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Parties trade radical language on economic model. Who can deliver?

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Paul Mason | 13:45 UK time, Tuesday, 13 April 2010

If you are of that school of thought that thinks manifestos are irrelevant, and only hard, costed pledges matter, skip this blog. If you are interested in political philosophy, read on.

There is a very interesting philosophical juxtaposition to make between the ways the Labour and Conservative manifestos analyse Britain's strategic economic problem.

Let me give you Labour's formulation:

"As the economy steadily recovers, there will be no return to business as usual: financial institutions cannot continue the practices of the past. Radical change is needed. Without creating infrastructure and enterprise, accompanied by the diversification of our industrial base, Britain will not emerge from the recession ready for a stronger, fairer future."

Now here's the Conservative manifesto:

"One thing is clear. We can't go on with the old model of an economy built on debt. Irresponsible public spending, an overblown banking sector, and unsustainable consumer borrowing on the back of a housing bubble were the features of an age of irresponsibility that left Britain badly exposed to the economic crisis... Britain needs a new economic model."

The Conservative manifesto contains numerous references to a "new economic model" for Britain. The word "model" does not appear, as far as I can tell from word searching, in the Labour manifesto at all (though "economic future" appears a lot).

This is very interesting. I have looked at the last three Tory manifestos and their economic sections make no mention whatsoever of the old economic model being in any way flawed.

Indeed the language tended to be about "freeing up" the pent up dynamism of the old economic model (ie debt-driven, property-driven financial capitalism); and much of the economic policy in those manifestos was about tax.

Now whatever you think about the Conservatives' ability to deliver, or even design a new economic model the manifesto contains - verbally at least - an absolute U-turn in economic philosophy. It does not go so far as Conservative thinktanker Philip Blond and say "neo-liberalism was wrong" but it does pose that very question.

Indeed this would be an apt first question should David Cameron decide to be interviewed by my colleague Jeremy Paxman.

The language of Labour's manifesto tends, by contrast, to focus on "radical change" through a new emphasis on industrial base, green technology and export-led growth. In this Labour overlaps with the Conservatives. So what you are left with is the "big-state/small-state" difference: there are two distinct visions for the role of the state in the new kind of capitalism, but there is a lot of shared territory.

For Labour this shift in economic philosophy comes easier - there has always been an inner Keynesian/industrialist soul to Labourism: for this reason Labour's language is less radical.

Having made a long feature for Newsnight exploring whether Britain needs a new economic model, speaking to businesspeople, green thinkers, social activists and blue-sky thinkers on the right and left, I confess to being even now a little bit stunned to read the words "Britain needs a new economic model" in the first page of the Tory manifesto.

In truth both parties were somewhat beguiled by the apparent success of the old model. Since they are both now verbally committed to a new one, the task is to interrogate the vision - and question who is best equipped to execute against it.

I hope the upcoming leaders' debate on the economy does manage to pose some of these root-and-branch questions about economic philosophy and not just descend into a late-night Charlie Parker solo about deficits and debts.

The philosophical debates are the tough ones because, in truth, they involve soul-searching questions for politicians in both the Labour and Conservative high command.


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  • Comment number 5.

    Nothing will change!

    It's all just anarchistic hot air manifesto rhetoric.

    None of these libertarian clowns will ever understand industrial base, engineering or technology. They have no intention of understanding it, nor do they have the ability.

    Jericoa made a good point the other day about the Chinese economy being largely controlled by an elite with a strong engineering bias. It's broadly the same in Germany, Japan and S. Korea and to a lesser extent France. Career politicians are rather looked down upon within these nations.

    Human rights legislation (importance of self) trumps social responsibility/accountability every time. Blair often commented that his greatest accomplishment was his human rights legislation.

    Only an ex lawyer could ever view such an anarchistic piece of legislation as their greatest legacy.

  • Comment number 6.

    Free market capitalism has failed - the markets can turn against the capitalists.
    So to try & prevent capital devaluation, state intervention becomes necessary for the 'good of us all'.
    But capitalism cannot afford state intervention of the social democratic type (health, eductation, pensions, etc).
    People can see who's side the state is on.

    Hence there is now an ideology vacuum.

  • Comment number 7.

    A late night Charlie Parker solo would be eminently more uplifting than a leaders' debate, but I do get the analogy. Maybe Paxo should ask Cameron if the new economic model has a 5 year time horizon? Should we work collectively to achieve the "Big Society"? Nationalised banks under a Conservative Prime Minister? You just can't make it up? Well they just have.

  • Comment number 8.

    The Tories may "talk" about a new economic model, but will they "walk the talk"?

    Do they really have the stomach to take on such a complex & curious symbiotic relation between the money markets, bullion houses, investment banks, the Central Bank and the bond markets?

    "We can't go on with the old model of an economy built on debt."

    It has always ever been about the debt. But to lance that boil could be very painful indeed:

    "What we see at present is a battle between the central banks and the collapse of the financial system fought on two fronts. On one front, the central banks preside over the creation of additional liquidity for the financial system in order to hold back the tide of debt defaults that would otherwise occur. On the other, they incite investment banks and other willing parties to bet against a rise in the prices of gold, oil, base metals, soft commodities or anything else that might be deemed an indicator of inherent value. Their objective is to deprive the independent observer of any reliable benchmark against which to measure the eroding value, not only of the US dollar, but of all fiat currencies."

    The debt clocking is ticking away:

    Can the Tories really defuse this debt based monetary timebomb?

  • Comment number 9.

    Given that all of the parties are coming across so weakly, maybe they intend to undermine Westminster in favour of something more regional, something smaller, more local, more manageable? Didn't New Labour champion this idea long ago? Isn't there an Act which tried to do just this? Maybe they've all got an agenda which is at the expense of one English Parliament? As that Act was passed by them all, that would make sense wouldn't it? I can't make much sense of what's going on otherwise. They all seem to be trying to make England more like Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To do this, they'd have to break England up into smaller regions wouldn't they? Each with its own Assembly like Wales, Scotland and Ireland? Is that what's really going on? Is all the mayhem contrived?

  • Comment number 10.

    As I alluded to yesterday, Britain now needs a great debate - probably several great debates - that rise above the petty bickering and electioneering that we are now seeing, and probably will continue to see, in the coming weeks.

    I feel that a fundamental flaw with the majority of politicians is that they often lack personal understanding and knowledge of something - i.e. actually having run a business, actually knowing the hows and whys of big IT projects, what it is like to train for years for something only to see that job outsourced overseas, etc, etc - and that the people they often turn to for advice, such as big business or the heads of IT consultancies for example, are basically vested interests with either their own personal or company's interest at the forefront of their minds rather than the greater good of the country.

    This is the flaw in what the UK now has for leaders - a class of professional politicians with seemingly little outside real world expertise.

    Perhaps the first great debate that needs to be had is one of no one being able to stand for Parliament until they have had a 10 year career outside of politics and outside of the civil service. Maybe if 5% of us sign a petition then the Tories, if in Government, would have to allow us to vote on it? Now, that would be a thing.

    In San Francisco they have the wonderful BART - Bay Area Rapid Transport - that is a mix of an underground and overground tram system. Several years back a couple of counties wanted the BART extended to their towns and, using US Law similar to the one that Cameron talked about today, went out, got a petition together and when they had enough names on the petition the question of whether they should pay an extra one dollar in tax in their pay check in order to fund the expansion of the BART was put on the ballot.

    It was voted in and the BART accordingly expanded.

    If the Tories get in and bring what they talked about today into Law then, here in Wales, I can imagine the numbers organising petitions to finally bring an end to the too numerous Welsh QUANGOs would result in petition fatigure - but at least it would democratic, and no doubt save the tax-payers a considerable sum.

  • Comment number 11.

    unlike some i do not believe economic model has failed. indeed the credit crunch is proof of its laws. the laws were ignored through greed and stupidity of the POLITICAL models and so they smacked everyone in the face.

    a model implies some kind of science. some kind of maths? maths has one solution. one model. 2+2=4. the basic economic model has not failed. thousands live by it in their homes everyday- keeping within means, saving for a rainy day etc. its not rocket science. the fact the govt punishes people through tax for saving for their pensions etc is part of a political model. the 'fairness agenda'. which is not about fairness at all but bribing those who do not live by the economic model with the money of those who do. To be 'fair' to those who save for their pensions, pay off a mortgage etc is not to create a system that penalises them for doing so. The political model penalises those who do live by the economic model.

    under the political model of 'fairness' it does not pay to work or save and has given rise to an explosion in single mothers on benefits.

    so the economic model works fine. people do it every day. it is the political models that pervert the economic ones. which is what happened in the credit crunch etc.

    so if the good is the highest idea of the mind how much good is there in political models that pervert the 'Micawber' economic one.

    so actually the problem lies in the institutional incompetence of the political class who do not have to prove any competence in economic or administration or man management.

    if we had such trained guardians would they have shouted down the FSA from doing its job as Gordon and Tony did? Would they have said we shall rules for the motorways, rules for air traffic control but the financial markets need no rules?

    so the fact the tories say we need a new economic model shows they are thoroughly incompetent. rather they should have said they will institutionalise competence within the government so that the models of political bias and prejudice does not pervert the economic model of 2+2=4.

    even now it is not illegal for people to so wreck the financial system that it would cause another disaster. because the economic laws that demand it have been perverted by the political ones of vested interest.

  • Comment number 12.

    the real economic model is to have rules and a strong competent referee who can stand up to the pressure of the bias coming from the political class and their political models.


    national strategic services should be not for profit co operatives. the market delivers profit not services or uk national interest in a crisis.

  • Comment number 13.

    'we need a new economic model'

    It's a bit rich to make such a bold and far reaching statement on page one of a manifesto which would affect everyones lives then not candidly explain what that may mean to peoples lives. It is potentially an absolutely massive statement.

    Maybe myself (and others) on here have been doing them a dis-service, maybe they do understand the nature of the emerging new geo-political landscape many of us have been raging about on here and have a backroom plan for it, maybe the real issue is they lack the moral courage to be honest about it and tell us for fear of losing the election.

    Is that what you are saying Paul?

    I dont know which is worse, they either dont understand in the first place or hold the British people in such low esteem as to think we can not be trusted to make the right decision when presented with reality.


  • Comment number 14.

    As others have already correctly pointed out, models are constructed to match reality. As we largely know (from research) what reality is, the problem we face is that some people can't accept it for what it is, so can't be trusted to govern responsibly.

    So, if we want good government, the logic is that we have to make sure that we don't vote for politicians who show us that they aren't in touch with reality.

    We're hardly spoilt for choice are we? Our politicians collectively appear to be happy to appeal to people who haven't got a clue. What sort of leadership is that indicative of?

  • Comment number 15.


    Yep, we need a new economic model, we need bold statements and need to ask the big questions.

    The situation is so dire, and will only become truly known once the election is over, that we need bold and radical new ways of thinking, of working and of making a living as a country. The models that have served us since 1945 are clearly, um, bankrupt, have run the country down, divided the country, etc, etc.

    I fear that we lack the people with the big ideas who are able to think the unimaginable, to put it into practice and, for once, to put the country first.

    The malaise of the British people, of the British workplace, of the British mentality must go, must change somehow... We can't continue to be a nation of self-important middle managers shuffling papers and sending off a thousand emails per day. Nor can we be a nation of five-a-day fruit & veg people or a nation where the public sector becomes a giant gravy train for millions... and a bottomless pit for our finances...

    I could go on but I won't - partly not to bore you, partly not to bore myself.

    I do hope that we can find at least one political leader who can think out of the box and I hope we can put him into Number 10. Hope is a good thing, so they say in the Shawshank Redemption.

  • Comment number 16.

    Several months ago on this site Newsnight were looking for the big ideas to cut the UK deficit.

    It was a good idea but sadly it got lost in one giant Editorial blog and the formatting of the Newsnight site meant it was difficult to find. Such a shame, as the idea was very good and needed.

    Perhaps now would be a good time to resurrect it?

  • Comment number 17.

    The UK needs to out-compete its global competitors. The best way of reducing the debt is to grow the national income. Therefore, we need to stop punishing success with taxation, and we need to reduce imports by increased VAT.

    Reduce income tax and NI. Reduce taxes on business success and wealth creation. Encourage new business start-ups by providing low cost credit lent directly by the government.

    Hit those who earn excessive incomes with a windfall tax.

    Impose high rates of VAT on luxury cars, designer clothes and jewellery, consumption goods, etc.

    Safeguard the poor by little or no VAT on heating, energy, healthy food, essential clothing, etc.

    The UK needs to get a bigger share of global trade.

  • Comment number 18.

    Looks like you fell for it yet again Paul

    New models, different futures???

    Do you see anything that undermines the free trade trajectory which has subsumed everything for however many years?

    No - its business as usual - from all 3 major parties

    Wake up for goodness sake - all this rhetoric is just SHOW

    Get into something real

  • Comment number 19.

    Ah the vision returns. You're a scholar, speak to it !

    For me, at root, it's a question of ethics. Satre articulated the intercontectedness of ethical choices - the necessity of taking into account your actions on all other parties. Hayek illuminated this as an inpomssibility, and Camus hoped that man could be "not what he is".

    Skiddelsky brought much of this togethor in 'Return of the Master' but like Keynes he avoided taking the 'Via Negativa'.

    In short any ethical meditation that doesn't deal with the possibility of 'the other' is doomed to repeat forgoing mistakes.

    Ethics needs to be set before any positive economics. Ethics before politics.

    Ethos >Mythos >Logos.

    Hopeful ?

  • Comment number 20.

    It appears that the 'big thinkers' at Conservative Party HQ have been very busy cooking up a cunning plan to sell even less government to the British people without sounding too much like New Labour (or the Liberal Democrats).

    This is their big theme: everyone's to be involved in running the country (and thereby nobody).

  • Comment number 21.

    We had a new economic model from 2001 onwards. In 2001 UK retail banks were allowed to borrow on the international wholesale money markets for the first time. They borrowed short and lent long. In other words, they put retail deposits at risk, and the risk turned bad.

    Let's go back to the old economic model, and focus on selling goods and services. Personally, I don't care if its manufactured goods or support services; just as long as we sell something tangible and increase our national income. We can't have strong public services without the trade income to fund it. We won't be able to keep borrowing unless we have some future income with which to repay the loans and interest.

    Britain is a great trading nation; let's focus on that. Let's get back to the old economics of trade, and leave all the political gimmicks behind.

  • Comment number 22.

    'Front line services' means just concern yourself, consumer, with what you are (or are not) getting at the point of delivery,

    not the outsourcing profits that you, as tax payer, are providing,
    the loss of proper public service jobs which you as worker might have needed,
    or the real 'public services' model which you, as citizen, might have thought you had - and indeed had voted for.

    See through the jargon - and on every front you will see further privatisation; and the break up of national social provision to 'localisation', once broken up, is very vulnerable indeed to provatised outsourcing.

    So outsoucing shares are shooting up

  • Comment number 23.

    Mr Tweedy - you havent grasped what modern 'trade' is about. 'Selling' services now means transnational companies operating here and bringing in own cheap workers.

    Or the financial services firms of the City and Canary Wharf, (2/3 foreign owned, and employing a very high percentage of overseas workers) investing in other countries 'services'. Paying tax here?? Mmmm. And employing people from here overseas? I think not

    Are you sure you know what you are pursuing?

  • Comment number 24.

    As there seem to be some bright people here, I thought I'd just ask: Might there be an unhealthy relationship between the low number of people in politics (and other positions of power) who have a science or engineering background, and the lack of credible governance?

    In the sciences (and engineering subjects), students have to learn to do as they are told, whilst in the non sciences, students are clearly encouraged to 'think for themsleves' and to 'argue'. Whilst education has expanded in the non sciences it has shrunk or been cut in the sciences.

    Is this not just a little bit odd for an economy which is so clearly unproductive, i.e. in deficit?

  • Comment number 25.

    In what are supposed to be 'social' policies, keep looking for the bottom line - where the money is going

  • Comment number 26.

    People are focussing on tax changes - raise tax on this, chop tax on that, blah, blah, blah.

    Something bigger and more important needs to change though.

    I can't put my finger on it exactly but perhaps it is the sense of entitlement that a great many now have in all strata of our society?

    The public sector paper-shufflers who churn out rules and regulations ad nauseum - perhaps we can no longer afford them in their tens of thousands? Those on benefits who, except the elderly and the truly ill, because we have expanded the safety net off benefits so much?

    There is bound to be much more but it is this kind of thing that needs to change - our mindset about what we are entitled to.

  • Comment number 27.

    No.23. stayingcool

    The UK's balance of payments current account deficit is small, as a percentage of GDP.

    Britain also has large international companies which employ the model you describe; it's not one way traffic. Also, foreign companies have subsidiaries in the UK and do employ UK staff and pay UK taxes on their profits; examples include Nissan, Coca-Cola and Santander Abbey National. Britain needs to attract more inward investment to provide more UK employment and tax receipts.

    Immigration is an issue. However, if we have the right skills coming into the country it will boost company performance, which in turn will boost employment of British nationals. For example, if farm workers come from abroad and their productivity means the British farm owner can afford to invest in new supplies and equipment which are made in the UK, it will boost UK employment.

  • Comment number 28.

    24. Math ap Mathonwy wrote:

    As there seem to be some bright people here, I thought I'd just ask: Might there be an unhealthy relationship between the low number of people in politics (and other positions of power) who have a science or engineering background, and the lack of credible governance?


    Yep!...I believe you've got it in one!

    You have touched upon a issue that another poster on the NN blogs has been commenting on for sometime now.

    I strongly recommend that you read as many of statist's back posts as you can.

  • Comment number 29.

    No.26. tawse57

    You cannot change the laws of economics.
    Too many people in recent times have pretended the rules didin't exist or were no longer applicable. They were wrong. The old economic laws have re-asserted themselves, as they always will.

    Only technological advance will cause the planet's scarce resources to go further and provide a better standard of living for more people. With current technology we would need three planets to supply enough natural resources to provide the current global population with the same standard of living enjoyed by Britain.

    The government intervenes by tax and spend. It can support technological advance through encouraging resources into applicable research.
    In the meantime, Britain needs to protect its standard of living in the only way it can, which is essentially through trade and comparative advantage.

  • Comment number 30.

    Overnight we suddenly need a New Economic Model...let's not bother with all that wishy washy philosophical underpinning, thinking it through malarkey. The New Model is to let everyone do what they want to on a decentralised basis, think on our feet, start a school, make it up as we go along. We haven't got any better ideas, so over to you in the golf club bar. When you mess it up, it's your responsibility. When you're a success then it was clearly our idea and our money. Under the old model it's called anarchy. We don't want nanny state telling US what to do with our lives, leave us alone. We've got human rights you know. We can govern by internet, let's have online petitions (mine's bigger than yours) to decide how to run the economy. If we don't want a tax increase, we'll refuse [shame about the uncollected rubbish, unburied dead, unhoused elderly, unprotected children, then that's some one elses problem. That's for voluntary sector and charities to deal with].
    Pinch yourself and despair at the shallowness of the ideas, paucity of policy.

  • Comment number 31.

    what *really* comes across when any of the Axis of Fuhrers speak, is just how shallow and insincere they are. A "New Economic Model" from the Party that brought in Thatcher who started the whole 'destroy the working class' economics, a party still riddled with monetarists, and people who REALLY hate the working class, and Democracy in any real sense. A Party that is openly desiring to enormously expand on unemployment, school class sizes, hospital waiting lists, - £38Bn employs a LOT of people, and all their lying about "economy savings" is as honest as NuLabour's "Quantitative Easing".

    frankly, nice ideas (and gee, i *do* wonder who they took some of them from... ^_^ ), but the possibility of being enacted by the tories is zilch.

    NuLabour and clegg are absolutely as honest as the tories, all three are SO very clearly only talking out of their asses, even more blatantly than most elections just promising *anything* that will get them votes. Worth bearing in mind that the UK is not a democracy - it is really an 'elected dictatorship'. We can't get rid of them once they are there, and they can do anything they like - they even don't have to apologise for breaking any promises they made in the election.

    and now we have the sight of the main 3 not only jostling for positions and votes amongst themselves, but also very clearly already having backroom deals already agreed. We already know that clegg will sell the LibDems without ANY commitment to multi-member constituency weak-party-list Proportional Representation (yes, that is a mouthful!), we already know that the 3 parties are discussing a 'Govt of National Unity' if the only way they can grab or gain power is to effectively block any 'democratic choice' between the parties - but then, their policies are so identically crafted, its harder to find differences between them than similarities.

    amusingly, if the SNP was running across the UK, a lot of English would vote for it - no, not to break up the Union, :), but because they have so much better policies.

    the only party in England with any worthwhile policies is the Greens - and THAT, no doubt, is why the Axis of Fuhrers are quietly discussing this 'Unity Govt' so they can ignore the wishes of the People even more than they do normally.

    an interesting link:

  • Comment number 32.

    paul, not really on topic for the blog, but you might find this interesting: i've been posting on the newstatesman again, and since meddlesome and some of his henchmen muscled in on the rag, it is very noticeable that some posts 'disappear', never to be seen again.

    here is one:

    "spending cuts do not work, and here's why:

    1. the Govt takes roughly 54% of every £ earned - when income tax, local taxes, NI, VAT are all added up.

    2. every person made unemployed then has to be supported by the State.

    this has the combined effect - take an average teachers wage, say £18,000/year. The govt would immediately claw back around £9000 of that in taxes. That means the net 'cost' of the teacher is around £9000 to the treasury. However, once the former teacher becomes unemployed, they then have to have housing and income paid for by the State. This is probably, including housing benefit, going to be between £6-8000/year.

    so the net benefit to the State is only £1000, give or take a small chunk. Well, its a saving.

    however! - that now means that a class with maybe 33 kids to a teacher, is now going to be 50 odd kids to a teacher - in a system already in crisis, with the even greater demands that the social problems from wide-scale unemployment will bring.

    this is obviously true in ALL aspects of our social infrastructure.

    this has been shown repeatedly in EVERY country that has tried "cuts", from Argentina to Chile. Cuts simply DO NOT WORK to bring down deficits, they are simply a tool of class-war.

    this current argument that it is only the 'private sector' that generates wealth (usually ignorantly blending 'wealth' with 'tax-income' to compound the idiocy) is absolute and utter baloney. Having a well educated citizenry generates wealth, having a healthy citizenry creates wealth, having decent roads and rail networks creates wealth, having good libraries, good fire-services, and removing household waste generates wealth.

    "Wealth" is not to be merely calculated by how much private individuals can accumulate profit (usually from the hard work of many others), it is the sum total of how well a society functions.

    cutting this £30Bn+ from the budget (and how many jobs will THAT end?) is insane, all it will do is massively slash tax receipts, and massively increase benefit payments - whilst destroying the basics of an advanced society.

    who in their right minds could imagine having 50+ children per State school class could be beneficial? Or 5yr waiting lists for operations? Or halving the number of firemen?

    so yes, we have a budget crisis, and isn't it strange how the facts given here are so little mentioned by the Labservative Party...

    also of note:"

    posted on the page:


    also, a comment on the BA strike, posted on the fri night the week before this deal was 'suddenly' completed for Iberia Airlines - something we can almost certainly expect union-breaking from, i shan't be surprised.

    "DB: the fact that BA's share price has risen indicates *only* that some very wealthy people are financially supporting BA during this strike period. Add to that the very clear indications that the BA management have deliberately instigated this strike through their unilateral actions and threats, and this is a very political strike/strike-break indeed.

    but there IS a very simple answer, and one that actually would align the UK with EU rules - to 'save' wage-costs, very well, agree a lower wage rate with the unions. But to balance this, make up the income difference by giving the staff stocks and shares in BA.

    this will placate the workforce, AND have the longer-term benefit of putting the workforce onto the managerial level - they will become owners, and then have a much greater stake in ensuring BA continues to survive.

    if BA is in difficulties (and it obviously is), then clearly the management is unfit for the purpose of running the company. The same is true of GM in the example DB gave in his article - it was not that the workers were lazy, or that they are to receive a decent pension plan after a lifetimes service that caused GM its problems - it was that the management were so isolated from reality that they were still designing and pushing gas-guzzling 'recreational vehicles', when it was obvious to all and sundry in every other country's car industries that oil was peaking, and would start to rise in cost.

    blaming and scape-goating the people actually doing the hard work, instead of the incompetent multi-millionaires who 'own' or manage these companies, is a travesty not only of common sense and human dignity, but also of economics."

    posted on:


    now, why would meddlesome's NuLabour, tory to the core, prevent the posting of a solution package that would have greatly empowered the workforce, spread economic democracy, and done all those nice things both NuLabour and the Tories are attempting to claim as their own?

    its nice they are now apparently listening, and it is even amusing to see exactly what comments and posts they think are worth censoring. What ideas are we the British Public not allowed to hear?

  • Comment number 33.

    OK, guess this thread is dead as no one has replied. I'll claim it to put my reaction to the Great Leader Debate.

    "immigration. *I* want to have a growing economy that actually sucks in immigrant workers. I want us to be the new 'European Tiger', The problems associated with 'immigration' are actually mainly due to Govt incompetence, not putting the extra resources where they are needed.

    rebuilding our economy will end the problems, even as we are now if employment falls due to 'cuts', to levels seen in the early 80s - 4million PLUS! - we will still see massive social unrest due to resource cuts, and the Murdochracy will be busy blaming 'the immigrants'.

    having immigrants working can indicate a growing and strong economy - a strong culture that is confident in its resilience and basic values - and when given the respect ALL workers get in a cooperative, will be willing to export the goods/services that company produces. As in all epochs, a trading Nation becomes multi-ethnic/cultural, because people follow the trade. How those immigrants are treated affects the amount of trade with the trading country. By investing in new industries, run as cooperatives, people from other countries will enjoy their time here tremendously, and learn how well we British can self-organise, how well we respond to adversity. They will either stay here, or else leave, having good and fond memories of the UK.

    we have an economic problem, and an incompetent political class problem, it is not the fault of those who are seeking a better life.


    law and order. What we need is not more police (how can we afford them?), not more people locked up in crime-universities (commonly called "prisons", not locking them up for longer so they can learn more, but by building an economy so the people who would be likely to commit crime are too busy working and earning a decent living. Most people are sensible enough that offered a life of well paid and respected work, they will not choose the risky life of crime.


    allowing people to "sack their MPs for corruption", although a good idea in itself, should be considered alongside the control murdoch has over the media - link: - with such a law, a quickly driven up storm by murdock/local media could unseat a good MP - who may be querying Murdoch/supporting limits on media ownership Fx. The experience of the EU parliament, along with scotland and wales, is that the best solution is FULL transparency - there cannot be accountability until it is all open.

    would you trust *any* of these 3 with changing our Constitution/Parliament???


    education: we need to retrain teachers in the best of the current educational practices - that is Transactional Analysis, and also Democratic Pedagogy. Making our schools have greater respect for the students, our children, will vastly reduce the 'disorder' in our classroms, to receive respect it is important to be offered respect. Just like when "we" were in school. How many of the kids enjoy the constant grading?

    clegg made good points.

    both tories and nulabour are going to "savagely cut" - we all know that.


    21:24: do we *really* want ANY of these three to rule us???

    nice one clegg on talking about the unfairness of the tax system, where the massive incomes of the City folk are taxed at a lesser level than the cleaners going to clean their offices."

    --at which point my PC digital TV crashed, oddly.

    and only caught the last Leader comments by the time i rebooted after i discovered my sound drivers had been disabled. A unique event for my PC.

    my only comment is: roll on the Greens.

  • Comment number 34.

    QT: to inspire job creation, give tax breaks to new cooperatives - having a reduced corporation tax for the first 5 years for new companies/existing companies changing ownership structure.

    even if that requires a higher corporation tax upon corporations to pay for it, we can only gain.

  • Comment number 35.

    NN tonight.

    David G: yes, it DOES illustrate that whichever of the Axis of Fuhrers are elected, they will refuse to hear/answer questions from the general public. THAT is what is shown from this debate.

    i can't help thinking, during tonight's 'analysis', that B'Liar would have performed very well in this debate. Worth pondering.

    the LibDems are being used to try to 'mop up' the Green vote. Anyone else wondering that?

    nick clegg is a tory, any vote for the LibDems, unless they are individually awesome (and there are many LibDems like that), is a vote either directly a vote for the conservatives in a swing seat, or else a vote for the Conservatives in a coalition Govt. Who truly imagines that Clegg would force through REAL change, when he wouldn't even require a form of PR for him to kiss ass.

    and now no doubt we face a nauseating week filled with non-debate about the either ridiculous or stolen ideas the Fuhrers have no intention in Hell of ever implementing, and how they will "develop" during the campaign - as though precisely the same techniques of 'Presidential Interviews' had not been used across the Pond most unsuccessfully -at least if you are interested in more than narrow, sterile argument between a few limiting the debate to already agreed positions anyway. Not a single Party has a single policy the same as 3 years ago, yet they expect us to trust them for the next five years. Their policies shift depending on what professional campaign managers tell them, yet they are the same people whose mismanagement got us into this predicament. Clegg obviously had more coaching of the "Empathic, Deep Thoughtful Leader" variety in his performance tonight, together with promises that sound strange from a Leader that so very shortly ago removed the LibDem pledge to increase income tax by 2% and ring fence that money purely for extra *education* spending. Against much vehement opposition from many LibDem MPs, he ended that pledge to benefit education. And look at how he interacted with camoron at the end - it was very clear who he defers to. A vote for the LibDems, it pains me to say it, but it is in many seats a vote for the tories.

  • Comment number 36.


    "to receive respect it is important to offer respect."

    more correctly:
    respect is an adult virtue, best taught to the young by example.

  • Comment number 37.

    another couple of posts deleted from the newstatesman pages, if i may - it is interesting.


    "wow. Awesome stuff.

    2 quick points: Robert Anton Wilson argued that whenever the word "is" has been used, "can be considered as" is a more accurate statement. To say the boy "is" evil, is to limit explanations to that alone.

    secondly, Richard Bach (i think it was in his book 'One', but i don't have it to hand to check), said that we can profitably replace the word "evil" with "i don't like". Fx, instead of saying "murder is evil", it can be changed to "i don't like murder". This transforms the statement from the objective perspective to the subjective, by the by also fitting in with Buddhist philosophy.

    one of the major issues - you refer to it above - with the concept of 'evil' as an objective description, is that there is then needed a 'source' for evil - and thus 'satan' was given form.

    the curious fact is, is that all acts that can be described as "evil", can also be given many alternative justifications - with enough ingenuity. (We humans are good at that however, and sci-fi has expanded that ability exponentially).

    we certainly do not like what those boys have done - but we also (hopefully) do not like their upbringing. As Will Self pointed out in QuestionTime recently, he was one of the few who read the transcripts of the interviews with the boys, and what came out of that was the absolute confusion in their minds.

    how would gamers today feel if they were suddenly made aware that the film 'Tron' was an accurate statement of reality, and all those electronic images they had murdered in game-worlds were actually sentients?

    you mention the Danes - their whole judicial/penal approach is that of rehabilitation, because they realise that very few individuals are deliberately acting 'evil', and as a result of that approach, and their superior pedagogic approach through education, they spend more per inmate than either the UK or US on police and prisons - and less per capita.

    why are we in comparison still in the Dark Ages?"

    from the page - on the 3rd of April, 2010.

    this was interesting because it WAS originally published (most just disappear), and then was seemingly found to be opposing NuLabour/tory opinions and deleted.

    which at the time made me wonder... is there something wrong in it? But THEN the manifestos were revealed, and LO!! the NuLabour/Tory/Clegg machines were all ranting and taking the Murdoch line on crime and punishment. All was revealed.

    another 'lost' message that day...

    "if Papandreou has lived in Sweden, maybe he should take a leaf out of that countries tax laws, and make them fully publicly transparent, so all citizens can see how much tax their neighbours are paying, and can report on disparities between declared income and actual income?

    that would be a good first step.

    have full transparency, and accountability can flow from that."


    now why oh why would Meddlesome wish to prevent UK Citizens from learning of other mechanisms in other countries that *work* to prevent tax-fraud?

    beyond my pay-grade, that one.


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