Ed Balls and the politics of jealousy

It has been amusing to watch Ed Balls trying to understand the support for Donald Trump in the USA. Quite a lot of the time Mr Balls seems thrilled to be part of the car loving outdoors lifestyle of the typical Trump supporters. He seems very at home with  the not so rich that he rubs shoulders with, and wants to enjoy his time with the wealthy and glamorous. He leaves it to his individual private talks to the camera after his social events and interviews to confide in us that he still disapproves, with some large moral objection or other to this democratic phenomenon of a popular movement.

The main issue Mr Balls keeps coming back to is how can the low income Trump supporters back a billionaire? How can they vote for a man who gives the rich tax cuts? He seeks to stir up jealousy. So far he has had no success. The replies come back that they like the fact that Mr Trump is a businessman – he might help them make some money just as he has made some money for himself. They are very relaxed about the higher income people getting tax cuts, because they are getting tax cuts too. Some of the Trump supporters on lower income reckon they might be much richer one day anyway. As one said this Sunday, I am $100 a week better off with the Trump tax cuts which helps me so I don’t mind the rich getting tax cuts as well.

I am surprised Mr Balls finds this absence of jealousy surprising. The whole idea of the American dream is someone can go from Bell boy to hotel owner, from a kid in a deprived neighbourhood to a top paid lawyer or banker . It is at best a get up and do society, where many want their government to get out of their way, and to let them keep more of the money they earn.

In the UK where Mr Balls learned his politics maybe he hopes the politics of jealousy will be more successful. Here too there are many more people who are not jealous. They vote for parties and candidates that can improve their lifestyle, incomes and life chances, not for parties and people who will do down those who have succeeded. Labour wanted to get rid of grammar schools by giving the vote to decide their future mainly to the parents of children who did not get in. The first ballot failed to deliver the closure many in Labour craved, because the parents of children not at the grammar were not jealous of those who went to the grammar. They gave up and grammars survived.

Mr Balls as often on the left also argues from contradictory positions. He both thinks poorer Americans should shun Mr Trump because he is rich and privileged, then argues they should shun him because he has had business failures and was not the in past rich enough! So is he too successful to represent people, or too much of a failure to do so in Balls land? And does it matter, as enough US voters backed him whichever.

I will enjoy the remainder of this mini series. I like it when Mr Balls looks thrilled to be there and is visibly enjoying lifestyles he would normally condemn. I then like it even more when we get  the private musings to camera to shore him up with the left wing UK audience that will see the programme as he struggles to find things to complain about. He is going to have do better than the crusade for jealousy, which is an unbecoming political emotion.

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151 Comments

  1. Steve
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    So you don’t like Ed Ball then ?

    Neither do I.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      I haven’t watched this TV series;I decided that televisually Mr Balls had delighted us long enough with his Strictly Come Dancing endeavours.

      Besides do we need another Portillo?!

      • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we could do with another Portillo – but definitely NOT another Balls.

    • NigelE
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      On the short list of politicians I dislike, Shirley Williams for her destruction of (most of) the grammar schools is still in first place.

      Mind you, Mrs May is rapidly catching up.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Is there much difference between May and Shirley? Policies are almost identical and I suspect Shirley has more interesting conversation and is not so unpleasant and dishonest. Just totally misguided.

        Mind you very many grammar schools were abolished under Thatcher both as education secretary and PM.

        • NigelE
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Indeed, and to Thatcher’s shame. But it was Shirley who pushed for the ground rules.

  2. Mark B
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    A very uncharacteristic post by our kind host today.

    The main issue Mr Balls keeps coming back to is how can the low income Trump supporters back a billionaire? 

    I surprised. After all, he had no problem backing the millionaire, Tony Blair for years.

    People support those who want them to succeed and keep more, and pass on more, the wealth that that have created through invention and hard work. They do not want or to give unquestionably to government so that those on power can virtue signal. Simple. That is why Lady Thatcher and now President Trump are so much liked.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      I am certainly not with Trump all the way, I am much more for free trade. But he is right on the green crap, cheap energy and right on cutting taxes and red tape. Trump won, to a large degree, because Hillary was an appalling, two faced, PC, politics of envy, identity politics, lefty social justice warrior. Rather like the appalling Appeaser May.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Less robotic than May and not as much of a massive electoral liability as May clearly now is.

      • C j
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        President Trump is a strong advocate for free trade. The use of really high tariffs is a means to get there.. sit back and enjoy the “art of the deal”

  3. Man of Kent
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Americans ,like us , just want the space to be able to succeed .

    Contrast Trump tax cuts , fracking revolution, out of the Paris accord , Iran policy with our pathetic bunch of lying,duplicitous , socialists and it’s a wonder Ed Balls can make any sort of case for his politics .

    Wouldn’t mind betting he undergo a minor conversion but too much to hope he comes back to set up a new ‘ can do ‘ party .

  4. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    It is only a TV programme John, but entertaining and interesting none the less.

    Interesting to hear many of the comments made though :

    “We have given politicians a go for years, and we got nowhere, they just told us lies and did nothing, so we thought we would give this guy a chance, and in one year he has done more for us, than Obama did in eight”

    “I voted for a successful man, who made money before he got into the White House, not one who got rich while in there, or afterwards”.

    The one episode that really seemed to affect him, was when he was in the company of ex service veterans with both mental and physical problems, who gave him some facts about how Trump has supported them, and made sure those still serving now, had better equipment and support than in the past.

    Ed Balls still looks somewhat bemused, and cannot really understand the support Trump still has, but the penny was at last beginning to drop, the more people he spoke to.

  5. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I never thought much of Ed Balls when in politics, but now he is out, he seems to have regained much of his sanity – a recommended course of action for many of his previous colleagues.

    • Adam
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      It was refreshing to find that Ed Balls lost his seat & is out of parliament’s way. There is too much junk on TV too, yet what he does can more easily be ignored now.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    The authoritarian Labour party/ socialists have always adopted the “do as I say not as I do” line that you describe above.

    Even when evidence that contradicts their views is apparent it does not change their doctrinal pursuit of “equality”.

    Your party has become more moralistic and authoritarian under Cameron and Osborne and May and Hammond.

  7. Richard1
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I haven’t watched it but this is an interesting review, perhaps I will. It sounds like another very typical leftist commentary. President Trump has undoubtedly made sense bizarre utterances. But he has had some notable successes & the blanket condemnation of everything he says and does in so much of the UK and European media demonstrates the complete imperviousness of the righteous left to any argument or evidence which challenges their world view. It’s the same with Brexit. It looks to me like Trump will get reelected.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Some bizarre utterances. Sorry.

  8. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Struck me the programmers were hoping to show Trump supporters as fools, and ignorant fools at that and chose venues accordingly. Our media just do not understand America and Americans, they live in a cliched view of their own making.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Why should they understand America and Americans any more than say, Russians, Chinese, Macedonians etc? A (somewhat) mutually intelligible language does not provide a sufficient basis for a shared mentality.

      Give me Europe and Europeans any time. If only Brexit voters had grasped that simple fact. Hanging on to American apron strings just because they are supposedly the last world superpower is going to invite ridicule and even contempt.

  9. agricola
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Yes in the UK some of us vote for parties that say they believe in low tax and enterprise, but on results morning we find we have the same as usual, whoever wins. At present the conservative party is a left of centre shadow of the Lib/Dems.

    We voted to leave the EU and after two years of going nowhere we are offered a half in relationship that we did not vote for. Had Trump been in power we would be long gone by now and building our economy via world trade and low corporate and individual tax regimes. There would be much blood on ministry carpets , but they would be beginning to work for the people they are supposed to serve rather than time serving to their K.
    As to Mr balls, our electorate is so indoctrinated with the idea that government does everything that to suggest otherwise is a heresy. He therefore finds American get up and go alien. He finds it incredible that the USA with all it’s problems can think differently. He only needs to examine the USA post Pearl Harbour to understand their mentality. God help the World if the UK’s sense of inertia ever takes root in the USA.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Balls will never get it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Or do they get it really but just push lefty. Politics of envy, identicy politics drivel just to get elected?

  11. margaret
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I take it you don’t like Ed Balls. There is a lot less jealously than you think John . Many are glad to have health and enough money , but the show goes on . Why is a lifestyle of excess better than something less stressful ? Why is a powerful position preferable to an easier take on life? Why is a hotel cleaner less important than those who occupy expensive rooms?

    I personally strive after organisation , cleanliness , warmth and health and many are like me insofar of their preferences. There are so many myths.What follows is another example of box like perceptions. Many Nurses could pass the senior Dr’s fellowship exams and still are considered intellectually inferior .. why? They want to be Nurses.

    • Elvis junior
      Posted August 15, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      I seriously doubt that many nurses could pass medical Fellowship exams based on medical skills, knowledge and experience. Provide some evidence to support your view please.

      • margaret
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Don’t be silly . As though I am going to waste time on your counter argument . We have past papers to look at. You are one of the shallow minded intellectual bigots I am talking about.

        • Longinus
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          No argument to support your view. I’m a Consultant Neurologist who has worked with nurse specialists. They are no match for a decent SHO.

  12. Ian wragg
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The whole point of the Democratic and Labour is to maintain a client state of dependants and welfare beneficiaries.
    There is no mileage for them in people who climb up the slippery slope.
    Those at the top don’t want the great unwashed challenging their position hence the demise of the Grammar School.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      And sadly the Tories haven’t got the guts or the will to do anything about the demise of grammar schools either. Another reason to vote UKIP.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Correct, and if they find they are running out of clients they import more …

  13. acorn
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    It’s a television show and that’s all. Politicians spend their life trying to get on television, particularly when the politics comes to an end. Good piece in Atlantic magazine:

    “People Voted for Trump Because They Were Anxious, Not Poor” (Google it) Trump voters weren’t losing income or jobs. Instead, they were concerned about their place in the world.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 17, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      @acorn the article and the various links within made for interesting reading. None of it particularly illuminating or revealing anything that couldn’t be guessed.

      What was noticeable was that not one of the sneering commentators tried to explain what was wrong with voting to preserve your way of life or livelihood.

      The liberati ad their apparatchnik all espouse diversity and the benefits of immigration which in reality only benefits business and the tax take (while requiring greater public expenditure) without adversely affecting the liberati and their minions.

      The real downsides of mass immigration are felt by the people who were being sneered at in those articles. They have had their own say. We are leaving the EU, Trump is in power and there could well be surprises at our next General Election.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    One thing I dislike is how the members of the cosy little media/political elite, which crosses all parties, in UK look after each other. Lost your seat as an MP ? No problem – have a TV show. I have absolutely no interest at all in Es Balls’ views on America or in Michael Portillo’s on some foreign railway.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Portillo is Ok though he does have a rather funny stiff upright walking style.

      With Balls it is rather funny to see how his PPE brain “thinks”.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I just skimmed the series on iplayer and it is knockabout stuff. Balls does wrestling. Balls goes to a redneck rally. Balls talks to a rich elderly woman who wears far too much makeup and decorates her large mansion in gold ornaments.

      Portillo’s Railway jaunts are OK. Compare them to places you have visited. Skim through on iplayer. It is amusing to see Portillo with his nose in the air clutching his Bradshaw railway timetable and parading one of his many pastel jackets. He seems to enjoy staying in old hotels where famous people were guests and sampling local delicacies, cheeses, Eccles cakes, pies etc. etc ed

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Can’t say I noticed that Michael Portillo’s railway jaunts carried a political message. They were just an interesting take on following a Victorian guidebook. Did I miss something?
      Whereas Balls’ meanderings (or do I mean maunderings?) seem to carry a very definite lefty one.

  15. John
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Balls looks terrified most of the time. And quite right too. Socialism’s a hanging offence in redneck country.

    • Elvis junior
      Posted August 15, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Politicians should be scared of the electorate.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I am nearly 80 years old.
    When I was in my teens, I lived in Peterborough, a grimy railway town in the East Midlands. Do you know what? We were all cold most of the time, we had little to eat, rationing was there too and our clothes stuck to us because of the black soot everywhere.
    I never saw anyone begging. I never saw anyone sleeping rough. I never saw people camped out on the streets or sleeping in doorways.
    We had a lot of immigrants – mainly Italians and Poles in the brickworks too.
    Furthermore I could walk down the street at night without being either shot or knifed. Drugs, I admit, had not yet been invented. And there were no food banks either. People had pride, they knew each other and we were all patriotic because we had won the war.

    How far we have sunk! And it is all down to the politics of equality and the state knows best.
    It does not.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Mike

      Probably more to do with no welfare state so people, or families had to look after themselves and each other as best they could.

      I would not argue with the setting up of the welfare state, or even for its need, but it has now morphed into something more than just a low level safety net for the unfortunate.

      It has for some now become a choice or a way of life, to demand the State provides more and more, at the expense and extreme frustration of those who are trying to manage for themselves.

      The only real solution is a return to its original concept.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      And it is all down to the politics of (state enforced) equality and the state knows best.
      It does not.

      Exactly.

      Though there were some drugs around even then.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Plus open borders to just about everyone who can get here. (Except those who try to do it legally.)

    • M. Davis
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Same era as you, Mike. How far we have sunk! And it is all down to the brainwashing of Socialism. The Socialists have infiltrated all of the institutions, especially schools and Universities. What ‘they’ are teaching very young children, ‘they’ should be prosecuted for – in my eyes it is child abuse. I hate and detest Socialism!

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      What are you talking about

      When you were in your teens a World War that killed 80 million people had just ended

      Quoted govt report

      Following the establishment of the so-called “New British System” (based on the recommendations of the Rolleston Committee in 1926), numbers of recorded opiate and cocaine addicts fell significantly in the early 1930s and remained stable and at a relatively low level for the next two decades. It was in the latter part of the 1950s that a new drug “epidemic” began.

  17. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I’m glad someone like you John can see what Ed Balls is like in the programme. Your perception is exactly how I see him too. As my husband often says, today, we have the politics of envy. If someone does well, let’s tax him to the hilt. If someone earns enough to buy an expensive car, never mind that perhaps they have forsaken big expensive holidays, tax them. If someone wants to better themselves through hard work and get a nicer house, tax them. In fact tax them til the pips squeak. As for the very rich, they provided the jobs where people are paying tax too but also making money to improve their lives also. Good on Mr Trump. Long may he remain President.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      We have a tax and benefit system that seems designed to augment the feckless, punish the prudent and make the rich and hard working leave the country.

      • Andy
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        You assume someone who is rich is, by definition, hard working and that someone who is poor is not.

        On the contrary, there are plenty of very rich people who are lazy and plenty of very poor people who work harder than you or I ever have or ever will.

        The sad reality is that, as often as not, wealth and opportunity are an accident of birth.

  18. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    As I pointed out yesterday, I wish Balls would interview people who are just normal suburban people instead of the eccentric people he manages to talk to. It’s as if he wants to portray people who support Trump as idiots. By the way, thought he was rather brave to flaunt himself in his underwear whilst getting his mandatory spray tan!!

  19. Chris
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Has Ed Balls come across Bikers for Trump?! There are some wonderclips videoclips of them – their presence at rallies and elsewhere to support P Trump, and their comments. Balls would learn a lot about how twisted and stifling the cultural Marxist thinking that Blair, Cameron and May apparently embraced(d) is and how damaging it is to the ordinary person. However, it gives power to the political elite…

    • Chris
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Apologies, should read “wonderful” in my comment above.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      ”Elite”? They’re not ”elite”!!!

      • Chris
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        No, they are not elite in my eyes, but they think they are, and that is the justification for their policies of amassing power and wealth for themselves at the expense of ordinary people, whose needs and wishes they dismiss/ignore.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I lived in the USA. I found it a lot more meritocratic than the UK.

    • eeyore
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      The politics of envy has long struggled to get a foothold in the US. One reason may be the strong social pressure on wealthy Americans to be philanthropists. In this country, where the rich are already compulsory social benefactors through the tax system, the tradition is not so strong.

      Mr Trump has made some tax cuts but the trend of American taxes, as elsewhere, is inexorably upward. Government, like cancer, exists but to grow. Will the philanthropic tradition there wither and die too? If so, America and Americans will be the poorer, in all senses.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I lived there too. I found it a much easier place to live as an expat then when I lived in the EU even with freedom of movement – much less bureaucratic for a start.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes after a while even the people who knew forgot I wasn’t an American, and I was welcomed and completely integrated into their society. Much better and quicker integration than happens when I move town or city within the UK.
        And none of the class based prejudice and discrimination I get here all the time.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      Absolutely. US is highly meritocratic. Its not about class, how you speak, what school you went to, its about hard work, talent and aspiration.

      • Marion Foxley
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        “Its not about class, how you speak, what school you went to, its about hard work, talent and aspiration.”

        Like the Bushes and Kennedys? Depends where in the US you are.

        For those who haven’t been there, I’d recommend: Class: A Guide Through the American Status System byPaul Fussell.

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Trumps secret of course, is to be openly critical of the political class, and happily take the common sense view over their sacred positions which the political class decided with no support from ordinary people.

    • Donna
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and because he also takes no notice of the American media which is actually left-wing and extremely politically correct and refuses to dance to their tune.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        yes in the UK I could sketch out an easy couple of dozen policies which are supported already by the vast majority of voters, which are counter the prevailing wisdom of all our main parties, and which collectively would win a landslide majority. It amazes me nobody in the political class has the common sense to do likewise, seems they are too busy trying to force their narrow set of views on the rest of us.

  22. Prigger
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I always watch Mike Dice’s weekly five minute twitter videos interviewing Trump opponents.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Sorry correction: Mark Dice

  23. Kevin
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    JR refers to, “parties and people who will do down those who have succeeded”, and notes that “Labour wanted to get rid of grammar schools”.

    I have never been of the impression that Labour wanted to do down those who have succeeded – at least, not as a universal rule. After all, according to Wikipedia, Ed Balls attended “the private all-boys Nottingham High School”, and according to BBC, in 2015 he was “on the list to attend the famously secretive Bilderberg conference in Austria”.

    In another Web page, BBC comments, “Bilderberg is the name for a group of transatlantic VIPs who meet every year, at posh locations, but usually do not say who is coming, what they are talking about, and the press and public are kept away”.

    In fact, Balls has told Andrew Neil “he had been to several of the annual meetings of the group” and that he did not “really quite see what the fuss is all about”.

    So it is confusing that Balls himself should (apparently) be fussed about another “transatlantic VIP”, Donald Trump. Is it because he does not want this particular man to succeed because he does not like what he is succeeding at?

    (BBC News sources (all Web articles): “Bilderberg guests include George Osborne and Ed Balls” (12/6/2015), and “Bilderberg: Ed Balls on business meeting in Watford” and “Bilderberg: Protesters and conspiracy theory in Watford”, both 10/6/2013).

  24. Pat it
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    The left these days consists of fairly rich people jealous of very rich people.
    They seem to expect the poor to likewise envy the very rich but not to envy them.
    They are bound for disappointment, because the poor are mostly not envious, and those that are envy the fairly rich as well as the very rich.

  25. VotedOut
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    This series is more of a ‘holiday video’ than an informative show.

    Mr Trump does what politicians haven’t done for decades. He says OK, if you want to outsource out of the US great, but your going to pay for the cost to the state of doing that. So the ordinary ‘Joe six pack’ finally see someone who is on their side and not some big corporation.

    This explains why he unites the left and the right.

    You don’t need a BBC film crew; editor, director, camera man, sound-man and an ex-politician to find that out. Just listen to Mr Trump (without the CNN & BBC editing)

    • Chris
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Read his tweets which include excellent videoclips of all the (open) meetings and discussions with different interested parties e.g. trade, industry, jobs. Also, it is well worth looking at the clips of the rallies, which are attended by many thousands of Trump followers. You will get a real idea of how popular President Trump is and how he relates to ordinary people from all walks of life and all ages. The evidence contradicts the main media’s message, unsurprisingly.

  26. Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    TV is a nice little earner for a former cabinet minister. Mr Balls was on a popular dancing programme on Saturdays. Arguably, what he lost in gravitas he gained in public recognition.

    People are aware of media preconceptions about Trump and also the American Deep South and the flyover states. So it is easy to give the TV producers what they want.

    ‘ What’s the matter with Kansas’ by Thomas Frank also addressed the issue of why poorer people vote for Republicans. One conclusion was that campaigns targeted socially conservative voters with issues like abortion etc. When politicians were elected the social issues were abandoned and tax cuts became the big concern, benefitting the rich more than the poor.

    Trump benefitted from disillusion with both Democrat and Republican policies. Whether he delivers remains to be seen.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I agree – it’s far too early to assess.He hasn’t got control of significant areas of policy and the liberal Establishment of the East and West coasts are out to get him any which way.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a ‘nice little earner’ indeed. And ‘earned’ from the brimming coffers of the BBC, and just another platform to spread their idealogy with our money.

      So we’re paying for this person to kick up his heels in the US and then tell us what we should be thinking (ie what the BBC thinks we should be thinking).

  27. libertarian
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Exactly

    Our political class spend all of their time virtue signalling and playing identity politics , the media is complicit and in the same bubble . Meanwhile ordinary people in their millions always vote for people like Thatcher, Reagan, Tony Blair ( his it can only get better message) , Trump because they aspire to have their lives improved NOT to punish the successful

    • Chris
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Identity politics is a tool of the Marxists to create division and unrest. That is what happened in the USA, together with an apparently complicit media (except Fox News), until President Trump came along. Things are changing, thank goodness.

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I would not wish Mr Balls to fall ill but it would be instructive for him to visit a hospital to compare and contrast with the UK appalling NHS monopoly. Not that the US system is the best one. But it is superior to the NHS by a very long way.

  29. Peter Wood
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Off topic – apologies.

    Dr. Redwood, I read today there is going to be an ‘alternative’ white paper, to offer a Brexiteer counter to the nonsense Chequers paper. I do hope this is true and ready in time for robust discussion for the return of parliament. This is indeed good news, and your name has been mentioned in association. Can you confirm? May I wish you more power to your elbow to produce a White Paper we can be proud of.

    • Andy
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it should have been ready before 23 June 2016 so you actually all knew what you were voting for?

      • NickC
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Just because you didn’t know what we voting for, doesn’t mean we didn’t. Though you could always ask us, rather than telling us. But that’s your arrogance showing. Again.

        • Andy
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Chequers is what Brexit reality looks like. Strip away the myths, the undeliverable golden unicorns, the cheating and the Vote Leave lies and Chequers is what YOU all voted for on 23 June 2016.

          Enjoy it, cherish it and – Brexiteers – remember the blame is all yours.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            If it was what we voted for why is it so unpopular with voters.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        Unemployment down again, 4% now. Hows the Eurozone doing?

        Oh and have your staff got new jobs yet?

      • David Price
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 5:11 am | Permalink

        There were quite a lot of analyses, proposals and papers on the subject area in the years leading up to and beyond the referendum, though I imagine there was little coverage of them in the Beano.

    • Chris
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      More details on this alternative plan, and Mr Redwood’s role in it, according to the Telegraph newsletter/bulletin just sent out. (Thank you, Mr Redwood, for your efforts referred to below):

      “MAY THINKS THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO HER PLAN, BUT MOGG CALLING HER BLUFF
      The ERG is taking its time to perfect its desired alternative to the Chequers plan, with Brexiteer brains Peter Lilley and John Redwood poring over the tariff and trade options. The Brexiteer group’s last treatise was a 30-page evisceration of Mrs May’s original customs partnership plan, so it won’t be sparing on the detail. And it is set to come out just before the Tories’ annual conference next month, when interest in the deal Mrs May could get from Brussels will peak.

      This “clean break” prospectus will be significant, as Conservative ERG members intend to adopt it as their “common position”. That means there will be a clear Brexiteer alternative to the Chequers plan, with the backing of the scores of MPs who are part of Mr Rees-Mogg’s group. Mrs May’s allies will no longer be able to dismiss Chequers critics by insisting that they have no plan of their own.

      However, Brexiteers might well be too late to convince Mrs May on the eve of Conservative conference to pursue something like their “clean break”. If so, their work will not have been in vain. Any ambitious Conservative who fancied taking over as party leader to fight for Brexiteers would find that Mr Rees-Mogg’s group had already written their manifesto.

      For now, Mrs May ploughs on in her quest to make her Chequers plan work. She has been able to shrug off the critics because of her belief that there is no other way that could better honour the Leave vote. The trouble is that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his fellow Brexiteers are preparing to call her bluff.”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        I hope the authors have it crystal clear in their minds that while we do not have to supplicate for trading rights under the WTO treaties, because those treaties already exist and are already in force, we would have to supplicate for any new, special or preferential, trade treaty with the EU and its member states, including for example one like CETA.

        So one crucial question is whether it would be worth making concessions to the EU to secure a trade treaty like CETA, and in my view it would not even be worth getting ourselves entangled in negotiations for such a trade treaty because the benefits are so slight:

        http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/08/12/what-can-a-leave-voter-do-to-expedite-our-departure-from-the-eu/#comment-954128

        Supposing that we got the same 0.4% of GDP that Canada is projected to get from CETA that would correspond to the natural growth of the UK economy over just 2 months at the long term trend growth rate of 2.5% a year; even if it was claimed that the average growth rate is now permanently lower than that post-war trend it would still be only a matter of months.

        What would I give the EU for a trade deal which might push our GDP ahead by just a few months? Nothing, I would give them no concessions at all; but once the UK government got embroiled in negotiations over a new treaty of course there would be concessions, and in fact this government would want to give the EU plenty of concessions in the hope of buying that “deep and special relationship” which Theresa May and Olly Robbins crave.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        But they do not have the numbers to make their version (onless it is a simple
        no deal” plus some Minfordian pie in the sky for the economics challenged). You do not need a plan to get to “no deal”. And you will never get an ERG plan adopted by a majority of the parliamentary party (let alone Parliament. Labour does not like the capitalist EU but dislikes the umber capitalism coveted by Mr Fox et al even more. I find this very odd. More than likely the “plan” is about life outside and the brilliant trade awaiting there. What will it be? A Singapore without the quality government or a Venezuela in bad climate?

        • Roy Grainger
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          The choice is Singapore or Venezuela ? Why not Japan or Canada ? Oh, because you WANT UK to fail because you’re angry about Brexit. Got it. A bit immature maybe ?

  30. Michael James
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    ‘sure him up’.

    Oh dear

  31. Christine
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Mr. Trump is delivering on what he promised the American electorate. The same can’t be said for our Government.

  32. Edwardm
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I haven’t seen the documentary, but based on what you have written it seems that Ed Ball is demonstrating the fallacies of unadaptable and misguided socialist thinking rather than drawing conclusions from the evidence. Seems like an interesting study into Ed Balls type of thinking or “how to not get it”.

  33. BOF
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Labour is all about the politics of envy. Many, like Ed Balls (and Blair) are happy to make lots of money themselves but run down Trump. Labour hypocrisy.

    What a shame we have a Conservative government that keeps moving into Labour territory and we now have the highest level of taxation for fifty years. Instead they need to learn from Trump.

  34. JoolsB
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    When it comes to money and the finer things in life, socialists are usually the biggest hypocrites. It’s one rule for them and another for everyone else. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is their motto.

    Our socialist Chancellor and PM are no better. Instead of cutting taxes, they think of ever more ways to tax us especially the better off because they have to be seen to be punished for doing so well. The 45p rate should have come down long ago (not that I have ever been in that category) but they too are trying to appease the left whilst sticking their two fingers up at those who aspire to doing well in their careers. The sooner these two muppets are got rid of the sooner we might just start getting some Conservative policies including lower taxes!!!

  35. Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Can’t be bothered to look it up, but didn’t the Civil Service announce a few weeks ago that candidates for recruitment and promotion will be marked down if they have had some advantages such as attendance at a good university or school or were brought up by middle-class or literate parents? And that the Civil Service would pressure large companies to adopt this policy?

    • Prithilla Duthworth
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Iago.
      No, they have had that policy for decades and has got us to where we are now.

  36. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    @Andy (Remainer).

    Here’s another pro Brexit report from the FT:

    ‘the UK was growing faster than the Eurozone’

    (again, i’m not trying to forget I voted Remain, too – although reluctantly – but want to be pragmatic and objective and remainers have to face up to how the economy hasn’t sunk as some / many predicted it would).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/07/31/why-does-the-treasury-only-have-extra-money-for-the-eu/#comment-951425

      “… the most recent peak in the UK growth rate was in late 2014, over 3%, and since then it has trended down both before and after the 2016 referendum, but it now seems close to its bottom; while on the other hand the eurozone growth rate peaked later, towards the end of 2017, and is still declining, and I guess the two may cross over next year … ”

      It’s happened sooner than that, but only just and only for one quarter so far.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the Andys of this world will like to hear such things. They’ll either denigrate and refute them or stick their fingers in their ears. They would much prefer to be gleeful at negative reports of the UK’s performance.

      I wonder if the day will ever come when an Andy says ”Well, I was wrong, and I’m happy to say so – the UK is prospering and the future looks bright” when these things simply cannot be rebutted, even by hardened remainders, and Project Fear is dead.

      But let’s escape first, and then we can show what ‘gleeful’ really means!

      • Andy
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Incidentally – I do often answer your posts with why I like the EU. They never get through moderation. Maybe, one day, it would be good for you all to hear from someone outside of your Brexit echo chamber?

        • libertarian
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          No no …. At the referendum Andy was there but he didn’t take part

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          @Andy,

          You, and I and other Remainers have had loads of posts posted saying why we like the EU.

          Mr Redwood happens to be a Brexiter. And this is his personal website. I’m grateful to him to allow those who disagree to have their say. I think he’s been really generous.

          Again, thank you very much, Mr Redwood.

        • Water douser
          Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Yes Andy we don’t hear enough of you. What’s your name?

        • Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

          Good idea, Andy! It would certainly be instructive to listen to your reasons for wanting to be under the heel of your EU masters. Very instructive indeed.

          It wouldn’t be an ”echo chamber” if only people like you would, once in a while, let rip on the wonders and fascinations of the EU – give it a try! We’re all ears (without fingers in them, note).

          • Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            By the way – are you suggesting that our Host won’t give you the chance to talk up the EU? But he gives you the chance to talk DOWN the UK. Doesn’t make sense really, does it?
            Come ON, Andy! Stick up for what which you hold dear! We’ll listen!

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        To borrow business cliché, success in business is a marathon not a sprint. I think success in Brexit will be a marathon, not a sprint. And still very concerned by it (and equally very concerned about remaining in a politicised, bureaucratic EU) in short to medium term but not long-term.

        But I think it’s really important that Remainers pull back and let Brexiters get on with it. Brexiters do have a good chance (according to many in business), plus they won the Referendum! And Remainers should be pleased for Brexiters (and give them credit) if they’re right and Brexit works out best for this country.

  37. English Pensioner
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve never had anything against the rich, after all, unless they are misers, they have to spend their money to make use of it and this provides employment for other people.
    What I do object to is the high salaries and automatic bonuses being paid to some people which I consider are not worth the money. Are, for example, the huge salaries being paid to the bosses at banks and some building societies really value for money?

    • Lateralist
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Most people do the lottery in an attempt to be hated by leftie liberals who also do the lottery for the same reason.

  38. Iain Gill
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Out of interest, has the new policy announcements on social housing had any input from MP’s? Or was it dreamt up by the same class of policy wonks which messed up the last election so spectacularly?

    Either way the policy has a number of fairly obvious failings, and is a let down because half a dozen obvious policies in this area could win lots of votes.

    To say nothing of the people trapped in jobless areas by social housing no longer near any ready jobs market.

  39. Peter Parsons
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    “As one said this Sunday, I am $100 a week better off with the Trump tax cuts which helps me so I don’t mind the rich getting tax cuts as well.”

    What wasn’t asked (or broadcast) was the question as to whether the same individual was happy for this money coming from a big increase in the federal deficit, and therefore the US national debt. Trump’s tax cuts are being funded by increased US government borrowing.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      In the UK none of the mainstream political parties genuinely believe in reducing the national debt.

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        Because it can’t be done.The National Debt is now effectively the National Capital,Soviet style.The only possible way to pay off the debt would be private asset confiscation and that would collapse the economy.In the meantime they have to hope they can inflate GDP at a faster rate than the increase in debt required to achieve that GDP growth.Such is the pickle we are in.

        Ed Balls was actually right when he said,during the election campaign that brought Cameron to power,that paying back debt takes money out of the economy- as a riposte to Osborne’s fanciful notion that he would be repaying debt as we moved into surplus as a result of his austerity programme.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      In the short term perhaps.
      But with USA growth now at 4% the long term outlook is good.
      And unemployment falling too.

    • Lateralist
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      @ Peter Parsons
      No doubt they will spend it on something taxable to which tax is attached. Your point is?

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        My point is that policies which cause a year on year rise in the deficit are not sustainable in the long term, and while a bit more money now feels good, what is the long term cost of servicing all the additional debt accrued?

        • Laterist
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          @Peter Parsons
          Mr Trump in the confines of a small tweet has written that his increased Tariffs for one, … on others will be used to gradually pay off the deficit. Of course most Tariffs (tax) are actually paid by the American people themselves as an increase in the price on imported goods….should they prefer imports to American cheaper made. This increasning US jobs, with more people paying income tax etc etc.
          A simplification of course. As JR pointed out under I think another blog-page-title words to the effect that We will see how it turns out… referring to Trump’s total strategy.
          The Market so far, appreciates Trump’s moves.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted August 15, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            Is that why the global markets are currently heading in a downwards direction?

    • Richard1
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see. The early indications are that the tax cuts have boosted receipts. As frequently reported on this site we have seen the opposite effect in the U.K. as tax rates on eg CGT and stamp duty have gone up, receipts have gone down. (Vice versa when Corp tax and the top rate of income tax went down – receipts went up). Leftists find the Laffer Curve very confusing and difficult to deal with.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        When the top rate of income tax was bought down, lots of affected people engaged in tax planning and income deferral (obvious behaviour in the circumstances, but which caused the declared income in the last year of the 50p rate to be, in HMRC’s words “artificially low”).

        The Laffer curve is a thought experiment which has been shown to fail in practise. Just ask the taxpayers of Kansas who, under governer Sam Brownback paid $75,000 to Laffer for his ideas on policies which, when implemented, turned a $1 billion surplus in to a $1 billion deficit for the state, policies which are now having to all be reversed.

        Ask two economists to draw what the Laffer curve looks like and you’ll probably get at least 3 answers.

        Reply It worked here – lower top Income Tax rates have brought in much more revenue

        • Edward2
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Peter
          You need to go away and look at statistics for tax receipts in the UK since these tax rate changes were implemented.
          Setting tax rates isn’t as simple as you think.
          Higher does not always equal more revenue.

          Kansas is a red herring
          The exception that does not prove the rule.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Not entirely. Since he reduced corporation tax and gave a one-off tax cut for companies repatriating money the total tax take has actually increased – the Laffer Curve in action. Over here of course the government thinks the way to help high street shops is not to cut tax on high street shops but rather to increase tax overall – Jamie Oliver economics, whatever you don’t like tax it.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Peter Parson

      Only a detached leftie could ask a question like that. No wonder the working class deserted Labour

      One question thats never asked of UK lefties who demand more government spending is……

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        “detached leftie”? Which party is it that always goes on about the country not living beyond its means?

  40. Den
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I do wonder if Balls is really jealous of the wealthy (Like Multi-millionaire T Blair) or whether he perceives the ignorant ordinary folk to be so and therefore plays to them, like all socialists. Anything to win votes and get them into power.
    Interesting too is that they wanted to demolish our Grammar Schools because they were “elitist”. But NOT Universities which had even more stringent tests to gain entry. Is that not a form of elitism? An educated working class citizen must be an acute danger to these socialists – poor, ignorant, gullible masses are more their target clientele.
    The proof is out there. Socialism does not work anywhere in the world. Closer to home we can pick out the Labour Strongholds from the higher unemployment figures. If only the electorate in those constituencies would reflect on what their party has NOT done for them, perhaps they will try someone new next time.
    This is how Mr Trump won the Presidency in the USA. He appealed more to those forgotten by too many previous Democratic Candidates. Republicans too.
    I am amazed Balls does not understand this. Unless he too has been brain-washed into Socialism.
    It does sound as though he needs treatment to cure him of this terrible debilitating disease and the USA is the right place to be for that.

  41. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    JR

    Well written and observed

  42. Lateralist
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    A lateral political move could be made in the UK for legal, social,political and cultural purposes classifying rich people as a racial group. There is of course a legal precedent brought in by the Labour Party for such as non-dependent on ethnicity, colour, nationality, country of birth and origin.
    This could help stop Class-Hate.
    Personally, I would not agree with it. But it may make leftie-liberals chew on their brains a bit about what they do and say with their limited notions of free-speech and fair play

  43. MickN
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I feel sorry for Ed Balls. There is obviously no room left for him at his home – what with all the refugees that his wife offered to give up rooms for.

  44. Ahem
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Balls is only doing what some others in the Tory party are ďoing, namely trying to keep their names up there in the headlines..’the worst thing about being talked about is not being talked about’..or something like that..havn’t we enough of our clowns at home..Boris for example.. without having to go to America to pay attention to the Ed Balls show..

  45. Cheryl Hounslow
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I find when I am out walking in London with my friends who support the Labour Party , even though they are quite well off themselves, whenever we pass houses that are more splendid than their own, they inevitably say something along the lines of “it’s all right for some “. They don’t seem interested in ways that might help their fellow citizens who are worse off than themselves.

  46. Lateralist
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Will the person in the incident outside Westminster this morning be charged with Affray?

  47. ale bro
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Trump may have handed out tax cuts, but the Alternative Minimum Tax is still in effect. And people are aware of it.

    I don’t watch TV these days, so I haven’t watched Ed Balls passing himself off as a tax expert, but presumably AMT is news to him.

    We should have equivalent legislation in the country, because there is nothing stopping rich people in the UK achieving effective tax rates <10%.

  48. mancunius
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    “In the UK…They vote for parties and candidates that can improve their lifestyle, incomes and life chances”

    I certainly would – if I could find any such political parties and candidates to vote for.

  49. Anna K.
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like Mr Trump personally; but a wise old friend of mine once said, ‘Always be prepared to admit that people you don’t like might get something right.’ The relentless attacks on Trump, despite his successes, are actually driving the young away from the socialists and Democrats in the US. They can see that cuts in tax and lowered unemployment are helping the worst off.

    Re: the rich envying the poor. I find that poorer, hardworking people do not envy those who get rich through their own efforts. The people they despise are the freeloaders like (a) young woman in …….who has 6 children by different fathers, has never worked a day in her life, but lives comfortably while they slog. I agree with them.

  50. Kevin Lohse
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Balls on Trump’s America can be summed up as, ” Trump’s light shines on Balls’ darkness, but the darkness knows it not”.

  51. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/08/14/theresa-may-thinks-brexit-plan-option-tory-leavers-plan-call/

    “… decrying her plan as “not Brexit” … has fallen on deaf ears in Downing Street. That’s because Mrs May’s team believes there is no alternative plan that could deliver Brexit more feasibly, or faithfully, than the one she is pushing … ”

    They may or may not genuinely believe that, but the fact is that there has been and still is a systematic campaign to “prove” that there is no alternative:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/08/12/what-can-a-leave-voter-do-to-expedite-our-departure-from-the-eu/#comment-954180

    “The real reason the government wants to steer us away from those WTO terms is not economic but political; namely, the continuing covert eurofederalism of the Tory party leadership.

    The WTO treaties already exist and are in force, and the EU cannot deprive us of those legal rights; whereas the UK government would actually prefer to have to beg and make concessions to the EU to secure a new treaty for the “deep and special relationship” our Prime Minister desires.”

    • NickC
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, Since it is an admitted fact that at some point early this year Theresa May must have authorised a second and secret White Paper (the Robbins WP) – the existence of which she kept from the country, the bulk of her party, and her own Ministers – she must have known there was a least one alternative – the DExEU White Paper itself. Her reported view that there is no alternative when she, herself, ordered one, means either Mrs May is lying to herself (or is schizophrenic), or she is lying to us again.

  52. Andy
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I never liked Ed Balls before this show. But I do now. He’s done his chances of becoming prime minister one day no harm at all.

    Incidentally, I enjoyed the series Michael Portillo did some years back when he became a single parent for a week. That sort of training should be compulsory education for all MPs – particularly for those fortunate enough to have grown up among extreme privilege and wealth.

    Many of these characters simply do not realise how fortunate they are. Few of today’s MPs would be where they are today had they been unfortunate enough to have been born to an unemployed drug addict mother who lives in a mouldy bedsit in a rundown industrial town. When you live in mansion, have staff, and papa pays for you to go to Eton it is easy to be a success even if you are (very) average.

    There are plenty of figures high up in both government and opposition today who are there because of where they were born and not because they genuinely deserve it.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      And there we have it, Andy. A perfect illustration of the green-eyed monster. Thanks for that.

      How on earth would YOU know whether those who have been ‘fortunate enough to have grown up among extreme privilege and wealth’ actually need an education in parenting? How many of them and their families do you know personally? And who says they ”don’t know how fortunate they are”? You arrogantly presume to say that?

      And there are ”plenty of figures high up in government and opposition today” who actually ARE there through merit and not through privilege.

      But I daresay you’d rather ignore such inconvenient truths to illustrate your own shallow and ill-educated arguments.

      If you envy them so much, perhaps you should go out and dig a little gold for yourself, instead of sitting at your keyboard denigrating the people who’ve actually worked hard and succeeded, instead of whinging about others’ ”good fortune”.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Andy
      “grown up among extreme privilege and wealth.”
      You did!

      • Andy
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        I didn’t. I grew up in the city, in a working class household in Thatcher’s Britain.

        I went to a (very bad) local comprehensive school where more children ended up going to prison than to university.

        My parents weren’t the poorest of the poor but they were not rich. My father died young. Kids like me were a nuisance to the Tory government.

        I can count on my fingers the numbers of us who successfully escaped the circumstances of our births.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          The real test is, have standards of living in our country risen over prrvious decades.
          And they have risen greatly.
          In socialist nations there has been one disaster after another.

        • Prigger
          Posted August 15, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Andy
          “grown up among extreme privilege and wealth.” despite your “poorest of the poor” . You did…grow up in extreme privilege and wealth”
          Forgive me, but your eyes are, now, scanning horizons which are very close.

  53. forthurst
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    According to MigrationWatch, foreign companies are bidding for IT contracts in the UK with both public and private organisations and then importing the workforce from outside the EU by means of the Inter-Company Transfer scheme , intended to allow multi-nationals to redeploy senior executives, but is being used to enable a cheap foreign workforce to be used instead of indigenous IT workers. Are any PC Tories intending to ask questions of the Home Secretary as to why this flagrant ongoing abuse is still being permitted?

  54. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, on another website every one of the five charts allegedly showing how badly consumers would be hit by a no-deal Brexit is based on the unsubstantiated assumption that the UK government would automatically apply so-called “World Trade Organisation tariffs” to all imports of food and other consumer items. Variants of this same fake news story have been circulating for well over two years now, even since before the referendum, and at any point the government could have knocked it on the head just by saying “The government is committed to the control of consumer price inflation, and it has absolutely no intention of unnecessarily pushing up UK retail prices by imposing additional tariffs on imports, so this report is a complete waste of paper”, but it has chosen not to do so.

    • NickC
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, You are absolutely right. There are no such things as WTO tariffs. What these dim organisations apparently mean is they think we would apply the same tariffs as the EU. And of course that is false because, as an independent nation, we can lower or remove tariffs just as we choose.

  55. Gary Lloyd-Coxhead
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Well said John, you have hit the nail on the head!! Most of the lefts ideology is all about jealousy and envy, the haves and the have nots, whereas most ordinary people do not begrudge anyone making their living successfully which some do better than others. We all know, well those of us with a brain, that you cannot tax the rich to make them poorer in order to make the poor richer. It just doesn’t work. Rich people have the power and money to go elsewhere, the poor do not! If my neighbour won the lottery, I would not be jealous of him I would just celebrate his good fortune. The politics of envy is what is killing our soceity. Many left supporters believe that the state owes them something when in fact the state owes them nothing other than to make it possible for them to make a good living for themselves.
    Ed Balls epitomises what is wrong with the Labour Party today, it does not support the working class but rather wants to portray them as a ‘victim’ of the capitalist system, the very system that made the majority of Labour Peers and Front Benchers millionaires!!

  56. margaret howard
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    ” The first ballot failed to deliver the closure many in Labour craved, because the parents of children not at the grammar were not jealous of those who went to the grammar. They gave up and grammars survived”
    ==

    Your argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny seeing that only 163 grammar schools survive today from a total of over 1200 in 1950!

    Reply Labour after 1997 did not close them!

  57. Rien Huizer
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood

    A lot has been written about this unusual US president and his core followers. Rather than using Mrs Clinton’s term for those core followers I would characterize them as a minority with very strong feelings (they are. Trump’s core support is estimated to be around 35-40 million, a minority of US citizens old enough to vote). In fact that number is not too different from the typical market share of, say Le Pen and Lega. Wilders in his heyday was there too and AfD may get there if the CSU collapses. Normally those parties can afford to shout from the sidelines and their supporters can then safely enjoy venting their anger and maybe hope that the parties that traditionally govern (and governing is something that does not become these parties in general) will be influenced by the “threat” they pose to the status quo. In the US case, luck and clever campaign design gave victory to a candidate with relatively little rapport with the Party apparatus and traditional electorate. (I would have voted Republican myself except for Clinto’s and Obama’s second terms during the past 45 years. Even for Nixon).

    I have no idea what drives Mr Trump and if he is competent. On the surface he does not impress and so does his record as a businessman. Through history, US presidents have varied a great deal and their legacies and the image that the public has too. For instance, Roosevelt can be credited for winning both WWIIs: The war against Japan virtually singlehandedly, the war in Europe mainly by supplying Russia and the UK and at the right time and with excellent leadership (results with relatively few casualties and no unnecessary civilian damage) committing troops to the battlefield in such a way that the future relationship with the losers was not entirely poisoned from the start. Nevertheless, Roosevelt the man was maybe as flawed as Trump seems to be and certainly no saint like the ineffective Carter. So, let’s wait and see what comes next.

    So far this government’s policymaking was merely executing Ryan’s agenda. And that is all done (taxation, rolling back regulation, Supreme Court, etc) In fact, there is nothing programmatic left except silly and politically immature things like the Wall, a “cheaper and better alternative for Obamacare”, etc. Assuming that the foreign policy events were merely staged for the election season, there is still plenty of scope for a constructive relationship with traditional allies (Europe, Japan) and foes (Russia, China) and coming to grips with the US’ Bibi tail that keeps wagging. So no great damage caused by compulsiveTwittering.

    One wonders what will happen once the Congressional elections are out of the way. Most of the policy changes do not benefit the Trumpista demographic (if that is really as narrow as often said) but they will never know and probably do not want to as long as the can cheer their leader occasionally.

    If Trump would stop here (ie not seek reelection, but pass the baton to someone like eg Pompeo, he might enter the historybooks as an unusual but basically useful president. Not a Reagan, but not a failure either.

  58. Chris
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Ed Balls should pay heed to the Small Businesses index regarding President Trump’s policies. There is a huge lesson for our government to learn from President Trump, Mr Redwood, and I believe you are not immune to this at all:

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/08/14/stunning-maganomic-sentiment-small-business-optimism-survey-second-highest-reading-in-history/
    Stunning MAGAnomic Sentiment: Small Business Optimism Survey Second Highest Reading in History….

    “The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is an assembly and survey of small business owners throughout the U.S. In the latest survey (full pdf here) overall optimism is the second highest ever recorded at 107.9 (the highest reading was 108 in 1983).

    For more than 30 years the Main Street economic engine has been intentionally stalled by U.S. economic policy that has favored Wall Street and pushed a service-driven-economy narrative on the U.S. workers. Using targeted MAGAnomic Main Street policy President Trump has reversed the trend.

    Main Street, and the U.S. Middle Class, is growing again. Enjoy this.
    President Trump really is “a blue-collar billionaire“….”

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted August 18, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      That MAGA index looks like a terrific sell signal..

  59. Donna
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I watched the third instalment of Balls’ introduction to capitalism, American style.

    What I found hilarious was his complete inability to understand why the Trumpettes weren’t so disgusted by Trump’s off-the-cuff comments about the willingness of some women to put up with “sexist” Alpha Male behaviour that they refused to vote for him.

    Balls has obviously never understood that some women will cheerfully allow an awful lot of “bad behaviour” if the man dishing it out is extremely wealthy. Always have, and probably always will.

    The programme was so funny, I might watch the earlier episodes on catch-up.

  60. Anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Balls has sought out the most extreme Trump voters. To look at through a microscope like some superior scientist. “So why DOES this species behave the way it does ?”

    • Prigger
      Posted August 15, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      @ Anonymous
      I think I understand what you highlight as “extreme Trump voters”. These are of course the ones judged as extreme by some in the worlds of some British and some American Democratic Party people. I would describe loosely ” extreme” in the Trump context as devout.

      • Prigger
        Posted August 15, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Much more@ Anonymous
        Yes Balls has let himself and his school down. But with earnest work he may very well make something of himself worthwhile and honourable .

  • 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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