Sunday, October 4, 2015

How David Cameron is still talking absolute rubbish about Syria

Last night I had the misfortune of watching the BBC News. I'm not naive. I know that the government of the day hold the BBC purse strings so there has always been a strong pro-government bias in their reporting (whichever party happens to be in power). I also know that New Labour made things even worse when they decided to castrate the BBC for daring to tell the truth about how Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell "sexed up" the evidence used to justify the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Even though I'm well used to the BBC failing to hold the government of the day to account, the ridiculous Tory propaganda they tried to pass off as news last night was utterly appalling.

The segment in question was a report about David Cameron's absurd blethering about the Russian airstrikes in Syria against anti-Assad terrorist groups. Cameron had worked himself up into a state of carefully stage managed rage about how Russia were hitting the wrong targets, and how it was an outrage that some of the targets they'd hit had been the "good" US/UK backed terrorist groups in Syria, rather than the "bad" Saudi/Qatar/UAE backed terrorists he's had to pretend to oppose because their sheer barbarity makes it impossible to explicitly support them.

Cameron's humiliation over Syria

It's worth noting how the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media seem to have completely forgotten David Cameron's humiliation when his insane rush to war was defeated by a rebellion of his own MPs just two years ago, making him the first Prime Minister in over 200 years to lose a war vote in parliament

His own MPs saw through through the sheer insanity of attacking Assad when Islamist fanatics were flooding into the Syrian conflict back in 2013, yet he's still not willing to accept that ISIS are a greater danger to the UK than Bashar al Assad's government.

Perhaps Cameron will eventually change his mind if ISIS affiliated groups begin launching terrorist attacks in Britain? But maybe not? Maybe he's a man so filled with impotent rage that he didn't get his way back in 2013 that he'll continue arguing that the UK should assist the Islamist takeover of Syria by destroying Assad's government whatever evidence presents itself that Islamist fanatics like ISIS are a much more dangerous enemy to the UK than an admittedly brutal regional dictator like Assad ever could be?

What does Cameron actually want to happen in Syria?

Cameron's rhetoric is so confused it's absolutely pitiful. He tries to pretend to be opposing ISIS, but then he openly supports the much weaker terrorist groups who are trying to oust Bashar al Assad from power, leaving the door wide open for ISIS to take control of Damascus. 

I don't know who Cameron thinks will prevent Syria falling to ISIS should he get his wish that Assad meets the same fate as Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gadaffi? Is he completely unaware that the rise of groups like Al Qaida in Iraq and ISIS came about in the first place as a result of the power vacuum left by the catastrophically ill-conceived invasion and occupation of Iraq (that the Tory party supported at the time)?

David Cameron hobnobbing with the not at all brutal and repressive Saudis.
Maybe David Cameron thinks the ragtag bunch of rebels who have failed to topple Assad despite all of their backing from the US and UK will be able to hold ISIS back should Assad fall? Can he really be unaware that several of these groups have allowed ISIS to usurp their own fighters and their supplies of US weapons

Maybe Cameron envisages a massive ground invasion by US and UK troops to engage in direct conflict with ISIS? I wouldn't want to be a British soldier fighting extremists so brutal that even Al Qaidi criticise them for their barbarity.

Whatever future scenario Cameron is imagining (if any), he can't be so stupid to think that ISIS wouldn't take advantage of a power vacuum in Syria can he? Perhaps that's precisely what he wants in order to justify a US/UK invasion and occupation of the region?

The BBC News report predictably didn't ask any questions like these, instead allowing his confused and ridiculous rhetoric against the only established power structure (as repressive as it is) standing between ISIS and control of Syria to go completely unchallenged. 

Aside from the strategic incoherence of continuing to attack Assad while ISIS make headway across the region, David Cameron's rhetoric was bizarrely hypocritical too. It's utterly ridiculous to hear the UK Prime Minister refer to a dictator like Assad as "the butcher Assad" when he's oh-so-happy to suck up to vile human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia when he's over there trying to hawk weapons contracts for British arms companies

David Cameron's friends

If David Cameron had any integrity whatever he'd use exactly the same kind of rhetoric to condemn Saudi Arabia as "butchers" for the planned crucifixion and beheading of Ali Muhammed al-Nimr for the "crime" of protesting in favour of democracy. And he'd describe the Chinese government as "serial human rights abusers" instead of sucking up to them by describing the UK as the most open country in the western world to Chinese investment and bribing them with £billions to build our energy infrastructure for us (because the Tories have such a strong ideological opposition to the UK building it's own energy infrastructure that they'd prefer to bribe a repressive bunch like the Chinese government to do it instead of building it for ourselves).

Cameron doesn't speak out against butchers and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia and China because they wouldn't buy our weapons or build our nuclear power stations for us if he did. He reserves such rhetoric for Assad, presumably because his great (and not at all brutal or repressive) friends in Saudi Arabia see Assad as an obstacle to the spread of their extremist form of Wahhabi Islam throughout the Arab world, and Cameron wants to keep them sweet so they continue to buy more weapons from British arms companies.

The wrong targets?

Another factor that makes Cameron's whinging about the Russian airstrikes seem so absurd and out of touch is that the very night before his manufactured outrage about Russia hitting the wrong targets, the US spent a couple of hours bombarding a hospital in Afghanistan. As many concerns as I have about the Russian's direct involvement in Syria, at least they seem to be attempting to attack combatants in a war zone, not deliberately obliterating a hospital. It doesn't matter if militants are hiding in a hospital, or in a UN compound, it's a war crime to attack such locations. It's phenomenally brazen for Cameron to criticise another country for attacking "the wrong military targets" the day after his closest military ally launched a sustained attack on a hospital killing some 20 staff and patients.

And a partisan political swipe at Labour from the BBC

Perhaps one of the most telling things about the report was the way the BBC News anchor concluded the item by reading out a highly partisan swipe at Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party without allowing anyone from Labour any kind of reply to the Tory party accusation that their middle east foreign policy represents a threat to UK national security. 

If the BBC had allowed anyone from the Labour Party to respond perhaps they'd have pointed out that ISIS, not Assad represent the biggest threat to UK national security, and that Cameron's continued backing of anti-Assad terrorists in Syria is actually helping ISIS by further destabilising the region?

It's absolutely clear that if the state broadcaster in Russia or Syria had aired such a biased, pro-government, anti-opposition report, people would rightly be howling their condemnation, but because it's the BBC, hardly anyone even considers it noteworthy enough for comment that they brazenly favour the government of the day, and allow David Cameron's ill-conceived gibberish about the conflict to go completely unquestioned.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Why don't people remember David Cameron's insane rush to war in Syria?
The terrifying scale of political illiteracy in the UK
David Cameron's rush to war is defeated
How George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
12 things you should know about Britain First
The desecration of the poppy
The contrasting fates of Alan Turing and Lord Sempill
David Cameron's lucrative Syrian Blood Pie
The white poppy
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is not as radical or unpopular as the mainstreaam media try to portray him

Anyone who has failed to notice the incredibly biased mainstream media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's exponential rise in popularity is either someone who shuns mainstream media entirely, or the kind of absurdly gullible fool who rote learns all of their political opinions from the mainstream media without subjecting any of it to even the most rudimentary critical scrutiny.

The BBC habit of referring to Corbyn as if he's some kind of radical left-wing extremist (when his policies are actually those of a centre-ground social democrat) is annoying, especially since they don't constantly frame David Cameron and George Osborne as being extremely right-wing, even though they're pushing the right-wing dogma of tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich, wage repression, attacks on labour rights, undermining of civil liberties, and vast ideologically driven rip-off privatisations much further than Margaret Thatcher ever got away with in the 1980s.

Ideological austerity

Probably the most annoying bias can be found in the way that Corbyn's economic policies are so commonly portrayed in the mainstream media as being dangerously radical or even extremist, when the evidence is absolutely clear that ideological austerity is a dangerous extremist ideology with severely destructive social and economic consequences.

I've written article after article presenting the evidence that ideological austerity is a socially and economically destructive agenda based on ludicrous economic fairy stories that make no sense whatever from a macroeconomic perspective. In order to save you from reading all of those articles I'll outline a few bullet points.
  • George Osborne promised that ideological austerity would have eliminated the budget deficit by now, in reality it hasn't even been halved. Amazingly the Tories even dressed this abject failure up as a great success by bragging that they'd "cut the deficit by a third" before the last election (or missed their stated target by two thirds in other words).
Given the mountain of available evidence that ideological austerity is an extremist political agenda that has caused long-term damage to the UK economy and failed to achieve anything that George Osborne promised it would back in 2010, it's astonishing to see Jeremy Corbyn being derided as some kind of raving lunatic for proposing a change of direction.

Media misrepresentation

Corbyn's policies have been portrayed by the mainstream media as some kind of lunatic far-left agenda with no public support, but the evidence paints a completely different picture. Despite the decades of media saturation with right-wing pro-privatisation propaganda, the majority of the public still see privatisation for the rip-off scam that it is. Polls consistently show that a huge majority of British people believe that the NHS, the railways and the energy companies should be run as not-for-profit public services. Corbyn is speaking the people's language when he proposes renationalisation of the railways and opposes the ongoing Tory carve-up and privatisation of the NHS.

There is widespread public support for the kinds of social democratic policies Jeremy Corbyn proposes, but the mainstream media like to frame the situation as if Corbyn is talking some kind of alien language that nobody but the far-left would ever agree with. Note the way Corbyn is so regularly described in the mainstream media as "left-wing", "radical" or "hard-left", while David Cameron is never described as being the "right-wing Prime Minister", despite the fact that he's pursuing an extremely right-wing economic agenda that goes way beyond what Margaret Thatcher managed to get away with in the 1980s.

The mainstream coverage of one particular strand of Corbyn's economic policy has been especially biased and uninformative, not least because the subject is so complicated that many of the people commenting on it clearly don't even know what they're talking about, and have little to no appreciation for the wider context. The subject is Direct Quantitative Easing (or "People's QE" as Labour have been calling it) and some of the critiques of the policy have been amongst the least informed fearmongering diatribes I've ever had the misfortune of reading.

Money Creation

In order to understand Direct QE, it's first essential to understand how money is created in the modern economy. Almost all of the money in circulation taday has been created out of nothing by the private banks at the point they make interest bearing loans. 97% of the money in circulation is this kind of invented bank money and only 3% is created by the state in the form of coins and banknotes. Of this money that is created by the private banks, the vast majority is directed into property and financial sector speculation, with only a tiny percentage being loaned to actual businesses that generate productive economic activity.

If this description of how private banks are allowed to create new money out of nothing sounds like some kind of crazy conspiracy theory, I suggest you read this document for the Bank of England explaining the process.

The vast majority of the public are unfamiliar with the fact that the process of money creation has been stealthily privatised into the control of an oligopoly of private institutions with liberty to create money out of nothing and spend it where they expect the highest short-term profits (not what might be best for the long-term development of the wider UK economy). 

The fact that the banks controlled the money supply before the economic crisis is crucial because it showed that when a small group of private banks are allowed control over the monetary supply of entire nations, huge economic crises ensue because the money is directed into risky but profitable short-term activities like the inflation of unsustainable housing and asset price bubbles, not into long-term investments that promote genuine economic activity.

The money creation policies of the private banks caused the economic crisis. Far too much of the money they created was poured into the housing market bubble and into the unregulated free-for-all that is the bloated global derivatives market, and far too little was directed towards support for innovative British businesses that actually engage in productive economic activity. 

When the sheer scale of the reckless financial sector gambling with the money supply became clear in 2007-08, the banks stopped lending and the credit markets froze up triggering the global financial sector insolvency crisis. The response of the UK state to the imminent collapse into insolvency of the financial sector was an "emergency policy" of creating £375 billion in new money in order to save the banks from the insolvencies they so thoroughly deserved.

QE for the banks

The results of this QE for the banks policy are clear. The insolvent financial sector was resurrected with money created by the state, but left to their own devices when it came to how money is distributed into the UK economy. The financial sector soon got back to their old schemes of inflating unsustainable property and asset price bubbles, just backed with cash invented by the state rather than cash they'd invented for themselves. The Bank of England conservatively concluded that 40% of the benefit of QE for the banks went to the 5% of wealthiest UK households, which is no surprise at all given that discretion over how these funds were to be distributed into the UK economy lay with the very institutions that caused the crisis with their reckless short-term profiteering in the first place!

Without familiarity with how the money creation process is controlled by the private banks, and what the initial tranche of QE for the banks actually entailed, anything resembling a coherent critique of Corbyn's Direct QE policy is impossible. If the media commentator is unwilling to explain how money is actually created in the modern economy and confused about the reasons for and consequences of QE for the banks, they'd be completely unable to come up with any kind of meaningful comparison with contemporary reality, instead just presenting childish platitudes about "printing money" and fearmongering about hyperinflation by making absurd comparisons to Zimbabwe or Weimar Germany.

Once we understand that the power to create money has been outsourced to the private banks, that their reckless use of the money they created out of nothing caused the global financial sector meltdown, and that QE for the banks was designed to save the financial sector from insolvency by inventing £375 billion for them to play with, it's possible to understand what Jeremy Corbyn's team are actually proposing in it's proper context.

Direct QE

When Jeremy Corbyn talks about using quantitative easing to directly stimulate the UK economy through investment in infrastructure spending, he's not talking about revoking the money creation powers of the private banks, he's talking about the state taking responsibility for a small amount of the new money that is created, and directing it towards genuine economically productive activity rather than the reckless "get rich quick" housing bubble and asset price inflation schemes favoured by the private banks.

I struggle to see how anyone could seriously object to a policy of using central bank money creation powers to invest in infrastructure, for example by ensuring that all British households and businesses have access to high speed Internet, rather than just allowing the private banks to continue gambling as they please and doing virtually nothing to promote genuinely productive long-term economic activity. 

Making sure that the UK has the best broadband network in the world would create a short-term economic stimulus as the money is spent and and the jobs are created to improve our IT infrastructure, and the end result of a highly connected marketplace would undeniably be great for British businesses in the long-term.

People who oppose Corbyn's Direct QE policy tend to fall into two camps. Those who just don't understand how money is created in the modern economy, nor the significance of what he's proposing, and those who fully understand that the private banks have an oligopoly on money creation but believe the ideological nonsense that the market somehow still knows best, despite the fact that the private banks caused the global financial sector meltdown with their reckless short-term profiteering, and are busy inflating the very same kinds of debt backed housing and asset price bubbles all over again instead of investing in economically productive activity.

The major difference between Corbyn's Direct QE policy and QE for the banks is that Corbyn's plan wouldn't just hand the money over to the financial sector in order to save them from insolvency and allow them to continue gambling on property and asset price inflation, the money would go direct to infrastructure projects with tangible economic benefits for the whole UK economy.


The mainstream portrayal of Corbyn's renationalisation and direct QE policies as unpopular with the public and dangerously radical is completely backwards. Especially given that the current government is pursuing an extremely radical and destructive ideologically driven agenda with the complicity of the mainstream media.

In reality Corbyn's policies aren't that radical or unpopular at all. 

I'd prefer to see Corbyn present a truly radical proposal, such as new legislation to prevent the banks from just creating money out of nothing through the introduction of cryptographically secure electronic money, but what Corbyn is proposing is at least an improvement on the current policy of leaving money creation policy entirely in the hands of the banks that plunged the economy into crisis in the first place, while the government uses that same crisis as an excuse to go on a highly destructive ideological crusade to slash and burn public infrastructure and services with the ridiculous justification that it is possible to cut our way to long-term economic prosperity.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Austerity is a con
Jeremy Corbyn: the more they attack him the stronger he becomes
The Tory "economic recovery" mantra is a lie
George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
The Tory ideological mission
Asset stripping "bankrupt Britain"
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How depraved is David Cameron?

So it is alleged that David Cameron put his private parts inside the mouth of a severed pig's head as some kind of depraved initiation to an elitist Oxford society. Nobody can be sure of the veracity of the claims other than those who were there, however it is claimed that there is photographic evidence of the incident, so it should be absolutely clear whether or not it happened from David Cameron's reaction. Either he decides to sue for libel, which would indicate that he believes the photographic evidence doesn't exist, or he'll just sit there and allow everyone to think that he's a "pigfucker" because endless repetition of the unproven allegations wouldn't be quite as damaging as the actual photographic evidence would be.

Aside from the allegations about what David Cameron did to a dead pig's head, there are a number of much more serious, but less headline grabbing issues to consider. One is whether the allegations that he helped a major Tory party donor (Michael Ashcroft) cover up his tax-dodging activities, and another is the desperate hypocrisy of him leading a party hell bent on actually intensifying the failing ideological "war on drugs" when he allegedly took a lot of drugs as a youth. What kind of vindictive bastard would continue sending young people to jail for doing precisely what they themselves did when they were young?

Anyhow it's worth considering the fact that everyone should already have know that David Cameron is a despicable and depraved individual long before the allegations about what he did to the severed head of a pig as a young man came out.
It's public knowledge that Cameron was part of disgusting elitist societies like the Bullingdon Club, who went around doing stuff like burning £50 notes in front of homeless people and trashing restaurants for a laugh.
It's public knowledge that Cameron's party have imposed draconian austerity measures on the poor, the ordinary, the young, the sick and the disabled while handing huge tax cuts to the super-rich minority and to multinational corporations (including the banks who caused the economic crisis in the first place).
It's public knowledge that Cameron is an inveterate liar who repeatedly tells outright lies about the UK economy and his government's economic track record. It doesn't seem to matter how many times he is rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority, he just keeps on repeating the lie that his government is reducing the national debt, when in fact they have actually doubled it, creating more new public debt than every Labour government in history in the process.
It's public knowledge that David Cameron tried to get the UK armed forces to assist the rise of ISIS by bombing the Syrian government. Thankfully this utter insanity was defeated in parliament, causing him to become the first Prime Minister to lose a war vote since 1782. However, the fact that so many MPs recognised the insanity of what he was proposing and defeated him doesn't detract from the utter lunacy of what he was trying to do.
It's public knowledge that David Cameron is so totally and utterly out-of-touch with reality that he actually read out a speech calling for permanent austerity for the poor and ordinary from a golden lectern, while completely surrounded by the trappings of extreme wealth and privilege.
It's public knowledge that David Cameron's government oversaw the longest sustained decline in UK wages since records began, and then tried to dress themselves up as the party for "hardworking people" with an Orwellian propaganda campaign.
It's public knowledge that David Cameron has let Iain Duncan Smith orchestrate a deadly campaign of terror over the lives of millions of the most vulnerable people in society. Given his extraordinary levels of malice, dishonesty and ineptitude it seems likely that the only way IDS has managed to hold onto his job as head of the DWP is that he knows some dirty secrets that are significantly worse than what Cameron is alleged to have done to that severed pig's head.
In my view the allegations about David Cameron's drug taking and the depraved initiation ceremony he took part in are not really very significant. I mean all but the most boring of us did something extremely regrettable in our youth, perhaps not violating a severed pig's head with our genitals, but something embarrassing we'd prefer not to be dredged out and made public knowledge.

Of course the majority of people in this country who are not Tories have had a good laugh about the allegations, but the fact is that what he may have done as a young man is nowhere near as depraved as what he's spent the last five years doing, because the only victims of the alleged pig incident were an already dead pig and Cameron's personal reputation. The human victims of his depraved political ideology are very real and far too numerous to count.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Image credit: I took the pig's head image from Google images and cut out the background detail. Amazingly the guy who wrote the butchery article it came from got in touch. Here's a link to the article: Removing a pig's face from its skull is harder than it looks.

Austerity is a con
Jeremy Corbyn: the more they attack him the stronger he becomes
The Tory "economic recovery" mantra is a lie
George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
The Tory ideological mission
Asset stripping "bankrupt Britain"
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Saturday, August 29, 2015

National economies are not the same as family budgets

When I heard that the director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) had attacked Jeremy Corbyn's plan to use direct quantitative easing to fund infrastructure investment, I thought nothing more than 'of course he did', based on the knowledge that under John Cridland's leadership the CBI has become a pressure group for George Osborne's extremist ideological austerity agenda and promotion of the interests of the UK establishment. It was only a few days later that I took the time to read what his actual criticism was. I knew that Cridland and his mates at the CBI must be economically naive, given their undying support for ideological austerity despite the fact that it has resulted in the slowest post-crisis recovery in economic history, but the sheer economic illiteracy of Cridland's criticism of Corbyn's direct QE policy is still utterly astonishing.

One of the assertions Cridland made during his attack on Jeremy Corbyn's economic plans was that "We all know that household finances and government finances are the same". Not only is the assertion that national economies are equivalent to household budgets a demonstration of utter economic ignorance, the assertion that this idiocy is something that "we all know" just goes to show how much of an ideological bubble austerity fetishists tend to live in, that they cannot even conceive the idea that there's even anyone out there who doesn't believe in the simplistic and misleading economic fairy stories they hold to be self-evidently true.

Why government finances are not like household budgets

There are many reasons that government finances are not like household budgets. I'm going to outline nine reasons, but this list is hardly exhaustive. If you put your mind to it I'm sure you could think of several more ways in which family budgets differ from national economies.

Issuing currency
The most commonly cited difference between national economies like the UK and US and ordinary family budgets is the fact that nations with central banks have the ability to create more of their own currency, while law abiding families do not have the ability to print their own money.
Legislative power
Another major difference between national economies and family budgets is the fact that nations have the ability to write new laws to restructure their economies, while families have to comply with laws that are imposed externally. 

A national economy relies upon taxes imposed upon its citizens for income. A marginal rise in income taxes would increase the nation's spending power. A household budget generally relies upon wages, meaning a marginal rise in income taxes would cause a fall in family spending power. 

Controlling interest rates

Nations with their own central banks can use monetary policy to control interest rates. For example the Bank of England has held the interest rate at an all-time record low of just 0.5% for seven long years. Families do not have any control over interest rates. 

Issuing bonds
Nations borrow money by selling bonds. In the current economic climate yields on UK government bonds are very low, but they are considered very safe investments because the UK is considered highly unlikely to go bankrupt. The majority of government bonds are held by pension funds and insurance companies. Families have no ability to issue low interest bonds to pension funds and insurance companies in order to raise money, they generally have to borrow from commercial banks, building societies, payday loan companies, or, if they're really lucky, from wealthy relatives.

Geographical constraints
The first five points have been areas in which national economies have distinct advantages over household budgets, but when it comes to location, it is clear that the family unit has a distinct advantage over the modern national economy because they have the ability to move location. If a family is struggling to make ends meet they can downsize to a smaller house, or move to a more prosperous area to seek work. Nation states cannot geographically downsize, or simply move location to a more prosperous part of the world.

The nation state lasts an awful lot longer than the typical family unit. The United Kingdom has existed since 1707, but many of its institutions are much older. The typical family comes to an end after a few decades after the adult members die, it's assets are disbursed and its debts are written off. The only type of family that has similar longevity to nation states are royalty and the aristocracy, where land, wealth and titles are handed down the generations. The vast majority of family budgets do not benefit from enormous hereditary wealth in this way, so the comparison would be absurdly out-of-touch if Cridland is trying to draw parallels between the UK economy and the spending habits of the landed gentry.

The typical family unit has a linear demographic progression as the members of the family grow older, until the children grow up and leave the family home, then eventually the adults retire. If nation states had similar demographics to the typical family, the majority of adolescents would emigrate, and the entire working population would retire after a few decades.

Another huge difference between a national economy and a household budget is the way that money is spent. The majority of spending a nation state does is happens internally within the national economy (investment in infrastructure and services, employment, payment of social security etc) while the majority of spending the typical family does is external and flows out of the family unit (payment of taxes and bills, buying food, fuel, clothes etc). If family budgets were like national economies as economically illiterate austerity fetishists like to claim, the majority of family spending would constitute internal investment not external spending.

John Cridland is making the CBI a laughing stock

The Confederation of British Industry claims to be an apolitical business lobby group, but in recent years it has become one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the interests of the Westminster establishment and for 
George Osborne's socially and economically destructive ideological austerity agenda

John Cridland's politically partisan attack on Jeremy Corbyn's economic policies is not the first example of the CBI leadership showing their political bias. A previous example came when they signed up as official supporters of the campaign against Scottish independence without even bothering to consult their Scottish membership first, which caused an exodus of Scottish member organisations.

Not only have the CBI clearly given up any right to claim political neutrality, John Cridland's assertion that "we all know that household finances and government finances are the same" is a crystal clear illustration of the fact that the most powerful business lobby group in the UK is headed by an economic illiterate.

Surely some of the thousands of businesses, trade associations and individuals who are members of the CBI must be worrying that their Director General is making them look utterly foolish with his politically partisan and economically illiterate opinions. I mean, what kind of serious organisation allows their senior staff to embarrass their members by rambling on incoherently about subjects which they blatantly don't understand?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.

Austerity is a con
Jeremy Corbyn: the more they attack him the stronger he becomes
The Tory "economic recovery" mantra is a lie
George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
The Tory ideological mission
Asset stripping "bankrupt Britain"
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Friday, August 14, 2015

Who really has "no credibility" in the Labour leadership debate?

In this article I'm going to look at some comments from the Blairite leadership candidate Yvette Cooper and Jack "cash for access" Straw slamming Jeremy Corbyn's economic policies with far more vitriol than they have ever used to describe George Osborne's ideologically driven austerity con.

Jack Straw

I'm not sure why the mainstream media are so keen to give Jack Straw such a big platform to spit his anti-Corbyn bile given that he was caught out with his corrupt "cash for access" scam just six months previously. I really don't believe that a disgraced influence pedlar like Jack Straw deserves to oxygen of publicity, but I do think it's worth noting that his accusation that Jeremy Corbyn;s economic policies are "economically illiterate" illustrate exactly where his ideological allegiances lie.

We never heard Jack Straw speaking out in such strong terms against the economic illiteracy of George Osborne's ideological austerity con, despite the fact that Osborne blatantly missed all of the hubristic economic projections he made in 2010created more new public debt in just five years than every Labour government in history combined; oversaw the longest sustained decline in wages since records began; lost the UK's AAA credit ratings for the first time since the 1970s; caused the slowest post-crisis recovery in British history; and had his ideological austerity agenda criticised as harmful to the UK economy by a clear majority of trained economists.

Despite all of this economic ammunition the likes of Jack Straw had to fire at George Osborne before the General Election they remained resolutely silent, yet as soon as someone dares propose an alternative to George Osborne's ideological austerity agenda, they clamour to spit as much furious bile as possible at him, even though he's a member of the same political party they are!

The venomous rhetoric Jack Straw has reserved for Jeremy Corbyn makes it absolutely clear where his ideological allegiances lie. Not only is the man a disgrace for selling political influence, he's also an ideological blood brother to the Tory party, and an opponent of the massive grass roots movement within the Labour Party to return it to it's social democratic principles.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper slammed Jeremy Corbyn's economic policies as "not credible" during a speech in Manchester in which she spent far more time attacking her leadership rival than actually detailing her own policies.

If we look a little closer at the arguments she used to criticise Jeremy Corbyn's plan to use money creation in order to fund large public infrastructure projects (Direct Quantitative Easing) it's quite easy to see who is lacking economic credibility, or even any kind of political nous.

Here's the pseudo-economic babble she came out with to attack the idea that newly created money should be invested in infrastructure and services rather than propping up failed banks and enriching the tiny super-rich minority as the original £375 billion in QE was:
"Quantitative Easing to pay for infrastructure now the economy is growing is really bad economics ... QE was a special measure when the economy collapsed, liquidity dried up, interest rates fell as low as they could go. But printing money year after year to pay for things you can't afford doesn't work ... History shows it hits your currency, hits investment, pushes up inflation and makes it harder not easier to get ... sustainable growth."
There are so many things wrong with this garbled pseudo-economic spiel I'm going to have to resort to bullet points to get through it all:
  • Cooper also claimed that QE was a good thing before because "interest rates were at a historic low", which is odd, because interest rates still remain at the all time record low of 0.5% today. If we just skip past the fact that she's blatantly put the cart before the horse in claiming that low interest rates were a reason for QE rather than an effect of QE, we're left with a rather obvious question: If such a low interest rate (0.5%) was such a good reason for QE back in 2009, why is exactly the same rate now (0.5%) not a good reason for more QE (just this time supplied direct to the economy rather than pumped into insolvent banks)?
  • Cooper is also wrong to claim that Corbyn plans to use QE to pay for things we "can't afford". The idea that the UK can't afford modern infrastructure, decent services, high quality education and investment in high-tech industries is completely backwards. What Britain can't afford is to continue our long track record of catastrophic underinvestment in these things. It hardly takes a genius to realise that investment will be far more likely to flow into countries with modern infrastructure, good services and highly skilled workforces, than those which have deliberately curtailed investment in such things as part of an economically illiterate austerity agenda. 
  • Another bizarre claim from Cooper is that she has historical evidence to support her assertion that using direct QE to invest in infrastructure and services "hits your currency", "hits investment" and "pushes up inflation". I'm not really sure what historical data she is even alluding to. Perhaps she's just fearmongering by trying to claim that direct QE would turn the UK into the equivalent of Weimar Germeny or Mugabe's Zimbabwe, even though neither of those historical examples of hyperinflation are remotely similar to Corbyn's proposal for direct QE? She certainly can't be alluding to previous examples of orthodox QE, because it's absolutely clear that Japan has not suffered hyperinflation even though it has been doing QE since the 1990s. The UK, US and Eurozone haven't suffered hyperinflation either since they started using QE to prop up their insolvent banks. It seems that Cooper has no actual idea what effect direct QE would have, and is just lashing out in the hope that the public can be fearmongered into believing that it's better off to just leave money creation to the private banks, rather than trying to direct newly created money towards anything economically beneficial.
All in all, Cooper's criticism of direct QE reads like the rambling of someone who is far too wedded to the crony capitalist orthodoxy to even understand the alternative that is being proposed, let alone assemble a coherent critique of it. If anyone's economic policies are "not credible" it's Yvette Cooper's, because she's incapable of seeing the problem that the private banks will never have any interest in using their money creation powers to do what's best for the UK economy as a whole. All they'll ever do is use their money creation powers to chase quick profits with property speculation schemes and gamble on the global derivatives casino, safe in the knowledge that the taxpayer will bail them out again the next time they render themselves insolvent. 

Not only is she incapable of seeing the problem, she's also incapable of offering anything even remotely resembling a coherent critique of Jeremy Corbyn's proposed alternative.


As I've pointed out before the hysterical ranting of the Blairite old guard about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn is spectacularly counter-productive from their perspective, since condemnation from the likes of Tony Blair (warmonger), Jack Straw (discraced "cash for access" scammer), John McTernan (hilariosly incompetent election strategist) and Chuka Umunna (the living embodiment of the self-serving Westminster careerist) sound like ringing endorsements in the ears of millions of people, meaning the more they attack him, the stronger he gets.

The sheer stupidity of sticking with such a counter-productive strategy is bad enough, but the damage that all of these attacks is doing to the credibility of the Labour Party is even worse. It seems as if the Blairites would rather ruin the Labour Party completely than relinquish control of it to a genuine grass roots social democratic movement.

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Austerity is a con
Corbynomics vs Ideological Austerity
What is ... Fiscal Multiplication?
George Osborne has created more debt than every Labour government in history combined
How Ed Balls' austerity-lite agenda ruined Labour's election chances
The Tory ideological mission
The Tory economic recovery mantra is a lie
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies