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Labour's long weekend

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Paul Mason | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 1 May 2009

It's turning into "Kick Gordon Day". What you are seeing on the airwaves (summarised here) from David Blunkett, Charles Clarke and Bob-Marshall Andrews is just the tip of an iceberg that is mainly composed of good old text messages as Labour folks go back to their constituencies for the long weekend, (which kicks off tonight with a resounding call by Harriet Harman for party unity).

Let me expand on what I am hearing about the situation: as reported on Newsnight last night, Alan Johnson and Jack Straw are being quietly canvassed to see if they are prepared to be caretaker leaders. But there is no enthusiasm coming from their bag-carriers, unlike last summer. The centre-left front-runner Jon Cruddas seems to have a strategy of concentrating on policy rather than party infighting. An interesting flag has been flown by former Newsnight journalist Allegra Stratton in the Guardian, for a Cruddas-Purnell ticket, but this would only make sense in a post-defeat situation.

All this you can glean from the political blogs but I will add my two-pennyworth of fairly well briefed observations, naming no sources. The big obstacle to any leadership challenge on Brown this year are the unions. Unlike a year ago, they now have something clearly to gain from the Labour government - above all the imminent bailout of Jaguar and the called-for rescue of LDV. The PM, via lieutenants in the PLP and the unions, has more or less shored-up the union movement, and some unions - especially Unite - feel they have actually moved government policy during the credit crunch.

However, fast-forward to the morning of 5 June and it may be a different story. The nightmare scenario Labour strategists fear is not a wipe out by the Conservatives or Libdems, but a drubbing in certain Labour heartlands by the BNP. That is the essence of the recent interventions by senior backbenchers Peter Hain and Ian Austin. Obviously, an election is an election and there is no predicting what will happen.

What is most telling at present, as somebody who has to speak to policy advisers, is the absence of debate or engagement by the rising generation of Labour politicians on the "Fourth Term Agenda". This was in full swing in the early summer of 08, if you remember: community politics, localism, social entrepreneurialism, a "Beveridge Mk2" etc. Though they were advancing different solutions, you saw politicians as diverse as Cruddas and Hazel Blears engage on this terrain.

Then, in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers, you saw the debate swing into the territory of crisis management. Huge actions by the state, dwarfing anything a left-wing think tank would have dreamt of, were decided in the space of 48 hours.

What many Labour thinkers assumed was that the party's policy agenda would now veer back towards centralising, top-down initiatives - for example the centre-left pushed hard for a fiscal stimulus until Mervyn King torpedoed the idea. There has certainly been a "feelgood" factor generated among Labour activists about the 50% tax rate: but it is overwhelmed by the fact that - because of the fiscal crisis revealed in Alistair Darling's Budget - the state will have to shrink, spending plans will be slashed, etc, for a generation.

Though much of the Labour angst aimed at Gordon Brown is fuelled by the recent run of missteps - Youtube, McBride, Gurkhas - I cannot help thinking some of it is "displacement anger" at the overall fiscal dilemma.

The essential deal at the heart of New Labour, and the Third Way in general, was to use tax receipts from a rip-roaring, deregulated financial sector to fund a quiet redistribution and longterm public spending increase. Now the tax take from the finance sector has collapsed, and the next generation is faced with a strategic rethink. The only comfort they can draw is that for reasons outlined well in this Economist article the Conservatives are also at a policy turning point.

In summary: above all because of the union stance, I predict there will be no leadership issue for Labour until the results of the June elections are known and even then it will probably take electoral catastrophe to change the balance of forces I've described here.


  • Comment number 1.

    "The nightmare scenario Labour strategists fear is not a wipe out by the Conservatives or Libdems, but a drubbing in certain Labour heartlands by the BNP. That is the essence of the recent interventions by senior backbenchers Peter Hain and Ian Austin."

    This needs to be looked at very closely aI suggest, especially viz Hain.

    The irony is that before Labour was infiltrated by anarchists/Trotskyites (closet free-marketeers), it was the British National Socialist Party in all but name.

  • Comment number 2.

    Labour are finished in their current form and will retract back to residual support only for many years.

    Two consequetive UK finacial disasters on their watch will not be forgotten in a hurry by the opposition or the people.

    All they can hope to do is be honest with themselves (ha), accept the position they are in and look upon the task as 'damage limitation' and install someone who is not tainted by anybody senior in the current administration.

    I don't know why I am offering this advise, I am no fan of Labour, the bottom line is they sold out their socialist principles and allowed the underlying value system that really makes things work become horribly imbalanced in favour of sneaky finance.

    The socialist / conservative see-saw kind of worked as a self correcting mechanism (poor liberals if only people listened to them we would not get such a rough ride!)

    In effect labour thought they could make a pact with the devil but outwit him and use the devils own cunning to help 'small business and hard working families' by the tax revenues from high finance.

    I think it is plain to see from the past and this weeks shameful antics that the labour party has in signing that pact lost its moral compass and morality as an organisation. You sign a pact with the devil you give up your soul remember...

    They have been very, very foolish and dragged us all along with them in pursuit of the fools gold that is created from de-regulated finance to fund thier social schemes.

    Something new and fresh to this lot would be nice, labour will never be weaker than they are now for some considerable time, if something alternative and copelling does come along they may not even survive as the second party after this.


  • Comment number 3.

    The Key issue for the Labour Party is that the Country is hostile to Brown and he has never been elected PM by the People, only the Party.
    Labour know that Brown's baggage will not get them to the winning post for a fourth Term but first they need clear policies and clear Leaders to show. The assassins may well wait until the results of the June Elections, when Labour expect a real hiding. In any event, the "silly looks and grimaces" of Brown on You Tube will haunt them all. GB now has no future, only a past and it would do the Labour Party no harm to discuss their own future very soon.

  • Comment number 4.

    It has taken a long time for the penny to drop with the Parliamentary Labour Party. What was the defining moment? My guess it was the budget and the prevailing level of indebtedness.

    It is quite apparent that social democrats need a burgeoning private sector to supply them with the funds for their version of heaven-on-earth. Without a supply of funds then social democracy fails: vide Weimar. Consequently social democracy in the UK is drawing down the curtain and joining the choir invisible.

    Those of us who were never convinced that you can legislate your way to utopia can feel a sense of quiet satisfaction as for the second time in twenty years the etatist Left is finally forced to confront the reality that every model of state socialism does not work. Perhaps, just perhaps, these ernest young people with their thrusting vision of a better society imposed from above dropped the dogma and quietly set about making that better society in the streets and estates of our country, building their beliefs from everyday realities. Sadly for them they will have to fit it all around the day job. But this is how Labour started, before the Fabians made everything so complicated, and perhaps this is the way it could start again. I hesitate to use the term back to basics but this is what Labour has to do.

    The harsh reality is that Labour, both Old and New, is now finished as a political party. They will be able to hold onto their old heartlands so long as they are not trumped by the BNP but as you comment, that risk is also there.

    I am pleased it is begining to dawn on the Westminster village as to the issues now facing this country. These are issues us people in the real, unexpensed world have had to address every day of our lives. Just how do we manage to pay our way? Just how will we manage to get by with unemployment rising every day with no sign of abating?

    The simple truth is that the last twelve years have been a complete and utter waste of time, hope and energy. We have to find a new vision but we have to build it among these fantastic ruins.

  • Comment number 5.

    Lets not forget Iraq in the equation.The tag of taking us to war on a false premise was a key to the Brown / Blair handover. The credit crunch is the mother of all double whamees. Against their political grain, Labour have been forced to pump billions into banks and let the economy feed on scraps. From now on its the politics of cuts and trimming the State. Last night's Question Time showed the Tories as still vulnerable - the 'second jobs' jab of Frank Skinner showed up the Tory weak flank.Winning the Election could be the poison chalice as they scurry to reinvent their green Tory stuff. Reactive carping from Cameron / Osbourne on the economy will need to turn into a real vision and direction. Labour will need to surf the wave and hope things tick up by next June. A second bank bail-out will put the cat among the pidgeons. Hung Parliament, maybe.

  • Comment number 6.

    Paul you are miles away on this one. Cruddas who voted for the war, Purnell the Blair babe who would have voted for the war even if everyone else didn't, Labour are pretty much unelectable as it is but this shower would really put the last nail in the coffin. The reason NuLabour have reached this messy stage is because of right-wing Blairite/Thatcherite policies that ensured the profit motive in all it touched, whether it be education, transport...if it moves PFI it, lets saddle students with debt into their thirties, who thought of that one?....Purnell? THatcher mused about student tuition fees and asked her education minister, Keith Joseph if it was a runner, he reported back within a week saying don't touch it with a bargepole. What do NuLabour do? In there with two feet and wasting a generation of school leavers from deprived backgrounds...Nice one NuLab

  • Comment number 7.


    Tonight on Any Questions, Helena Kennedy vehemently told of wall-to-wall Westminster fiddling - she seemed well informed, almost as if SHE HAD KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME. Then she went on to laud Brown (as a man of integrity and ability) but really BECAUSE HE IS NOT CAMERON.

    So we see that Helena Kennedy - of all people - has also been got at by the rotten barrel of Westminster. Nothing, and no one, put into that vile arena and ethos, will ever yield integrity, democracy or management of Britain in the interest of her people. Let's stop discussing parties, cleanse the Westminster malaise, and SPOIL PARTY GAMES

  • Comment number 8.

    barrie (#7) "Helena Kennedy vehemently told of wall-to-wall Westminster fiddling - she seemed well informed, almost as if SHE HAD KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME."

    I strongly suggest that anyone whose claim to fame is Human/Civil Rights should be regarded with deep scepticism. Unless/until people see why that is so, nothing's going to get any better, as it just doesn't work the way that most people appear to think it does, quite the opposite in fact...:-(

  • Comment number 9.

    Initial thoughts. / Reactions are:

    1) We won't see a labour leadership contest in 2009. Anyone who wants the leadership won't move till after the next general election - no-one in their right might would want to take over now as labour leader and PM (besides which if this happened now a new leader would be morally obliged to call an election- I can't think of any time since the 1800s in which a party has got through 3 PM's in a Parliament without fresh elections). The PLP accept that they will loose in 2010, the debate is about at what cost/scale; e.g. will this be like the 1930s in which a handful of labour MPs got elected or more like 1979-ltself a pretty bad year?

    2) Whoever does take over, as labour leader in 2010 will face a greater shambles than that of 1979- they will be dependant solely on Union funding, so we will see a sharp turn to old labour. Also I can't see Brown doing a Callaghan and remaining as leader once he is not PM as he will have a world to save (lecture) the world, so we wont have to wait a year before labour elects a Foot character.

    3) Have we done back 30 or 40 years? OR is Paul merely confirming what some already suspected- the Unions really pull the strings of the labour party??

    4) Brown won't go quietly, even if the euro and county elections go against him. He will have to have his fingernails wrenched from the Door of Downing Street before he goes.

    5) Paul talks about the lack of a fourth term agenda by the rising stars- no surprise. It's got to a stage now where the aim of the game is to cling to power and the perks, they are not the cloth cap labour of the old labour movement, merely career politicians who could easily be liberals or Tories and are only interested in whats in it for them (i.e. the GBP 100,000 Plus salary, the free porn vids and the 88p bathplugs why anyone earning over 100k would want to claim for an 88p bathplug is beyond me).

    6) Regarding Pauls favourite subject- economics- I dont see the current financial crisis as being damaging to the Tories as you might think. Thatcher was one part of their ideology. But as history has show on other Tory Red Lines (Empire, Irish Home Rule, devolution, the welfare state, the willingness to drop Thatcher when she was unpopular). In fact the Tories are the ultimate pragmatists and can adapt to the current bash the banker populism and backlash against the City (hopefully be discovering that they are supportive of the traditional Banker, bowler hat on the head, rather than the cowboy capitalists of labour.

    7) Labour has frankly let down its core supporters; so dont be surprised by the shock horror of a BNP breakthrough. Labour MPS might be de facto Oxbridge liberals and the labour intelligentsia might be the guardian reading types, but the labour voter is the mirror and sun reading working man and women so whats the surprise?

    8) Hopefully all of this will demonstrate to the people of Great Britain that Labour can never be trusted with power again and that labour can be kept firmly on the opposition benches for at least a generation (by which time we will just about have paid off the Brown/Darling debt, so we will have to remind a new generation what it would be like living under Labour).

  • Comment number 10.


    "no-one in their right mind would want to take over now as labour leader and PM"

    There are few approximations to a 'right mind' in the Westminster asylum. If any one of the pathetic Labour hopefuls makes a move (beyond Harperson's oblique calls for loyalty) they will all rush to drink deep from the poisonous chalice - such is their juvenile need for status.

    "Labour can never be trusted with power again"

    WESTMINSTER (and its fetid ethos) must 'never be trusted with power again'.
    But first we need that change to the voting slip ('no confidence in Westminster governance') as a means to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

    The very fact that NONE OF THE WESTMINSTER THREE will support an abstention box on the voting slip, suggests they all feel vulnerable to the light of reality.

    The Palace of Westminster, WHERE BRITISH LAW DOES NOT APPLY, is a citadel of un-democracy (at witch all MPs connive) that must be stormed, and levelled, if this backward sham of a democracy is to advance.


  • Comment number 11.


    Barrie (#10) The Labour Party is a mixed bag. That is why it's a mess. It needs to sort itself out.

  • Comment number 12.


    Hi JJ. How can Party-sickness be cure inside the party-pathogen-rich swamp of Westminster? Westminster is full of 'selfish genes' intent on maintaining the status quo of survival - unchanged in any fundamental way. I posted recently that the whole sham is stabilised by the lynch-pin of monarchy - nowhere more true than in THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER.

    PS Why when you referred to a 'mixed bag' why did Ed Balls come to my mind?

  • Comment number 13.

    ...Cruddas-Purnell ticket, but this would only make sense in a post-defeat situation....

    make sense? haha

    more like it would be seen by the electorate as a ticket back to the 1980s donkey jacket.

    the essential problem is the new labour are still wedded to the false beliefs of market fundamentalism [as best and only arbiter] and liberal interventionism. As long as they hold those then they are in a ghetto of their own making.

    the real 4th term agenda are things like building more industry on the john lewis co op model [rather than privatisations] , feed in tariffs, etc but we know the vested interests don't like those.

  • Comment number 14.

    barrie (#12) "PS Why when you referred to a 'mixed bag' why did Ed Balls come to my mind?"

    So long as 'he' shapes policy towards the state encouraging more responsible parenting/hood (with emphasis on the latter for reasons I've given so often, i.e. the inverse correlation between ability and number of offspring) I'm prepared to let some of what he comes out with go. There needs to be a major purge though.

    The Democratic-Centralists used to have regular party-purges (sackings). This was just a self-critical process central to the integrity/viability of the entire system. Most people in Liberal-Democracies can't grasp the sense of this at all sadly....for them, it's all about individual self-interest, the opposite of 'conscienciousness', which, like 'g' appears to be much in decline (cf. dysgenesis).

    PS. Genes are not 'selfish', just bits of DNA. Dawkins is a misleading popularist to put it nicely. Behaviours and genes are selected by their expressions/consequences. IntenTions and intenSions have nothing to do with it.

  • Comment number 15.

    where is the upturn going to come from? Manufacturing has ceased to is a dead parrot, we don't MAKE things anymore, we are service industry and we supply labour for offshore car makers and we are the cheapo rate of Europe on apar with Albania. We are reaping the whirlwind because the nation elected THAT woman who destroyed most of British manufacturing

  • Comment number 16.


    It wasn't just her though was it? One has to look into what this party was and still is driven by. She just instantiated one element of their anarchism. The 'evil empire' abroad was statist. Who had it in for this 'evil empire' way back, re-grouped in the USA and UK (Chicago and LSE), and typifies the 'New Left' today?

    This is a legitimate political movement which I suggest uses entryism and make-overs/PR deception to secure group economic hegemony. It's just group politics and is quite legal, albeit perhaps venal in their extensive use of self/other deception aka spin.

  • Comment number 17.

    'Huge actions by the state, dwarfing anything a left-wing think tank would have dreamt of, were decided in the space of 48 hours.'

    If only! What planet are you living on?

    Nu Lab never let go of one tiny bit of free market prop-up. That's not what I dream of.

    You seem to have lost any ability to see the wood, in your convoluted running around trees.

    The only delay on getting rid of that disgusting arrogant pig is that there is no one to take over. No Labour person would support the horrible little Purnell, who cuts welfare with a silly grin; Cruddas has little to say beyond vote for us, we're not the BNP. Does he think we are stupid? The rest are tainted by years of association with Brown and Blair. And if Labour think they can foist worthless little twits on the basis of dynasty, when the offspring even undermine what got the parent there anyway - Huh!
    And does that attractive creature Prescott think he adds something positive??? The less he says the better. Mandelson trying to pretend now he is an innocent bystander.

    But the issues are not complicated. Workers are being undermined by unlimited labour supply, which Labour has set up. You don't need an economics PhD to understand that. We only got out of serfdom as a result of labour shortage, from the plague. Now, with labour liberalisation, we are heading back into it.

    All those people have supported that betrayal.

    So all Labour has to do is structurally fix the damage it has done + completely renew in terms of the team of shonks - or get out.

  • Comment number 18.

    1. "the inverse correlation between ability and number of offspring "

    2 ".Behaviours and genes are selected by their expressions/consequences."

    Jaded Genes ?

  • Comment number 19.


    superiorsnapshot (#188) See Galton and ...Darwin's The Descent of Man... then Pearson, Fisher... Cattell, Lynn, Herrnstein and Murray... ETS ....for an expose.

  • Comment number 20.

    They really couldn't make it up.

  • Comment number 21.

    barrie (#12) Having said that (#14), if he does anything to further sabotage the SATs, in my view, he'll reveal himself to be one of the many people who should be purged. Labour has, in my view, at least one of two competent people (like Barry Sheerman and John Denham), it's just not a coherent party - and there are a few Conservatives I could name as well, along with one obvious Liberal-Democrat (although you appear to have your doubts about him, which will make me think...). The way the population is going, we need more government, not less government, which is the opposite of the direction which all three major parties have been taking the country for at least three decades. Turning to the BNP is not the answer.

  • Comment number 22.

    Shouldn't these people be running the country rather than ruining it by spending their precious time (and our money) on internecine warfare?

  • Comment number 23.


    moraymint (#22) "Shouldn't these people be running the country rather than ruining it by spending their precious time (and our money) on internecine warfare?"

    As you suggest, they have a quaint literacy problem. They have been busy as wreckers for years in my view, it's just that most decent people can't quite grasp that 'freedom' as 'liberalism' is really co-terminus with anarchism. Anarchists really only know how to run countries down i.e. by destroying/selling off what's already been built, which gives some the illusion that something's being done when in reality it's just public asset stripping. Many decades ago the UK used to look with horror at what the USA was exporting, now, it seems to lap it up :-(.

    Don't expect change without radical change. Very radical change.

  • Comment number 24.


    Britain is an alcoholic state. The (measurable) cost of the ravages of drink, both psychological and physical, are higher than the tax raised. No one knows the IMMEASURABLE tally.

    Tobacco is still grown in the EU as a subsidised crop, yet the sickness and death it engenders is a psychological and physical burden on those who are addicted. (Clarke and Thatcher both profited from its sale.)

    Meanwhile, we argue high-mindedly over abortion and assisted death, but slaughter vast numbers of foreigners, to bring them democracy; never addressing the fact that our 'democracy' saw fit to abuse them on a whim.

    Our NHS is trumpeted as an example to all, but more-and-more is caught up in repairing the 'culturally damaged' and in physically bodging up the aged, while presiding over the psychological torture of dignity stripping. (You wouldn't - and you don't - do it to a dog.)

    Clearly, governments are little concerned with misery and death, in any coherent way. Yet misery and death (premature or irrationally denied) blight ever more lives. So what ARE they concerned with?

    Internecine strife and every other aspect of party games. (#22)
    Pretending to make changes for good while conniving at game-playing that prevents radical change. (#23)

    Mandelson and Clarke are the two party champions in a devilish game of such base iniquity that one might expect a bolt of lightning to strike Westminster, as they play. There is such archetypal evil in the confrontation of these two, one might expect the public to awaken from their slumber at its Tolkienian horror. But no. Reality is such a chore.

  • Comment number 25.


    barrie (#24) "one might expect the public to awaken from their slumber at its Tolkienian horror. But no. Reality is such a chore."

    Whilst one of my offerings (#207) is at the menders/memory_hole_central/H&S, perhaps you'd consider doing a spot of awakening?

  • Comment number 26.


    I have to admit as someone with quite a modest IQ I tend to agree with Sasha :)

    I seem to be genetically rubbish at number sequencing and other theoretical problems, my recall ability is no doubt above average but it is a country mile away from being photographic!

    Yet the strategy of my life has been to expose myself to a very broad range of life experience at a grass roots level (but without traumatising myself) to obtain understanding of what we are and how the world works which has been a facination from childhood.

    I cant help thinking that if I had been born more intelligent than I was I would not have been able to do what I set out to do as well as (I think) I have...and I am not finished yet. How can you form your own opinion relevant for your own time unless you live in it in a real way?

    I do not believe you can get the same understanding of reality by reading other peoples accounts of it, you have to live it. I also believe you do not need to have an IQ of 160 to live a happy and productive and positive life, which surely is what it should be about.

    The key to all this lies in understanding what we are, we are certainly part genetically governed, part environmentally governed but there are other factors also.


  • Comment number 27.

    1 + 8 Jaded jean - irrelevant unadulterated specious tosh, which made me decide not to bother too hard with your subsequent and (on the face of it) less contentious postings.

    26 Jericoa

    There's a very good piece by AC Grayling in Saturday's Guardian on the different kinds of Intelligence and the problems with IQ test scores.

    I have such limited practical intelligence that I can't be bothered to learn how to post a URL into a blog, write in bold or use italics. Sometimes the words themselves should really be sufficient.

  • Comment number 28.


    Jericoa (#26) "I have to admit as someone with quite a modest IQ I tend to agree with Sasha :)"

    Sadly, Sasha doesn't know what he is talking about.

    Let me spell that out.

    This doesn't come down to what one 'thinks', 'believes', or 'agrees' with. It comes down to the research evidence. The research evidence shows that most of cognitive ability is inherited, and what isn't is probably down to physical damage of genetically driven abilty by poor physical care by parents etc. People have no better insight into how their brains work than their livers or big toes! Why would anyone think otherwise? But they do sadly! ;-)

    One can't go on one's own personal experience in life, it's too selective and unreliable statistically. We know that from research too. The links in my reply to Sasha are currently with the Ministry of Information, on the day when Mr Brown is communicating all sorts of empirically very suspect, contrary, messages.

    Dig our the Rushton and Jensen reviews, look up 'heritability of intelligence', watch this a few times, and only then, ask yourself how education can possibly improve human capital. It may take a while for this radical message to sink in, so be patient. We live in very misleading times.

    People, alas 9as one will find reading some responses to this), don't make the right connections (see 'intensional opacity' - Oedipus wanted to have sex with Jocasta but not with his mother). This is precisely why the research is done extensionally, and doesn't pay much if any attention to what most people think or believe.....most just don't 'know'.

  • Comment number 29.

    ThorntonHeathen (#27) Can you tell us what makes you think this article is a good one?

  • Comment number 30.

    29 jj

    Yes, if I could be bothered, but I think its self-evident.

  • Comment number 31.

    ThorntonHeathen (#30) That's the problem writ large.

    What's 'self-evident' to me (and several others, no doubt), is not to you.....

  • Comment number 32.


    No need to consume time and effort attempting to demolish JJ - just read the links (or not) and go on living by your own parameters. A lot of stuff that was true when I was at school is no longer so. JJ has a noble mission to bring us all to truth that is backed by repeatable experiment and peer-reviewed papers. Any challenge that is not, at least, as academically based, is going to use up more of JJ's lifespan (AND BLOG INCHES) and that will serve no one (except, perhaps, behavioural psychologists and the guy who write that Private Eye column).

    We have Armageddon on the way, and Pig Flue is going to mutate into Boil and Blane Palsy by Autumn, so let's get focused on the issues! Think Blears!!

  • Comment number 33.

    barrie (#32) I was kind of hoping you might use the incentive of an excursion to Siberia if they didn't apply due diligence! I had a hunch that I might be flushing out 'financial service provider' types (and, oddly, deluded 'teachers'). One can't afford to make much optional with such types you know, they're all anarchists ;-)

  • Comment number 34.


    That made me laugh..thanks for that I think JJ has a sense of humour as well which is good to see despite him being wrong :)

    I appreciate all too well, just like debating that god created earth in 7 days with a creationist, debating the cornerstone of JJ's arguments...reason itself results in a lot of hot air and not much else except a sense of lingering frustration.

    Creation is however the word to focus on, reason does not create anything, it only formalises it in order that it can be recorded and further built upon. Reason does not create the hypotheses which we test by experiments..where do the hypotheses come from?

    I am going to shut up now I am getting sucked in already!!

  • Comment number 35.


    Sorry JJ. I think I might be a closet anarchist - or at least an incurable agent provocateur.

    Oh no - I am getting sucked in too! And Nemo is in here!

  • Comment number 36.


    All possible hypotheses were potentiated at the instant of the Big Bang, coincident with the commencement time and emergence of space. When a life-line encounters a latent hypothesis, it is 'conceived'. This has nothing to do with Creationism, which is manifest nonsense.

  • Comment number 37.


    "debating the cornerstone of JJ's arguments...reason itself results in a lot of hot air and not much else except a sense of lingering frustration."

    Have you taken the advice? It's hard to tell so far.

    Don't get frustrated, get educated (or expect to be reprimanded for posting unclear rubbish ;-)

  • Comment number 38.

    Labour T[B]uttsterocracy and the Banksterrs pyramid selling spent a decayed massuaging eachothers vital statistics to perpetuate the materix scaaam on eachothers bottom lines ,as for which party to the fraud instigated the Automaticaly Induced Debt Sindrome[who had who in their back pocket] ,that is the penetrating question to be asked by the electorate about the thurd way in British pollytricks.

    Only Moses[Frank Field]can save the Labour lot from a final insemination by the swing voters with a pollaxe to grind

  • Comment number 39.

    barrie (#35) "Sorry JJ. I think I might be a closet anarchist"

    Ever thought of settling in NYC or Birobidzhan. Ever attracted to joining the Conservative Party? Do you find yourself oddly attarcted to Margaret Thatcher? Any ancestors from Poland, Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine or in late C19th or early C20th, East London? Get on OK with your neighbours? Like to be on the stage or in banking? Fond of the theater?

    How do you score on this


  • Comment number 40.

    "What many Labour thinkers assumed was that the party's policy agenda would now veer back towards centralising, top-down initiatives"

    Labour activists will stick with their bottom - up initiatives until they can no longer circumventilate their fiscal chastity belts with keyhole sirurgery

  • Comment number 41.

    Labour could win back a bit of support if they said that they were going to make a start on building homes for the 4.5 million people on council house waiting lists. They won't though because the very idea of low paid working people having an affordable home to live in instead of being tied to a huge mortgage brings them out in a cold sweat. Lets face it Labour, Tory or Lib Dem they are all centre right. They are all the same, nothing changes, ever, and thats the way they like it!

  • Comment number 42.


    re unclear rubbish..I have no idea what you are talking about, perhaps you could clarify :).

  • Comment number 43.


    jericoa (#42) Read the link and look up the wikipedia piece on 'Two Dogmas'. Spend a couple of days on this at least. It was, some say, the most influential paper in philosophy/logic in the second half of the C20th and all but put an end to philosophy except as 'philosophy of science' (which comes down to how animals learn, or more basically, the nature of behavioural plasticity in pursuit of survival). Reasoning itself is empty - what matters are empirical measures over conjunctions of observation (pairs at least), and how these functionally/lawfully relate. This is extensional.

    You should be looking at the evidence, not what people (including yourself) 'think', 'believe' etc, all of which is intensional (see first part 2/3 of the above paper). The last third is on the nature of scientific knowledge.

  • Comment number 44.

    #43: "what matters are empirical measures". In what sense do they matter? If you mean that they matter as the only means to the attainment of scientific knowledge, can you explain, without resorting to personal belief or opinion, why attaining scientific knowledge matters?

  • Comment number 45.

    UltraTron (#44) Ask your doctor or dentist or ISP clever cloggs.

  • Comment number 46.

    JJ - OK then, tell me why any of the above matter, without saying 'healthcare', 'dental care', 'communication'? Because then you'll just have to explain why any of those things matter without resorting to personal belief or opinion. And so on etc. The point at which you stop asking 'why does that matter' is not informed by empirical evidence. The very concept of 'importance' is utterly subjective.

  • Comment number 47.

    UltraTron (#46) "Because then you'll just have to explain why any of those things matter without resorting to personal belief or opinion."

    These improvements can be recorded and used to guide action, automated if need be. Automatons/machines do not have 'beliefs'. The language of intension (mentalese/folk-psychology) is a modus vivendi for those who who 'know' no alternative.

    You should endeavopur to learn when you encounter what's unfamiiar rather than argue from ignorance. Science begins with primitive behaviours (terms like belief, thought etc) and improves upon them. Think of fly-by-wire and unmanned trips off earth or under the sea. Think cars, computers and TVs being made by robots etc. Mind is something one can do without.

  • Comment number 48.

    Thanks for the advice JJ. Can you please explain how you improve on a 'primitive behaviour' like thought by abolishing it? And please explain how you derive your concept of improvement without the language of intension?

  • Comment number 49.


    The old saying comes to mind : when you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

  • Comment number 50.

    UltraTron (#48) "Thanks for the advice JJ. Can you please explain how you improve on a 'primitive behaviour' like thought by abolishing it? And please explain how you derive your concept of improvement without the language of intension?"

    Glad to be of help. For answers, have a listen to each of these and have a look at the site generally.

    Note, this is not kids' stuff - in fact, it's only the more mature who take to this ;-).

  • Comment number 51.

    ThorntonHeathen (#49) "The old saying comes to mind : when you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it."

    That's the problem with 'mind', it seems prone to regurgitate intrusive gibberish which ignorant folk regard as profound ;-).

    I suggest you follow the links provided and see if they help you purge yourself ;-).

  • Comment number 52.

    Is the information that fills in the blanks available?
    For example my vision of trying to start an enviromental technologies
    business (98) and stuff like the broken limb, co-op job in europe
    during 9/11, already famous, (I dazzle like movie "21") that obtained
    this position.

    Hey I control the interest rate. I did put the oil to $147, then $40,
    not $200 -it was a choice I made.

    Kristina Brooker (126 395 086)

    -functions are shapes, what do the shapes say to do for safety.
    -I don't understand talking that way.
    -takes a year or two, maybe less with the computer.

    What to expect?
    -an engineer (99386493 - U of Waterloo) would say...
    The graph of the fuctions indicates all expectations.

  • Comment number 53.

    Talking in science is like placing bets (statistical error), and
    religion is like following rules (effecting the bets with the
    listener being dismissive, or critical for the vocabulary you

    Ya confidence talking about anything is basically
    always -bets and rules.

  • Comment number 54.

    When I was in Europe September 11th, 2001 happened and this is why
    I began reading The Economist in depth. That event to me said people
    need to give America attention and understanding.

    When I was reading The Economist I believe I found a loop in the
    content. I think the magazine communicated to me that the world can
    not enter the knowledge economy while America experiences it's
    Pop Culture worker classing cycle. America's Pop culture worker
    classing reality needs to be understood and adjusted into safe
    worker directions.

    I believe I am the interest rate like I was expecting, even if that
    doesn't bring us the ability to start the knowledge economy,
    directions about classing are available. Their are a number of
    interesting and harmful worker oppressions that are capable of
    being legel and finding a safe place in the knowledge economy.


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