Capitalism has not failed. Capitalism has not recently been tried | James Delingpole

June 12, 2012

She’s not coming back till at least 2020, I’m afraid…

If Britain is ever to recover from this economic mess it needs a compelling ideological vision. That’s the message of a brilliant new report produced for the Centre for Policy Studies (the think-tank that launched the Thatcher revolution) by economist Tim Morgan (of the excellent Tullett Prebon)

Here’s the potted version, as written for Spectator blogs. First, his analysis of the problem:

Back in 1945, everyone knew that Attlee’s Labour administration stood for the welfare state and Keynesian economics. In 1979, with Britain nearly broke, everyone knew that Thatcher stood for de-regulating the economy and breaking the power of the union barons.

Everyone knew what those governments stood for. Can anyone really say the same of the current government?

Let’s be clear that we do not need another synthetic ideology. After thirteen years of New Labour’s vacuous blend of free market economics and social interventionism, voters are preternaturally attuned to spin.

The electorate, and, in particular, working people in the “squeezed middle”, are discontented. Median wages are falling ever further adrift of the cost of living, prices for essentials continue to soar and taxes have risen. There may have been little state austerity thus far, but enormous hardship is being felt by working people. Unless we can sort the economy out, this can only get worse.

And here is an outline of Morgan’s proposed solution:

What, then, should the Government stand for? I contend that it needs to stand for two things.

The first of these is reforming our capitalist system so that it serves everyone, not just a privileged minority. Capitalism should reward success, not failure. It should benefit shareholders (which means most people), not just executives. Contracts should be entered into freely by parties bargaining from roughly equal positions. This does not describe the current system, which is a bastardised version of capitalism

The aim of reform should be to bring ‘capitalism-in-practice’ back into line with ‘capitalism-in-principle’. Rewards for failure need to be stamped out. Executives must not prosper when shareholders suffer. Bonuses should be held in rolling accounts so that deductions can be made if performance deteriorates.

The second aim should be to roll back the incursions both of the state and of big business into the freedom of the individual. A new Equity Court should have the power to overturn companies’ “terms and conditions” when these are unfair to customers. Local authorities’ surveillance powers should be scrapped, as should officials’ ability to circumvent the judicial process by inflicting on-the-spot fines, or to demand admission to inspect people’s pot-plants or hedges.

Reforming capitalism so that it serves the majority, and strengthening the individual against the collectivist and the corporate, are inspiring visions. This is where government should be taking Britain.

Easier said than done, of course – as I was reminded yesterday when I Tweeted it under the headline “How to rescue capitalism….” only to have some Twentysomething smartarse Tweet back “Rescue it? Bury it!”

This is the kind of fifth-form, sub-Banksy political analysis which passes for conventional wisdom these days. It’s the dominant strain of thinking at the Guardian, at the BBC, among the studio audience at Channel 4’s apocalyptically lame 10 O’Clock Live, on Twitter, in the right-on brains of groovester opinion-formers all the way from Ben Goldacre to Graham Linehan to Polly Toynbee – and, of course, across the world in the entire Occupy movement. Capitalism, they all maintain, has failed.

No, capitalism has not recently been tried: that’s the real problem. And what I particularly like about Morgan’s report – well worth reading in full – is that it addresses this extremely important point. What we’re experiencing around the world at the moment is not  laissez-faire, self-correcting, authentic, free-market capitalism but an excedingly corrupt and bastardised form thereof.

What we’re seeing is a grotesque stitch up between the banking class, the corporate class and the political class – at the expense of the rest of us.

One day, I like to hope, those of us on the libertarian right will find common cause with (at least some of) the Occupy crowd and unite against our real enemy.

Could such a thing happen? Well not under this administration, clearly. Cameron’s Coalition is so obviously toast you could spread it with butter and eat it with kippers. But as happened with the Thatcher revolution, so it must be with any future one. Before the political battle takes place first the intellectual groundwork must be laid.

Tim Morgan’s report is an excellent starting point, a flag around which those of us who believe in small governments, free markets and true liberty can rally. We’re a long way from 1979, unfortunately. We’re currently in the middle of the Heath administration. My bet is that it won’t be before 2020 that we finally see the government with the ideological mettle to do the right thing. Till that happy day, I’m afraid, the prospects for UK Plc are looking distinctly bearish….

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3 thoughts on “Capitalism has not failed. Capitalism has not recently been tried”

  1. zmara1 says:17th June 2012 at 10:15 amfor those on the other side of the ocean what is the meaning of the term potted version?
    1. Eworrall says:17th June 2012 at 10:30 amPotted version = synopsis or summary :-)
  2. LaraLouboutin says:18th June 2012 at 6:44 pmFor someone with the benefits of an (apparently) very good education you seem spectaculary ignorant in economics – have you tried getting a post at the TPA?


Global Warming: The Guilty Men

A guilty man

I don’t always agree with Peter Oborne, but I think his diatribe (written with Frances Weaver) against the Guilty Men responsible for trying to drag us into the Great Euro Swindle may be the most brilliant piece of sustained, righteous invective I’ve read all year.

Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons. They foresaw with lucid, prophetic accuracy exactly how and why the euro would bring with it financial devastation and social collapse.

You can download a longer version here from the Centre For Policy Studies.

But possibly even more brilliant than Oborne’s and Weaver’s thoroughly brilliant polemic is the introduction written by Peter Jay. I’d never thought much of Jay before: just another of those soft-left apparatchiks doing very nicely out of the System, I used vaguely to imagine. His intro, though, suggests I may have misjudged him.

Jay is fascinating on the subject of Jean Monnet, architect of the EU socialist superstate. Young Jay met him as a 15 year old schoolboy at a dinner hosted in Paris for his father and was not impressed. Monnet was perfectly frank about what he wanted: a United States of Europe run by mostly French technocrats.

What interested me most, though, was this bit:

In choosing the title of their book from that famous earlier study of national betrayal by the nation’s elite, the authors of this book have chosen well. Like the appeasers, those who after 1950 worked to deliver their country into the hands of a foreign power and the particular institutions in which they served were not individually wicked or vile, though there was indeed something diabolical about the combined arrogance and dirty tricks deployed by the Europhile establishment against anyone who refused to profess the new faith.

It was, my father told me, an exact re-run of the appeasement period in the 1930s when dissent was greeted with suffocating ostracism and personal calumny, reminiscent of the fate of religious non-conformists in earlier times. It recalled too the treatment, at least on the left, of any who did not at least pretend to support CND. Its spokesmen became past masters of a special kind of double-speak, fudging of all facts and ducking all issues, what Kipling had earlier called “the truthful well-weighed answer that tells the blacker lie.”

Doesn’t this sound very much also like another issue close to all our hearts? Guido certainly thinks so:

Though this isn’t referred to in the text, it occurs to Guido that many of the same guilty men are currently making the same kind of hysterical claims about global warming.

Indeed, and using the same techniques too. Looking back now at some of the smears directed over the years at Eurosceptics by the Liberal Establishment, it almost beggars belief that they could get away with such calumnies while yet maintaining any kind of claim to reason, balance or authority.

Here, for example, is an Independent editorial from 1992 – when Andrew Marr was editing the paper.

The spectacle is both nauseating and pathetic: nauseating because this heterogeneous rump of Thatcherites, little Englanders, xenophobes and eccentric constitutionalists appears to have no concept of loyalty; pathetic because they have no alternative agenda. In their conceit they are convinced they know better than the Government (and the Opposition) where this country’s true interests lie. But what vision do they substitute? Not, to be sure, of a perfidious Albion notorious for going back on treaties that it has signed; nor of a country whose outdated notions of sovereignty led either to Britain being marginalised in Europe, or to a historic undermining of the EC’s role as a bulwark against resurgent nationalism. Yet those are both likely outcomes. The Europhobes’ idea of the EC reverting to a mere Common Market is a naive anachronism.

Note that this is an editorial not a signed Op Ed written by some rabid integrationist, but one of those unsigned leading articles in which, by tradition at least, a newspaper strives to set out its stall as a thoughtful, balanced authority on matters of great import.

How did they get away with this stuff? It’s a question I find myself asking time and again of all those establishment figures using every manner of dirty trick to promote the Man Made Global Warming scam. As we saw with Appeasement and we saw again with the Euro, foremost among these dirty tricks is a relentless campaign to discredit those who disagree with them by implying that they are mad, extreme, out-of-touch, unrepresentative, ill-informed. What’s depressing, as we saw with the Appeasers and again with those Europhiles, is there is no great penalty for having been so totally wrong. Satisfying though it be for those of us on the right side to see Oborne and Weaver fingering the Guilty Men Andrew Rawnsley, Chris Patten, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy, Danny Alexander, Niall FitzGerald, Adair Turner, David Simon, et al you can be sure that those Guilty Men won’t actually be experiencing even the slightest frisson of guilt or embarrassment about the decent people whose reputations they have helped destroy, or the damage they have done to our economy, our democracy and our freedoms.

It will be same, unfortunately, when the Great Global Warming Scam finally unravels for good. There will be no payback for the dodgy scientists, green activists, shyster politicians, rent-seeking businessmen, faceless technocrats and media useful idiots who exploited and stoked this, the biggest and most expensive outbreak of mass hysteria in history.

All those of us on the right side of the argument will have is the satisfaction of being able to list the Guilty Men, just has Oborne has done.

Let’s start now:

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

Simon Singh, celebrity mathematician

David Cameron, prime minister

Now over to you.

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3 thoughts on “Global Warming: the Guilty Men”

  1. colin dunne says:25th September 2011 at 12:12 pmDear James D-pole,Some years ago (long before your time), I was a feature writer in Fleet Street. At that time I came to know one of the Sun’s political reporters, a charming, likeable chap. Assuming, quite wrongly that I shared his leftwing views, he told me that when he was Cambridge, and he and those of similar opinions were advised to look for a career at the BBC. If they didn’t succeed, then the advice was to join ITV, Sky, any other tv company, and after that the national newspapers. In other words, anywhere where they could advance their views of the world. “And look where I ended up,” he said, with admirable modesty, “the bloody Sun!” This, I imagine, is how the BBC and much of the broadcast media comes to have an inbuilt left-wing bias. He finished by saying: “You’re on the side of the angels, aren’t you?” I replied to say that I was indeed, but my angels were not the same as his. I hope this is of some interest you. And, I must just add how vey much I enjoy your writing.
    colin dunne

  2. FrankSW says:25th September 2011 at 4:28 pmThere is a follow on to your Watermelons book here. ( bought it, liked it, but where is the cover on the Kindle edition?)
    You seem to have sumerised the whole problem here in one blog. If the same problem was apparent during the 30’s, then presumably this same atmosphere has re-occured throughtout history and will occur again…and again. How horrifying.Inerestingly I followed up the TotalPolitics blog awards for the Green blogs and noticed how few comments there were and how parochiacal the were. I mean how come is above George Monbiot in the top 20 if they are so popular?
  3. Nige Cook says:26th September 2011 at 9:59 pm“It was, my father told me, an exact re-run of the appeasement period in the 1930s…”Michael Foot was leading author of Guilty Men, the attack on Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement. Chamberlain was self-deluded till the end (clearly analogous to Gordon Brown in sinking Britain into a massive new public debt, at exactly the time circa 2002 when Britain finally cleared the relatively trivial WWII lend-lease debts to Uncle Sam, that helped Britain defeat Hitler).

    Michael Foot was against Chamberlain’s appeasement in 1940. But in the early 1980s he was the appeaser himself, appeasing Brezhnev’s USSR by setting the Labour Party on course for unilateral nuclear disarmament, the freeze, etc., just when the USSR was bankrupting itself getting ahead of America (which had a fixed 1000 Minutemen missiles) by rolling out a new generation of nuclear weapons, the monster SS-20’s. Foot led the Labour Party into the 1983 General Election on the ban the bomb promise. Kinnock continued this policy in 1987, even when Reagan and Thatcher were getting concessions from the USSR using the threat of Star Wars to render impotent and obsolete the SS-20s.

    I actually have no problem with socialism, just the lying propaganda they use to try to brain wash everyone dishonestly. If they were truthful and said we should destroy our country’s economy in a hopeless and thankless bid to save the world, great. But because they know in advance that nobody will buy the truth, they have to lie to everyone. The true believers believe those lies because they can see that they are necessary to brainwash the doubters, or at least to “save face”. Gordon Brown is the perfect example of the deliberately self-deluded person, who sets aside any mistakes he may have had with the pride that he was doing what he believed was in this country’s best interests, and in the best interests of the under-priviledged, etc.

    Can I just say it’s exactly the same in science, as in journalism. The leading physicists are all at heart left wing socialists, still atoning spiritually for Oppenheimer’s “sin” in ending WWII without the deaths of a million or more Americans and Japanese in a military invasion of Japan. They all assume that politically Marx was right, because he claimed to be scientific and intellectual, and the economic failure of the USSR is put aside much in the way that Gordon Brown’s failure can be set aside because of the taxpayers money he squandered producing ever more unproductive jobs.

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