Isn’t it annoying when the inevitable happens?
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yeats, The Second Coming.
The continual rustling sound you hear is chickens coming home to roost. The crises that have arrived in quick succession are caused entirely by the actions and inactions of the political class. Western governments long projected an illusion of prosperity onto a screen of debt. The longer the deception continued the greater the eventual adverse consequences. The political class, which has fostered this culture of indebtedness to the point of disaster, offers as the solution – more debt.
And they went to sea in a sieve
The most spectacular of the current crises involves the euro. Number Watch is merely one insignificant member of the worldwide, yet routinely ignored, chorus that has been confidently forecasting such an event for more than a decade. Yet the politicians continue to treat a serious congenital disease as though it were a minor and temporary infection.
One of the glories of Europe is the diversity of cultures that it encompasses. Millennia of biological and social evolution, conditioned by climate, produced a differentiation of attitudes on such things as work, lifestyle and taxation between north and south. Previously the consequences were ironed out by differential currency conversion rates, but that efficient mechanism has been withdrawn. The EU, a monstrous soviet style steam roller, set about crushing that precious variety of cultures loved by true Europeans, replacing them with a grey, uniform, arbitrary substitute to the benefit of nobody except the comfortable central bureaucrats. Germans are now made to suffer the effects of an undervalued currency, while Greeks are caused even more misery by an overvalued currency; and it is the same currency.
In June 2003, while commenting on the adverse effects of the Euro on Germany, we remarked that “One size fits all” was already a cliché in this respect. The trouble with clichés is that they also tend to be truisms, which you can ignore only if you are an idiot or a politician. The once happy-go-lucky southern Europeans find themselves in a straitjacket tailored by their dour northern neighbours.
For those with a taste for conspiracy theories, there is a sinister stirring of a movement within the Eurocracy for an imposition of a dictatorial fiscal regime. Could this have been a factor all along in the stubborn persistence with a policy that could only lead to crisis? Did they proceed in the knowledge that the crisis was inevitable, relishing the outcome?
The political class, subject as they are to mass hysteria when their peace is disturbed, are running around with sticking plaster to patch up the holes and old tin cans to bail out a vessel that is destined to sink.
The irony for the UK is that it could have been clear of all this pain, if it were not for a one man disaster by the name of Gordon Brown. Number Watch dubbed him “Chancer of the Exchequer” from July 2001 until his later apotheosis as unelected Prime Minister. Then, over a decade ago, we remarked that “Among those who will be caught out is the British Chancer of the Exchequer , Gordon Brown, he who was going to get rid of ‘boom and bust’ with his prudence that switched to a spending spree as the election approached.” He was a master of delusion and destruction. Among his first actions on gaining office were the selling of Britain’s gold reserves at the bottom of the market and a tax raid that destroyed the best private pension system in the world. His delusion reached its zenith when he saved the world. Back then in October 2002 and frequently since, we have warned of the growing addiction to Government hire purchase contracts, which hide their borrowings off the balance sheet. Little did we know then that the government negotiators were so incompetent that they committed the nation to usurious terms that are now threatening the very existence of public enterprises such as NHS hospitals. The sheer scale of the usury beggars belief. Can it really be all of nine years since our poet penned his tribute to G Brown?
Our number of the month for October 2002 was 800 billion, the amount of personal debt in the UK, to which we appended the remark “To mix a couple of metaphors, the time bomb is ticking and we stand on the edge of a very steep precipice. Perhaps at some time in the future someone will write the horror story When the borrowing had to stop.” Now the figure is 1.5 trillion, as recorded by Jeff Randal in an article entitled Debt trap time bomb. Long fuse!
The British government is by no means unique in the insanity of its policies, which are endemic to the entire western world. Australia, for example, has recently introduced an economically suicidal carbon tax in obeisance to the carbophobic religion. With its abundant natural resources it should be one of the world's richest nations, but serially incompetent government has managed to obviate this. In the USA, the corrupt and destructive EPA has been given carte blanche to destroy swathes of industry in the name of a largely fictional version of The Environment. Throughout the examples of sheer perverse incompetence are legion. When governments make a show of facing up to the debt crisis, as in the UK, they spend the proceeds of excessive cuts and taxation on such fripperies as worse-than-useless wind turbines and gifts to politicians in underdeveloped countries. Almost universal is the creation of so-called green jobs, which are just new ways of living of the taxpayer
As has frequently been mentioned in these pages, the author was born and bred in the placid little London village of Tottenham. It is a veritable nightmare that the name is now synonymous with shootings, knifings and now riots. Two groups within the community have been betrayed by the political class, the natives and the immigrants. New Labour, in particular, let immigration rip and prevented any discussion of their policy by crying “racism” and enacting laws to enforce the censorship.
You are not allowed even to discuss the terrible sense of deracination felt when you go back to your place of birth to find that, though the buildings are the same, you are a foreigner. Of course, it is far from unknown for entire populations to be replaced, but this was usually the result of an act of war or tyranny. In this case it was through an inaction of complacency.
There was a little racism when the immigrants began to arrive, but not much, and the now mixed community was still relatively peaceable, but the lack of control allowed the admission of a small but significant minority of criminals and other anti-social elements. The old population held on, but the first acts of violence triggered the exodus. The remnants of your author’s family moved to a small town in Hertfordshire, to find that they had some of the same neighbours as before. Indeed, wherever you go in England you find members of the Tottenham Diaspora. When we moved to a small village in Hampshire, the wife of the village policeman had grown up a few hundred yards away from our former family home in Tottenham. When we finally retired to a small town in the far west of Wiltshire, a regular at the local pub still worked in Tottenham, but preferred to raise his family in Wiltshire. What unites us still is support for our old village football club, Tottenham Hotspur.
As children we attended fine local infants and primary schools, with dedicated and highly competent teachers. Some of us had grandparents who had met at the same school. Those who could benefit went on to grammar schools that were as good as any in the world. Now they are all sink schools in which do-gooders have been allowed to dismantle all remnants of discipline. Boys in particular have suffered. Evolution has decreed that in addition to discipline they need challenge and competition. In the feminised educational system enforced by interfering and dogmatic politicians, they do not get these things, so they turn to the gangs for them. The biggest sufferers are the bright ones, who recognise from an early age that their lives have already been wasted, so they become the focus of disaffection. The changing sex ratio in universities is clear evidence of this betrayal. Such waste of talent is one of the political scandals of the age, yet it goes virtually unremarked by the complacent media.
A significant factor in the civil decline has been the emasculation of the police force. It had been vilified by the establishment as “institutionally racist”. No doubt some of its officers were, but there was no justification for that blanket condemnation. Leaders were appointed who proclaimed their allegiance to New Labour and instituted programmes that effectively surrendered the streets to lawless elements. If you appoint police chiefs for political correctness rather than thief-taking, that is what you get. Hundreds of innocent people every day find their property damaged or stolen, yet the response of the police is a ritual box ticking exercise with no suggestion that even a nominal investigation will take place, though they are now offered “counselling”. Yet, when a footballer makes an alleged racist slur on another, it is announced that a team of officers are at work to investigate. While insulting behaviour is an unpleasant phenomenon, that it so overshadows destructive criminality suggests that the times are out of joint. In the old days local constables knew all the villains on their patch and often succeeded in tracing stolen property. The withdrawal of police from the streets has been a long slow process that accelerated under New Labour. Bureaucrats like big, so the village policemen were rounded up and herded into large central organisations with a tight chain of command and an emphasis on reporting by interminable and soul-sapping form filling, with a gradual loss of contact with reality. Police so feared the brand of “racist” that they have stood back while child sex exploitation rings operate without interference in some northern towns.
A class apart
It seems to be a universal rule that democracy breeds political elites. The EU of course has bypassed this by making appointments without democratic process, even to head governments of subject nations. All over the world, however, democracies have revealed this tendency, though they reach it by different routes. In the UK significant markers were when MPs awarded themselves a salary a century ago and when the Labour Government demolished the grammar schools half a century ago. Thus, after a brief interlude when grammar school oiks appeared at the top of the political tree, the old elite from public (i.e. private) schools and Oxford University re-established their hold on the leadership of the major parties. Emerging from Oxford with degrees in pseudosciences based on untested hypotheses, most join the political escalator without having ever done a proper job. These professional politicians are divided from the electorate by privilege and inexperience of life in the real world. They harbour belief systems that are only maintained by ignoring the evidence and are herded by the party machines into conformity with the policies that have produced the current world wide economic disaster. They insist on micromanaging everything, but everything they touch falls into ruin. Ignorant politicians, who think for example that mathematics is the same as sums, take it upon themselves to tinker with the finest details of school syllabuses. Examination standards have become a notorious fiasco, while illiteracy and innumeracy are rife.
The decline in western democracy, however, is also largely a failure of opposition. Modern political parties tend to go into a panic when they experience electoral defeat. In the USA the Republicans became a shambles. British Conservatives now find themselves lumbered with a leader who had announced himself as the heir to Blair and promised to continue Labour’s programme of uncontrolled spending. He lost an election that was virtually handed to him on a plate and now finds himself leading a coalition government that is manipulated by its left wing tail. Contrast this with Winston Churchill who, when he lost the post-war election, sent his emissary out to reorganise the party in the country while he set about providing vigorous opposition. His party was returned to power at the next poll. Recent UK governments have had long terms of office because oppositions simply disintegrated. Eventually governments are defeated by their own arrogance and complacency, which allows their own party to disintegrate and the long cycle repeats.
Parallel depredations to those on the national scene are reproduced in local politics and bureaucracy. Councils have become giant parasites that suck the life out of the very communities they are supposed to serve. Parking restrictions and charges, for example, are destroying village and town high streets, which are the very life blood of small communities. Disingenuous claims are made that this is all in the cause of regulation of our society. It is nothing of the sort. It is merely an official money-making scam to feed the greed of the authorities for resources to feed their often fantastical activities, not least to fund their grossly overpaid and under-skilled executives in their palatial offices, many of whom are doing what are widely known as “non-jobs”. The size of the national take from these parking scams has reached £1.35 billion and is increasing at an astonishing rate. Meanwhile, important community facilities, such as swimming pools, weekly garbage collections and libraries, are being closed on a grand scale in the name of austerity. To rub salt in the wound we receive “free” glossy full-colour magazines that tell us what grand job councils are doing on our behalf, the modern equivalent of Pravda.
When worlds collide
The political classes inhabit different worlds from the rest of us and the higher up the ladder they get the more isolated they become. Like mediaeval princes (or even one modern one) they surround themselves with courtiers and other yes-men, so that their inner peace remains undisturbed. They wear effective blinkers that enable them to ignore self-evident critical situations that are building up around them. They are able to harbour irrational beliefs, such as global warming or the sanctity of the euro, and they are propped up in this by that other pillar of the modern establishment, the media. The villages of Washington, Westminster, Brussels etc are secure walled enclaves in which the inhabitants are provided with privileges, both official and unofficial (such as plenty of sex). They are able to ignore any inconvenient evidence that accidently comes their way and anyway are untrained to deal with it.
At the extreme, as ever, is the EU, which talks to lobbyists (such as the crazed water melons, which it subsidises, and monopolistic industrial giants) then issues an endless stream of diktats, which are often contradictory, absurd or even insane. It drives energy dependent industries, such as smelting, out of Europe to the benefit of its competitors. It brooks no appeal and trundles on its destructive path unopposed. The members of its pretend parliament wallow in their privileges and allow themselves to be herded by anonymous bureaucrats. The political leaders of the countries involved (The colleagues) meet in isolation over elaborate dinners. They agree to policies largely determined by central bureaucrats and join to bully any backsliders into conformity.
Inevitably, the time comes when their comfortable world collides with the real one that ordinary folk experience. Just as in ordinary families, uncontrolled rising debt and wilful reduction of earning capacity lead to disaster for states.
Number Watch has expressed concern about all these crises as they were developing. Just look at the entry for August 2003 for example. That page includes the question "What is the point of demanding answers after the inevitable has happened? " How relevant it is today!
Note in explanation - this piece was started in August and was continued in the subsequent months. Two unfortunate events combined to prevent it being posted. A very painful illness was followed by a disastrous computer failure, in which important data and programs were lost. It has taken some time to recover the former position, but with the help of members of our forum (especially a wizard of Oz, one David Nesbit) things are almost back to normal and posting can continue.
Number of the month - 1,000,000,000,000
This number is now called a "trillion". Thanks to the dominance of the US culture the rest of us are obliged to conform to its love of the irrational. It is the basic unit, in any major currency (dollar, euro, pound etc) in matters of economic importance, e.g. national state or personal debt.
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