Venezuela shows the dangers of printing money and trying to rig prices

Venezuela currently produces no official inflation or national income and output figures, because the government does not like the truth to emerge about the damage its economic policy is doing. Analysts reckon inflation in Venezuela is well over 100% per annum, with some thinking it is now running at several hundred percent. The bolivar, their currency, has plunged drastically on the black market.

The government has printed large sums to try to keep the economy growing. It is likely output will decline by at least 10% this year.Prices of some essentials have been fixed at low levels to try to help the poor. As a result there are great shortages, and many of the poor cannot get the items they need at all. People have been banned from forming queues outside shops in the streets to try to buy things. There is a military crack down on smuggling, as people seek to buy up scarce products like flour and petrol to smuggle the output to Columbia where prices are closer to world levels. Basics like milk, soap, toilet rolls and bread are often out of stock in the shops. The leader of the Opposition has been in prison.

This year Venezuela may find it impossible to service her foreign currency debts. The country is short of foreign exchange to buy the imports they need in a range of basics for daily life. Venezuela is demonstrating that a combination of controls and overrides of the markets and prices, and printing extra money, leads to a break down in the supply system. The poor suffer as well as everyone else. Far from creating plenty, stimulating the economy and getting people out of poverty, these policies do the exact opposite.

I mention this today, because Mr Corbyn is an admirer of the politics and government of Venezuela. He wrote an article praising it in 2009, and renewed his favourable comments this year. I recommend he looks at the poverty, the scarcity of goods and the difficulties for many people in their everyday lives created by this socialist paradise. Just as the Europhile left need to explain or condemn mass unemployment in Greece, so Mr Corbyn needs to explain or condemn the impact of high borrowing and money printing on Venezuela. Venezuela suffers deep and severe cuts in living standards, from a government which claims to be an opponent of austerity.

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104 Comments

  1. Livelogic
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed, but alas not only Corbyn. Osborne too is clearly a big admirer of printing money and trying to rig prices. He is doing this in energy, in interest rates, in mortgage and bank lending and now absurdly in trying to force wage levels up (thus destroying and exporting jobs). He is also interfering in the computation of profits for tax purposes in absurd and very damaging ways.

    Indeed Osborne is a big admirer of taxation in all its forms even now taxing losses as well as profits (this so he can continue he endless pet ways of wasting it all). Printing money is after all just back door taxation.

    It is just like Ted Heath and his Prices and Incomes Policy all over again. Now we have Corbyn will he edge even further in this damaging direction?

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Well he can without criticism in the HoC because the only English party not to have indulged in this activity has only 1 MP though 4 million well-considered, non-tribal votes.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        The way to win the next election is to have a strong economy. Lower taxes and far less government is what is clearly needed. Cheap energy too more, drivel from the Met office again today. How stupid do they think we are? No significant warming for 17 years and counting.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Well there are some differences. Corbyn has appointed John McDonnell as Shadow chancellor, a man who has never worked in the private sector, who believes in ‘the overthrow of capitalism’, who said (according to the BBC) in 2010 that he would have liked to back to the 1980s and murdered Mrs Thatcher, and who believes IRA members should be honoured for their part in what he calls the ‘armed struggle’, that is the murder of British soldiers, police, civilians and politicians they didn’t agree with. We must ask Mr McDonnell whether he thinks Venezuala – where capitalism has been ‘overthrown’ – is a good model for the UK, as agaist say Switzerland, where it has not, and indeed whether he continues to favour violence against political opponents.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 15, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        I have now seen the clip of Mr McDonnell saying he would have liked to assassinate Margaret Thatcher. In his slight defence, the remark was clearly made intending to be humourous. But can one imagine a Conservative MP, whether in jest or not, continuing in any position in public life if he had said say that he would have liked to have killed Harold Wilson or Nye Bevan? McDonnell’s remarks praising IRA murderers were clearly made seriously. Such a person is unfit for public office of any sort. In a democracy we argue with people we don’t agree with and we determine forms of government through elections, not through killing opponents. I hope Conservative MPs will lose no opportunity to remind the public of these disgraceful remarks by McDonnell (and Corbyn) and repeatedly ask them to withdraw them and apologise.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Differences of magnitude perhaps but essentially the same lefty loon economics.

    • Wolfram Debris
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he should have a word with Osbo as hes fond of the printing press too just like all socialists!!

    • Jen The Blue
      Posted September 15, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Just so. Which is why people of sound mind like John Redwood should cease to be loyal to the Party (as I did, years ago) and set about the truth. Out of the EU and sound money.

  2. Mark B
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    And we of course, the previous and current governments would never dream of printing and borrowing large sums of money now, would we ?

    It is not just Venezuela that has problems of this kind, another of Mr. Corbyn’s friends, Argentina is also in dire straits. And of course I regard that as far more concerning.

    Mr. Corbyn MP may be the leader of the Labour Party and Her Majesties Official Opposition, but he does not set policy. So it will be interesting to see what comes out of all this.

  3. Antisthenes
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I often wonder what makes the left believe in the policies that they advocate and indeed when they get the opportunity put them into practice. Time after time in the past and in the present we have seen how devastating and impractical these policies are.

    Any sane, rational and reasonably intelligent person would look at the evidence and think the frequently laudable intention they have are not going to come about using left wing methods of achieving them. It should be thought repeating the same things that have proved not to work time after time in the hope that repeating them will make them work(to paraphrase Einstein) is total madness. Not to lefties apparently.

    I do despair as it appears most people do want left wing policies. The Corbynistas, the one party socialist sate that Scotland now is, Venezuela and so many others including voting Labour into power from time to time tells us that.

    The people really do get the governments that they deserve not what they need.

    • Jen The Blue
      Posted September 15, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Well, leftism is a disease. Lefties see the world as they would like it to be, and being lefties, they will cling to that view despite all the evidence.

      It is their substitute for religion.

      • turbo terrier
        Posted September 19, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        A bit like Scottish Independence?

  4. Rita Webb (Mrs)
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    So what you back a government that dresses it up in a different way. One part of the state (the BoE) creates money out of thin air to buy the debt of another part (the DMO). Then we get to the absurd situation that the “creditor” returns his interest payment back to Osborne so he can spend it on something else. Then we need to remember about all that indirect stimulus, such as student loans, which for example lets one university rebuild its student union, and another one Miss Webb attends, build a shiny new business school. JR have you ever thought about growing a Corbyn beard? He believes in it, but you help put it into practice.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Yes, Osborne has legitimised the idea that if it likes the government can just arrange for the Bank of England to create more money for it to spend.

      Briefly in January 2009 Osborne condemned money printing was “the last resort of desperate governments”, however by October 2011 it had become something which he could do not out of desperation but more for convenience.

      • A different Simon
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper ,

        Isn’t the ability to issue money , debt free , one of the things which differentiates a sovereign govt from the govt of a non-sovereign country like a Eurozone country ?

        As with anything else the concept may be open to abuse but surely
        there is nothing illegitimate about it .

        If the power to create money is not exercised by the Govt then who else should do it , private banks ?

        Osborne’s condemnation of money printing sounds like little more than an attempt to close down debate .

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          It is abuse when the Chancellor chooses to do it for his convenience rather than being compelled to do it by dire necessity, and moreover without any effective democratic control.

    • Doctor Mick
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Stop whining. It’s not as if you’re queuing everyday to buy toilet paper. You need to travel more.

  5. JoeSoap
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    But your party in government has also printed money!
    It has gone into increased house and other asset prices which has also meant young folk are somewhat poorer relative to their asset rich forebears than the young of Venezuela!

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Joesoap ,

      I visited Venezuela 16 years ago for business .

      I only saw 2 people over the age of 60 !

      No idea where they put the old people but they aren’t in Caracas or Choroni .

      My customer contact in Caracas used to personally drive me from the hotel to the office in case a taxi driver kidnapped me .

      A lot of ruthless and/or desperate people about .

    • Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      QE was mostly spent on buying bank assets (its own bonds). It increases the size of bank reserves stopping them failing and also stopping the mortgage/credit market from seizing up. It’s quite different from printing money and spending it directly in the economy.

      House prices are a different issue again. Population increase + everybody and their mum wanting to live in the South East coupled with not building enough.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    PS and that, amongst other reasons is why Mr. Corbyn is where he is.

  7. Richard1
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Excellent post, and good to be reminded what a disaster socialism in practice really is. Negative commentators like Peter Hitchens should reflect on whether they really think the UK Conservative government is pretty much the same as the Corbyn-Venezuala model. Venezuela has of course long been a favourite with the far left. The egregious Ken Livingstone has been a long time apologist. Corbyn and other leftists should be called out on this. Other socialist countries such as Zimbabwe and Cuba are also worth a look, as are milder cases such as France.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “Negative commentators like Peter Hitchens should reflect on whether they really think the UK Conservative government is pretty much the same as the Corbyn-Venezuala model.”
      Come on! How can you say that? Printing money has the same end effect whether you are in Zimbabwe, Venequela or the UK! Just because it sits in equities or property assets doesn’t mean it is safe QE! Think about the 20 somethings who don’t have a £1 million pound house, or shares or bonds….
      They are locked out of assets and into student debt for a generation. Corbyn has at least thought about these things.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I do not think QE is a good policy but there is a world of difference between QE directed at purchasing govt securities from financial institutions – which can in theory be reversed – and the massive borrowing spree Corbyn wants

      • Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Joe Soap says

        Printing money has the same end effect whether you are in Zimbabwe, Venequela or the UK!

        Followed by

        Just because it sits in equities or property assets doesn’t mean it is safe QE!

        So there is unaffordable housing in Venezuela and Zimbabwe as well as in Britain?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Richard 1 : Peter Hitchens has never said that the Conservative Government is the same as Corbyn-Venezuala.

      What he actually says is that the Conservatives are quite similar to New Labour.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        He has in fact – he has suggested the Conservative party changes its name to the Socialist Workers Party and said its policies are indistinguishable from Mr Corbyn’s. In the real world of work it makes a great deal of difference as to whether there are sensible practical reforms in public services, whether tax is or isnt hiked in the way Corbyn suggests etc. ie his argument is clearly absurd. He also wants a right-wing Mr Corbyn who should be inter alia a ‘Christian’ (whether Protestant or Catholic he doesnt say). Presumably Mr Hitchens doesnt think he can be represented by eg a Jew a Sikh or an atheist? Bizarrely he also opposes the Governments insistence that industrial action should only enjoy official status (& therefore legal privileges) unless there is a current democratic vote.

        He often writes and speaks well & I often agree with Peter Hitchens. But his views are not sensible, practical nor as far as I can see as conservative as he likes to think.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Richard 1 – “Tory Blairites such as David Cameron might be wise to learn from this,” Peter Hitchens in his most recent address to the nation.

          His views are highly sensible. The only way they aren’t is in the absence of pragmatism given the present zeitgeist created unelected by actors, actresses, musicians and the left wing broadcast media.

          The country is infected with a collective madness. The parameters and language of acceptable debate determined by those who control the microphones.

          Until this happened Hitchinism was exactly how the country was run.

          So what wasn’t sensible about that then ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Exactly Cameron and Osborne are just Libdim/Blairite/pro EU/greencrap/Heathite lefties. They think they can dictate wages and much else from the top down and can over tax and over regulate almost everything. Clearly they are rather deluded.

        Corbyn, for all his faults, is at least sound on the pointless wars and perhaps on the EU too.

    • Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Venezuela has of course long been a favourite with the far left.

      Before that it was Mugabe’s Zimbabawe. Before that Tito’s Yugoslavia. Before that Castro’s Cuba. Before that Mao’s China. Before that Stalin’s USSR. I can remember when there were apologists for Ceausescu’s Romania, the Sandinista’s in Nicaragua and Kenneth Kaunda’s Zambia. All failed their people, some worse than others. But the extreme left do not learn why they have all failed, which is why it still exists.

  8. Graham Wood
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    An old politician called Corbyn
    He won the new Labour love-in.
    “I’ll nationalise till it comes out of their eyes”
    And hope voters will not put their boot in.

    • Wolfram Debris
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      That neither rhymes nor scans

  9. Iain Moore
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Isn’t that the case with left wing applied economics where ever you look? Ghana was a rich country at independence, but it took Nkrumah just ten years to bankrupt the country with his ‘scientific socialism’ and trash the constitution, but that didn’t stop the UK left worshipping him, so much so they put up a blue plaque for him in London and blame colonialism for Ghana’s plight, rather than the left wing politics.

    The fact that the left can indulge in this delusion begs the question how can they get away with it? and there you can only look at the lazy Conservative party to blame, a party who squat in the political centre right territory, but find it just too much like hard work to hold the left to account, and really can’t be bothered to keep reminding them of their failures. This is why Corbyn can repackage failed left wing policies from the 1970’s , with young people thinking it is something new and wonderful because the Conservative party has failed to defend their political territory, but not just failed to defend their political territory , but swallowed wholesale left wing policies like the minimum wage, which is an incomes policy by a different name.

    • APL
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Iain Moore: “.. lazy conservative party to blame…”

      Bingo! Absolutely useless as a reactionary party

  10. Javelin
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Now is the time to go into the Northern heartlands of Labour. Why attack Corbyn when there is no election? Put your efforts into winning his heartlands. Now is not the time for s debating chamber.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      The North might be Labour’s historical heartlands but Corbyn is a Southern Softie who prefers to stay within the M25 .

      He’ll probably get short shrift up there .

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I think you are missing the point John. Corbyn is there because he says what he believes. He is a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) politician. It wouldn’t matter if he believed that the moon was made of cheese. He is swimming in a political cloud where 99.99 % of the political class refuse to say what they really believe in big swaythes of policy area. It is an accepted part of political selection that candidates say one thing while believing another. Claim one set of policies while doing something else when in power. It is the norm for politicians to fail to answer questions on the media replying with an answer to a completely different question, and so on. You cannot fight Corbyn with policies, you can only fight him by freeing Conservative politicians up to say what they really really think and believe.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Actually I’m much more concerned about what Merkel is doing now, than about what Corbyn might do if he gained power in the future. It was a bit irritating that when he was on TV somebody was allowed to stand behind him holding up a placard issuing an invitation to so-called “refugees”, contrary to the views of the majority of the public, but the fact is that Cameron and the Tories are in government while Corbyn and Labour are not, and will not be for at least four and half years, and he will probably never form a government.

    • Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Very True.
      When one reads yesterday that Merkel will not agree to any concessions that Cameron might want unless he was prepared to agree to the formation of an EU army, one becomes even more concerned. Presumably Germany would control that army just as they seem to control the rest of EU’s policies.

    • Timaction
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      It is becoming very apparent that whatever Germany wants, Germany gets regardless of some Treaties or agreements e.g. bailouts, border controls etc. Whilst our impotent leadership travels around Europe trying to gain minor changes Germany …………..just does it regardless of the EU or other Countries. It’s about time your leader grew a backbone and started to stand up for the interests of the English people. We need a Churchill or a Farage but we have Poodles!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        It won’t happen TA, because it is clear to all but the most myopic of onlookers that Cameron is a fully fledged member of the EU club and doesn’t really want the UK to do its own thing at all, regardless of whether or not withdrawal would be in Britain’s best interests.

        Tad

      • Sean
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        We really need someone stronger, like a Donald Trump. A man with a back bone and cares for the people of the country he loves and is proud of.

        Looking at Britain today, you would never dream in a million years that we had an empire, how the mighty have fallen.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Denis – Quite clearly the Corbyn bogeyman (and I don’t doubt he’s bad) gives the Tory party a renewed raison detre – in their eyes at least.

      The public can be lulled into believing that there is a Parliamentary battle to save the country going on, and that the Tory party are now worth their money.

      That when the unprecedented decline comes (as soon as this year) we will be told “It would be far worse under Corbyn.”

      When the lights go out because of greencrap (as they will) that is the Tories’ fault as much as Labour’s.

      When the towns and cities become full of unemployed, disappointed and angry young men from other countries via the EU (young men being over 70% of ‘refugee’s according to the UN – which accords with what we see on TV and in the press) that is the Tories’ fault as much as Labour’s.

      Corbyn is a gift for the Tories. But people should be reminded that it is not Corbyn that is in office. I wouldn’t rule out a Labour win in 2020. Things are going to be so awful here that no-one will vote Tory.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Interesting points, well made. And when it all goes pear-shaped under the Tories, the left will be able to say, ‘It doesn’t have to be this way, we can do better than this………’

        But next time, the hitherto vacuous slogan will have some resonance! It will be tangible, and the people will probably be in the same mood they were in back in 1945.

        Tad

  13. DaveM
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    There’s no doubt that Corbyn’s economic policies are slightly mad, along with most of his other policies. But, despite what the BBC seems to think, he’s not the PM, he’s the leader of the opposition. An opposition which is deeply divided, which consists of 58 SNP members (who Corbyn would desperately like to replace with Scottish Labour), and which has no credible alternatives to current govt policy. In other words, the Conservative govt has never had a better opportunity to prove its worth by implementing sensible policies and making everyone’s life better over the next 4 1/2 years.

    The madness of a Corbyn premiership is at least 4 years away, and even if he did somehow get in, he’d doubtless find that the mile-long supertanker which is the British establishment takes more than 5 years to stop, let alone turn around, because he doesn’t have the power to make snap decisions and impose them on the public, unlike the European Commission.

    This week in Europe, however;

    1. Juncker makes a speech called “State of the Union” as if he’s the President of the USA crossed with a headmaster.

    2. Denmark closes its borders to trains.

    3. Hungary’s PM speaks total sense in the interests of his people and country and is ostracised by the EU for doing so.

    4. Merkel invites the world to Germany (without consulting the German people) then closes its borders.

    5. Merkel and Juncker, having invited all these people, then tell the rest of Europe – including Norway and Switzerland – that they have to take some too.

    6. Central Europe doesn’t know what the hell it’s going to do with all these refugees.

    7. There are Kurds and Turks killing each other on the streets of Switzerland.

    8. French mayors are now evicting illegal immigrants themselves.

    9. Christ knows what’s happening in Greece and Italy right now.

    10. Merkel has told Cameron he has to sign up to an EU army if he wants to gain any treaty concessions from Brussels.

    Corbyn’s theoretical govt isn’t real and yet people are getting flustered about it.

    All the points above ARE real, and even more mad than some of Corbyn’s policies, and yet the PM STILL thinks its a good idea to be part of the EU!!!!!

    • Timaction
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post.
      A few more;
      We are going to have to pay another £90 million to the EU dictatorship to support their mass refugee plan even though we have an opt out.
      It’s revealed that Germany needs 500,000 immigrants every year for the next 45 years to keep its economy going as it has a vastly reduced birth rate and life expectancy increases!
      That Mr Cameron secretly paid the £2.3 billion surcharge in two instalments that he wasn’t going to pay the EU last year. Hiding this from the public.
      That we are now going to take 20,000 Syrian Nationals over the next 4.5 years on top of the 634,000 he’s letting in annually from everywhere.
      The Poles, Slovakians and other Eastern Europeans are demonstrating over the immigration threat from refugees whilst not understanding the bitter irony of the millions of them that we have had imposed on us etc ed!
      Finally we still don’t know what he is renegotiating with the EU but it won’t amount to much!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      ……………..and the profile of these so-called ‘refugees’ is largely ‘young males of working age’, not families seeking sanctuary. When are we ever going to learn!

      Tad

    • bratwurst
      Posted September 15, 2015 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      No borders have been closed. A number of Schengen states have reinstated passport and ID checks at the borders, preventing those without documentation from crossing – as they are entitled to do within the terms of the Schengen agreement.
      Denmark’s DSB rail operator suspended trains to and from Germany because of exceptional passport checks – not the same thing as ‘closing’ the border.

    • stred
      Posted September 15, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      I visited Vienna and Budapest over the the past 3 years. I was struck by the way Vienna had preserved the beautiful buildings, having avoided bombing and invasion, having joined the Nazis, under their native born lunatic. In Budapest, they had only just finished the repair job, having had to deal with a few problems during the 40s. I visited their main synagogue, the biggest in Europe and learned about the fate of the local area, who had been put on trains and never came back.

      It seemed a little unwise for the Austrian leader to accuse the Hungarian PM of emulating the Nazis because they had stopped trains going to Austria in order to comply with EU rules, and also had run a train to a hastily set up refugee camp, while supplying buses to refugees walking down the motorway. However, those awful police chucking sandwiches over the railings was so reminiscent of Auchwitz and should be condemned for their bad service.

  14. Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Emulating Venezuela seems like many who believed in Russian communism back in the 30’s ; if Corbyn genuinely thinks this way he really is a screwball .The world has discarded communism because , today , people value independence and the right to freely express themselves ; television and the development of the computer have changed things .

    Of course those looking for a free lunch will support leftism ; there are many who have “failed” and want nothing better than to knock those who strive . Fortunately those who have succeeded and encouraged others are much better communicators ; they will always win in the end . Labour and the left have now lost their way in politics and will find it difficult to recover – many pundits have made noises over this so far and , when there is a little more evidence , will make even more noise later .

    • Mercia
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      They had a severe shortage o toilet paper recently before the government imported 50 million rolls

  15. Bill
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    What Corbyn’s election has done is to provide a cloak of legitimacy for all the left wing voices which want to build a new Jerusalem with other people’s money. We are going to hear a lot more from left-leaning people who, with a wave of the hand, dismiss constraints on government spending and who, in the name of ‘equality’, will take us towards the dictatorship of the proletariat. I have just been re-reading George Orwell. Animal Farm is important but so too is Homage to Catalonia (published in 1938) when Orwell, fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish civil war, discovered the dismal true colours of the left and from that time on knew where he stood.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      “What Corbyn’s election has done is to provide a cloak of legitimacy for all the left wing voices etc”

      Indeed. It reminds me a bit of the uncharacteristically large LibDem vote in 2010 (brought about by the over-televising of Clegg and Cable and dissatisfaction with the established parties).

      People never learn.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      To be fair to Corbyn, I think he has more in common with Orwell than with the Christian Church burning and priest killing Bolsheviks with whom he fought alongside; Corbyn is not known to hate the English, being ethnically English himself; the Bolsheviks hated everyone who was not of themselves and simply used ideology to dress it up.

      • Bill
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, absolutely. Stalin began his career as a bank robber and gangster.

    • Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      “What Corbyn’s election has done is to provide a cloak of legitimacy for all the left wing voices etc”

      No, what it’s done is to reveal the true face of the Labour Party.

      Labour activists have always been this way – it’s just that in the past they moderated their public statements in order to win elections.

      Labour has always been an anti-English party but now with Corbyn and without the Scots (and the Welsh?) in support, it’ll never gain power again.

      It’s a time for optimism – things aren’t perfect of course – but the future is looking much, much brighter today.

    • Posted September 14, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      You omit to mention that George Orwell fought with the POUM, the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification, and an anti-Stalinist, semi-Trotskyist communist party.

      As such he was considered an undesirable by the Communists and many others in the Republican government and Orwell himself showed no understanding or sympathy with the argument of many in the Republican government that the Spanish civil war was a war against fascism and shouldn’t be considered a revolutionary socialist war.

      As far as I know he never renounced his allegiance to the POUM or the Independent Labour Party of which he was also a member.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Venezuela is indeed a good example of failed socialist policies. Nevertheless, as others have pointed out, Cameron/Osborne have not been slow or modest in resorting to the QE drug. Mr Livingston was quick out of the blocks, on Saturday, singing the praises of “Peoples QE” and its virtues compared to “Bankers QE”. If he is not very careful with the evolution and justification of his policies Mr Osborne runs the risk of being hoist with his own petard.

  17. miami.mode
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    ‘people have been banned from forming queues outside shops in the streets to try to buy things’

    You may recollect that after queues formed outside a new Dental Practice accepting NHS patients in Scarborough in 2004 the Labour government banned people from queuing and insisted that all requests for such treatment must be channelled through the relevant NHS administration. I assume this ban is still in place.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      The queues for the “Emergency Eye Service” are round the block at several hospitals after a long bank holiday. If you are going to injure your eye be a good pleb and don’t do it over a bank holiday. Very long queues trying to get social housing allocation too. And don’t even bother queuing for the best schools unless you can get a priests signature saying you are of the correct medieval superstition.
      You will find insulin pumps are allocated in radically different proportions in different parts of the country, each interpreting NICE guidelines differently and rather differently if you have family working in the NHS. We already live under the worst kind of rationing, rationing of the most basic of life saving hospital care.

  18. Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I note that Andy Burnham has been prepared to accept the post as shadow Home Secretary. Obviously he doesn’t have any real beliefs and is prepared to go along with the tide. Typical of so many of our present day politicians. Anything to get on and remain in the limelight.

    • odd job
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Jury is out on Andy Burnham.

      Burnham resigns and Corbyn will look weak and loses credibility. Puts Andy Burnham in a strong position IMHO.

    • formula57
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      But such behaviour is typically rewarded by the people so what else can one expect?

  19. Bob
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Corbyn and Cameron are as one when it comes to the diminution of our armed services.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Why have the Labour party not taken the opportunity to taunt the Conservatives that cuts to the armed services have gone “too far , too fast” ?

      Missed opportunity or collusion ?

  20. Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Sadly, as with almost all of Mr Redwood’s comments, this is in the domain of rational argument – nothing to do with politics. Still, it will be a fun ride, whatever the outcome.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you ever give up?

      Get a life man (if indeed that’s what you are!)

  21. stred
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Venezuala will be losing much of it’s oil revenue with current prices so low. The UK, unlike Venezuala, may have to stop producing it.

  22. Posted September 14, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The sad thing about this is that human beings are not suited to these far left policies. We are social animals who are natural traders.

    Even sadder is that our government has printed money and is introducing wage controls.

  23. Martin
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Are you arguing that a sovereign isolationist state is not working?

    Ah yes you mentioned the border with Columbia – perhaps what Venezuela needs is UVIP (United Venezuelan Independence Party) to sever all ties with its neighbours.

  24. Martyn G
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    A bit OT, John, but I think relevant to the topic, the man is a known security risk and up to his election was on the ‘stop list’ of every security organisation. As leader of the opposition, he is now entitled to attend top-level national and international security briefings and to have access to a wide range of threat and other security data.
    I wonder how security folk (e.g. GCHQ, MoD) are going to handle this, but suspect that some subtle sanitising of information will occur when he is present or given documents. And of course to an unknown extent the USA will lose likely trust in the UK with him in the security loop.
    More worryingly, his previous oft-declared support for some rather dodgy folk in other countries might lead to him inadvertently via, perhaps, a third party whom he trusts to impart national secrets to others. The test is, can he be trusted to protect and preserve UK security? Probably not, given his declared wish to disband the army. Interesting times we live in!

    • peter
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Interestingly I was thinking along the same lines myself. An ex Tory MP pointed out on Twitter that opposition party leaders are privy to highly sensitive information of national importance and then someone else asked about DV clearance.

      If half the well documented stories on Corbyn are true, he has no chance of getting DV clearance so its difficult to see how he could ever hold a ministerial post let alone leader of the opposition or PM.

  25. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    It must have been difficult JR to write an economic article on Venezuela and not mention OIL once. (95% of its exports ).Not mention the decline in the oilprice once.Not mention US SANCTIONS once. Not mention US importing CANADIAN oil instead of buying Venezuelan oil as usual, once. Not mention the buying of US FRACKING oil in preference to Venezuelan oil once Not mention the continued buying by the US of Head-chopping states’ oil, once.Yet you devoted a whole paragraph to Mr Corbyn and mentioned him at least twice and referenced also by “he”; “his” and “him”.

    The mass murderer Pinochet of Chile was the pin-up boy of a late Conservative Party Prime Minister. It did not reflect on her domestic policy.

    The Conservative Party has become unheathily obsessed with Mr Corbyn. (E.g. of accusations against Mr C removed ed) The Defence Minister in deep sombre tones and looking and sounding for all the world so like Sam the Eagle in the Muppet Show it is hard to believe he has not acted his delivery quite on purpose, has declared The Labour Party and Mr Corbyn as a major threat to national security. And Mr Cameron on who has to ask 20 foreign prime ministers for permission to knock 50 pence off welfare benefits also says much the same but not half so well delivered as a Muppet. I’m sure he will practice it.

    Oh c’mon JR. Mr Corbyn has been an MP for 30 years. His very young supporters may think of him as a British Che Guevara but he is very much a total Establishment figure.
    If you look at the… reported… personal histories of parliamentary lefties and even persons of the Right since Churchill especially those gaining any kind of power or influence you will find remarkably many have had an American girlfriend or wife. An odd coincidence but a coincidence nevertheless. As far as I’m aware Mr Corbyn has never had anything to do with American women which, I guess, makes him stand out .

    Britain is “prospering” in large part by the US and EU printing money and throwing it about like confetti ( except in the direction of countries which they dislike. )
    This paperstorm of richness won’t last much longer.

    Reply Many countries have had to deal with a decline in the oil price and the price of other commodities that they export but have not suffered hyperinflation and a big recession as a consequence – e.g. Scotland/Chile/Australia. The article was about Venezuela and about Labour’s attitude towards that country’s policies.

  26. NickW
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The Marxist way is to prevent and suppress any dissent or criticism of the inevitable policy failures, by means of state sponsored violence, intimidation, imprisonment and the firing squad.

    etc ed

  27. Rods
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    If you abolish the rich all you have is the poor, apart from a very small powerful (normally corrupt) political elite and the vested interests of their political cronies. Human rights, an independent judiciary and justice all go out of the window, with business people locked up or worse, so the political cronies can take over their businesses (unless you become a croney by paying bribes dressed as political levies) and the locking up of any and all political opposition for ‘political’ crimes.

    Such socialism is actually a return to feudalism, where to get on you have to have patronage of the powerful and pay levies to these political elites. Our industrial revolution largely abolished this with the gradual demise of the upper class landed gentry, with the Corn Laws being their last major stand. This had a profound and transformal effect on our society with ever rising living standards, lifespans and population growth.

    I don’t think going back to this sort of feudal society with the loss of freedom, wealth and declining lifespans by everybody can be considered progress, so I hope Corbyn and his cronies end up where they deserve as just a brief footnote in history, where Labour and their policies are resoundly rejected by the electorate.

    The lesson the Conservatives need to learn is that at the moment ‘conviction’ politics is making a comeback with Corbyn and Farage here and Trump in the US, where we are all fed up with the manufactured, focus group and soundbite lead, characterless crop of weak career politicians that are currently to the fore in most Western countries. IMO being in power and staying in power is an end in itself and Foreign Policy and defense are largely forgotten as their are no votes in this.

    This is allowing China’s assertiveness, Putin’s revisionism and terrorist groups like ISIS to increasingly drive global geopolitics, which if allowed to continue unchecked will increase the risks of major confrontations when we are eventually forced to defend our way of life and sources of wealth creation including globalization. This is not unlike the 1930’s and we all know how that decade ended!

  28. DaveM
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    OT – Sturgeon’s now spouting off about a second Scottish independence referendum; can she just do that? What will the PM’s likely response be?

    • formula57
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      Supposedly the consent of the UK government is required for Scotland to have a referendum, at least one that anyone else has any formal obligation to take notice of. As for likely response, an extended, embellished Vow perhaps, and like the last given without the approval of the rest of the UK?

  29. Pete Stroud
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember someone defining an idiot as a person who keeps making the same stupid mistake, over and over again. Perhaps a stupid politician is a man who supports foreign regimes that adopt failed political systems, over and over again. Mr Corbyn fits that profile, as does his shadow chancellor. The likes of Clement Attlee and Ernest Bevin must be turning in their graves. I have never supported Labour, but it was a fairly reasonable political party, that kept extreme leftism in check. Not any more I fear.

  30. margaret
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I cannot find any literature about printing money in Venezuela. I read that the Bolivar was considerably devalued against the dollar in feb of this year It is also written that the crunch will be in Oct 2015 when debts are supposedly to be met. Obama apparently froze Venezuela’s assets and this is not helping trade, yet some of the big firms such as Ford, COKE and more are losing out on their investments. Another piece of literature talks about the free trade in exchanging beef for toilet paper and oil between themselves and Bolivia. It is interesting to look at barter when money does not play a part.

    Reply Money supply has trebled since 2013 and currency has fallen massively on the black market exchange

  31. Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    There’s nothing wrong in principle with printing money, as long as the amount printed is just enough to give us full employment without giving us excess inflation. As to who should decide how much to print, some sort of committee of independent economists like the BoE MPC is probably better than having politicians do the job.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Why don’t they just print money and give us all an allowance each week?

    • odd job
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      But the BoE already do this, by controlling the money supply.

      Corbyn’s policy is back to front. Corbyn has a policy of massive public spending and this is simply how it is going to be funded.

      We are slowly approaching full employment, so this makes this policy nonsense by 2020.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      You cannot crsate wealth and prosperity by printing money.

      Its the economic equivolent of trying to survive in a liferaft by drinking seawater.

  32. Posted September 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    JR,

    Just on a point of information: All money is printed or created in a computer these days. That’s where it comes from. It’s just an IOU of the issuer.

    So, of course, it’s fair enough to point out that if we issue and spend too much money we might have too much inflation. Especially if we allow our economy to become overdependent on the price of one commodity as Venezuela has done. But what if we issue and spend too little ?

    Might not we end up with too much deflation and recession?

    We should be talking about amounts, not the principle of what everyone knows happens anyway.

  33. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled by the attitude of many of the commentators on here. Are you all under the impression that things are okay? I know that for we baby boomers – sitting on our unearned equity and, quite often, with a big index-linked pension to live on – things seem okay – but for many people they are not ‘okay’.

    We have got ourselves into the situation where in many areas of the country (certainly the areas where the work is) the next generation is almost completely priced out of the housing market. Those who have clambered on board have massive mortgages at historically low interest rates. What will happen when rates go up?

    In the work/live balance area, we seem to have gone seriously backwards. When I was young it was common for just one parent to have to work. Now babies are dumped in nurseries at 6 am so both parents and get started on their 60 hour weeks. People used to work 40 hours a week – some worked 35 hours a week on flexitime – now people are commuting long distances, working long hours and working at home in the evenings.

    Wages for many people are very low. If you are unlucky enough (or lazy enough) to be unskilled, you haven’t had a real wage rise for 20 years or more. Now, some of this is due to globalisation but some isn’t. These factors are not mentioned by the current government – other than the odd mention of wanting, it seems, to get both parents of every family in the country working full time. Why? How does this improve quality of life? It should be a choice – not a necessity. When was some rule invented that most people have to work their nuts off for not much money all their lives?

    Whether Corbyn is wrong, mad or both doesn’t really concern me. It is nice to hear a politician actually talk about the ever growing wealth divide. It is getting nuts now – the top 100 richest people in the world own more than the poorest half of the world put together. I find that actually disgusting. Kids scrambling around rubbish tips trying to make a living while some people commission yachts costing hundreds of millions. Politics of envy? No. If I had that much money I’d feel so guilty I’d have to give a lot of it away. And I know some people are giving their money way – but that is not the point. More don’t and it is obscene that so much wealth is concentrated in the hands of so few.

    • Posted September 15, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Set up a business and employ people on high wages – there you go, you can solve the problem yourself.

      If all Socialists did that then ‘inequality’ would disappear, right?

      If you’re so concerned – put your money where your mouth is.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 15, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      You don’t make poor people rich by attacking a few people who are rich.
      Your focus and ire should be directed on successive governments who have failed to use the billions they get from taxation ( a disproportionate amount being paid by a few rich individuals and businesses) to address the problems you mention.

      However, despite what you say, the general trend for the vast majority of people in Western democracies and those nations who have adopted our decent democratic economic model, is one of a huge rise in standards of living over the last century.

      Nations that have tried to create an equal society as a priority, have developed societies where there is an equality of poverty together with a lack of freedom for the individual.

      • Posted September 17, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Edward2,

        I don’t believe Mike Wilson said that everyone should be absolutely equal. He can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d say he was making the point that the levels of inequality have increased – and they are now unacceptably high.

        So how much inequality should there be? There should be some -otherwise no-one would put in that extra effort to gain a promotion. But is it really necessary for the CEO of a company to be paid more for an hour’s work than some of his employees would receive in a year?

        • Edward2
          Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Statistically there can be no surprise.
          We have encouraged a thousands of the worlds very richest to come and live here whilst at the same time allowing in approx 500,000 new arrivals per year from nations poorer than us.
          This has dramatically skewed the figures both at the top and bottom giving a headline statistic of increased inequality.

          The general standard of living is still quietly improving.
          And the rich are paying more tax than ever before.

  34. odd job
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Under socialism; at least everyone is equally poor.

  35. volker2
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    While not claiming any expertise on “peoples QE”, it seems quite different from the QE implemented by the BoE. Presumably in the former, government pays directly for goods and services with money it simply creates. This makes it far harder to reverse direction when inflation takes off. Not that it seems that easy to reverse conventional QE, judging by the Fed’s difficulties in trying to return to normal monetary policy (while the BoE does not even seem to be trying). But peoples QE seems like a one-way ride into some kind of horror show.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Apart from small transmission losses, all of the £375 billion created under Darling and Osborne was transferred to the Treasury through the gilts market and used by the government to pay for goods and services and to meet its other bills.

    • Posted September 17, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      “While not claiming any expertise on “peoples QE”, it seems quite different from the QE implemented by the BoE”

      Yes you are quite right.

      PQE as envisaged is a fiscal operation, not a monetary operation, whereas QE as practiced by the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve Bank of America, the Bank of Japan etc are not fiscal operations.

      Probably a better term would be Overt Monetary Financing rather than PQE. But whatever we call it, spending financed by OMF/PQE is no more nor no less inflationary than any other spending. Arguably it is less costly than conventional methods of financing deficits because there’s no interest payments involved.

      So the choice between OMF/PQE and conventional deficit financing is largely determined by Govts desire to set longer term interest rates in the economy.

  36. Gary Gimson
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Please can you spell Colombia correctly!

  37. Iain Gill
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I see Argentina fully expects Corbyn to hand them the Falkland Islands.

  38. Richard
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    “I mention this today, because Mr Corbyn is an admirer of the politics and government of Venezuela. He wrote an article praising it in 2009, and renewed his favourable comments this year. I recommend he looks at the poverty, the scarcity of goods and the difficulties for many people in their everyday lives created by this socialist paradise. ”

    Why do people keep falling for the myth that the goal of the Far Left is to improve the lives of the poor ? As the ‘party for the poor’ the more poor a country has the more Far Left voters there are.

  39. George S
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    “I recommend he looks at the poverty, the scarcity of goods and the difficulties for many people in their everyday lives created by this socialist paradise.”

    facts are sacred … unless they contradict the great socialist experiment where they will be ignored and never acknowledged as they are simply ‘right wing press inventions’

  40. APL
    Posted September 14, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Ralph Musgrave: “as long as the amount printed is just enough to give us full employment without giving us excess inflation.”

    Good Lord!! Do you really think that printing tokens with pretty patterns can contribute in any way to ‘full employment’.

    You really must be ‘aving a laugh?

  41. Posted September 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Spot on. History is littered with chancellors who thought “a bit of inflation wont hurt too much”. I have left the party over this. I have no idea how anyone can think it is socialist to flirt with the kind of economics that created the Lawson boom, the Barber boom and the Maudling dash for growth disaster. Notice all these inflationary booms were Conservative! So why is the Labour party embracing policies that even the Conservatives wouldn’t touch with a barge pole these days? The independence of the Bank of England was hard one and I have no intention of campaigning for or funding a party that intends to undo it and go back to setting interest rates from Number 11. Yes, I am aware that since 2007 there have been some problems but anyone who thinks that these can be solved by reviving the long slain dragon of inflation has simply lost the plot.

    • Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Easy peasy. The Lawson boom was created by an inept monetary policy of getting sterling to track the deutschmark. The Maudling and Barber booms were attributable to fiscal incontinence, financed by printing money. They happened because MacMillan and Heath were Socialists.

      People’s QE was the practice followed by Heath/Barber and Wilson/Healey; it resulted in 25% inflation in the mid-seventies. It was at this time that monetarism gained wide exceptance.

      Enoch Powell observed that is when governments run large fiscal deficits and need to borrow, that the general public is least willing to lend to them. I wonder why!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Posted September 16, 2015 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Subsidised prices, high inflation, queues at the shops. And a rigged ‘official’ exchange rate? Just like Soviet Russia.

  43. Posted September 16, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I did some research into this and how people can believe in anything so stupid and it seems the answer is that is as I suspected ideological. In response to Milton Right on the far right inventing economic neoliberalism someone on the left thought we should have our own set of equally deluded unworkable economic nonsense and has invented something called neochartalism… from which derives Richard Murphy and hence Jeremy Corbyn’s theories. You should look it up it’s hilarious. It’s also called “modern monetary theory” and puports such hilarous clangers as we don’t need to worry about inflation because governments can never go bust and that all the problems are really down to the fact that it is “only recently that money has actually been understood”.

    • Posted September 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      The main problem with economic neoliberalism as practised today is that banks are allowed to lend money they haven’t got. There are two simple remedies. One is to allow failed banks like RBS to crash and burn. The other is to insist that the ratio of their liquid assets to the total value of their loans must exceed a certain threshold, say 25%.

      Given where we are now, to get back to normal sound banking, the following are necessary:
      – Initiate the minimum 25% reserve ratio requirement
      – Get rid of bank levies and high profits taxes on banks
      – Get rid of all implicit and explicit subsidies to banks
      – Sell off the remainder of RBS and Lloyds shares
      – Get base rate up to a sensible level
      – Make crystal clear that there is no such thing as a bank that is too big to fail
      – Make bank salary & bonus structures answerable to shareholders only

  44. sm
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Venezuela- has foreign debts to service and has had a large adverse change in oil revenues. UK would issue UK denominated IOU be it cash or debt.

    Creating and spending money directly may well be needed to bypass our current banks. So that real quality public assets can be created , housing, roads and bridges to mitigate issues caused by mass immigration policies in our major cities & elsewhere.

    You cant wish away the excess immigration. his maybe an effective way of dealing with complete failure to match spending on strategic needs. I just wonder
    how Germany/EU is going to fund things.

    In the meantime the banks should be forced to reduce leverage and increase equity financing, as this cash spending deposits makes its inevitable way to them, before they try & use it to create more thin air money, and extract returns above which they can prudently manage in downturn.

    We are where we are because of previous failures.

    In any case how would funding more housing etc cause living standards to drop?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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