Governments need legitimacy

 

                  In all this Euro and EU confusion, democracy is the loser.

                   Governments need legitimacy in a relatively free society. Governments need to gain and hold the consent of the governed.  In mature western democracies the act of winning an election usually gives a government legitimacy. The government can hold and strengthen that if it governs wisely. It gradually loses it if it governs badly, but normally retains sufficient consent to govern until the following election.

                A really bad elected government can reach the point where popular protest makes its task difficult. Losses of support amongst its own MPs as some of them come to  represent the popular antipathy to the government can stop it doing things it wishes to do. A vigorous opposition can come to have more credibility than a tired government, with the public seeking influence with the “government in waiting”.

                 In Euroland the act of winning an election may now not buy that same legitimacy that used to pass on victory to the victor. Indeed, in Greece recently, the established parties all lost votes as the people no longer have confidence in the system. Any responsible Greek government had to to reflect the popular will that they stay in the Euro, but that means accepting conditions the Greek people do not accept. Any responsible Greek opposition should have said the only way out of the policy restrictions the Greek people dislike  was exit from the Euro, and offered that package. Instead, the EU has generated dishonest politics, with oppositions proposing improvements within the EU framework that they are probably powerless to achieve if granted office. Governments still often pretend to be in charge, when many of their decisions are determined in Brussels.

                     The threat the Euro posed to democracy and accountability was always obvious, but was ignored by its proponents. I wrote in ” Our Currency Our Country” (1997)

“Member states wouldn be severely constrained in their  budgetary policies…Ministers would be left defending spending cuts and tax increases which they had not wanted and probably disagreed with. The strikes and protests in France in 1995 are a sign of things to come.”

and in “Just Say No” (2001)

“The single economic policy of the Treaty is incomplete. It is all about exchange rates,money and inflation.It ignores jobs, incomes and output. If pursued to its conclusion, it could easily alientate the voters of Europe who think jobs and incomes are more important than financial matters”

The unpopularity of “austerity” is not surprising. The truth unfortunately is that in the troubled countries of the EU state spending is far too high and state borrowing unsupportable. There is no choice but to cut the excess spending of the state, whether they stay inside or outside the Euro. There is no quick fix by borrowing more to “stimulate growth” – excess state borrowing and state spending has been tried to years and has now induced recession.  They do need private sector led recoveries, which will need realistic tax rates, sensible regulation, and a banking system that can finance new projects.

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51 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    When at University, I was deeply troubled by Rousseau and his social contract. Government, he maintained, was to express the General Will. If it did so, then it was legitimate. If it didn’t it was not a good government. At enormous length, my tutor explained that, for Rousseau, the government did not even have to be elected. It just had to carry out what the people really really wanted.
    After that it all got a bit vague really.
    I asked, at one point what happened if the people wanted the wrong thing.
    “Ahem! Don’t be stupid!”

    We now have an example of exactly that happening.
    The Greeks want to go back to the time when they were rich, when they could, as really posh Europeans, not Levantines, borrow as much as they wanted and nobody cared. It is called “growth”.
    The Germans, being fair minded people, want them to repay the money they borrowed by scrimping and saving. That is called “austerity”.

    The General Will seems to be at odds with itself and, actually, wrong. We all know what should happen, don’t we.
    But there are a lot of politicians in the way. (Not you of course as you prove above).

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    A key part of the European “project” is the destruction of national democracy in the member states and Brussels must think that part of their plan is proceeding well. After all they have brainwashed and bribed the people of Greece still to desire continuing membership of the eurozone which is exacerbating their problems. In this country we have no major party committed to upholding our interests and democracy against the EU tyranny.

    • Alan
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      If the Greeks vote for parties that support the euro they may have been “brainwashed and bribed” but that is still, in my view, their democratic choice.

      I don’t think we are allowed the luxury of saying that only electorates that support our views are acting democratically. Democracy is not an infallible method of getting the right outcome, it is simply a stable system of government. It does not necessarily produce sensible, or even logically consistent, results, but we tolerate all this because the alternatives are worse in the long run, even if more attractive in the short run.

      It surprises me that so many posts refer to the lack of influence of the voters, at a time when the G8 is discussing how to deal with whatever the Greek electorate decides. It’s the G8 that looks powerless, not the Greek people.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      Pity they didn’t brainwash and bribe the people of Greece to accept austerity, then there wouldn’t be any problems in Greece.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “Governments still often pretend to be in charge, when many of their decisions are determined in Brussels.”

    Is it any wonder this leads politicians like Cameron the Europhile, fake green, socialist, literally a nanny state proponent, Cameron to be held in such contempt by all. Are these his real views and his policy or just those of the EU? He was not elected remotely on this basis.

    I see that Labour has decided to link the governments supposed policy of “austerity” (What austerity only in the private sector so far) with the policy of austerity in Greece so when that fails they will draw the conclusion that the policy here has failed to.

    The policy here is indeed failing as David Blanchflower has pointed out.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-blanchflower/david-blanchflower-the-recession-deniers-have-gone-strangely-quiet-this-month-7743629.html

    While I do not agree with him all the way (as I tend to the view than any stimulation the government does will usually be on absurd projects like green tosh, HS2 and the likes). But something to stimulate the private sector is needed. Stop the banks pulling cash back and actually get them lending to the private sector, some deregulation of absurd employment and other laws and some real cut backs in the huge waste and burden of the state sector and the absurd fake green policies.

    Cut backs in the state need however to be balance by a large release of the private sector from the dead hand of the state. Currently we are just killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    This Olympic torch build up on the BBC is even more boring than their usually ever bigger state, pro EU, fake green drivel – how much more of this tedium do we have to take?

    • lifelogic
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      I see Robert Chote (in the Guardian director of the Office for Budget Responsibility & Osborne’s “independent” forecaster-in-chief) says Greece leaving the euro could plunge Britain into a recession as bad as the last one, causing long-term damage to the economy:- “you go down and you never quite get back up to where you started”. Well not if the government just keeps taxing & kicking you I suppose.

      So the coalition government seems to be positioning itself to blame the UK’s lack of growth (clearly due almost entirely to the coalitions anti private sector, anti business, tax borrow and waste policies) on the fall out of the tiny Greece.

      Does he really believe that keeping Greece in its current state is a positive thing for the UK economy? Do Osborne & Cameron really think the electorate will fall for that one?

    • Bazman
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Ho Hum. Employment agencies, short term contracts, umbrella companies, self employment. etc. Which absurd employment laws specifically? Everyone to be self employed then? Could be expensive. A legal black economy? Redundancy payments abolished and replaced with what? Absorbed by the workforce no doubt in return for more lower paid jobs I expect. As usual you cannot answer. You. You and You is what you want to go back to. Ram it.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Not for the first time, I find myself in complete accord with your wise council.

      Tad

      • basil seal
        Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      ………”Governments still often pretend to be in charge, when many of their decisions are determined in Brussels”.

      This says it all really and we need our sovereignty and democracy back. The game is up and everyone out here in the real world now knows the corrupt nature of our dishonest party leaders who pretend to be in charge whilst kow towing to our true masters in Europe (Merkal/Hollande). The French and Germans always stand up for their national interest, Lab/Lib/Con just roll over.

    • Susan
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic,

      lifelogic, for you to agree with even part of what David Blanchflower the “happiness guru ” has to say has surprised me. I somehow have the feeling that you would not be in agreement for very long if you actually read his solutions for the UK economy. He is a Labour economist and makes his economic policies fit in with his politics. No one could ever accuse him of being an independent thinker thats for sure.

      There you were thinking Mr. Cameron was wrong to care about how happy we all are and now you are in agreement with man whose economic happiness agenda has helped shape his career.

      • zorro
        Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Susan,
        It is good not to be too partisan because you can sometimes miss the point. I do not agree politically with Mr Blanchflower but he has a point. The Government talks a good game but has no effective growth strategy in place. It has used the QE strategy for the banks benefit and its own lending requirements. Using QE to fund sensible, useful infrastructure projects cannot be worse than the current policy of allowing the banks to get away with stoking up their coffers with free cash and restricting loans in the real economy, or even worse as lifelogic states, calling back loans on viable projects…..My suggested use of QE at least has some chance of stimulating growth or assist a quicker rise in the future. This government is failing abysmally and is getting ready to blame all its woes on Greece (a convenient scapegoat). We need to get the economy moving with productive investment and a growth in exports which we need to facilitate. All we get is PR from DC – as usual, all talk and no trousers….

        zorro

        • zorro
          Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          Before you jump in, I do not advocate the use of QE in a normal economy, but in our current situation there is always a time to cut cards with the devil….

          zorro

          • Susan
            Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            Zorro

            You see your first assumption is completely wrong, I am not partison, however Mr. Blanchflower is. If you read a lot of his work you will begin to realise he makes his economic policy fit his politics. Secondly I was merely teasing lifelogic about David Blanchflowers happiness agenda after what he has said about David Cameron on the subject of happiness.

            I think entirely for myself, if what I believe goes against every other person contributing here, I am still going to say it. I have made comments against the Conservatives when I have believed they have been wrong, so you can only have read a very limited amount of what I have written.

            The point you continue to miss is that it is in the UKs interests that the Eurozone finds a solution to its problems because it will effect the British economy if it fails. This is by no means an endorsement of the EU, it is just fact. Furthermore as I have said before the EU is not to blame for the economic problems of the UK, the debt levels would be the same in or out of the EU.

            Banks do not call back viable loans, they do need to call back on bad debt to get there house in order. You just dislike banks. Firstly is there the demand by business for loans and if there is are they the sort of business models they should be lending to. Otherwise we just go back to the days of poor lending which caused the problem in the first place. Banks are being told by Government, the BOE and regulation that they must hold more capital this reduces their ability to lend.

            As to QE, the UK has inflation and normally interest rates should go up to fight this. However the UK Government is keeping interest rates artificially low, more QE would just exacerbate the problem with inflation.

            What the Coalition could do is try to release private investment for infrastructure projects. However growth is likely to prove difficult to achieve for some time to come.

          • lifelogic
            Posted May 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Susan, I can assure you that banks do indeed call back viable loans or reduce the lending limits severely for no good reason related to risk or the customer. Just ask government owned RBS/Natwest customers.

            Usually because their lending rules and bank solvency requirements have changed or they need the money back because they have made bad bets elsewhere or have to pay the government or other creditors back.

            Indeed it is usually the “good” loans they call in because calling in the bad ones tend not to work anyway!

          • zorro
            Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            Susan,
            Of course you are entitled to your view as am I (not that it has ever been in doubt)….

            I have not missed the point about the Euro, its future, and the effect on the UK economy. It is indeed our overexposure to the EU (a no growth area) which is the problem. Our economy would be affected no matter what which is why we need to do more to encourage more trade outside the Eurozone where the growth rates are higher.

            I’m afraid the sclerotic nature of EU regulations has had an effect on UK business and it is the reason why ‘we are where we are’….I doubt that the debt levels wouyld be the same as we would have better trading conditions outside of the EU. It is an oversized barnacle on our mainframe which will drag us under if we do not act soon.

            I dislike poor banking which is what we have at this time. You allude to the Basle III regulations, a classic case of rear view mirror driving….It is risk and reward which should drive activity, not cash reserves.

            Do you know the real reason why we have QE at this moment in time…? My suggestion is to use it to usefully drive activity which the banks aren’t engaging in because of the silly tick box regulations of Basle III. Tick box regulation and bailouts is what has encouraged risky banking in the past. If the nudge and wink of bailouts/too big to fail had been nipped in the bud or we still had kept casino banking under control and away from depositors money, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

            You mention about the government encouraging private investment….How will they practically do it with the Basle III regulations in place?

            zorro

          • Susan
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

            lifelogic

            Well you may believe what you like of course, but as I have said banks do not call back viable loans. Ask yourself why would they? Risky or potentially bad debt is a different matter. They would reduce lending limits if they thought the risk was too great.

          • Susan
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Zorro

            I never mentioned Basle III regulations and I do not know what you mean by it prevents private investment in infrastructure projects.

            The Coalition can unlock private investment by for instance an infrastructure bank or infrastructure bonds etc.

            Furthermore I do not believe in the separation of investment and retail banking. All this will do is make UK banking less competitive, more costly to the customer and will not prevent another crash.

            I do not agree with your conclusions on the EU or QE, but I have said this to you before.

          • Susan
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Zorro,

            Further to my last reply. I note that you picked up on my point I made to you about Global trade. In which I expressed my dislike of the EU because their rules and regulations may effect the UKs ability to tap into and compete in the markets outside the EU. This however was for the future. The UKs present debt would have been the same whether it had been in or out of the EU. There was little effort made during the Labour years by business or the Government to capture markets outside of the EU. It is the Coalition that is beginning to make moves in this direction. The main growth area in the UK during the Labour years was the financial sector and all that flowed from that. So your claim that the debt would have been less if the UK had been out of the EU is completely wrong. Indeed it was the financial sector that kept the economy afloat through the boom years. Of course Labour creating an unsustainable public sector was a further problem.

            You see Zorro my difficulty is that one minute you are blaming the banks for the financial crisis then the EU, your replies are all over the place and it makes it impossible for me to decipher what it is you actually do think.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        The government can still borrow quite cheaply and the private sector has many sound projects (which would create many real jobs) on hold due to the banks (RBS/Natwest helpful banking) in particular snatching money back where every they can. This would get people back to work and reduce the benefits and increase tax take. Where I differ from Blanchflower is that he has more faith in the state making efficient investments in infrastructure and the like. I tend to think they would just waste it as usual on green tosh, buying votes, gifts to the pigis and the feckless and putting their mates on to high paid pointless quangos.

        A new runway at Gatwick and Heathrow and a HS train link to give a hub airport with 5 runways is what is needed for example. That would give a real return.

        • zorro
          Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Agreed

          zorro

          • Susan
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            lifelogic

            The Government cannot borrow any more whether it be for private investment or public. QE which is the preferred option of Mr. Blanchflower is a poor idea as well because of the inflation problem which is squeezing incomes and savings. The money should come from private investment.

            However I do not believe it would have the impact on unemployment you suggest. Modern infrastructure projects usually require skilled workers and the UK already has a lack of skilled labour. Also bringing forward projects sometimes means that unnecessary work is done and becomes a waste of money sometime in the future.

            It is not always good to look back and see how economic problems were solved in the past because a lot could have changed since then.

          • zorro
            Posted May 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            Susan,
            You state that I am inconsistent, but now you state that investment should come from the private sector rather than QE, and that it doesn’t matter anyway because we lack skilled workers!……..I agree that it should come from private sources, but show us the money! Banks are not interested because they can make free profits courtesy of the B of E.

            With regards to your comment on our debt being the same within or outside the EU, I disagree…….I think that we would have acted quite differently. As you said, the string is getting long so let us wait for another opportunity to chew over these issues.

            Zorro

          • Susan
            Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Zorro

            You know perfectly well that was not what I said. I said infrastructure projects would not necessarily have an impact on unemployment as lifelogic suggested. Times change and most of these projects require skilled workers which are in short supply already in the UK. Put in simple terms it is not a pick and shovel job anymore.

            Furthermore I told you how I believed private investment could be unlocked in my reply above if you care to read it.

            Well you are entitled to believe what you want but the debt would have been the same in or out of the EU because the growth was pretty much confined to the financial sector and all that flowed from that during the Labour years. Of course the bloated public sector added to the problem. However I have said this to you already.

            Your replies are inconsistent and you either do not read what I have said back to you or it is about having the last word by you. Can I make a suggestion, if it is about having the last word I am happy to let you have it. However please don’t keep wasting my time by asking the same questions over and over again which I have already answered.

          • Susan
            Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Zorro

            BTW I have said all the way through our discussions that investment should come from the private sector for any infrastructure projects and not from QE or by the Government borrowing more. I have never changed my mind on that as you claim. If you care to go back over my replies you will find this to be the case.

            Nor did I say at any point that the string is getting too long and we should find another time to discuss these issues. That is something you have made up. I am always happy to continue a discussion if it is productive.

  4. Ian
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    At least the people of Greece enjoy low (if informal) rates of taxation. Too low, though, to subsidise the corruption, inefficient enterprises and non-jobs. A barter system would help them sort their economy out (pending a new cigarette currency being introduced by the tourists) and public debt can be quickly cleared by counterfeiting some euros (quantitative easing).

  5. colliemum
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Your very first sentence says it all:

    “In all this Euro and EU confusion, democracy is the loser.”

    Absolutely – but the roots of this loss are even deeper: the EU as set up now are the cause for this loss because any EU member can recognise that unelected, democratically unaccountable entities are governing more and more of all our lives, with our duly elected representatives on both national and local level becoming more and more powerless to take decisions we, the voters, ask for.
    And for the last few years, more and more voters are aware of this. Are politicians aware that more and more writers in the New Media are now looking first of all which EU Directives are the cause for political decisions made by our representatives? They ought to be!

    No matter what can be re-negotiated and/or repatriated: the EU set-up, regardless of €-zone members or not, has to be changed profoundly before voters in EU countries will trust them to make decisions which work for the people, the citizens of all and any EU country.

    • Bernard Juby
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree with this. Our own politicians (with rare exceptions who think for themselves) as a breed are a case in point and have lost their legitimacy here.
      I will heartily applaud the first Government (of whatever colour) says that they won’t pay another penny to the corrupt affairs of the EU bureacracy until it gets its accounts signed off. If it were a UK Company it would have been put out of business long ago.
      The farce of having a “Parliament” – another weasel-word for a rubber-stamping device for EU rubbish – should go.
      The first party which promises we, the people, to decide on a simple IN or OUT YES/NO Referendum without the disgraceful shinnannigins of the last debate – will get my support.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    If only the BBC could read your post out on the news, perhaps most of our citizens would also wake up as to how things really are.

    Pie in the sky I know.

    But:

    Why the majority of people, reporters and politicians still do not get it, I do not know.

    Whilst outside influences can affect any situation, things should be simple

    Citizens are responsible for their own finances
    Company Directors are responsible for their Company’s finances
    Politicians are responsible for the Country’s finances.

    If politicians are not open and honest with the electorate, then you eventually get a slow build up of resentment, which will turn to chaos and possible civil unrest.

    Greece are getting closer to the end game as outside influences are having more and more of a greater affect.

  7. Paul Danon
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Yet if democracy is paramount, the people’s will must be respected. The Greek people want to keep the euro, they want bailouts and they’re content to evade at least some taxation. The union is committed to Greece and vice versa, but the treaties allow for penalties on countries which, for example, don’t constrain their borrowing. The union can’t renege on its commitment to Greece and the Greeks don’t want it to. Maastricht doesn’t allow for exit from the currency alone, but Lisbon allows for exit from the union; Greece wants neither. That’s the framework in which the union can work.

  8. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Over the years you have certainly talked the talk, but I feel it is time for you and other like minded notable others to walk the walk and copy Jimmy Goldsmith and campaign openly and vigorously for an in/out EU referendum. I believe funds would be significant for a seriously run camapaign. Repatriation of powers is a Europhile smokescreen and is another can being kicked down the road.

  9. Tad Davison
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’m desperately seeking Susan!

    She seems to be an unashamed pro-European. I bet she can give you an argument! It might fall down flat, and have no solid basis, but she’ll no doubt give you one all the same. I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to hear it!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  10. JimF
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    What you’re saying is that sound money is fine until it comes up against an electorate which prefers immediate jobs to solving the problems of past feasting on sound money.
    An honest government would have started with the premise that overborrowing is bad in the first place, so sound money eg Euro wouldn’t have been in trouble in the first place. You correctly predicted that governments (and some people for that matter but by nio means all) wouldn’t all respect sound money in Germanic style. Your statements deal with the second order results of government “playing the field” with sound money, whether it be the Greek government or our old friend Mr Brown. They aren’t a consequence of the effects of Euro per se, only of the different cultural ways of dealing with sound but easy cash.

  11. Bazman
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The Greeks are not going to vote for a pay cut with the threat of loosing your job if you do not. This is not part of the contract. You do not get a pay rise because of higher profits. They are going to loose their jobs and get another one. Looks like the only outcome and as usual the lowest paid will get in in the neck.

  12. Brian A
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    “Governments still often pretend to be in charge, when many of their decisions are determined in Brussels.”

    This dishonesty is at the root of many of our problems. Given that most of our Ministers and MPs are not Eurosceptics they should be proud of the role that Brussels plays in our law making. However, the reason they do not advertise this role is probably related to the fact that the electorate is percieved to be more eurosceptic than they are and it may harm their re-election prospects.

    What is more surprising is that our Eurosceptic MPs and media are complicit in this cover up. Why, for example, are opponents of the bill regarding the retention of digital data not shouting from the rooftops that this is yet another example of the UK being required to introduce an EU Directive into law? If the public were to see more clearly what proportion of our laws are made in Brussels and rubber stamped at Westminster, they would see how far our sovereignty has been undermined, and why a Prime Minister garners headlines by offering his views on the desirability of parenting classes rather than by addressing the urgent issues facing us all.

  13. Jose
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I am English, British if you will, I do not want to be subsumed into a European super-state run by some faceless bureaucrats in Brussels over whom I have no say whatsoever.

    On the other hand, Germany seems to have done exceptionally well, high employment, little debt apart from the ‘subsidies’ it is having to provide for those profligate euro-members.

    My question is if Germany can be successful, why can’t we? The EU has nothing to do with it, their success is attributable to the co-operation between their government and their manufacturers with the emphasis on making money.

  14. Bazman
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Interesting if this is allowed.
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f54_1337075813

    (Allowed but not fully checked)

    • Bazman
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      The never ending vastness off Russia and the continuity of England. Get some.

    • zorro
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I like that map. It shows the changes of countries and also the invasions of vast amounts of territory over the years. It also seems quite correct from
      my working kowledge of history…..
      zorro

  15. Gary
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    “The unpopularity of “austerity” is not surprising.”

    The reason austerity is unpopular, is because the people are sick and tired of being made to pay up for a mess they did not make. In ALL countries, not just the EU.

    The bankers are the ones getting perpetually bailed out, the bankers are the ones taking bonuses for failure, and we the people are paying for them with austerity. This is an outrage. The Tories are just as socialist as the rest , they are socializing the losses of their main donors and lobbyists, the bankers.

    The people have had enough of the lies.

  16. forthurst
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    “Governments need legitimacy in a relatively free society”

    Whilst Cameron’s ‘mainframe computer’ churns away, concocting policies congenial to himself, Cameron plays ‘Fruit Ninja’ on his iPad; policy is a minor issue, best left to wonks whilst he himself hangs onto power, issuing pointless soundbites such as “the Eurozone needs to sort itself out”, or “multiculturalism has failed”, utterly vacuous, uttered without any intention or even capacity for doing anything.

    Do we live in a “relatively free” society? Relative to which? For whom? The English, who can and are locked up for commiting acts of thoughtcrime against legally defined ‘minorities’, who cannot stop treasonous politicians and their paymasters filling our country from abroad with those who cause this country to become more overcrowded and less safe, who cannot stop politicians going to war on behalf of foreign countries, abolishing legal safeguards including habeus corpus and the right to a fair trial in favour of expediency? Or those who are special (ie not English) who can say what they like, do what they like most of the time, treasonously support foreign countries in preference to this, expect English people to pay for their own exclusive educational establishments where traditions and beliefs inimical to this country and a free society are instilled in its pupils?

    The Chinese live in a one party state which does not tolerate dissent; however, do the Chinese have less reason for dissent than English people in England? No one is trying to close down their industries because of the AGW hoax, no one is trying to fill their country with foreigners, still less offering such foreigners a free ride on the Chinese taxpayers; no one is trying to give their country away. Do the Chinese people have a government of people who are more intelligent than our government, more patriotic and more dedicated to success? Democracy is a hollow word when it can so easily be subverted by a minority of evil people dedicated to its perversion.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Actually it’s going deeper than loss of democracy, because it’s now threatening the underlying rule of law.

    The EU treaties have been approved by Acts of Parliament, and are deemed to be part of our national constitutional law; every time the government colludes in a breach of the treaties without express authorisation from Parliament it is breaking our national law.

    • APL
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Our political class don’t give two figs for the rule of law, they have usurped the role of the monarch, they have destroyed the lords, even now they are wittering in their mindless way about ‘ constitutional reform ‘ when they pay not one jot of attention to the constitution.

      Even Redwood, a supposed ‘right winger’ says, the constitution of this country is of no relevance today.

      What we have in Parliament today is not our representatives, but a corrupt mob (viz the Parliamentary expenses scandal ) who have sized control of the country and are running it for their own benefit.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an interesting article from a few weeks ago:

    http://www.europeanfoundation.org/my_weblog/2012/04/margarida-vasconcelos-the-esm-is-illegal-untransparent-and-unaccountable.html

    “The ESM is illegal, untransparent and unaccountable”

    Some excerpts:

    “These mechanisms that provide financial assistance to EU Member States in financial difficulties, the so-called EU bailout funds, the EFSF and the ESM do not work, they are just piling up debt. On top of that, they are illegal. It is important to mention that both the EFSF and the ESM are not in line with the EU Treaties …”

    “Nevertheless, on 25 March 2011, using the simplified revision procedure provided for in article 48 (6) TEU, the European Council formally adopted the text of a draft decision amending Article 136 TFEU to allow Eurozone member states to create a permanent financial support mechanism … The Treaty amendment has conferred new competences on the European Union, consequently the conditions for the simplified revision procedure were not met.”

    “Hence, the European Stability Mechanism Treaty, which was first signed in July 2011, is illegal as it breaches the EU Treaties, particularly Article 48 (6), Article 136 and Article 125 TFEU.”

    “The Decision states that it shall enter into force on 1 January 2013 provided all the domestic instruments of ratification have been received by then. There is a conflict between the date of entry into force of the European Council Decision, which is 1 January 2013, and the date of enter into force of the mechanism that the Decision allows to be established. The ESM is set to come into force in July 2012, before the amendment to Article 136.”

  19. David John Wilson
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    The EU itself directs a huge amount of money towards specific projects and subsidies. It should be urgently reviewing whther some of that money could not be better spent (not lent) in the countries with the biggest problems.

  20. Barbara Stevens
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Greece it seems wants the best of both worlds. It wants loans to survive, yet does not want the discipline of paying its bills. We all realise what’s at stake, and how they are suffering, but in the end paying ones debts is the only way forward. Its the same here. We do need growth, and some stimulation of the industrial base here, infrustructure is the best way to do that. It creates jobs, yet what ever we do is there when the up turn comes, for the nation to enjoy. However, H2 I feel is not needed, not now. We should be spending nationally on our railways to upgrade what we have, just to spend that amount of money for saving, what, 20minutes on a journey, is wasteful to say the least. I’d advise someone to travel earlier if they have to get there sooner. Only the few will be able to afford to travel on it.
    As for growth there are many areas we can invest in, road repairs, rail, house building, doing nothing is not any good at all. I don’t agree with Labour’s policy of spending our way out of trouble. We need to continue to pay off our debts, may be more slowly than anticipated, but still pay it off, and certainly borrow less. Any household worth it’s salt, pays it’s debts off, and does not embark on more debt while doing so; as in the end you have larger debt than you started with. Its a curse and anyone or nation is better off without it. However, fairness is important while doing it. There is only so much people will put up with. The people of Greece have as we see, have had enough.

  21. Derek Emery
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Shouldn’t the UK be included as well?
    Our deficit is slated to be the worst in the west by 2015. See http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7855548/no-time-to-tinker.thtml

  22. Derek Emery
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Shouldn’t the UK be included as well?
    Our deficit is slated to be the second worst in the west by 2015. See http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7855548/no-time-to-tinker.thtml

  23. Nick
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    The unpopularity of “austerity” is not surprising.

    ==============

    It springs from ignorance. The electorate is ignorant of the debts that you are your fellow MPs have run up, because you persist in keeping the debts secret.

    Hence they think that there is an easy option.

  24. Nick
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    As for growth there are many areas we can invest in, road repairs, rail, house building, doing nothing is not any good at all.

    ============

    So lets see. How many of those things produce a return in excess of the money borrowed by the state? Bugger all.

    e.g. Get one unemployed person back to work and you might get the government books better off by 15K a year. Less benefits and bit of tax.

    Get a million back to work and you are 15 bn a year better off so long as you don’t investment any money (spend it) on doing so.

    Where the hell is the other 135 bn a year going to come from?

    Notice too the other phrase of the day. Cameron saying he is going to get the debt down. Pure lies. He knows the plan is only to try and half the defict, nothing about surplus.

  25. Phil Richmond
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I think the UK goverment has about 3-5 years to give us a referendum before the British people turn to (more extreme measures).
    We have to keep voting UKIP until the Tory party shows some spine and removes Cameron. Having been a party member and having voted Conservative from 1987-2010 I currently dont care if Labour get back in.
    Cameron is a disgrace!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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