Archives for August 2011

Banksters baffle business bosses – with a little help from their friends

Evan Davis goes to the top of the class today. Why? For pointing out something on the Today programme that no other commentator has had the wit or the understanding to do before. To challenge the CBI on its close links to the banks.

Interviewed by Davis this morning, John Cridland, the Confederation’s Director General – someone who has never actually done a days’ work in ‘industry’ in his life – was very much playing the bankers’ tune by saying that this was not the time for bank reform..

“…anything which makes it harder for the banks to keep the wheels of the economy well oiled is not good timing”, he protested.

That Mr Cridland believed that the banks were keeping the wheels of the economy well oiled was a bit too much for seasoned economist Davis who asked politely if he was speaking on behalf of bankers. A brief pause whilst Cridland’s brain cells registered that he had been bowled a very fine googly. “But banks are members of the CBI, are they not”, continued Davis. “Well, yes they are, but…”, Cridland spluttered.  His ‘but’ was the start of some deft side stepping.

Davis then went on to challenge Cridland about why his organisation had not said a word about the banks’ PPI scam. ‘Looting the public on a scale of billions and billions of pounds’, as Davis put it. Why had the CBI said nothing about the atrocious behaviour of some of its members? Cridland was well and truly stumped.

That banks are members of an organisation representing British industry is baffling to anyone other than a banker to whom it makes perfect sense. As major contributors to the coffers of the CBI they’re able to keep the lid on criticism. With committees and Regional Councils peppered with bank representatives, they are the elephant in the room, the intimidator that ‘keeps an eye’ on what is being said and by whom.

In the same programme, Lib Dem MP John Thurso made the point that, in his constituency, many good  businesses found it extremely difficult to get finance, and any that was offered was at usurious rates. He also pointed out that there was a total disconnect between the banker at the ‘coal face’ and the faceless drones at ‘head office’ who were blocking perfectly good lending propositions (maybe one of the reasons why bank net lending has not increased one iota).  In the face of this onslaught by banks against business, has the CBI been fighting the corner for their members? Have they been battering down the door of the Chancellor to get him to act? Have they hell.

Even in the aftermath of the banking crisis which saw many good businesses go to the wall because of the actions of banks (they reduced facilities, increased charges and generally made life hell for British business), barely a cheep of criticism of banks’ behaviour was heard from the CBI.

The CBI is a flawed, paper-pushing organisation which has done precious little to represent the interests of British industry – a bit strong? Their actions – or lack of – speak for themselves.

Time for CBI members to consider not renewing their subscription? With finance difficult to come by, it could be a useful saving.

 

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US needs to support a Palestinian state at the UN

FEATURED ARTICLE   by M J ROSENBERG

As a new cycle of violence begins, the US must do the right thing, rather than what is politically expedient.

First, let me put all my cards on the table. I believe that the intentional killing of civilians, whether by Palestinian terrorists on the ground or by the Israeli Air Force from the sky, is a war crime. As far as killing kids, I will paraphrase what Lincoln said about slavery: if killing a child, any child, is not wrong then nothing is wrong.

Nonetheless, Israel and the Palestinians resumed the cycle of violence again this week and, if not stopped, it will spiral into mass civilian carnage.

Both sides are responsible. But I do not hold a bunch of rag tag terrorist thugs to the same standards I apply to a powerful state. So, yes, I do expect more from Israel.

Besides, every bullet and bomb Israel uses against Palestinians is paid for by the American taxpayer. We oppose Hamas and have no leverage with it. But we subsidise Israel with more aid than any other country in the world. That gives us both authority and responsibility. More significantly, Israel’s behaviour endangers our interests, as General David Petraeus told Congress – including our men and women in the Middle East. After all, the whole world sees the US and Israel as joined at the hip. Even our own vice president repeatedly says that there must be “no daylight” between Israel and the United States.

Although we have no leverage with Hamas, we can offer incentives that will make it more willing to stop the violence. Instead of telling Hamas that we won’t deal with it unless it recognises Israel prior to negotiations, we should tell it that our only requirement for working with all Palestinians is that it permanently end terror attacks against Israel. Hamas would be stupid to recognise Israel in advance of negotiations when the question of recognition would be the subject of the negotiations.

As for Israel, we need to insist that it end the blockade of Gaza. Inspections can prevent weapons from going in, but until Gaza controls its own borders, and not Israel, it remains occupied no matter what the Israelis say. Occupied, and living in poverty.

But most important of all, the United States should support the Palestinians’ bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations. The Israelis have demanded for decades that the Palestinians drop violence and turn to diplomacy to achieve their goals. That is what going to the United Nations is. Diplomacy.

The United States should say that if Hamas will end the violence and join with the Palestinian Authority’s effort to achieve UN recognition as a state, we will support it. Why not? The Palestinians are not seeking recognition of their sovereignty inside Israel, but only on occupied land that rightfully belongs to them: Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nor would recognition by itself kick any Israeli out of those territories.

It would, however, change the political dynamic. Instead of Palestinians begging for a few crumbs from the State of Israel, there would be two states that could negotiate an agreement that would guarantee security for both. President Abbas himself says that following a UN vote, he will immediately return to the negotiating table.

In short, the Palestinian decision to turn to the UN is not a threat to Israel, it is an opportunity. And Israel cannot afford to miss any more opportunities, especially now that its two strongest friends in the region, Egypt and Turkey, are distancing themselves from Israel as fast as they can.

Of course, one can argue about who is right and who is wrong endlessly. But that leads nowhere but to the grave. The UN offers a way out, a way to guarantee security for two states and two peoples.

Frankly, I expect the US to support Israel’s rejection of UN action simply because 2012 is another election year and both the president and Congress live in fear of losing campaign contributions. But just maybe they can take a look at what is about to happen if the United States does not begin acting like an honest broker.  There will be another war. And another. And, with Hezbollah’s missiles at the ready, ultimately these wars won’t be as one-sided as Israel’s previous wars with the Palestinians.

People who care about Israel, about Palestine and, need I say, about our own country, need to tell the president to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing. He needs to instruct our ambassador at the United Nations to vote “yes” on the question of statehood for Palestine.

The alternative will be more weeks like the last one, and much much worse.

MJ Rosenberg is a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the Media Matters Action Network. This article first appeared in Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action Network.

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Politicos by Roz: Muammars from the desert

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Murdoch, Coulson and the deafening roar of hush money

 

So, Andy Coulson was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by News International after he resigned as editor of News of the World – a fact he decided not to tell the Conservative Party or David Cameron. The reason why is becoming clear.

According to Coulson’s testimony to the DCMS select committee in July 2009 in a response to a question from Tom Watson, he only received ‘what was contractually due’.  There is no way of knowing what was in Coulson’s contract, but he presumably received payment in lieu of notice. That sum, by all accounts, was large. What is strange is that it would appear to have been paid over a prolonged period. Why wasn’t he paid a lump sum? It is definitely not normal practice to keep an ex-employee ‘on the books’ after they have ‘resigned’.

The suspicion is that Coulson was deliberately kept on the books for two reasons. First, to ensure that he stayed stum about the extent of hacking at News of the World. And second, so that Murdoch could use him in the future, should the situation arise.

(The Goodman letter makes clear that despite Coulson’s denial, hacking was openly talked about at editorial meetings chaired by Coulson. Interestingly, Murdoch’s handling of Coulson following his ‘resignation’ is one of the best indicators that he was totally in the picture about the extent of hacking at News of the World very early on. Murdoch will have understood his vulnerability and acted to neutralise Coulson, but to keep him close. Keeping people who might be a threat close, is what he likes to do. Rebekah Brooks is apparently still on the payroll).

After Coulson resigned and Goodman and Mulcaire were in chokey, Murdoch probably believed that the hacking problem had been ‘sorted’. Undeterred, he continued to implement his strategy to optimise his influence over the ruling elite of British politics. It wasn’t long before he got the opportunity to get right inside the party most likely to form the next government – and to use Coulson. With a little help from George Osborne, Coulson was appointed as director of communications of the Conservative party. Murdoch had a ‘placeman’ right where he wanted him. – and someone who it would appear, was still on the payroll.

It’s difficult to believe that David Cameron kept Coulson on as his director of communications after it was clear that the Goodman incident was not a one off. It was put down to his ‘bad judgement’. But to have a Murdoch placeman as his right hand man in the pay of News International is more than bad judgment. Was Cameron being leaned on? What exactly did he know? It’s going to take some explaining.

As Max Clifford (a recipient of a Murdoch out-of-court settlement) pointed out earlier this year, Murdoch was prepared to use money and ‘influence’ to keep the lid on Hackgate. The recipients of both are going to have a rough ride in the coming months.

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Cameron one term wonder? Seems that way

 

What chance a second term for Cameron? Right now the odds aren’t great. Bookies are apparently suggesting that if there was a general election tomorrow, no party would have an overall majority. If there was, the Labour party would be the largest party. This is an optimistic scenario if ever there was one – must be Tory bookies. The Liberal vote is almost certain to collapse, and it won’t be the Tories who pick up the Liberal votes. It’ll be Labour. A Labour majority is the most likely outcome.

The Tory grand strategy to achieve an overall majority in 2015 is in need of some serious modification. Things are not going to plan. Clegg and the Liberals might have been successfully trashed by tuition fees and AV, but George Osborne’s austerity regime to get rid of the deficit in one parliament is proving to be over ambitious and potentially disastrous. With a double-dip recession on the way, growth nowhere to be seen and European export markets stalling, Britain is heading for a serious slump. A slump so severe that it may take a decade before proper growth returns.

So bang goes the plan to have a big give away just before the next election. Cameron is going to have to fight on his record, and that has every possibility of being utterly dismal. The way things are going there’s going to be a lot of unhappiness about in 2015 and the Tories are going to get the blame.

If that wasn’t enough, Hackgate is hovering over Cameron – and Osborne – like a huge rain cloud about to dump. Well before 2015 Andy Coulson, Cameron’s erstwhile Communications Director, is very likely to be standing in the dock. He knows what Cameron knew and when he knew it. It’s not only Cameron’s judgement that will be highlighted – again, but the fact that he’s a player in the game, not a spectator. It will do him a power of no good.

Is there a way out? Well, probably there is, but the likelihood of Cameron or Osborne recognising what it is they have to do is pretty slim. Why? Firstly because it means reining back on the austerity programme and increasing government spending. They have to rescue what confidence there is left before it disappears down the drain by creating employment and increasing consumer spending. Secondly, they need new, fresh ideas to generate long-term growth in the economy. They seem to be fresh out of ideas on this. Lastly, Osborne’s debt reduction fanaticism is not going to be neutralised by rational argument. It’s about the man. It’s about losing face – and we’re going to have to pay the price for that. It’s going to be a heavy one.

The opposition benches beckon.

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Current madness – when the irrational is considered rational

 

FEATURED ARTICLE by DANNY SCHECTER

 The crisis the US faces is primarily the result of high stakes games played by Wall Street’s financial wizards.

Thank you, Wikipedia, for this definition:

“Irrationality is cognition, thinking, talking or acting without inclusion of rationality. It is more specifically described as an action or opinion given through inadequate reasoning, emotional distress, or cognitive deficiency. The term is used, usually pejoratively, to describe thinking and actions that are, or appear to be, less useful or more illogical than other more rational alternatives.”

And what about the term ‘Market Psychology’? It is defined by Investopedia this way:

“The overall sentiment or feeling that the market is experiencing at any particular time. Greed, fear, expectations and circumstances are all factors that contribute to the group’s overall investing mentality of sentiment.”

Q: What do we have when we put the two together?

A: The current madness and market mayhem.

S&P’s credit rating downgrade is being blamed for the market panic, even though the business media expected a downgrade and initially minimised its potential impact. The rating agency blamed the government’s failure to deal with the debt – including the stalemate in Congress – as reasons for the downgrade.

The Republicans predictably blamed Obama and the Democrats went after the Tea Party as the culprits behind the market plunge. But then, investors, who at first denied that a downgrade would be significant, overreacted to it by pumping more money into government treasuries adding to the government debt.

The Comedy Channel’s Jon Stewart’s sensible reaction: “Are you kidding me?”

Does this make any sense?

We are taught to think of businessmen and their minions as absolute worshippers of objective truth as they allegedly practice “due diligence” to confirm underlying facts and ensure that their decisions are based on research and thoughtful decisions.

That’s what we are taught – but is that what they do?

In fact, the “smartest guys in the room”, as the Enronians were called, proved to be the dumbest, buying into a warped worldview, and then, believing their own hype leading to decisions that brought the house down.

And that’s what happens again and again, over and over, as panic seizes The Street, followed by a herd of decision makers making bad decisions.

Paul Farrell has written about this phenomenon on Marketwatch:

He speaks of “all the too-greedy-to-fail fatheads running Wall Street. And, unfortunately, Main Street America’s 95 million irrational and self-sabotaging investors” being to blame.

“Yes, all of us. We’re Americans. Don’t confuse us with facts, with reality. We’re the greatest in history, a legend in our own minds. And a rapidly mutating virus is spreading this lethal pandemic far beyond the shores of Lake Wobegon. Yes, folks, the “Lake Wobegon Effect” is hard-wired in America’s brain, an illusion of superiority, a smug arrogance where each knows we are the best, the chosen ones.

“Warning: The Lake Wobegon Effect is the single best summary of today’s stock market psychology, high frequency trading, behavioural economic theories and the new science of irrationality … and it’s sucking the life out of America’s soul. Here, listen to more of these arrogant musings surfacing everywhere from deep in our collective brains.”

So forget all of our devices, our forever present BlackBerries, iPhones, iPads and Bloomberg terminals with their enhanced graphics and multiple sources. Alas, there’s no panic button that gives you a quick dose of financial history, perspective or context. Our hi-tech world often leads to repeating low-tech mistakes in a speeded up environment driven by all those dazzling terminals. TV screens blazing and the pundits buzzing.

Farrell reminds us of a psychological game called “The Invisible Gorilla”.

He calls it “one of the most famous psychological demos ever. Subjects are shown a video, about a minute long, of two teams, one in white shirts, the other in black shirts, moving around and passing basketballs to one another. They are asked to count the number of aerial and bounce passes made by the team wearing white, a seemingly simple task”.

Stop. Test yourself before you read on. What does “The Invisible Gorilla” study tell you about the brains of folks gambling in Wall Street’s casinos where billions of shares, trillions of dollars, stocks, bonds, derivatives trade daily? What’s “invisible” to you?

Institutionalised irrationality – perhaps even insanity – helped cause the financial crisis, as the federal inquiry commission pointed out, quoting an appraiser who watched the real estate industry underwrite loans with no collateral over and over again:

“‘I see a lot of irrationality,’ he added. He said he was unnerved because people were saying: ‘It’s different this time’ – a rationale commonly heard before previous collapses.”

Many writers of distinction could see the irrational trumping the rational coming, as I wrote in my book Plunder that came out a month before the 2008 crash.

I quoted Mark Twain, America’s greatest man of letters, who once asked: “Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.” (His novella, The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg, was written while he was in Europe on the run from creditors.)

Fast forward a century or more as business and political leaders alike try to make sense of a relatively sudden and unexpected market meltdown in the summer of 2007 then again in 2008 and then again this past week.

Perhaps Twain’s insight will lead to great novels that will capture the corruption of the underlying culture that allowed so many financial manipulations and so much greed, avarice, and irrationality in this era in the way that great writers of economic upheaval in America like Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos, or Jack London castigated theirs.

It seems to have always been true, as a friend who watched his multi-ethnic city of Sarajevo implode into a bloody genocidal war in Bosnia years ago confided to me: “Only fiction has to be plausible. Real life has no such constraint.”

As a journalist with perhaps less fictional imagination than I need, I can only try to probe deeply into some of the forces that took our economy down in such an unexpected way at a time when our national leaders were looking elsewhere and thought they saw the only threat to our country coming from terrorists hiding in caves in far away lands.

They, and I include among them representatives of both parties, and most of our mass media – ignored cries for help from victims of predatory lenders dating back into the 1990s, and, then, for years, warnings from David Walker, the comptroller of our currency and head of the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that our growing debt burden could lead to a sudden collapse threatening our national security. He had been labeled “Dr Gloom” for his sobering prognostications. In February, 2008, he stepped down from the government, frustrated by his inability to promote changes.

A closer look, usually in times of crisis, offers a window into another kind of financial world, a world of panic and fear, where irrationality is the order of the day, an irrationality that goes by the name of “Market Psychology”.

Forget the bulls or the bears – this is a world of sharks deeply in need of shrinks.

When things go well, the wizards of Wall Street are anointed by the media as geniuses. When they don’t, you get Time Magazine‘s condescending putdown of “Wall Street’s mad scientists blowing up the lab again”.

This kind of humour seems out-of-place when we are talking about what many fear has lead to the collapse – or at least a severe wounding – of the global economy with millions of jobless and homeless victims who believed in the system until it failed them.

And yet, as we saw in the great manufactured budget stalemate in Washington, members of Congress were and still are prepared to trigger a collapse in the name of a naive but rigid ideology.

Some of us argue with them, thinking our facts can refute theirs – but at bottom, fanaticism is not neutralised by rational argument. You need countervailing power and a willingness to fight for another vision.

Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. His new film, Plunder: The Crime of Our Time, tells the story of the financial crisis as a criminal tale. He can be reached at: dissector@mediachannel.org

 

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Murdoch: blood on his hands?

 

Nearly 25 years ago, Daniel Morgan was murdered in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in London. His skull was split open by an axe. The crime remains unsolved.

Daniel Morgan was a private investigator. A week before he died he had told his business partner, Jonathan Rees, that he had evidence of serious police corruption and he was taking the story to Alex Marunchak of the News of the World. Allegedly, Marunchak had offered him £40,000. Marunchak denies having met Morgan or having anything to do with him. Evidence is now emerging  that Mr Muranchak may have been more than a little economical with the truth.

Jonathan Rees, Morgan’s partner, was subsequently engaged as a private investigator by the News of the World, which has remained the source of a large proportion of his income ever since.  Despite having been convicted for planting evidence, and serving 7 years for perverting the course of justice, Rees was  re-engaged by Marunchak on his release from prison. Prior to this in 1988, he along with several police officers, including ones involved in the original Morgan murder investigation, had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Daniel Morgan, but were released without charge.

Later, when yet another attempt was made to investigate Morgan’s murder, the detective in charge, Detective Superintendent Cook, had his personal details blagged by Glenn Mulcaire and was then watched and followed by the News of the World. Someone at the paper, or even the paper itself, was clearly worried what Cook’s new inquiry might reveal.  At a meeting with the Met in January 2006, confronted by the paper’s behaviour over Cook,  Rebekah Brooks denied all knowledge. When later questioned by the Parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking, she had convenient amnesia about what actually went on in the meeting.

Tom Watson has written to David Cameron to  ask that the Daniel Morgan case be ‘scrutinised’ by the Leveson inquiry. It should be. The family of Daniel Morgan deserve no less.

Did the Met snuff Daniel Morgan? Did the News of the World – or was it a ‘joint effort’? Whether the real truth surfaces or not, a lot of people could be facing charges of perverting the course of justice – which caries a maximum term of life.

Adrian Goldberg’s Radio 4 programme on the Morgan case is a fascinating listen.  Listen to’ The Report’

 

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Palestine needs a political solution, not aid

 

FEATURED ARTICLE   by  BEN WHITE

The funds received by the Palestinian Authorities have cast a shadow over the liberation that people are demanding.

Part of the Israeli government’s response to critics of its Gaza policy is to deny that there is a “humanitarian crisis” in the coastal territory. The implication being that participants in initiatives such as the flotilla are not concerned with “aid” but seek to cause a political “provocation”. In a similar vein, recent news of the opening of a five star hotel in Gaza prompted Israel lobby group AIPAC to suggest that the flotilla’s real aim was to “delegitimise Israel”.

Rather than go into the specifics of Gaza’s socio-economic plight – excellent resources can be found at Gisha/Gaza Gateway, PCHR-Gaza, and OCHA – it is important to emphasise a point missing from Israel’s propaganda and also neglected by some rights activists: Palestinians are seeking liberation, not aid. The conditions Palestinians are suffering from have political origins and political solutions. This is not a natural disaster; for more than 40 years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have been subject to a military regime shaped by the priorities of colonial settlement and apartheid control.

Pro-Israel lobby groups in the West like to explain Israel’s Gaza policies as first and foremost a response to “terror”, and aimed at preventing arms smuggling. Unexplained is why Israel almost entirely prevents Palestinians from exporting goods out of Gaza, why the military enforces a “buffer zone”, targeting farmers and fishermen, and why Israel continues to separate Gaza from the West Bank in contravention of their designation as a “Single Territorial Unit”.

Furthermore, Israeli officials are on record as framing the siege as a form of collective punishment. In 2008, then PM Ehud Olmert said that there was “no justification” for allowing “residents of Gaza to live normal lives while shells and rockets are fired from their streets and courtyards [at Israel]”. The year before, an official in Israel’s National Security Council said that the goal of the blockade was to “damage Hamas economic position in Gaza and buy time for an increase in Fatah support”. In September 2007, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on the Israeli military’s plans “to limit services to the civilian population in Gaza” in order “to compromise the ability of Hamas to govern”.

So this is no secret. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz noted in May that “the Israeli closure was directed mainly at merchandise, rather than at weapons smuggling”. The New York Times wrote that Israel’s “goal” meant deliberately “suppressing economic growth in Gaza”. A Wikileaks cable described how US officials were repeatedly told by the Israelis that the intention is “to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge”. Famously, in early 2006, an advisor to Israel’s prime minister said that “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet”.

In other words, the conditions facing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are a deliberate result of Israeli policies. A similar logic is at work in the West Bank, where economic gains in recent years are built on the weak foundations of foreign aid and conditional Israeli “concessions”.

Over the past 20 years, the Palestinian Authority has received around $20bn in donor funds, and in 2010, development assistance accounted for over one third of GDP. In fact, figures for 2009 show that humanitarian aid to the occupied Palestinian territories was US$1.3bn – just behind Sudan. The money disbursed in the oPt between 1993 and 2003 was “the highest sustained rate of per capita disbursements to an aid recipient in the world since the Second World War”.

Thus, even after a (modest) “relaxing” of Israeli restrictions and years of Fayyadism and Tony Blair’s pet projects, the World Bank can still say – like it did in April – that “the sustainability of economic growth” in the oPt “remains bleak”. Aid, the body said, “is what keeps many Palestinians above the poverty line”, and – according to the World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza: “[Israel’s] closure regime remains the most substantial obstacle to Palestinian economic viability.”

Pouring money into the coffers of a permanently transitional “Authority” is an alternative for Western and Arab powers to actually challenging Israel – enabling the latter “to maintain its occupation and apply security measures, which are the cause of the demise of the Palestinian economy, knowing that donors will relieve the human costs”. Aid not only subsidises Israel’s colonial occupation, it also helps perpetuate “the situation in which the Palestinians are a nation of consumers who are unable to produce and unable to compete with the Israeli economy,” according to the authors of Aid, Diplomacy And Facts On The Ground.

In the aftermath of the Nakba, Israel was keen for the expelled Palestinians to be seen as a “humanitarian”, rather than a “political” issue. Now, the IDF Spokesperson proudly tweets about how many goods Israel “allows” into Gaza. There is no doubt that many Palestinians are in desperate need of assistance – whether in terms of medication, housing, or the basic financial provision to make ends meet. But human rights campaigners and activists should take care not to emphasise aid over freedom.

Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer, specialising in Palestine and Israel. His first book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, was published by Pluto Press in 2009, receiving praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Nur Masalha and Ghada Karmi.

 

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Growth? Not a new idea in sight

Somewhere in Whitehall there must be a politicians’ ‘how to’ book on what to do to create growth because we’re starting to see the same old remedies trotted out. This week it’s ‘enterprise zones’. But why? Because history tells us that enterprise zones don’t work. All they do is to recycle existing jobs into smart new premises. They just don’t create new jobs – and they cost a fortune. The last bout of enterprise zones between 1987 and 03 cost £1.6 billion and created 13,000 new jobs – and even that figure is questionable.

So why more enterprise zones? There can be no other explanation other than the government has simply run out of ideas. And when you look at the experience of those in government it’s hardly surprising. There aren’t many of them who have run a scout troop, far less a business.

In the seventies Mrs Thatcher dished out a lot of nasty medicine (some of it much needed, but not all) She made the catastrophic mistake of failing to provide a tonic to help the patient recover. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself. Thatcher and her cohorts were bereft of new ideas,
Cameron and Osborne are too. And they’re all guilty of failing to understand that confidence is the emotional driver of growth – and of new ideas. If you don’t give people hope you start a slide into despondency, which creates a whole raft of social problems that takes years to recover from.

This coalition is a destructive force not a creative one. We are going to pay a heavy price for their inexperience, their over-zealous programme of cuts – and their lack of ideas.

The coalition needs help.If you’ve got some ideas of your own, let’s hear them!

 

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Politicos by Roz

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