would down-grade the UK's status and those who have been buying gilts [ie funding the government's borrowing] would take flight. The result of that would be a sharp rise in interest rates and the economy going into a downward spiral. Is that what you really want?

    I do agree that Paul's analysis is first class. I've always rated him.

  • Comment number 12.

    Interesting analysis which illustrate how much Westminster is a bubble.

    The expectation within the centre-left group must be that Labour will crash at the election. They will then recover their position within the polls by campaigning against the Tory cuts. Such cynicism!

    They should focus on the distinct possibility that Labour will not only crash at the election but burn as well. The party could then fragment politically isolating the centre-left for a generation at least always assuming they ever recover.

    The centre-left model of public services financed centrally from taxation and public debt has been exposed as economically unsound. It is quite possibly unviable within an economy with an inadequate manufacturing base to generate the real wealth that such a political and social model requires.

  • Comment number 13.

    9. At 3:10pm on 07 Jan 2010, barriesingleton wrote:

    QUANTITATIVE EASING HAVING EFFECT ON BEARS IN WOODS (#8)

    Uncertainty is now the only thing you can rely on nautonier.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I suspect that Darling et al are doing something really dodgy!

    All Darling has to do is throw everything at Q4 GDP figures and find enough money for QE until e.g. March and then Labour have put enough extra money into the economy to fudge the figures for a May general election (because of the 2-3 month (?) time lag with QE effects).

    This provides propaganda fuel for the New Labour spin machine but with Brown in real 'corrosive' trouble and Labour splitting into different camps to restructure after the general election.

    However, if the UK economy GDP figures can be fudged by New Labour for Q4 2009 (i.e. to end technical recession) and if Brown's support slips substantially going forward - Get ready for a March general election to enable Darling to avoid having to present a budget in March?

    Yes! Most uncertain.

  • Comment number 14.

    A great and fiesty post from you today Paul which has prompted some very good and illuminating comments above also. I hope this blog space does not become too popular!

    Just to focus on one thing.

    The "bond vigilantes" in the City are out to get Gordon and if they decide to stage a test of Labour's fiscal credibility, it will not be done with a few cack-handed text messages at noon.''

    A very interesting statement this as much for what it implies rather than what it states, especially if you put it in the context of #11 comments above.

    Are you basically saying here is that we no longer live in a democracy, the 'banks'.. 'bond vigilantes', 'ratings agencies' and combinations thereof, call them what you will, wield such power now in our weakened fragile economic situation that they can lay the country low and induce much suffering in the population based on something as un-democratic as a consensus between them to be ''out to get Gordon'' or '' be worried by a hung parliament''?

    to quote # 11

    ''the credit rating agencies would down-grade the UK's status and those who have been buying gilts [ie funding the government's borrowing] would take flight. The result of that would be a sharp rise in interest rates and the economy going into a downward spiral''

    I have been of the opinion now for some time that a huge mistake was made during the crisis, the banks across the board were not nationalised, they were simply 'saved' to save 'the system'.. but the system stinks, the system can never work long term as it relies on eternal growth at its core which will hit natural buffers pretty soon, be it peak oil or some other manifestation of it.

    In not taking the opportunity to fully naionalise the banks (the banks would have had no choice at the time)when they were all on the verge of a systemic collapse, the politicians, in effect, handed the fate of this nation ( and others) to those very people who created the crisis and we are now at their mercy as they grow stronger in the knowledge that they are now supported by but not accountable to an army of 'hard working families and small business'.

    Can there be a more complete and utter dereliction of duty from a political party (a Labour party at that) than to allow that situation to occur. White collar crime against humanity is a term that comes to mind again.


    I am not an 'expert' in these things, so I am open to counters which explain why my rather democratically apocalyptic analysis above is wrong?


    I hope it is wrong.


    Please someone tell me it is wrong in detail in a way my rational brain can accept....

    I await some responses...somewhat nervously.


  • Comment number 15.

    What I find most frightening about the 'Hoonit' attempted coup yesterday was how badly it was handled.

    I mean, these two have been earning mega salaries running the likes of the NHS and the MOD - if they cannot organise even the anti-Brown lot into speaking up then what on earth were they doing to the military, the hospitals, etc? No wonder our country is in such a mess with such people making, or not making, decisions.

    Miliband may well come to rue yesterday.

    Yes, he may inherit the Labour leadership, assuming the Tories win the coming election, but, with the then possibilty of 2 or 3 terms of a Conservative Government, Miliband might suddenly finding himself looking old and tarred with the marks of failure and yesterday... amidst plenty of younger up and coming 'Milibands'... some prepared to do what he apparently had no interest in doing yesterday.

    Anyhow, you are right Paul - the Markets will decide. It is just a question of whether there is a Bond crisis before or after the election.

    Do not be surprised to see a Black Wednesday style ramping of interest rates sometime in 2010. If the Markets wants Brown out it will be before the election, if they think Cameron is a light-weight then it will be after the election.

    Either way, there is serious financial pain coming for all Brits this year.

  • Comment number 16.

    HAS ANYONE GIVEN ANY THOUGHT TO WHERE BROWN'S 'TALENTS' WILL BE REWARDED WHEN HE LEAVES OFFICE? (#14)

    "the banks across the board were not nationalised, they were simply 'saved' to save 'the system'"

    Over the years we have seen how our policymakers make policy that suits this or that vested interest, in whose bosom they later lie, lucratively, upon retirement from politics. We know there are no Machiavellian depths that Brown will not stoop to, so is it not entirely possible he 'saved the banks' not to save the system, but to save his own, petty future prospects, at any cost?

    Money is not my field, but this isn't a money issue, is it. It is human behaviour of the extreme kind, routinely found in our politicians, with its iniquity always commensurate with height of office held. It's just a variation on 'FOLLOW THE MONEY' - cherchez le payoff.

  • Comment number 17.

    Just out of curiosity, is it not the case that Mandelson is the adhesive keeping the Cabinet together. Remember the solvite advert, sticking the smiling guy to a board hanging from a helicopter. You just start to wonder which part of the of his boiler-suit is going to rip first, no disrespect to the adhesive manufacturer.

  • Comment number 18.

    HOON IS A TRAINED LAWYER, AS WAS BLAIR, AS ARE SO MANY OF THEM . . .(#15)

    Lawyers play mind games to achieve required ends, morality plays no part - winning is all. I am not the first to wonder what was the underlying (a word composed of UNDER and LYING) intent.

    Just as a failed bomber 'will do nicely' for TRAINED LAWYER Obama to (somewhat incongruously) turn the screw of surveillance on 'his own people', so this 'failure' might prove to be just dandy for some agenda, not yet emerged.

    Whom do you serve Mr Hoon?

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks Paul another illuminating viewpoint.

    Whilst Brown-Ball's are concentrating on their 'Investment line' which they believe will win votes you also have Mendelson-Darling trying to(and do pardon the pun) hedge the markets and international financers with their murmurs of 2011-12 Budget cuts.

    In the meanwhile Brown is counting on 15 years of lethargy and Class war politics to maintain his position - Surely thats why the "bond market vigilantes" in the City are taking an interest as they surely have no stomach for Browns preference for centralist approach to well everything...

    The difference I suppose is that at least the Markets have the means to influence the government whereas the rest of us are waiting for the election date.


  • Comment number 20.

    I think there are a few things that the medi-ocracy don't quite grasp.
    Including Paxman.

    Although the Parliamentary New Labour Party ascribe credence and respect to Mandelson, looking to him to save them, and the BBC grovels along in the same way (is Nick Robinson in love?), I have never heard anyone outside of that who does NOT think that the person in question is the slimiest of worms, a crook, and is not revolted to see or hear him.

    And, pretty close - Brown. You don't take account of how much the public hates him, how much people see through the rubbish about serious, sensible, religious person and see him for the full time spinner he is (wife, brother - spin doctors), how much he is held responsible for every stage of the huge financial mess, including years of 'world's greatest treaserer' rubbish.

    These factors do matter.
    And New Labour, whatever inticate factional dealings there are, would do well to heed them.

  • Comment number 21.

    I do like your style.

    If only we could rely on the same straight talking from the rest of the media.

    Brown and Balls think the electorate are totally gullible and if they tell them they will all be better off with labour then they will of course believe it. They're probably right.

    Fortunately markets are not niaive and if they feel threatened unlike us they can do something about it. The UK is certainly in no position to ignore this and the labour party could have already sealed its own fate by taking for granted that there will be a never ending demand to buy Britain's debt while they carry on with their spending agenda as usual.

    The only way to stop them would be a major crisis before the election triggering interest rate hikes or a run on the pound then the country would at last have to prioritise its debt management and bring it under control.

  • Comment number 22.

    We are living in a two tier-Britain at the moment.

    Everyone I know who works in the private sector is either cutting back on spending, hunkering down and hoping to survive this year and next: or is concerned that they will lose their jobs this year; or has already lost their job(s) or business.

    Meanwhile...

    Everyone I know who works in the public sector, from doctors and nurses to coucil workers, teachers, BBC types, is seemingly oblivious to any recession at all. At worst, they are concerned that they will not get their pay rises this year. At best, they think that the banking crisis, the demise of the private sector and the rise in umployment is something which has absolutely nothing to do with them.

    It is bizarre, it is surreal and most of the public sector workers I know think of private sectors workers as those unable to get jobs in the public sector - not good enough.

    How such people will react when faced with redundancy or when they have been unemployed for 6, 12 or more months is going to be interesting to watch. Private sector workers know about the pros, cons and perils of the job market and often have the drive to go out there, hunt down a job and 'attack' being unemployed the best they can... but how will thousands of former public sector workers react when the public sector cuts begin?

    It is going to be years before we fully begin to understand what damage the mess of easily credit/debt, of basing an economy on the credit card, on ludicrous house prices and of believing that we can outsource our best jobs overseas has done to our country.



  • Comment number 23.

    It's a non-event but perhaps more because the Tories and Lib Dems have fallen silent?

    Have they all gone skiing or something?

    I recall that just before the 1997 election Blair, Brown et al were at the Tories with stories of sleaze (Can you believe it - Ha Ha Ha) every day, all the time and every/any other weakness shown by the Tories - and this is how they managed to increase their parliamentary landslide victory.

    We know its cold outside but if the Tories and LibDems really want soemthing out of the election, then surely they should display some/more ambition and energy?

  • Comment number 24.

    Some great posts....especially #'s 20, 21 and 22

  • Comment number 25.

    couple of interesting things about the events of "The Phone Plot" - the first response, from Lord Meddlesome, was that it was "nothing", a storm in a tea cup, and would blow over [if they kept their nerves]. Now it is a heinous, terrible plot to unseat a truly loved and valued Leader, a back-stabbing scheme to chill the blood of any motorist buried in a snow-drift. Mmm.

    also, i note the complete lack of asking anyone on the street what they think about all this - i suspect Mr Hoon and his evil hench-persons are more in tune with the electorate than are Labour MPs scared to face Meddlesome's hypnotic stare...

    we shall see come QuestionTime perhaps.


    Labour can get nowhere until the Leadership issue is settled one way or the other. As Hoon said, during the Election Campaign all of this will come out anyway, and will doom Labour completely.

    all this current fluff about Labour "not moving to its core vote" is shorthand for sticking to the centre-right wet-Thatcherism policies, identical in every respect to Camoron's policies - as everyone knows. Yet the majority of the Public are far to the left of this NuLabour/Tory position, as are the majority of the decent Labour MPs. The simple contact with their constituents will make these Labour backbenchers rebel against the Meddlesome Regime, and that can only increase as the election draws nearer.

    these union leaders have to grasp that by supporting Gordon Brown, not only are they supporting Lord Meddlesome, they are also dooming themselves to Tory rule - probably. Or more accurately, *continued* Tory rule. The Labour Movement must be despairing of what Blair, Brown and Co. have done, how can the members be happy with leaders that support them to stay in control?

  • Comment number 26.

    #2 barrie singleton

    Barrie we have a grand total of 36 supporters thus for on the No.10 website for the addition of an abstention box on the ballot paper!

    We can now fill a pub..we are on our way!!!!

    Interestingly having had a dig around there are several other petitions on similar lines, mostly fragmented and written in a fit of angst it would seem so I suspect Shireblogger may be right and if it ever did get off the ground it may have a chance of shaking the tree.

    Of course we would need support from the media to have any chance and therefore we would need to come up with some titilating strapline or have Jordan and Peter Andre or piers morgan take up the cause with simon cowels support for it to work bankrolled by afew 'bond vigilantes' maybe.

    'The only way to achive something is to vote for nothing'

    Has anyone got Jordans....ermmm I mean Simon Cowels phone number?

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Vote-Abstention/

  • Comment number 27.

    26. At 11:29am on 09 Jan 2010, Jericoa wrote:

    #2 barrie singleton

    Barrie we have a grand total of 36 supporters thus for on the No.10 website for the addition of an abstention box on the ballot paper!

    We can now fill a pub..we are on our way!!!!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    An interesting proposal but what worries me is that Gordon Brown's hardcore Giro cheque and negative agenda supporters will not be abstaining - they'll all be voting for Gordo!

  • Comment number 28.

    Is it just me or this hilarious story about Mandleson and Darling having had a show-down with Brown, having got him to agree to no longer being, apparnetly, a 'control freak' and recognising that he has to let go of controlling everything, has to agree to massive public spending cuts and jobs losses, etc...

    ....just a panic press release after reading this very blog and comments about the coming sovereign debt crisis?

    It is as if the penny has finally dropped and that a combination of the rating agencies, the big bond bond buyers and just one or two realistically written financial articles are enough to scupper them completely - before, during or after the coming election?

    Once a control freak always a control freak - they don't change overnight. In fact, ask any therapist or professional in this area, they rarely ever change at all.

    Panic - they should!?

  • Comment number 29.

    Not wanting to sound like Ms Grouchy, but: events here being so uneventful, isn't this the time for you to get back out into the world? Jerusalem may be further afield and we need you to go looking for it. (You have the budget and the camera's attention.)

  • Comment number 30.

    #26 Jericoa

    If the addition of an 'abstention box' cannot be implemented...then 'we', the Great British voting public, might want to consider the only other available option...which would be to recommend spoiling ballot papers by putting a cross in ALL of the boxes. Remember, this would be OFFICALLY recorded as a 'spoilt' ballot paper.

    This would therefore be considered as a defacto abstention...and all spoilt ballot papers are of course counted, recorded and then announced.

  • Comment number 31.

    #30 Debt Juggler

    You are not one of those 6% of people paying your mortgage using your credit card are you?

    Paul, perhaps you can enlighten us about this.

    Credit cards charge a v high interest rate because they are 'unsecured' and to 'refelct the risk' we are told, yet it would appear that via a 'charging order' peoples homes can be repossesed for 'unsecured' credit card debt and often are.

    Surely the banks are 'having thier cake and eating it here'?

    How can you justify an interest rate of 15% when the base rate is 0.5% and have the ability to repossess thier home in your back pocket if your 'gamble' as a creditor does not pay off?

    Heads I win tails you lose...again...

    i dont suppose the law lords after the 'punitive overdraft' case could be trusted to look at this issue in a just way either, no doubt it will come down to a 'point of law' too complicated for us mere mortalks to either understand or be entrusted with deciding.

    Is it not good enough for the banks to have bled the taxpayer dry to ensure their survival without 'mis-selling' unsecured credit card 'loans' too, chucking the desperate out of their own homes via a little known about mechanism?


    Just a thought....


    Anyway, concerning spoling ballot papers as a way of abstention, yes I guess that is the next best thing but the powers that be have been careful to plant the perception in the public mind that 'spoilt' papers are produced by the illiterate / drunk or irresponsible minority rather than being a genuine political mechanism.

    I think you would have to break that general perception first before people en masse would exercise that democratic option.

    Perhaps everyone should 'abstain' from paying thier mortgage until all the banks are nationalised as should have been done when they had the chance.

  • Comment number 32.

    #31 DebtJuggler

    It has been said before but is perhaps worth mentioning again - the banks, aided by politicians no doubt looking at lucrative post-political banking part-time board-room jobs, have succeeded in privatising the profit whilst leaving the Public holding the losses.

    If you ever doubted that you lived in a democracy then give up any of those doubts now.

    The banks now know that they can do what they wish, they can take whatever risks they fancy, they can even borrow at rates only before available to governments. This will lead, eventually, to them taking greater and greater risks, and no doubt huge bonuses all round, but inevitably it will all collapse again - perhaps sooner than any politican, banker or blogger realises.

    Perhaps a future generation of Americans and Britons will not be so commpliant as we are? Let's hope so.

  • Comment number 33.

    - 'If you ever doubted that you lived in a democracy then give up any of those doubts now.' -

    Oops, that wasn't what I meant to say but, well, I think the Newsnight bloggers are bright enough sparks to understand what I actually meant to say... sheepishly goes and hides in corner.

    In other words, we have no control what our political and banking masters decide for us - decide what is best for us and for them.

  • Comment number 34.

    tawse57 you must read 'writingsonthewall on roberts peston's blog....this guy's smart...and he's beautifully got the zeitgeist.

 

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